Legislature did little to improve the lives of people

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

The following farewell address was delivered to the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature today

As this is the final sitting of 2012 and these are farewell messages, one is expected to say to nice, positive and friendly things. So, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and safe driving. I wish all members a blessed and happy time with their families.

However, as another year ends, we need to reflect where we are, and how far we have come, and it is in doing so that I become most concerned.

I am concerned because I believe that under the ANC the Legislature is becoming an expensive, yet irrelevant institution in the democratic order of our province.

I am concerned that:

* We are closing down debate instead of expanding its avenues. This year, apart from the speeches and debates on the Premier’s State of the Province and the annual budget speeches, not a single debate aimed at changing the lives of Mpumalanga’s residents took place. We spend time and money on sectorial parliaments and patronising debates, yet very little of what we do has a direct consequence on the lives of people.

* Even the multi-million rand “Taking Legislature to the People” programme has not resulted in a single improvement of the lives of the people in those towns. Nothing in Bushbuckridge has changed since our visit, yet we are already planning the next one. Honourable Speaker, we are not a travelling circus and certainly not an ANC electioneering tool.

I am sickened by the increasing racism of the ANC in the house, but I am inspired to know that as our nation grows and our democracy deepens, and the hatred and division sowed by the ANC between people in our country is fast losing credibility.

So too, the symptoms of an institution becoming dysfunctional is beginning to show.

I am concerned at our regressing financial management, our claims system, the continued free meals in the members’ lounge, the condition of our building and even our inability to produce Christmas cards free of spelling errors. Things just seem to continue to be going pear-shaped.

Honourable Speaker, indeed for the first time in the eight years I have served in this august house, I am worried that our beacon of hope is beginning to wither.

With that said, I do wish each member, our staff and party staff everything of the best, good health and a blessed Christmas, and may we return in 2013 to join hands in defence of our beloved Legislature.

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