By Dr Rishigen Viranna, MPL, Member of the DA Caucus in the KZN Legislature:
South Africa comes from an extremely painful and unjust past. The evil system of Apartheid systematically denied millions of South Africans the opportunity to fulfil their potential and create the lives that they value.
Access to opportunities gives life and meaning to our current hard won freedoms. Every South African must be given a chance to succeed. The DA believes that these opportunities must be spread as broadly as possible and not concentrated in the hands of the governing political elite.
To realise this vision, government has certain responsibilities. Effective service delivery is one of the best ways of spreading opportunities into poor communities. Access to electricity, water, sanitation, quality education and efficient health care has the ability to lift people out of poverty.
As reported in the recent StatsSA Non-financial Census on Municipalities, the Western Cape is the leader in pursuing pro-poor service delivery with 75.7% of residents accessing free basic water, 44.9% accessing free basic electricity and 69% accessing free basic sanitation services. With this access to services and opportunities, thousands have been able to build better lives for themselves and their families.
However in KZN where 1 in 3 people are unemployed and where high levels of poverty exist, it is a reality that an effective social protection net is needed to protect the most vulnerable from poverty-driven starvation.
The DA believes in the constitutional imperative stressed in Section 27, that appropriate social security in distress is a right. Access to social assistance and grants is not a favour from the government or political party but a right.
A DA managed social protection system would go beyond merely allowing the vulnerable to survive in poverty. Instead it would assist recipients to lift themselves out of the poverty trap. It is a system that acts as a trampoline propelling the vulnerable and poor to new heights in their social development.
The South African people are not mere electoral fodder for the broken promises of the governing party.
The South African people are innovative and hardworking and with the required opportunities have the ability to make great contributions to the wellbeing of others and the global economy.