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Speech by Hon Tasneem Motara, MP During the Debate on the SONA 2016

18 February 2016

His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma
Madame Chairperson
Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Leaders of all political parties represented in Parliament
Honorable Members of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces
Esteemed guests
Ladies and gentlemen

Madame Chair,

Honourable James is correct when he reminds us that not only those who sit on the right of the House participated in the struggle. He is correct that those who participated are also on the left. They actively participated in the struggle, they funded it, they ensured that the oppression of the majority of South Africans continued. So yes, those who participated in the struggle are in the House, all over South Africa in fact.

The question is; 'Which side of the struggle were you on?'

At its annual celebration held in Rustenburg this year, the ANC celebrated 104 years of its formation. We declared there, as we have done decades before, and will continue to do for generations to come that South Africa belongs to all who live in it - black and white. We reaffirmed then, as we have done decades before, and will continue to do for generations to come, that the strategic objective of the ANC remains to create a country which is united, democratic, non racial, non sexist and prosperous, and we enjoin on all South Africans, united in our diversity to create this country we dream of. We declared this the year of advancing people's power, placing active citizenry at the centre of our society's development.

It is a fact that historic injustices meted out on the majority of South Africans based on race and gender have continued to present deep divides in our society. Decades ago the ANC included in its constitution, in its aims and objectives the realization that in order to turn back the tides of poverty and inequality, we will have to actively address racism and sexism. Both these ills are a societal construct and are as a result of long term psychological indoctrination, which all of us collectively must seek to destroy; and replace with a foundation that is unshakable, formidable in strength and character and which will ultimately give birth to the South Africa we wish to create.

This is but just some of the ideological and founding principles of the ANC. I really have to question; "What authority does the leader of the opposition have, to explain or even lecture us on what the ANC is or should be?"

"What do you know about the ANC?"

I mean, it was only last week
Last week - 21 years after democracy
19 years after the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic that your Federal Executive and Federal Council took a final decision on members of the DA voluntarily taking a 'Pledge Against Racism'.
Whereas, when joining the ANC, you declare that you WILL abide by the aims and objectives of the ANC.

Perhaps in the creation of this new South Africa, we have unfortunately taken for granted that every citizen bought into the idea of a country belonging to all who live in it, as a birthright, regardless of ones gender or race. It has become clear however, beyond mere name calling,that some amongst us are stuck in the past and refuse to embrace everyone as part of the human race. Whether you eat mala mogodu,skopo, maotwana, umnqusho, umleqwa, amasonja or enjoy a good plate of curry, what should matter not is the complexion of our skins, but whether we are able to unite to build this nation we claim to call home. Racism in all its forms and manifestations must be rooted out, and those who continue to harbour hatred and venom in their hearts and minds for those of a warmer skin tone, must feel the discomfort and displeasure of their communal backwardness.

It comes as no surprise that Hon Van Damme likened the ANC to an old age home. The practice of sending your older loved ones to an old age home is both unAfrican and in my humble view - disrespectful. It is clear that there is just no coherence in the DA, as on the one hand you want to embrace the values of Ubuntu and an African identity, yet you easily and without hesitation identify with the Eurocentric practices of old age homes.

There is value in history and experience, and one can learn from those who came before us. Without a doubt, as young members and leaders of the ANC, we become extremely impatient with them, even annoyed at times, but without their guidance and political tutelage we run the risk of not having a value set entrenched in our actions and ideological perspective. As young South Africans, young members and leaders of the ANC we say - "Rekgalemela Lenyatso".

We know our leaders and predecessors. You even claim them as icons and leaders of honour. But as well as we know our own, we equally know yours. You may have relegated them to some old age home somewhere, but some refuse to go.

Young South Africans remain an asset of this country. For any asset to yield the best returns there are a few basic principles or practices that we should engage ourselves in.

  • Firstly, define your investment goals and equally define your risk. Our goal remains the creation of a national democratic society, but our risks are many. Some are easily identifiable, others more difficult, even camouflaging themselves as better revolutionaries but with enough time and pressure emerge to show their true character.
  • Then, invest as early as possible and remain invested for as long as possible. Young people must be educated, both in revolutionary theory and practice, as well as within those streams that will deliver a patriotic citizen who will be active agents of change.
  • Thirdly, develop the right expectations and take a long term view. Our long term view or strategic objective is the creation of a non sexist, non racial, united, prosperous and democratic state. The ANC must continue to invest vigorously in this national asset of young minds and young leaders. Our expectation is that ultimately, this is what we will achieve.
  • And lastly, but probably the most difficult to do - manage emotions. In economic terms people make the mistake of believing that money is rational. So too do we make the mistake of believing that human beings are rational. But alas, we have been proven wrong and there are some seriously irrational South Africans. We still hope that they too will come around.

I've just shared 4 basic principles in economics on how to correctly invest in assets. Of course the negative result of cashing in on a so called investment too early can be seen in the negative return on investment demonstrated in the red corner of the House. Impatient, unwilling to learn, they can be better characterized as a scheme gone wrong, leaving us bankrupt and penniless.

Madame Speaker,

Let me take this opportunity to commend the President and his team for meeting with business leaders. As the ANC we have been calling on the private sector to join hands with government, to play their part and contribute towards stimulating the economy. Drastic situations call for drastic measures. We know that we have serious challenges owing to the economic decline, and it's going to take all of us, individually and collectively to get the economy going.

It's is the only way that poverty, unemployment and inequality will be reversed.

As a proud resident of Gauteng, I must congratulate the ANC lead City of Joburg for receiving a notch upgrade from Fitch ratings agency. If the economic hub is on the incline, demonstrating good governance and sound debt management, it will continue to inspire investor confidence in South Africa. As the economic hub inclines, so will the rest of the country. Congratulations Honourable Mayor Parks Tau, a proud product of the ANC. Honourable Maimane, a child of Soweto, you should be proud of your Mayor - we certainly are.

As I conclude, Honourable Chairperson / Speaker allow me to quote a famous paragraph in a book by the eminent revolutionary, Karl Marx, which is titled "Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte", when he says:

"Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionising themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service..."

As they engaged in protracted struggle to make their own history, the masses of our people, who sacrificed everything for the victory of the first strategic objective of the national democratic revolution, achieved this objective under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.

As the ANC, we remain committed to walk the long and hard road to freedom, always conscious of our obligation to serve the people of South Africa and pursue the goals of the revolutionary transformation.

Rea Mova!!


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