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