Opposition attacks Zuma for the night “the hearts of our nation broke”
South Africa’s Leader of the Opposition, Mmusi Maimane, did not hold back in his verbal attack on President Jacob Zuma in Parliament today, saying what has been said around candlelit dinner tables, braais and in the media around the country since Thursday’s (somewhat failed) State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Cape Town. The DA […]
South Africa’s Leader of the Opposition, Mmusi Maimane, did not hold back in his verbal attack on President Jacob Zuma in Parliament today, saying what has been said around candlelit dinner tables, braais and in the media around the country since Thursday’s (somewhat failed) State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Cape Town.
The DA parliamentary leader called the South African President a “broken man presiding over a broken society”, accused him of laughing while the “people of South Africa cried for their beloved country” (which made President Zuma laugh again!) and told him “Honourable President, we will never forgive you for what you have done.”
With the President just metres away, Maimane took to the podium at the SONA Debate today, looked Zuma in the eye and said:
“Please understand, Honourable President, when I use the term ‘honourable’, I do it out of respect for the traditions and conventions of this august House. But please do not take it literally. For you, Honourable President, are not an honourable man.
“You are a broken man, presiding over a broken society. You are willing to break every democratic institution to try and fix the legal predicament you find yourself in. You are willing to break this Parliament if it means escaping accountability for the wrongs you have done.
“On Thursday afternoon, outside this House, Members of Parliament were being arrested and assaulted by your riot police.
“A few hours later, inside this House, our freedom to communicate was violated by an order to jam the telecommunications network. Not long after, armed police officers in plain shirts stormed into this sacred chamber and physically attacked members of this House.
“This was more than an assault on Members of Parliament. It was an assault on the very foundations of our democracy.
“Parliament’s constitutional obligation to fearlessly scrutinise and oversee the Executive lost all meaning on Thursday night. The brute force of the state won.
“And the hearts of our nation broke.
“We knew, at that very moment, that our democratic order was in grave danger.
“And what did you do?
“You laughed. You laughed while the people of South Africa cried for their beloved country…
“You laughed while trampling Madiba’s legacy – in the very week that we celebrated 25 years since his release.
“Honourable President, we will never forgive you for what you have done.”
WATCH VIDEO: DA’s Mmusi Maimane’s verbal attack on Jacob Zuma during the SONA2015 debate
Below are the transcripts of both the EFF and the DA’s replies to SONA:
Full Transcript: The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) reply to SONA by the CIC Julius Malema, 17 January 2015
1. We are here to debate the State of the Nation Address, taking note of the fact that when it was presented we were not in here because the speaker ordered police to forcibly remove and assault us for asking a simple question of when are you, Mr. President, going to pay back the money.
2. There is no doubt that you unduly benefitted from the construction of your private residence in Nkandla, and in our absence from this parliament, you never said anything about the fact that you unduly benefitted, and must pay back the money. That is a question for another day and you will answer that question on a different date.
3. When we were away from the chambers, being assaulted, harassed and manhandled by the police, we know that you rhetorically mentioned the fact that 2015 represents the 60th Anniversary of the Freedom Charter, yet nothing you said connects Government Project to the Peoples Manifesto and Liberation Program, the Freedom Charter.
4. You said, “The year 2015 is the Year of the Freedom Charter and Unity in Action to Advance Economic Freedom. It is the year of going the extra mile in building a united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa”
5. As a matter of fact, before our leadership of the Youth Movement, there was no mention of economic Freedom in the former liberation movement and its entire literature.
6. We started with the conceptualisation of the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime and said it is fundamentally about the attainment of all Freedom Charter objectives, with No Retreat and No Surrender! We said Asijiki towards total attainment of the Freedom Charter objectives through a radical and militant struggle for economic freedom.
7. We do not have a problem with anyone mentioning the struggle for economic freedom and the Freedom Charter, but whosoever does so must acknowledge that it started when we led the Youth Movement. Failure to quote that this started under our political and ideological leadership is PLAGIARISM.
8. Those who claim that we stole the struggle for economic freedom from the Youth League are also misled, because we came with it and Left with it and currently the only ones who can speak with authority about the contemporary meaning of the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime. That is why we called the ECONOMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS.
9. When we speak about the Freedom Charter, we always mention the reality that when it was adopted in 1955, the Freedom Charter was never a programme of the ANC, such that when it was adopted by the ANC in 1956, it led to a split which genuinely questioned the notion that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white. This is the question that must still be answered because since dispossession by Colonizers, it looks like SA belongs to white people only. They own everything and control our lives and the lives of politicians of the ruling party.
10. What you said here in our absence, and when the police were assaulting women, breaking their jaws and fracturing their chins, pulling us by our private parts, is not consistent with what the Freedom Charter says, and we are here back in these chambers to expose you to that reality.
11. The NDP: Vision 2030 is the official programme of the ANC, adopted in your 53rd National Conference, and this program is light years away from the Freedom Charter, thus mention of is meant to mislead the people of South Africa. What we know about the Freedom Charter, which the ANC government will never implement are the following:
12. The Freedom Charter says ‘the mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and monopoly industries shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole” and in your address here, you never said anything about transfer of banks to the people, but complained about banking fees. You never said anything about the transfer of Mines and Minerals to the people, but referred the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act because white monopoly capital in the form of TOTAL and Exxon Mobil said they do not agree with the Act.
13. Private capital, in the form of banks, continue to hold millions of South Africans under debt and many live in homes they do not own, they drive cars they do not own, and use household furniture they do not own. South African banks own many of the houses South Africans call their homes. This is the state of the nation.
14. The Freedom Charter says ‘all other trade and industry shall be controlled to assist the wellbeing of the people”. What we know is that the ANC Is committed to free-market capitalism and will never control trade for the benefit of the people. Many goods and services imported into South Africa do not have tariffs, even on areas where the rightwing and neo-liberal Godfathers, the World Trade Organisation say you can have tariffs.
15. In fact your NDP attributes blame to the organized trade union movement and its demand of minimum wages for the high levels of unemployment. Like GEAR and ASGI SA it advocates for a flexible labour market.
16. The Freedom Charter says ‘land shall be shared amongst those who work it’. What we know is that the ANC has dismally failed to redistribute land and will continue to buy land from those who stole it, despite their admission that the willing-buyer willing-seller approach to land redistribution has dismally failed.
17. It is not a secret that only the EFF campaigned on the banning of foreign ownership of the land. It is only the elections Manifesto of the EFF which categorically said that there will be no foreign land ownership in South Africa. Thus, your proposal to implement this demands is as a result of how sharply we had raised it in society broadly. However, you went on to say you will be limiting private ownership of land to 12 000 hectors.
18. All credible indicators in South Africa, illustrates the fact that our country has 14, 753 000 (about 14 million seven hundred and fifty three thousand) hectares of arable land. With your formula Mr. President, if we were to allocate this arable land at 12, 000 hectares per person, only 1229 people will have land. That is not even 1% of the people of South Africa.
19. Langa alone is equals to 309 hectares, Gugulethu equals 649 hectares, Umlazi equals 4 746 hectares, Mdantsane quals 4 555, and Marikana equals 1 754 hectares. All these combined amount to a little over 12 000 hectares, meaning for you Mr. President, one person can own the townships of Langa, Gugulethu, Umlazi, Mdantsane and Mariakana combined. And you think with this proposal you are declaring this year the year of the Freedom Charter?
20. With your formula, an arable land the size of Soweto would only be given to 2 people because Soweto is 12 000 hactres. The Freedom Charter says “LAND SHALL BE SHARED AMONGST THOSE WHO WORK IT”.
21. Let us take it further, the Freedom Charter says, “All shall have the right to occupy land wherever they choose”.
22. But homeless people in the Lusaka community in Mamelodi East when they occupied unoccupied land your government sent police to forcefully remove them. In Nelmephius, where 7000 people had singed up for houses, your government not only sent police to forcefully remove them, it also sought a court interdict to disallow them from occupying unoccupied municipal land.
23. In Sasolburg, Zamdela, when homeless people occupied unoccupied land, again your government sent police, not blankets, water, or electricity; and many were arrested and today face criminal charges, all for asking to call South Africa their home.
24. Your government cannot implement the land clause of the Freedom Charter because it has no commitment to the homeless. It also has no commitment to genuine decolonisation. If you do not know Mr. President, land occupation struggles are happening everywhere in the country, under the bridges in big Cities, and by the road sides in major towns and metropolitan areas. In addition, you still need to build over 2 million homeless people houses least you perpetrate their hobo status into a permanent condition.
25. The Freedom Charter says ‘the doors of learning and culture shall be opened”. What we know is that the ANC government has dismally failed to provide free quality education at post-secondary level and has not built adequate capacity to absorb the entirety of students who exit the secondary schooling level.
26. An average of Forty Nine percent of the learners who should have set for exams in 2014 dropped out of school; your government cannot tell us where they are, what are they doing and under what circumstances. Mr. President, the is the state of the nation.
27. By the admission of your own government, only 204 522 new entrant opportunities at universities were available this year. This is despite the fact that of the 532 860 grade 12 pupils who wrote matric in 2014, only 403 874 pupils passed with marks that allow them to study in tertiary universities either for a degree, diploma or a higher certificate. Your however, government cannot tell us what will happen to those who cannot find schooling; a number totalling – 199 352. This is the state of the nation.
28. We are told that thousands of students at Wits University have no place to stay, they sleep in libraries and corridors of university buildings like all the hobos you keep shooting at in the townships. This is the state of the nation.
29. It is a fact that in the academic year 2015, 90 000 students applied for admission at the University of KwaZulu Natal, and only 7000 could be admitted and still the University cannot give Financial Aid to all academically derserving but needy students.
30. The Freedom Charter says “Child labour, compound labour, the tot system and contract labour shall be abolished.” Your own government in 2013 reported that “the number of children affected [by child labour] still remains.. at an estimated 821 000”. What is the state of these children Mr. President? Tell us, why are they not in school?
31. In 2012 the labour movement reported that “Checkers employs about 73,000 [workers and] only 35% are permanent earning a minimum of R4,000 – 60% are supplied by Labour brokers earning a minmum of R1,800.” “Pick n Pay employs 36,538, only 16,000 are full time earning a minimum of R4,500. The rest are part time earning a minimum of R2,000.” “At Woolworths it’s estimated that the ratio is 70% casuals and 30% permanent.” This excludes workers in hotels, restaurants, mining and construction sectors”. What is the state of these workers Mr. President? And tell us, have they realised the Freedom Charter?
32. The Freedom Charter also says, “Slums shall be demolished, and new suburbs built where all have transport, roads, lighting, playing fields, crèches and social centres”. What we know is that 21 years since the first inclusive elections with the ANC in power, more than 15% of the South African population lives in slums and informal settlements without basic services. In fact those with houses like in Zamdela, Mothutlung, Mohlakeng and Malaulele do not have basic services.
33. The people of Malamulele are part of Limpopo’s 2nd biggest local municipality called Thulamela, and the biggest is Polokwane. Due to lack of infrastructure inherited from apartheid, this 2nd biggest Municipality.
34. Your Government is refusing to give the people of Malamulele a Municipality because they are poor, forgetting that the poverty of Malamulele was worsened by lack of Government services and infrastructure.
35. The Malamulele Town has not seen many changes since 1994, the villages of Shikundu, Mphambo, Madonsi, Mavambe, Jimmy Jones, Mahonisi, and all the villages have not seen real development and they are within their right to demand a Government which will be closer to them.
36. We want to promise you that your attitude will never take this country forward, and if you continue doing what you are doing, such will lead to political and social instability. Do not reduce genuine demands of the people to tribalism, because without proper explanations of what causes their continued suffering and exclusion, people will always look for easier reasons.
37. The Freedom Charter says “South Africa shall strive to maintain world peace and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiation – not war”. Yet your government Mr. President in involved in the illegal wars in Chad, the DRC and Central African Republic. It also voted for the brutal killing of Maummar Gaddafi in collusion with imperialist forces.
38. The Freedom Charter also says “Peace and friendship amongst all our people shall be secured by upholding the equal rights, opportunities and status of all” but your government killed workers in Marikana and continues to do everything in its power to undo peace through police brutality including in this parliament.
39. You shall be known as the President who brought violence and not peace from the workers in Marikana, right to this honorable house. You shall be known as the president whose rule violated the fundamental rights of members of parliament to hold the executive accountable.
40. You shall be known as President the hooligan because you use hooligan tactics to silence the opposition duly elected to represent aspirations of ordinary and poor South Africans. Only a program based on the mission of economic freedom in our lifetime can truly change the lives of our people. And that program is only found in the EFF.
41. When you are telling a so called good story here, the children on Zenzele informal settlement do not have water.
42. When you are telling a so called good story here, the children of Sxwetla sleep side by side with rats.
43. When you are telling a so called good story here, Mineworkers continue to suffer indignity in the belly of the earth
44. When you are telling a so called good story here, Mothutlung does not have water.
45. When you are telling a so called good story here, Mokgalakwena has no government and factions of the ruling party are fighting over who should steal more.
46. When you are telling a so called good story here, the women of Princess Magogo have no sanitary towels.
47. We have to save these people by removing you from political office and take political power on behalf of the people.
48. Whatever it takes, and however long it takes, by whatever revolutionary means, we will take over this country with the aim of total liberation and emancipation.
49. No amount of violence and harassment will stop us from taking over this country on behalf of the people.
50. We will do everything in our power because we are a generation with a mission, a generation of ECONOMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS.
51. We shall overcome!
Full Transcript of DA Response to SONA – ‘A broken man, presiding over a broken society’
Eleven days ago we lost one of South Africa’s literary giants, Professor Andre Brink. Our sadness at his passing is tempered only by the great literature he bequeathed us.
Professor Brink taught us a powerful lesson. He taught us that you cannot blame a faceless system for the evils in society. It is human beings that perpetrate wrongs against others. And it human beings that have the power to correct these wrongs.
We would do well to heed this lesson as we debate the State of the Nation today.
Because, if we are to succeed as a nation, we need to start believing in the power of human agency. We need to resurrect the idea that the choices we make, and the actions we take, matter.
It is true that the uneven legacy of the apartheid system weighs heavy on us. It is a fact that black children still do not have the same opportunities as white children. This is a human tragedy that nobody in this House should ever accept.
Much has been done to redress the past, make no mistake. Life in South Africa today is certainly better than it was during apartheid. But we need to hold ourselves to a much higher standard than that.
We need to become the nation that President Nelson Mandela helped us believe we could become. A place of hope, prosperity, selfless leadership and mutual respect.
And so the question we must ask today is: what is holding us back from achieving Madiba’s vision?
We can blame apartheid. We can blame the global financial system. We can even blame Jan van Riebeeck.
But in our hearts, we know what the problem is. We have allowed those in power to become bigger than our institutions, breaking them down bit by bit.
We have allowed one powerful man to get away with too much for too long. This man is here in our presence today.
Honourable President, in these very chambers, just five days ago, you broke Parliament.
Please understand, Honourable President, when I use the term “honourable”, I do it out of respect for the traditions and conventions of this august House.
But please do not take it literally. For you, Honourable President, are not an honourable man.
You are a broken man, presiding over a broken society.
You are willing to break every democratic institution to try and fix the legal predicament you find yourself in.
You are willing to break this Parliament if it means escaping accountability for the wrongs you have done.
On Thursday afternoon, outside this House, Members of Parliament were being arrested and assaulted by your riot police.
A few hours later, inside this House, our freedom to communicate was violated by an order to jam the telecommunications network.
Not long after, armed police officers in plain shirts stormed into this sacred chamber and physically attacked members of this House.
This was more than an assault on Members of Parliament. It was an assault on the very foundations of our democracy.
Parliament’s constitutional obligation to fearlessly scrutinise and oversee the Executive lost all meaning on Thursday night.
The brute force of the state won. And the hearts of our nation broke.
We knew, at that very moment, that our democratic order was in grave danger.
And what did you do?
You laughed. You laughed while the people of South Africa cried for their beloved country.
You laughed while trampling Madiba’s legacy – in the very week that we celebrated 25 years since his release.
Honourable President, we will never forgive you for what you have done.
Madam Speaker, I led my party out of this House on Thursday night because we could not sit by while our freedoms were destroyed right in front of us.
When we emerged from this chamber, we heard the President reading the cold and empty words from his prepared text.
They were the words of a broken man, presiding over a broken society.
For 6 years, he has run from the 783 counts of corruption, fraud and racketeering that have haunted him from before the day he was elected.
For 6 years, this broken man has spent his waking hours plotting and planning to avoid his day in court.
In this broken man’s path of destruction, lies a litany of broken institutions. Each one of them targeted because of their constitutional power to hold him to account.
A broken SARS, that should be investigating the fringe tax benefits from Nkandla, the palace of corruption that was built with the people’s money.
A broken NPA, that should have continued with its prosecution of the President, without fear or favour.
A broken SIU, a broken Hawks, a broken SAPS. And so we could go on with the list of institutions President Zuma is willing to break to protect himself and his friends.
This is why we are a broken society. Because the abuses do not stop at the door of the Union Buildings. The power abuse is happening at every level. We have mini-Zuma’s in governments and municipalities all over South Africa.
In Mogalakwena, I met a woman who had not been able to wash for days because there was no water.
The lack of water in Mogalakwena is not a system failure. It is a failure of local politicians to put the people first. In this community, service delivery has come to a standstill as ANC councillors wage a factional war over access to the spoils of power.
Local police officers with a duty to serve the community have been co-opted by factions to intimidate residents and supress protest. As the war rages on, rubbish piles up in the streets, sewage pipes continue to leak, and the taps run dry.
All because of these broken men, presiding over broken towns and cities. They learned from the best.
In Atteridgeville, I met a good man running a hospice that is struggling more and more each day to care for the sick because all their money goes to fuelling a generator. This is their last line of defence against an electricity crisis that plagues them on a daily basis.
The daily struggle of this community-funded organization is just one example of the devastating impact this electricity crisis is having on households, businesses, schools, hospitals, and countless other facets of society.
Where is the accountability from this broken man who claims to be our President, when all he can offer is more of the same? All he does is promise to keep bailing out Eskom and secure its monopoly over our power supply.
Load-shedding is a crisis that will take our economy to the brink of economic shutdown. Our economy has lost R300 billion since 2008 because, without a stable electricity supply, manufacturers cannot produce, investors are driven away and jobs are lost.
That is why Mr President when you stand here and promise the same jobs every year that never materialize, we simply cannot believe you. On Thursday the President said that the NDP’s ambition to grow at 5% by 2019 is at risk as a result of slow global growth and domestic constraints. How then are other SADC countries growing at an average of 5.6% facing the same external pressures? The answer is our real constraints are because of the policy failures of this government.
In his 9 point plan he failed to address the need for solid economic infrastructure. He left the electricity monopoly with Eskom. Gave the broadband monopoly to Telkom. And left SANRAL to toll our roads in Gauteng. The legacy of this will be more government bailouts and failing infrastructure, leading us to more job losses, more debt and a broken state.
The broken man who broke our economy.
Despite all his past promises, what President Zuma failed to tell us last week was that, today, there are 1.6 million more South Africans without jobs than when he took office in 2009. Living, breathing human beings robbed of their feeling of self-worth, and their ability to provide for their families.
From Ikageng, to Nelson Mandela Bay, to Soweto, I met unemployed youth who have lost hope of finding a job. They are the victims of an unequal education system that serves the interests of a powerful teacher’s union over learners, and where poorer schools go without textbooks, desks and proper classrooms.
The consequence, as parents in Riverlea told me, is that crime and drugs continue to enslave our youth, and druglords operate freely in our communities.
This is the state of our broken society, battling under the burdens of unemployment, crime, power cuts, and an unequal education system.
South Africa may be a broken society under a broken President, but the spirit of our people is a lot harder to break.
We are still standing as a people today because South Africans were able to free ourselves from the worst forms of oppression under Apartheid.
Today we have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights that is admired across the world.
We have an obligation to future generations of South Africans to make sure we continue the fight for a fairer society, where there is greater opportunity for all to live a better life, and where the rights and freedoms granted to us by the Constitution are protected.
But on Thursday we received a criminally weak account of the State of the Nation from a broken President.
We can have a stable electricity supply in South Africa, but a war-room is not going to solve it.
The President knows what needs to be done to keep the lights on: break the Eskom monopoly. As long as they are in charge of the national grid they will act to prevent any meaningful contributions by independent power producers to our electricity supply.
He must also abandon the R1 trillion nuclear deal – future generations will pay for this in electricity price hikes while we wait over a decade to see any power. And of course the secrecy behind this deal means there is scope for corruption on a mega-Arms deal scale.
We can and we must have a more equal education system, where schools are properly resourced, teachers are well-trained, and there is commitment and leadership from school principals.
There are many hard-working educators out there, but the President ignored the need to hold principals and teachers accountable when they fail our children.
We believe it is possible for entrepreneurs to flourish, with an economy that grows at 8% and creates millions of jobs if we make the right choices.
But the government’s ideas are stale. We need economic infrastructure that is reliable. We need tax incentives for established business people to participate in mentorship programmes. We need a National Venture Capital Fund to fund start-ups. We need to rollout Opportunity Centres where advice and support is readily available. We need a real Youth Wage Subsidy that benefits even the smallest of businesses.
We believe it is possible for our country to be a place where the streets are safe and communities are healthy places to raise families, where the police properly managed and trained.
But while our communities are being over-run by druglords and the President said nothing about crime! Where are the specialized anti-drug units? Drug crime has doubled since they were taken away.
People don’t trust the police, but if the SAPS is going to have its integrity restored, it needs to start with the national police commissioner.
Our crime-fighting institutions such as the Hawks, the NPA, and the SIU must be led by people committed to fairness and justice, and free from interference by powerful political interests.
We believe it is possible to realize a vision of South Africa where every effort is made to redress the legacy of Apartheid through a land reform programme that truly benefits those who were denied access to land.
All the President has offered us is a populist proposal to ban foreign land ownership. This will only kill investment and jobs.
The 17.5 million hectares of fertile soil in communal land areas must be unlocked for reform purposes. State-owned land must be fully audited and used to fast-track redistribution to deserving beneficiaries. And farmworkers must become farm-owners in partnership with commercial farmers, through the NDP’s system of identifying and purchasing available land on the market. But we all know, Mr President, that half the people sitting behind you don’t support the NDP and will not implement it.
Only through bold reforms that go to the heart of the problem will we meaningfully redress the legacy of restricted access to land.
Madam Speaker, the tide is turning in our country. As Professor Brink wrote in his most celebrated work, A Dry White Season:
“The image that presents itself is one of water. A drop held back by its own inertia for one last moment, though swollen of its own weight, before it irrevocably falls… as if the water, already sensing its own imminent fall, continues to cling, against the pull of gravity, to its precarious stabilty, trying to prolong it as much as possible.”
Madam Speaker, change may seem slow, but it is coming. There is a swell starting to build and, when the wave crashes, it will sweep this broken man out of power. When that happens, we will be there to start fixing this broken society, and unleash the potential of South Africans.
That is why the party I lead in this Parliament will not join other parties in breaking down our institutions. Because one day, when we are in government, we will want those institutions and this Parliament to hold us to account.
And so we will work within the institutions of democracy to hold this government to account, and we will continue creating opportunities for all where we govern. We will work tirelessly to build a truly democratic alternative in South Africa. We will restore power to our people.
I thank you!