Speech on the ACDP's response to the 2024 State of the National Address
Speech by ACDP MP, Rev Kenneth Meshoe

Issued by the ACDP Parliamentary Media Office

“ANC, you have gone too far and your judgement is imminent.”

Feb 14, 2024

Honourable President,
Honourable Speaker,
Honourable Deputy President,

I want to comment on a few things the President referred to in his speech, particularly when he reminded this House that he was the Chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly and that he worked with many great leaders of our country to craft the South African Constitution.

He continued to say, and I quote, “As President, I see it as my primary duty to defend our Constitution and to work every day to realise its promise.”

Further, he said, and I quote, “We have safeguarded and promoted the basic rights in our Constitution, such as freedom of speech, association and belief. We have protected and advanced the rights of members of the LGBTQI community, and continue to combat all forms of prejudice and intolerance.”

Mr President, may I say that while you are protecting and advancing the rights of members of the LGBTQI communities, please ensure that this does not inadvertently infringe on other people’s constitutional right to hold a different view, a Constitutional right that you also promised to uphold. Young learners and students, for example, should not have to be indoctrinated about LGBTQI rights at schools and universities if their own conscience or religious belief differs.

In his concluding remarks, the President said, and I quote again, “… guided by the fundamental principle of human rights and freedom, we have taken up the Palestinian cause to prevent further deaths and destruction in Gaza.”

Speaker, I now want to tell this House why I do not believe that this Government’s efforts will yield any lasting fruit or stop the hostilities between Israel and Palestine, particularly in Gaza. But, before I tell this House what I believe can and will help end the war in Gaza, I want to firstly express the ACDP’s sadness at the tremendous loss of innocent lives and destruction of property in Gaza. That is why I strongly believe that this government and the International Community can end the war in Gaza within three weeks to a month if they want to. If they are serious about ending the war, they will have to do the following:

Firstly, they should prevail on Hamas to release all remaining hostages hidden in their tunnels.

Secondly, the ANC and the International Community should order Hamas to destroy all tunnels under Gaza, particularly those leading into Israel.

Thirdly, Hamas and the International Community must accept the right of Israel to exist within safe and secure borders.

Without these fundamental agreements in place, that war will never end and the dream of a two-state solution will not materialise.

Speaker, it is not possible to live in peace next to a neighbour who has vowed to remove you from the face of the earth. It is not possible for Israel to live in peace next to Hamas who has vowed to repeat the despicable atrocities they carried out on the 7th of October last year, which reportedly included rape, murder, abductions and beheadings.

The ACDP longs to see peace between Israel and Palestine but this won’t be possible until the right of Israel to exist within safe and secure borders has been acknowledged and agreed to.

Taking Israel to the International Court of Justice will not improve the situation there.

I want to remind the ANC today that Isaiah 54:17 says that “no weapon that is formed against Israel shall prosper and every tongue that rises against her in judgement, she will condemn.”

ANC, you have gone too far and your judgement is imminent. When the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob said He will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse her, He was not joking and meant every word He said. You have invited a curse on yourself and you are going to get it!  [Speaking Time Expired]

Responding to the President’s letter, Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein (on 4 December 2023) said, and I quote, “In his letter to the nation, President Ramaphosa noted that there is ‘no place for any form of prejudice’ in South Africa, that we ‘are a society that prides itself on its tolerance and respect … and there is no place in our society for anti-Semitism” (https://www.chiefrabbi.co.za/2023/12/chief-rabbi-dismantles-genocide-libel-against-israel/).

But, Mr President your actions belie these words. By implying that I and my fellow South African Jews support apartheid, genocide and war crimes, you send a powerful message to all South Africans that any Jew who is a Zionist, who is a supporter of Israel is fair game. You have declared open season on us.”

For your information Mr President, you have included Bible-believing Christians like my family and I who are unashamedly Zionist and who believe everyone, including the Jews, has the right to live in their place of choice, including in Israel. We are not traitors who will betray our Jewish roots to be politically correct. No Sir, that will never happen.

Speaker, I agree with the President when he says that South Africans deserve to be safe and to feel safe, to walk freely and without fear in their neighbourhoods and public spaces. But, we all know that that is not the daily reality for millions of South Africans.

No one should have to live in a place where at least one case of rape is reported every hour, or where around 148 cases of sexual offences are reported each day.

No one should have to live in a place where each day, we see on average 78 murders, 67 cases of hijacking and 68 cases of house robberies reported. In South Africa, around 134 cases of common robbery are reported each day.

While the President said that tackling crime and insecurity is a key priority, there seems to be little to no proof to show that these things are on the decline.

Adding 10,000 police officers to Public Order Policing each year will not reduce crime in this country. As long as the conviction rate for serious crimes – particularly murder and rape – remains below 20 per cent, government fails to honour their primary responsibility, which is to protect and keep our citizens safe.

Speaker, the ACDP eagerly awaits the day that South Africa gets a professional, well-trained and properly resourced police force that will ensure that our country becomes a far safer place to live. Police should stop obsessing over the rights of criminals when they effect an arrest. Rather, they should be thinking about the rights of the victims who have been violated.

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