Thank you, hon House Chairperson. Let me take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all the hon members that took part in today's debate. Indeed, it was an important debate within the context against a number of factors that were outlined by hon members. In order to complement what the hon members contributed to this debate, I think it is important to buttress that hon Chairperson with a quote from Amilcar Cabral as follows: "one form of struggle which we consider to be fundamental is the struggle against our own weaknesses"
Indeed, as an individual NCOP permanent delegates and special delegates, today's debate was a clarion call to all of us to put what Amilcar Cabral said into practice. Therefore, that invited us to infuse in our approach both the ability and capacity to serve our people better because of what is expected from us as the members of this House. Indeed Chairperson we have to strengthen our oversight lawmaking and public participation to ensure that the kind of the National Council of Provinces we have must be a potent force for transformation and the strategic centre of power with adequate
foresight to anticipate long term trends and adapt to systematic shifts that are likely to emerge over the next four years.
Hon Chairperson, indeed it is important to remind and also appreciate the input that members made in terms of reminding us of where we come from. I think what is important is to re-emphasise the point on the type of country that we have inherited. It was in a devastating form particularly around the theme of the topic that was the centre of the debate. Just to highlight on that point the liberation struggle veteran, Comrade Mack Maharaj, often tells a story of how when it became clear that the criminal enterprise of apartheid would crash. We began to prepare ourselves. How did we prepare ourselves? We prepared ourselves by beginning to put together our programme that we correctly characterise as the Reconstruction and Development Programme.
Indeed, [Inaudible.] the new government of the day, the day after April 27, was the fact that those that we were negotiating with, had plundered every little cent when they saw that the writing was on the wall. The only thing that the ANC-led government found at Treasury was billions worth of debt which had been racked up by the apartheid regime. I therefore think that it is important to appreciate the intervention that the ANC-led government made in the
first six years to the extent that under the former Minister Trevor Manuel, we ran a surplus budget. How did we do this?
We did this through a number of interventions that we have made; it could be stabilising the macro economic policy. Also that we did through a growth and redistribution strategy. Therefore, it is important that when we have a discussion, we must be mindful of the fact that this debt ... how it was accumulated - correctly so members have pointed out - making a reflection in terms of our posture in the reconstruction and development programme, but also in the Twenty-Year Review that we made. What is important is for hon members to appreciate that in that Twenty-Year Review there is a reflection on what was the situation prior 1994.
While there was an increase in public expenditure, that increase was skewed towards a particular minority and to maintain and retain the security apparatus. Therefore, it is important that we appreciate the fact that it is not correct to make an insinuation that a black ANC-led government cannot stabilise the economy of the country.
Hon Chair, it is also important to remind them that one of our revolutionary socialist cautioned us as follows and I quote: "the danger begins when they make a virtue of necessity and want to
freeze into a complete theoretical system or the tactics forced upon them by these fatal circumstances" Indeed, the danger has begun while the tactics continues even in this day and age of democratic dispensation. The tendency by the right-wing opportunism and the left-wing opportunism to attempt to defocus an ANC-led government into issues that are structural in nature is a matter that themselves must confront precisely because it mirrors to types of reflections that time and again rears its head in this House.
It is important for us to even educate our children about the impact of apartheid colonialism. It is important to inform them that while the minority areas had the entire infrastructure in place, and the public expenditure was ramped up and in our villages we had no electricity. In my village the only time when we had electricity it was in 1997 while they had everything in place around 1976. Therefore, the programme ... state-owned entities around ... but also it is important to appreciate ... [Interjections.]