Patricia Kopane MP
DA Leader in the Free State
Note: This extract is based on a speech delivered by the DA Free State Leader in Mangaung yesterday morning.
Good morning. Goeie more. Dumelang.
Welcome to everyone here today. It gives me great pleasure to host our Leader, Helen Zille here in the Free State. Malibongwe!
Wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo!
We have come a long way since 1994. Under the leadership of former Presidents Mandela and Mbeki, South Africa moved forward. We got our freedom, and took the first steps on the road to making a better life.
The DA wants to continue along that road to make sure that everyone has a chance at success in South Africa.
But today, in 2014, our achievements as a nation under Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki are fading in our memories.
Everywhere I go I hear the same story – people are desperate for jobs. That is all our people want: They want an opportunity to work for a better life.
The problem is that under President Zuma, our government has become corrupt. Corruption steals jobs away from the people. When you see or hear about corruption, know that more people are losing jobs because of it.
The DA’s plan for South Africa is to create 6 million new jobs, so that everyone can work, earn more, develop skills and make life better. We want people to be empowered to take charge of their own lives. We know that the best way to empower people is to give them job opportunities. We need a government that can create an environment where these jobs can become a reality.
Unfortunately since 2009 under Ace Magashule, more people in the Free State do not have jobs. Over the last 10 years the Free State lost 99 000 jobs. We have gone backwards. We are the only province where every year more people are unemployed.
The current unemployment rate in the Free State is 41.2%. That means almost 782 800 of our people in the Free State are unable to find jobs.
We want to create a corruption-free province that can create jobs and improve services. We will do 5 things to deliver more jobs to this province:
1) Stop Corruption
We have to stop corruption. We will open up all tender processes and ban government employees from doing business with the state.
There will be zero tolerance for corruption. If you steal from the people, you will be fired.
2) Youth opportunities
The DA will fix education in the Free State, because without a proper education our children cannot become qualified for jobs.
We will make sure we retain pupils through the entire schooling system. We will give every learner a textbook for each subject on time. We will put teachers in the classroom on time, every day. We will give our schools the resources, infrastructure and technology they need.
Education forms the foundation of our fight against poverty. It is a firewall between the next generation and poverty.
But we will also implement a provincial youth wage subsidy programme and an apprenticeship programme to create more work opportunities for the youth.
3) Better infrastructure
Our infrastructure in the province is deteriorating rapidly.
The DA government in the Free State will initiate a comprehensive rehabilitation programme for all roads across the province.
We must spend at least 10% of our provincial gross domestic product on building better infrastructure. This creates jobs and is an investment in our future.
4) Fight Crime
The DA government will stop crime. We will implement the community safety bill that the Western Cape government has implemented under Helen’s leadership.
This gives the province more power to hold the SAPS to account for proper policing.
We need more police officers, and they need to be better trained.
5) Grow mining and agriculture
We will implement mentorship programmes and partnerships that will give emerging farmers additional support.
We would also champion Agro-processing and bio-fuels production in the Free State.
Mining infrastructure and skills could be harnessed in other industries such as agro-processing. Matjhabeng has the potential to become a hub for engineering products.
That is how we will take the Free State forward.
We must reignite the vision and dream of Nelson Mandela. That vision was about freedom for our people. Political freedom, but also economic freedom.
Economic freedom can only become a reality when we cut out corruption and create jobs.
I ask the people of the Free State to lend us their votes on the 7th of May, so that we can together make Madiba’s dream a reality in this province. We need to be in government to implement our plan, and we can only get there with your support.
Together for change!
Together for jobs!