Parliamentary Questions and Answers
Media Room Provincial Caucuses Jobs Links Support Services Tenders ANC Homepage

Speaking notes on the occasion of the address by the Deputy President of South Africa to the National Council of Provinces at Kaizer Sebothelo Stadium in Botshabelo Kaiser Sebothelo Stadium in Free State Province

25 August 2017

Honourable Chairperson of the NCOP, comrade Thandi Modise,
The honourable Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, comrade Cyril Ramaphosa;
Comrade Ace Magashule, the Premier of the Free State Province;
The Executive Mayor of Mangaung Metro
Distinguished representatives of the organised local government; SALGA
Distinguished special delegates;
Honourable Members
Traditional Leaders present today;
Leaders and representatives of the political parties present here today;
The Media Houses present here today;
Fellow comrades and compatriots;

For many gathered here today, this event evokes the most emotional yet inspiring memories of the past, the memories of the resilience of young people and workers of this area against the oppressive system of white minority domination during the 1980s.

It is from the crucible of these heroic struggles that finest leaders who became the embodiment of the rich history of struggle in the Free State emerged. Honourable Chairperson I speak here of the death defying generation of the late comrade Abraham Kaizer Sebothelo, the first Provincial Secretary of the ANC in the Free State after whose name this stadium is named.

The long high way from the entrance of Botshabelo to the far South evokes deep memories of one of our own, a humble servant of the people, political mentor of many amongst our generation, the late comrade Jazzman Mokgothu who died on the line of duty in the military camps of Uganda. To the Executive Mayor of Mangaung Metropolitan Council, Councillor Olly Mlamleli and your team, the generations of youth of Botshabelo to come will forever be indebted to you for naming this high way after this giant of our struggle as a fitting tribute to the selflessness of the generation of the 1980's.

Honourable Deputy President, this debate takes place during the year declared by our movement as the year of Oliver Reginald Tambo. This enjoins us to remind ourselves the fundamental values that Oliver Tambo and his generation lived and died for in pursuance of the liberation we are enjoying today.

In one of their seminal writings on Oliver Reginald Tambo, Nadine Hack and Jerry Dunfey had this to say about O R Tambo:

"When we think of OR what comes to mind is the most gentle soul, with the most tiger-like spirit; the kindest heart, with the fiercest determination; the most compassionate nature, with the strongest moral compass, the warmest, sweetest personality, with an unflinching dedication to honesty, the most loving, peaceful temperament, with the sharpest sense of conscience; the most beautiful smile with a resolve to accept only absolute integrity; the most noble, patient, calm presence, with the most tenacious fervour for bold uncompromising action; and the most brilliant intellect, with the most earnest, sincere appreciation for the simplest contribution."

We gather here hardly two days after the Statistics South Africa has published the poverty statistics in South Africa which has once more highlighted how women and children of our country continue to be the hardest hit by the scourge of poverty. As we listened to our people over the last four days narrating their joys and sorrows of life, nothing more can be said than to proclaim that our will and capacity to push back the frontiers of underdevelopment, disease, poverty and unemployment become more compelling as the mission of existence of parliament as the tribune of the people.

Honourable Premier, the people have spoken loud and clear about unemployment, lack of infrastructure, poor public health system and general decline in the quality of services. Our people have also commended government where it is performing best.

As a governing party entrusted by the overwhelming majority of our people for a better life for all, the ANC cannot act like any other political party in response to these challenges facing our people. We must be guided the courage of conviction to admit the realities confronting our people and the fault lines in our own systems of governance. We must tell no lies and claim no easy victories as Amilca Cabral would say.

This is more compelling as we celebrate the 100 anniversary of the late OR Tambo. Amongst the defining values of the legacy of Oliver Tambo is to tell the truth even if coincide with the enemy. The task of the opposition in any political system is to shout and scream the loudest. The mistake we should avoid is to allow their screaming and shouting to define the content and pace of transformation.

Only our people should be the decisive factor in defining the agenda and pace of transformation because they have given us the mandate. In the same vein, we should avoid the danger of inaction to change the lives of our people simply because the opposition is shouting the loudest in pointing out the failures. We must tell no lies and claim no easy victories as Amilca Cabral has pointed out.

In the war against poverty, unemployment, diseases and underdevelopment only our people should be the compass to point out the direction, the forests and caves for us to hide in times of hazards of the revolution. This is the only fitting way in which to honour Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and their generation.

As African National Congress, we enter this debate humbled by the sorrows and joys of our people articulated over the last four days. Amongst the fundamental questions that this debate should respond to is how are our people going to be involved as government will be addressing their challenges between now until the report back session?

This is the greatest test of success of the programme of Taking Parliament to the People which calls on the NCOP and the Free State Legislature to seize the moment and rise to the occasion to ensure that our people are the architects of their own future. In this, our people should reclaim the battle cry; nothing for us without us as the fundamental attribute of a people-centred and driven development agenda as articulated in the Freedom Charter.

Honourable Chairperson, without turning the economy of this province around to realise real growth in terms of employment and investment we cannot address the challenges of poverty, diseases and underdevelopment. As the current data on the state of the economy of South Africa points out; the Free State is the second poorest province in South Africa followed by the Northern Cape despite its strategic geographic location at the centre of South Africa.

The ANC is not found wanting in terms of policies. Our policies represent the international best practice as articulated in our long term developmental vision. The National Development Plan attaches high premium on healthy nation as a catalyst for economic growth. This impose the task of turning our public health facilities into centres of excellence in line with the World Health Organisation standards. Critical amongst decisive interventions in this regard is urgent attention on the massive backlog on public health infrastructure.

Many industries that used to be critical sources of employment in Botshabelo, Thaba Nchu and Qwaqwa have closed down and small businesses that used to be supported by the Free State Development Corporation have collapsed. Honourable Premier Magashule, whilst this in real economic terms constitute a small fraction of the economy of the Free State compared to agriculture, mining and petrochemical sector, if we are not able to turn the tide in this small front, there is less hope that we will succeed in other complex and bigger economic sector.

Our trajectory of a democratic developmental state place the State Owned Enterprises at the cutting edge of a radical socio economic transformation. The re-industrialisation of the areas I have mentioned earlier require robust, targeted and integrated approach of the State Owned Enterprises. This is particularly so in relation to the manufacturing sector that use to be at the centre of industrial activities here in Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu.

Honourable Deputy President, we do note with great sense of appreciation a number of high level strategic economic interventions by government as part of the radical socio economic transformation. Critical amongst these is the 100 Industrialist Programme of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Industrial Development Corporation.

On behalf of the masses assembled here today, will it be a burden to humbly request that, the former industrial areas of Botshabelo, Thaba Nchu and Qwaqwa becomes strategic focus of this re-industrialisation.

I am raising this not in a narrow context of provincialism but within the broader context of the narrative that has gained currency in the public discourse that; big projects in this country are directed to already affluent provinces.
Honourable Members, in modern politics perception occupies another level of reality and can influence and shape attitudes and behaviour of the people. Related to fundamental perceptions that have gained currency in modern politics is the lack of consequences for corruption, wastage and theft of public resources. How we change that narrative as the ANC is critical to restoring the confidence and trust of our people.

The Criminal Justice System is rated as one of the best in the world based on the supremacy of the constitution. Many cases of alleged corruption are currently before the Criminal Justice System but we must be worried about the emerging culture of politicising corruption and theft by some who seek to make verdict on the allegations of corruption even before the Courts pronounce on such cases.

These are forces that project themselves as paragons of justice and constitutionalism more than anybody in this country. According to newspaper reports, the Deputy Executive Mayor of one of the Metropolitan Councils governed by the anti-ANC coalition is embroiled in serious allegations of corruption. To us as the ANC these are allegations until they are tested in the court of law.

In his Eighteenth Brummaire of Louis Bonaparte Karl Marx reminds us:

"Men makes their own history, 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."

We cannot be complacent to the reality that our people are getting impatient, they await with great sense for decisive leadership, action and sense of urgency in attending these challenges in partnership with the State Owned Enterprises and other national departments.

Comrade Deputy President the greatest honour that befit our people on occasions like this is to assure them that we have indeed listened to their voices, we have tested through our own eyes their socio economic plight nothing will stand on our way to address their problems. Our people deserve better.

Comrade Premier Magashule, the persistence of some of the challenges despite genuine interventions by the Free State Provincial Government calls into question the efficacy of planning, monitoring and evaluation systems, and interdepartmental and intergovernmental collaborations. It requires a fundamental rethink in terms of how to realign Operation Hlasela with the government-wide service delivery improvement programme and monitoring and evaluation tool.

The Operation Hlasela as a service delivery improvement programme and monitoring and evaluation tool has the great potential to track bottle-necks during the implementation phase of government policies. This is particularly so as it puts the Provincial Executive and our people in the frontline of monitoring and evaluation.

Our people are impatient with tolerance against poor performance and corruption by politicians and government officials. This tolerance, perceived or real, is the worst form of betrayal of their aspirations and they call on you honourable Premier to declare zero-tolerance against non-performance and corruption.

« back