Speech by HC Mgabadeli during debate on the President’s State of the Nation Address in the National Assembly

12 February 2008

Unity, National Security Towards bringing about Mass Mobilization and Building of a Caring Society

Madam Speaker, Honourable President of the country, distinguished guests, friends, patriots and comrades, I greet you all in this “relay race of continuous rebirth so that the dream of a better life becomes a reality for all South Africans”: President TM Mbeki SONA 2008.

This debate, salutes all the efforts dating as far back as the years we can not remember when a Black person fought against all wars that were waged against him/her including the wars of dehumanization, 1912’s formal formation of the ANC and all that the ANC went through including her members being scattered all over the globe, some dying there, others we can not tell what happened to them till today.

We as the ANC and those who see the logic in caring for those who brought about this nation to where it is, salute the resolution, its content, its impact both sociologically and economically – resolution on the formation to the Veterans League of the ANC. Within the spirit of continued mass mobilization, unity and caring society, the ANC just like so many other countries that care about their liberators, passed this resolution –

  • To establish a Veterans League of the ANC and all that is needed by such a body, its contributions to the security and develop its needs.

After all these things we still say let us build unity, mass mobilization and a caring society. It should be remembered that these veterans were not fighting a war of one country against the other, it was a painful fight against apartheid inside the same country. Apartheid ended up being globally declared heretic and criminal. All the members of the nation, the oppressor and the oppressed ended up being liberated by these comrades among others who are now our veterans. That is how we continuously try to bring about healing, caring and sharing in the country’s freedoms.

Remember how these comrades responded immediately when their leaders, for the sake of unity called on them to disband MK. It was not an easy matter as it was too early. Let all of us learn from these gallant soldiers what we mean by being led. When disbandment time comes, it comes the rest is history.

To ensure that this unity of the mobilised masses towards the building of a caring society is sustainable, we need among other things to ensure that:

  • All organs of National Security are on their toes, day and night.
  • Are willing to be monitored, reviewed and being re-directed according to different forms and kinds of robbers robbing our land and its resources.
  • There is sharp and fast critical analysis of these rising mountains of private security companies – let them be replaced by collective security in the form of people empowered street committees etc.
  • The opportunity of the Presidential Pardoning that will end on  …………. to ensure that it adds to the process of healing by genuine exposure of oneself for the purposes of real closure is utilized.

“Our nation should unite as never before and strain every sinew of its collective body to address our common challenges and keep alive the dream that has sustained all of us as we traveled along the uncharted road towards the creation of the South Africa visualized in our Constitution”: SONA 2008.

Let me pause and say I agree with the President so much. I will however request that all of us Honourable members think deep of an inclusive member’s workshop whose purpose will be to sincerely as Public Representatives, think and deal with this problems and tendencies of contracting ourselves when it suits us. I will just table few examples / issues that I am talking about:

  1. Most of us were made to accept Truth and Reconciliation Process for the best future. We were told to forgive and forget by some, others were aware that forgetting was an impossibility but at least forgiving. Some perpetrators of serious crimes came forward and told their stories.

To my greatest surprise, when the President apologized for energy crisis it is said by some Honourable members in particular, that it is not enough to apologise…

Why were we during the TRC told to accept the apologies and forgive and forget? Were we being forced to let go for fun? I am talking about issues of loss of life not energy crisis.

  • How are we expected to keep alive this dream that has sustained all of us?  I request let us have a workshop soon and let us really unpack these issues because if we do not do it as MP’s of RSA, no one will do it for us and we will regret.
  • Linked to this one above, serious imagination of what are / were all these previously disadvantaged went through when 2 bedroom house with no electricity yet outside toilets etc were build for them. What their lives were like, farm dwellers; farm workers who still go through this shadow of energy non - existence.

The list of such matters is long towards addressing the common challenges the President is talking about. We need this workshop and I know if we can all be honest about “creating the South Africa visualized in our Constitution” and indeed:

  • We will begin to plan jointly on how we can as people share in the country’s wealth, how jointly we can tackle poverty and under development etc.

Indeed we will reach at constructing a road map that will, ( as President of the ANC Cde JZ Zuma during January 8 Statement spoke about when addressing the issue of the Alliance and Democratic Movement); said “we need to openly confront the roots of our difficulties, correct our errors, and move on …”.

Mr President, honourable members, countries like Kenya do love peace but if we avoid confronting roots of our difficulties, correct our errors, we will find ourselves in the same situation. In conclusion one would like to say no one at this phase of our history would like to see Africa being at war with one another. Let us be exemplary. Let us know our story as a Nation, as Public Representatives that will be holding Inter – Parliamentary Union in April 2008.

I thank you.