Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Inaugural Speech of the Chief Whip of the Legislature


MPL, Neo Maneng

09 July 2019

Honourable Speaker

Deputy Speaker

Members of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature

Honourable Premier

Members of the Northern Cape Provincial Executive Council

Invited Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is indeed an honour and privilege for me to participate in this debate on the State of the Province Address delivered by the Honourable Premier on Friday, 05 July 2019. 

Honourable Speaker, the African National Congress Caucus in the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature indeed welcomes and supports the Address by the Honourable Premier. We sincerely believe that SOPA 2019 was a direct response to the policy imperatives and directives of the African National Congress.

The premier has been able to illuminate the dreams and aspirations of the young people who are troubled by the 26% unemployment rate and its debilitating effect. His address points sharply at our purposive effort towards crowding out poverty and tackling all forms and gradations of inequality.

We have never said we will live in a society without challenges. What we have always committed to do is to resolutely address these whenever we encounter them. Both the noble history and future are products of the relentless resolution of problems and taking humanity to a higher form of organisation.

This summarizes the mission of the ANC, which is to contribute positively to society and human civilisation broadly.

Honorable Speaker, the SOPA catapults our province to potentially be the Mecca of innovation. The Premier has removed the blinkers that have obstructed many from seeing the vistas of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. A revolution that is facilitating the current social transformation of societies.

Many laud the Premier as a bold revolutionary whose imaginative thoughts have given life to the enactment of the Manifesto of the ruling party. The obstructed thoughts of those who criticise; treating criticism as an end in itself, have been nullified.

We have watched some clutching as straws and ending up paralysed. They are unable to cogitate the level of engagement of the ANC in the current administration. As we participate in the construction of the future in which poverty, inequality and unemployment will be a thing of the past; they are scavenging for the remnant deposits in the dustbin of the gremlins that have held our common prosperity back.

The criticism from the benches of the opposition sprout from the ashes of the electoral defeat of those who boldly proclaimed themselves as Premier candidates even before the electorate could endorse their parties. What we have heard and witnessed today is the phantom of their visions that were rejected by the people.

Today we witnessed how the opposition is increasingly becoming unhinged like a kite flown by a two-year-old boy. Clearly our task in this house is much bigger than we had envisaged. The SOPA seems to have delve into matters that it will take the entire term of the 6th administration for them to cogitate and soundly engage with its substance.

Honorable Speaker, they want to advance to the future in reverse gear. This contradiction in terms would have been laughable had it played out in a place of much lesser stature than this house. The ANC holds out an olive branch to those who are willing to join hands with us and put shoulder to the wheel.

When the ANC crafted its Manifesto, it set off on a deliberate cause to draft a vision for South Africa and the Northern Cape.

Through engagement with civil society and business we are now building a definitive social compact so that we may together build our country. Asinamona, ga rena lehuha, ons is nie jaloers nie, we want to join hands with all of you so that you may also claim credit in the building of the modern, growing and successful Northern Cape province.

Honourable Speaker, the pursuit of a ‘Modern, Growing and Successful’ province has gained positive traction and subsequently placed Northern Cape boldly on the map. This audacious vision gives renewed hope to the poor and downtrodden, it radiates the inspiration of Madiba, the icon of our struggle and our young democracy, who challenged us to dare to dream. We are providing the much-needed ideational leadership as the primary ingredient for a prosperous future.

Honourable Premier, your vision of building a ‘Modern, Growing and Successful’ Province is fundamentally anchored on the role and contribution of young people.

The vision would be futile, impossible and unachievable without the contribution and active participation of youth of this province.

The emphasis of the Premier on the creation of a youth directorate in the office of the Premier to coordinate government activities towards mainstreaming youth development, not is visionary but it is also demonstrating the level of comprehension of our current challenges from a demographic perspective.

The focus on tackling youth unemployment and improving the public education system, particularly focusing on pre-primary and primary schooling is laudable. Our aim is to ensure that our learners are able to read for meaning, to learn with a purpose thereby becoming smart learners who are able to take full advantage of the inescapable Fourth Industrial Revolution. The Northern Cape is one of six provinces that will be introducing robotics and coding, a feature that dovetails well with our vision of modernisation.

Young people are indeed at the epicentre of development in the province. O. R. Tambo, our struggle icon and colossal figure once said “A nation that does not take care of its youth has no future and does not deserve one”. The provincial vision is inspiring young people to seize this expectant moment and create the future they want see.

Our objective is to ultimately revolutionise the social relations in our society. The second phase of transformation in terms of the National Democratic Revolution is to ensure that we build an inclusive economy. Amongst the important task in this regard is a faster process of land reform. Including the implementation of a radical and yet prudent process of land redistribution.

This is central to building integrated communities and human settlements. It is about opening up opportunities to many young people, chained as a consequence of lack of access to land for housing and development. The detractors of this ANC government may have missed the fact that on all occasions the Premier has buttressed the enviable role that Kimberley occupies in our development trajectory.

This is important to the extent that the building of smart cities and asserting the catalytic role of municipalities are two sides of the same coin. Given the nature and essence of the Sol Plaatje municipality the focus in re-engineering local government could not have been properly exemplified in his exposition.

We must think smart and big, we are fortunate to have started this term in such a bold fashion, the Premier in essence is imploring us to think about conurbation and avoid gentrification; with the result that the poor are forced to live at the economic margins of the city. Many of our big towns and sprawling settlements also lend themselves to positive prospects of conurbation. This may aid in the vertical and horizontal integration of what has become the township economy into the mainstream.

Our task is bold we are imagining an African city of the future, our role as this house is to ensure that those entrusted with the custodianship of these municipal institutions live this vision.

The capacitation of the state to effect long term planning and development is another much needed intervention. The process of building a capable developmental state is a deliberative endeavour.

It calls for capacity to crowd in the best skills, across various sectors and society in general. It calls for an activist state that will launch an incessant war against poverty, unemployment and inequality. We stand at the cusp of greatness, those unable to be imaginative must not be permitted the stall the course to make us linger in doubt and procrastination.

In this regard we must all be captives of the future we desire rather than the past that we seek to deconstruct. Many years of struggle by the ANC makes us to boldly assert that a cogent vision is a material force for change. We do not just hope but we believe that we are the agents of this change.

Honourable Speaker, the Premier is emphatic on thinking outside the box and reinventing the future. He is providing radical, achievable and practical interventions to build a better future for young people in this beautiful province.

The Premier in this current trajectory by deed implore us to remember what Karl Marx, a German philosopher and political scientist once wrote in his Theses on Feuerbach, “Philosophers have interpreted the world differently but the essence is to change it”.

Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, on the programme of the Third Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, which focused on, among others, the critical importance of renewal in the party and recruitment of the youth, said: “Young people who were born and brought up after the revolution, in a just democratic society, are a talented and knowledgeable generation with a vision of the world, and should be more actively promoted …if we want a dynamic leadership we should draw replacements and reinforcements from the younger generation”.

In fact, I want to go further and say it is indeed a blessing and honour to be a young person in the era of this 06th administration. The gift of youth is a noble opportunity to construct the future, to challenge yourself and live your imprint for future generations to marvel at it and be inspired.

Honourable Speaker, the ANC states without equivocation that we will do whatever is necessary to support the commitment of the Executive to promote small and medium enterprises. This is a sector that is pregnant with opportunity for young people. The call to ensure that small and medium enterprises are paid on time and are supported to grow is central to the vision of a modern and growing economy.

It is through such support that we may cull the extractive features of our provincial economy. This needs to occur in a collaborative manner across all spheres of governance. This will provide immense opportunity to young people, including young women who have been active in the pace of subsistence economy. Samora Machel quips the centrality of women as follows “The liberation of women is not an act of charity. It is not a result of a humanitarian or compassionate position. It is a fundamental necessity for the revolution, a guarantee of its continuity, and a condition for its success”

Honourable members, we assure you that from the side of the ruling party we are certain that when departments and MEC’s ascend to this podium to deliver their budget votes they will respond to this. They will elaborate on the already expansive and detail programme of the Premier. Our task will be to painstakingly hold them accountable and ensure that this progressive programme; endorsed by the electorate in the form of the ANC Manifesto is realised.

Honorable Speaker, in my capacity of Chief Whip in this inaugural speech before this august House, I take the opportunity to congratulate all of you on your election. Our being here is not a task that we should take lightly. On a lighter note it’s a task we should undertake like the Bafana Bafana when they faced off against Egypt in knock-out stages of the currently unfolding AFCON soccer tournament.

We are pleased that the SOPA has hit much higher than that, we from the ruling party, the ANC, thus support it with no reservation before this house.

“If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, then the general is to blame. But, if orders are clear and the soldiers nevertheless disobey, then it is the fault of their officers”.

These is a statement made by Sun Tzu in his renowned book “The art of War”, in relation to orders and execution thereof.

Madame Speaker, the orders are clear and distinct, ours is towards building a ‘Modern, Growing and Successful’ province.

Aluta Continua!


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