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Farewell Speech by Hon. S Mohai on behalf of the African National Congress on the occasion of the closing sitting of the National Council of Provinces

9 December 2016

Honourable Chairperson of the NCOP;
Distinguished special delegates;
Honourable Members;
The distinguished Chief Whip of the National Council of Provinces;
Comrades and friends;

Today marks the most important moment in the calendar of the life and history of the National Council of Provinces as a premier institution of democratic governance. This coincides with the global context of fundamental shifts in the socio economic landscape characterised by the widening levels of poverty, unemployment and inequalities which by far surpasses the fiscal capacity of modern democratic state.

As we reflect on the year under review we ought to do so mindful of how these shifts impact on our assumptions and practice of democratic governance which is our main task as a democratic parliament. There is no doubt that failure of a democratic state to respond to these challenges diminishes the confidence of the people not in a political party in power but the whole concept of democratic governance. The global pattern of lower turn out during elections is amongst key manifestations of this phenomenon.

How does this narrative play itself in contemporary South Africa's political landscape and its implications to democratic governance and its institutions? At a broad macro societal level these have precipitated a renewed upsurge of racism and ultra-left regrouping and its associated danger of right wing opportunism.

The ANC has never shied from acknowledging these realities and dealing with them decisively. There is no other party in this country that has ever had much policy discourse on radical economic transformation, people's participation in governance and comprehensive social security like the ANC. This discourse has translated into concrete policies in the socio economic space which include amongst others; 100 back industrialist programme, localisation of procurement and different forms of social grants and the rising state expenditure on social wage.

Cognisant of these challenges, the ANC has rightfully declared this year as the year of advancing people's power: Local government is in your hands with clearly defined policy priorities. Critical amongst these remain the radical socio economic transformation, building a democratic developmental state, fighting corruption, safety and security and sound financial management. We are confident that despite difficulties in the global economic space, our vision of a better life for all will be realised.

The ANC led government has consistently ensured investor confidence as part of the drive to grow our economy which has yielded positive results in many respects. It requires no rocket science to know that South Africa's economy is one of the most resilient in the world. We owe this to the leadership of the African National Congress.

We close this year with fresh memories of two critical issues that have persistently occupied the frontline of media reports, namely; the fees must fall campaign and the challenges facing the African National Congress as a leading of revolution in this country. We owe the resumption of learning and writing of exams to the leadership of the Ministry of Higher Education, University Principals and other organs of civil society who rallied under the banner of safe 2016 academic year. More efforts in the form of increased budget for student loans and bursaries have been allocated as part of our intervention to address the higher education crisis. More policy dialogue is needed to address the broader challenge of higher education transformation in South Africa.

South Africans across colour and political spectrum take inspiration in the manner in which the African National Congress has openly dealt with its internal political and organisational challenges. This is a fundamental attribute of a party of revolution that lead society beyond its membership. For the people to have trust in a political party it should be open about its challenges and deal with them in a transparent manner.

Honourable Chairperson, allow me as I bid farewell to my colleagues in this august House to equally express personal honour in the trust bestowed upon me by the African National Congress as the Chairperson of its parliamentary Caucus.

In doing this further express my fondest appreciation of respect and support I have enjoyed from my party colleagues this year. But above all, I am equally inspired by the selfless commitment of the cadres of my organisation in serving the people of South Africa with honour and diligence.

     
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