Address by Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP in the National Assembly during the State of the Nation debate (SONA 2014)

Chairperson of the NCOP, Mister President and Deputy President, Honourable Members;

I wish to thank all the people, who gave us the mandate to once more contribute in building a better South Africa. We will do our best to serve you.

Chairperson of the NCOP,

To achieve meaningful socio-economic transformation, the United Democratic Movement (UDM) believes that South Africans of all races should engage in a structured debate about our policy direction and priorities.

This debate would, in addition to other issues, discuss the need to review the current over reliance on population size as a major determining factor in the allocation of resources.

We believe that when allocating resources more emphasis should be placed on the developmental needs and economic disparities of each Province. This will go a long way towards addressing past imbalances and backlogs.

Given the increased role the state now plays in the economy, it is important for us to reach some form of consensus about the macroeconomic blue print that will help take the country forward.

We call for this because we are of the view that State intervention that results in higher public debt, high inflation and more inefficiency defeats the purpose of the exercise.

A discussion on how best Government should pursue our developmental needs and objectives through state intervention would help locate the National Development Plan (NDP) in the right context. It would also ensure that steps are taken to provide the essential policy details necessary for the implementation of the NDP. The recently approved Defence Force Review should also form part of this broader discussion as it together with peacekeeping missions has cost implications for the country.

Mister President,

We welcome steps Government has taken to ensure sustainable mining and to improve the socio-economic conditions of the mine-workers.

We however believe that they do not go far enough. To deal decisively with mining, the UDM calls on Government to set up a Commission on mining to, among others, investigate and advise on the following:

a. the socio-economic conditions of the workers and surrounding communities.
b. mine-workers’ access, or lack thereof, to a provident fund worth billions of Rands.
c. how the workers’ money has been invested, especially in cases where the workers were retrenched, or have retired or passed away.
d. the ownership of mines and mineral wealth, the allocation of mining rights, as well as who benefits from these mines and,
e. the much talked about beneficiation programme.

Finally, to turn around the local government, we believe that Minister Gordhan needs to conduct a proper skills audit to ensure that the right people are employed in the right places.

We further call on Minister Gordhan to ensure that politicians are not involved in the awarding of tenders.

Nxamalala, we look forward to join you in your cleanup campaign for our environment during Nelson Mandela Day.

Thank you.