Plaudits and brickbats by parties over speech

President Jacob Zuma's first state of the nation address was given a moderate reception by various sectors and opposition parties yesterday.

President Jacob Zuma's first state of the nation address was given a moderate reception by various sectors and opposition parties yesterday.

Azapo president Mosibudi Mangena praised the speech, but said because of the recession, the government might not be able to raise enough revenue to fund Zuma's job-creation plans.

DA parliamentary leader Athol Trollip said South Africa did not have the money to support the "socialist agenda".

He cautioned that if Zuma gave jobs to "comrades" in the judiciary, "the independence of the judiciary goes out the window".

IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi echoed the perceived shift to the left, saying Zuma's speech "in language and tone seemed to indicate a perceptible shift to the left".

ID leader Patricia de Lille was more upbeat, praising Zuma's plans to monitor ministers' performance.

De Lille said even if Zuma could not live up to his job creation promises, "if he can communicate regularly with the nation, the nation will listen and understand".

Cope deputy president Mbhazima Shilowa was not impressed with Zuma's promise to create 500000 jobs by the end of the year, saying these would only be "one-week jobs".

But Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said the jobs would be long-term contracts.

"For a hungry person, providing employment for many months can make a critical difference in whether they see a future in lawful economic activity or whether to turn to crime," Patel said.

Cosatu's Zwelinzima Vavi said the federation wanted to know what Zuma meant when he promised to reduce the regulatory burden on small business.

The South African Democratic Teachers Union welcomed Zuma's statement that government would not tolerate teachers who sexually abuse pupils, but were disappointed he failed to mention outstanding wage increases.

The South African Police Union said it was disappointed about the lack of clarity on police resources, salaries and the engagement of youth in the fight against crime.

Business Against Crime said Zuma's commitment to tackle crime was encouraging.

"This will build confidence in the capacity and integrity of law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system," said Siphiwe Nzimande.

X