The Nasi Ispani programme has come under scrutiny since its launch last year.

The Nasi Ispani programme has come under scrutiny since its launch last year. Image: X/@GautengProvince

Spicy serve: Lesufi claps back at Steenhuisen’s job programme critique

Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi has responded to John Steenhuisen’s criticism of his Nasi Ispani programmes.

The Nasi Ispani programme has come under scrutiny since its launch last year.

The Nasi Ispani programme has come under scrutiny since its launch last year. Image: X/@GautengProvince

Gauteng’s premier, Panyaza Lesufi, has replied to John Steenhuisen’s critique of his Nasi Ispani initiatives, appearing to tease the DA leader playfully.

Lesufi trolls Steenhuisen over criticism

Since its introduction last year, the Nasi Ispani programme has faced scrutiny, with numerous reports suggesting that individuals were not receiving the jobs they were supposedly guaranteed, alongside accusations of it being a mere political tactic by the ANC ahead of elections.

Recently, Steenhuisen informed his supporters that the party intended to file a complaint with the public protector against President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The complaint revolves around Ramaphosa’s pledge to create 500,000 jobs, allegedly funded by taxpayers’ money rather than ANC funds.

According to The Citizen, Steenhusien criticised the ANC in Gauteng, accusing them of “manipulating” residents through the Nasi Ispani programmes.

“It is promising hundreds of thousands of jobs, but it just ends up being cadres deployed into positions.

“It is just the latest scheme to try to manipulate voters into thinking they are going to do something about unemployment. But I can tell you that the day after the elections, just like the 100 000 houses promised in Alexandra in the last elections, those jobs will disappear.

“And when they go and say; ‘Mr Premier and Mr President, where are the jobs that you promised us? They will say what jobs? We never promised jobs. That is what the ANC has been doing since 1994. These are empty promises and empty undertakings,” said Steenhuisen.

Steenhuisen’s remarks garnered varied responses, prompting a playful response from Lesufi that played on the name of the job programmes.

“Nasi iSpan Bra John! Siphi’span? “

On social media, many interpreted this as a jab at the DA leader, raising doubts about the effectiveness of the DA’s job creation plans.

“Remember those who hate our work have the right to also criticise us. We soldier on to better the lives of those who believe in us without fear, favour or prejudice.

“The campaign to delegitimise our efforts won’t succeed. It’s better to criticise us for doing something than accuse us of sleeping on the job! Our attempts are real. You may choose to condemn us, it’s your choice! Less talk, more work,” said Lesufi.

Lesufi emphasised that those who have directly benefited from the programmes would be the most credible voices to speak on their effectiveness rather than himself or others.

Nasi Ispani initiative was criticised as a ‘stunt’

Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s Nasi iSpani programme has been labelled as merely a “ploy” aimed at enticing unaware voters to support the ruling party in the province.

Funzi Ngobeni, the premier candidate for ActionSA, stated that this claim could be supported by the provincial government’s inability to reimburse approximately 311 young individuals employed by the Department of Social Development.

According to IOL, Ngobeni stated that ActionSA had repeatedly warned Lesufi against what he described as “desperate measures” aimed at exploiting the plight of millions of young people for his political gain.

Instead, Premier Lesufi doubled down on his gimmicks with the introduction of new employment schemes like “Green Army”, “Aga le Rona Road workers” and “Sawbona Mhlali” to name just a few.

“It has become evident that these mass employment schemes are not created with the genuine intention to create jobs but are ANC’s electioneering tactics. In a country with over 60% youth unemployment rate, it is disheartening to see politicians playing fast and loose with the livelihoods of young people.

“Just less than a week ago, the Minister of Employment and Labour, Minister Thulas Nxesi announced his own version of Nasi iSpani with a price tag of over R23 billion, called ‘Crush noLova’ a partnership with the Gauteng government,” he added.

The leader of ActionSA in Gauteng remarked that these efforts demonstrated the governing party’s clear intention to implement numerous short-term mass employment programmes, which he claimed had evolved into the ANC’s nationwide election strategy.