Political parties want Zuma to address economic decline

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Political parties want President Jacob Zuma to tell the nation what his plans are to revive the economy.

Some have also urged him to apologise for refusing for two years to adhere to the recommendations of the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on paying for non-security upgrades at his Nkandla home.

Zuma will deliver the annual State of the Nation Address on Thursday. His lawyers told the Constitutional Court on Tuesday that he now believes the Public Protector’s findings are binding.

In the State of the Nation Address, the President takes stock of the past year and outlines government’s plans for the year ahead.
Economists and international rating agencies have predicted a dire picture for the country’s economy going forward.

Political parties want Zuma to say what government is going to do to improve the situation. National Freedom Party Chief Whip Nhlanhlakayise Khubisa says his party is not interested in any politicking from the president.

He says the country’s economy is on the verge of being given a junk status and the president has to address it. “We are surfing through a volatile and ailing economy which is about to be given junk status. Once we move towards a recession everyone is going to suffer. At the moment the poorest are feeling the brunt,” says Khubisa.

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane’s spokesperson Mabine Seabe also says the economy should be high on the president’s list of priorities. “The president should put the economy and jobs at the forefront. Last year he launched a 9 point plan. The economy is shrinking and we see jobless SA increasing.”

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder says Zuma needs to address the issue of unemployment. “The economy is not creating jobs at the moment maybe he must look again at the labour laws. My worry is he might use the popular way and talk about race and land.”

African Christian Democratic Party President Kenneth Meshoe says joblessness is a concern. “The president needs to address joblessness, what government is planning to do to ensure job creation becomes a reality and not empty promises.”

Meshoe has urged the president to apologise to the country about the Nkandla debacle. “When he received the report from the Public Protector he denied it and refused to budge. He needs to apologise that he was stubborn. If he listened to advice, the economy would have been saved a lot of money.”

The African National Congress Chief Whip’s Spokesperson Moloto Mothapo says they hope the President will highlight government’s achievements. “We hope the president will take stock of the great progress the ANC government has made but also we expect the president to look at the progress made in implementing the National Development Plan.”

The President will address the nation at 7pm on Thursday.

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– By Joseph Mosia