It's immoral for ANC to benefit from Eskom tariff hikes - Patricia de Lille

ID leader says govt corruption is making a mockery of the legacy of Nelson Mandela

Speech by Patricia de Lille, MP, president of the Independent Democrats, in the debate on President Jacob Zuma's state of the nation address, Parliament, Cape Town, February 15 2010

Mr President, the past few weeks have given us the opportunity to think back to the unbanning of our liberation movements and the release of Madiba with nostalgia.

The ID supports you in thanking all of those that led the fight against Apartheid inside and outside of our country.

However, this has not just been an opportunity to remember how we won our Freedom, but also a time to reflect on what we have done with it.

It is indeed very sad for me that the millions of South Africans who deserve the most praise for our victory over oppression, the very people that led the battle in the streets, have yet to taste the fruits of our democracy.

We acknowledge that 15 years is not enough to reverse 350 years of Colonialism and Apartheid, but it is my belief that we could have achieved far more.

The fact that Government has not followed up its plans with implementation and evaluation means that in many ways Government has failed Madiba's legacy.

For example, the energy crisis we are facing today was caused by the ANC and the very same ANC stands to gain the most financially from electricity tariff increases.

To the ID it is unethical and immoral that a significant percentage of the proposed 35% electricity increases each year for three years will go straight into the ANC's coffers via its front company Chancellor House.

It is with dismay that we must recall that Chancellor House was the name of the building that housed the Mandela and Tambo law firm.

Indeed, by straying from the higher set of ethics espoused by Nelson Mandela, the ANC and the Government have made a mockery of his legacy.

This, together with the actions of some of your ministers, who continue to make money off state tenders, has revealed your tough talk on corruption for what it is - just talk.

It is clear that the battle for the soul of the ANC has now morphed into a leadership battle for state resources.

Mr President, the announcement that you have terminated over 30 000 fraudulent social grants payments is very good, but when will these crooks be arrested, charged, prosecuted and sent to jail?

You also said that your Inter-Ministerial Committee on Corruption "is looking at ways to decisively defeat corruption," but Mr President, do you think that they will be effective when there are so many conflicts of interest in business deals where even ministers are involved?
The idea that ministers can monitor themselves is misguided and misleading.

Rather, we should look at setting up a permanent commission comprising of MPs and civil society to monitor and expose corruption in Government.

In some countries an anti-corruption unit is set up for each big procurement by the state.

Mr President, can you tell us when, if ever, we will see a plan from you on how we are going to restructure the economy so that we can create jobs?

It is an indictment on the Mandela legacy that we have become the most unequal society in the world.

It is patronizing to enter into a semantic debate about what constitutes work when over a million South Africans lost their jobs last year.

You said we are "turning the corner", Mr President.

Which corner?

Millions of South Africans have been living in an economic depression all their lives.

The recession has only worsened their situation.

Mr President, we are surprised that only now are you going to establish an inter-ministerial team on energy to formulate an integrated energy plan for the next 20 years, when the legislation for this was passed two years ago.

Can you explain why there have been these delays and give us an indication by when this plan will be started and completed?

Again you are promising that Independent Power Producers will be introduced, but can you please tell us by when the policy environment will be in place to attract them into the market?

It is precisely this kind of thinking that led to the energy crisis in the first place.

Mr President, when are you going to intervene in our failing state-owned enterprises to halt the rot that has set in?

As a social democratic party, the Independent Democrats believes in the strategic importance of state-owned enterprises, but only if they fit in with our developmental objectives, are run properly and are not a bottomless pit for taxpayers' money.

Mr President, last year you said Government would "improve the monitoring and evaluation" of state-owned enterprises.

Have you forgotten about this Mr President?

We welcome the emphasis you have has put on youth because they are suffering the highest levels of unemployment.

A wage subsidy for 18 to 25-year-olds was the second of our Top Ten Solutions in our 2009 Election Manifesto and we therefore support this initiative.

Mr President, you have also promised performance evaluations for ministers before. Last week you said, and I quote -

"The work of Departments will be measured by outcomes, developed through our performance monitoring and evaluation system. The Ministers who are responsible for a particular outcome, will sign a detailed Delivery Agreement with the President."

However, Mr President, in your State of the Nation Address in June 2009 you said, and I quote -

"To ensure delivery on our commitments, we will hold Cabinet Ministers accountable through performance instruments, using established targets and output measures, starting in July."

Why the delay Mr President?

You said this will be a year of action.

The ID is ready to roll up our sleeves and dirty our hands to work hard to build our country.

But we will need decisive action and leadership and far less repetitive talk and spin from you.

I thank you.

Issued by the Independent Democrats, February 15 2010

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