Hon Speaker and Mr President, Shakespeare wrote:
The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with Caesar.
Mongameli, njengoBrutus, andizelanga kuncoma, iimbongi zakho zanele kwelo cala. Ndifunde kule veki iphelileyo Mongameli, kwileta ebibhalwe nguGqirha uNtyintyane, kwiBusiness Day, ecebisa enye imbongi yakho uMphathiswa uThulas Nxesi, esithi ... (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)
[Mr President, just like Brutus, I am not here to sing praises, your praise- singers have done that more than enough that side. I have read last week in Business Day, hon President, the letter which was written by Dr Ntyintyane, advising one of your praise-singers, Minister Thulas Nxesi, saying ...]
It is fine if party apparatchiks choose to shine the President's shoes, but don't ask the electorate to help you.
Mr President, you should not misinterpret your re-election at Mangaung to mean that the electorate share this fawning adulation. Considering the challenges that face South Africans on a daily basis, you would do well to consider the words of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of the independent India. He said in 1947 ...
... mamela Mphathiswa ... [... listen, Minister ...]
Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future? ... That future is not one of ease or resting but incessant striving so that we may fulfil the pledges that we have so often taken. The service of India means the service of millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity.
These words are apposite to the challenges that face your government today, as presented so eloquently by Minister Manuel just before me.
Regarding the poverty in rural areas, let me state unambiguously that the DA recognises the devastating impact of the Natives Land Act, Act 27 of 1913 and the Native Trust and Land Act, Act 18 of 1936. We acknowledge that the consequences of this legislated and systematic dispossession of black Africans' property and the expropriation of their dignity, self-respect and freedom have bequeathed the victims of this grand larceny with impoverishment and grave disadvantage.
This needs to be redressed, honourable President, much better than the ANC has done to date. Your latest promises, though, with regard to the reopening of the land claims process smack of ill-conceived and certainly unbudgeted political opportunism, especially in light of the failure of the land reform programme where the Minister involved, Minister Nkwinti, by his own admission says that 90% of these programmes have failed.
Mr President, you should know that the two ministers tasked with land and agrarian reform, Ministers Nkwinti and Joemat-Pettersson, have become renowned for tilting at windmills in a vain endeavour to find scapegoats for their own spectacular failure in this regard. The snail's pace of land reform and the related agricultural productivity decline has much less to do with willing-buyer, willing-seller than it has with the cost of recapitalising failed land reform initiatives and incompetent and corrupt officials.
Your public endorsement of the National Development Plan is positive. It has hopefully brought an end to your uncomfortable egg dance performed to the tune of Zwelinzima Vavi and your disagreeable lapdog, Blade Nzimande. [Laughter.] What remains for you to do is to ensure that your "mbongis" and their departments implement the plan. There is scepticism, though, and some say this is a classic case of the right plan and the wrong man.
Mr President, let me warn you not to count on Minister Chabane's Department of Monitoring and Evaluation to ensure that this happens.
Kuza kufuneka ikhokelwe nguwe Mongameli [You will have to guide this, hon President].
Rather than holding separate, secret and exclusive meetings with the various agricultural stakeholders, where government commitments and intentions are almost always ambiguous, you or your Deputy President should rather have called the agitators, who are the actual originators of the unprotected strike and thuggish behaviour in the Western Cape, and explained to Deputy Minister Marius Fransman, Tony Ehrenreich and their acolytes that the destabilisation of the agricultural sector will have catastrophic job loss consequences, and the net result will be an increase of costs to the entire value chain, which inevitably affects the poorest the worst.
Abantu abachitha umsebenzi, lutshaba lomntu wonke ohlutshwa yindlala. Aba bantu bachitha imisebenzi, amaKomanisi noCosatu, bachitha nje imisenzi yonke le mihla. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)
[People who are just messing around with jobs, they are the enemies of all the people who are suffering from poverty. These people, the Communists and Cosatu, are busy destroying jobs on a daily basis.]
Your undertakings about how you will deal with violent protests will only gain credibility if you investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of violence in the Western Cape farm worker strikes through the priority courts that you mentioned.
Sibone izolo ukuba iinkokeli zemibutho yokuhlala sezibanjiwe, zimangalelwe. Siza kubona ke ngoku ukuba ezaa nkokeli beziqhuba olu dushe apha eNtshona Kapa ziza kulandelwa kusini na. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)
[It has come to our attention only yesterday that the leaders of civil organisations are behind bars, they have been charged. We want to know what is going to happen to those leaders who initiated the strike here in the Western Cape, are they going to be investigated?]
Despite the Deputy President's assurances to the farmers and commercial agricultural organisations that government has a vested interest in farming being profitable, the self-styled Western Cape Robin Hood, Tony "Errant Strike", and his gang members continue to adopt the strategy that the Spanish philosopher Jos Ortega y Gasset classically described: "When there is a shortage of bread, they burn down the bakeries." They demand higher pay despite unemployment, destroy the means of production and employment and strike while the fruit which pays their wages rots on the trees and vines. In Spain, for example, workers demand lower pay and chant, "Shed wages, not jobs".
Kuba kaloku abazali baseSpain bayayazi ukuba baza kuhlala emakhaya xa kungekho misebenzi. [Parents in Spain know that when there is no work they will stay home.]
What is most galling in this regard is that Minister Joemat-Pettersson has adopted a shop steward mentality throughout the stand-off and has abused at least R10 million's worth of taxpayers' money to fan the flames of unrest, instead of seeking a speedy and mutually acceptable and sustainable resolution to save an already very precarious yet economically critical sector of our economy. The eastern seaboard of this country has some of the most fertile agricultural land endowed with good reliable rainfall. This area is also home to three former Bantustans: KwaZulu, Transkei and Ciskei. These areas and the millions of people who live there remain as disadvantaged, unproductive and dependent as they were during apartheid. The abominable KwaZulu-Natal Ingonyama Trust Act legislates that the citizens that live on its land, like those in the former Transkei and Ciskei are reduced to an extraconstitutional existence, where the basic and founding provisions espoused in Chapter 1 of our Constitution, are abrogated and remain a figment of the imagination of especially the women who live there.
Instead of entrenching the prejudicial inequalities experienced by millions of South African citizens living on communal land, why, Mr President, don't you start immediately to redress this by granting all people who live on communal land the ownership of their land? [Applause.] Why don't you give all beneficiaries of RDP houses freehold title to their homes? Why don't you ask hon Derek Hanekom why the people who farm in the Kat River area have gone bankrupt because they were waiting for their title deeds that he had promised them in 1995?
If economic empowerment and social emancipation is what you mean by providing a better life, you can do this one thing - simply remove the yoke of landlessness and state-designed dependency and the lives of millions of South Africans will start to improve. That is, Mr President, in the words of Jawaharlal Nehru, "If you are brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future." Ndiyabulela. [I thank you.]