Johannesburg - An economic convention for a democratic South Africa (Codesa) is needed to rescue the country's economy, the FF Plus said on Tuesday.

“The promise of President Jacob Zuma that five million job opportunities will be created over the next five years in South Africa is mere rhetoric,” Freedom Front Plus spokesman Anton Alberts said in a statement.

“A second Codesa, this time about the country's economy and the value of local self-reliance, is needed now to place the country on the road to prosperity once again.”

At the African National Congress's 2014 election manifesto launch in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, on Saturday, Zuma said the manifesto contained plans to address poverty and unemployment, with the economy taking centre stage.

Zuma said the ANC aimed to create at least six million jobs in the next five years.

It was no secret that most of South Africa's poor were black, particularly women and those living in rural areas.

This situation would change, Zuma told ANC supporters at the Mbombela Stadium.

The Codesa negotiations that took place in December 1991 involved 19 groups and parties, including the ANC, the now-defunct National Party, the Inkatha Freedom Party, the Democratic Party (which is now the Democratic Alliance) and the SA Communist Party.

The purpose of the negotiations was to lay a platform for the transition from the apartheid state to a free and democratic South Africa.

Alberts said government was not setting off any of the triggers required to enable South Africa's economy to grow.

“There aren't any opportunities being created for entrepreneurs of any race group to contribute to economic growth,” he said.

Rather, quite the opposite was being accomplished, with South Africa's labour legislation suffocating the economy and job opportunities, with 1.4 million job losses since Zuma came to power in 2009.

“The only manner in which the government could create new jobs at all is by expanding the already bloated public service,” said Alberts.

“Only the ANC and the president could gain anything from this, as it would make people dependent on their employer, the ANC government. It is, however, a house of cards which will collapse.”

What South Africa needed was a second Codesa on the economy, where all role-players came together to reflect on the country's economy and job creation.

“Empty and impracticable election promises will not accomplish anything,” he said.

“There should be a Codesa to get the economy growing again and to eradicate poverty by focusing on local self-reliance.”