FW de Klerk must let it go - Buti Manamela

Deputy minister says it is about time the govt finally cleaned up the last white president's mess, and that of his predecessors

Address by Deputy Minister Buti Manamela on the occasion of the Presidency Budget Speech, National Assembly, Parliament

26 May 2015

Thank you Speaker


Deputy President, 

Honourable Members.

Let’s Tango.

There is a confluence of messaging orchestrated from certain quarters within the opposition parties and the media in all its forms for the last six years. This messaging has consistently hammered the idea that South Africa is on a precipice, and that we are about to collapse.

This set of propaganda messaging is intended to plant a seed in the minds of South Africans that our country is worse off than conflict ridden Burundi or in much deeper problems than that of the economic crises ridden Greece.

We have heard some of these stale and dying arguments repeated in this house this afternoon intimating that there is an apocalypse coming.

Yes, South Africans are navigating their way on a daily basis through the energy crisis, but contrary to the loud voice echoed by the few in this house, our people in their majority know that government is acting on this crisis and are comforted that sooner, the lights will be on a permanent basis.

Yes, there were criminals who unleashed violence on African nationals recently, but in their numbers, our people joined government in collective condemnation of the violence. Government has swiftly quelled this violence and brought peace to our townships.

Yes, there are critical challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality owing to the legacy of apartheid. But unlike the prophets of doom, our people know that the government they elected unequivocally is implementing a National Development Plan that is aimed at addressing these challenges.

Despite the array of ideological warfare and information distortion that this government has not done anything for the last 21 years, our people know that since Nelson Mandela, never has a government touched their lives so swiftly, and so qualitatively, than any other government could have done anywhere in the world.

The task is mammoth, the challenges are many, but government’s hands are on deck working together with the people to ensure that the national democratic project becomes a success.

Election after election, they have refused to be swayed by enemies of progress who bombarded them with lies and deception, and continued to vote for the ANC, as they would in the coming elections.

South Africans have already succumbed to the idea that all they hear from the opposition benches is nothing but waffle from paper tigers whose words and rhetoric can never translate hope into action. They know that the 103 years old ANC continues to Live, and will continue to lead irrespective of the odds against it.

Our goal as a country and as stated in the National Youth Policy 2020 is to enhance the participation of young people in the economy, through targeted programmes initiated by government, business and civil society.

Last year, the IDC committed R144 million to enterprises that are youth empowered and producing textiles, steel window frames, food, footwear, and also in tourism and film production resulting in thousands of jobs.

SEFA also disbursed R310 million to around 16 400 small and micro entrepreneurs.

This, and many others, honorable members, is hope in action and not just cheap talk.

As part of the skills programme last year, more than 6,000 youth have been trained by the National and Provincial Departments of Public Works through the EPWP programme using the National Youth Service model, with a targeted 8000 for the current financial year.

Indeed, this is hope in action.

I am currently finalising the National Youth Service Framework for public comment, and through this, we intend to simplify the NYS, improve its coordination and increase the participant’s intake to give hope in action for the 3.5 million young people Not in Education, Employment or Training.

The National Youth Employment Accord was signed in April 2013. Since then, employment for youth aged 15 to 34 has increased by some 245 000, or 4%. That means it has grown twice as fast as the number of people not in this age group. At the same time, the number of youth unemployed has fallen by 70 000

From April 2013 when the Youth Accord was signed to December 2014 when the last figures were verified, 955 833 youth employment opportunities were created.

Employment has been advanced through state procurement, with Gauteng Province’s public procurement spend for youth since the signing of the accord at R1.8 billion in the last two financial years.

Furthermore, 28 000 young people were registered as artisans through the SETAs in the 2014/5 financial year, and over 14 300 completed their training. Moreover, the share of young people benefiting from our public employment schemes has increased to over half.

The President has appointed the Presidential Youth Working Group Task Team made up of Deputy Ministers who will be responsible for coordinating and championing interventions to promote youth development and empowerment across government, and bringing the private sector, civil society, trade unions and other role players into the fold.

The Task Team will advise the President on an urgent programme to address youth employment and entrepreneurship, which he will announce on June 16.

There is no one who has placed the hopes, needs, interests and aspirations of young people than this Presidency, and this government. Our youth are smart. They challenge the status quo while imagining the prospects and promises of what could be. They understand that youth development is an essential consideration for our country’s development trajectory. They understand that youth development is complex and uneven. That youth development has fits, starts and crossroads.

That youth development requires good policy, planning, implementation and monitoring. That the work of youth development is hard work because not all young people are the same. They understand that young people do not grow up in projects and programmes. They grow up in communities that must nurture and support them. They want substantial hope, not smart sounding, but hollow one-liners. They want a hand up and not a hand out.

The Presidency will lead our government in bringing hope in action to our youth. This hope in action will be substantial and not hollow. This hope will be a hand up and not a hand out.

Honorable President, Members

Last week, former President FW de Klerk unleashed yet another of his many diatribes whose intention is to inject life into a dying political career and battle for relevance. This time, he accused Zulus, working together with communists, to have orchestrated a coup in Polokwane and got President Jacob Zuma elected as President of the ANC in 2007 and subsequently of the Republic in 2009.

Well, we have news for Mr. de Klerk. President Zuma is one of the only four Presidents who were elected by all South Africans, and next to him you are a minion as the last President who was elected by a minority.

You call 1994 a successful political transition, Mr. de Klerk. But many lives, including that of Chris Hani, were lost in that period and some of which, with or without your knowledge, were supervised by your state security machinery whose aim was to plunge us into a civil war.

You did not do us a favour by agreeing to unban the ANC, the SACP and other political parties and also agreeing to release Nelson Mandela and initiate negotiations. In fact, you could not press over the hot lid of a boiling pot that was yearning for democracy. Your hand was forced to act and your conscience could not sustain the atrocities meted by your system.

We actually did you a favour by agreeing to negotiate, to suspend the armed struggle, to quell the anger of the people when they wanted to avenge the death of Chris Hani, to let you share the limelight with Nelson Mandela by jointly receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, and gave you power in the Government of National Unity.

You accuse us of wanting to give more land to black people, and Yes we will. You accuse us of wanting to empower more black people economically, Yes we will. Because it is about time we finally clean up your mess, and that of your predecessors.

You have to let it go Sir. You have to let your political soul rest in peace and give space to your lackeys who are still hopeful that what you could not save for the minority in the negotiations could be won back from the benches of the opposition here in Parliament.

I would like to take this opportunity to Congratulate Honorable Mmusi Maimane for his election as leader of the DA. Congratulations Sir! But all you have showed today is that you hate the ANC so much, that even if we had issued a statement that Honourable Wilmot James would have been a bad choice for the DA, you would have declared that as ANC propaganda and corruption, resigned and handed him your position.

We do not control the nicknames bequeathed on us by our enemies, neither can we stop them from using those nicknames in reference to us. But for you, Sir, to receive with exuberance and endearment the reference to you by Christiane Amanpour of CNN as the Obama of Soweto was the last insult to our generation. That reference may be apt to him. It may be worthy of your hastags and retweets. You may be indulging in such a reference to you as the Obama of Soweto like a little kid handed a lollipop, but our generation will not take that bait.

We know that the world has written Africa off, and many of its leaders may not be a worthy example, and good leaders in our continent have probably been in short supply. But could you not emulate the intellectual prowess of statesmen like Kwame Nkuruma, or the boisterous oratory of Patrice Lumumba, or the principled leadership of Thomas Sankara, or the revolutionary commitment of Nelson Mandela and Moses Kotane, or the selflessness of Oliver Tambo to mention but a few.

These may obviously have evaded you since your own election took place at a conference where Allister Sparks - friend of your mentor revoked apartheid white leaders such as Hendrik Verwoerd as being smart, without mentioning any of these and many more black leaders.

I was abroad on party work and never had the opportunity to play with you on the Twitter game you invented after your election, the #AskMmusi game. But I cannot be left behind and I want to gooi in some of the #AskMmusi that should have invaded your cyberspace.

If Hillary Clinton is elected as President of the US, would you bleach your hair and skin since American leaders seems to be your favourite flavour? #AskMmusi

Do you sometimes find yourself mixing church and parliament, and therefore giving a sermon, as you just did, here in parliament and hoping for an Amen, and interchangeably giving a long empty rhetoric in your church hoping for a Viva? #AskMmusi

Do you think Chester Missing is jealous of your successes or does he hate Helen Zille for being better at being a ventriloquist than Conrad Koch. #AskMmusi

Oscar Wilde once said:

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”

He also said on another occasion

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

The only thing good of you, Honorable Maimane, is that you are not the Horrible - Honourable Julius Malema.

Thank you Honourable Speaker!

Issued by: The Presidency, May 26 2015