Roy Jankielsohn MPL
DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature
Note: This was the speech delivered by the DA Leader in the Free State Provincial Legislature, Roy Jankielsohn MPL, during the State of the Province Address debate in the Legislature yesterday evening.
On Friday we listened to a political speech delivered by the Chairperson of the ANC in the Free State. It was not a speech delivered by the Premier of the province.
The DA acknowledges the advancements made in Free State and the country since 1994 to restore the dignity of our people. However, we also know that that the material circumstances and economic prosperity of our people have deteriorated significantly over the past five years.
What we heard in the State of the Province address painted a rosy picture by a Premier who has clearly lost touch with the realities facing our people in the province. Our people in the Free State have a very different story to tell than that of the Premier.
According to Statistics South Africa, the Free State has the highest unemployment in the country. If you include those individuals who have lost all hope and no longer even seek employment, then at least 41% of our people are unemployed, and youth unemployment is at 46,7%. These hundreds of thousands of destitute people have a story to tell.
While it is important to acknowledge that the work opportunities generated by the expanded public works programme is an important mechanism that brings temporary financial relief to our people, these temporary work opportunities can never replace real sustainable long term permanent jobs.
The Premier indicated that the social grant system in the Free State caters for approximately one million people, that 85,5% of schools are no fee schools and that the national School Nutrition Programme caters for 438 937 learners. It is important that we assist the most vulnerable in our society, however, the more people we add to the social grant system, the more the economic failures of this government become apparent. The social grant system seeks to alleviate the deprivation of poverty, but it should never replace our determination to create opportunities where our people can access permanent employment. A job allows people to take care of themselves and their families and is a source of pride and dignity.
This government has extended patronage and dependency to levels that are completely unsustainable. Temporary government created jobs and a widening social net, together with a shrinking tax base is a recipe for ultimate economic meltdown, and fuels the current wave of violent protests and radical populism threatening the social fabric of our communities. Operation Hlasela was designed to create this dependence on the government and the Premier, and is used as an election tool.
Stats SA indicates that in the last decade alone, the Free State has shed 39 000 jobs in the agricultural sector, 2600 jobs in trade, and 59 000 jobs in the mining sector. These are real private sector jobs that have been permanently lost. Jobs created by government will never replace jobs lost in the private sector. Jobs in the private sector generate tax income, unlike jobs in government that consume taxes.
While our people who have become political slaves to government in exchange for hand-outs have grim stories to tell, the beneficiaries of the dissolved R143 million Magashule Trust have a very good story to tell.
While the 51% of our people who live in poverty have a sad story to tell, companies like Letlaka Communications that benefit from lucrative multi-million rand communications deals, and their friends in government, have a very good story to tell.
While many of our people depend on hand-outs from government to feed their children and who themselves often go hungry have a heart wrenching story to tell, ESTINA and those in government who benefited from the inflated goods and services of the Vrede Dairy Project have really good story to tell.
While the many unemployed youth in Maluti-a-Phofung who remain hungry and jobless have a story of desperation to tell, Mr Moloi who received a R250 000 per month government contract to oversee projects and who defrauded the people of the Hlasela flagship Diyatalawa Agri-Village of their money in a shady cattle deal has a good story to tell.
While the people who are injured in accidents caused by potholes have a painful story to tell, the mayor of Tokologo who overspent his budget to purchase a R510 000 Jeep to navigate the poor roads and then spent a further R500 000 on an inauguration party has an extravagant story to tell.
While our people who are without water for days and even weeks at a time have a shocking story to tell, the overpaid ANC cadres who receive multi-million rand packages and performance bonuses every year who are responsible for the prevention these problems have good story to tell.
While our people in Ezenzeleni are being evicted from dilapidated RDP houses that are being demolished have a gruesome story to tell, contractors like Koena Property Developers and Allitory as well as their friends in government who benefited from tenders to build these houses have good story to tell.
While the people of Zamani have to wash their clothes and obtain water from a sewerage infested stream have a sick story to tell, the various companies that were previously paid to fix the sewerage problems, and their friends in government who appointed them, have good story to tell.
While our entrepreneurs who are struggling to make ends meet in the Free State have an atrocious story to tell, companies like C Squared who enjoy a monopoly on government events have a good story to tell.
Speaker, I agree with the ANC that our people in the Free State have a story to tell, it is however only those people who benefit from this Premier’s patronage who have a really good story to tell.
This patronage has become so morally and materially corrupt that the story around it is totally obscene.
Speaker, the people of the Free State deserve better, and they realise that the key to meaningful change in their lives is at the ballot box, and only at the ballot box.