Speech by Hon Me Sogoni in the National Assembly on the debate on Adjustment Appropriations Bill

22 November 2011

Hon Speaker
Honourable members

I want to dedicate my speech to the late president of the ANC, Comrade Oliver Reginald Tambo.

Ingqungqumbana erawundi njengesheleni. Umdenjengentonga. Inkunzi abayikhuza ukuhlaba ingekahlabi, uMachi.

As we all know, the MTBPS was presented in this house in October, the month in which the late Comrade OR Tambo was born.

Comrade Tambo was a warm and generous human being. He had courage, modesty, sensitivity and above all, dedication to a revolutionary cause. He was and remains a hero of our people, an architect of our national unity; a freedom fighter, an upholder of justice and a revolutionary. He was a gentle intellectual giant who never flinched, never relented in the fight for the liberation of the poor and oppressed. He was highly disciplined, never lived above any other and never defied his organisation and his people. Comrade O.R. was a man of his people; he was living in the future of a united people in the struggle against all social ills.

The MTBPS we are debating today responds directly and consolidates the issues that he pursued during his fight, his struggles, his long journey that he travelled. He left us a glorious legacy.

Hon. Speaker, as you know comrade O.R. was loved and admired throughout the movement. He combined the best qualities of a revolutionary patriot and dynamic international. Because of his clear understanding of the factors underlying national oppression of the South African masses, he was able, in his own unassuming manner, to guide, unite and inspire others to commit themselves fully to the struggle for the noble ideals of freedom, democracy and just social order.

During his leadership of the movement, he was involved in the front ranks of our struggle, inspiring everyone around him, and those inside the country, young and older generations, first amongst the volunteers in situations that threatened life, arrest, torture, imprisonment, never found wanting whenever there was a struggle to be waged. Most important of all, he led by example, led from the front.

The allocation in the MTBPS carries forward his vision of a developmental, united, non-racial and non sexist South Africa. In the context of the MTBPS, government’s countercyclical fiscal stance is maintained. Expenditure continues to grow in real terms, encouraging a stronger recovery with an economic support package, measures to bolster job creation and continued public investment in infrastructure. The budget deficit rises to 5,5 percent in 2011/12 as a result of the lower than projected revenue and moderating towards 3 percent by 2014/15.

The MTBPS recognizes the need to shift the composition of spending towards the creation of long-term public assets through infrastructure investment, a precondition for economic recovery.

Honourable Speaker, the House has adopted the indicative allocations as presented by the Minister of Finance, the issue now is ensuring the effective, efficient and economic usage of these resources. The MTBPS counsels that available resources are not unlimited and this requires this Legislature to continue to undermine any corrupt perceptions in government.

This MTBPS introduces universal access to health care services through the piloting of National Health Insurance, this is the cornerstone of the liberation as envisaged in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The liberals oppose this noble cause and expose their true colours of being anti-poor. The party Honourable Mazibuko leads, does not want the majority who do not have access to medical aid to have access to health care services. That’s what OR stood for, universal access to health, education and other public services for the poor, otherwise the struggle would have been in vain.

The difference between the ANC and the DA is that the ANC wants ordinary people to have access to all public services rendered by government. Frantz Fanon, in the ‘Wretched of the Earth,’ says ‘liberals also want to maintain the status quo where only certain services are a preserve of the elite’.

In line with the priorities of government led by the ANC, the MTBPS increases allocation to the rural people by strengthening allocation to the Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and to Rural development so that lending to smallholding farmers by Land Bank is improved and supports establishment of food gardens for purposes of food security. Also welcome is the launch of Zero Hunger Campaign by the President. The MTBPS raises concern about the pace at which the wage bill is growing, but takes solace that engagement is taking place at Nedlac, however, the issue that needs to be attended to Honourable Minister of Finance seems to be the OSD which in many cases has not been implemented in line with policy.

Honourable Speaker I would to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the members of the committee, the staff and my Secretary who worked beyond the call of duty to ensure that the report was produced on time.

The ANC supports the MTBPS and the Adjustments Appropriations Bill.

I thank you