By Dr Imran Keeka, MPL, Member of the DA Caucus in the KZN Legislature / DA KZN Spokesperson on Health:
Madam speaker, our country’s Constitution sets out at the very beginning – in the Bill of Rights – the rights and freedoms of our people.
In certain sections it also places limitations. One in subsection (1) is – and I quote; “advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.”
It was around the time of the xenophobic attacks that the DA tabled this motion. There were some who saw these gruesome acts as one thing. There were others who tried to give it another name. And there were others who saw it for what it was – an attack based on ethnicity and origin.
So I must ask today, who here doubts that amongst its tangled, evil manifestation, that it indeed was an attack on freedom and the denial of opportunity?
I should like to quote from the DA’s values charter where we affirm that we stand in unity with anyone who agrees with this, that:
“The inalienable rights of every South African are recorded in the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is a victory over South Africa’s unjust past. Apartheid was an evil system which denied generations of South African citizens the freedom, rights and opportunities to improve their lives and fulfil their potential. South Africans, working individually and collectively through many different organisations, freed themselves when they defeated the system of Apartheid. The injustices suffered by previous generations harm those who follow. The effects of the past are therefore still felt by many born after 1994; • We cannot undo the past, but as a nation we have a duty to redress any disadvantages caused by our past, so that all South Africans may make equal use of their opportunities;”
We know well that Apartheid wasn’t just about the dignity of South Africans. It had a profound impact on the countries around us too.
Nelson Mandela speaking at Nobel Square, Cape Town, South Africa on 14 December 2003 said: “We were expected to destroy one another and ourselves collectively in the worst racial conflagration. Instead, we as a people chose the path of negotiation, compromise and peaceful settlement. Instead of hatred and revenge we chose reconciliation and nation-building.”
More recently, former DA Leader and current Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille asked;
“Why are there “No More Mandelas”? Why is it that most current ANC leaders seek to entrench division rather than promote reconciliation? The answer is that this formula suits them well. All they have to do to keep winning elections is to divide people on the basis of race, and keep them hating each other. It is the easiest recipe in politics for short-term power, and long-term disaster. And, as Nelson Mandela said: “We have to be better than that”. That is the most difficult challenge of politics.”
Madam Speaker. Jobs and access to opportunity, but rather the lack thereof, lie at the heart of our economy.
South Africa’s economic growth fell to 1.4% in 2014 and the forecast is that it will grow very slowly. In this quarter our economy has contracted by a further 1.3%. While other developing economies and Sub-Saharan Africa are expected to grow from 4.4% and beyond, our country is facing a dismal 2%.
This continued slump is a trademark of Msholozi’s government since 2009.
Now before someone stands up to tell me how well KZN is doing, I agree that there are three provinces the highest indices that StatsSA refers to. But consider this, the of the smaller provinces, with less than half the equitable share that KZN receives and performs equally, the WC has produced the first clean audit of any education department in the country. We have no other option but to learn from them. And we congratulate them in this house today.
Almost 1 in 3 people in South Africa are unemployed. A massive 70% of these are our youth. Many are young black people who remain deprived of opportunities simply because they don’t have jobs.
Many years ago we were a very unhappy society that overcame a very unfair and horrible system. Must we now accept the perpetuation of inequalities such as between those who have work and those who do not, where we are acutely aware that the number climbs daily.
We are haemorrhaging jobs, sitting with mounting corruption, massive prison populations and safety deteriorating. And so we must ask, who is the enemy of our freedom?
I put to you once more the important advice of Premier Zille who said:
“If we are to build a better South Africa, we need to break the dominance of one party. We need to do it while the institutions of our democracy such as the electoral commission, the courts, the police, the army and the public broadcaster are still, by-and-large, independent from the party in power. We don’t have time on our side. In fact, South Africa’s democracy is in a race against time.”
How often have we been reminded of this? How many times have we been witness to a governing party which flagrantly violates the Bill of Rights?
The Courts have reminded our government of its lapses, as has the Public Protector, another edifice of our democracy. Nkandla comes to mind where the ANC voted for itself and all other significant role players rejected what was tabled.
Closer to home – in fact right here – we have a member of the executive who has taken it upon himself to determine the rules by which he should be held answerable. The DA would like to remind MEC Dhlomo that we are not living in a fairytale province when it comes to conditions at KZN’s health institutions. In fact, perhaps he needs a reminder of what a fairytale looks like. (Present book)
Looking at these instances, can anyone here honestly reject the DA’s view that such subversion is the hallmark of a government not accountable to her people?
Can anyone here honestly deny that this is the enemy of freedom and the constitution?
Can anyone truly say that government is behaving in a transparent manner, that it has the best interests of all South Africans as its core responsibility and that all its people are treated equally, rather than just the well-connected elite?
Can anyone here deny that these are the hallmarks of a government distancing itself from the very people affected from its decisions?
You will howl and shout indeed. Yet daily we see how the institutions that Premier Zille referred to are being eroded.
DA Leader, The Hon Maimane summed up the need for today’s Motion with the following;
“President Zuma’s government has failed us in this regard. This corrupt enemy of freedom has created this economic crisis. The solution lies in replacing this corrupt government with a champion of truly inclusive freedom. A DA government would make it its mission to unlock the potential of our economy and respond to the needs of the human face of our economic crisis.”
And so you rightly ask – how will the DA do this? We can make reference to those matters that we agree on from the NDP, but like CoGTA, we need to go back to basics or what I would say is urgent.
The DA proposes a five step plan which will give South Africans hope and take us out of the quagmire we find ourselves in:
- We must immediately solve the energy crisis
- We must protect two of our most valuable sectors: tourism and mining
- We must do all we can to support small businesses
- We must reform our labour market to protect both the employed and the unemployed
- We must assure investors, through policy certainty, that we’re open for business.
Finally, the DA’s charter states:
“Central to empowering South Africans is ensuring that they are free from the deprivations that rob them of their ability to use their opportunities. This requires:
- A system of social security to protect people from extreme poverty;
- The delivery of high quality basic services;
- Excellent education and healthcare;
- A functional criminal justice system to keep people safe;
- A growing economy to enable people to access jobs, and
- Measures to level the playing field of opportunities, as quickly as possible, for people who today are still at a disadvantage because of the injustices of the past.”
“South Africans have the opportunity next year to start removing the enemy of freedom from municipalities in the local government elections.” Mmusi
Will ensure that our 5 point plan is put into effect in the following way;
- Economists have put the cost of load-shedding on our economy at over R200 billion per year. The shackles of Eskom’s monopoly have to be broken and the measures must be taken by the DTI to keep factories open. When we have more time we will tell you how we envision this. Including re-looking at an energy plan that must include renewable energy technologies. Immediately we need to ensure minimum disruptions to all business. It is with bated breath that we hear of Medupi’s unit six almost fired up.
- So unfair, freedom of movement restricting, ANC majority forced visa laws must be changed in order to create jobs. And in mining BBBEE re-empowerment must cease once reached otherwise it chases away investors.
- The DA’s views on SMME’s are similar to those of the NDP and we agree that this is one of the best ways to overcome apartheids legacy. but governments narrow view to use SMME’s as a procurement tool is self-limiting. Tax incentives are necessary as is mentorship and the cutting of red tape.
- Labour policy must be both protective of rights but flexible enough to allow for job creation. If we do not find a balance in this, we will protect the employed at the expense of the unemployed. Labour law needs a serious overhaul.
- Irvin Jim’s recent pronouncements of the instability in the tripartite alliance clearly paint a picture of great uncertainty. This is one enemy of a truly free, fair and opportunity based South Africa that MUST be removed from office otherwise all we will be left with, is nothing to govern.
I leave you with this:
Helen Zille said: “The next fifty years will be defined by a battle between two competing visions for South Africa. One is the open, opportunity society for all – the golden thread in our party’s tapestry.The other has its roots in racial nationalism and the apartheid regime and has been enthusiastically adopted by elements in the ruling party. It is the closed, crony society for some with all the hallmarks of the apartheid state: preferential treatment for the politically connected, the subversion of independent institutions in the service of the ‘national interest’ and the mobilisation of people along racial lines. Today the beneficiaries of this closed system try to pretend they are acting in the interests of “the people”. The truth is their policies are making poor people poorer.”