Address in the Debate: Budget Vote 1 - Presidency by the UDM President (12 May 2010)


Chairperson, honourable President and Deputy President, and honourable Members

The UDM supports budget vote 1.

In 1999 we handed in this House to the then President a UDM policy document entitled: “The challenge of our time: Government must do more”. Back then already we identified the challenge facing the nation as follows:

“There is no consensus on a macro-economic policy that can transform the economy in a manner that could create and spread wealth wider and improve the lot of the disadvantaged majority.”

In the same policy document we argued strongly for the need to convene an economic indaba from which the nation could emerge with a coherent economic vision shared by all, as we did in the 90s to find a political solution for this country.

The work of the National Planning Commission, as well as the public debate initiative of the Minister of Economic Development, would be more effective if they were guided by the resolutions taken by the nation at the suggested Economic Indaba. We should not put the cart before the horse; the Planning Commission and other economic initiatives by Government need to draw their terms of reference from the suggested Economic Indaba. Otherwise we are likely to waste another three or four years on a talkshop.

Indeed following the Economic Indaba the Planning Commission’s first order of business should be to conduct a proper audit of our resources and who manages it for future generations; not the current situation where there seems to be a free-for-all of looting the state resources, such as the Chancellor House/Eskom deal and similar schemes.

What we need is the political will to finish the transition that was started at CODESA. Indeed, this Government has had a mandate since 1994 to find policy consensus on the burning economic issues of unemployment and poverty. Instead that mandate has been dodged to maintain a status quo where one third of the adult population are unemployed and the vast majority of people own less than a quarter of the land.

At the envisaged Economic Indaba we could ask questions such as to what extent some of the sunset clauses have become an impediment to the economic advancement of the majority. For how long, Mr President, will the millions that live in the desolate former Bantustans and townships, that were the dumping ground of Apartheid, accept their lot?

As long as we fail as a country to acknowledge this main cause of conflict in this country, namely an economic policy that fails to include all South Africans, we are heading for a major disaster. Already the signs of civil uprising are visible in many communities.

A transformed economic order will give impetus to other social and educational programmes that are designed to truly integrate our society and create a new democratic South African ethos.

Mr President, the growing culture of anarchy and violence in this country is a matter of grave concern. The right to public protest and industrial action are freedoms that we cherish. This includes the right to publicly protest about lack of service delivery, which is why we should not allow these freedoms to be abused. It is becoming commonplace for public marches to be characterised by death threats, malicious damage to private and government property and the assault of people. Hundreds of millions of Rands of damage has been caused by arsonists burning down trains, busses, councillor homes and even libraries. We need decisive leadership to counter this, but it must be coupled with greater responsiveness from Government. Freedom without control is not real freedom.

I thank you.