Mr. Speaker, Sir

Comrades and Honourable Members



The APC would like to congratulate you, Comrade President, on your State of the Nation Address.


It has been our longstanding appreciation that freedom is supposed to help address the appalling material conditions of our people, thus the fight against poverty; inequality and unemployment must be seen as liberation imperatives.


The APC believes that the role of the State in the economy has been highly minimized, and it is long overdue that this is reversed. The APC therefore welcomes the thinking in the New Growth Plan, to give the State an active role in driving job creation. We believe there is room and we need to do more to stimulate economic development. Afterall, the private sector does not have a proud track record of job creation since 1994.


The APC reiterates the call for the immobilization of labour brokers. These are modern day slave merchants. We agree with you Comrade President, South Africa and Africa in general cannot be wholesale exporters of raw materials and importers of finished products. Local beneficiation must be appreciated in the context of job creation and growing the economy.


The APC believes that our challenge in the public sector goes beyond the high vacancy rates, to include crucially the orientation of our administrative cadres. South Africa needs civil servants who have a sense of public duty; a common value system; norms and standards.


The APC would like to suggest that perhaps, we need to strengthen the Public Service Commission, by making it the point of entry into the civil service, the recruiter and trainer of department officials. There is too much fragmentation; lack of control and central coordination; thus no common norms and standards within the current setting. Some officials, clearly out-of-depth in their competence, rotate within government, leaving a trail of destruction.


The APC is on record praising some of the measures you have taken in the drive to tackle corruption. We believe there should be an enhanced coordination amongst the various agencies to deepen and advance the fight against corruption. Here, we refer to the likes of SARS, the SIU, National Treasury and the DPSA. The APC would like to suggest that we perhaps need a Special Investigations Unit Act that would make the SIU the primary body to investigate public sector corruption and do forensics. Afterall they are a state entity; the cost for their services is less than half of what their counterparts in the private sector charge. Yet they do thorough and comprehensive work which includes helping their clientele deal with systemic problems. As things stand, the work of the SIU is hindered by a lack of sufficient financial means, and having to wait for entities to ask for their intervention.


Comrade President, the challenges of Education and Health must be tackled head on with added vigour and urgency. If we fail to do so, we face a future that is disaster-prone as a nation. In the Millennium Development Goals, it is in Education and Health that we are lagging behind. In the provinces, it is these two departments that are poorly managed and yet they affect all our people and constitute a very high percentage of provincial budgets. There is, once again here, a need to act with vigour and haste, firmness and determination. We dare not fail on these two.


The politics of regime change represent the crudest form of neo-colonialism. Yesterday it was President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe by the British; today it is President Laurent Gbagbo in Ivory Coast by the French. Who will it be tomorrow?


The genie is out of the bottle. Compradors have been toppled in Lebanon and Egypt, thus the fervent wishes and attempts to have protesters on the streets of Tehran. What happened in Egypt is a revolution. What they are attempting in Iran is a counter-revolution. What does this all mean for the long suffering but heroic people of the Palestine? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain, their situation cannot be worse than it is at present.


We are called upon to deepen our solidarity with the people of Palestine. Afterall, we are all Palestinians!


I thank you.

Cde Themba Godi



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