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Opposition slams Zuma's State of the Nation address

Cape Town, South Africa - South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has come under fire from most opposition parties following his State of the Nation address on Thursday night. In his last State of the Nation address as President of the current government, Zuma told Parliament that South Africa was now widely regarded as a model of progress.

He listed the achievements of the successive democratic governments since Mandela took power in 1994, starting with burying an oppressive minority regime, saying they had made South Africa 'a better place to live in now than it ever was before'. 

However, the official opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) shredded the speech, saying he did not do enough to address job shortages in his address.

'Work opportunities are temporary replacements... while very important to relieve poverty, they are not a substitute for real jobs that happen because of economic growth,' said DA leader Helen Zille.

She said President Zuma noted that 500,000 jobs had been created, but said this fell short of his promise of five million.

Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi concurred, saying the extended public works programme, which pledged to create six million job opportunities, was “unworkable”.

Alana Bailey, deputy Chief Executive Officer of AfriForum, said the speech was a self-congratulatory pat on the back for the ruling party, without either demonstrating strong leadership or accepting responsibility for any of the problems facing the country.

She said AfriForum does not regard the speech to be a positive step forward on the road to finding viable and sustainable solutions to the challenges facing South Africa.

“It merely was applause for the ruling party on the eve of the elections – yet another opportunity for President Zuma to display strong leadership that has gone to waste,' Bailey said.

South Africa goes to the polls 7 May.

Pana 15/02/2014