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RESPONSE TO THE STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS 2012

I S MFUNDISI MP
LEADER Ė UCDP
15 FEBRUARY 2012

We thank the President for a well measured profound address.

One thing that will strain and polarise relations between South Africa and Botswana is not Julius Malemaís statement but the lack of potable water in the Zeerust area because the people out there are wont to demonstrate, vandalise the roads and stone vehicles most of which belong to unsuspecting Botswana citizens along the three roads that pass in that area.

For this one, unlike the Ngobi issue, there is no need for investigation as the Hon Minister of Water Affairs left the problem while Premier of the province.

It will also be very helpful if the water supply can be put in place in that area in honour of the women there in remembering their heroic revolt against passes in 1957.

No one can dispute that the Grade 12 pass rate is higher than the past years. We should not reward mediocrity. The issue is around the quality not only the quantity of such results. Our education system prides itself in churning out semi literate and semi numerate products that canít make the grade at tertiary level. We have to find out why some schools conduct classes from Monday to Saturday yet do not produce good or better results than those which teach for five days only.

One may believe the president but a thousand would not in so-far-as cooperation with teacher unions is concerned. There is a notoriously influential union, SADTU, that tends to be the tail that wags the dog. If they do not dispute appointments, they are either out at meetings during school time or on a go slow. This canít be good for education in the country, let alone for black disadvantaged children.

The vetting of supply chain managers is long overdue; we have to rid ourselves of unscrupulous charlatans to ensure that state resources are cared for. Most important in this case is to employ deserving people regardless of to their political affiliation as long as they are loyal to the government of the day.

It is unfortunate that to this day our people still live in shacks and the fortunate ones have self made mud contraptions to call home. South Africans deserve better and dignified housing.

Government should eliminate all forms of abusive employment practices among their ranks. They should desist from advertising posts for conformity while they know that they have people earmarked for the positions. In some instances they even go to the extent of telling the applicant that while he is good he has no government service experience and thus settle for an undeserving appointee.

The improvement of infrastructure came like sweet music especially to those of us who come from the forsaken North West province. We shall watch the space with keen interest on the ten priority roads as some were supposed to have been constructed for use during the 2010 World Cup but have yet to see light of day.

Care has to be exercised that the intended infrastructure projects and contracts should not benefit the tenderpreneurs to the disadvantage of the residents who are supposed to be the beneficiaries. Perhaps the time has come that government does its work by letting Public Works work for the public and get rid of the middle man.

In his state of the nation address in 2009, the president promised that telecoms would be approached and their tariffs be cut but their costs continue to soar out of reach. In fact most homesteads have resorted to cellular phones to avoid the exorbitant telkom costs.

The president was audibly quiet on the hot potato on e-tolling system of roads. The nation expects a word from government on this matter as no minister past or present is keen to speak out on it.

We canít agree more with the president that the fatter one grows the greater the chances of ill health and being impeded to do oneís work, but similarly the more the government gets bloated with warm bodies the greater the possibility of non performance. We need a lean, mean, sharp and task oriented executive, bangamani besanda besanda kodwa umsebenzi unga hambi.

We share the presidentís concern about the lackadaisical performance by Bafana Bafana but I have to advise that in 2008 when I raised this matter in this house, the Hon Min of SAPS, the Chief Whip then, said I was unpatriotic so because of his current portfolio we have to be careful lest we be incarcerated.

Thank you


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