Agang Citizens' State of the Nation


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Agang Citizens' State of the Nation

  1. 1. Building a Winning South Africa, Together The Atrium, Women’s Gaol, Constitution Hill – 23 February 2014 My fellow Citizens - Welcome. Thank you for being here today. Last year we assembled here to set out on a brave journey, but a journey that many, many South Africans asked for. To launch a new party so soon before an election is not easy – but the needs are great! So now is the time to take stock, to get ready for the road to the elections! Now is not the time to let politicians who have abused our trust to continue to lie, cheat, and hide. Now is not the time to forget all their broken promises. We cannot forget the money stolen from citizens, so that broken schools and hospitals are not fixed. And we should not look away from our collapsing Rand that will makes the lives of citizens even harder than before. No! Now is the time for possibility. The time to show the courage South Africans are known for. Now is the time to protect and advance the freedoms we fought for. Now is the time for all citizens to face the truths behind the lies of a government pushing us into a virtual one party state. Now is the time for us all to see the future for what it can be, if we vote for new leaders and a new government, a vibrant economy, a world class education and training system, a reliable high quality health system. If we vote to create jobs not destroy them, and if we vote for ways for us all to shape tomorrow. But some ask – hasn’t the ANC provided? Didn’t the President promise a better future? Oh yes. Oh yes! But look at the facts. Just look at what you and I, all our fellow citizens, were fed in Parliament at the state of the nation, by a President who thinks we do not know what is going on. The President’s refrain during his State of the Nation speech is that his party has a good story to tell. The story he told is not the story of the citizens of South Africa. It is a story to delight those whose interests are served by keeping him in office: the corrupt, the beneficiaries of his policies, and those with narrow self-interest. The President made much of infrastructure investments, but citizens have told Agang of mud schools, an inability to find water, and unaffordable electricity, 20 years into democracy. 1
  2. 2. The president spoke of the importance of education, but citizens have told Agang of their children who leave school unable to read and write, who are unable to find jobs because they lack the skills needed and who study without books and teachers. The President spoke of effective policing, but citizens see and speak of police brutality, of seeing friends, neighbours and family losing their lives trying to find the basic benefits of democracy: water, jobs, education, safety, 20 years into our democracy. The President spoke of economic growth and employment, but ctizens speak of increasing unemployment, of the more than 1 million jobs lost during his term, of a lack of skills that keeps them locked out of a labour market they would have had to struggle to get into anyway. The President is out of touch with the realities of citizen’s lives. Why citizens protest in increasing numbers, 3 000 protests in the last three months alone. The President could not explain to citizens, how he intends to create economic growth when he continues to preside over one of the most anti-competitive economies, that is policed by a weak competition commission. How can we win economically, when we have one inefficient organisation, Eskom, owned by the government, that gives us all our electricity? When we have poor telecommunications, that is dominated by one company, Telkom – also government owned? When the government-owned national airline, SAA, that loses money at a ridiculous pace; every year asks more and more billions of Rands that could fund hundreds of thousands of houses. The President did not explain to citizens why, under his watch, the entire mineral and resources sectors, and their jobs, are dying. The President cannot, and did not explain to citizens, why inequality is growing in the most unequal society in the world. He turns a blind eye to the dangerous investment practices of the Public Investment Corporation, who instead of protecting public servants’retirement funds, has become the lender of last resort to bankrupt Nigerian businesses, ailing newspaper groups, and uncompetitive cement manufacturers. The day could soon come, when teachers, nurses, doctors, and public sector citizens could see their retirement savings disappear unless the PIC is reined in and held to account. For this governing party, the wellbeing of citizens is secondary. 2
  3. 3. Citizens demand protection for women and children. This government has failed to protect them. They walk in the shadow of ‘ukuthwala,’ even as they fight against unemployment, poverty and domestic abuse. Citizens want to hope, and to dream. This President has failed to instil hope in learners who feel that even though bursaries are available, it is useless to try for a bachelor’s pass because they feel there is no future for them. Citizens want strong families and safe homes. But this President cannot protect children across the country. Citizens know it is time for change in Lenyenye in Limpopo and in Diepsloot in Gauteng! Citizens know if we do not vote differently in 2014, we will get more of the past and we will only have ourselves to blame! We must believe that we have the power of the vote to change the government for the better! It is our Right! It is our responsibility! Agang SA is the David to Goliath. We started with a few, who are now many and will be many more. We began here, and now are in Limpopo, Eastern Cape, the Western Cape, North West, in urban and rural areas, big cities, and small villages. We have quietly moved around South Africa listening to our fellow citizens who are joining us in growing numbers. I have seen a fire in the eyes of citizens. They will not give up on building and living in a winning country. I have seen determination to claim our democratic rights. Citizens want the greatness we glimpsed and have tasted. What citizens around South Africa want, is a partner to work with them, to build a winning South Africa, together. We are the partner that citizens are looking for. Building this country means we must do more than adopt ideology. To build this country, we have to move beyond narrow interests. We have to change our politics if we are to put citizens first. This is no easy task in a country that has not yet laid to rest its ghosts: race, class and gender. But this is the task of all citizens of South Africa. We must find innovative, creative, and brave ways to bring change to our country. The voices we have heard around the country have convinced us, that citizens are ready to find those ways to make change possible. Citizens are ready for change because they sense that our beloved country is declining rapidly. Citizens are ready for change. 3
  4. 4. Even as ours has become an uncaring society, through the strength and resilience of citizens, optimism remains that change will come, and that we will together build this country, and again be proud to be South African. Citizens around the country are defiant, they are increasingly challenging false promises, unrealistic claims, lies and falsehoods. Citizens are ready to take this country back into their own hands at the ballot box, through active citizenship. They have told us everywhere we have met them: “We will not give in to corruption. We will not let our dream of a winning South Africa die.” They remain convinced that South Africa will regain its pride, and that we will take our rightful place amongst the great nations of the world. But citizens are aware that they will regain their pride and their status in the world, and build their nation only if all ctizens work together Citizens know that this year, at the ballot, we have the opportunity to fundamentally change the country’s leadership, to elect a government that serves its people. Let me make this declaration now: we at Agang SA shall not yield. We will not yield until citizens have together built a winning country. Citizens, young and old, want high quality education. Citizens deserve education that is affordable to all, citizens deserve learning institutions for all who want to learn. Citizens deserve a corruption-free society, not promises that corruption will end soon, promises that come from the corrupt themselves. Citizens deserve a caring society, a society in which those in positions of responsibility have a simple task, to make the rough road smoother, the climb to greatness and survival, less slippery. There is a message from the citizens of this country to this government. They say: Yours is a government of empty promises, of corruption that is robbing us of our future. Yours is a government that does not care for its people. Yours is a government of self-interests. Yours is a government operating on borrowed time. Citizens we have met say to this government: “We see your corruption, from the highest level to the lowest. We see the 6 000 houses that Nkandla could have built; the dialysis machines that could be put in each hospital where there are none; the land that could have been used to put farmers back on the land.” Your corruption citizens say, is not hidden. There is a message from the citizens of this country, to captains of industry who play a crucial role in the economy and the state of this nation. Citizens ask: Where are you? Why are you afraid of this government? Will you create jobs when this government is removed? 4
  5. 5. Will you help build a winning South Africa, together with us? Are you prepared to see the poor people of this country? Are you prepared to link hands with them and build a more equal society? To the citizens of the country, those citizens who have thought and realised, say: This is a minority government. It is not the mighty force it wants us to believe it is. They say: In the last election, more people did not vote at all than voted for this government. This government is not the unmovable presence it wants us to believe it is. Citizens around the country are realising they have the power to remove this uncaring, inefficient, and ineffective government. Citizens realize that they can use that power on the 7th May at the ballot box. Citizens are realising they can put an end to violence against women and children. They can stop the 25 000 cases of abuse against women and children that were reported last year. They are realising they can correct the healthcare and education systems. They can ensure schoolbooks and teachers, and equipped doctors and nurses in hygienic hospitals, is possible, even as this government cannot provide these to citizens. Citizens are realising they can end corruption, nepotism and cronyism, by making sure they change the leadership of this country. No, Mr President, you do not have a good story to tell. The story you tell sounds good only to your own ears, and to the ears of those who desperately want you in office. Your good story is not shared by the majority of citizens of our nation. The good story came and ended with Madiba. When Madiba and Francois Pienaar raised the William Webb Ellis Rugby World Cup in 1995, citizens too held the trophy high in the air. They were proud. They celebrated with Madiba. What have citizens to celebrate with you? When citizens celebrated their rainbow nation, their South African-ness before it became re-clouded by race and colour during your term, they sipped at Madiba’s fountain of reconciliation. Now they drink the bitter waters of division, anger, and separation. It was Madiba who gave this country the gift of the Soccer World Cup. It is a tragedy that much of what we built with Madiba, is crumbling through your fingers, President Zuma. Citizens no longer feel pride, the same sense of accomplishment of national achievement, nor an energy to make good the wrongs of the past. 5
  6. 6. Citizens wherever we have travelled have told us they feel they have lost their way, that their lights are being extinguished, under this government. How is this a good story to tell? The citizens of Agang have heard the real state of this nation. Agang has responded by partnering with other citizens to build a winning country, together. That is why Agang has built homes in Qwa-Qwa, in the Free State, that is why citizens in Agang have protested against violence against women and children in Gauteng and the Western Cape. And that is why as citizens, Agang has supported agriculture in the Eastern Cape through partnering with private philanthropists to provide know-how and machinery. Working with Agang, citizens can, and will restore the early promise of our democracy. Agang appeals especially to white fellow citizens to be part of the building of a winning country. Black people forgave past injustices to give birth to our freedom, it is time for white people to do more by sharing their knowledge, skills and wealth to heal our land. Agang is listening to the dreams of citizens. Citizens are saying it is time to build. Citizens are ready to build a winning South Africa Together. Citizens are ready for their country to ring in Real Good News. Real good news to resound across the plains and hills across the country. Agang has heard the determined voice of Citizens: • • • • • • • To build an economy that generates jobs, livelihoods and dignity. To build businesses small, medium and large. To build education and training for all to become proud creators of wealth, arts and culture. To build homes, and living spaces that inspire hope and dignity. To build clinics and hospitals that have caring public servants and reliable facilities and equipment. To build trustworthy police services to make our homes, streets, play areas and work places safe once more. To build partnerships between citizens, business leaders and government to make our country a place to invest in. Agang believes that we can build our country and once more say with Credo Mutwa: South Africa is a mystery within a mystery; she is the great unknown of our troubled times, and although a thousand lies and half truths have been written about her, the hidden truth about my country is a million times more tragic, amazing and yet more beautiful than any fiction can ever be. Agang invites all citizens to commit today and every day to build a winning South Africa, Together. 6