Tread softly because you tread on our dreams

The following speech was delivered in Parliament’s debate of the 2019 State of the Nation Address.

Madam Speaker,

In his first state of the nation address since going to the country for his own electoral mandate, President Ramaphosa shared with us his dreams. Let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with dreams, provided that they have a plan. For dreams without plans are merely fantasies

The President is not the only one who dreams…

So while you, Mr. President, were dreaming of the fantastical city of Ramakandla in the sky with bullet trains whizzing by:

The young school leaver in Limpopo dreams of finding a job…

The factory worker in Alberton dreams of the last time he had a decent job…

The sick person lying in a state hospital in Kimberley dreams of proper care and just getting better…

The learner in rural KwaZulu-Natal dreams of having a teacher who actually understands the maths and science she is teaching…

The resident in Helenvale who dreams of a safe street free of bullets, gangsters and drug peddlers…

The mother in Mpumalanga dreams of just one night when she can send her children to bed with a full tummy…

For it is only in these dreams that these citizens find temporary refuge from the waking nightmare of unemployment, crime, poverty and struggle that is daily life for far too many of our people in this country.

And for successive elections, these citizens have placed their dreams at the feet of successive ANC government administrations- like the lines of Irish playwright, William Butler Yeats, they have said:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams

And yet successive ANC administrations have done precisely the opposite, they have stamped out opportunity, they have crushed the dreams and they have robbed the very lifeblood of survival.

And after the despair of the Zuma years, and with an electoral mandate under your belt, what was needed was a good dose of brass tacks, hard reality and bold reforms.

What they, and what we, were desperate to hear last Thursday and today was concrete plans on how to realise the dreams. Now is the time for action, the clarion call to service, the rallying cry against corruption, the decisive demolishing of the roadblocks to growth and progress.

Instead, we got more dreams and virtuous ends with ten year sell by dates- basically you say for the next ten years: “don’t call me, I’ll call you.”

Ten years? We don’t have ten years, we don’t exist in some utopian dream in which we can fluffily float around for a decade, we are in the nightmare of immediacy. We are in a race against the clock to get our country working and to get our people back to work, to deliver services.

Dreams without plans are merely fantasies, and we heard lots of those today!

And we have shown clearly as the Democratic Alliance where we govern in the Western Cape, that you don’t need to dream it, when you can do it!

We have shown that you can have a strong, stable and growing economy that gives all South Africans a stake- but it requires clear and unambiguous decisiveness that delivers an enterprise economy that promotes aspiration, an economy that focuses on equality of individual opportunity, not on equality of group outcome.

We can have aspiration, as long as it is enabled and underpinned by an education system that ensures that every individual can develop their talents to the fullest – being passionate about an education system that places the learner at the centre, not the union boss, is the very best economic policy we can adopt. If we don’t start investing in our people, we will never reverse unemployment and our economic and social decline.

We can have a clean and accountable government that delivers for the people and not the politicians, but it requires a ruthless commitment to cleaning up and cleaning out the corrupt rent seekers, even if they are in your own ranks. It means sacking them, not rewarding their misdeeds by putting then in cabinet and appointing them committee chairs in our Parliament.

But all of this requires courage and resolve. And that’s what worries us, it’s what shakes the nation awake from the dream. The question on everybody’s lips is: “do you have the courage and resolve Mr. President?” You’re going to need it in bucketloads and you’re going to need to demonstrate it far better than you have to date.

Because you are up against it.

The longer you fail to take the hard decisions, the harder it will become to do so.

The more you delay the deep reforms, the further the economy will drift away.

The longer you pander to the corrupt and rotten in your party, the more the doubts pile up.

Mr. President heed this warning: Ace Magashule is like a vulture that has flown in fresh from picking dry the carcass of the Free state administration. He is moving against you Mr. President, he has deployed his minions into key positions in this house to weaken you, and just like a vulture, he is perched at Luthuli House waiting for that first carrion whiff of weakness that will signal the kill.

The longer you remain agnostic to the Magashule maneuvering, and the more you tiptoe around Ace, calling him “My Boss” and telling us that “without him you are nothing” the harder you stamp on the dreams of our citizens.

While you are still dreaming it, the DA has been doing it

The following speech was delivered in Parliament’s debate of the 2019 State of the Nation Address

Honourable Speaker;

Honourable Members;

Fellow South Africans;

The State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Cyril Ramaphosa, is a clear indication of a government that does not listen to the cries of the people. The cries of the people of before the 8th May elections should have been a rude awakening to the government. South Africans want economic growth that will put a job in every home and provide basic services.

It is in this regard that the Mayor of Midvaal, Bongani Baloyi, who boasts 5 consecutive clean audits, aims at improving the lives of our people through efficient service delivery. With good governance like in DA-led municipalities, changing people’s lives for the better is not a dream, but a reality.

A dream without a plan is just a wish.

Unemployment currently stands at 38%, which translates to almost 10 million South Africans who are without work. Almost 6 million of those are young South Africans. The undertaking by the president that only two million young people will be employed within the next decade does not take into account that more youth will be joining the unemployed on an annual basis.

Uzakubavalela phi abanye abatsha mongameli ukuze lingakhuli eli nani? Mandikulumkise, le ntswelangqesho ifana nethumba elakuthi lakugqabhuka likuxake.

Between the first quarter of 2018 and 2019, the South African economy lost 86 000 jobs, while the DA-led City of Johannesburg created 7 000 jobs in the same period.

Yiyo lo nto iDA isithi uphuhliso loqoqosho maluqhutywe kwizixeko nedolophu zethu. Zizo ezisondeleyo ebantwini kwaye ingxaki zabantu zifika khona kuqala. Angekhe yenzeke ke lo nto ukuba amasela nabarhwaphilizi basaphila kamnandi abanye babo baphakathi kwethu kulePalamente. Khawukhe uthi xha ngamaphupha angenazicwangciso, ngoba uzawude uthiywe igama lokuba ngu President Ramaphupha.

In Tshwane the DA-led administration has managed to attract R4.3 billion in investment which has translated to 43 950 new jobs since we took office. These successes can happen when you run a clean administration and take corrective measures when wrong is identified.

On its recently approved budget, the City of Johannesburg tripled its budget on electrification of informal settlements from R260 million in 2016/17 to R750 million over the next 3 years.

Unlike in Nelson Mandela Bay where councillors and their families were threatened to force them to approve the budget. Kwenzeka lo nto ke kwimbutho yodyakalashe noohlohlesakhe.

In the same vein, City Power has finished refurbishing Roosevelt, Sebenza, Wilropark, Nancefield, Heriotdale, Mondeor, Mulbarton, Pennyville and Waterval substations. This is to ensure that load-shedding becomes a thing of the past and that Johannesburg is open for business.

Alikho ixesha lokuphupha, abantu bafuna iinkonzo kwakunye noqoqosho olukhulayo luveze amathuba emisebenzi.

The DA is concerned with the high levels of violent crimes and the fact that our police don’t seem to be equal to the task. Hence, our call for an honest and professional police service.

To date, five homeless people have been brutally murdered in their sleep in Muckleneuk Park in Pretoria. Learners are killing each other and even educators in our schools. Yet the president chose to keep quiet on crime in general. In order to curb crime, police must be allowed to specialise. Jack of all trades, master of none cannot continue anymore.

In Tshwane, 73 new emergency vehicles including firefighters and ambulances, and 9 service delivery trucks were bought and distributed to the different regions. Similarly, the City of Johannesburg has added 30 new ambulances to its emergency fleet. These will assist across regions for quick and efficient emergency services.

It is only with a DA-led government that services can effectively be delivered to our people. We call on you Mr. President to work with us to improve the lives of all South Africans.

Oku kuyabonisa ukuba iDA ihamba phambili kunamaphupha akho Mongameli. While you are still dreaming of it, the DA has been doing it.

Maz’enethole!

We cannot wait another decade for our children to read

The following speech was delivered in Parliament’s debate of the 2019 State of the Nation Address.

Honourable Speaker,

I will not begin my speech with “Once Upon A Time,” because I do not intend to tell a fairy-tale about the plight of children in South African schools.

I do not intend to be the Brothers Grimm and paint a picture of an imaginary and magical land that does not exist.

I am here to present the cold hard facts that we need to reflect on as a Parliament, and the DA is here to also present workable solutions.

While the President spoke about how he met with the people of South Africa during the election campaign, he spoke not in frankness of the true state in which the people of our country live. Nor did he offer his apologies for how his party has disappointed and left particularly our young people, hopeless.

Honourable Speaker, over the last few months I met with teachers who expressed how they are working under awful conditions that no human being should be expected to work in.

They are overwhelmed and overworked.

They expressed how they are not only teachers to our young but they are:

  • Mothers and fathers to orphans of missing parents;
  • They are social workers to the broken;
  • They are nurses to the sick; and
  • They are police to the disruptive and to the drug dealers on school premises.

The fact is that, Mr President, the majority of our children come from broken homes:

  • With unemployed parents who are filled with despair and hopelessness;
  • They come from poverty-stricken homes;
  • Abusive homes;
  • They are broken and bring their brokeness to their teacher, their playground, their classroom which leads to bullying and excessive violence; and
  • They witness violence and they use violence to solve disputes.

These socio-economic ills spill into our school environment.

The recent murder of a KwaZulu-Natal teacher and the stabbing of Daniel Bakwela by a fellow learner in Gauteng sent shock waves throughout the country, and that should really worry you. Violence has become a daily phenomenon in our schools.

Nkokheli, you cannot talk about education in this country and totally ignore the wave of violence that is crashing through our schools.

Kushubile ezikolweni. Amatitshala abetha abantwana, abantwana babetha amatitshala, abantwana bayabethana bayabulalana!

Our teachers and learners need our support, and social workers and nurses have a supporting role to play in our schools and must serve that role.

To mitigate this spate of violence in our schools, the Western Cape has introduced a Safe Schools hotline.

It allows learners, staff, parents and communities to get help where abuse, crime, drug use and gang activity occur.

This excellent model should be extended to all provinces, as cooperation on the ground is vital to preventing violent acts before they happen. This is one of the initiatives we need to combat school violence.

We need you, Mr President, to come on board and give a directive.

I was taken aback when you re-instated Minister Angie Mothsekga as Minister of Basic Education.

She has been presiding over this Ministry for a decade and:

  • under her, the state of public education has worsened;
  • under her, we tragically lost two learners in pit-latrines and the number could be more;
  • under her, 8 out of 10 Grade 4 children (78%) cannot read for meaning;
  • under her, we performed poorly in both Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS); and
  • under her, the World Economic Global Information Technology Report 2016, which ranks the quality of education in 139 countries, ranked South Africa 137th.

You are a Mabena, Mr President, just like your predecessor, you disappoint South Africa again.

In your speech you emphasise implementing the Early Grade Reading Programme.

As we speak, we have 1.1 million learners in Grade 4. We simply cannot wait a decade to have our learners reading.

All foundation and intermediate phase teachers are already trained they need professional development.

SADTU has been blocking Annual Assessments for years, and this is policy impediment. Unless you act now – you threaten the future of the generations to come. A DA government will prioritise the future of learners over the ambitions of union members.

In the Western Cape we have prioritised basic reading and numeracy skills and we are seeing results. We are the only Province to achieve more than 600 points for reading (627.6) and mathematics (654.5), according to Southern and Eastern African Consortium for Monitoring Education Quality (SACMEQ) 4. This is significantly higher than the national average of 522 points.

45% of Western Cape learners in Grade 4 can read for meaning in their home language, compared to 9,2% in Limpopo and 22,1% nationally.

We applaud your action to move co-ordination of disability initiatives to the Presidency. I hope amongst its mandate, the needs of the disabled in basic education will be a priority.

Coding is a fantastic idea but you need to be able to read to do coding.

When I listened to your speech, I was hoping you would give us an update on school infrastructure and the progress in the tablet distribution programme. Or has this been abandoned?

The lack of consistency Mr President concerns us all.

So Ndiyakucela Mongameli sukuphupha vuka! Yeka ukubamba apha u yeke u bambe phaya uyeke. Yi ba ne Vision, fund it and execute it.

It can be either improvement in the quality of our education, infrastructure or safety at school. Forget about iPads okwangoku ezinye izikolo azinawo no mbane and focus on one thing in the next five years before u Ace ekuxhotha!

Thank you!

We do not have another ten years to tackle crime, we need action now

The following speech was delivered in Parliament’s debate of the 2019 State of the Nation Address.

Madam Speaker

Madam Speaker it is, to use his own words, shocking that in his State of the Nation Address the President hardly mentioned the one thing that all South Africans have at the front of their minds every single day: Crime.

A few token references to crime here and there and then, as if out of nowhere, the bombshell announcement that violent crime will be halved in the next ten years without even a hint of irony or an actual plan as to how this mammoth task will actually be achieved.

It appears from his speech, Madam Speaker, that the President is more concerned about bullet trains than he is about the bullets taking the lives of innocent South Africans on a daily basis.

While the President is dreaming millions of ordinary South Africans are having nightmares.

Nightmares of being, attacked, robbed, raped or murdered.

These South Africans are our Mothers and Fathers living in the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth and Elsies River right here in Cape Town, who fear that their children, on their way to school or guarding cars outside a Mosque like 12 year old Aswin Jansen, may be mowed down in a hail of bullets fired from one of the more than 800 guns stolen from the Police and wielded by a gangster who was put back on the streets by the very criminal justice system designed to protect these children.

They are our Grandmothers like Nomangesi Peter from Luqoqweni Village who was kidnapped, tortured and paraded naked before being killed. They are too old to defend themselves from serial rapists and murderers who target these, our most vulnerable citizens in rural villages and towns because they know that the chances of being caught by the police are slim to none.

They are our farmers and farmworkers from the rural Eastern Cape to Thoyandou who live in constant fear that they will be next because the ANC government does not deem rural safety a priority.

These nightmares are not the imagination of some fictional characters living in a fanciful futuristic country. These are real stories about real people Mr President. They are experiences grounded in the harsh reality of millions of South African’s sitting at home looking to this Parliament and their President for hope that they can one day live in a safe city, town or village. Not a SMART city Mr President, a SAFE city.

They want to go to bed knowing that criminals lurking around outside their homes will get caught and that they will be locked up.

Surely this is not too much for them to ask.

The fact that there was absolutely no mention of rural Safety in the SONA demonstrates just how out of touch this ANC government is and how little it cares about people living in remote rural communities who are being targeted by violent criminals.

In KwaMlaza village in the Port St Johns Municipality, for example, violent crime has led to villagers fleeing their homes after 9 people, 8 of them women, have been hacked to death or raped and then killed in the past 5 years with not one successful prosecution. In this village the people have given up hope in the police who appear to operate on a catch and release basis allowing criminals to walk amongst their victims.

Every other day we read about farmers, farmworkers and their families being brutally attacked and often tortured by violent criminals.

In May this year, Tool and Liezel Wessels were attacked on their farm in Bonnievale. Boiling water was poured over her and she was made to watch as her husband was stabbed to death.

Your deafening silence on the violence committed in rural communities across our country is unacceptable Mr President. It is time for bold action to tackle crime and rural safety now, we do not have another ten years.

Madam Speaker, there is still time to turn the tide on the rural crime wave sweeping our nation if we act now. The DA has a rural safety plan which can restore hope and order to the most isolated and vulnerable communities: from the commercial farm in Viljoenskroon to the rural village outside Keiskamahoek.

It is a plan that focuses on building a smart police force equipped with the necessary knowledge and resources to deploy cutting edge technology in the fight against crime. We believe that the deployment of drones with heat sensing technology into rural communities will assist in tracking down criminals and bringing them to book. This is not a ten-year plan Mr President, this technology is available today and can be deployed tomorrow.

We believe that by establishing Rural Community Policing Units with community members trained as rural reservists policing capacity will be augmented in some of the most isolated regions of our country. The DA’s Rural Safety Plan offers tangible solutions to curb the rising tide of rural crime.

Madam Speaker, South Africans deserve an honest and professional police service that they can trust led by men and women of integrity who are well trained and resourced to keep our citizens safe.

In building an effective and fit for purpose SAPS a DA national government would move swiftly to ensure:

  1. A zero-tolerance approach to corruption within the SAPS;
  2. The appointment of fit for purposes officers and management who are passionate about policing;
  3. The retraining all police officers to serve and protect with pride;
  4. Making policing a provincial responsibility; and
  5. Establish an effective drug-busting force.

When it comes to fighting corruption Madam Speaker, this Parliament has an immediate opportunity to strike fear into the hearts of the corrupt and criminal elements within SAPS by appointing a permanent head of IPID with unimpeachable integrity who will clean out the rot that has taken over SAPS. This is our moment to give real hope to all South Africans living in fear that we are serious about their safety.

In spite of the President’s promises in the 2018 SONA that he would focus on the distribution of police resources to areas hardest hit by crime the situation is getting worse. In the Western Cape last year, half of all murders were recorded at only 13% of police stations. These are the stations that need resources Mr President.  Murder in Philippi East precinct has increased by 180% over the five-year period from 2013/14 to 17/18, and by 36.7% in the last financial year. This station now has 1 officer per 344 citizens. Over the past two years, the Western Cape provincial ratio has deteriorated from one police officer to every 385 people, down to one police officer to every 509 people.

While the ANC government is playing politics with the lives of the people of the Western Cape, the people in Nyanga, Mitchells Plain and Hanover Park have to fear for their lives.

A DA-led national government would give more of the powers and functions of policing to provincial police commissioners and station commanders, so they are empowered to tackle crime on a local level.

Madam Speaker, in South Africa every day 109 people are raped, and 57 people are murdered. During this debate somebody will be attacked, raped or murdered.

The DA has a plan to turn this horrific situation around. The question is Mr President, do you?

President Ramaphosa should commit to fixing broken health system

The following speech was delivered in Parliament’s debate of the 2019 State of the Nation Address

Madam Speaker,

On Thursday night we watched with great anticipation as the President delivered his State of the Nation Address.

In truth the speech was big on dreamy rhetoric and thin on much-needed details.

More concerningly was the absence of a plan to provide quality healthcare for our people.

Madam Speaker, each of us in this House is familiar with the deep despair and helplessness which comes with sickness.

It is at those times that nothing is scarier than being dependent on a health system that has been neglected for decades and has been systematically unravelling at the seams.

The reality is that millions of South Africans are too familiar with that scenario.

Several weeks ago, I too was reminded of the importance of the work that we do here.

I lost a family member who was still in his prime following a short illness.

His death impressed upon me why we need to improve the quality of healthcare in this country, not just for our family members, but for the people who rely of this government service.

The millions of South Africans who have no other choice but to surrender themselves to an over-burdened heath system are the people that the DA is fighting for.

Mr President, your address on the health system of our country was simply not good enough.

There are urgent commitments that South Africa requires from you when you respond to this debate tomorrow.

Firstly, fixing the broken health system.

That requires an honest reflection about what has gone wrong in the health sector of our country.

Speaker, the DA unequivocally supports universal healthcare for our people.

However, in doing so we cannot destroy the economy, risk a brain drain and rampant corruption.

The Presidential Health Summit last year was simply an admission that there are deep inequalities when it comes to access to health.

This is a known fact.

The gap between those who have healthcare coverage and those who rely on the public health sector is huge.

However, this is because of decades of neglect and poor policies by the ANC government.

The rural Eastern Cape where I come from is visual representation of failure by this government.

Nothing works.

Dedicated and hard-working healthcare professionals are thrown into areas that have not seen delivery in decades.

These are men and women who want to serve but are hamstrung by the unavailability of medicine, crumbling infrastructure and no medical equipment.

In KZN thousands of patients died due to the oncology crisis which the ANC’s nominated chairperson for the health committee, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo presided over.

Yes, the rising cost of private healthcare needs to be addressed and this can be regulated by using existing legislation such as the Medical Schemes Act.

However, the fact that pregnant women who use our health facilities are taking a gamble with their lives, is something that the ANC government needs to accept responsibility for.

The fact that the elderly are tied to chairs waiting for medical care as was done in Mamelodi Hospital is entirely on this government.

The fact that there is a lack of access to reproductive healthcare that leads to young women resorting to backstreet abortions and children under 5 die annually due to poor living conditions is an absolute indictment on this executive.

The National Health Insurance as it stands premises its entire existence on the need to level the field of access.

It does not seek to improve the existing health facilities and level of care.

NHI, in its current form will nationalise healthcare.

We cannot allow a piece of legislation that has neither been costed nor effectively planned for destroy the little that we have.

The DA will oppose this bill until it places the patient at the centre of its conception.

We trust that the newly appointment Minister, Zweli Mkhize, will begin working on the basics.

Some of our healthcare facilities are death-zones.

Abantu bethu Speaker bangena ezibhedlele bekhangela uncedo baphume ngeebhokisi.

Eyonanto abantu abayifunayo kungena kwizibhedlele nee-clinic bafumane oonesi noogqirha aboneleyo.

Abantu bakhangela urhulumente ozokuqinisekisa ukuba abantu abadala abafiki ngoo 4 ekuseni balinde imini yonke baphinde bahambe bengancedwanga.

Kwizibhedle zethu, Iintsana ziyabiwa, izinto zokuxilonga azikho, kwaye nezo-clinic ziyawa kuba azihoyekanga.

Mphathiswa nawe Mongameli aninoze nivume intsapho zenu ziyokufumana uncedo kwizibhedle zethu kuba niyayazi imeko ezikuyo.

Nibayekela njani abantu abasonyulileyo baphatheke ngoluhlobo?

Madam Speaker, the President should use the opportunity tomorrow to assure the families who lost loved ones in the Life Esidimeni tragedy that they will receive their compensation.

In addition, the President should ensure that the people who were responsible for the death of hundreds of mentally ill patients are held to account.

Those who are guilty- both politicians and officials- must be fired and they must be held criminally liable for having played upuca with the lives of the most vulnerable.

The fact that Qedani Mahlangu is still embraced in the ANC and enjoys a leadership position is an indictment on you and your organisation, Mr President.

Madam Speaker, the problems that we face as a country are not insurmountable.

They can be resolved but they require us to go back to the basics of good governance like the DA has in the Western Cape.

When we come to this House and share the success stories of the DA, it is not in an effort to brag but to bring solutions to the table.

In the Western Cape we serve over 75% of the province’s population who rely on public healthcare- but the health outcomes and standards are objectively better than any other province in the country.

This is easily confirmed by the fact that we have the highest life expectancy for both men and women.

This is because we have used a combination of innovation, political will and commitment to the people.

Most critically, since the DA took over this government in 2009 we have invested over R6 billion on infrastructure and maintenance of health facilities.

This means we built new hospitals and clinics, ambulance stations and upgraded existing ones.

This investment means we have drastically improved patient experience.

To manage waiting times and critical medication stockouts, we have invested in two major innovations.

We have a central depot that manages the stock of medicines for the province.

This is why when the national department of health bungled the tender to supply ARVs a couple of weeks ago, in this province we managed the crisis better because of effective planning.

In addition, the Western Cape is the only province which is at the advanced stages of digitalizing patient records.

Kweli iphondo abantu abazukulinda imini yonke kuba ifolder zabo zingafumaneki.

Speaker, the critical point to be made here is that if the DA can do this in the Western Cape, it is possible to do it across the country.

Mr President, we do not need any more summits, symposiums or imbizos, we need this government to do its work.

Failing which, we will hold you accountable.

We will ring the bell on corruption.

We will demand better healthcare for the people of this country.

We will fight against the disastrous NHI and put forward a credible plan that will bring about universal healthcare without placing the fate of all South Africans in the hands of the politically connected few.

The DA will never neglect our constitutional obligations.

The people of South Africa deserve nothing less.

ANC rot will render SONA dreams useless

The following speech was delivered in Parliament’s debate of the 2019 State of the Nation Address.

Honourable Speaker;

Honourable Members;

Fellow South Africans;

Mr. President, during your maiden State of the Nation address you quoted Bra Hugh Masekele’s song, asking the country to send you. South Africans indeed sent you.

Now, with very little to show as the leader of this nation, you want South Africans to go to sleep and dream.

For 25 years, Makana Municipality residents have been dreaming of a better life. Their dreams have been shattered at every turn. The President himself was recently in Makhanda to celebrate Freedom Day. Traffic lights that were not working for months were fixed in haste, in anticipation of the arrival of the first citizen of South Africa.

The citizens of the City of Saints have been subjected to constant threats of electricity cuts by Eskom due to the municipality’s inability to pay their energy bills, with continuous default on payment arrangements made with the power utility.

Most residents pay their monthly service bills yet find themselves having to remove their own rubbish because municipal workers do not arrive for work. Residents sometimes have to drink water with traces of the deadly E. coli bacteria – this being a result of the poor state of our water reticulation system.

The City of Saints is now the City of Potholes, with illegal dump sites, rubbish strewn in every street, uncaring management, maladministration and corruption. uDr. Zweli Mkhize no Honourable Pam Tshwete bangandingqinela ukuba ndithetha inyaniso emsulwa kuba sele besuka kuzibonela ngawabo amehlo imeko abantu baseRhini abaphila phantsi kwayo.

Sadly Honourable Members, the architect and initiator of the Makana rot was promoted by the governing party and is now with us in this House as an MP.

However, the same cannot be said about the tenure of a DA government on the other side of the historic Fish River valley. During the 2016 Local Government elections, the voters of Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) chose to vote for change by electing a leadership of clean governance and transparency.

In a short space of 10 months after the DA-led coalition government assumed office, NMB was voted as the second most trusted metro according to the South African Customer Satisfaction Index – as opposed to the 2nd last position our predecessors comfortably occupied the previous year.

During the two financial years of 2016/2017 and 2017/2018, we managed to spend 100% of our allocation of the Urban Settlement Development Grant (USDG) funding. This led to National Treasury further allocating R170m and R200m in appreciation of a job so well done. Unfortunately, matters are less positive with the current NMB leadership.  With a week before their financial year-end, they have only spent 62% of the USDG funding and 50% of Capital Expenditure.

An Integrated Public Transport System for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, at a cost of R2 billion was abandoned by the then ANC government.  After 18 months in office, the DA-led coalition in NMB got those buses moving.

In an effort to make the city a lot safer, we employed and trained 114 metro police, as well as introduced a ghost squad whose primary mandate was to curb bad or illegal driving.  Before we left City Hall, residents felt a lot safer.

We spared no effort in fighting corruption, not only in words but through action as well, because where the DA governs, we don’t tolerate or promote people that steal from the poor. Umve umntu emi kweliqonga esithi iimpuku azityiwa, kodwa zivele ngemisila kuye emlonyeni.

A number of municipal officials identified of wrong doing were either fired, charged or placed on suspension. Some of those officials have been brought back by the current administration, obviously, to let them continue their wrong doing by picking up from where they left off. Indeed, birds of the same feather, flock together.

I have spoken to a number of residents in NMB, all of them recall the realities of the DA-led coalition, and are calling for its return.

Ngalomazwi malungu abekekileyo, lomthendevu waseMampondomiseni, ithole leenkuzi zakwaKrancolo, ooMgema, ooMsiza, ooMbuyeni, izinto ezadl’ amanzi oMthatha onombiza ndisuse undibek’ entla nababantu besiza, uyatshayaaaaaa!

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul

The following speech was delivered in Parliament’s debate of the 2019 State of the Nation Address.

Madam Speaker;

Mr President;

Fellow Members of Parliament;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

“I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”

There comes a time in every country’s history when the brave need to stand up and be counted. There comes a time when the people must have their voice heard and can no longer face the abuse of government.

There comes a time when we must stand together and demand that injustice comes to an end and fight. Fight with all our might to protect, obey and save our Constitution. As we teeter on the edge of collapse, that time is now.

Speaker, to stand up and speak truth to power is not easy. When you know that billions and billions of rands are at stake, and that those who were willing sellers to willing buyers in the feeding frenzy that was, and still is, state capture will do anything, and by anything, I mean anything to avoid justice – one has to look deep and look for a source to steel your resolve and to maintain your determination.

I visited Robben Island, and while there I was told that on the darkest days, when hope was at its lowest and when the situation seemed desperate, the Father of our Nation, President Nelson Mandela would recite a poem by William Ernest Henley called “Invictus”. Invictus is an adjective in Latin meaning unconquerable, invincible and undefeated. I now regularly read this poem when I require a boost to my resolve.  “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul”.

Speaker, through you, I use the opportunity I have today to speak to the President, not as a politician, not as a member of an opposing political party, but as a patriotic fellow South African.  I am outraged and frustrated more than any words could explain at the blatant slap in the face that all South Africans were recently dealt when the ANC announced its proposed chairpersons of our parliamentary committees.

I took it as personal left hook to the jaw when I read with utter disbelief that the very man who was accused of offering a blank cheque to Advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara, the evidence leader in the Public Enterprises Inquiry into State Capture at Eskom will be rewarded with a chairperson’s seat.

An ex-Minister who has been repeatedly accused of interfering with the South African mining industry for the enrichment of the Gupta family will be rewarded with a chairperson’s seat. The woman who destroyed what was left of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) will be rewarded with a chairperson’s seat.

The woman who without explanation sold off the entire South African strategic fuel reserve will be rewarded with a chairperson’s seat. An ex-Mayor of Buffalo City Municipality who was found guilty by a court of law for nine counts of fraud will be rewarded with a chairperson’s seat.

South African to South African, this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. This is the one step too far.  This is proof that the Zuma faction is still well and truly in charge of the ANC, and that it matters not if the driver has changed – the bus is still the same. We have all been taken for fools.

Through you Chairperson, I ask that the President, as the leader of the ANC, steel your resolve and dismiss these people from Parliament. Prove that you are indeed the master of our fate, the captain of this ship, and that you are not just being led around by the nose by factions in your party

While the Zondo commission completes its work, every single day we, the people of South Africa, are exposed to more horror and nightmare stories, the likes of which play out in your average James Bond movie.

Trips to Switzerland to fill bank accounts, urgent medical treatment for Premiers alleging that they have been poisoned, stays and spa treatments at the Oberoi Hotel in Dubai for covert business deals to be sealed. Midnight telephone calls in Paris calling off deals for our ailing airlines, to name but a few.

Winter has come, the wall has been breached, the line of defence becomes ever thinner as those who are brave, are systematically set aside. “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul”.

Now is the time for those of us who are still here to work together to make a real difference with real plans. Now is not the time for mere dreams. We dare not allow ourselves to be silenced as our work is far from over. We have as our sword our mighty Constitution and we have as our shield our brave and incorruptible Judiciary.

Now is not the time to accept the excuse that those implicated are innocent until proven guilty. Now is the time to ensure that our oversight roles are strengthened, as per direct instruction from Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. We can start with actual oversight over the Presidency in the form of a portfolio committee to oversee and vote one, the Presidency, as requested numerous times by Honourable John Steenhuisen in the rules committee.

Now is the time to sit down as fellow South Africans and not just dream of the future we want, but to actually create the environment we so desperately require to enable our economy to grow and succeed.

It simply cannot be that state capture is estimated to have wiped out a third of South Africa’s R4.9 trillion GDP, but now we are expected to celebrate the frontloading of R230 billion rand to Eskom.

This is little more than yet another bailout for an entity that has been sucked dry by the state capture monster. Our State-Owned Entities (SOE’s) are broken, they have been destroyed, and they are completely archaic in design.

They are destroying our country’s economy and making living in South Africa a nightmare, not a dream. We are out of time, we are at the cliff’s edge, the dream has faded, the reality is a horror. Doing the right thing is not always easy, speaking truth to power is hard, but let us now bite the bullet and put a stop to the continued misuse of our SOE’s for political gain.

Speaker, the President has said he wants to work together – give us the opportunity to do just that, give our ideas a chance, let’s put South Africa first.

“Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charge with punishment the scroll.”                                               

Speaker, through you, allow me to end with how I began.

Mr. President, now is the time to become the master of your fate and the captain of your soul.

Terwyl die President droom, word Suid-Afrikaners se drome verpletter

The following speech was delivered in Parliament’s debate of the 2019 State of the Nation Address.

Madam Speaker, Mr. President, members, South Africans

Laat my toe om ons mense te herinner van `n bekende gesegde wat lei, “Die lewe is `n droom, maar om te droom is geen lewe.” deur Constantijn Huygens.

Speaker, dienslewering in plaaslike en provinsiale regerings is waar die meeste mense se drome waar gemaak moet word. Dit is die drome na `n veilige omgewing, skoon water in hul huise, kragvoorsiening wat bekostigbaar en stabiel is, amptenare wat eerlik, betroubaar en hardwerkend is.

Terwyl die President droom, gaan al meer mense ongelukkig gebuk onder ‘n voortdurende toename in swak dienslewering en korrupsie op plaaslike regeringsvlak.

Terwyl die President droom word mense se drome verpletter as gevolg van korrupsie en politici wat daar is om hulself te verryk ten koste van die mense wat hulle moet dien.

Wat vir die President `n wonderlike droom is, is vir die mense daar buite `n aaklige nagmerrie. Hulle droom vanaf 1994 en is nou moeg vir drome – hulle wil aksie sien. Die mense voel dat na 25 jaar kan ons nie meer droom vir basiese dienste wat jare gelede alreeds moes gebeur het nie.

Speaker, one of the most progressive ways to root out corruption in local government is by conducting lifestyle audits to test whether politicians and officials in this sphere of government live according to their income. The President made promises of starting the process of conducting lifestyle audits in 2018 already. We are still waiting, while the President is dreaming.

I am proud to remind South Africans that in the very progressive and transparent DA-run Western Cape Provincial Government, MEC’s under the leadership of the capable Premier Alan Winde already agreed to undergo lifestyle audits at the start and end of their tenure in public office. These are political office bearers that understand that they are there to serve the people and not fill their own pockets with the people’s money like most ANC politicians do.

The President failed to mention how the people in informal settlements and rural areas will be provided with greater access to clean running water in their homes.  There are people that are still using bucket toilets.  This, while the President boldly announced a bullet train and a dream city.

This flies in the face of people who have been waiting for years to get a home they can call their own. This flies in the face of the people of Alexandra who are still waiting for the promised renewal of their township where billions of rands were squandered by corrupt ANC politicians in local government and the province.

When will the nightmare end for the people of the Alex? I commend Mayor Herman Mashaba for committing to get behind the real story of Alex and improve the lives of our people.

Speaker, die rede waarom die DA beheerde Wes-Kaapse regering die laagste werkloosheid syfer in Suid-Afrika het met 14 persentasie punte laer as die nasionale syfer ,waar die helfte van werke wat in Suid-Afrika geskep is tussen K3 2017en K3 2018, waarom 82% van die 2018 Wes Kaapse begroting bestee is aan dienste vir die armes, waarom 91,5% van huishoudings 30 minute  van die naaste gesongheidsorg fasiliteit woon, is omdat DA regerings verstaan dat die mense se geld op die mense bestee moet word en nie op hulself nie.

Die redes is dat DA openbare verteenwoordigers voorstaanders is van deursigtigheid en daarom stem hulle in om leefstyl oudits te ondergaan.

There is a reason why despite a depressed economic and governance environment, DA-led governments are always a step ahead. Why  99% of Western Cape residents have access to piped water, 97% have access to electricity and 98% to waste removal.

There is a reason why people in the Western Cape can expect to live longer. There is a reason why this province run by the DA boasts with a 72% success rate of all land reform projects – the best in the country. There is a reason why in 2018/19, this DA run provinces` municipalities received an impressive 83% clean audits – again the best in the country. What might be the reasons for this excellent governance track record?

Speaker, another reason is that the DA is proudly led by a united team with an impressive, young, energetic knowledgeable, decisive, and incorruptible dynamic leader, Mmusi Maimane.

Thank you

President must stare down the Enemies of Growth

The following speech was delivered in Parliament’s debate of the 2019 State of the Nation Address

Madame Speaker,

This being our first debate since the election, I begin by congratulating the President on his election as President of the Republic.

I am sure the President dreamed (fond as he is of dreaming) of beginning his first full term in office in more favourable times.

But the last decade under this government has meant that we meet today at a time of national anxiety.

No amount of Presidential dreaming can mask the harsh economic facts we now face.

The haze of Ramaphoria has given way to sober reality.

Years of excess and sin – spending, debt and corruption – have caught up with us.

The cupboard is bare.

Our national debt has never been higher.

And millions of people in our country are desperately worried about how to get work, or whether they will still have a job at the end of the month.

They worry what will happen to their life savings, how they will pay the bills, and what the future holds for their children.

To the President it is a “lost decade”, but to the country it is an entire “lost generation” of unemployed young people.

The moment requires bold and decisive leadership.

It is one thing to lift the national gaze with a vision of the distant future.

And it was absolutely right to focus the attention of the country on the urgent need for faster economic growth.

But unless it is matched by a real commitment to make the difficult choices to achieve growth, then it’s all just empty words.

It is easy to speak of growth and jobs. President Zuma did that in his SONA in 2009.

If you say we are going to obsess about growth, then you must also commit specifically (by name) to stopping all of the growth killing policies your government is responsible for.

If you say you are committed to responsible economics, then you need to commit explicitly to debt reduction.

If you say you’ve got a plan for Eskom, then you better tell the country exactly what it is.

If you say yours will be a government of doers, then you better stop promoting all of the takers.

Dreaming has its place, but it is no substitute for action. And there was precious little of that in your Address.

This is the central question from your speech is this – Why could you not make one single concrete announcement? Not one.

The answer is this: There is no agreement in your party about a focus on growth.

There is no agreement on responsible economics.

There’s no agreement on Eskom, or reducing debt, or the public wage bill.

There is no consensus in the governing party on any one of the major questions facing our economy.

Far from it.

The truth is this President is in office, but he is not in power.

It is easy to call on the courage of citizens to endure these hardships, but where is your courage in matching dreams with tough action?

Don’t talk about courage, display it.

You cannot go on forever finding messy compromise in every problem, leaving everyone guessing as to what you really think, telling everyone what they want to hear.

The Enemies of Growth

You must stare down the Enemies of Growth.

You don’t turn a crocodile vegetarian by feeding it more meat.

Every time you compromise with the looting, lunatic left, you just embolden them more.

And one day, when you have compromised everything away, they will come for you.

They are not your friends. They are a hazard to the country.

And it’s time to call them out. It is time to show that you are prepared to make the tough decisions to achieve growth.

If you are really committed to growth, do these 5 things in your reply tomorrow, Mr President:

  • Consolidate your 7 priorities and 5 goals into only one: Economic growth, above all
  • Open the way for the Metros to purchase electricity from any lowest cost producer
  • Scrap the Carbon Tax, which is actually a Manufacturing Tax
  • Make clear that there will be no more money for SAA
  • Make clear your position on the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank and the prescription of assets

If you do these things, you will show you meant what you said.

If not, we can only conclude you are in thrall to your political pay-masters.

The DA’s stall

While no one knows where the President stands, it is clear where the Democratic Alliance stands.

The Enemies of Growth have lost the economic argument completely, but they continue to dominate the debate.

Everything they propose has failed everywhere it has been tried.

It is time we took control of the economic argument.

We are the only party with the ideas and sound economic principles that will deliver a future of broad prosperity for all.

We are determined that the cruelty of poverty can be eradicated from our society. This is our highest ambition and sole obsession.

The only way to eradicate poverty and build prosperity is to grow the economy faster, through policies which unleash enterprise and individual aspiration.

We have an unwavering commitment to fiscal responsibility as the foundation of economic stability.

We know that millions of South Africans depend on public services, and that precisely because so many depend on them, those services need to be well funded.

We recognise that, without growth, government has no money to spend on the poor.

You do not sustain a country on debt, only on investment and savings.

To grow, we must have policies that support the risk takers, policies that recognise that entrepreneurs create jobs, not government.

Policies that support private ownership, uphold the rule of law, reject narrow protectionism, and embrace the global market.

That is where we stand.

This is what sets us apart as the party of jobs, of growth, and of broad prosperity.

And we are smarting for a fight.

I want to tell the ANC and the EFF that we in this party find it obscene that millions of young people can’t find work because of your bad ideas.

You are clutching to the sinking wreckage of a statist ideology, threatening to take the whole country down with you.

Not on our watch. We love South Africa too much to let you drag us down.

We will fight your failed ideas that have got us into the mess we face today.

We will defend the independence of the Reserve Bank, and we will protect the retirement savings of ordinary hard-working people.

This will be the defining fight of this Parliament.

We are ready to make our case with growing confidence and vigour.

It is time for the rational centre to dominate the economic debate, and to beat back the Enemies of Growth.

Slegs ‘n stabiele en groeiende ekonomie bied hoop en vertroue vir die toekoms

The following speech was delivered in Parliament’s debate of the 2019 State of the Nation Address.

Agbare Speaker

Agbare Voorsitter van die NRVP

Agbare President

Lede van Parlement

Mede Suid-Afrikaners

Die President het in sy rede verwys na sy droom vir ‘n nuwe era. Agbare President, daardie droom kan net verwesenlik word indien die ANC drasties van koers verander, andersins herhinner dit my net aan ‘n ou bekende liedjie wat sê: “Dreams are good friends!”

Die werklikheid van die hier-en-nou is egter dat:

Ongeveer 10 miljoen Suid-Afrikaners soggens wakker word met die wete dat hul nie geld of kos het vir hulself of hul gesinne nie; waarskynlik ook nie die vooruitsig het om ‘n werk te kry nie, maar steeds moet voortbeur om ‘n wetsgetroue, verantwoordelike landsburger te wees;

Ons jong mense wat wel die geleenthede het om hulself te kwalifiseer met kennis en vaardighede, geen sekerheid het dat hul wel ‘n werk gaan kry nie en baie van hul die land verlaat;

Die kwesbare persone in ons land wat op toelaes leef nie meer weet wat die begrip ‘bo die broodlyn’ beteken nie;

Die wat wel ‘n werk het, daagliks armer word en hul bekommer oor die veiligheid van hul pensioenfondse indien hul een het;

Vakbondleiers die minderheid van werkers in ons land verteenwoordig maar hulle meestal veg vir hul eie politieke voordele;

Dié wat kapitaal het om te belê, gevolglik na geleenthede buite SA kyk.

Hon. Speaker, the ANC’s strive for a developmental state through ‘The New Growth Path’ (2011) would have created 5 million jobs in 2020.

The policy statement on developmental local government aimed to build capacity to enhance service delivery in local communities. However, the NCOP witnessed various interventions in local governments due to a lack of capacity or political motivations.

In 2017, President Ramaphosa’s ‘New deal for jobs, growth and transformation’ set a target of 3% growth in 2018 and 5% in 2023. Costs would have also been cut through a reformed Eskom as well as greater use of renewable energies.

Efficient use of the public purse and structural systems are however prerequisites for these policies to successfully contribute to economic growth.  Our State-Owned Enterprises, central to development and growth, however distinguished themselves in weak management, poor governance and unsustainable bailouts, with the result of widespread state capture and the direct impact on our economy.

Agbare Speaker, slegs ‘n stabiele groeiende ekonomie wat werksgeleenthede en welvaart skep, gerugsteun deur bekwame regeringsvlakke, kan hoop bied vir die toekoms.

In die Weskaap waar die DA sedert 2009 regeer, kan ons nieteenstaande oorkoepelende negatiewe ekonomiese omstandighede bewys lewer dat ons innoverende beleide en planne, gebaseer op ‘n mark-gerigte ekonomie, ‘n positiewe invloed uitoefen op ons inwoners.  ‘n Paar voorbeelde hiervan is dat die Weskaap:

  • ‘n 14% laer werkloosheidsyfer as die res van die land het, met 508 000 nuwe werksgeleenthede wat geskep is, wat dui op ongeveer ‘n vier-malige groei oor die afgelope dekade.
  • ‘n 72% suksessyfer in landbougrond hervormingsprojekte teenoor ‘n 10% suksessyfer in die res van die land. Sedert 2009 is 500 miljoen rand spandeer op die ondersteuning van 357 grondhervormingsprojekte- R80M word op ‘n jaarlikse basis vanaf die privaat sektor bekom.
  • Die Wes-Kaap gee die toon aan met die skep van energie-sekerheid. Sonkrag installasies het toegeneem vanaf 18 MW tot meer as 110 MW, hoofsaaklik deur besighede. Agtien (18) van die twee en twintig (22) munisipaliteite maak voorsiening dat energie teen vergoeding teruggevoer kan word in die kragnetwerk.
  • ‘n Retensie syfer van 63% vir graad 10 – 12 is bereik met die 2018 matrikulante, teenoor die minder as 50% syfer in die res van die land.

Not only did the DA-led Western Cape make strides in cutting unnecessary regulations for businesses, we introduced the Premier’s Advancement of Youth Programme (PAY), providing 750 matriculants with jobs and training every year.  Furthermore, we rapidly increased the delivery of basic services to above 96%.

In die Wes-Kaap word daar jaarliks inspeksies op 150 polisiestasies uitgevoer.  ‘n Kommissie van Ondersoek is ingestel, wat gelei het tot die promulgasie van die Wes-Kaapse Gemeenskapsveiligheidswet wat die instel van die kantoor van die Polisie Ombudsman moontlik gemaak het.

Tans bedreig die toename in misdaad, veral geweldsmisdade en die gepaardgaande ontoereikende hulpbronne van die polisie – die algemene veiligheid van alle inwoners, skole, besighede, toeriste. Suid Afrika word tans beskou as een van die 20 onveiligste  lande in die wereld.

Om jou beste te probeer is soms nie genoeg nie; wat moet gedoen word is wat nodig is – aldus die dispuut wat deur die Weskaap verklaar is, is om polisiëring ook as ‘n provinsiale funksie in te stel. ‘n Professionele en gemoderniseerde polisie mag op provinsiale vlak is essensieel.

Agbare President, alle Suid-Afrikaners het tans ‘n grondige begrip van wat Churchill bedoel het deur te sê: ‘I no longer listen to what people say, I just watch what they do. Behavior never lies.’

Actions speak louder than words.