Zuma urged to deliver clear policy direction on jobs, land reform

President Jacob Zuma will have to deliver more than promises tonight (13 February) when he delivers the state of the nation address in parliament to convince South Africans that the country’s governance is in good hands.

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According to market and opinion research company Ipsos, half of South Africans believe the country is moving in the ‘wrong direction’ and that the president is not doing his job well.

In the five years since the previous election, the proportion of South Africans who said that the country was moving in the right direction has steadily declined from 56% to 34%.

“It should come as no surprise that the public are not impressed with government performance in most of the policy areas we measure," said Ipsos spokesperson Mari Harris.

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The report also shows that at the end of 2013 half of adult South Africans were of the opinion that the president was not doing his job well, up from 33% in 2009.

The Ipsos poll identifies unemployment as the most important issue of concern in the country. With unemployment at 31%, SA needs “a radical and workable plan, combined with the political will” to change the employment situation in the country.

“On Thursday evening South Africans will listen to President Zuma’s state of the nation speech with interest, as they would like to hear more than election promises, but rather some clear direction regarding the way in which the government plans to address the issues the electorate is concerned about,” said Ipsos.

Agri SA said in a statement that SA needs an economic strategy that will lead to growth and job creation.

The farmers’ organisation called on government and the president to help create an enabling environment in which the agriculture sector could thrive.

“Sustaining and enhancing the competitiveness of the agriculture sector should be at the core of policies and programmes aimed at growing the future contributions of the sector,” said Agri SA.

The organisation also expressed concern over government policy on land reform, saying that the re-opening of land claims would inhibit investment due to uncertainty of future ownership.

The Ipsos Government Performance Barometer is a poll conducted every six months to measure public perceptions about the government and president’s performance in handling key policy areas.

Follow us tonight on Twitter @FarmersWeeklySA for live updates.