Speech by hon Patricia Adams in the National Assembly - Debate: Medium Term Budget Policy Framework 2011

22 November 2011

Honourable Speaker
Honourable Deputy President
Honourable Minister
Honourable Member
Guest in the gallery

Skeptics and Pundits are in agreement that our country, as part of the global village, is not insulated from the effects of the mishaps that continue to hamstring the Eurozone economy, in particular Greece and Italy. Indeed we make history under conditions which are not of our own choice. The issue however is not whether we choose or not choose the material conditions of our history, but the issue, Honourable Members, is whether we make history according to our own ideas and for the purpose which we determine. No matter how chilling the blizzard on our economy, our resolve to fight against extreme poverty, high unemployment, and escalating inequalities, remains unshaken.

Die Fiskale raamwerk is `n politieke en finansiele instrument om te verselier dat beleids programme deur die toekenning van finalisiele bronne aan die onderskeie regerings vlakke uitgevaar word. Die Polokwane resolusies is die grondslag van die ANC se mediumtermyn prioritete wat die vertrekpunt is by die bepaling van 2012 begrotings toekenuis.

Let me remind you, Honourable Members, that we are building a developmental state whose mandate is to decisively intervene to protect the vulnerable. it was the father and mother of our democratic dispensation who in Section 9(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa provide to promote the achievement of equality, the state may take appropriate measure designed to protect persons disadvantaged by unfair discrimination.

Honourable Speaker

The recognition that human rights and basic social conditions in which people live, are fundamentally interconnected resulted in increase inclusion of socioeconomic rights in our Constitution. The state has the obligation to take reasonable measure within its available resources to achieve progressive realization of socioeconomic rights. Section 29 (1) (a) provides for children’s right to basic education; sections 26 and 27 entrench the right of everyone to have access to adequate housing, health care services, food and water, and social security. It is in keeping these Constitutional imperative, which reflect the values of the ANC, that our ANC-led government has prioritized amongst others, education, health, and human settlements.

According to the National Planning Commission’s diagnostic overview: `Efforts to raise the quality of education for poor children have largely failed… Literacy and numeracy test score are low by African and a global standard, despite the fact, that government spends about 6% of GDP on education. It is therefore appropriate to increase spending on education and skills development.

Education is a means of promoting good citizenship and preparation for the needs of a democratic society and modern economy. It remains the best weapon to sight poverty and inequality. MTEF period by 6.7%, to reach ± R231.7 billion by 2014/15. To address the literacy and numeracy challenges annual assessments and numeracy will according to the MTBPS be extended to grade 9 in 2011/12, FET colleges will be supported with tuition, machinery, and equipment and more funding provided to expand post-graduate programmes and academic centre of excellence.

South Africa`s health system continue to be dualistic with a poorly resourced public health care system which caters for the majority without medical aid; and the well resourced and highly subsidized private health care system. In our country health has been commercialized and commodified. As a consequence the poor are unable to assess similar quality of health acre as the oprich. How ever according to the MTBPS the AIDS mortality rate has leveled off, thereof, there has been a rapid scaling-up of the ARV treatment programme; and the national mother-to-child HIV transmission rate has fallen from 8.5 % to 3.5% in 2009. The ANC is committed to equalizing the value of all South African lives and ensuring that all who need health care receive it, their economic and social status immaterial. The NHI is our ANC-led government’s vehicle of choice in realizing the goal of universal equality in access to health care. The national health insurance pilot project will therefore take place in 10 districts to address challenges in adequate infrastructure, weak hospital management and shortage of skilled health workers.

The imperative to push back the frontiers of poverty has led to spending on social service. In this regard the MTBPS calls for the should also note that social welfare grants now support about 15.2 million South Africans, up from 2.5 million in 1998, thereby leading to government spend on social expenditure to be 10.9 of its total budget. Many South Africans continue to live below the poverty line and while we should be wary of extending social grants at the expense of development and empowerment we must not fail to comply with our obligation to protect vulnerable South Africans from failing victim to all forms of harsh extremities.

Honourable Speaker

The majority of poor South Africans live in informal settlements with poor amenities as they cannot afford to build house. Our ANC-led government continues to be committed to building human settlements for our people as a means of not only empowering them but restoring their dignity and building a better life for all. Spending on local government and human settlements has increased from R68 billion in 2008/9 to R121.5 billion in 2011/2012, at the average annual rate of 21.3%. With about 1.2 million households living in informal settlements, the medium-tern priority according to the MTBPS is to upgrade informal settlements in 45 large cities and towns, providing poor households with improved living conditions in areas where they are able to access economic opportunities.

Die president het die jaar 2011 verklaar as die jaar van werskepping en in lyn met hierdie die noodsaaklikheid om werk te skep om die hoe werkloosheidskoerse om te keeer.oor die medium tot langtermyn beoog die regering on die samstelling van besteding om hoër vlakke van infrastruktuur-onderhoud en kapitaalbesteding, te ondersteun. Sodanige investering sal ekonomiese groei en werkskepping bevorder, en `n gunstige klimaat skep vir verdure investering deur die privaatsektor. Bykomend tot Eskom se groot kragprojek sal die focus in enerigie val op elktricfisering in informele vestigings en kapasiteit vir die hernubare energie sector. Die nasionale elektrifisering in informele vestigings en lapasiteit vir die hernubare energie sector. Die nasionle elektrifiseringsprogramme beoog om elektrisiteitsverbindings aan alle huishoundings te voorsien teen 2014.

In conclusion

The ANC is committed to reversing the frontiers of poverty and fighting against inequality and unemployment. There has been progress in the facilitation of access to socioeconomic rights, however more remains to be done. We need to build the developmental state and strengthen its strategic and technical capacities to ensure that development is accompanied by skills development and job creation. We need to strengthen the social security network while empowering our people to be involved in their own development.

Yes the international economic environment is inimical to the ideals of our country, yet our internal financial resource demands exceed our revenue base and our national debt is bound to rise before falling and stabilizing, and our economic growth projections have to be adjusted downwards. However, we have to take our people out of extreme poverty, we have to educate our children, we have to build shelter for the vulnerable, we have to put equal value in all lives, and we move to reduce the gap between the rich and poor. The ANC is not only just a political party, but remains a liberation movement to liberate our people from the legacy of unfair discrimination on the basis of race, which continues on autopilot along the apartheid fault lines. We shall not relent, but will increase our resolve towards a truly equal and free national democratic society, based on human dignity and ubuntu values.

Thank you