Zuma's Year of the Job a failure - Lindiwe Mazibuko

DA MP says President trying to pass the buck and dodge accountability

"Year of the Job" fails: The President's most important job is to create jobs

Yesterday, as reported in the Sowetan, the President admitted what South Africans have known for some time now. The "Year of the Job" has failed. But instead of taking full responsibility for this failure, and offering an honest assessment of why his administration's approach to job creation has not worked, the President chose to pass the buck and dodge accountability for this failure. I will be writing to President Zuma to request that he address this failure to create jobs in his State of the Nation Address.

President Zuma must take full responsibility for failing to create jobs and get South Africa's economy growing in 2011. In last year's State of the Nation Address, the president declared 2011 to be the "year of job creation". Each government department was tasked with achieving a specific jobs target, and every government programme was supposed to be planned with this goal in mind. 

It is poor South Africans who must endure the hopelessness of long-term unemployment, and it is them that the President and his government have failed most grievously. He must offer them a better explanation than "a weak Eurozone" and global economic conditions. 

What went wrong? Despite President Zuma's assurances that the government would "cut administrative costs, avoid duplication" and improve efficiency, the truth is that the Year of the Job was poorly conceived and managed. It relied entirely on the state to drive job creation, mainly through infrastructure projects, when very few of these projects were ready to break ground. Indeed, many were tied up in knots by the government's own regulatory maze. 

When the Democratic Alliance (DA) met with President Zuma in 2009, we gave him a list of the laws which we felt were hampering service delivery, and which we believed should be done away with. He did not respond. 

The results of President Zuma's failed approach and misplaced priorities are, sadly, exactly what we anticipated. 

A DA national government would immediately enact five key reforms to get more South Africans working: 

  • A wage subsidy to help private sector employers hire more people.
  • Implement key labour market reforms to incentivise increased employment.
  • Introduce targeted tax cuts to help newly founded small businesses get off the ground.
  • Create a more investment-friendly atmosphere with stronger incentives.
  • Give opportunity vouchers to matriculants to assist them in funding their studies or starting small businesses.

President Zuma must address this failure to create jobs in his State of the Nation Address. He must explain to Parliament, and to all South Africans, the reasons why he has failed to adopt key economic policies, such as the wage subsidy, which would ensure that more jobs are created.

President Zuma's most important job is to create jobs. If he fails to do this, he must take full responsibility for the failure, and explain to the South African people what his plans are to reverse it. Unemployed South Africans need a President who is willing and able to learn from his mistakes.

Statement issued by Lindiwe Mazibuko MP, DA Parliamentary Leader, January 18 2012

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