The following speech was delivered today in the National Assembly by DA Shadow Deputy Minister in the Presidency: Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Yusuf Cassim MP.
After quoting Charles Dickens’s opening of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ when tabling the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement in his maiden speech to Parliament, Minister Tito Mboweni described our nation as one that can go directly to heaven … or go the other way.
He argued that under President Cyril Ramaphosa, our country has chosen the difficult path of redemption. Oh, how desperately he must want redemption from the sins of the ANC, the collective evil that taints them all. As the desperate pleas for redemption ring hollow six months before the elections, tragically there is no redemption from the hell subjected on our people for the sins of the ANC.
There can be no redemption when the same sinners still preside over looted municipalities, provinces, state entities and government departments. Forget redemption as SADTU remains untouchable in the midst of sex for jobs scandals, 5000 teachers not qualified to teach, and the loss of the highest number of teaching days lost to strikes on the continent.
There is no redemption whilst 60% of our TVET colleges remain dysfunctional and university students wait entire semesters for basic allowances, setting them up for failure. Redemption will evade you in superficial summits that only repackage old investment pledges though the mist of policy uncertainty while 278 000 more South Africans, 117 000 of whom are youth, are added to the ranks of the unemployed since your supposed saviour, President Ramaphosa, was anointed.
No! This President is as damned as the last. As a nation we must choose not to die for your sins.
After centuries of colonial and apartheid oppression, we had a dream that one day, whatever our race, background or religion, we would be able to stand together as one, living free, happy and dignified lives. The ANC abandoned that dream at the altar of self-enrichment, failing to redress the legacies of our past that keep us apart.
And so, we remain a deeply divided nation. There are those on the inside, people with jobs, education, opportunities; and there are those on the outside, millions of South Africans who live in poverty and who have no hope of finding employment. This must change.
Under a DA government we will bridge this divide. We will focus all our efforts on bringing the outsiders into the economy by supporting enterprise, attracting investment and helping businesses large and small to create jobs. We will unite South Africans, building One South Africa for All, around this goal instead of dividing, blaming and creating enemies.
One way we will do so is through creating fair access to real and long-term jobs. We have a plan that includes:
- Introducing a Voluntary National Service – one year of income and skills development for school-leavers;
- Creating job centres throughout South Africa that provide information, advice and free internet to job-seekers;
- Growing small business opportunities through increased funding assistance and removing blockages and red-tape;
- Prosecuting and eliminating the practice of ‘sex for jobs’ and carpet interviews; and
- Prosecuting and eliminating the practice of ‘cash for jobs’ and corruption in allocating jobs
We can choose a better path, one that will educate and skill our people and create fair access to real long-term jobs.
If we reward ANC failure with our votes, we will all be damned.