Speech notes: Reaction to SOPA 2020 by Nqaba Bhanga, MPL

Issued by Nqaba Bhanga, MPL
Shadow Eastern Cape Premier

Hon. Speaker,

Hon Premier,

Members of this House,

100 years Raymond Mhlaba

Thabo Mbeki, when he paid tribute to Raymond Mhlaba said, “I am therefore honoured to speak for our nation today and say thank you Oom Ray for what you and your generation of titans did to restore to us our humanity by teaching us to respect the toiling masses of our country and to strive to live up to the injunction that the people shall govern!

The freedom we achieved a decade ago through a difficult struggle brilliantly led and fashioned by Oom Ray and the other giants of liberation fighters has placed demands on our people to produce leaders capable of leading our country and people successfully to create the humane and people-centred society to which Oom Ray dedicated his life.”

In the 2019 SOPA, the Premier raised the issue of social cohesion.  I would like to take it further to embrace the values of Oom Ray to build a truly non-racial society.

As the DA, we have placed ourselves as the champions of non-racialism.  Other parties define themselves along racial lines, others call themselves a “black caucus”.  As the DA we refuse to divide people along these lines.

The legacy of apartheid and historical grudges

The evolution of the struggle for national liberation was not an accident of history but a logical development of history to address colonialism and apartheid oppression caused by the  oppressive regime, with an intention to subject and destroy the majority of South Africans to  Social and Economic squalor, which resulted in generations of black people being left excluded  from the value of  economic opportunities.

Due to a history of apartheid as well as governance failures and corruption in the democratic era, there are skewed and shrinking opportunities. South Africa desperately needs a radically different approach for redress and inclusion. Over two decades of political freedom have not resulted in adequate improvement in the socio-economic prospects of the majority of South Africans.

The national unemployment rate sits at 29.1%, while the latest unemployment figures for the Eastern Cape show that it increased to 39.5%, with the expanded unemployment rate at 47.7%.   The unemployment rate of the province is much higher than the national unemployment rate.

This means that the province is losing jobs much faster than it can create jobs.  This makes the provincial government’s promise of reducing unemployment by half by 2030 unbelievable because the reality in the Eastern Cape paints a sobering picture.

 

Collapsing Economy

South African GDP contracted by 1,4% in the fourth quarter of 2019, following a contraction of 0,8% in the third quarter.  This continued decline in GDP will have devastating effects on trade and industry and is likely to result in further job losses.

The Eastern Cape is currently faced with a bloated public sector wage bill. The government is incapable of changing the macro-economic policy to cut the bloated public sector wage bill.  The payment of wages takes up 65,7% of the total budget and accounts for R54,1 billion.  This figure is up by R2,9 billion.

Historical injustice will never be addressed because only 35% of the budget is left to address infrastructure challenges and service delivery.

What is needed is a growing economy, of at least a growth rate of 8%, and this will not be achieved through government intervention but through an injection of private sector investment.

To change the current status quo, Madam Speaker, we must change the government Broad Based Economic Empowerment that targets the elites or a small group of people.

Rather introduce the DA approach of the UN Sustainable Development Goal Model of targeting the vulnerable and the disadvantaged in South Africa.  The majority of them are black people.

Capable state: Infrastructure:

Government cannot even build schools for our pupils.  Recently 34 projects to build schools had to be placed on hold due to non-payment of contractors by the Department of Education.  While there are an estimated 442 mud schools in the province.  Government is facing an ever-increasing infrastructure backlog.

Pit latrines in the province also remain a dangerous problem for gov.

Honourable Speaker, the completion of phase two of the Nooitgadacht Water Treatment Works is welcomed which has saved NMB from  a looming day Zero  because of the Government doing ZERO to fast track the Infrastructure backlog, this was achieved through the DA writing to Water and Sanitation Minister for intervention.

Healthcare

Government is struggling with providing adequate healthcare services.  It was reported that the province has only 477 ambulances.  This already does not meet national requirements.  But now the province will still slash the amount of ambulances on the roads, blaming the cut on a shortage of medical workers.

Crime

Crime is ever- increasing, Port Elizabeth was named 45th most dangerous city in the world.  The city constantly struggles with the devastating effects of gangsterism: e.g. Xavier Jansen, Alvineesha Brookes.

Local Government

Local Government is broken in the province.  An example is the recent high court judgement dissolving the Makana Local Municipality due to the inability of local government to provide basic services to the residents.  Enoch Mgijima will be the next municipality to face the same fate.  I have spoken with big business in Komani which has complained about not having electricity and the necessary infrastructure to run their businesses.  When businesses have to close their doors, this adds to the unemployment rate.

The Nelson Mandela Bay is broken Municipality, governance has collapse, finance, infrastructure and Raymond Mhlaba City has been mismanaged (1) 20% less spend on the Budget, R3 Billion to be taken by National treasure

In Conclusion,

The premier says all the right things but in the Eastern Cape the systems are broken, the DA can fix it.

The first step is to acknowledge that there is a problem before we can find solutions.

If we have any hope of saving the Eastern Cape, we need a proper plan and follow through action.

We cannot continue to do the same things and expect different results.