PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma’s promise to create millions of jobs and wage war on corruption has been met with a mixture of enthusiasm and scepticism.
Delivering the January 8 statement at the launch of the ANC’s election manifesto in Mpumalanga on Saturday, Zuma promised that the party would create six million job opportunities by 2019 and establish a central tender board in a bid to fight corruption.
“The ANC will expand our already significant public employment programme and we aim to provide six million work opportunities.
“The majority of these jobs will be reserved for young people,” Zuma said to applause.
South African Unemployed Workers’ Union (SAUWU) national president Jabu Ntusi said they believed the ANC would deliver on its promise to create jobs.
“We are happy; we believe it can deliver those jobs. We will also be on board to propose a strategy to create those jobs,” Ntusi said without giving details.
But Democratic Alliance provincial leader Athol Trollip said the promise of jobs was a “pipe dream” and the undertaking to fight corruption rang hollow, adding even the president was under a cloud of suspicion for corruption.
Trollip said the ANC-led government had so far failed to create jobs because of inconsistency about the direction the economy should follow.
“In the province, the EPWP (Extended Public Works Programme) is an abject failure because the economy is faltering under the ANC.
“There is a dichotomy of opinion about the NDP (National Development Plan) which results in the ANC having no coherent economic direction.
“Without coherence it cannot attract international investment and so creating six million jobs is a pipe dream.”
The EPWP is an infrastructure building programme meant to drive job creation under the Eastern Cape public works department.
Department spokesman Sisanda George defended the EPWP, saying it had exceeded its job creation target in the current financial year and was working to ensure employees hired through the EPWP were empowered through cooperatives.
George said: “The EPWP exceeded its target of 65 000 jobs to create 94 000 jobs this financial year.
“We are also establishing a savings trust with R25 contributions from each worker and from the department which has raised R35-million.
“In November we launched a model of this in Somerset East. It is meant for manual workers to form cooperatives and work in them with the support of their local municipality.”
Zuma said as a measure to clamp down on corruption, public servants and public representatives would be barred from doing business with the state and a central tender board would be set up.
“We shall continue to work with all sectors of society and all our anti-corruption agencies to address this scourge.
“A central tender board with representation by stakeholders, will be established to adjudicate tenders in all spheres of government.
“This body will work with the chief procurement officer whose main function will be to check on pricing and adherence to procedures as well as fairness,” Zuma said.
Citing former communications minister Dina Pule and former police commissioner Bheki Cele, Trollip said politicians found guilty of corruption got away with “a slap on the wrist”. —