AHEAD of this week’s Editing Allowed, a BusinessDay TV show I host every Wednesday (DStv channel 412 at 8.30pm!) with other editors and colleagues in the Times Media group, I made the mistake of reading President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation speeches since 2011.

He is, it turns out, quite without shame. Here are some scraps from 2011: "We are pleased with the performance of our financial sector. It has proven to be resilient in the face of the recent financial crisis and the global economic meltdown. The budget deficit is set to decline from the current 6.7% to between 3% and 4% by 2013."

What the budget deficit and the banking sector (if indeed that is what he meant by "financial sector") have to do with each other, I do not know. Perhaps he simply meant to throw all the numbers bits into one part of the speech.

Sadly, he didn’t make the 2013 budget target. The deadlines have been extended. He went on in the same speech, though, to declare "2011 a year of job creation through meaningful economic transformation and inclusive growth…. All government departments will align their programmes with the job creation imperative…. The programmes of state-owned enterprises and development finance institutions should also be more strongly aligned to the job creation agenda," he said.

In 2012: "As a developmental state located at the centre of a mixed economy, we see our role as being to lead and guide the economy and to intervene in the interest of the poor, given the history of our country".

And he went on…. "There are two main things we did right in 2011…. First, we mainstreamed job creation in every government entity, including state-owned enterprises."

Is Zuma capable of analysing the numbers and advice he is given by his ministers? What condition would make it seem reasonable that no one could be made redundant at South African Airways (SAA)? The results are there now for all to see. SAA is bankrupt. Eskom is in the same boat. Others will surely follow.

So, let there be no doubt about exactly where the blame must then lie for the fact that, right now, the state is crumbling under the weight of its huge new salary bill, and its intervention (in the form of welfare) on behalf of the poor.

According to new research reported in this week’s Financial Mail, between 2008 and 2012, total state employment rose 13%. The accompanying salary bill rose 76%. In all, the total cost of the public service rose 145%. In the same period, inflation rose "just" 54%.

Combined, welfare payments and public service salaries consume 56.4% of all state revenue (our taxes), leaving just 43.6%, as the magazine says, "for everything else".

Is Zuma capable of analysing the numbers and advice he is given by his ministers? What condition would make it seem reasonable that no one could be made redundant at South African Airways (SAA)? The results are there now for all to see. SAA is bankrupt. Eskom is in the same boat. Others will surely follow.

In just 12 years, if nothing is done to stop the presidential fantasy, the entire budget will be taken up with public service salaries and welfare payments. Fortunately, perhaps, the domestic and international investment community will wake us up with a real shock long before then.

Let us hope that the African National Congress never ever again lumps us with a leader who cannot explain where wealth comes from.

The hubris is breathtaking … ‘‘as a developmental state located at the centre of a mixed economy... leading and guiding blah". What a load of unadulterated rubbish.

Every day he is in office, Zuma makes SA a little bit poorer. His party will pay a terrible price one day for its indulgence of him.

See more articles