President Jacob Zuma (left) arrives for the opening of Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday.

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation speech was disappointing and lacked substance, the Cape Chamber of Commerce said on Thursday.

“A backslapping speech with little substance. The Cape Chamber of Commerce is, on the whole, disappointed by the State of the Nation address delivered by the president this evening,” said its executive manager Bronwen Kausch.

“The presidency gave no clear policy direction. While alluding to very important topics, all the speech did was increase the frustration of business that the national policy vacuum continues.”

Kausch did commend Zuma's call for harsher action against those who participated in strikes which resulted in damage to property.

“After repeated calls from business... we are heartened that, in these instances, we have been heard.”

Business Unity South Africa (Busa) welcomed Zuma's speech.

“We also welcome infrastructure projects that have begun to gain traction, where the president reiterated to fast-track many of the projects that the Presidential Infrastructural Co-ordinating Committee had announced,” said Busa CEO Nomaxabiso Majokweni.

Busa also praised the government's commitment to pay small, micro and medium enterprises within 30 days.

Majokweni said the business community was expecting to see how the National Development Plan would be financed, as this would be a challenging task in finding workable solutions to unemployment, poverty and inequality. - Sapa