MEC Sihle Zikalala: Debate on KwaZulu-Natal State of the Province Address 2018

Speech by Hon. Sihle Zikalala, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism And Environmental Affairs, during the debate on the 2018 State of the Province Address

Honourable Speaker and Deputy Speaker

Honourable Premier and Members of the Executive

Honourable members of this house

Distinguished guests

It is my singular honour to rise today on behalf of the people’s movement, the African National Congress, to reflect on the State of the Province Address as delivered by the Premier yesterday.

It is only fair that from the onset we salute the Premier for defying illness in service of the people of KwaZulu-Natal. Not everyone can have so much courage and dedication to work for the people at the expense of his health.

Yesterday, honourable Premier, you reminded us of the true meaning of selfless service.

You reminded those in the revolutionary movement of President Tambo who, after suffering a stroke, went to the Kabwe Consultative Conference and proclaimed that whatever is left in his life will be consumed by the struggle for the total liberation of our people.

We have no doubt, Premier, that you will recovery very quickly and continue to be the guiding light for the province.

Preceding the State of the Province Address, we had the greatest opportunity yet again to receive wise counsel from His Majesty the King.

Amongst the counsel we got was to adopt a tradition of honouring people whilst they are still alive. In this regard, His Majesty lifted the need to honour uMntwana wakwaPhindangene who turns 90 years of age this year.

The contribution of uMntwana wakwaPhindangene in building the society we have today is well documented and can never been underestimated. For us in the revolutionary movement we appreciate that, in spite of many difference with him and his party, he has continued to appreciate the need for reconciliation and building peace between the ANC and IFP.

We must use the celebration of this milestone to resolve whatever is outstanding between the two parties and cement peace in our province.

In this we can never forget the fact that the tension between the UDF and IFP and later between the ANC and IFP was a well-orchestrated plan of the apartheid regime to set Africans against each other while they continue with the exploitative apartheid system.

One of those historic painful experiences that provide proof to this point, are the Trust Feeds massacre where apartheid police murdered our people knowing that African we remain suspecting each other. As we commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Trust Feed massacre, this year, we should seek to bring total closure to all areas that suffered such painful violence experiences.

I also wish to join you honourable Premier in paying homage to yet another son of the soil, the former president of the ANC and the Republic, President J.G Zuma.

As the honourable Premier highlighted some of the achievements of former President Zuma yesterday, we cannot forget his role in building peace in this province, a role he also spearheaded in many other African countries which suffered violence.

We know that the departure of President Zuma left many confused and somehow disillusioned.

The leadership in the ANC has always been a function of relay. President Mandela handed over to President Mbeki who, in turn, handed over to President Zuma. Now President Zuma has handed over to President Ramaphosa yet the transition to the National Democratic Society remains on cause.

We welcome the commitment by the Premier to pursue radical and inclusive economic growth so that we wage a successful fight against poverty, unemployment and inequality.

To achieve higher economic growth, we need to attract more foreign direct investment to the province. The commitment made by the Premier that our province must achieve an annual 3% GDP growth by 2020 is a firm determinants for improving the lives of our people.

As the province we have moved with speed to eliminate the red tape through the establishment of the One-Stop-Shop. This initiative will make it easy for investors to access services under one roof and dramatically reduce time for fulfilling compliance requirements.

We invite the private sector to take full advantage of this conducive business environment as created by the people’s government.

Honourable Premier, you made a telling observation that African countries are still predominantly producers of raw materials and commodities, supplying the industrialized first world countries and that this highlights the importance of building manufacturing infrastructure for local beneficiation.

If we are to create jobs at a desired scale and diversify our economy, we need to put an end to exportation of jobs through exporting un-beneficiated local goods and focus on building a strong and resilient manufacturing base.

To beneficiate locally, we need skills and expertise. It is in this regard Honourable Premier that people of KwaZulu Natal should welcome and celebrate allocation of R375 million to fund approximately 3500 students on bursaries.

These bursaries should be aimed, in particular, at those students who are pursuing studies on critical skills for the economy.

With the advent of the Forth Industrial Revolution upon us, we need to embark on the skills revolution in the cutting-edge technology and knowledge economy.

If we are to successfully beneficiate our resources and take advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we need deliberate programmes to produce more engineers and scientists for the province of KwaZulu Natal.

We must also mobilise young people to take full advantage of KZN Youth International Scholarships Programme. Because the known is finite, the unknown infinite � it is only through the international experiences that we can zero down on the unknown and produce more knowledge required for human development.

As we surge forward with the fight against unemployment, poverty and inequality, we must welcome the new initiative of Sukuma 10 000, which commits all departments, private sector, parastatals and state-owned entities to create 10 000 new job opportunities targeting youth, women and people with disabilities.

Whilst we roll-out Sukuma 10 000, we must equally engender the culture of entrepreneurship amongst the youth.

It is a known fact that the size of government and fiscal pressures dictate that not everyone should strive to be in the employ of the government. The government must assist young people in particular to be job creators more than being job seekers.

In this instance, the announcement of KZN Youth Development Fund to be capitalized with R50 Million is a much-needed progressive step towards encouraging entrepreneurship amongst young people.

It is a matter of public record that amongst the difficulties faced by emerging entrepreneurs is the lack of access to finance and markets.

Because of the lack of start-up capital some emerging entrepreneurs had to resort to loans from profit-driven commercial banks. We will intensify our work to create accessibility to markets and finance to ensure sustainable commercial ventures.

Notwithstanding these and other challenges, the message to young people is that the era of hand-outs is reaching its expiry date. Stand up and be counted. The initiative of the KZN Youth Development Fund resonates with the message from the President of our country, President Ramaphosa that we must lend a hand in uplifting our country. The creation of this is an attempt to those young entrepreneurs who says send me to the world of economy I want to lend a hands in the creation of jobs.

Madam Speaker

The land remains the primary catalyser of economic growth and development. When investors come, they expect serviced land. The empower SMMEs and Cooperatives will remain a pipe dream if they don’t have access to land � and arable land in particular.

On Tuesday, the Parliament of South Africa passed the motion of expropriation of land without compensation.

This is a profound and ground-breaking following the ANC 54th National Conference resolution that the state should expropriate land without compensation in a manner that increases agricultural production, improves food security and ensure that land is returned to those from whom it was taken under colonialism and apartheid. We applaud all parties that put aside their narrow political differences and adopted a joint approach adopting this motion.

I’m hopeful that the EFF in KZN, who opted to boycott the State of the Province Address yesterday, will learn that we must extricate ourselves from narrow thinking and begin to act in the best interest of our people, especially those who suffered decades of oppression and exploitation.

The Premier yesterday aptly articulated our attitude as KZN in terms of the implementation of the resolution to expropriate land without compensation.

It is the fact of history that dispossession of indigenous people of their land denied them their primary source of wealth and development. It definitely cannot be sustainable that black South Africans who make up 79% of the population, as individuals they only directly own 1.2% of land while our white South African compatriots, constituting 9% of the population, directly own 23.6% of the country’s rural land and 11.4% of land in urban areas.

We are not oblivious to the fact that in our province, the most arable land is not the one under Amakhosi and Ingoyama Trust but that which is in the private hands. This is the land used for commercial agriculture, tourism, and leisure.

We valued the development of the good relationship but by leaders of the ANC and the IFP. As we know in all families there are no who always want self-promotion. No one in this house should portray himself as the mouthpiece of the Royal House. We belong and value the leadership of the His Majesty. A day before yesterday, in this very same house, His Majesty made it clear that uyiNkosi yethu sonke njengesizwe samaZulu.

Therefore, the expropriation of land without compensation should be applicable to the arable land in the hands of the private capital.

As part of land restitution, we need to discourage option of financial compensation where land can still be restituted.

In order to secure agricultural production and to improve food security, the land should be expropriated into the hands of the state and be leased to SMMEs, Coops, individuals and other forms of social ownership on the basis of use or lose basis.

The Agricultural Summit to be convened this year as announced by the Premier should be an effective platform to produce tangible mechanisms not only to grow the agricultural sector in the province, but also to transform it such that young and emerging farmers also get space to flourish.

We take note that DA was main opponents of the expropriation of land with no compensation. We are however not amazed as the DA never supported the expropriation Bill in this house, they have not supported the fee free education for working class and the poor, they never supported policy that alters the prevailing economic status quo. For them Africans must languish in poverty forever. It was in this context that, in his address to the IFP annual National Conference on the 18th July 1998, former President Mbeki, reminded us that the plight of African people was amplified in the Dr D.B.Z Ntuli’s poem that umfowethu omhlophe uyangibandlula uthi ngiyanuka.

Yes there are many whites compatriots who despised apartheid and believe in equality and consciously struggled for liberation hence ours’ is not the reversal of the apartheid system but building a truly non-racial society with equal economic prospects.

As we welcome the Provincial Leader of the DA, we hope he is conscious that he is not the first African DA leader, there have been many but what is common is their stay have been dependent on serving the privileges of the whites their defend the economic status they accrued during from the apartheid. You are welcome Honourable Mncwanga but we know you stay is dependent of how much you serve the master. In his book the roots of betrayal, James Forrester observed, if you are aggrieved, you have a reason to be compensated. Thus every man has his price, but a man’s beliefs are beyond purchase. Only history will tell, as to how much you are prepared to sell soul at the expense of genuine aspirations of the people.

Backwardness is South Africa was represented by oppression of blacks and women. It is embarrassing that 24 years in democracy there can be a party that can have only 1 woman out of 10 representatives.

Madam Speaker

Madam Speaker.

Only the beneficiaries of the status quo will find it difficult support this State of the Province Address. As asserted before, this SOPA is an embodiment of hope and brighter future for the motive forces of our revolution.

But any revolution has its counter-revolution. The South African revolution as led by the African National Congress has its counter-revolution in a form of Democratic Alliance and its subsidiaries in a form of pressure groups like Afri-Forum � which wants to run a parallel state.

These are beneficiaries of subjugation and oppression of the Africans and will fight tooth and nail to protect the status quo which has all the hallmarks of colonialism and apartheid.

Trying to clothe itself with accepted colours of the democratic dispensation, the counter-revolution has gone on an offensive to try and attract African leaders with the hope that it will appear more relevant.

The enemy has attempted to expropriate the language, heroes and heroines of the struggle as well as our heritage.

Yet, it was disconcerting Madame Speaker, that at a time when we should all be pulling in one direction as directed by the State President, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa during the State of the Nation Address (SONA), we have a party like the Democratic Alliance which sought to mar yesterday’s occasion by staging a picket outside the SOPA venue. From a party which is no stranger to scrapping the bottom of the barrel in order to hog the media headlines, this was the cheapest and the most distasteful political gimmick yet. We contend that this was cheap and distasteful because the DA, just like all the other parties represented in the legislature, sits and participates in all the processes of the legislature including enacting legislation.

It cannot be, therefore, that when the DA fails to win the hearts and minds of our people owing to its track record of being a party that protects white privilege, it then moves out of the parameters of the rules of our engagement and creates a wrong impression that our province has insurmountable challenges. The DA must desist from telling lies and claiming easy victories because our people are not stupid and they see through their desperate theatrics.

Because the counter-revolution can no longer sustain itself based on racism, it has retreated to crude forms of liberalism, manifesting itself in the plight to retain the ill-gotten entitlements � particular in the economy of our country.

The counter-revolution will try to pigeon-hole the revolutionary movement into pressure issues of the moment with the hope that it will forget its revolutionary cause to build a National Democratic Society.

It is based on this reason that they will never support anything with progress. Hence, today they cannot be expected to support this State of the Province Address.

Honourable Premier, if the counter-revolution ever supported the SOPA it would have met there was something wrong. The fact that they don’t support it is the affirmation that your speech touched real issues which are at the centre of bettering the lives of the majority.

Source: Government of South Africa