Category: Speeches & Statements

Television can pioneer innovative ways to address stereotypes and change attitudes towards maths and science

The ACDP believes that science, technology and innovation should play a crucial role in driving economic transformation and social upliftment in South Africa.

Raising awareness and increasing the quality of South Africa’s scholarly output in all fields of science, as well as promoting young scientists and women for science activities is a laudable aim, especially if we are to improve our global competitiveness in this area.

We also agree that if we are to see improved human capacity in this sector, the creation and continued growth of a pipeline of students interested in pursuing careers in science, mathematics and engineering is crucial. This will not be possible as long as our education system fails to improve the quality of teaching in maths and science.

While it is encouraging to note that in the area of Higher Education and Training, the 2017-2018 Global Competitiveness Report shows that South Africa has slightly improved its ranking for quality of maths and science education from the worst ranked in the world the previous year to 128th position, far more will need to be done to ensure that the level of maths and science education vastly improves.

Consider the example of Singapore, who, through a revised curriculum in the teaching methods of maths was able to change their world ranking for maths and science education from one of the lowest countries in the world, to one of the highest.

Singapore Maths is reputed to be one of the most successful national programmes in the world, according to the Trends in International Maths and Science Study survey (TIMSS), since 1995. The Singapore Maths curriculum and pedagogy is unique and revolutionary in its approach towards the subject, and we highly encourage the departments of Science and Technology and Basic Education to look into introducing a similar curriculum in our schools.

Naturally, teachers of these subjects must be qualified. It is unacceptable that so many of our children are being taught maths and science by teachers with little to no proper credentials.  It is also concerning that some schools reportedly omit teaching mathematics all together. The ACDP believes that maths and science should be compulsory subjects from primary school level if we are to address the skills shortages in our country.

The ACDP further believes that all media, whether radio, television, social platforms or print media should be used towards developing an interest in science, maths, technology and engineering. Statistics compiled by UNESCO reveal that globally, women make up less than 30% of people who are working within these fields.

Our country’s basic education system needs massive improvement when it comes to teaching maths and science so that they become attractive subject choices for more pupils. These important subjects should be taught in primary schools in ways that make them fun and engaging. Qualified teachers must aim to inculcate a love for maths and science among young learners, particularly among girl learners.

I believe the department of Science and Technology, in conjunction with the Department of Basic Education, can pioneer innovative ways to use television as an excellent medium to address stereotypes and change children’s negative attitudes towards maths and science in particular.

Rather than being bombarded with endless dancing programmes on television, young learners should also have access to programmes that show the value of science and innovative thinking, young women scientists and what they contribute to society, and who, in turn, might become role models to young girls who are aspiring to become scientists.

The ACDP will support this budget.


SPEECH BY: REV KENNETH MESHOE MP
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DEBATE: Budget Vote 30: Science and Technology
9 May 2018

ACDP withholds support for Basic Education Budget and strongly objects to cost-cutting measures

Like so many others, the ACDP is horrified that the budget allocation for Basic Education for 2018/19 is 2.9 percent less than last year and that grants are around R7 billion less than before. It seems that the desperately needed investment in higher education has been at the expense of basic education – a very dangerous trade-off in the opinion of the ACDP.  While fees are seen to be a major barrier to higher education (they are not the greatest barrier); poor quality primary schooling is.

President Ramaphosa stated during his State of the Nation Address: “If we are to break the cycle of poverty, we need to educate the children of the poor”.  Surely a decline in grants which benefit poor learners in predominantly rural areas flagrantly contradicts this statement. The ACDP strongly objects to cost cutting measures affecting basic education.

The ACDP does however note the improvement in monitoring and evaluation that has assisted with more effectively targeting challenges related to performance, gaps and inefficiencies in the education system.  Signs of improved learner performance, for example, as seen in the Bachelor pass trends of the National Senior Certificate, are encouraging but we clearly have a long way to go to be where we need to be.

What does not appear to have been taken seriously are practices like irregular appointments taking place at far too many schools, Hon Minister. For the sake of quality education can we afford not to investigate the allegations of mismanagement and irregular appointments? The ACDP is appealing to you and your department to give this matter your urgent attention, starting with appointments made under the ex-Director of the Umlazi District.

The ACDP notes the committee’s concern that there is a steady increase in learner enrolement while there is a decline in the number of educator posts in schools.  Learner/teacher ratios, especially in schools with the greatest challenges, are very worrying as this will seriously negatively impact on the quality of teaching and learner outcomes. The decreased budget will only worsen this situation and undermine all other efforts. The ACDP calls on Parliament, government and especially the Treasury to ensure budgets are adjusted to provide for adequate training and more teachers where they are most needed.

Challenges in the sector with regard to inclusive education and the needs of severely disabled children are also cause for concern. Budget cuts will seriously hamper progress in this area which needs ring fenced grant allocation.  In the face of budget cuts the dire need for infrastructure, maintenance of infrastructure, and an environment conducive to learning could become far worse and not better as we would have hoped.

Early Childhood Development, thankfully, is a national priority. While it is partly in the hands and budget of Social Development, the foundation phase has a significant impact on children and their ability to cope and succeed at the level of basic education.

The ACDP is concerned that the existing ECD Maintenance Grant is not able to deal with current realities. Unregistered centres are unable to access it and it is inadequate for the maintenance needs of conditionally registered centres.

The many years when poor and under-serviced communities had to provide their own ECD services with very little help from the state have left these centres unable to meet the norms and standards required to be registered.  Not being able to register means that ECD Centre’s are unknown to the department and not part of the ‘system.’ Therefore, there can be no oversight, no child protection services, no training for the governing body and staff, no access to state subsidies, no proper nutrition, nor no money for maintenance.

The ACDP calls on the Minister to take up the issue of municipalities taking up their role as per the National Integrated ECD Policy and to call on Treasury to provide additional ring fenced MIG funding to Municipalities for ECD Centre improvements.  Unless all ECD’s are registered and benefitting from departmental oversight, training and subsidies we will fail to meet our 2030 goals.

Lastly, the ACDP calls on the department to engage with the Department of Higher Education and Training more effectively in order to better understand and address the need for learners to be better prepared for University.

The ACDP cannot support this budget; NOT because of the many challenges, but because it is simply inadequate and the decreased budget will render the department unable to improve on the delivery of this critically important service.


SPEECH BY: CHERYLLYN DUDLEY MP
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DEBATE: Budget Vote 14: Basic Education
9 May 2018

ACDP disappointed that National Minimum Wage was not implemented yesterday

The ACDP recognises the role that the National Minimum Wage can play in reducing poverty and inequality, and at the same time, encouraging growth in domestic demand and productivity in the economy.

It has been widely acknowledged as an important intervention to assist low paid workers, and if properly implemented, has the potential to lift the earnings of literally millions of low paid workers.

Fedusa’s Dennis George has said that it is ‘keenly aware that a R3,500 a month minimum wage is less than an ideal living wage, but will certainly lift an estimated 4.5 million workers currently earning below that amount out of abject poverty’.

It is disappointing therefore that the National Minimum Wage, which was negotiated at length between Nedlac partners, was not implemented by yesterday, 1 May.

The aim will be also to elevate the domestic worker and agricultural sectors to be on par with the National Minimum Wage, within 2 years of implementation of the Act, and after research by the Commission.

Managing productivity will be the responsibility of the employer and it will become more important to manage productivity properly as the cost of labour increases. Employers will also be able to apply for an exemption similar to the sectoral exemptions that can presently be applied for in terms of section 50 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. The Department of Labour is currently finalising an online system for employers to apply for such exemptions with an expedited turn-around time of 30 days of the consideration of such applications.

The ACDP questions how NGOs, particularly those NGOs performing state functions, will be dealt with by the Bill. The early childhood development sector is an example where NGOs receive a grant from the Department of Social Development to provide these services. In 2013 the average salary was R1,373. Without proper coordination across government and possible increases in these grants, these NGOs will be unable to pay their staff the minimum wage. Similar problems may arise for NGO healthcare workers.

The Shukumisa Coalition of NGOs working in the social care sector from supporting rape survivors to running domestic violence shelters and serving people with disabilities, similarly warned MPs during public hearings on the Bill of closures of services meant to protect the most vulnerable, including children and the youth. The ACDP trusts that concerns in this regard are being addressed.

The question also arises why the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) has been included in Schedule 1 of the Bill. Workers enrolled in this programme are entitled to a minimum remuneration of R11 per hour. The EPWP has been identified as a flagship job creation and poverty alleviation initiative. The argument was that raising the wages of the EPWP would place too much strain on the national fiscus.

The ACDP believes that if widespread fraud and corruption in the public sector is addressed, this will unlock more resources.

We trust that the Commission will consider whether the EPWP should be excluded from the R20 per hour and what it would cost to achieve R20 per hour.

While there are some challenges with this Bill, they are not insurmountable and it is incumbent upon Parliament to pass it as quickly as possible.


SPEECH BY: CHERYLLYN DUDLEY MP
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DEBATE: Celebrating 100 years of Nelson Mandela — Restoration of workers’ right to dignity through the National Minimum Wage
2 May 2018

ACDP says political party funding bill a victory for multiparty democracy

The ACDP welcomes the Political Party Funding Bill which aims to regulate and make private donations to political parties represented in Parliament and Provincial Legislatures,  transparent. The extensive public consultations and hearings and the tabling of this bill today is the culmination thirteen years of efforts by many – and not least of all – the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa) which filed a notice of motion in the Western Cape High Court on November 15 2004, seeking an order that legislation should require political parties to disclose the details of all funding that they receive.

The ACDP notes with some satisfaction that this historic Bill, brings to an end a culture of secrecy surrounding the funding of political parties, both pre- and post-1994.  Because it has never been clear who finances those who represent us in Parliament it has never been clear exactly whose interests parties are prioritising. So much has been about ‘blind party loyalty’ and ‘how the story is manipulated and framed to catch media attention’.  Being told what to think from every angle, it is difficult for the public to remain clear on what is, in fact, in their best interests.

While the Bill aims to create a comprehensive legislative framework for the funding of political parties, the Constitutional value of transparency reigns supreme and this new legislation will require political parties to disclose the amounts and sources of donations above R100 000 per donor during any one financial year. Political parties will be required to present this information in a report to the Independent Electoral Commission, which will publish the reports on a quarterly basis. At the same time disclosure will be required by donors, to ensure that political parties are accurately reporting.

The ACDP commends Parliament and in particular the committee chaired by ANC MP Vincent Smith on a job well done and for ensuring that, if it is passed today, South Africa’s party funding legislation will be among the most ‘transparent and accountable’ in the world.

The ACDP, like many others, is all too aware of the potential however, for donors to be less likely to donate and risk public censure if they cannot retain anonymity and we welcome the new Multiparty Democracy Fund, created to provide a solution to this problem. The fund will receive donations from anonymous donors, as well as donors who do not wish to donate funds to a particular political party and all parties in the National Assembly and provincial legislatures will get a percentage based in part, on the proportionality of seats held by political parties across these legislatures.

Since 1994, parties have of course, received annual allocations of public funds but on a “90/10 split” – this Bill now provides for the allocation to be – two-thirds (66.7%) based on proportionality and one third (33.3%) equally, benefitting smaller parties and giving them a greater chance of reaching their potential voters.

This legislation is a real victory for multiparty democracy and the ACDP wholeheartedly supports this initiative which we believe will strengthen and preserve the important diversity of views across parties in our Parliament.”


FURTHER INFORMATION

  • The Bill bans certain categories of donors, including state-owned enterprises and organs of state and donations from foreign governments and foreign government agencies.
  • An upper limit of R15-million per donor per year is stipulated and the cap on foreign donations is R5-million per year.
  • Parties that fail to comply with the provisions of the Bill are subject to penalties, including the suspension of public funding and administrative fines potentially in excess of R1 million.
  • Criminal offences are also entrenched in the Bill. For example, accepting donations from banned donors and concealing donations that are required to be disclosed are listed as criminal offences which could be punished by up to five years’ imprisonment.

SPEECH BY: CHERYLLYN DUDLEY MP
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DEBATE: Political Party Funding Bill
27 March 2018

Is this House really okay with the fact that in South Africa, human dignity is for sale?

The right to human dignity is arguably the most important and fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution. It is the one right that logically precedes and sustains all other human rights. It is one of the founding values of our democracy and constitutional order and it infuses and permeates the whole of our social and legal order.

Where human dignity is not valued and respected, not promoted and protected, there is no basis for human rights and consequently can be no human rights culture.

Why then is the human dignity of countless women and children threatened and violated daily, with the approval of this Parliament?

It is alarming that a Parliament that says it earnestly desires to promote and deepen human rights and a human rights culture, recently passed legislation that not only legalises online pornography, but facilitates greater access to vile and degrading forms of pornography.  Who then can honestly believe that members of this House really regard the right to human dignity as inalienable when degrading and dehumanising sexual exploitation has been legalised for the sake of commercial entertainment?  What is the current Rand value of human dignity in South Africa?  Is there really no-one else in this House who is prepared to defend the priceless status of human dignity?

You have heard repeatedly that scientific research shows that pornography use physically changes the human brain, making pornography users subconsciously cognitively register other people, not as human beings, but as objects. Pornography use destroys moral reasoning and the ability to recognise the humanity of others. It has been scientifically proven that hardcore mainstream adult pornography causes some men to perpetrate sexual violence on women and children. Mainstream adult pornography can and does directly impact the lives of women and children who never use pornography themselves.

Research also shows that pornography drives the demand for prostitution, which in turn drives the demand for sex trafficking. Prostitution reduces human beings to commercial objects, valued for their utility for the temporary sexual gratification of another. Decriminalising prostitution will condone the violation of human dignity for the purposes of commercial exploitation (effectively accepting that in South Africa, human dignity can be bought or dispensed with at a price), and in the process, increase sex trafficking and reduce none of the harms of prostitution.

In S v Jordan, the Constitutional Court stated that “Our Constitution values human dignity which is inherent in various aspects of what it means to be a human being. One of these aspects is the fundamental dignity of the human body…(and) our Constitution requires that it be respected.” The Court said that it is the character of prostitution itself, that diminished the dignity of the person engaged therein. Yet alarmingly, there is support for those who want to legalise prostitution; to legalise the commodification and degradation of the human body.

Honourable members, you and I know: pornography and prostitution devalue human beings and in so doing violates the most basic human right and fundamental constitutional value – human dignity. We will be accountable for our actions in this regard.

Is this House really okay with the fact that in South Africa, human dignity is for sale?”


SPEECH BY: CHERYLLYN DUDLEY MP
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DEBATE ON HUMAN RIGHTS DAY: Celebrating the Centenary of NR Mandela by promoting and deepening a Human Rights culture across society
15 March 2018

HPCSA must not prejudice young aspiring doctors

The ACDP appeals to Health Minister to urgently ensure that the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is not allowed to prejudice young and aspiring doctors.

It is important to note that we are talking about South African students, who choose to study abroad, often because quotas in South Africa do not allow for high achieving students to get into Universities in South Africa to study the profession of their choice. These are not foreign students, they are South Africans.

The ACDP welcomes this opportunity to highlight the inefficiency of the HPCSA which is resulting in unethical consequences and the ACDP is appealing to the Minister of Health to urgently ensure the HPCSA is not allowed to prejudice young and aspiring doctors in this manner especially in our country that faces a dire shortage of doctors. This is a legal issue but it is also a human rights issue on many levels affecting service delivery in all communities.

An appeal was served in the High Court, Gauteng Division, on the 2 March 2018 as the HPCSA does not provide a tribunal or internal resolution process for lay foreign graduates. This is shocking when millions of people have little or no access to the High Courts of South Africa due to exorbitant costs.

The legal argument is that the HPCSA and their examination committee are applying the wrong regulation in using section 4 against students with foreign qualifications. Section 2 governs the students with foreign qualifications as they are categorised under interns.

Section 4 governs the registration of foreign qualified doctors to be admitted as general practitioners or specialists. The use of the wrong section is causing concern and great anxiety for students with foreign qualifications in South Africa and overseas and is forcing our young graduates to abandon their calling to the people of South Africa and having to use their medical training in other countries. The HPCSA is confusing students with foreign qualifications – with foreign qualified doctors applying for registration.

The ACDP, on behalf of affected and future students, is calling:

  • on the Minister of Health to ensure these discriminatory practices within the HPCSA affecting medical graduates stop;
  • for the establishment of an independent commission to investigate the discriminatory practices of the HPCSA and their examination committees for an investigation into the placement of foreign qualified graduates by the Department of Health in respect of internships and the prolonged administrative delays; and
  • for a review of regulations and a possible capping of the number of students going to study abroad so that proper mechanisms like sitting exams and adequate budgets are put in place;

The ACDP is calling:

  • for diplomatic ties to be forged with BRICS partners for
    discounting of fees and setting up hostels for South African students who have been bypassed by the Quota system of our education system of South Africa and to assist medical graduates in doing electives and clinical services in our training hospitals;
  • for a review of the present situation in which a shortage of doctors exists and yet qualified doctors and doctors in waiting remain unemployed; and
  • for budgets to be made available for private medical colleges to accommodate the brilliant graduates who are rejected by the present education department that works on the quota system.

SPEECH BY: CHERYLLYN DUDLEY MP
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DEBATE: “The plight of foreign qualified medical students who find themselves ineligible to sit for the Health Professions Council of SA board exams because of section 4 regulation contained in the Health Professions Act”
13 March 2018

Millions of litres of water from natural underground Table Mountain streams must be harvested for human consumption

Many areas of South Africa are experiencing drought conditions, with Cape Town experiencing the worst droughts in its recorded history.

The ACDP wishes to commend all residents and visitors to Cape Town and other drought-stricken areas for being good stewards of water and, in the case of Capetonians, for significantly reducing their water usage to avoid Day Zero.

We also wish to thank the farming community from the Elgin/Grabouw valley who contributed millions of liters of water to the Steenbras Dam , from where it will be pumped to City residents.

The big question is could this crisis have been avoided by better planning and implementation from national, provincial and local spheres of government?

While Cape Town’s previous Water Demand management programme worked well during drought conditions in 2004 and 2005, that programme could only work when there was sufficient rainfall. We have had an extended period of below-average rain fall, resulting in the worst drought in Cape Town’s history.

What has made the situation worse is that the national Department of Water and Sanitation failed to maintain strategic canals feeding dams, such as the canals flowing in to Voelvlei dam – which is an important source of water both for the City of Cape Town and towns on the drought-stricken West Coast. This reportedly resulted in an estimated loss of 7.5 million cubic meters of water in 2016 as well as losses in 2017. Regrettably, we understand that the sluice gates are still not being properly maintained on these canals, which will lead to further losses when the winter rains fall.

Furthermore, the chaotic state of finances at the national Waters Affairs department – with workers on strike in protest – has resulted in money intended for much-needed infrastructure maintenance across the country being used to pay salaries.  We are now reaping the results of this with water shortages being experienced across the country.

The City of Cape Town has pursued three bulk water solutions – ground water /aquifer abstraction; desalination; and water re-use. These are same three bulk water solutions the City has committed to many times before, but regrettably never implemented in time.

The City has a Bulk Water division that spends capital budget and operational budget on new water services infrastructure, renewal of water services infrastructure, upgrading of water services infrastructure and repairs and maintenance of water services infrastructure.

For the last 10 years, however, the City underspent its capital budget on water services infrastructure by R720 million.  This has contributed to the present water crisis.

While we acknowledge that there are no easy solutions to the water crisis, the ACDP believes that the millions of litres of water from the natural underground Table Mountain streams be harvested for human consumption.

Additionally, as a long-term project, rainwater and grey water harvesting devices should be installed in all households and new housing developments, and that subsidies should be given for the fitting of these devices into private properties in the same way that energy saving devices are being installed and subsidised to reduce electricity consumption.

Tourists and visitors must continue to be welcomed in Cape Town as they contribute significantly to our economy. However, hotel guests and staff should be made aware of water-saving measures introduced at hotels and asked to assist with using water sparingly.

While we are praying and trusting for rain for drought-stricken areas, we must be good stewards of the water we do have at this time.


SPEECH BY: STEVE SWART MP
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DEBATE: The water crisis in the Western Cape, the City of Cape Town in particular, and in other provinces, and the impact it has on the country as a result of drought, global warming and other contributing factors.
8 March 2018

No land expropriation without compensation

The ACDP has always acknowledged that there has been historical socio-economic injustice in South Africa around the question of land ownership, and our black population has been at the receiving end of forced dispossession. That is why the ACDP supports fair, legal and just reform and land redistribution.

This past weekend, the ACDP had a guest speaker Dr Tunde Bakare (the future President of Nigeria), who gave us his insight into the subject of expropriation of land without compensation.

Among other things, he said that for socioeconomic justice to be attained, land redistribution is inevitable. However, the Zimbabwean model is equally unjust, socially hazardous and economically unviable, even if politically appealing in the short term.

He continued to say, and I quote: “expropriation of land without compensation is an aberration under international law. The property, even of an alien, cannot be taken for public use without adequate compensation. This is in line with natural justice and takes into consideration the fact that the current owners have added value to the land in the form of investments.

Resolving this matter requires inclusive policies such as those that helped create a post-Apartheid South African nation under the leadership of Nelson Mandela; hence, nationhood must be the overriding objective.

The state must champion a pragmatic land redistribution drive guided by the principles of equity and justice (close quote).”

The ACDP will therefore not support this motion before us, because we believe that the expropriation of land without compensation is another forced takeover of land which involves paying evil with evil. Honourable members, two wrongs do not make a right. The fact that they Apartheid government forcefully disposed black people of their land does not justify the democratic government repeating the same evil.

Expropriation of land without compensation has historically destabilised economies as it destroys investor confidence and scares foreign investors.

The ACDP will not place ownership of land into the hands of the State, which would then lease it to citizens. True economic freedom and productivity is guaranteed more by innovation, industry and productivity, rather than by radicalism and rebellion.

The ACDP calls on all parties in this House to help build one nation under the Almighty God who desires that the profit of the land be for all its people, regardless of one’s colour, gender or creed.


SPEECH BY: REV KENNETH MESHOE MP
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DEBATE: “Draft Resolution (Mr J S Malema): Expropriation of land without compensation”
27 February 2018

Ramaphosa must urgently root out corruption starting with his cabinet

Madam Speaker, Honourable President Cyril Ramaphosa, and honourable members.

The excitement, hope and great expectation that filled this House on Friday night during the State of the Nation Address, reminded me of the days when the late former President, Nelson Mandela, was with us in the House. Thank you Mr President for giving hope to the people of South Africa.

Speaker, after making a befitting tribute to Madiba, the President made a commitment to ethical behaviour and ethical leadership. The absence of these two critical essentials in the previous administration, are among the foundational causes of the Capturing of the State of our country.

Even though it was encouraging to hear the President promise that the tide of corruption in our public institutions will be turned, I wondered whether he will have sufficient support to succeed because corruption has now become ‘a culture’ in some of our departments and institutions. It has become so endemic, that trustworthy officials and police officers have become fewer and fewer by the day.

The ACDP calls on President Ramaphosa to show his intention to urgently root out corruption by starting with his cabinet. On Wednesday, we want to see a new Minister of Finance give the Budget Speech. We want to see captured ministers and deputy ministers who are entangled in a web of corruption investigated as soon as possible. Justice must be seen to be done, and done without fear or favour.

Speaker, the President also promised to address concerns about political instability, and to ensure that there was policy certainty and consistency.

This, we believe, is crucial to ensure economic growth. While the ACDP believes that government must have a just and fair land redistribution programme, we are convinced that the expropriation of land without compensation will create policy uncertainty, and will potentially hinder the expected flow of new investors into our country. Besides the fact that we believe it is unjust to take a legally registered property from someone without compensation, we believe that this will dampen hopes for a peaceful and united future.

The unemployment rate in our country remains unacceptably high; South Africans, particularly South Africa’s youth, deserve better. Our country is blessed with many natural resources and our people are resourceful.

The fact is that government ignored warnings a few years ago when there were signs that we would run out of water in Cape Town is totally unacceptable.

But, what is even more devastating is to hear that both National and Western Cape Provincial governments refused help from internationally acclaimed Israeli water technicians to prevent water shortages.

I know that movements such as the BDS and other anti-Israel organisations are urging government to boycott Israel because of the apartheid lie. Surely it is irresponsible for government to refuse help from experts that would benefit all people, particularly the poor and the vulnerable because of narrow political agendas.

I therefore want to appeal to you Mr President not to be influenced by people who hate Israel more than they love our people. The politics of hatred will not help our country. Hatred does not build; it destroys. Hatred does not unite; it divides and hinders progress and prosperity. Political agendas of every kind have brought anxiety and much suffering in many parts of the world, including in this beautiful city of Cape Town. The ACDP calls on government to be humble and ask for help from people with a proven track record – people who  live in a desert and yet have no water shortages.

Mr President, we welcome your commitment to reinforce ethical behaviour and ethical leadership. We urge you to pursue truth, righteousness and justice for all, irrespective of race, socio-economic status or party affiliation. As you do, the ACDP, together with millions of South Africans, will also say “send me!” With the Almighty God at our helm, we will work together towards creating a beautiful and prosperous South Africa for all!

I thank you.


SPEECH BY: REV KENNETH MESHOE MP
Reply to 2018 State of the Nation Address
19 February 2018

Why pro-life Christians should support ACDP’s Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill

I would like to speak to you today about why pro-life Christians should support the ACDP’s Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill which is presently before the National Assembly.

In 2007, on behalf of the ACDP in the National Assembly, I put forward proposals for a private member’s bill to amend the Constitution. In 2010, I proposed legislation to amend the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act. The first proposal was to include the right to life of the unborn child in the Constitution and the second was to ensure a more fully informed choice is possible regarding the termination of a pregnancy.

Both bills found no support from any political parties in Parliament other than from the ACDP, and were rejected.

The reality from a political point of view is that until pro-life voters are in the majority in South Africa and they decide to vote for a party who understands their concerns – the life of an unborn child will not be given reasonable protection.

One of the many things that occurred to me through the experience of working on the first two private member’s bills was the choice I had.  A choice to either draft an obviously unconstitutional bill expressing the desires of the more serious Christian community only, knowing it would not get any support and nothing would actually change – or I could carefully contemplate and research what could in fact be improved on within the ambit of the constitution and concentrate on doing what can be done.

Working from this premise I proposed Labour Law legislation which was actually passed in the National Assembly on 28 November 2017.  This is the first Private Members bill and the first opposition party members bill to be passed by the National Assembly.  The legislation provides for parental and adoption leave.

During 2017, on behalf of the ACDP, I introduced the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill, 2017, in Parliament.  This legislation – which is not about whether or not abortion can be condoned for any reason – challenges the present situation which facilitates abortion on demand in the broadest sense.

I will be arguing that the intention of the legislators in 1996 to increase restrictions on termination of pregnancy in line with the development of the baby in the womb is clearly illustrated, yet overly broad and vague clauses, appear to have been slipped in and contradict and nullify this intention.

The amendment aims to ensure greater protection of a women’s right to apply her mind to relevant facts and information in order to make an informed choice and aims to ensure through mandatory as opposed to non-mandatory counseling that adequate budgets are made available for this purpose.

Discrimination against babies conceived by women in low income families or in challenging social and financial circumstances is addressed by adding a social worker’s experience and opinion to that of a medical practitioner in the second trimester; and the deletion of the reference to ‘a risk of injury to the fetus’ as a valid reason to terminate an otherwise viable baby after 20 weeks of gestation as it is vague and an excessive response, especially since every birth could be said to pose a risk of injury to the fetus.

Some European countries are now considering tightening their abortion laws. For example, in Norway, midwives have voiced concerns about the number of healthy babies… sufficiently viable to survive outside the womb… being aborted on ‘social grounds’ beyond the usual 12-week limit. Their intervention in this traditionally liberal country, I am told, has led to a change in the law.

Across Europe, many liberals are increasingly coming to regard late abortions where babies are often born alive and have to be left to die, as barbaric.  And more women ministers in socialist countries are also rejecting the argument that limiting late abortions is anti-women.

Today we know so much more than we did in 1996 and babies are recognised as viable at 18 weeks into a pregnancy. We also know that unborn babies not only die but suffer excruciating pain during dismemberment abortion – a cruelty that rips arms and legs off a helpless child.  It seems to me that in 2018 we stand a far better chance than ever before of having meaningful and respectful interactions across hard and fast positions in order to improve existing legislation without imposing on peoples freedom to choose.

The amendments in the private member’s proposal provide for a greater degree of consideration and protection for both women experiencing a crisis pregnancy and for the child they are carrying.

The hope is that a greater appreciation and respect for life will take root in our cultural perspective. There is also the possibility that some through accessing relevant information and help will not feel they have to take the life of their child.

Some Christians have expressed heartfelt concern that this approach is a compromise, which of course it is.  We live in a diverse society and compromise for the sake of living in relative peace and harmony is a given, keeping in mind that when a majority of people in SA decide to stand up for ‘the right of an unborn child to life’ and vote in line with their convictions, the compromise will more meaningfully reflect this view.

Fortunately many of those who reacted negatively, reconsidered when they were asked if they were saying the life of one child was not worth saving if we cannot save the lives of all babies.

The majority of voters are presently pro-choice, even if not pro-abortion, and of those, many are vociferous defenders of super liberal abortion laws.

The ACDP hopes that this legislation will give these people an opportunity to reconsider their views on abortion.  We also hope that it will result in many more women, given the opportunity to consider the truth about what is happening in their body will decide to access options or help, available to them and choose to bring their child into the world alive.  In terms of research done this will not often be the case – but a percentage of women do change their minds and are grateful they did.”


SPEECH BY: CHERYLLYN DUDLEY MP
Pro-life demonstration, Parliament
1 February 2018