Oh, the shiny road to hell...
UNEMPLOYMENT remains high in South Africa and is one of the most pressing challenges facing our government.
The global economic crisis has worsened the situation, with millions losing their jobs in South Africa.
Desperate, unemployed South Africans have become hopeless.
Ahead of President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address this week, they were endlessly talking about government’s failure to create jobs as the main weakness of successive post-apartheid regimes.
Zuma has repeatedly blamed the global economic downturn as the main reason for his government’s failure to create the jobs he had promised.
But on Thursday, in his address to the nation, Zuma unveiled a massive infrastructure plan worth billions for the next five years.
This plan will grow the economy not only in South Africa but throughout the continent, he said.
It will also create much needed jobs and reduce inequality, poverty and crime, he said.
The problem is that government keeps making promises that are never kept.
Promises are like babies: easy to make and hard to deliver.
This government and various ANC election manifestos have promised jobs, in particular through what was called the Extended Public Works Programme.
That never materialised, as evidenced by Zuma’s speech, in which he hardly mentioned the programme that was once used as a promise for job creation.
Zuma’s long term projects will not solve his government’s problems right away.
Zuma needs to give the nation much more substance and more immediate solutions to address unemployment.
To merely announce job creation projects with no time frame does not inspire confidence.
Government appears to always have good plans and intentions. But they are good only on paper and seem difficult to implement because of corruption, among other things. Government has to begin to do things differently.