Fri, 19 Apr 2019

Former president Jacob Zuma has once again come out in strong defence against critics who said his tenure as head of state were marked by policy uncertainty.

Zuma said he was correcting the "record and distortions of the ANC and its government of the last nine years" which was under him.

Just like he did after President Cyril Ramaphosa was reported to have spoken of the "nine wasted years" at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in February, Zuma posted a statement on Sunday.

Zuma took a swipe at those saying there was policy uncertainty during his term of office and those behind "the so-called Zuma nine years" all of which he summed up as "erroneous and dishonest narrative".

He said some of those people were part of the very nine years they were talking about.

"Statements that there has been policy uncertainty the last two administrations are dishonest and untrue, particularly if they are made a narrative by senior people of our movement, who have been part of these important and thorough policy formulation processes," he said.

"Given this comprehensive process, no one therefore can say in the last nine years there was policy uncertainty, particularly those who were in the leadership of our movement (ANC) and government during this period."

In his state of the nation address this year, Ramaphosa touched on the issue of policy uncertainty and the not-so-good state the government was in before he took over.

"Emerging from a period of uncertainty and a loss of confidence and trust, we resolved to break with all that divides us, to embrace all that unites us. Last year, a number of stakeholders raised their concerns about policy uncertainty and inconsistency. We have addressed these concerns," he said.

Ramaphosa took over from Zuma who resigned as president just over a year ago amid allegations of corruptions and state capture. The incumbent was widely expected to fix the wrongs and restore the public and the investors' confidence in the country.

Zuma continues, however, to emphasise that his tenure was nothing close to being called wasted years. He argues in his recent statement that there was policy certainty and details lengthy processes of formulating policies.

The former president gives insight into parliamentary and governance processes in his statement saying policies were part of a democratic process and not decided upon by head of state alone. He said the process starts at party level where the ANC "formulates and makes direct recommendations on policy to the national elective conference".

"The policy development process is transparent and comprehensive. Towards the five-yearly policy conference the policy discussion documents are sent to the branches for a thorough discussion, and are also made available to the broader public for comments. The documents are extensively discussed by all the members of our movement," he said.

"Indeed the first iteration of the programme begins with the development of the Elections Manifesto that is itself a participative process involving the whole membership. The manifesto is the electoral mandate that ANC deployees to government are required to translate into government programmes in line with the Constitution and other laws of the country."

Zuma also explained that the buck did not stop with the president when it comes to issues of policies.

"It is important to emphasise therefore, that government policy is not the exclusive preserve of the head of the executive. It is often contested at every step of the way by public representatives in Parliament and also by various interest groups," he said.

"The head of the executive does not dictate policy but articulates and champions the policies of the governing party. Government policy is a key factor for investment decisions.

"Investors and other economic actors keenly follow the policy-making process as decisions can have favourable or unfavourable on investments returns."

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