Taking Legislature to the People loses its relevance

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

Note: The following address was made by Anthony Benadie during the debate on The Address by Premier David Mabuza during the Taking the Legislature to the People proceedings in Thembisile Municipality.

We stand at the end of yet another session of taking the Provincial Legislature to the People, to debate the Premier’s address. This debate is also an opportunity for us to reflect on the week’s proceedings and how the lives of the people of Thembisile will better after we leave, than before we came.

And indeed, the people of Thembisile will be happy. As this week, the presence of the Legislature saw a range of unique service delivery activities:

  • In many parts of the municipality, especially on the routes travelled by honourable Members, EPWP workers could be seen, strategically deployed, randomly shovelling at grass along the road. It appeared that these workers were even provided with new ‘road cones’ to draw attention to their presence.
  • This week saw the highest presence of visible policing with streets lined with either members of the SAPS, the Provincial Traffic Department and officers from the Thembisile Hani traffic department. Sadly, all this was to protect politicians and not the public, but nevertheless they were visible.
  • We even spotted vehicles from the Department of Roads and Transport, filling potholes and clearing road sides. A rare occurrence in Thembisile.
  • And throughout this week, we have witnessed the presence of an ambulance and medical personnel, permanently on standby in the event of something happening at one of the Legislature events. A luxury rarely enjoyed by residents of Thembisile.

But the real question must be how the events of past week will improve the lives of Thembisile’s people. And I fear that nothing will change. Just as nothing changed after we left Pixley ka Isaka Seme, or Mkhondo, or Sabie, or Bushbuckridge, or Dr JS Moroka.

The Premier and MECs return to their life of luxury and blue light brigades, and the people of Thembisile return to their lives of a daily battle for service delivery, for water, housing, sanitation, health care, good education for their children and for a safe community.

The dignity of Thembisile’s people must be restored. They deserve a better life, they deserve title deeds, but most importantly they deserve job opportunities that will enable them to improve the quality of their lives and that of their family.

But, if the objective of this week’s activities was aimed at providing the people of Thembisile with a dose of political entertainment, we have succeeded. The ANC has successfully reduced this August house to little more than a trivial political circus.

Their behaviour in this house has been atrocious, characterised by racist insults, deliberate disruption of proceedings, and a carefully orchestrated strategy of disrupting the opposition and preventing us from having our inputs heard. Indeed the ANC’s desperate attempt to turn this Taking Legislature to the People programme into an ANC election rally, has reduced our proceedings to a farce, where the ANC’s political interest, trumps the interests of the people of Thembisile.

Honourable Speaker, thankfully Honourable Masango and I spend a considerable amount of time in Thembisile, spreading the message of the DA’s vision for a united and prosperous South Africa.

I conclude with the famous words of the great Mahatma Ghandi, which so accurately represent the phases of how the ANC has behaved over the past 20 years. He said “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

And it’s true, first the ANC ignored us (declared the DA irrelevant), then they laughed at us (tried to label us) and now, the ANC is fighting us (because they are threatened by DA growth).

And I tell you solemnly, when the fighting is done, that we will reach the last phase and the DA will win.