Zuma confident of 3% economic growth despite energy challenges


President Jacob Zuma has denounced wide spread allegations that South Africa is on the brink of an economic collapse.

Addressing the media at the Union Buildings yesterday as part of an update on the nine-key points raised during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in February, Zuma admitted that the escalating energy crisis was having an effect on the country’s economy, but added that government is working on a plan to have the matter resolved.

He also stated that the economy will grow by three percent over the next three years once the energy challenges had been addressed.

“Since the implementation of the five-point plan in December 2014, substantial progress has been made in resolving the energy challenge,” Zuma said.

“The operation and maintenance practices at Eskom continue to improve to ensure that the power plants are appropriately maintained and provide the electricity in their capacity”.

In tabling the struggling the power utility’s integrated annual results mere hours after Zuma’s speech, Acting CEO Brain Molefe announced that total profits, despite registering a net gain of R3.6-billion, had fallen by 50%, and that an additional R20-billion would have to be sourced in order for the provision of stability.

Speaking in a statement, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane said Zuma’s briefing was little more “than a PR stunt” in an attempt to “repair the damage” caused during his questions and answers session in Parliament last week.

“Government is failing to turn around a limping economy, which is haemorrhaging jobs and opportunities,” Maimane said.

“By the President’s own admission, the crisis at Eskom has cost the country’s economy. [Yet] President Zuma reiterated that government is going ahead with the unaffordable nuclear build programme, though failed to lift the veil of secrecy which shrouds the deal”.

Taking a swipe at the establishing of yet another Inter-Ministerial Committee Task Team to address the downturn in job creation, Maimane stated that Zuma’s silence on the increasing levels of corruption raises serious questions about the “effect it has on government projects and the opportunities it takes away from our people”.

Last month, Statistic South Africa reported that unemployment for the second quarter of 2015 increased to 25%, while GDP is expected to the released later this month.

“The President was correct when he said “South Africa is in a crisis” with regards to the economy, but he failed to articulate that the country faces a leadership crisis, which day-in and day-out fails to act in the interest of the country and its people. The best solution to South Africa’s jobs crisis would be a change of government,” Maimane added.