Note to Editors: This statement is based on a speech delivered by Athol Trollip at the Siphethu Community Hall in Ntabankulu on Wednesday, 19 March 2014.
The DA believes that South Africa and the Eastern Cape are better places to live in in 2014 than they were prior to 1994 as we are now a constitutional democracy with many advancements.
However the hopes and goals we had between 1994 and 2014 have changed because the ANC under Jacob Zuma is not the ANC of Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki.
The former Transkei is rich with opportunity and our greatest asset is our people. The Eastern Cape has produced many leaders. But the ANC under Jacob Zuma is not a party that is working to make South Africa and the Eastern Cape a place that will retain its leaders and a place where there is a better life for all. Jacob Zuma’s ANC is in politics to enrich its family, friends and inner political circle.
We all know there is too much corruption and not enough jobs. Our people are forced to go and look for jobs in other provinces, such as Gauteng and the Western Cape, whose economies are growing and where opportunities are being created. This dislocates our social fabric and breaks up families, especially in rural areas such as this.
The “expanded unemployment rate” for the Eastern Cape stands at 43%. This includes people who have given up looking for work. In the EC we know that the reasons are primarily inadequate economic growth due to ambiguous economic policies of the ANC and the lack of infrastructure and the poor maintenance thereof. This is compounded by cadre deployment and corruption. People are getting jobs because they are connected to the ANC and not because they have the necessary skills and capacity. This is why service delivery is failing.
Agriculture is the main activity in this area. Yet our state led agrarian reform projects remain unsustainable and the transfer of skills has been negligible. Magwa Tea, not far from here, is a case in point. The cooperative relationship between the provincial Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform and its sister national Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Rural Development and Land Reform is virtually nonexistent. This dislocated relationship is a massive area of risk where corruption prospers. The lack of extension officers and research support and the underachievement of the Narysec programme is testimony to this.
The only such projects that show any sustainability are the Public Private initiatives entered into with organisations such as Amadlelo Agri. Why is this model not replicated and rolled out across the province? (Because such initiatives are profit driven and the scope for corruption is reduced!)
The redeployment of the Eastern Cape MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Zoleka Capa, to the national parliament, is testament of yet another failure of this department.
Our children are still faced with having to go to mud schools and receive substandard education. Those who cannot find jobs outside of the province simply get caught up in the viscous circle of relying on the government for a “piece” job in the Expanded Public Works Programme and a Sassa grant.
A life of dependency and enslavement is not what we, the people, want. The DA today is a party that is ready to govern and to address this dependency cycle that keep so many people of this province in political bondage.
That is why we have policies to improve education, create 6 million new jobs, create 1 million internships every year and pay for every single qualifying South African’s tertiary education. We are a rich country. We can afford to do these things if we cut out the corruption and get rid of incompetent, corrupt and self-serving political leaders and civil servants that are a drain on our scarce resources.
This is a party for all South Africans. We know that apartheid dispossessed and disadvantaged black South Africans. We want to redress this by creating opportunity for all South Africans to progress in life and become independent from an overbearing and patronising government.
That is why the DA is growing stronger and stronger. We are asking you to take responsibility for your life and for your future by making the change to the DA.
Together for change.
Together for jobs.