Hon Chairperson, I would like to start by reading a quote by George Herbert which says:
Don't wait; the time will never be just right. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.
I don't think that the situation we find ourselves in today is necessarily that of doom and gloom. In every situation that you might regard as being unsavoury or bad, there is always an opportunity for good to prevail out of that. So, I do not want to dwell on the wrong things that could have happened because wrong things are still going to happen in the future. But I would like us to do is to dwell on the future, walking together with the standing committee and Members of Parliament to ensure that we provide the necessary support to the State Security Agency so that it can begin to do its work.
Let us not beat people up to a point where their level of moral is eroded to the very bottom of their boots, and continue to do that endlessly. It is not good. Let us look into the future because those who do not have the luxury of dithering at the gates of privilege like some of us do today, sitting in this room, those people who rely on us as a collective to take the agency to a different level of excellence are watching and listening, and have hope that we will be able to assist them.
Hon Kodwa and I were appointed a month ago. I don't understand. We are neither God nor Deputy Jesus. We can never change the tide but we can come to you today to present what it is that we want to do
and how we can do it; and we cannot not do it alone. It is only with these committees that sit in Parliament as oversight bodies that we will be able to discharge on our mandate. [Applause.]
Vetting is a very topical issue. It is topical in all countries and not just South Africa. Dealing with the backlog of vetting is always going to be with us. We will never come to a point of zero backlog on vetting. Unfortunately, the Minister of Finance has left because I wanted to remind him that we are dealing with an unfunded mandate. It is either we get more money to be able to do this vetting and deal with the backlog or we get departments including SOEs to pay for the servicers that would have been rendered.
I would also like to leave you with a few quotes from one of my favourite authors, Noam Chomsky. Ponder over what I say because it is not what you will read, go home and decide what it is.
Colourless green ideas sleep furiously. If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all. Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying or else say something true, and it will sound like it is from Neptune.
Thank you very much. [Applause.]