Hon Chairperson, first of all, you know that it is very difficult to engage in a debate with people who are lamenting the same old story, rather than using this opportunity to come up with persuasive arguments to make their case heard. They are going over and over the same issues. That is why many people were asleep here.
Let me say this: You know, if the truth be told, the ANC has been extremely modest about its achievements. [Laughter.] No, that's very true, and I'm going to present this case to you.
Some of you were talking about economics, but I don't think that you actually comprehend the complexity of the field. There is a sociological and historical rationale to the ANC's policy choices of pursuing a developmental agenda, as opposed to merely a pure neoliberal path of economic development. Pure, mere liberal policies are motivated by a profit motive at the expense of the people.
Whilst there is no economic doctrine that can claim to be absolute, economics is a social science. The state intervention in the economy is the only logical path to addressing South Africa's structural economic challenges. I also want to challenge those who are arguing that the ANC is pursuing a neoliberal path.
I am a reader of Noam Chomsky, and I must also say that in his paper published in November 1997 entitled: Market Democracy in the Neoliberal Order Doctrines and Reality he captured the essence of my argument and the ANC's line of thinking when he argued:
Freedom without opportunity is a devil's gift, and the refusal to provide such opportunities is criminal. The fate of the more vulnerable offers a sharp measure of the distance from here to something that might be called "civilization".
Now, let me state, especially for the members on this side, that what I actually want to do is to compare and contrast. Just refresh your memories a bit. From three decades ago, let's look at what characterises the South African economy. I'm going to argue today that South Africa in the last 20 years has experienced an electrification revolution, but there is nobody that will admit to that on this side. [Applause.]
I'm sure that when I make this compelling argument, people will understand it. I will be doing that because some of the members on this side forget that, when the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom, UK, happened in the 1780s, 300 years ago, electricity was their revolution whilst in South Africa it only began 21 years ago, when the ANC took over. Today we have over 90% of people who have electricity in South Africa. [Applause.] Let me unpack this thing for you in economic terms. Electrification is not just about addressing social injustice; it is also addressing economic imbalances. Firstly, it increases the demand for all those appliances that I'm sure most of you, especially the black folk, will actually concur.
In the 1980s, lots of people were using primus stoves, paraffin and candles. Actually, we were stuck in the age of candlelight, but when the ANC came in it brought electrification to 90% of the South African citizens. [Interjections.]