Monday, August 17, 2009

ZUMA MARKS 100 DAYS AS PRESIDENT !

South Africa's Jacob Zuma
Mr Zuma visited poor communities during tense protests

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma is marking his first 100 days in office.

Since Mr Zuma was inaugurated the country has slipped into recession and there have been nationwide strikes over pay and protests over services.

Opposition parties have criticised Mr Zuma for a lack of leadership and a failure to tackle rampant crime rates.

But analysts are giving him cautious approval, and officials say he needs more time to deal properly with the complex problems South Africa faces.

Mr Zuma's party, the African National Congress (ANC), won its fourth consecutive landslide election victory in April.

He came to power promising to create thousands of jobs and alleviate poverty, but the recession has hampered his government's ability to tackle those issues.

Strikes over wages and protests by poor South Africans who want better access to basic services such as housing, water and electricity have also tested his government.

Trade unions and opposition parties called for drastic action from the ANC, which has been in power for 15 years.

Mr Zuma's response to the unrest was to visit poor communities for a first-hand account of their grievances.

He also called for patience from workers who were staging strikes throughout the country.

The BBC's Pumza Fihlani says he seems to have won some favour with the country's poor who have been desperate to make their voices heard.

The main opposition the Democratic Alliance has applauded Mr Zuma's honesty about the challenges facing the country but say he has not shown "clear leadership" in dealing with them.

They say Mr Zuma should be prepared to make enemies to do what it right.

BBC NEWS REPORT.

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