Premier DD Mabuza responds to the SOPA debate on the occasion of “Taking the Legislature to the people”


07 March 2014


1. Honourable Speaker and Deputy Speaker
Honourable Members of the Legislature
Members of the Executive Council
Executive Mayors and Councillors present here today
Ubukhosi obukhona lapha phakathi kwethu
The Director General, HODs and Municipal Managers
Representatives from various organisations
Our Special Guests – the people of Govan Mbeki and Gert Sibande municipalities
Comrades and compatriots
Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning

2. Honourable Speaker, colonialism and imperialism undermined and suppressed our Human Rights as African people over many centuries.

3. Central to our liberation struggle, was to reclaim our natural Rights and the creation of a space wherein we can exercise such Rights for our individual development and subsequently the development of the nation as a whole.

4. Therefore, the dawn of democracy saw the beginning of a protracted process to restore those Rights.

5. Those Rights are enshrined in Chapter Two of our Constitution:

6. Among others, this includes: right to access to health care; rights to food, water and social security; right to education and housing, including freedom of expression, and many other rights.

7. This month is March – a month put aside by the democratic government to celebrate and appreciate those hard-earned Human Rights.

8. So, all the challenges that we are addressing as the Ruling Party post 1994 have to do with the restoration of our Rights which are the foundation upon which we have to build the future society envisaged by the Freedom Charter.

9. On Tuesday this week, Honourable Members were debating the State of the Province Address that the Premier, on behalf of government, delivered on Friday the 28th of February 2014.

10. Fundamentally, the debate was trying to assess the performance of government as to how far has it moved in terms of addressing those issues which will assist us to restore our Human dignity since the advent of democracy.

11. Honourable Speaker, allow me, therefore, to expressing my sincere gratitude to all the Honourable Members who took part in the debate. They did a sterling work indeed and one really appreciates their invaluable contributions.

12. Let me also take this opportunity to, once more, thank the Legislature for taking its activities to the people on the ground.

13. As one pointed out in the past events, this initiative is highly commendable because it provides our people opportunity and space to interact with their representatives in government about governance issues, including their own challenges that are affecting them on daily basis.

14. And this is but one example that demonstrates the commitment of the Ruling Party to spirit and letter of the Freedom Charter. When we say the ‘people shall govern’ we really mean it in the true sense of this principle. In essence, we practice what we preach.

15. Honourable Speaker, with regard to the debate, my general observation is that, all the Speakers, for and against, commended the Ruling Party for making South Africa a better place to live in as compared to the period of the White minority rule.

16. There was general convergence among all the Speakers:

• That the Mandela administration inherited a country with a huge disparity in wealth and services between White and Blacks communities;
• That of a population of 40 million people by then, around 23 million lacked electricity or adequate sanitation;
• 12 million lacked clean water supplies;
• 2 million children not in school and a third of the population illiterate;
• There was 33% unemployed and just under half of the population lived below the poverty line.
• Government financial reserves were nearly depleted because fifth of the national budget was spent on debt repayment, meaning that the extent of the promised RDP was scaled back, making the creation of jobs and sustainable economic growth extremely difficult.

17. These are hard facts captured in the Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

18. Given this bleak situation, the Ruling Party had to adopt an array of policies and strategies to undo all these ills of the apartheid regime.

19. Therefore, the State of the Nation Address and SOPA delivered recently are building on the work of the previous administration of the same Party.

20. As the Ruling Party, we see these administrations as a set of seamless activities conducted by the same Party.

21. The different leaders of the Ruling Party do not represent intermittent administrations but one administration executed by different leaders at a particular point in time.

22. We are not surprise why the opposition is confused. The concept of democracy foreign to them, however, they should not worry much because we are here to hold their hand as we march to the future society where democracy, human rights and freedom will reign.

23. What one must emphasise is that the Ruling Party is an organisation anchored on the principle of collectivism. Singling out Madiba from the collective is really mischievous and misleading.

24. Madiba has been part of a collective. This is a sentiment that he expressed by himself personally.

25. I remember when he was asked as to how would he like to be remembered as leader post his political life’. He responded by saying that he want to be remembered as one of the collective leaders who fought against the colonial system that existed over 300 years.

26. Therefore, looking at our track record over the past twenty years as the Ruling Party, surely, we have done surprisingly well considering that we are trying to undo a system that has been entrenched in our lives for more than 300 years.

27. Definitely, we have got a good story to tell about the wonderful progress that we have achieved since 1994 to date.

28. It is a good story that captures our achievements in all those challenges that formerTata Madiba inherited as the first President under a democratic rule.

29. Since the Speakers highlighted those gains, I am, therefore, not going to repeat them but suffice to say that:

• Today the economy is steadily growing and creating more job opportunities, although not to the level of our expectations;

• Today our children are beginning to show good performance at school – performance that is threatening the opposition to the extent that they demanded the results to be investigated;

• Today more of our people are accessing health care and it is this increase in access that is exerting pressure on the current system because it was not design to carry multitudes of people in the first place.

• Today our rural masses are beginning to touch, feel and smell democracy because the Ruling Party has made it possible for them. They are able to access more job opportunities, receive training for empowerment and gaining access to basic services and land – rights which they never enjoyed in the apartheid regime.

• Today certain categories of crime are beginning to decline because of the concerted efforts put by the Ruling Party and the people of this Province.

• All in all, the process of deepening democracy is unfolding very well.

30. Honourable Speaker, we still believe that working in partnership with business and communities, we can do more.

31. I heard of your outcry about the role of SASOL towards job creation and Local Economic Development.

32. What I can assure is that the Provincial Government, together with the municipality and other mining companies that are operating here in Govan Mbeki, have entered into an Agreement whose aim is to address some of those challenges that you have raised at the different public hearings that the Legislature has conducted.

33. We hope to work together with you as we deal with those challenges going forward.

34. Once more, let me urge you to go and vote on the 7th of May 2014. All of us have a duty to defend this hard-earned democracy.

35. Let us go and exercise our right and exercise it correctly.

36. I thank You

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