Telling empowering stories, South Africans want to hear

Tuesday, 13 February 2024 09:51

ANC will give DA the cadre deployment records as MPs debated SONA 2024.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Many South Africans and some analysts have criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address for lack of accountability for the government's failures, the ANC believes his address was an honest reflection of the state of South Africa.

Ramaphosa regaled South Africans with the tale of Tintswalo, a woman born at the dawn of democracy whose life had changed for the better because of the ANC-led government's successes. While the story aimed to inspire, Ramaphosa has come under fire from South Africans for being out of touch with the realities.

Ramaphosa will reply to the debate on Thursday.

The African National Congress (ANC) chief whip in Parliament, Pemmy Majodina, defended Ramaphosa's address, saying it was an honest reflection of where South Africa stands.

"From 2023 SONA, the progress is inspiring. I repeat, the progress is inspiring," she said. 

"Alongside many challenges that we have outlined, notwithstanding the two years of Covid-19, this government did all that it could do."

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen has told Ramaphosa that the children of democracy can no longer wait for the ANC to change.

Steenhuisen said, like millions of other South Africans, Tintswalo cannot afford to live in the past.

"She must survive in the reality of what South Africa is in 2024, not in the memory of what South Africa was in 1994. When she is reminded of her hopeful childhood, it fills her with sadness for the childhood that awaits Esona.

"When she remembers how her family moved from a shack into a formal house with running water and electricity when she was a young girl, it hurts and shames her that she ended up back in a shack with no running water and constant power cuts as a grown woman.

"The memory of how excited she was at her graduation quickly turns to anger when she realises that she has now been unemployed for twice as long as it took her to obtain her qualification," said Steenhuisen.

Steenhuisen added that when 'Tintswalo' listened to her president on Thursday, it did not make her grateful.

"For here is the hard truth, President, whether you like it or not: you have betrayed Tintswalo's South African dream.

"Hearing the president speak about her life without acknowledging that the same people who once gave her permission to dream went on to shatter those dreams only made Tintswalo more resolute that the time for change has come.

"She knows that the only reason she had a better start in life than her parents did, was because her parents stood up and fought for change when it was required," said Steenhuisen.

Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe has confirmed they will hand over cadre deployment records to the official opposition, as ordered by the Constitutional Court.

Mantashe told Parliament on Tuesday that the Democratic Alliance (DA) may criticise the African National Congress’ (ANC) policy of cadre deployment, when it has been able to transform the country in the last three decades.

He said when the ANC got into power in 1994 every director-general was a white man, most of the judges were white men and key positions in the state were held by white men.

However, the intervention of the ANC government led to the transformation of the public service.

The Constitutional Court ordered the ANC on Monday to hand over cadre deployment records to the DA within five days. The records must be from January 1, 2013.

This was at the time when Ramaphosa was chairing the deployment committee of the ANC.

Mantashe said they have no issue with the decision of the court to hand over the records to the DA, but this policy must be understood in the context of transformation in the country.

"It has changed a situation where every DG was a white male in 1994. It has changed the reality where every judge was a white male, where every mayor was a white male. Cadre development has changed that reality."

"Run to court, do everything, but the reality of the matter is, we will do it. You will get your report, but we will continue deploying people who are capable," said Mantashe.

The DA has accused the ANC of running the country into the ground because of its cadre deployment policy which puts people in top positions based on their loyalty to the party, rather than on merit or skills.

The Inkatha Freedom Party new president Velenkosini Hlabisa has suggested that South Africa was better governed when his party was part of the government of national unity - whose mission was to oversee the new Constitution.

In his maiden State of the Nation Address debate - Hlabisa reminded Parliament that during its first 10 years of democracy - unemployment decreased, crime was lowered, and the economy grew.

He's told the house that the African National Congress (ANC)'s failures are unforgivable.

"The ANC, and the ANC alone gave us State capture, they gave us load shedding stage six, the ANC gave us nine wasted years, the ANC gave us close to eight million unemployed people of South Africa."

But Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi has taken exception to the importance Hlabisa has placed on his party - saying it had also terrorised many people living in townships.

"The worst thing you could have done to us is to remind us of what IFP has done to us - those of us who stayed in townships. IFP was a symbol of mobilisation of tribalism and also the death of many who lived in the townships closer to hostels and could not travel with trains."

Gauteng Finance MEC Jacob Mamabolo has defended the province's recently-appointed crime prevention wardens, saying they are doing an excellent job.

Mamabolo wants Parliament to investigate Steenhuisen for disparaging remarks he recently made - suggesting the recruits are unqualified drunkards in cheap uniforms.

"Let me assure you members that already the statistical evidence is proving that our crime prevention wardens are doing an excellent job, and making a positive impact on reducing the rate of crime in the province."

Mamabolo, however, said he's shocked and concerned about Steenhuisen's criticism - saying his remarks had been racist and that he's brought Parliament into disrepute.

"If he does not apologise and withdraw what he said, Parliament should consider taking strong action and we wait for feedback from this house to hold him accountable."

But Steenhuisen appeared unfazed - taunting an angry Mamabolo from his seat by laughing at him and imitating drinking from a bottle.

Meanwhile South Africans continue to battle power cuts, ANC MP Sylvia Lucas believes the planned power cuts are not the end of the world.

“Load shedding isn't the end of the world; as soon as you talk about load shedding, there is sabotage; we must look into that. So, president, go ahead with the good work," said Lucas.

The country returned to severe power cuts just days after Ramaphosa's speech, in which he announced that the end of load shedding is near.

Watch Live in the video below:

Video Courtesy of Parliament.