Contribution by Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP and President of the United Democratic Movement on the occasion of the State of the Nation Address 2018 debate in the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa
• Honourable Speaker & chairperson of the NCOP
• Mister President
• Honourable Members
1. Congratulations Mr Ramaphosa!
When an opponent has done well, one must applaud and say: “Well done”.
Well done on your speech Mr President! Your message has restored hope and put South Africa on the right track for the restoration of our dignity.
This opportunity was given to you on a silver platter by the steadfast efforts of the loyal opposition, the media and civil society, while your party’s leadership turned a blind eye to brazen looting of state resources and fiddled while South Africa was burning.
Who will forget the hundreds of thousands of South Africans who marched in a united display of dissatisfaction over an ill-suited and irresponsible President of the Republic.
2. Corruption is the lynchpin in giving effect to your SONA vision
Madam Speaker, Institutionalised corruption has been exacerbated by political heads usurping the powers of accounting officers in all three tiers of government.
And Mr President, there must be consequences for those who have been found guilty of corruption.
4. The work of the State Capture Inquiry
The State Capture Inquiry must be beefed up with the inclusion of forensic audit experts and even the Hawks. The Justice Department must be directed to make special provision for prosecuting capacity and the establishment of dedicated courts to expedite justice, as was done in 2010 with the Soccer World Cup. Once the Inquiry identifies an incident of corruption, the Hawks must pounce, the judicial system must take the baton, whilst the Inquiry continues.
5. On a side note
Mr President, you mentioned infrastructure development in your speech; and specifically referred to roads, millions of South Africans are forced to travel long distances to work in the cities and mines. These long-distance travels are marred by accidents, death and injury, with some using insensible transport. It might be time for us to consider state of the art, safe, speed trains to decongest roads, decrease accidents and to save time and lives.
Also, Mr President, we need to attend to the phenomenon of anarchy in our society, the general lack of discipline and disrespect for the law.
6. Thuma Mina
Your call to action resonates with all South Africans Mr President! We all want to see it prosper so that we might thrive as a collective and as individuals.
Your call builds on the action initiated by opposition parties and civil society of the course of the past year or so. We all said “we wanna be there” to stay the rot of corruption; and we were there on the streets in our thousands.
We commend your consultative style and welcome the initiatives you mentioned in your SONA, but you did not go far enough.
There must be a broadening of the collective consultative process and a wide range of topics that should be interrogated and discussed. Call it what you will, an indaba, convention or a summit, but we need to convene under one roof to discuss the critical challenges facing South Africa today.
Contrary to the opinion of some political gurus, who said the opposition was exclusively obsessed with getting rid of former president Zuma, we have laid the groundwork for this national dialogue.
With the input from some academics, we compiled a draft “Problem Statement”, which was released in August last year, to serve as a fundamental basis for such a dialogue. The identified issues are:
• The reinstatement of our Constitutional order and the Rule of Law;
• Reaffirmation of our founding vision and values;
• Measures to ensure inclusive economic participation and to address inequality;
• Reversing our economic decline.
• The establishment of a shared consensus on land reform. This should include the rural tenure system, bodies like the Ingonyama Trust, as well as selling of urban land to foreigners.
• Review the National Development Plan, with regard to its implementation and outcomes;
• Reviving our national morality and the eradication of systemic corruption;
• The reformation of our electoral system to enhance accountability and responsiveness;
• Review of the powers and functions of the President to resolve the over- concentration of power;
• The development of a capable and professional state, which requires fair employment opportunities in government, for all South Africans as opposed to non-professionals being parachuted into positions of power.
• The rehabilitation of our international standing based on a human rights approach.
• The reinvigoration of our structures and systems of education and training to ensure skills development and meaningful participation in economic and social activities;
• Reversing social decay and putting a stop to violence against women and children;
• The fostering of reconciliation, social cohesion and nationhood;
• Resolving impediments to the progressive realisation of our basic human rights;
• Strengthening and ensuring the independence of our Chapter 9 Institutions;
• The reformation of party-political funding;
• Securing the attainment of all role players towards the attainment of a state of good governance and the values that underpin it;
We are here Mr President and we wanna be there to help find sustainable solutions. I thank you