Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane delivered the following speech to the National Assembly at the State of the Nation Address (SONA) Debate in South Africa on Tuesday… and it’s been causing a buzz on Twitter ever since.
Users described Maimane’s speech as ‘profound’ and ‘to the point’.
Maimane said the ANC has “turned from liberator of the people to the enemy of the people”.
Watch Mmusi Maimane: 2017 SONA Debate Full Speech
Transcript of Mmusi Maimane’s Speech, SONA Debate 2017
The weight of our history lies heavy upon all of us. We must never forget past injustices. And we must put right the wrongs of the past.
Four days ago we commemorated Nelson Mandela’s historic speech on the Grand Parade upon his release from prison 27 years ago.
As we reflect on the state of our nation, we need to ask ourselves: How many South Africans enjoy the freedom that Madiba spoke of on that day 27 years ago?
Three days ago we marked the 51st anniversary of the forced removal of people from District Six.
People were wrenched from their homes and families were ripped apart.
I am sure all of us in this House will join me in saying, never, never and never again.
Yet two weeks ago, a story broke in our news of people torn from their lives and their families right here in a democratic South Africa.
We heard how thousands of mentally ill patients were carted off to unlicensed NGOs without telling them or their families where they were going.
We heard how 94 of these patients tragically died of starvation, dehydration, diarrhoea, pneumonia and seizures.
This ANC government – under this president – did that.
From the Marikana 34 to the Esidemeni 94, this government has turned against the people of this country.
This is a murderous government.
When we proposed a minute’s silence to mark the tragic deaths of the Esidimeni 94, the ANC said no.
At a stroke the ANC showed what it really thinks about the vulnerable members of our society.
You see, the only thing this party cares about is power. It cares about getting rich.
It cares about big projects like the Arms Deal and the Nuclear Deal that are conceived because, in the words of President Kgalema Motlanthe, they offer opportunities for certain people to make money.
It cares about the perks of the office – the cars, the travel, the blue light convoys.
The ANC has stopped caring about ordinary South Africans.
The ANC has turned from liberator of the people to the enemy of the people.
On Thursday evening we gathered to watch the President’s State of the Nation Address.
Long before we entered the chamber, it was clear that this government wasn’t on the same side as the people.
Streets were closed off and barricaded for miles around this precinct.
There were riot police and razor wire on every corner.
There were snipers on the rooftops.
There were soldiers with automatic rifles pacing up and down Parliament Avenue.
This wasn’t the State of the Nation. It was the State against the Nation.
The ANC on the one side and the people on the other.
The liberator turned oppressor.
The enemy of the people.
In his novel “1984”, George Orwell said: “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”
We saw a glimpse of this future on Thursday night, and it looked very much like our painful past.
The police in riot gear.
The deployment of the army.
The screams of female Members of Parliament as they were punched and kicked.
A boot stamping on a human face.
South Africa will never forget what happened on Thursday.
And we will never forget the reaction of the man at the centre of it all.
The President who stands accused of 783 counts of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering.
The President who built his house – his monument of corruption – on the backs of the poor.
The President who is selling our country to foreign agents.
We will never forget how he laughed.
How he laughed at the violence visited upon Members of this House.
It was the laugh of an enemy of the people.
The ANC has become the party that Chris Hani warned about when he said:
“What I fear is that the liberators emerge as elitists who drive around in Mercedes Benzes and use the resources of this country to live in palaces and to gather riches.”
While the connected few gorge themselves on caviar and champagne, the young people of this country are yet to taste the fruits of freedom.
They are the ‘born-frees’, but they are everywhere in chains.
They have been forgotten by the ANC, the enemy of the young people.
They are our Lost Generation.
The lost generation is the nearly six million mainly black young South Africans who can’t find work.
The lost generation is the half a million mainly black children who disappear from our education system each year.
The lost generation is the three million South Africans under the age of 25 who are Not in Education, Employment or Training.
The Quarterly Labour Force Survey released today tells us that a further 340,000 youths have joined the ranks of the unemployed in the past year.
When the President stood on this podium to talk of radical socio-economic transformation, he wasn’t talking about saving this lost generation.
Don’t be fooled by the language in President Zuma’s speech. His project, and that of the ANC, is the accumulation of personal wealth.
Noble causes like land reform and black economic empowerment have been corrupted for the benefit of the ANC elite.
When the President talks about accelerating land reform, what he really means is more dodgy deals for ANC cronies.
He’s talking about narrow-based land deals like the Limpopo farm that Minister Nkwinti lined up for his ANC friends.
R130 million rand of public money went to enriching two ANC cronies while 31 farm workers went unpaid and a productive farm fell into disrepair.
When the President talks about BEE and the Black Industrialists Programme, what he really means is a scheme to make 100 of his closest friends and family very rich.
The President said nothing about the government’s plans for a trillion Rand nuclear build.
We all know the ANC is forging ahead with a nuclear plan that will enrich the President and his friends on a scale of looting not seen in our country before.
President Zuma wants us to believe the MPRDA Bill and proposed State Mining Company will benefit the people.
But we all know these are just moves to line ANC cronies up with lucrative mine deals – moves that will scare off investors and threaten thousands of jobs.
On Thursday we heard about the same old failed nine-point plan, sprinkled with a bit of stop-gap populism like land expropriation, talk of a state-owned mining house and threatening the banking sector.
Mr President, are you really so afraid of the EFF that you need to steal their policies?
You must know that these policies will lead us down the same failed path as Zimbabwe and Venezuela.
The fact is that your plans have been tried, tested and failed wherever they have been implemented.
When you only look backwards, that is where you will end up. And South Africa cannot go back to the past.
We need to look towards the future.
The young people of this country want a future they have a say in. They don’t want to be dependent on the state in a shrinking economy.
They want to be independent, with opportunities they can use to be truly free.
The South Africa we are building will put these young people first.
And so the DA has started mapping out a Rescue Plan for the future we believe in – a Rescue Plan for our Lost Generation… Read the rest of the speech here.