Speech by Membathisi Mdladlana, Minister of Labour, during debate on the President\'s State of the Nation Address in the National Assembly
12 February 2008
Honourable Members of Parliament,
Fellow South Africans,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
The achievement of democracy in 1994 marked the birth of our country as an African nation on the southern tip of the continent. It provided us with the opportunity to:
Set up a government based on the will of the people and on people-centred and people driven principles. It provided us with an opportunity to
Strengthen the ANC as a leader and commander in the implementation of a practical programme of social change and a movement rooted among the people. Hence the slogan " ANC LIVES! ANC LEADS!
It is precisely for that reason that the President during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) declared a War Against Poverty…" A National War Room for a War Against Poverty to be precise.
Masibambane ngezandla singamasebe kaRhulumente silwe nendlala silamlele abantu ekuthwaxweni linxele likaKhetsekile. Sonke masibambelele eKhubeni siqinise imisipha neentsinga.
Uhlabe ikhwelo uMongameli ukuba kungabiko siseko sikaRhulumente esibulaleka sodwa. Isebe lezeNtlalo-ntle, elamaphondo nooRhulumente baseMakhaya, elezoShishino, Imihlaba nolimo, Imisebenzi kaRhulumente nelezempilo - abambane abe yinkwa nenkwa kuliwe nendlala.
Masahlukane nesiqhelo - naxa ndisazi ukuba isiqhelo siyayoyisa ingqondo, ude agwebe ngesikaJoji uMongameli athi, "Business Unusual."
Kunyembelekile uMbutho wesizwe i-ANC ufuna sibe ngamafelandawonye anjongo ikukubumbana alwe indlala. Ewe silenzile igalelo kodwa kuninzi ekufuneka sikwenzile. Ewe uninzi lunawo amanzi okusela kodwa kusekho abangenamanzi. Baninzi abanombane bakho abangenawo. Baninzi abazuza indodla nenkam-nkam bakho abacholi naphantsi.
Ngokumisela amaphulo ophuhliso lwamakhosikazi, umlisela nomthinjana, umgqeku nomqikela, abantu abahlala emaphandleni, abantu abakhubazekileyo nabalimeleyo, abantu abahlaselwe zizifo, iingwevu neengwevukazi zethu - Silwa nendlala.
Ngokumisela iinkqubo zophuhliso lwezakhono noqeqesho - Silwa nendlala.
Ngokuthoba iminyaka ukuze namadoda aminyaka ingama- 60 azuze indodla - Silwa nendlala.
Ngokumisela amaphulo okudala imisebenzi ngesebe lezemisebenzi- Silwa nendlala.
Njengoko abacinezelwa bengazange bavume ukuthoba kwimpatho gadalala yabamhlophe, abavumi nangoku ukuthoba ngenxa yendlala. Abantu baphucwa imihlaba yabo ngolunya - Umhlaba! Ubutyebi belizwe busezandleni zegcuntswana! Mayibuye! Uninzi alukabinazo izindlu. Amandla!
Cde President, I agree with you, that we must prepare our people for War Against Poverty. Yes Cde President our people have political freedom however, that political freedom without economic control is hollow. It is for this reason that I agree with you that let us mobilise our people for this stage and phase of our struggle. "A Luta Continua"
Our theme from the January 8th Statement is "Mass mobilisation to build a caring society". It has been the ANC that cared and it is only the ANC that cares. It is the ANC together with our labour movement that can mobilise domestic and farm workers under the banner of a strong and vigilant trade union. It is the ANC together with our labour movement that can sustain a programme of action towards protecting vulnerable workers. " All workers shall be free to form trade unions, to elect their officers and to make wage agreements with their employers ," says the Freedom Charter - and it continues " That our country will never be prosperous or free until all our people live in brotherhood, enjoying equal rights and opportunities. "
Sir Francis Bacon however, advised us many years ago that - "knowledge is power". Therefore it would be of no use to create jobs and develop skills when our people remain ignorant of the jobs being created, where they are created, what skills they require, and so forth. Therefore the need to enhance employment search mechanisms that would not cost job-seekers is very important - as highlighted by the President in his speech. Government stepping up efforts to expedite the process.
It is the ANC that is committed to human rights and the rights of all workers irrespective of gender, race, creed or religion. The ANC has no "buts", "ifs" "howevers", "whenevers", and "wherevers" when it comes to the rights of workers and the constitutional rights of South Africans in general. Only the ANC government can win this war. Only the ANC can end Rural Poverty. Only the ANC can bring dignity to people with disabilities. Only the ANC can ensure that we have youth of quality standards to enter the labour market. Only the ANC can provide universal access to basic services such as water and electricity. Only the ANC can provide support to the elderly and indigent people. Only the ANC is the home of the truly dispossessed and all South Africans. Our strength flows from our roots among the people. Only the ANC government can and will win this war against poverty. Comrade President I am absolutely sure that in this house - the ANC is the Only Organisation that is "Proud of its past "and the Only one "Confident of the Future"
I thank you