Second reading debate, Adjustment Budget speech
Second reading debate, Adjustment Budget speech by Bonginkosi Madikizela
- Mr Speaker
- Mr Premier
- Leader of the opposition
- Cabinet colleagues
- Members of the House
- Ladies and gentlemen
When presenting his adjustment budget on Tuesday, Minister Maynier painted a very gloomy picture about our economy. It’s a reality that many people are grappling with.
This reminded me of the words by one of our economists, Thabi Leoka at the recent World Economic Forum hosted by South Africa. She described as a South Africa is a beautiful home with dysfunctional family in which the kids are fighting, the house is dirty with dishes, but the family wants to invite guests. Those words stuck with me.
Mr Speaker it’s now been almost two years since Cyril Ramaphosa was elected as the President of the ANC in Nasrec. Almost 22 months he delivered his inaugural speech as the President of the country with much fanfare where he promised us the “new dawn”. He reignited the hope of many South Africans with his Thuma Mina slogan.
Mr Speaker I must be honest with you, I’ve never had faith in President Ramaphosa but as a patriot I rallied behind the call to preach the message of hope for our country, to redeem ourselves as a nation and attract much needed investment in order to grow the economy and create jobs that are so desperately needed by millions who are unemployed.
Unfortunately, that hope has been dashed by President Ramaphosa and his ANC. My lack of faith in him has been proven right. Despite all the noises and investment summits, the country is getting worse under his leadership. Since the 29th of October this year, the following has happened in South Africa:
- Stats SA released quarterly labour survey indicating that unemployment has increased to the worse situation in 11 years.
- After the National Minister of Finance Medium Term Budget Policy statement on the 30th of October, the rand weakened.
- On the 1st of November, rating agency Moody’s changed our investment status from stable to negative (views about Moody’s from the opposition)
- On the 14th of November, again Stats SA reported that inequality has worsened for black Africans
- Last week settlement between government and NUMSA after SAA workers will further deepen our crisis over and above Eskom
Some may claim that the ANC under Ramaphosa must be given a chance. I would argue that would be a chance to make things worse. Speaker, we don’t have an economic crisis in South Africa but a leadership crisis under the ANC Government. While they are busy with ideological debate on how to solve our problems, the situation is getting worse and people continue to suffer.
We can longer make excuses and blame global market for failing to grow the economy. Kenya’s is economic growth is over 6%, Ghana’s is 6.7% and Ethiopia’s is expected to grow by 8.5%.
The hardest hit industry which contributed to high unemployment rate is construction industry, Mr Speaker. Last year around this time 163 000 jobs were lost in this industry and this year again 24 000 jobs have been lost.
That’s why in the last three weeks I convened a dialogue with construction industry to talk about all the programs and projects we have in order to stimulate our economy.
When Minister Maynier announced budget adjustments on Tuesday, he struke a good balance between cushioning social cluster and infrastructure investment in order to achieve this. I will be sharing more specific details when I table the adjustment budget next week.
Speaker, I cannot avoid highlighting the events at Cape Town Station during the early hours of this morning. I visited the station early this morning having made the necessary arrangements. Unfortunatley, PRASA refused to meet with me and gave instructions that I was not be allowed access. The excuse given was that the national Minister was not available until 14:00. While the matter is still under investigation, it appears that that the fire was deliberately started, and I can confirm that 18 carriages were destroyed. This is a lethal blow to the recovery plans for rail in the Western Cape and we must ask whether the National Government and its entities are competent to manage and protect vital state assets of this nature. Rail challenges continue to impact negatively in our economy, affecting many poor people as an affordable mode of transport. Despite having no operational mandate on rail, we as government are doing everything we can to resolve these challenges.
As today’s events demonstrate, our rail system continues to be under attach, and is battling to retain its rightful place as the backbone of the public transport system. The central line is core to this. The Province, City and PRASA partnership which resulted in the formation and deployment of the Rail Enforcement Unit (REU) over the last year has yielded positive results in many aspects. We intend to continue to work with PRASA in this partnership to connect this to the use of the REU. We will continue to work through the Rail Management Task Team, chaired by me, to build on the partnership and identify other measures that can be implemented. It is critical that PRASA makes good on its undertaking to fence off the rail reserve with concrete fences; but given its poor record to date from a procurement perspective, I have serious concerns that whether they will be able to effectively respond to this priority. I call on the PRASA Board, its management as well as the national Minister of Transport to do everything in their power to secure this important assert in Cape Town. We are prepared to work with you and believe that we cannot afford to delay such important interventions.
I thank you.