Gordhan's challenge to fill in Zuma's gaps - DAILY DISPATCH 23 Feb 2011

BALL IN GORDHAN'S COURT: President Jacob Zuma failed to provide the details on a promise for five million jobs in his State of the Nation address. All eyes will now be on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan when he delivers the Budget today. Picture: File the poor be cushioned and measures be taken to protect lowerincome households. After all, as taxpayers we are responsible for servicing the World Bank loan the terms and conditions of which we know little about, except being told unconvincingly that our government acted for the common good by committing the country to such a contractual obligation last year. Indeed, when the focus of the country is on getting the economy back to life again, the stability and dignity of the work force _ IF TODAY'S Budget speech is meant to serve as a launch pad for the five million jobs promised by our government, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan must provide more details than President Jacob Zuma offered the nation in his State of the Nation address.

Read the full article in the Daily Dispatch

Five million jobs needed - CAPE TIMES 10 Feb 2011

TONIGHT, instead of being in the National Assembly gallery with the rest of the invited guests, I will be watching on television with the rest of the country as President Jacob Zuma delivers his State of the Nation address.
Instead of knowing what is coming as in 2009 when the ANC was fresh from elections and its election manifesto promises were translated into Zuma's inaugural address, I can write about what I hope the president will say.
My hope is that the centrepiece of the speech will be a concrete, detailed and inspiring explanation of a comprehensive plan to eradicate poverty, income inequality, and the creation of decent jobs that our country yearns for.
I am not talking about two paragraphs lamenting the problem and vowing to fix it. I am looking for credible details of concrete proposals that the government is demonstrating commitment to lead social partners on a path to economic recovery that will be underpinned by redistribution of income, assets and the creation of decent jobs.

Read the full opinion piece in the Cape Times

Open up the borders - TIMES, THE (First Edition) 08 Feb 2011

Open up the borders National debate on immigrants is vital, writes Nkosikhulule Nyembezi.

One of the most important steps forward President Jacob Zuma could take when he addresses the nation this week is to introduce a meaningful national debate on our flawed immigration policy. It's a conversation that we can no longer avoid, involving matters of deep introspection, questions about who we are as a country and how we identify ourselves as in-dividuals. And it is an issue that urgently needs clear and decisive leadership. Civil society organisations such as the Black Sash have consistently argued that our current immigra-tion policy needs to be underpinned by a rights-based management of asylum seekers, refugees and work seekers. It also needs to focus on the efficient movement of skills to promote national and regional de-velopment. This is particularly ur-gent given the recent policy ini-tiatives to revive the economy and the high levels of prejudice against foreign nationals.

Read the full article in THE TIMES newspaper

Can social security build a more inclusive society? - SA Reconciliation Barometer, Dec 2010

Current social security reforms provide necessary opportunities to ensure the dignity and social protection of all citizens, writes RATULA BEUKMAN.

Recent developments in the reform of retirement provision policies suggest that continued work is taking place within government towards the building of a comprehensive social security system for our country.

Sceptics have variously construed these reforms as a ploy to pacify the electorate, another step down the slippery slope towards a welfare state, or simply more handouts for the poor. However, civil society has read these developments as an important and long-overdue response to the recommendations of the 2002 Taylor Committee. The current reforms should be seen as a genuine opportunity for progress towards a comprehensive social security system that delivers on the promises of our Constitution, and which is in line with international labour and human rights treaties and laws.

Read the full article in the SA Reconciliation Barometer by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.

As the rich get richer, the poor become destitute - MERCURY 21 Dec 2010

Judging by development indicators, a radical shift in the government's approach to economic growth is required, writes Nkosikhulule Nyembezi.
THE CLOSER you look at the impact of the economic crisis in the country and its negative effect on employment levels, poverty reduction, and the size of public fmances - the more harrowing it becomes.
Symptoms of serious trouble are staring us in the face, as the government also makes a rare official admission in the fifth annual scorecard of development indicators for South Africa compiled by the National Planning Commission, which was released on December 14.
The development indicators are the product of a variety of official statistics, government data and research by various institutions that are clustered into about 10 themes, including economic growth and transformation, employment, poverty and inequality, among others.
The scorecard shows that the severity of poverty in the country since 2005 "has not been dented."

Read the full opinion piece in the Mercury