Address to the Joint Sitting of Parliament On the Occasion of the State of the Nation Address Debate 16th February 2021 Delivered by Cde Dr Nobuhle Nkabane

Hon. Speaker we owe it to our forebears, when they met in what became known as the Congress of the People in Kliptown in 1955, the foresight that they had was tremendous. That foresight took us from deep in the pitch black forest with all kinds of dangerous animals where it seemed there was no escape route.

Hear our forebears when they say in the Freedom Charter, THERE SHALL BE WORK AND SECURITY. It states, “all who work shall be free to form trade unions, to elect their officers and to make wage agreements with their employers”. They did not decree it, workers were organised, trade unions were established. Workers under the banner of the trade unions fought. They did not fight for any other things Honourable members, they fought to end all the unjust laws, they fought for fairness.

Hon. Speaker men and women bravely and boldly led carrying bright torches to get us out of that pitch black forest. “Kumahlathi amnyama” They led saying “Forward Ever-Backward Never” because “Imbi Le Ndawo”.

It is at this point that I am reminded of this Social Psychologist Leon Festinger who studied “Effort Justification”. Effort Justification is when people make sacrifices to pursue a goal, where the effort is often rationalised by elevating the attractiveness of the goal.

Hon. Speaker, We are indebted to the workers struggles because selfless men and women suffered in order to be where we are today. Hon Speaker’ Based on the above background; The ANC led government has formed partnerships with social partners in trying to address the injustices of the past;to rethink; redefine and redesign the future of work by looking holistically on the technological innovations, human factor and human intelligence in order to change its approach to creativity and innovation and to coordinate all government efforts including entities and strategic partners in the labour market to create jobs, preserve jobs, secure employment and reduce unemployment.

Hon. Speaker, I am sure our forebears will be happy to know that, what they had foresight for, sacrificed and struggled to achieve, it is a reality today. The Republic of South Africa has a Constitution which is referenced positively by the entire world. Section 23 of the Constitution stipulates unambiguously that “everyone has the right to fair labour practices”, “every worker has the right to form and join a trade union and to participate in the activities and programmes of a trade union”.

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act is in place, because what the Constitution instructs must happen. Basic Conditions of Employment Act gives effect to the right to fair labour practices, as referred to in Section 23 of the Constitution and further provides for the promulgation of Sectoral Determinations which establish conditions of employment for employers in specific sectors of the economy.

As we continue to find out that some of our labour laws are inconsistent with the Constitution we shall amend them, this has been done in the past, and we continue to do it. As we speak Employment Equity is in this Parliament for amendment, so as the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases law. It must be clear to everyone Honourable speaker that we make all these laws including labour laws for among others to promote economic growth, for fair labour practices, for the transformation of the country, for peace, democracy and social development. It should be noted that we will continue to refuse to be blackmailed. Those who are forcing us to return to conditions of merciless exploitation of the workers, we say to them we cannot insult our forebears.

Hon Speaker, The National Minimum Wage came into effect on 1st January 2019. The initial research by National Minimum Wage Commission revealed that the National Minimum Wage did not place an undue burden on employers or lead to job losses in its first year of implementation. This is contrary to the expectations of the doomsayers. And please can they shelve their scarecrows now. We are sick and tired of their fearmongering and conspiracy theories. They must also know that there is just no one who will stop the ANC led government as we continue to demonstrate and showcase our care for all South Africans, to advance transformation and to entrench democracy. The National Minimum Wage for each ordinary hour worked has been adjusted and this will come into effect from 1st March 2021.

Hon Speaker, it is well known that SA remains an unequal society in the World with slow economic growth resulting in low job growth with high rate of Regional Human Mobility motivated by pull and push factors – there is a dire need to develop a balanced and holistic approach/model of addressing this predicament without being viewed as being xenophobic or Afro-phobic and without compromising supreme power or authority of the Country. Hon Speaker’ there are tremendous strides that have been made by this government. In 2020 the Hon President his Excellency Mr Ramaphosa in the joint sitting in this house announced 100 billion employment stimulus package as government’s commitment to support and create over 800 000 employment opportunities over the next three years. We are also proud to announce that the ANC government under Mr Ramphosa is monitoring closely the implementation of the Presidential Job Summit commitments by social partners to create new jobs and to preserve the existing jobs. Today we are chuffed to announce that the implementation of the employment stimulus has already commenced.

Amongst the Key ANC led Government interventions is to improve South Africa’s ranking in Global Competitiveness Index and to contribute to the implementation of the Reconstruction and Recovery Plan with a focus on Industrialisation and Localisation, Skills development, Job preservation, and Joined-up government with the aim of Reviewing and integrating government support for formal and informal SMMEs, start-ups and cooperatives to improve the accessibility and reduced overheads for SMME support facilities. However, as far as localisation is concerned, the ANC government has a balanced approach that take into cognisance of both localisation and international trading in order to increase the capabilities of the local companies and to grow the economy of the Country. DA has to understand that informal trading contributes in growing the economy, where they lead, CPT is the only City where informal trading is very restricted; stop your racist approach of oppressing our marginalised black and coloured communities.

Hon. Speaker the caring ANC government has extended UIF COVID-19 TERS until 15 March 2021. There is no denial that as the Lockdown Levels continue to be adjusted there are sectors that are constantly hit by that. Those sectors include Tourism, Hospitality and Liquor Industry.

The responsible and caring government working with social partners will never disappoint our forebears and the people of SA.

People of SA; The ANC LOVES YOU

I thank you.