PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Honourable Speaker; Your Excellency the President; Honourable Members –
There is a fatal flaw in the Budget of the Presidency.
The purpose of this budget is to facilitate the enhanced integrity of the State. But it will be used to support a president whose actions have consistently undermined that integrity.
We cannot afford the bureaucratic philosophy that the wheels must keeping turning, no matter how broken the car. We need to stop the car.
I will not speak today on current issues vis-à-vis the President, such as the credit rating downgrades, the midnight Cabinet reshuffle, or alleged plans to relocate the first family to Dubai. Instead, I will speak about the work of the Presidency, for it is floundering under this President’s leadership.
The most prominent failing is its handling of the National Development Plan.
I have repeatedly said that if the NDP was implemented, it would be a great legacy for the President. But it is not being implemented.
When that was said by former Minister in the Presidency, Mr Trevor Manuel, who oversaw its drafting, the Presidency labelled him “an armchair critic”. But the facts are clear.
The NDP was meant to reduce unemployment. Instead, unemployment has risen to 26%. It was meant to grow the GDP by 5.4% annually. But so far growth has averaged at 1,5%. It was meant to reduce poverty. But more than half our population now struggles with food insecurity. It was also meant to reduce inequality. But South Africa now boasts the highest inequality in the world.
Why has implementation of the NDP been delayed? The cost to our country is unconscionable.
Equally unconscionable is the President’s delayed response to the State Capture Report. Is it still being reviewed? Or simply ignored?
And why the inexplicable delay in appointing commissions of enquiry, even when there is prima facie evidence of wrongdoing, as was the case with Eskom? The IFP called for a commission of enquiry right from the start, but the President said no.
I am distressed by the Tower of Babel in Africa’s oldest liberation movement. During SONA, the President chanted “radical economic transformation”. But yesterday the Deputy President warned of a hidden agenda behind this chant, for it may be used to plunder the resources of State. Who should we listen to?
Whenever we debate this budget, the IFP will ask: Why is there no oversight committee? We have not had the benefit of interrogating the accounting officer, as we do with any other budget. Why not? With a President so adept at avoiding accountability, surely oversight is a basic necessity.
The IFP cannot support this budget, or any future budget, until Parliament is able to properly interrogate the details before we come to this House.
Mr President, let me hold you accountable. On Monday you told traditional leaders that in November 2000, Cabinet rejected a recommendation to amend the Constitution to protect the role, powers and functions of traditional leaders. But I sat in Cabinet at that time, and that so-called recommendation was never tabled before Cabinet, because it was in fact a firm commitment made by an ad hoc Committee appointed by Cabinet. You chaired that Committee, Mr President, and you never honoured that commitment. Those are the simple facts.
I know you wish I would stop speaking. I remember how, after decades of my working with Mr Oliver Tambo, Mr John Nkadimeng suddenly said, “…Gatsha is the snake that poisons South Africa… that needs to be hit on the head.”
Is that what happened last week in Nquthu? The ANC’s top leadership descended on Nquthu and, as a back-up plan, ten buses were hired to bus in extra votes from outside. I have the invoice. I know it happened. It’s the usual bag of tricks.
The only reason I have survived as long as I have, is because I am a protégé of Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme and Inkosi Albert Luthuli. I was mentored by other giants of this movement, such as Bishop Alphaeus Zulu, Canon James Calata, Mr Walter Sisulu, and other stalwarts of the ANC. For as long as I breathe, I will not keep silent.