President Jacob Zuma’s SONA speech did not go down well with the some opposition parties. Some felt that the measures he announced to cut government spending did not go far enough.

The parties say much more needs to be done to rescue the ailing economy. President Jacob Zuma’s address concentrated on measures to revive the economy. Government will be cutting expenditure on non-essential items.

But Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane says the measures he announced were inadequate. “I think basis services, president lamented: should have been bolder to say basic service are delivered. On police back to basics, fill vacancies in police, jobs…have not mentioned the drought – reality is many more South Africans are facing drought, should have announced as national disaster, put plan on table .”

Freedom Front Plus Leader Pieter Mulder say the speech lacked the fire needed to inspire enthusiasm to take the country out of its current troubles. He says however there were some positives. “I really thought ANC deflated, gas out of bottle need enthusiasm, plans to get country out of the problems. Not there. Positives: not more trips etc, a small financial number but will send a symbolic message out there.”

Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi says at least the President was honest and admitted that it will be long before government plans can bear fruit. “The president did not hide fact we are in trouble, he say that major problems poverty and unemployment and inequalities but he admitted that the situation is quite bad. Although he mentioned measures implemented to meet the situation. I don’t think they are good enough on accumulative basis to turn situation around in near future.”

The African Christian Democratic Party on the other hand says there were some encouraging points in the President’s speech.
Party leader Kenneth Meshoe says, “The speech had positives, can highlight. Number of opposition complained about money wasted on dinners, after budget speech a dinner…eating lots of resources that they complained about.To hear him say those dinners have been cut out, delegations made smaller, moving capital to Pretoria so we have one administration. It was positive.”

Also listening in was Eskom CEO Brian Molefe. He says he was impressed by the president’s emphasis on the role of State Owned Enterprises. “A lot of progress making SOE viable, also talk about the SMME contribution to economy.”
Fresh from having her powers affirmed, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela had hoped the president would emphasise the importance and the need to adhere to reports of chapter nine institutions. “As a chapter 9, it’s sad that good government and working together was not mentioned. Even at time when president mentioned implementation of forensic report, also include reports of AG and other chapter 9 institutions.”

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– By Joseph Mosia