Post SONA debate day 3: Zuma calls for unity


President Jacob Zuma has said government would remain resolute in preventing an economic downgrade admits the slowing down of the country’s economy.

Responding to points raised by members on the final of day of his post-State of Nation debate in Parliament on Thursday, Zuma said the ongoing financial crisis in Europe continues to have effect on the country’s economy, and that it would implement the National Development Plan (NDP) this year despite numerous false starts.

“I can assure members that this time around, [the NDP] seems to be coming together [as] business, government and labour [have been able] to agree on general issues that must assist our country,” Zuma said, adding that the interests of the country must come first.

“The NDP remains the cornerstone of our economy. It provides a basis to fight poverty, inequality and unemployment. While the situation remains tough, there are positives we can build on. [However], we are determined to implement the measures that still continue to prevent growth”.

Refusing to comment on insults hurled him at him by various opposition parties on the first two days, Zuma added that government would continue its fight against corruption, and that assets worth R2-billion were seized during the past financial year.

Turning his attention to the country’s youth, Zuma said it would be re-introducing national youth service this year, as a means of “giving young people a sense of solidarity, service and self-sacrifice to the nation”.

Speaking out on the escalating drought in large parts of the country, Zuma said its impact on the agriculture sector had been “severe”, and that its effect would likely have a big impact in years to come.

“We all need to work together as a country to overcome this. Support is being provided to farmers by government, with over R450-million having been invested by the Department of Water and Sanitation to help with the drought,” Zuma said.

“A total of R498-million has been approved nationally, in addition to R124-million allocated by provinces, to assist farmers with feed and water for their animals”.

Announcing further cost cutting measures, Zuma stated government would no longer place tenders in newspapers, as a dedicated “tender portal” would become compulsory from April first.

“This reduces the cost for suppliers as they do not have to go to multiple institutions if they wish to do business with government,” he said.

Taking a swipe at the recent outbreaks of racist remarks on social and in print media, Zuma stressed that all South Africans must “unite in eradicating this evil”.

“We know what it did to our nation [during Apartheid], and we don’t want it [to happen] again. We must all, not just some, stand up and be united against this. Let us not emphasis colour, but rather being South Africans,” Zuma said to claps from ANC benches.

“Racism is an enemy of humanity. If there is anything that this country must agree on, it is the fight against racism”.

Closing his speech, Zuma condemned the conduct and attitude displayed by MP’s during sittings, saying it was portraying Parliament in a bad light to the country and abroad.

“We know the rules and laws [of the House]. Therefore, we cannot undermine the rights of the next member. We can agree and disagree, that is not a crime, but let’s do it with respect,” he said.

“We cannot call ourselves honourable members [when] we behave in a dishonourable manner. It is not helping the image of South Africa and it is not teaching our people anything about democracy”.

Zuma ended by saying that the country has overcome obstacles before and can move forward to be benefit of all “and not a party”.


IMAGE sourded from Parliament of South Africa YouTube