Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –
In a novel experiment with social media, South African President Jacob Zuma urged users of Facebook and Twitter to send input for his State of the Nation speech slated to take place later this week.
"How can we improve the lives of all South Africans? This is your platform, the president is listening," Mr. Zuma, known informally as “JZ” asked on social networking sites.
Hundreds of tweets and Facebook entries responded. Feedback ranged from “create jobs”, “fix potholes” to “end corruption” and “improve the schools.”
Zuma was told to get rid of the shacks in which 1.8-million South African families still live, and to crack down on graft and poor government services. "JZ - all we need is just water & electricity, the rest is fine. Our area is more than 30 yrs without Electricity," one citizen pleaded. "Jobs is what we NEED, I have a diploma and I'm unemployed".
This being an election year, Zuma is under pressure to show that earlier promises have been fulfilled. Unofficial estimates put the percent of workers without jobs at 40% or higher.
Meanwhile, newly-appointed labor minister Nelisiwe Oliphant outlined proposed rules intended to bring South Africans “decent work.” One rule would eliminate “labor brokers” or “temporary employment services” that provide short-term contracts, which Zwelinzima Vavi of the labor federation COSATU said “have condemned so many to new slavery by human traffickers."
Also proposed are new rights for unions, improved unemployment benefits and the criminalization of employer actions that defy the new rules.
Zuma’s speech will be broadcast live on television, on radio, on big screens and streamed live on Parliament’s website.
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