Democratic Alliance leader, Mmusi Maimane, has called on president Jacob Zuma to stop wasting money on frivolous, luxury items amid South Africa’s jobs crisis.
Speaking at an unveiling of the party’s ‘Jobs Not Jets’ billboard in the Johannesburg CBD on Thursday, Maimane welcomed a decision by National Treasury that Zuma pay back R7.8 million for unnecessary additions to Nkandla, his private home.
The DA lead however, lamented the fact that it only amounted to 3% of the total of R246 million it cost tax payers.
“South Africa has lost a lot of respect in the eyes of the world. You can’t put an exact price-tag on that, but it is a huge cost nonetheless. And we’ve had to cover the enormous cost of Zuma’s legal fees while he tried to dodge and delay his way out of facing the consequences,” Maimane said.
He said that Nkandla is a picnic compared to what the government is planning to spend on Zuma’s luxurious new jet. “This jet, ‘Nkandla Air’, is going to cost in the region of R4 billion – equivalent to 16 Nkandlas,” Maimane stated.
“The simple fact of the matter is, we cannot afford a new jet,” he said, highlighting that the economy has stalled while as many as 8.9 million South Africans are unemployed – 5.9 million under the age of 35.
“To even consider spending R4 billion on a jet is an insult to every one of those 8.9 million unemployed South Africans. And it is evidence that our leaders are completely out of touch with reality.”
According to the DA, R4 billion could be used to:
- Pay for over 160,000 one-year internships for young South Africans;
- Pay for over 600,000 EPWP 3-month work opportunities for jobless South Africans;
- Support 80,000 new entrepreneurs with a R50,000 startup grant each;
- Fund 53,000 full NFSAS bursaries to cover fees, accommodation, transport and textbooks for young South Africans.
The government said in May that it will buy a new VVIP jet for the presidency, however it rubbished claims that it would cost up to R4 billion – although it did not say how much a new jet would cost.
It noted that several times in 2016 already, Zuma and deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa have been left stranded or were late for events due to breakdowns of the presidential Boeing 737, known as Inkwazi.
Maimane stressed that Inkwazi is only halfway through its life, “so it could last another 12 or 15 years at least”.
“When the family Toyota starts giving problems and one parent is unemployed, you don’t say: ‘Time to buy a new Range Rover’. Or ‘Time to rent a new Range Rover’. You say: ‘Time to fix the family Toyota’. Or maybe even ‘Time to start using public transport’, Maimane said.
Source: Business Tech