DA’s Shadow Minister of Communication, Phumzile Van Damme MP, during the State of the Nation (SONA) Debate in the National Assembly – 14 February 2017
Honourable Speaker,“The fight against corruption continues”, Mr Jacob Zuma boasted to this House last week.
What he should have actually said is: “the ANC will continue to be corrupt, there is no use fighting us”, because that is the plain truth.
The corruption scandals that follow Mr Zuma are not unique to him. They are symptoms of a rampant, systemic and deep-rooted culture of corruption that has destroyed the ANC beyond repair.
I stand here today, Honourable Speaker, in support of the victims of the ANC’s corruption.
In particular, I stand on behalf South Africa’s lost generation – our young people who are born free, but denied hope – their futures stolen by greedy and corrupt ANC politicians.
I speak of learners such as those at Lower Malepelepe Primary School in Mdikisweni village outside Tsolo in the Eastern Cape who for five years had to kneel on the floor because there were no desks and chairs for them.
These were learners, some as young as six years old, whose plight the Eastern Cape Education department had known of but chosen to ignore. It had to take exposure in the media for their school to be provided with the bare minimum, while the Provincial Education Department failed to spend R530 million meant for infrastructure at schools.
How many more Malepelepe Primary Schools are out there? Schools were learners whose rights are ignored because they are poor and black, and money meant for their development is stolen, wasted or misappropriated?
Then there are the learners of Gaetsho and JM High Schools near Lichtenburg in the North West, who had to embark on a protest after their pleas for scholar transport fell on deaf ears. These were learners who were forced to walk 8 km daily through crime-ridden areas, risking being robbed, raped or worse.
This all happened in a province where the Premier, Mr Supra Mahumapelo, wants to spend R6 million on statue, in honour of Mr Jacob Zuma, while learners in his province beg to be provided with transport so they can go to school safely.
It is disgraceful that in a province where many struggle, money will be spent on a vanity project for a President whose legacy will be nothing but corruption and rising unemployment.
The next statue members of the Premier League will order, no doubt, will be in honour of the other paragons of corruption, and their bosses, the Guptas.
Then there are the young and talented executives who appeared before the SABC inquiry who were purged from their positions because they refused to be corrupt.
The ANC government stood by and watched while Hlaudi Motsoeneng and his enforcers looted the SABC and exacted a reign of terror on all those who stood on their way. All, with full protection of Mr Zuma, who he had on speed dial.
These are but a few of the stories of the lives of the victims of the ANC’s corruption. There are millions more.
As the DA, we say, we will make very sure that those responsible for stealing your money will be brought to book.
We will fight ANC corruption wherever it is. In the provinces, our MPLs will continue to hold provincial governments accountable; in municipalities, our councillors will do the same.
In Parliament, the executive will feel the heat, and in particular, Mr Zuma.
Our litigation for the reinstatement of 783 corruption charges against him has been sped up. We have also filed papers in the Constitutional Court to seek a declaratory order that he violated his constitutional obligations in not giving effect to the remedial action set out in Public Protector’s State Capture report.
Honourable Speaker, it is quite clear that corruption and the ANC are inseparable.
It does not matter who is the leader, the culture of stealing money is deeply entrenched in the organisation. The only hope South Africa has, is to vote the ANC, and its culture of corruption out of power.
Where we govern, the DA will bring corruption-free government.
And after we are elected to national government in 2019, we will stop corruption, halve the number of ministries, cap spending on consultants, make tender and procurement processes transparent and cut government perks like travel, vehicles, catering and VIP protection.
Our public servants will know that their job is to serve all South Africans, and not the other way around.
A DA government will not tolerate corruption and we will not tolerate anyone who commits corruption.
The DA will fight this scourge for all South Africans and especially the youth who have had to watch as the ANC has squandered and stolen their futures.
I thank you.