ANC: Zuma 'deliberately sketchy'
Feb 12 2010 10:50 Troye Lund
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Johannesburg - ANC leaders have jumped to President Jacob Zuma's defence after his state of the nation address was criticised for being uninspiring and thin on details.
Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said individual ministers would flesh out specifics at a later stage. ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe also argued that the speech was intended to be simple, and to provide a broad picture of government's work for the year.
Zuma used the occasion on Thursday, which coincided with the 20th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from Victor Verster prison, to declare 2010 a year where government would be doing business faster, harder and smarter.
However, analysts and opposition parties said the speech lacked definitive details.
Political commentator Richard Calland said South Africa was at point where decisive decision-making and leadership from Zuma was critical.
Dmeocratic Alliance leader Helen Zille questioned how such a significant signal of government's plan of action for the year could give no indication of the way policies and plans would be implemented.
"There was a precious lack of detail. Again, assertions about we will do this and we're committed to that but frankly, none of the how," said Zille.
She also argued that several policies Zuma announced, including a wage subsidy for young people and independent assessments for grade three, six and nine pupils, were taken "straight out of the DA handbook".
Congress of the People leader in parliament, Mvume Dandala, said the speech was "one of the most disappointing" he had ever heard.
"Firstly it was lacking in vision. At this point, what you need is a galvanising speech to galvanise the people," he said.
While the African Christian Democratic Party leader Kenneth Meshoe dimissed the speech as "shallow", the United Democratic Movement's Bantu Holomisa was critical of it being yet another speech "laden with planning".
"How much longer do we need to hear about 'planning' without actual delivery taking place?" Holomisa said.