News / Africa

Zuma Engages S. African Public with New Media

Dear Mr President: Jacob Zuma Faceboook

South African President Jacob Zuma is set to deliver his annual state of the nation speech in which he is expected to outline his government’s job creation initiatives and infrastructure development at the cost of more than $100 billion over the next three years. What is different about this year, however, is Zuma asked South Africans to tell him this week what they hope and expect from his government using social media platforms Facebook and Twitter

Zuma and his government need to create an environment in which job creation can flourish.  Last year he promised his African National Congress government would deliver five million new jobs by 2020.

But in the past year job losses in the private sector have continued, and most new jobs have been temporary opportunities in public works programs.

The South African economy’s recovery from the global recession has been very slow with growth still below three percent.  December’s unemployment figure of 24 percent is likely to increase this quarter as a consequence of new school and university graduates coming into the job market.

Even before the start of the 2008 recession - during two decades of uninterrupted growth - the economy did not create enough jobs to significantly reduce unemployment nor did it keep pace with new job seekers which have increased exponentially since the end of apartheid.

Many South Africans are frustrated and angry at the apparent inability of the government to create an environment for job growth.  In addition they feel that corruption has become endemic at all levels of government, and many believe that Zuma’s government is characterized by profligate spending and self-enrichment.

It seems unsurprising therefore that hundreds responded to Zuma’s call to share their feelings on Twitter and Facebook. Here is a sampling of what South Africans want their president to know.

Innocentia Mkhize of KwaZulu-Natal wrote" “Mr. President, please address the issue of job creations for people with disabilities, I'm a qualified Chemical Engineer but sitting at home for years not employed. It seems as if both public and private sector are still discriminating against us.”

Nkosingiphile Cofu of Durban wants Mr. Zuma do something about what he described as the appalling and dysfunctional state of education, particularly in traditionally black schools, which produce high school graduates who cannot read and write.  Cofu said to Mr. Zuma. “If we cannot arrest this divide where one [is] very poor and other is opulent we are running a risk of a class revolution. We can avoid that by bridging that divide. Our education is in a mess you can save our future by acting now Msholozi  [Zuma’s clan name - use demonstrates respect]."

Ntlatlapa Bokang is particularly angry with Mr. Zuma telling him: “What do you pride yourself with? corruption, nepotism, undermining the courts and off course protection of information bill.  I always honestly ask myself what do you say to God when you pray! how do you sleep at night when you know too well that your government is failin south africans.”

Thato Nteso pleaded for Mr. Zuma to turn words into actions saying: “We hear of the ways for job creation and skills development in the speech but we see little being done about the matters in regards to youth especially new graduates out of institutions with no experience and still struggling to get employment no matter how many qualifications they have its heartbreaking, having to spend time and money only to come back sit at home with multiple degrees. If something more could be done to tackle that.”

But some people were complimentary and encouraging.

Zolani Ndlela of East London wrote: “We are proud of you as the nation, our father. We wish you a good luck on your speech, qina sizwe [isiXhosa: strength to the people].”

And enthusiastic supporter Sheila Raphunga wrote: “This is one of the million reasons that makes me to be a proudly South African. am an ANC member for life no matter what! Well done Mr. President.”

Photographs on Zuma’s Facebook page show that he keeps up-to-date with his Twitter and Facebook accounts using an iPad.

You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs