FIRST ON EWN: Moral & political crises depriving citizens of basic rights - Naidoo

Jay Naidoo said that the country’s leaders should focus on helping citizens to improve their lives.

Former Cosatu General Secretary Jay Naidoo sits down with Melanie Verwoerd for a one-on-one interview. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Former minister Jay Naidoo said that while South Africa is in, what he called "a crisis," the country's leaders should focus on helping citizens improve their lives, rather than calling on President Jacob Zuma to step down.

The former Congress of South African Trade Union general secretary said that he was concerned that both politicians and citizens were not adjusting to the demands of the 21st century.

He said that the country will only survive if its people are able to create work and income for themselves, since very few jobs are available.

Naidoo recently told Eyewitness News the moral and political crises, at all levels of government, are depriving citizens of their most basic rights, including access to water, health care and quality education.

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He queried the level of debate at national level. Naidoo said that leaders appeared to be more interested in making a political noise about the president, than doing painstaking work at the grass-roots level.

"So what happens if he resigns today? Do you think the situations of people in villages, informal settlements, young people in schools that are deprived of a proper education is going to change?"

Two decades ago Naidoo was the minister responsible for implementing the Reconstruction and Development Program during Nelson Mandela administration's.

He says the challenge is to continue focusing on helping citizens improve their lives.

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"In fact the most important part of the conversation globally today is about how do we build livelihoods."

Naidoo said that the education system was key.

"Teach people how to create rather than find work, with support from government, civil society and big business."