Thank you, Chairperson of the NCOP, once again for the opportunity to say something in response to the debate. Thank you very much for a very good debate by the members of the NCOP, the premiers, and members who represented their own premiers. I think, as usual, it has been a very lively debate. Of course, at times people miss the opportunity by focusing in a different way in the debate on the matters that affect the citizens of this country.
I am referring to a statement that was made by an hon member here, and the statement was that the government had failed dismally. I don't know. Unless I don't understand English, I don't know what that means. It is an exaggeration. It is actually aimed at making propaganda, because it is not true. It cannot be true. Government is functioning very well. There are challenges, and I think the statement should capture the fact that there are challenges. I have always said to the opposition that they should be an opposition in a constructive fashion, that they should help the government to do the work in the country, and that they should identify the specific areas they believe need to be identified as weaknesses.
These sweeping statements are very nice to make. You can make them at any time and say that generally people are corrupt and that generally the government has failed and is dysfunctional. I mean, it says nothing. This is what educated people talk about, "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing". That is because it says nothing. [Applause.] I think the debate must help us to understand what the shortcomings are, so that we can deal with them. Of course, that is how the debate becomes lively.
I must also come back to the point of corruption, because I think, again, the approach to corruption at times does not help us. For example, before 1994 there was no talk of corruption, and corruption was something that touched the core of government then. In fact, if you talked about corruption before 1994, you were likely to be the one who went to prison. [Applause.] There was a lid on it; nobody could talk about it. What this government did when we came into power - because we knew this was a problem - was to say that we would fight corruption, and we would expose corruption. We took the lid away, and the struggle against corruption only started after 1994 in this country, not before. It is this government that has said that it will fight corruption until it is eradicated, and we are fighting it. People have lost jobs, some have gone to prison, and some have had to pay back the money. It is important to acknowledge that, because if you just keep on saying that this government is corrupt, without recognising that, you then ensure that we don't listen very carefully to what you say.
Thank you, premiers, for the contribution you have made. I think generally you have indicated that provinces are working and there are programmes that you enumerated here. That is pleasing. Premier Ace, you said a number of things, but one of the things that I believe we need to take lessons from is how you have solved the problem of part-time teachers. I think we must all learn from what you have done. I just don't know what the formula is. [Applause.] It is one thing, among the many things you have said, that we must take away.
Hon members, I will not refer to each and every person who spoke here, because that could take long. I am mindful of the fact that the presiding officers said that we should limit the time because people have to travel. Therefore, I will just say a few things which I believe are important.
We have made the call that we must work differently. We must do things differently, and it is important that we adhere to that. Governments historically do things in a particular way, and this is what I think we must change. Usually, the wheels of government turn very slowly. It walks very slowly, and we are saying that it must change. There is something in government that just makes people do things very slowly. I am saying that it must change, because it causes unnecessary blockages and delays and, therefore, it slows down delivery. It creates an impression about government. What you should realise is that when a person has been a public servant in the corridors of the government buildings, when they walk, they walk very slowly to take a document from one point to another. The same person, if he is employed by the private sector, will walk very fast in the corridors of the private sector buildings. There is something wrong that we need to correct, and I think we have an opportunity to correct it. We must do things differently. I agree with those who have made those points. I think the majority of the speakers have said that we should work as one government. That is true. Let us work as one government. We are not many governments in one country.
We can't make people suffer because they belong to the government of either the Free State or Gauteng, as if they are not our people. I think the manner in which, politically, we described the situation of the three spheres of government could not explain it appropriately. Therefore, people believed they lived in other countries. It is one country.
I am also aware of the challenges that we face. At times we make an unfair comparison, because the government in the past - the one I say we said nothing about - governed a minority of people in this country. Other people were not party to it. They were outside. They were given their places, such as homelands. So, you had a very small government in terms of how modern governments are structured. We now have a government that governs the entire population of this country in the same way. It is a big challenge, with backlogs that are critical in every respect. I think we should also appreciate that as we move forward.
We have said, in this administration, that there are areas we need to focus on, and I want to touch on these areas, because I think it is important to have the same frame of mind. We have five priorities, and all of them are meant to address the challenges of our country. They affect all citizens. Education is one, and we have done a lot of work in planning how to tackle education.
There is a 10-point plan for us to tackle education. Because education is so important, it is one of the portfolios that we separated into two - Basic Education and Higher Education and Training. The reason for this was that the bigger department tended to make all of us focus on higher education in the main. We did not focus on basic education, and yet anything that has life has to be attended to at the beginning - the foundation.
We therefore ended up with the problem, for example, of continuous bad results for matric. We thought that it was important to focus on this, so that we are able to produce young people who will do things differently in education, because even with those who pass, a good percentage do not qualify for tertiary education. They pass without exemption. We need to remedy that.
This is a matter that all of us need to appreciate. If we talk about nation- building, education is one of the critical building blocks. Therefore, it should be government and the nation as a whole that affect, in the main, those who deal with education. There must be that understanding that if you don't pay attention to education, you are actually failing to pay attention to the development of the country. With education we can solve the poverty problem in all its facets. So, we have identified it as a critical point. I am happy now because it's not just a dream.
I have just come from South Korea, a country that was poverty-stricken and living on donations. What it did was focus on education, and it has defeated poverty. It is now a donor country, helping others who are still trapped in poverty. They have many universities - not a few, many. So, building universities is not a waste; it is in fact the creation of a foundation for education. I am saying this fully aware that two of our provinces do not have even a single university. This is a terrible statement against us. We must correct that.
We also put health as another high-level priority. Again, a lot of work has been done to plan how to turn health around, because any nation needs health. If you visit countries that have succeeded in delivering on health, you will realise they have developed. To us it is even more important because we are dealing with a huge population that was disadvantaged for decades, if not centuries. So, it is one of the priorities.
We also prioritised rural development. I was very happy that many of the provinces said that they have programmes that deal with rural development. Fortunately, the Minister dealing with this is doing a lot of work to try and do things differently at that level. I believe that very soon we will hear what is happening.
We also said that, as a priority, we are going to fight crime. I think that there is evidence that we are fighting crime very seriously.
What we then said was that we must create jobs. That is a priority that I believe we need to put all our efforts into. I think we have done a lot of work on others. The creation of jobs we need to work together on, almost as if it's the only priority. If we solve the question of jobs we almost halve the problems. Everybody must be employed. That directly addresses the poverty.
We need to be innovative, so that we don't say other people can't work because they don't have skills, unless you qualify the types of skills that you are talking about. Everyone can work; let us create the jobs that relate to what those people can do. This is an issue that I believe, from next year, must be the critical thing for all of us - in all departments, in the provinces, as well as in the municipalities. We must determine what jobs we can create.
I was speaking to someone just yesterday, to those who can count money, big money. I can only count up to thousands. Some can count up to millions; some tell me about Bs; some tell me about Ts. I can't count that much. I have never seen a trillion in my life, or even a billion. [Applause.] I was saying to them, because we are told that the rand is too strong and there is money coming here, let us change that disadvantage into an advantage. Let us put that money where the challenges are, so that by the time the problems go away the money has been invested. I think we can do more if we work together.
Chairperson, I am sure that we have taken time to debate the input, and I think I can't, once again, introduce the debate. I think that we have debated enough. Mine is to thank you and thank the hon members for debating my input in the manner in which they have done. I am sure that this will go a long way as regards the debate today, but you have been here interacting with the community. I am sure that the community is very pleased to see Parliament here, and to be able to interact with it. You must continue to do so; it is a good thing. [Applause.]
Ke a leboga, bagaetsho. [Thank you.]
Challenges are big; we need to stand together, both men and women. Not just men and women in the general sense.
Bomme ba nnete, a ba sware thipa ka bogaleng; le bontate ba nnete, dikwankwetla, bao ba nago le maatla, bao ba kgonago go ?oma ka maatla. [I mean real women who can deal with challenges and overcome them; real men who are strong and powerful; men who are committed to their work.]
We still have a challenge to fulfil or to achieve what this province said to us in 1912, what we must do to change the quality of the lives of our people. We need to work harder, all of us. If we work together, we certainly can do more. [Applause.] Thank you.
Ke a leboga. [Thank you.]
MODULASETULO WA NCOP: A re t?eeng madulo a rena. Le seke la t?wa, dulang fase, ga re a fet?a. Ke a tseba gore le lapile e bile le mmerekong. Ke tlo dira ka mokgwa wo, ke tla dira ditsebi?o.
Ga bjale, ge ke fet?a go tswalela Ngwako wo, le dule fase le seke la t?hikinyega. Mopresidente wa naga, Tonakgolo le nna, re tla ya mola. Ka Labone ge re boledi?ana le bao ba sa itekanelago, ke ile ka kgopela Tonakgolo gore re ka dira gore re ba thu?enyana ka se sengwe. Ba kgonne go re humanela ditulo t?a mabili t?e 20. [Legoswi.]
Re tla fa ba babedi fela gore re seket?e nako, t?e dingwe Mme Ntombela o tla ?ala a di fa ba bangwe. Go na le ba babedi gona bjale ka mo Ngwakong, t?e dingwe ba tla ba fa ge ba ?et?e ba sepela. Taba ya bobedi, bao ba ba namelago dinamelwa t?a bona kua O R Tambo, ke kgopela gore le seke la ya dijong t?a mosegare. Dinamelwa t?a lena di le emet?e mola diofising t?a selete. Ge le tloga fa, itlhaganeleng gona gore di seke t?a le tlogela, le kgone go humana difofane t?a lena kua O R Tambo. Re tla kgopela bjalo. Bao ba ikotlellago ba ka ya dijong t?a mosegare.
Ke rile le dule fase. Ge re fet?a mo le Mopresidente, a ?et?e a t?wile, kamoka ga lena le ka emelela la t?wa. Ga bjale dulang fase hle go fihla ge Ngwako o fet?a.
Ke tla kgopela Mopresidente le Tonakgolo gore ba ye go phethagat?a mo?omo.
Ba?omedi ba peleng, Maluti Bus Service, ba tla hwet?a t?heke ya dimilione t?e R11 go t?wa go Mopresidente. Re a ba lebogi?a. Re leboga ka maatla. (Translation of Sepedi speech follows.)
[The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Let us all take our seats. Please do not go out because we are not done yet. I know that you have been working and as a result you are tired.
I have announcements to make and I therefore request that you remain seated when the House adjourns. The President of the Republic, the Minister and I will go to that side. When we were talking to the people who are physically challenged on Thursday I suggested to the Minister that we do something to help them. There are 20 wheelchairs here that are to be given to them. [Applause.]
We will give only two wheelchairs to two people who are now present in the House. Hon Ntombela will issue the rest of the wheelchairs to the others when they leave.
People who are to catch a flight at O R Tambo International Airport will have to miss their lunch because their transport is waiting for them at the district offices. Please make sure you don't miss the transport because that will lead to you missing your flight as well. Only those people who are using their own transport can remain for lunch.
Please remain seated. When the House adjourns we will allow the President to leave first and then the rest of the members will be allowed to leave.
I will request the President and the Minister to fulfil the task.
The previous service provider, Maluti Bus Services, will receive a cheque of R11 million from the President. We congratulate them. Thank you very much.]