Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the Deputy Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance, Mike Waters MP, during the State of the Nation (SONA) Debate in the National Assembly this afternoon.
If anyone was in doubt as to what is currently wrong with South Africa all they had to do was watch the SONA debate.
A President presiding over 9 million unemployed and an education system that is failing our children – ensuring they remain firmly shackled to poverty for the rest of their lives and the announcement of a radical socio-economic transformation plan.
Millions of South Africans know what this plan means, it means that the Zupta cartel want to loot and pillage at levels even we as South Africans have never seen before.
And if anyone dares to speak out against this looting and pillaging they will simply be labelled anti-transformation.
South Africans were appalled at the visuals of having armed military personnel on the precinct of Parliament.
When the leader of the Opposition and the Chief Whip both brought to your attention that there were armed military personnel on the precinct of Parliament, you should have immediately suspended proceedings, in order to address this grave situation. The fact that you did not seem alarmed nor even raise an eyebrow at the thought of armed troops on the precinct, indicates that you either knew about their presence beforehand or had even authorised their presence on the precinct.
This despite both your and the Chairperson of the NCOP’s assurances that only ceremonial military personnel would be allowed within the precinct of Parliament.
Your failure to immediately address this gross violation of our constitution will remain a stain on our democracy and ensure that your name stenches the history books for centuries to come.
Professor George Devenish wrote in the Star on 14 February 2016, “Making use of military troops in the precincts of Parliament puts two issues at stake. First, the conduct would appear to be a violation of the principle of the separation of powers and second that of a breach of the Parliamentary privilege, both of which are part of our constitutional dispensation.”
“The chief function of the Speaker is to preserve the privileges and dignity of Parliament in chairing political debate and discourse. This must be done with impartiality and courage. For this to occur the Speaker must be politically independent. Unfortunately Baleka Mbete is compromised in that she is also the ANC chairperson. She conducts herself in a manner that displays a superficial understanding of the requirements of a historic and distinguished office.”
“It is with regards to fearless independence that Mbete and other presiding officers have failed, through their blatant partiality to the ANC.”
Madam Speaker, what you allowed to happen on Thursday night was tantamount to a coup. And if you still don’t get the severity of the situation it is more the reason that you should not be the Speaker of our Parliament.
Only yesterday we witnessed once again the selective application of the rules by the presiding officers. ANC MP’s were allowed to get up over and over again on spurious points of orders and more importantly were allowed to hurl insults at DA members calling the leader of the DA a white man in a black skin and Hon Van Damme was called a “straatmeid” by Hon Dirks, all this with impunity.
And talk about being selective, the Speaker has the audacity to state that she did not hear the F word being shouted out in Parliament dozens of times – parents across the country were scrambling to turn their TV sets down so their children could not hear such vulgarity. The question that needs to be asked Madam Speaker is how can it be that the whole country heard ANC MP’s scream the F word over and over yet you claim not to have heard it being screamed once?
I think it’s called selective hearing.
If a DA MP had said “straatmeid” or called an ANC MP a white man in a black skin or used the F word we would at the very least been made to retract if not be suspended, while ANC MP’s say what they like with impunity and the protection of the presiding officers.
More and more young people are turning to drugs and gangs as an escape from the life of hopelessness. We have witnessed an astonishing 149% increase in drug-related crimes over a nine-year period from 104 369 to 256 902 while there has been a 140% decline in four years of the seizing of drugs. We welcome the President’s visit to Nyanga police station yesterday and as the President knows, policing is a national government competency. The DA has been calling for the establishment of more police station here in the Western Cape and the better resourcing of existing police stations but to no avail.
We hope the President now has some form of grasp of the magnitude of drug and gang crimes which plague our youths across the country. This lost generation needs hope and the DA’s plan will bring that hope. Apart from our economic and educational focus we will increase the number of state-run drug rehabilitation centre across the country. Currently there are only 9 with the Free State, Limpopo and the Northern Cape does not have one single state-run drug rehabilitation centre.
The DA will also re-introduce specialised police units to combat the scourge of drug and gang crimes head on. That, Mr President, is something you should seriously consider.
It is true that it gets darker before dawn, and that millions of South Africans including the 6 million lost generation feel there is no hope. Well there is hope and we all need to believe in that hope, the 2019 election will usher in a new beginning for our country.
The ANC said they would never lose Nelson Mandela Bay and they did, the ANC said they would never lose Tshwane and they did, the ANC said they would never lose Johannesburg and they did.
Do not let them tell you that they won’t lose in 2019.
Let us stand here in 2019 and say the ANC said they would never lose in 2019 and they did!