Speech by Connie September on the State Of The Nation Address Debate

13 February 2007

Madame Speaker, Comrade President Thabo Mbeki, Honourable Members and fellow South Africans.

(Afrikaans)This year 2007, we enter into the last five years at whose conclusion we will celebrate the centenary of the birth of the African National Congress, an occasion whose significance will surely resonate across our land.

Our commitment therefore to intensify the struggle against poverty as we advance in unity towards 2012, PHAMBILI. Attacking poverty and deprivation remains the first priority of the democratic movement, improving the quality of life of all South Africans in particular the most poor and marginalized sections of our community remains central in transforming South Africa. In attacking poverty towards eradication and elimination, the ANC- led Government continuous to focus the attention of South Africa towards eliminating hunger, providing land and housing, access to safe water and sanitation, affordable and sustainable energy, eliminating illiteracy, raising the quality of education and training for our children, protecting the environment and access and improving the health of our people.

Today the social transformation cluster of the ANC in Parliament, renew our pledge to speak together of freedom, act in partnership to realize happiness and through our programme of oversight this year attempts to respond to agreeing enough of everything that made our country to contain within it and represent much that is ugly and repulsive in human society.

(Afrikaans)Central in our programme would be to focus our oversight in Parliament and deepen the debate around eradicating being plagued by patterns of apartheid Human settlements and move towards non-racial human settlements and land reforms.

The strides taken in sport transformation in the past decade have taken steps-backward as more limitations now placed on women, rural communities, youth, and people with disabilities aspiring to be national athletes. Our oversight and constituency focus would be to galvanise the South African population in a united force not only to deliver the best ever soccer world cup but to emerge as a nation united in our diversity with a common purpose to create a better South Africa and Africa. It is thus prudent to identify a common theme for the world cup that would lend itself towards social cohesion

(Afrikaans)The cluster will focus on Early Childhood Development too. The ANC acknowledges that due to extreme poverty, many families still cannot afford to provide their children with a safe environment, adequate nutrition, healthy lifestyle and education, and those children who are physically and mentally challenged often suffer stigmatization and discrimination at all levels of society.

In addition to ensure that the Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) is more accessed and expanded by utilizing empty school buildings, in the process ensuring that poor families steadily move out of the shackles of poverty;

To ensure that all poor children are prioritized in programmes such as "no-fees schools", free basic water, electricity, proper sanitation, free quality health services and social security;

Our people deserve dignity and therefore the ANC's commitment in eradicating the Bucket System by Dec 2007 towards decent sanitation. Indeed the ANC prides itself in spending more money on water and sanitation than on arms, AMANZI. THESE OUR NOBLE OBJECTIVES OF ERADICATING POVERTY - to provide the freedom and happiness that comes with liberty. The bucket system will go in Free State, Eastern Cape, North West, Mpumalanga, Western Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo and Kwa-Zulu Natal. The Cluster will do the following: do a detailed oversight programme in all nine provinces, get our constituency offices to monitor progress and ask ANC branches to form broad forums of development in pursuit of eradicating the bucket system.

We would want towards our centenary as the ANC to state that the freedom charter has found expression and implementation in South Africa and feel and live the freedom and happiness that came with liberty. Madame Speaker, Comrade President as we do this, we need to turn our attention towards the areas we have fallen short with regard to our own and people expectations, one such area is that of social exclusion.

The plight of the long-term and intermittently unemployed, single parent families etc (the means tested category ). While taxes assisted, the composition of the poor differs, reflecting different welfare state emphasis. Who bears the brunt differs, youth to women, old, young, urban and rural. What are the ages of the long-term unemployed? It matters for skills development, for shared growth. The UIF makes this differentiation. Job training policies are also a way to combat social exclusion. Raising skills level increase hiring of disadvantage groups, raise productivity, but training and economic growth complements each other. Programme to track and keep all who undergone various SETA and other training and make them part of insertion, instead of searching in vain for employment.... (Afrikaans) Maybe projects to benefit the community, eg. public works, manufacturing. A programme to enable the excluded to socialize into a particular culture is they co-ops, enterprise, civil service, community needs. In contrast to tax exemptions, deregulation and other profit making incentives, rather to have economic goal of job and business creation with social purposes in an effort to combat social exclusion. Urban policy to focus on economic and social development activities that would fight exclusion in areas as our constitution states, the goal to decouple spatial location from exclusion and prevent development of a dual society. Apartheid has caused spatial concentrations of social problems, the need for targeted policy, along and beyond urban renewal and rural development. Urban policy in pursuit of social cohesion, goals of neighbourhood activities,public service for the least favoured communities, economic and social insertion, public safety and anti-delinquency efforts and housing rehabilitation, localized intervention in education, community policing, cultural activities.

The ANC speaks with confidence because it has been at the head of this national effort to change our country for the better. Working with you in a peoples contract to create work and fight poverty, we are confident of success. I thank you!