Poor governance is leading South Africa towards becoming a failed state, former premier of KwaZulu-Natal Senzo Mchunu says.
Mchunu was speaking at the 30th-anniversary celebrations for Nehawu in Pietermaritzburg on Friday, where over a thousand unionists attended.
Mchunu highlighted a number of failures from government, saying that more could have been done for the people of South Africa 23 years after democracy.
Taking a veiled jibe at President Jacob Zuma, Mchunu said that when national leaders say unemployment is a global phenomenon, it should be rejected.
Zuma made the comments during his reply session in Parliament on Thursday.
"We have national leadership including those that say unemployment is a global phenomenon. When you get elected, you are asked to lead the nation not the globe."
Mchunu said that more action needed to be taken.
"What are you doing about the problem other than telling us what it is? We need specifics. We need specific efforts. You must say, this is what we are doing and this is what we can do."
Unemployment crisis Mchunu said that unemployment in SA was currently at a crisis level.
"In other parts of the world, when it gets to six or seven percent, it becomes a huge national crisis. They do not debate it. It is agreed across the board. Ours is around 27 percent and increasing."
"Now we really need to debate this issue beyond semantics. Around the world, if unemployment is high, it is agreed across the board that something must be done."
He said that politics often got in the way of delivery.
"I have nothing against political fury and getting to the top. But we must help our people first."
Poverty a sign of a declining state
He added that an increase in poverty levels showed just how much the country was declining.
"When poverty increases, it is a sign of a declining state. When your infrastructure is unable to be revived and cannot build more, we have a problem. Some of us are on the same floors we were before 1994. The same mud 23 years after."
He added: "Should we be where we are?"
Mchunu went on to highlight that Eskom bigwig Brian Molefe was mentioned in former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report into State Capture, but remained a member of Parliament.
He said that when Molefe cried during a press conference – where he was called out for his relationship with the Guptas and lying about visiting a shebeen in the area – he cried for his parliament position.
"They ask him why have you gone to Gupta house so many times in a short space and he says there's a shebeen there. And yet we cannot find the shebeen.
"Then he cries on television. It was the first time I saw national tears because he cried so well we make him a member of Parliament to represent us in what generations of our people in the country fought for."
Mchunu, an ardent backer of presidential hopeful and current Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, is currently involved in a court case pushing for the scrapping of the KwaZulu-Natal ANC's 8th provincial elective conference in November 2015.
Respondents in the matter include provincial ANC chairperson Sihle Zikalala, his deputy Willies Mchunu, the ANC itself, the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa, and other top ANC figures.
The elective conference in question saw Zikalala beat Mchunu - former premier - to become the provincial chairperson.
Zikalala received 780 votes, while Mchunu got 675 votes, in a process where 1 459 delegates voted.
In the wake of the conference, and Mchunu's ousting, disgruntled members, believed to be his supporters, launched appeals demanding that the conference be nullified as they believed it had been rigged.
The City Press has previously reported that Mchunu's return as convener of a provincial task team was the next ace to be played by the Ramaphosa camp ahead of the party's December conference.
This was according to Mchunu's supporters. However, the power play was reliant on a favourable outcome in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
The matter was heard by a full bench in August and judgment was reserved.
Mchunu has however been campaigning for Ramaphosa to be elected president of the ANC. -- News24