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Speech by the Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Mr Buti Manamela, MP, on the occasion of the debate on the State of the Nation Parliament

16 February 2016, Cape Town

Madame Speaker
President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma
Deputy President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa
Honourable Members

My great grandfather allegedly had a one-trick-pony, or what you can call a one-hit-wonder. He bought the pony after selling his World War One acquired bicycle. The pony, named Aloysius (with a U), after the German brunette that grandpa had a crush on in a some bar, was of no use to the old man other than performing just one trick every Christmas.

Last week and yesterday, in our Christmas here in parliament through SONA and this debate, ages after we buried both my old man and Aloysius, the annual one-trick ceremonial tendencies of members of the house from this side recurred. Nkandla. The Guptas. And then with some stroke of genius, a rework of the old-trick. Planet Zuma was unveiled-followed by the unpolished 'Zuma must resign' slogan.
This has been the case for the last few years, one trick ponies, one-hit wonders.

I am not in denial. These are the issues that are on the lips of many South Africans, including within the ANC and the electorate. But the electorate not only wants to hear a broken record. They are faced with a global economic crises and are expecting leaders in parliament to also demonstrate a stroke of scarce genius and say to the President: "What you said in the state of the Nation Address will not work, these are the alternative solutions to create jobs, to move millions of South Africans out of poverty and to reduce the wage gap".

The rants and chants of our opposing side illustrated their lack of solutions but to dream up non-existing planets or even suggested that if we can revolutionize teaspoon manufacturing (which we already do), then South Africa would be a better country.

National leadership is the art of identifying the urgent and pressing challenges that faces society. And then to engage that society on what the best solutions are and call for unison in the national psyche to confront those challenges.

Your state of the nation address was the elixir required to deal with exactly what South Africans are worried about, unemployment, poverty and inequality. They have indicated throughout the days leading to your state of the nation address, which the ANC under your leadership is more than capable of creating unison in our national psyche to deal with these challenges. This message was echoed from your engagement with the alliance structures, CEO's of top companies and in your walkabout in the streets of Marabastad, where their central message was that the ANC is the only capable political party to steer us out of the current globally induced economic crises.

But they also did so in most of the Local Government by-elections last year where thousands of young people in all of the 47 local government elections held since June last year voted for the ANC in 59% of all the wards.

The ANC only lost two wards to the official opposition party but gained two new wards from the same Party in Vredendaal and Caledon. You may pontificate here about changing the whole of the ANC, but the people down there are re-electing the ANC again and again and again.

The Honourable leader of the opposition spoke at length about how the ANC President lives in Planet Zuma, and went on to paint a picture of his own universe and what he sees in there, his Wonderland. You, my mate, and fellow Honourable member are nothing but 'Alice in Wonderland'. Someone who chooses to see only the bad that this government has done and desperately wants to sweep the change in the quality of lives of young people under the carpet.

And let me illustrate how, like Alice in Wonderland, you have reduced the whole country into dismal failure except in 'your' Republic of the Western Cape. You claimed yesterday that you want to make South Africa a better country just as you did in the Western Cape and the City of Cape Town in particular, but you forget to mention the fact that Cape Town has always been the land of milk and honey even before 1996.

Then, 85% of the Western Cape population had access to electricity for lighting compared to 93% in 2011. But if you look at Limpopo, where they started with 39,2% in 1994, and have today made a huge leap to 87,3%. These figures were taken from the Census and StatsSA, and not by some fly by night Survey Institute. Who has changed the lives of the people better for the last 20 years? For the ANC, black lives always mattered, for the DA, only black votes matter.

In 1996, 89,4% of the Western Cape had access to piped water, whilst only 70,4% had the same access in the Free State. In 2011, only 88,4 in the Western Cape had access to piped water whilst the Free State made a huge leap to 89,1%. For the ANC, black lives always mattered, for the DA, only black votes matter.

In 1996 the unemployment rate in the Western Cape was 17,9% and that number has increased to 21,6% in 2011. If we compare that with the North West which had 37%, that number has declined to 31,5% in 2011. For the ANC, black lives always mattered, for the DA, only black votes matter.

Yes there are challenges, yes there are setbacks, but there are pockets of excellence throughout the country which illustrates that, as you are preoccupied with changing the ruling party, we are more focused on changing the lives of the majority of our people.

Neo Phayane is a member of the Ramatlabama Piggery Cooperative in a village in the North West just outside of Mafikeng. Together with his 11 peers, young men and women, they started operating a pig production business from one of the member's back yard. The coop was assisted by the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the NYDA to lease a farm to the total value of R 1,457,124.00. These are young people who live far away from Wonderland, where Alice only depends on newspaper stories and tweets generated to create the idea that South Africa is on a precipice and a cliffhanger.

They know that their genuine efforts could never have paid off if the government and the NYDA did not give them a hand-up to change the course of their history.

Allow me to enlighten you, Honourable Van Damme, or should we call you Dormouse of 'A Mad Tea Party'. Since the launch of the Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Programme by the President in 2014, more than 500 young people have received scholarships. One of them, Anele Pike is studying LLB at University of the Western Cape and she matriculated from Outeniqua High School in George. The other one, Nkosinathi Kaziwa is studying Methatronics at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. He matriculated at Doctor Nelson Mandela High School. They are both in the gallery.

For you, Dormouse, these young people may not be deserving of these scholarships, just like the millions others who received NSFAS loans and bursaries and went on to graduate and find employment or start small businesses.

For you, they may be some ANC politically connected individuals because in your 'Wonderland', the ANC is incapable of doing such good with breaking a few rules or appeasing a few relatives.

Such is the psyche of the opposition parties that their role and objective is to undermine the efforts and progress made by the ANC government. They do this by vulgarizing the ANC government as corrupt, rent-seeking, lazy, undeserving and connected individuals who are part of the broader get-rich-quick-scheme. But these are not just numbers, these are South Africans who look at you with awe and ask themselves: Where did she come from?

Some of these young men and women includes the 3242 who received grants of between R10 000 and R100 000 from the NYDA over the last three years in the duration of the current Board. Over the last three years, the able board of the NYDA has created close to 11 000 jobs through the investments made in a variety of projects. No red-tape. No favoritism. No political connection. Just young people who do not exist in the tabloids, talk-shows and newspaper opinion pages that are filtered through to Wonderland to make Alice believe that this government of the ANC is incapable of anything.

When the Mail & Guardian is not busy reporting on Alice's meetings with Frederick Willem 'Cheshire Cat' De Klerk, the paper on an annual basis publishes a list of 200 Young South Africans who have made it in the new South Africa. They have access to opportunities because of this democratic dispensation. The list includes some of the politicians on both sides of the house whose potential could not have been realized had FW De Klerk not succumbed to the local and international pressure and the ANC struggle. Many of these young leaders are our global ambassadors, like Trevor Noah, Brian Habana, Lerato Molapo (also known as Lira) and Lindiwe Mazibuko (oops) and we hope that they will come back and make a difference.

Deputy Speaker, one of the major challenges that we face as country is the unacceptably high level of serious and violent crime, also referred to as contact crime. The debilitating effect of this crime is felt most severely because it involves the inflicting of physical harm to the person. The foregoing accounts for the decision of the ANC government to identify crime as one of the top five apex priorities during the current mandate period.

Deputy Speaker, the crime statistics released by the South African Police Service last September enable us to boldly assert that we have made good progress in bringing down the overall levels of serious crimes.

In the last ten years we have been able to reduce reported contact crime by about 18% from 750, 440 in 2005/6 to 616, 973 in 2014/15. In the same period murders and attempted murders declined by 3% and 18% respectively. Similarly sexual offences (inclusive of rape and attempted rape) as well as assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm have evinced a reduction in the levels by 20% and 19% correspondingly.

This progress is borne out by the fact that according to the Victims of Crimes Survey 2013/14, 86.5% of households felt safe walking alone during the day compared 85.7% in 2012. Regrettably, the percentage of households who felt safe walking alone at night dropped from 36.5% to 34.8% during the same period. The Victims of Crime Survey also found that the percentage of households that were satisfied with the performance of the police, the courts and correctional services hovered at about 60% and more.

Deputy Speaker it would be remiss of me not to highlight that in recent years we have seen some setbacks in respect of certain categories of crime. In the last two years murder and attempted murder have shown a slight increase. Robberies at residential and business premises have remained stubbornly high. We are accordingly determined to intensify our fight against the scourge of crime through a multi-pronged approach that includes enhancing our capacity to ensure visible policing as well as implementing crime prevention and combatting strategies such as the National Crime Prevention, Schools and Rural safety strategies, the National Social Crime Prevention Strategy, the National Action to Combat Violence against Women and Children and so on.

Deputy Speaker the National Development Plan calls for the promotion and encouragement of an active citizenry. In this regard we have prioritised the establishment of Community Safety Forums (CSFs) to serve as platforms for the coordination, integration and monitoring of implementation of multi-sectoral crime prevention- and community safety initiatives. Over 120 CSFs have been established through the length and breadth of the country. The challenge though is to make certain that these CSFs become operational. All of us gathered in this assembly are duty bound to play an active role in ensuring that the CSFs and Community Policing Forums in our respective communities are effective.

Criminal conduct such as the destruction of private and public property cannot be tolerated and must be dealt with harshly by our law enforcement agencies. In this regard government has prioritised the enhancement of the capacity and competencies of the Public Order Policing Unit of the SAPS, ensuring that areas afflicted by protests accompanied by violence are stabilised. In addition our focus is on increasing the rate of detection of these crimes as we as to prosecute the perpetrators thereof.

Deputy Speaker cross-border crimes such as illegal immigration, crimes that involves drug trafficking, human trafficking and smuggling, proliferation in arms smuggling, stolen vehicle smuggling and illegal importing of contraband also present a threat to the security of the State. We are accordingly enjoined to guarantee that our land and maritime borders, as well as the airspace are effectively safe guarded and secured. This threat necessitated the adoption by government of a vision of a Border Management Agency (BMA) which will be a single agency that will assume full control of Port of Entry and Borderline functions. The BMA will be assigned operational responsibility for Port of Entry infrastructure and maintenance and to establish its own organisational culture, identity and conditions of service.

Last September Cabinet approved that the BMA Bill as well as the comments thereon compiled during public consultations be introduced in Parliament. We hope that this Bill will be finalised by Parliament before the end of 2016.

Mr. President, as you emphasized in the State of the Nation Address of the need to engage with the scourge of racism, and declared that this year's Human Rights Day shall be the National Day Against Racism. It is important that we mobilise all South Africans in this important fight.

Racism in our country has taken the form of economic exploitation, social exclusion and continues to divide millions of South Africans. We have seen how racists have become emboldened lately and make statements on social media about how lovely it was under apartheid and how they are missing Botha instead of these monkeys who are now in office.

But at the heart of the problem, is the preservation of resources, power and privilege, which are predominantly in the hands of white and monopolistic capital. Many of them, especially the localised monopolies, have amassed their capital under apartheid and are scared of the bold declaration by the ANC for a radical economic transformation.

We have heard here, in this house, how the problem of unemployment, poverty and inequality is manifested by corruption in government. But we have never heard any of the opposition political parties exposing the fact that white and monopolistic capital is hoarding billions of rands and are actively on an investment strike, for they are like Alice in Wonderland.

We have never heard the official opposition speak of the racism experienced by young graduates in the private sector because they represent new talent, because in their Wonderland racism is supposedly a tactic for the ANC to stay in power.

They will never talk about the fact that we have fewer black people as owners, controllers and executives in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange because the role of the official opposition is to represent white privilege, and in their Wonderland, racism is a thing of the past.

They protect and shield and reinstate their parliamentary representatives who repeat racial sentiments posted on social media, such as the Honorable Dianne Koller-Barnard.

This reality of the Wonderland that our Alice lives in bears no reflection of the racial transformation that exists everywhere in the country. If you stroll through its beautiful beaches, or its exquisite restaurants, or its posh suburbs of Camps Bay and Constantia, or its benches here in parliament, you will realize that it is they who hold the belief that black lives do not matter, and that only black votes will count.

And I promise you, the more you have representatives who wants us to be 'Black Like Them' and yet they do not believe in economic transformation, or the Black Industrialists Programme or Black Economic Empowerment, the majority of the people in this country will show you that your blacks don't matter attitude will equal black votes don't matter when we vote in the forthcoming local government elections. We will fight against racism. We will defeat racism. And when the racist baronnes spits Alice out of Wonderland, we will sing that song by Smokie for him: "But I never got used to not leaving next door to Alice".

The less said, Honourable Speaker, Mr. President, about the long list of apologies and gossips that have been shared with this parliament the better. It is clear what the EFF is: a party led by a gossiper with no plans, no strategies and no vision. Who comes here and disrupts parliamentary democracy and say they are doing it for parliament.

But it will help, Hon Speaker, to know whether the EFF will also go to the Constitutional Court and ensure that their leader is also forced to comply with the findings of the Public Protector: On the Point of Tenders, who has pronounced their leader as a thief who redirected the resources of the people of Limpopo into his own pocket. It is hypocrisy to speak out against corruption committed by others whilst we turn a blind eye when it is committed by our leader. When all these issues that the EFF and the DA have been settled by the judge, our nation will expect them to pull out another trick, another scene, another act so that they are kept glued on the national television. And as they will be busy doing that, we will be changing the lives of the millions of South Africans, for we do not have a script, we have a plan. Siyaquba!

     
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