Ke isa hlompho ho wena Modulasetulo wa rona wa Khansele ya Diprofense. Ke ise hlompho ho ditho tsohle tsa Ntlo ena. Ke hlomphe bohle ba tswa diprofenseng bao e leng barumowa ba ikgethehileng. Mme hape, ke hlomphe difosiri tsa tshebeletso tsa rona tsa Ntlo ena, ke ba bitse ka mabitso ka ho qolleha: Ntate Brent Leeuwendaal, Ntate Freek Erasmus, le Mme Moira Foster. Ke kopa re fe Brand, Freek and Moira matsoho hle! [Applause.]
Can we please ... [Applause.] ... report nicely on the service that they provide to us on a daily basis, by even helping us to recover some of the items that are important to us after our sittings.
As we may be aware, the family of the Chief Whip of the Majority Party in the National Assembly, hon Jackson Mthembu, has suffered another painful setback with the untimely death of his daughter, Ms Khwezi Mthembu, who will be buried over this weekend. I deem it fit, on behalf of the House, to express our heartfelt condolences to the Mthembu family during these trying times.
This occasion of our farewell speeches takes place at a time when the memories of human tragedy and devastation, occasioned by the natural disaster against the peoples of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, are still fresh. This tragedy, which is estimated to have killed over 750 people, will forever remain in our history as one of the greatest natural disasters that has undermined Africa's renewal and development in the 21st century.
It is against this background that I once more beg for your indulgence by allowing me to take this opportunity, on behalf of the ANC and the people of South Africa, to express our solidarity with the governments and the peoples of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi under these trying times. We salute our government and other governments within the AU and the southern African region, the Southern African Development Community, SADC, for extending their generous assistance to these countries. The presence of our national flag through the SA National
Defence Force in the rescue and reparation operations in these countries should indeed be a source of pride about South Africa's leading role in forging and deepening African solidarity.
Our farewell messages in this last sitting of the National Council of Provinces in the Fifth democratic Parliament is indeed a special and historic occasion. It comes with the painful moment of truth in our individual and collective lives. For some of us it may be a temporary break and a transition into the Sixth democratic Parliament as representatives of our people, and for others, assignments in different areas. The painful aspect associated with this moment of truth can only be explained in military terms, as military scientists would argue that in a situation of war there is no nation that summons its entire army to the battlefront. Others remain as reserves, while others are assigned to different auxiliary functions. This is the plain truth about our call of duty as politicians and selfless servants of our people. We serve at the pleasure of our political parties, and today is the time when our democracy demands the renewal of political mandates, assignments and reassignments to serve our country and her people.
Whatever the future holds in store for any of us, we should look back over the past five years of service as members of this august House with a great sense of pride. Our individual and collective response to
heed the call of duty to serve our people will permanently feature in the archives of history with an inscription of, an honour to serve.
The National Council of Provinces is our second House of Parliament that occupies a special place in the battle of ideas for the building of a national democratic society. It will therefore be a serious dereliction of duty for us as members of this House to simply come here and extend messages of farewell to each other without touching on the state of our politics and institutions of democratic governance in empowering our people as architects of their own future.
We do this not out of affinity or theoretical debates but because history demands that we constantly reflect on how our politics, governance and democratic landscape continues to empower our people to be architects of their own future. Antonio Gramsci reminds us that in politics the masses do not exist in a vacuum, but in so far as they are organised and mobilised into action by political parties.
As critical social agencies for political leadership, societal change, transformation and development, political parties determine the behaviour and performance of government, and are the ultimate forces in shaping the behaviour of the electorate.
The greatest threat to our democracy in the twenty-first century is the persistence of the trust deficit in the ability of political and corporate elites to address the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality. This trust deficit accounts for the persistence of political apathy among the overwhelming majority of the electorate, especially among the youth. This presents a compelling case to the leadership of any country to continuously reflect on the nexus between their politics, governance and the masses.
Throughout history, the ANC has placed a high premium on the masses as the decisive factor critical to the victory of our national democratic revolution. The significance of the masses as the architect of their own future is a collective heritage of our struggle that resonates with the fundamental values and principles of our Constitution as the supreme law of our country.
At the beachhead of the ANC, democratic transition has always meant the fundamental transformation of patterns of ownership, and the management and control of the commanding heights of the economy. All of us know that the ANC-led government has designed and adopted policies and legislation to give effect to economic transformation. Our Parliament has further commissioned ... in fact, Chairperson, this includes among others, to cite but a few, the Preferential Public Procurement
Framework Act, the Affirmative Action Policy, broad-based black economic empowerment, the Competitions Act, the national minimum wage, the National Credit Act amendments that address debt relief, and the Public Audit Amendment Bill.
These are pieces of legislation critical to the lives of our people that have passed through this House.
Our Parliament has further commissioned a high level panel on the review of the impact of the legislation on the lives of our people. This panel conducted an extensive public participation process to receive the inputs of our people and other critical stakeholders across the length and breadth of our country.
The overwhelming majority of our people identify with the policy and vision of the ANC not only on the basis of superior logic, but also as the articulation of their own voices.
The challenge of greed and corruption that has permeated our public and private sectors has not escaped our attention. We have learnt great lessons from those countries that were liberated before us, hence our strong, robust anti-corruption legislation and institutions. The commission of enquiry into the allegation of state capture and other
sectoral commissions of enquiry established by President Ramaphosa are an assurance to our people of our unwavering commitment to fight corruption. We might have not perfected the art of governance and transformation but, with time, we will be in a better position to ensure that the democratic state and its institutions are the collective property of our people, not that of a few elites.
This is central to the strategic task of renewal adopted by the 54th conference of the ANC.
We have listened to our people, and are continuing to do so and understand their fears, hopes and aspirations about the better future we seek to build. In doing this, we have not concealed the truth, irrespective of how it hurts us. Like today, it is the ANC that is at the frontline of public debate, acknowledging the poor performance of the economy and the current challenge of loadshedding, with the view towards finding sustainable solutions.
Hon members, one of the architects of South Africa over the last 25 years is the common commitment and allegiance of her people to the Constitution as the unifying vision about the future we seek to build. United in diversity, our constitutional dispensation has gone through
many trials and tribulations to become a living document for a better future in the eyes of the overwhelming majority of our people.
In pursuance of the strategic vision of the activist Parliament for a better quality of life for all, the NCOP has, among others, intensified its efforts in facilitating dialogue between the three spheres of government and deepening the dialogue with our communities through our flagship programmes. We bear witness to that, hon members.
The quick question that must still enjoy urgent collective attention in the sixth democratic Parliament is how we deepen the unique identity and role of the NCOP and the National Assembly.
I am happy to report that under the stewardship of the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, hon Thandi Modise, lots of work has been done in this regard. We will constitute a legacy report in the 6th democratic Parliament.
This farewell message will not be complete without dedicating a few words to the collective leadership of this House, under your stewardship. Leaders come and go, but institutions and organisations remain as social agencies for societal change and development. Memories
of your stewardship of this institution will forever be a source of inspiration to many amongst us, across party-political device.
Under your stewardship, the unique brand and position of the NCOP in South Africa's constitutional democracy have grown in leaps and bounds. Among the successes of this term of Parliament, under your stewardship, is the consolidation of the identity of Parliament, as made up by National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, both in terms of governance and operations.
At qualitative level, we have witnessed the emergence of a shared appreciation of the supremacy of the rule of law in the conduct of our business, as an institution. hon Thandi Modise, your consistency and steadfastness, to treat everyone equal in the terms of the law and the rules of this House, have not only bolstered the decorum of the House but, most importantly, made it compelling to members of this House to be custodians of the decorum of this House. Is that not true, members? [Applause.] [Interjections.]
To the Deputy Chairperson, hon Tau, and the two House Chairpersons - being House Chairperson for Committees, hon Nyambi, and the House Chairperson for International Relations, Mme Dikgale: Without your sterling support to the Chairperson, many successes we are talking
about could have not been possible. You stood true to the call of duty, sometimes under difficult circumstances. In multiparty democracy like ours, the role of the opposition is very critical and indispensable for the consolidation of our democracy.
I have said this before in the House: Among the challenges we must confront in our body politic are the twin dangers of blind majority and blind opposition. I am proud to have worked with a collective of leadership of the minority parties that have always defied a danger of blind opposition. It was glaring in a number of our sessions, hon Khawula and hon Cathy. Two members are not here: hon Gaehler - I understand the constraints of a small party - and hon Mokwele. Small parties really struggle. [Laughter.]
The fact that we have never experienced a serious risk in the co- ordination of our work with provinces is a testimony of how Provincial Whips were on top of the situation. [Interjections.] It is the Provincial Whips that make the business of the House to succeed. With this collective account of our footprints in the fifth democratic Parliament, I dare challenge anyone to refute that we have not written a new chapter on the evolution and history of the NCOP as a second Chamber of our democratic Parliament.
Let me therefore take this opportunity to wish you the best in your future endeavours as we part in different directions after this sitting. My good wishes to my dear colleagues, friends and comrades will be incomplete without a big thank you for your individual and collective support during my tenure as Chief Whip of this House. Of course, I am an outgoing Chief Whip now.
I also want you to allow me to express great sense of appreciation and my gratitude to the ANC, my political home for the confidence entrusted in me as Chief Whip of the National Council of Provinces, ... and I express my appreciation of good-working relationship, first with Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu and his deputy, Comrade Dlakude, and many of you comrades. I salute you. I want to wish Comrade Mthimunye well, to recover speedily. He has demonstrated a good work ethic by always being with us. Amandla ngawethu! Ke a leboga! Thank you!