Note to editors: This was the speech delivered by the DA Parliamentary Leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko MP, during the State of the Nation Address debate in Parliament today.
Today we live in a country that is undoubtedly better than it was in 1994.
We are the South Africa of Nelson Mandela. We are the miracle nation that inspires hope.
We overcame apartheid; we fought injustice and then joined hands in reconciliation. Our audacity to unite when some believed that it could not be done continues to be a beacon of light for the rest of the world.
Despite hundreds of years of oppression and discrimination, South Africans remain proud of our country and hopeful for the future, bursting with potential.
That potential lies kilometres beneath the earth, in the great seams of platinum and ore that brave men and women carve out of the rocks beneath us every day.
It is loud in the factories of Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, that pioneer the technology of tomorrow.
It is in Cape Town’s creative studios where world-class designs are born; and on the farms that sweep across the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal.
South Africa is a country of great potential; and we in the Democratic Alliance believe in that potential with all of our hearts.
This is indeed a good story to tell.
But, Mr Speaker, there is another story we did not hear in this chamber last Thursday night.
That is the story of President Jacob Zuma and his ANC.
It is the story of five years of poor leadership, which have reversed much of the progress we have made as a nation.
It is a story of a Presidency that lacks both the political will and the credibility to do what it is needed to keep South Africa on the path of our predecessors.
South Africans yearn for a bold plan of action from the President. They want a vision for the future; a way out of the crises which have engulfed our nation over the last five years.
But on Thursday night they were left disappointed once again.
During his State of the Nation address, the Honourable President gave a review of 20 years of democracy as an attempt to bury the many failures over which his administration has presided.
But there are real stories to be told about the last five years of ANC government; stories that South Africans know all too well.
The Honourable President says the ANC has a good story to tell on the economy.
But South Africans have a very different story to tell. Theirs is a Story of Frustration.
Does the President feel the helplessness of the young man amongst the 7 million who have been robbed of their dignity by unemployment? The man who comes home empty handed; who feels like a disappointment to his family and his children?
Unemployment is not just a statistic, Honourable Speaker. It is a cold, hard reality.
It is a reality for far too many South Africans because our government does not have the courage to break the stranglehold that the ANC’s alliance partners in COSATU and the SACP have on labour policy.
That is why President Zuma has only managed to create 561 000 out of the 5 million jobs he promised 2009. Just one job out of every ten promised.
It is also why there are staggering 1.4 million more unemployed South Africans today than on the day the Honourable President took office in 2009.
What is his plan to address this crisis? The only tangible plan announced on Thursday is to create so-called ‘work opportunities’ in the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).
Let me say this clearly, Mr Speaker: work opportunities and REAL jobs are not the same thing.
EPWP work opportunities are important for poverty alleviation and basic skills transfer. But real jobs are sustainable, private sector-orientated and rely on the government implementing good economic policies.
South Africa’s recent economic performance, however, has been dismal. The Honourable President blames this on the 2008 global financial crisis – or what he refers to as a “global meltdown”.
But on our very doorstep, Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic growth forges ahead without us. Nigeria is forecast to overtake South Africa as the largest economy in Africa in the next two years. While our economy grew at under 2% last year, our emerging peers like Chile and Malaysia are growing at more than double this rate.
Why this great disparity?
Because economic growth and job creation require visionary leadership and a single economic plan. South Africa has neither of these.
We saw this again on Thursday night. The Honourable President told the nation repeatedly that the National Development Plan (NDP) is the blueprint that will guide all government policy; but then claimed that the NDP “incorporates key targets of the Industrial Policy Action Plan, the New Growth Path and [the] Infrastructure Plan.”
This kind of vague leadership provides no incentive for investors. How can the Honourable President commit to all three of these plan, when they are totally at odds with one another.
The answer is that the President puts what is in his interests first. Political survival always trumps real leadership.
This is the real story of South Africa’s frustration.
The Honourable President says that the ANC has “a good story to tell” on service delivery.
But South Africans have a different story to tell about the past five years. It is a Story of Desperation.
Under President Zuma’s ANC, there have been five times more service delivery protests per year than between 2004 and 2009.
And no, Honourable President, the people who protest against your government are certainly not happy with your service delivery record. They are desperate for change.
I witnessed this first hand when I visited Mothotlung in the North West following the violent protests, which claimed the lives of four people.
I saw that the real problem is corruption and failed service delivery in the ANC-led municipality of Madibeng.
For years, the municipality has not maintained its municipal water infrastructure. After two years of only intermittent access to water and in sheer desperation, the people of Mothotlung finally exercised their right to protest against their failed government.
One of the young men who died during this protest is Osiah Rahube. I would like to tell his story today.
Osiah’s mother, Elizabeth, describes him as a God-fearing and law-abiding citizen. She told me that he was a down-to-earth young man who made friends with everyone he met. He was just 30 years old when he was killed.
Osiah was not an instigator of violence. He was not a criminal. He was an innocent young man with his entire life ahead of him. He sympathized with those in his community who were fighting to ensure that he and his family had clean water to drink. His story is the story of many others.
Police brutality is a blight on the many honest, brave SAPS police officers who take to the streets every day to protect and serve our nation. This kind of brutality is a relic of the apartheid past. It should never have re-emerged in our young democracy; but under this government’s leadership, it has intensified.
The government’s response has been inadequate. President Zuma ignores the NDP recommendation to demilitarize the police; he has failed to introduce a proper Public Order Policing policy; and he refuses to do what he should have done after Marikana more than a year ago – fire the Minister of Police, Honourable Nathi Mthethwa, from his cabinet.
So while South Africa burns the President continues to value political loyalty over a turn-around in our police service.
This is the real story of South Africa’s desperation.
The President said the ANC has a “good story” to tell on combatting crime.
But South Africans have a different story to tell about the past five years. It is a Story of Fear.
We cannot say that we are winning the war against crime when the latest crime statistics show increases in murder and attempted murder and other serious contact crimes.
What do we say to the mothers and fathers of the more than 85 000 South Africans who were murdered since 2007; or to the 333 374 survivors of reported sexual offences during the same time.
I know what it is like to bury someone you love because of violence. It is a pain that haunts you forever. I know too that it burns even more painfully when there is no justice for that crime.
Why didn’t the President speak of the need to improve conviction rates and of the challenges in our criminal justice system? If we are to win the war on crime, then this government needs a new and comprehensive plan to address it. But the Honourable President and his government have none.
The Honourable President says the ANC has a “good story to tell” on the fight against corruption.
But South Africans have a very, very different story to tell about the past five years. It is a Story of Greed.
At the heart of this story is the over R30 billion which is stolen from our people’s pockets every year; a theft that deprives them of quality services and job opportunities, while enriching politically-connected insiders at their expense.
This is the reason, Mr Speaker, that we have dropped some 22 places in the Corruption Perceptions Index ratings for corruption during this term of office.
How can we take the Honourable President seriously when he says that “Fighting corruption within the public service is yielding results.”?
Because we all know that he does not have a single ounce of credibility on this matter. How can he when the R200 million upgrade of his private residence at Nkandla is the gold standard for government corruption in South Africa today?
This not a presidency which fights for accountability; it runs from it.
Mr Speaker, the events of the past two hours in the Western Cape High Court reveal the extent to which this government tolerates corruption at the very top.
The Minister of Public Works, Honourable Thulas Nxesi, has revealed to me in a replying affidavit that his Task Team report into the Nkandla scandal never contained any security sensitive information. In fact the report released to the public by the government in December 2013 is the very same report that Minister Nxesi ‘classified’ as “Top Secret” in January of the same year.
This means that the Minister, before this House, and on many other occasions, misled South Africans into believing the classification was necessary to conceal information that was never there. He forced Parliament to collude with this charade by instructing you, Honourable Speaker, to refer the Task Team report to the closed Standing Committee on Intelligence, all in an effort to conceal this so-called “Top Secret” information, which never existed in the first place.
It is clear now that this cynical “classification” was only intended to protect President Zuma from embarrassment and from being held accountable for the extent of this scandal.
We have won the case with costs today. But the fight will continue. That is why I have today tabled a written motion calling for the Honourable Minister to be investigated for deliberately misleading this House.
But Mr Speaker, this is only part of the problem. The President himself does not respond to the peoples’ demands for transparency and accountability.
President Zuma again claimed ignorance on national television this week. He said he didn’t know about the R200m upgrade. And he said, Honourable Members, that he will not resign because of it.
If the President honours the principle of good governance, and if he wants to restore any semblance of a legacy he should reconsider this position.
In fact he should have resigned the moment the story broke that more than R200 million of public money was spent on his private home.
I want to use this opportunity to send a very clear message to the Honourable President that should he be implicated in any wrong-doing in the Public Protector’s report on the Nkandlagate scandal, I will table a motion to impeach him in this House.
And while I cannot guarantee we will win the vote, I know that from the FNB stadium in Gauteng to the forgotten people of Mothotlung, millions of South Africans will be calling for us to do the right thing. They know the real story that our country cannot afford another five years of President Jacob Zuma.
As we remember the legacy of our beloved President Nelson Mandela, we owe it to ourselves and to the young people who hold the future of our country in their hands to bring back the ‘good story’.
We in the Democratic Alliance are working hard to do this.
Let me now tell you about the ‘good story’ that is yet to come. It is a Story of Hope.
We will overturn the Story of Frustration, by fully adopting the NDP, opening South Africa for business and creating six million REAL jobs.
We will rewrite the Story of Greed, by enforcing zero-tolerance for those who cheat the nation and misuse its resources.
And we will end the Story of Fear, by demilitarising the police service and combatting the fundamental problems in our criminal justice system.
This is the good story which we will tell in 2019, when the ANC government is finally pushed below 50% at the national level.
It is the story of the Democratic Alliance on the rise.
South Africans saw it in the streets of Johannesburg last week. They will see it in the weeks to come, and at the ballot box on the 7th May.
The time for those who enrich themselves is over.
Change is coming to South Africa.
Province by province.
Ward by ward.
Street by street.
We will restore the good story of 1994 and we will deliver on the promise of freedom for all.
Lindiwe Mazibuko, Parliamentary Leader of the Democratic Alliance
Article source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201402190295.html