Zumas SONA speech fell short - Cosatu


President Jacob Zuma during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) to a joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces in Cape Town on 9 February 2017.

JOHANNESBURG – President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament fell short on many issues and failed to chart a path for economic recovery, the Cosatu said on Friday.

Zuma delivered the SONA an hour late to mostly ANC MPs after the DA walked out of the house following the violent ejection of EFF MPs by security.

Cosatu said Zuma’s speech showed no plan on how to create desperately needed jobs.

CATCH IT LIVE: ANC responds to SONA criticism

“We did not hear any concrete plans to dismantle the economic legacy we inherited from apartheid, nothing was concretely offered on how to rebuild the manufacturing industry, to eliminate the apartheid wage structure, to change the macro-economic policies, including using state-owned companies to restructure the economy,” the trade union federation said.

“Cosatu is disappointed at government’s lack of a clear and concrete programme to ensure decent permanent jobs for all South Africans. Such a plan needs to bridge the gap that currently exists between business and labour and also needs to be premised upon a living wage for all and not cheap and precarious labour. We expected the SONA to also include specific targets, per sector per month.”

Cosatu is the country’s biggest trade union federation and is in alliance with the governing ANC along with the SACP.

Meanwhile, Cosatu affiliate the National Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) condemned the chaotic scenes that marred the National Assembly sitting on Thursday night, and accused the EFF of being “serious distractions” to national issues. The union said, however, that Zuma’s presidency had become “untenable”.

LIVE BLOG: #SONA2017 celebrates the constitution

“These disgraceful scenes that once again unfolded in our democratic Parliament are not amusing or a laughing matter, they are serious distractions from the national focus and priorities as the EFF-DA alliance and other opposition parties seek to opportunistically use the public attention that goes with the SONA for their own 2019 regime change campaign… they shall not succeed! But unfortunately, this once again underscores Nehawu’s conclusion that the leadership of comrade Jacob Zuma in government is untenable.”

Another trade union, the Health and Other Service Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa), an affiliate of the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa), said it was disappointed that Zuma did not attend to the ailing public health system.

“Hospersa is disappointed that the president made no mention of plans to rescue a depleted healthcare system at public health facilities operating on skeleton staff, while many medical professionals remain unemployed.

“We are was also underwhelmed by the little attention given to the National Health Insurance. Hospersa is on record that it gave its full support to the proposed system since its inception, however, Hospersa also warned that it would be important to first address the basic service-delivery challenges in public health before taking the leap to such a wholesale change.”