Thank you, Hon Speaker, Hon Chair of NCOP

His Excellency Mr President

Deputy Chief Whip, Hon Members, Special Delegates and viewers at Home, Revolutionary Greetings to you.

 

The Nation mourns the loss of her citizens

 

Isizwe sonke sithokombisile emva kwenyanga ezilishumi elinanye kwafika u Dubul’e geqe wesifo se Covid-19. Kwavakala Izijwili kumhlaba wonke. Siphumile emananini ngoku sibiza amagama eziduko oThole, oRhadebe, oMadiba, Van der Merwer, Kennedy, Willson, Patel, Pillay, oMokoena, Mofokeng, Bakone nabanye abaninzi. We pray God to give us serenity to overcome and defeat COVID 19 which has caused misery to citizens.

 

Phephi Ho Masika Tshidisehang ka ofela. Nale ntlungu izakugqitha. Zilele Iintsizwa, Amaqobokazana, Amawasa na Mawasakazi. Thuthuzelekani. Nalendlu yoWiso noQinqgo mthetho iyantywizisa siphulukene namalungu alishumi elinesine ogxa bethu ngenxa yalobhubhane.

 

Coronavirus Pandemic has forever changed the World. We had to restructure our lives, the way we work, how we do business and the way we interact with each other. We as ANC would like to commend courageous work of Frontline workers in our Health care facilities. We salute retired Health care Professionals who came out of retirement to help save Lives.

 

Sima Kweliqonga ngalenjikalanga siyi ANC sisamkela ngezandla ezishushu Intetho yeSizwe eqiqileyo ethiwe thaca apha ngoLwesine nguwe Mongameli ohloniphekileyo. We join millions of South Africans in expressing our full confidence in your government that is focused, determined and hard at work. You gave a full account of 2020 SONA and crafted SONA 2021 with a clear Implementation Plan. The spirit of your Address Hon President was an appeal for resilience and courage in this time of crisis as we battle with 2 major challenges which is Corona-virus and struggling National Economy.

 

Commemorating 25 years of the Constitution

 

As I stand on this podium, I would like to call upon every Member and all South African Citizens to take a moment to rededicate ourselves to honour and respect the Constitution passed in this House in December 1996. This year we celebrate a milestone of 25 years of being one nation, with our Constitution as the supreme law of our land. Thina siyi ANC siyawuhlonipha umgaqo siseko kwaye sizakuwukhusela.

Upon its values, the democratic Republic of South Africa and all the institutions of the State were founded. The preamble articulates clearly the objectives of our Constitution:

 

  • Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights;

  • Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law;

  • Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person; and

  • Build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations.

 

As historical record shows, the African National Congress, led the process of drafting and adoption of the Constitution Act 108 of 1996.

We have witnessed in recent times the callous use of race to deny some people of their human dignity as citizens of South Africa. As pioneers of non-racialism, the ANC affirms the principles outlined in the Freedom Charter and the Constitution; that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. We therefore condemn the racist attacks against anyone in our society. Ubuhlanga abunandawo Kweli Lizwe.

 

As Dr Martin Luther King Junior said, “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character”. Umanyano Lwesizwe ngamandla. Kopana yaSechaba ke Matla

 

Track record of Oversight

 

I want to dedicate my input today to my predecessor of Note, Leader par excellence and a people’s servant, Comrade Jackson Mphikwa Mthembu uMvelase. May His Soul Rest In Eternal Peace.

 

Even us as the ANC in this Parliament have labored to sustain our oversight role under trying circumstances. We commend the efforts of government as led by you Mr. President.

 

It was under the late Minister Mthembu that in October 2016, the ANC Caucus made a solemn commitment to the people of South Africa. We said:

The ANC in Parliament will both in word and in deed, regain the moral high ground, vigorously advance clean governance, champion the fight against corruption, shun incompetence and decisively deal with ill-discipline. Ethical and moral uprightness shall serve as the guiding principles of our parliamentary work.”

 

This pledge that we made almost 5 years ago still stands. For the ANC Caucus, there is no turning back on it. Asigungqi kwesi sibophelelo.

This decisive moment in 2016 brought about at least two oversight inquiries that had consequential outcomes. The first one was the Committee that led to the dissolution of the dysfunctional board at the SABC and ushered in the process of rebuilding the National Broadcaster.

 

This was followed by the Eskom inquiry that laid bare the depth of corruption and capture at our national power utility. All these inquiries were driven by Members of this house, united by a single objective: to advance the interests of South Africa and her people. These examples showed that when we do our oversight work diligently as Parliament, using the powers vested in us by the Constitution, we are able to achieve decisive outcomes.

 

In honour of those who have come before us and the millions of South Africans who have entrusted the ANC with their votes, we will ensure that Parliament in the 6th term will remain consistent in taking decisive action against corruption and crime, regardless of who is implicated. Nokuba ngubani owombethe ingubo erhwexayo Yobuqhophololo Ubusela Nobuqhetseba Mababanjwe kuze kuthinjwe bonke ubutyebi abazenzele bona ngobusela nondlela mnyama.

 

We have already demonstrated this commitment in the manner in which we processed the Auditor General’s first report on the expenditure of COVID-19 relief funds. All the oversight Committees called the respective Ministers and DGs to account. I want to state it categorically that no Member of the ANC has ever been instructed to cover up corruption. Elowo olisela uzakuzimela ngeNkqayi Ngeqhiya Nebotyo elangeni.

 

On the contrary, the directive from the Office of the Chief Whip was clear. We instructed all our Committee Chairs, Whips and Members to leave no stone unturned to hold those responsible for the deeply disturbing acts of corruption accountable.

We therefore reject the narrative that the ANC Caucus has sought to micro-manage Committee members and prevent them from performing their duties. Bubuvuvu obu sityholwa ngabo.

 

The ANC affirms its unwavering support for the Commission of inquiry into allegations of State Capture led by the Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. The Commission must carry out its work and table its report without any fear or favour. Mayingoyiki Ngokoyikiswa nangubani na. Hare tshetsheli morau re-mpa re-tshireletsa Sechaba ka kakaretso ho bubodu.

 

The ANC also supports all the law enforcement agencies that are fighting crime and corruption. We must also move with speed to finalise the lifestyle audit framework as well as guidelines on family members of politically exposed persons doing business with the state

 

Broad outline on key land and property processes, section 25 and the Expropriation Bill

 

The time has arrived for the 6th Parliament to deliver on the National grievance of land. We will amend the Constitution in this year so that it makes explicit that which is implicit: The expropriation of land without compensation under specified conditions in a law of general application.

 

Public Hearings into the actual amendments have been completed, guided by a draft Ad Hoc committee Bill, the 18th Constitutional Amendment Bill.

 

The report of these public hearings was tabled before the Ad Hoc Committee on Friday, 12 February 2021. We are waiting for the Committee to table its report in the National Assembly. Intambo iyasongwa ngoku Mawubuye umhlaba kubaniniwo. Amasela omhlaba ayangcangcazela okwetshoba Lenkomo

 

At the same time an amended Expropriation Bill, 2020, has been tabled in Parliament. Public comments through the Government Gazette have already happened and the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure has extended the period for written submissions to the end of February 2021. Thereafter, public hearings throughout the country and in Parliament will take place.

 

It is this Expropriation Bill that the Constitution refers to as “the law of general application” which will allow for land and property to be expropriated. It will replace the apartheid era Expropriation Act of 1975. Ezinguqu zinyanzelekile. Mayiwe imithetho yengcinezelo.

All of these initiatives by the ANC government demonstrate that 2021 in Parliament, will be the year in which we substantially and fundamentally address the national grievance of land ownership.

 

Electoral Reforms

 

In June 2020 the Constitutional Court ruled in a majority judgement that the Electoral Act does not allow every adult South African to exercise the right to contest elections on their own. Accordingly, it declared the Act unconstitutional. It gave Parliament 24 months to amend the Electoral Act to provide for the independent candidates to stand for public office in national and provincial elections.

 

The Home Affairs Committee has been seized with this matter since September 2020. We now have only 17 months left.

 

We appeal that we work together on this as Parliament and allow external organisations to make their presentations to a Parliamentary public process and not try to short circuit matters.

 

The IEC has been involved with Parliament already and acknowledges the complexity of implications of the judgement. They will give Parliament support in the process on technical expertise.

 

In your address, Honourable. President, you outlined a coherent strategy and action plan with four pillars that we as the ANC in Parliament fully support. We do so because it gives a good framework for the kind of urgent work that is needed to relieve the anxieties of the Nation. Building a Capable and Ethical state cannot be over emphasized.

 

Congratulations are in order to first Woman who happen to be an AFRICAN Woman Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Nigeria who is appointed as World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director General a ground breaking and positive direction that Africa is rising.

 

Ndiyabulela

Thank you

Ke ea leboha

Nikhensile

Baie Dankie