Black Sash Media Statements

Black Sash responds to President Zuma's State of the Nation address

President Jacob Zuma has failed to deliver the bold and decisive leadership needed to break the devastating stranglehold of poverty, inequality and unemployment on our society. He has failed to take a risk with his multiple and often contradictory constituencies and cut through government’s political inertia to offer us convincing solutions that will translate his pledges into real change.

President Zuma reminded us that it will be 21 years tomorrow since Nelson Mandela walked to freedom. Although our democracy has now come of age, appallingly half of us are struggling to live on less than R524 per month. The Black Sash had hoped that President Zuma would have recognised in his speech the extent to which poverty diminishes the dignity of our entire society and leads to social instability.

Where are the concrete measures to assure the poor that they will be cushioned against the scheduled massive price increases in water and electricity? Where is the guarantee of government’s commitment to decent work? Where is the bold programme to ensure food security?

While we welcome his job creation fund, we are disappointed that he has allocated 3 times that to tempt business into creating the millions of sustainable jobs we so desperately need.  The Black Sash was shocked by President Zuma’s revelation that government’s recession bailout of R7bn a year ago, has only saved a meagre 7000 jobs out of the one million lost. The recession has taught us that we cannot simply delegate the crisis of poverty to the private sector.

It appears the President has also underestimated the severity of youth unemployment in our country. If he realised the magnitude of the crisis, surely he wouldn’t be considering giving the responsibility of youth development to the same agency that has just spent R100 million on a festival?

Lastly, the Black Sash welcomes the President’s commitment to the publication of the long awaited social security and health reform policies later this year, and calls for a transparent and rigorous public consultation on what we hope will be vital interventions against poverty. 

ENDS. 

For interview requests, please call:

Nkosikhulule Nyembezi

Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager

Cell: 082-429 4719

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Phelisa Nkomo

Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager

Cell: 072-613 3577

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Ratula Beukman

Black Sash Provincial Advocacy Programme Manager

Cell: 072-174 3507

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Elroy Paulus

Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager

Cell: 072-382 8175

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