Zuma scores 47/100 for SONA 2012 - Solidarity

Dirk Hermann says emphasis on empowerment will continue to obstruct real development

Zuma does not pass Solidarity's test with State of the Nation Address

The trade union Solidarity has given President Zuma 47 out of 100 for his State of the Nation Address today. The trade union has based this evaluation on a scoring of 10 crucial issues that have been identified.

Dr Dirk Hermann, deputy executive head of Solidarity, has welcomed the president's honest admission of numerous crisis situations the country is burdened with presently, like crime, unemployment and electricity shortages. "It was good to hear the president admitting that municipal service delivery is still not on a desirable level."

However, the trade union has expressed its dissapointment with the way in which the president identified some problems without presenting appropriate solutions. "With regard to crime, skills shortages and the pressure that is put on the rights of minorities in South Africa, President Zuma did not bring forward any significant new solutions."

Solidarity has also expressed its dissapointment with Zuma's unsound stance on nationalisation and other radical state interference, especially in the mining industry. "The issues of nationalisation and state interference had already caused a stir in the last couple of years and caused grave concern among interested parties, especially in the mining industry. The State of the Nation Address was a golden opportunity for the president to confirm the announcement of Susan Shabangu, minister of mineral resources, that South African mines will not be nationalised. It is regrettable that the president did not use this opportunity to prove to existing and prospective investors in South Africa that the country is still a business-friendly investment destination that hold the right of ownership in high esteem."

Meanwhile, Solidarity is of the opinion that the president anchors his economic approach in the idea that the state should be the central role player in the economy, with the ultimate goal of ensuring equal outcomes, rather than equal starting points. In spite of the president's fine intentions, the trade union is of the opinion that this economic approach leads to increasing poverty, rather than increasing prosperity.

"We welcome the president's plans to invest in big infrastructure projects, but are worried about the emphasis on empowerment instead of the development of South Africans through education to increase appointments based on merit." Solidarity has advised the president not to persist in making civil service appointments only on the basis of affirmative action objectives and has warned that the trade union will continue its lawsuits by reason of the unfair implementation of affirmative action in the civil service. "Appointments on merit is the only way to improve service delivery in South Africa."

According to Hermann, it is good that Zuma congratulated the matriculants who excelled in the examination of 2011. "None the less, South Africa's education problems have unfortunately been underplayed. Especially the low pass rate in physical science and mathematics is worrying. These subjects are essential for further studies in scarce professions and if one looks at the low pass rates, it is not surprising that South Africa's skills problems only increase year after year."

The marks that have been awarded to the president are the following:


Mark out of 10



Electricity supply


Cultural freedom of minorities


Skills shortages and education






Service delivery


Affirmative action and race transformation








Statement issued by Dirk Hermann, Deputy executive head: Solidarity, February 9 2012

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