ADDRESS BY LB Gaehler EC NCOP MP in the National Parliament Joint Sitting

Hon Speaker, President and Honourable Members

The drought that has visited our land has affected big, small, formal and informal farming sector, depending on their proximity to a scarce source of water.

In this regard, United Democratic Movement suggests that, drought relief interventions, whether at a planning or implementation stage, should deliberately target the small and informal farmers too, as their contribution in providing food security and fight poverty, is relevant and significant.

Honourable Speaker the infrastructure needs of a country present themselves as an opportunity and threat, while we want to position our country as an investment destination but the dire need for infrastructure remains a repelling effect.

We are happy that transport infrastructure was identified as a catalyst for economic growth, but the sad reality is that this has just become an academic exercise, because if you go to the Eastern Cape, for instance, and ask for a transport infrastructure master plan, you shall find none.

In addition, the socio – economic infrastructure of the rural areas does not keep up to standard, to respond to the ever increasing demands.

The current interventions are insufficient as they tend to benefit urban areas. In this way, a better rural livelihood will be difficult to realise.

In this regard, the UDM suggests that a realistic, reasonable and requisite Rural Infrastructure Development Grant be created. Such a grant will first help to address the rural infrastructure backlogs and unlock the great potential located in the rural areas.

Masigxinisise kuphuhliso lwasemakhaya ingakumbi kwimicimbi yendlela, umbane, amanzi acocekileyo, nezonxibelelwano.

Madam Speaker, as the campaign for the Local Government Elections has started, we call for an end to the blandishments of basic services to sway votes in favour of the ruling party.

Already, we have witnessed government activities, being turned into party rallies, at the expense of other citizens. In these government activities, party members and officials in full regalia of their party intimidate other members of the public and openly campaign on a government platform.

Food parcels and Expanded Public Work jobs, like the ‘War on Leaks Project’, in Port Elizabeth, are already campaign instruments.

Such abuse of a public office is a breach of oath, a neglect of citizens and it undermines the Constitutional rights of the people in particular the indigent.

Makuyekwe ukusetyenziswa kwe-mali zabahlali xa kukhankaselwa iivoti. Wonke ummi weli lizwe unelungelo loku thatha inxhaxheba kuphuhliso lwelizwe noku-xhamla kuwo onke amathuba emisebenzi yase kuhlaleni.

Thank you