National Assembly Debate on
the 2010 State of the Nation Address  

 

Speech by
Rev Musa Zondi MP
 

National Assembly: 15 February 2010

 

Honourable Speaker,

 

Since this year's State of the Nation Address, in the main, celebrated that momentous occasion in the history of this nation, which is the release from prison of our iconic former President, Nelson Mandela 20 years ago, it was inevitable, fitting and proper to also reflect on President Mandela's legacy of reconciliation and peace which he bequeathed to present and future generations of South Africans, twenty years on.

 

It is, however, most tragic that real and true reconciliation has eluded us in this country for various reasons.  This country needs reconciliation, perhaps more urgently than most of us realise, to enable us to build on a solid foundation of our achievements of yester-year.

 

This reconciliation which has eluded us for two decades after the cessation of conflicts of the past, does not only need to take place between white and black South Africans but also between and among black South Africans; and indeed between and among various political organisations that operate in this country.

 

Reconciliation is not something we can afford to brush aside or postpone to some unknown moment in the future, but is an imperative for the very survival of our nation.  It is the very cornerstone of true nation-building which is pursued in order to guarantee lasting peace for ourselves, for our children and for generations to come.

 

It is for this reason that we call on the Presidency of our country as an institution, and on you, Mr President, as a person, to be an embodiment of the values enunciated by such an icon of our struggle as President Nelson Mandela was.   In particular, we call upon you, Mr President to take decisive initiatives to save and extend the legacy of President Nelson Mandela who demonstrated in word and deed, that reconciliation and peace were firm foundations upon which to build this Nation.

 

We mean bold and honest initiatives which go beyond mere public relations exercises pursued for political expediency and cheap political propaganda, driven by the temporal need to only do that which helps one score political points over one's adversaries.

 

It is for this reason that we read with horror that an ANC-controlled eThekwini Municipality which commissioned the erection of the sculpture of three elephants has now, after squandering millions of tax-payers' and rate-payers' funds, balked under pressure from those inside the ANC who now think it was not politically correct to have commissioned such a sculpture because they think it would bolster the image of the hated IFP whose logo has three elephants.

 

While we have very profound appreciation for the boldness with which you, Mr President, gave rare recognition to the positive role played by people such as the late Mrs Helen Suzman and by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi in particular, we are concerned at the failure of the ANC, of which you are the President, to rein in the President of the ANC Youth League, Mr Julius Malema who poured scorn on the positive role of President de Klerk in getting Mr Mandela released, while castigating the IFP in very derogatory terms.  Mr President, Mr Malema is bad news for reconciliation in this country and he is bad news for the survival of the legacy of reconciliation and peace pursued by President Nelson Mandela.

 

What is even more disturbing is the tacit approval and encouragement which he receives from some senior leaders of the ANC, including from you Mr President.  The office that you occupy does not belong to you personally, it is not your private property or that of the ANC, it actually belongs to ALL the people of South Africa - we urge you to use it for the common good of ALL the people of South Africa - those who voted for the ANC and those who did not.

 

The ANC may have won election after election since the advent of our democratic dispensation in 1994, it may perhaps continue to do so in the foreseeable future, BUT that does not mean that the ANC has the monopoly of wisdom of all that needs to be done in this country to achieve the very nice-sounding intentions and goals that the government has set for itself.

It will need the inputs of all people of goodwill from across the political spectrum represented in this house to make headway.

 

The people of South Africa look up to the leadership of the country which sits in this House for answers to their daily problems.  We cannot fail them and we dare not fail them.

 

Mr President, you have committed your government to halving the loss of water through leaking pipes by 2014.  Mr President, as someone who hails from KwaZulu Natal you know as I do that the water of uThukela River literally runs a stones-throw from your home into the Indian Ocean, leaving behind thousands of drought-stricken and destitute people in the rural villages who cannot benefit from that water through no fault of their own.
 

Is there nothing that can be done to change this? Moreover, the Jozini Dam, which is in Mkhanyakude Municipal District, does not, for reasons we suspect are political, benefit the majority of the people of Ingwavuma, oBonjeni and the entire Mkhanyakude District and yet when it is full, the sluice gates are now and again opened and the water is allowed to destroy even the subsistence agricultural fields of the people downstream.  Even the Makhathini flats area which has great potential for agriculture and food security does not fully benefit from that water.

 

Mhlonishwa Mongameli, ngiyethemba ukuthi kasibakhohlisi abantu basemakhaya ngokuba sisho okuningi okuhle kulendlu ngezidingo zabo zentuthuko kepha sibe singaqondile ukukulandela ngezenzo ezibonakalayo ukuze basizakale impela.

Umuntu uze asole ukuthi hleze kushiwo izinto ezinhle lapha ukuze basivotele nje kuphela kepha singezukwenza lutho oluphathekayo ukuhlangabezana nezidingo zabo zansuku zonke.

 

I thank you.