Zuma, when asked about South Africa’s worsening employment figures, resorted to a two-fold deflection method; intended to absolve his government of the loss of 2.2 million jobs under his leadership.
First the president told parliament that unemployment is a global problem, not just a South African one.
“It is wrong to project it as a South African problem only.”
MPs didn’t take too kindly to this and one DA member could be heard saying: “Nothing is your fault.”
Shortly after, Zuma went on to his second reason for increasing unemployment under his watch.
“It is because of the political historic problems of South Africa,” he said.
“Part of the people of the unemployed are in fact unemployable because the Apartheid system deliberately did not allow the majority of this country to be skilled so that they are ready to work, they are ready to create jobs,” Zuma said, eliciting thunderous applause from the ANC benches.
“That is the problem we are faced with. There are people today, who are not even able to look for a job, given the development of technology. That is the problem of the fact that they were not skilled. That is why South Africa looks like it is more exaggerated in other places.”
“It is a fact of history, it’s a political decision that was taken by the system racially saying that other people who were not white, they were not allowed to be given education and to be skilled. We are addressing the problem of the past, the problem of Apartheid. That is the problem,” Zuma said.
Stats SA’s most recent labour survey reports South Africa’s unemployment rate is sitting at it’s highest since the global financial crisis of 2008 and it continues to climb. In the first quarter of this year unemployment went up by 2.2%, a loss of another 335 000 jobs.