Honourable Chairperson, Ministers and Members

The United Democratic Movement supports this budget vote and in this regard, we would like to make the following comments.

• The creation of a caring society is based on the willingness to provide the tools for achieving an inclusive society. This implies that life chances are partly detached, or de-commodified from social and economic origins and circumstances.

• The core of the inclusive society is to create equal opportunities and equal access to services and infrastructure for specific groups such as unemployed and disadvantaged, disabled people, children and adolescents, older people and pensioners, ethnic communities and many others.

• We need to grapple with the essential building stones for a caring society in order to achieve an inclusive society. In doing this, we must also strive to reach a stage where participation of society, in social, political and economic spheres while respecting diversity but deliberately empowering the disadvantaged and vulnerable.

• We must underpin our conception of an inclusive society with education and family capital for us to sustain it.

• Given the current demographics, economic and political pressure as well as financial constraints, welfare state reforms are on the political agenda everywhere in the developing world.

The recent spate of missing children in particular children from poor families robes the nation of future leaders. It makes it impossible for society to invest in these poor souls for the future development of the nation. We must double the efforts in rooting out this barbaric act from our society.

Both, the community and law enforcement agencies must work collectively as agents of change for the creation of a caring and inclusive society.

Gender discrimination is a crucial factor in entrenching a caring and inclusive society in particular for women and girls who are vulnerable to all sorts of social and economic ills including human trafficking.
A range of laws and policies and programmes have been adopted to promote gender equity. This is not only a political and constitutional priority but also a key developmental matter and central part of building a caring and inclusive society.

I concede that there are, and shall always be complex and varied factors impeding realization of this noble goal, a caring and inclusive society, however, a combination of all efforts by all citizens can guarantee us a great success in this regard.

Thank you