Job creation needed in FS, says DA

2015-08-12 06:00
MARIETTE PITTAWAY of the DA in the Free State.

MARIETTE PITTAWAY of the DA in the Free State.

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MARIETTE PITTAWAY, DA member in the Free State Legislature. laments the poor strides the province has made to realise Nelson Mandela’s dream to liberate people from the bondage of poverty.

She was speaking during the provincial legislature’s debate on International Nelson Mandela Day on Thursday, 30 July.

She said the Free State was lagging behind in achieving Mandela’s dream of a free, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and more equal society in 21 years of democracy owing to the stagnant economy.

“South Africa has done much over the last 21 years in an attempt to live up to this ideal. But too many of our people are waiting in vain for those words to become a reality in their lives.

“Today, as we speak, the majority of our people are living in a vicious cycle of absolute poverty. Especially here in the Free State. Of the 1,8 million people in the Free State that are of working age only 755 000 are employed.

“The Free State’s economy is stagnant and as a result an increasing number of people in the province have become dependent on the state through the payment of social grants,” said Pittaway.

She said the fact that half of the able-bodied working age population in the Free State were completely dependent on social grants was testimony of the vicious circle.

“The DA supports the use of grants to assist those who are trapped in poverty.

“However, most people in the Free State would like a job so that they can help support their families themselves. The government’s current economic policies are not conducive to economic growth.

“We can see that the Free State’s long-term unemployment trends clearly show that our economy is in a steep decline. In order to bring about a fair economy that creates opportunities, economic growth of between 6% and 8% is needed.

“The reality is that much needs to be done to honour Mandela’s economic ideals for our people. The DA has the economic policies to make Madiba’s dream a reality,” said Pittaway.

“Madiba always took the time to engage respectfully with opposition members, and opposition members engaged with him in a respectable manner. Respect is earned and Madiba definitely earned it.

“Today we see a different dynamic at play that is destructive and bitter between the leaders of some political parties. We can learn much from the approach Madiba took. He understood the importance of a multi-party democracy as a necessity to build a united, yet diverse society.”

Pittaway said the fact that it was hard to see sacrifices by most current leaders towards improving the socio-economic situation of people, served as yet another factor among the many factors in honouring Mandela.

“As we celebrate Mandela’s life, several Free State non-go-vernmental organisations are battling for survival due to the fact that the Free State Department of Social Development has failed to pay state subsidies that help fund their social assistance programmes.

“The struggle for freedom is never finally won. You earn it and win it in every generation. What has this generation done to earn freedom? What are we going to do as legislature to earn our freedom and to change the lives of the people in the Free State for the better? How do we contribute daily to building Madiba’s dream?

“We must show integrity and dedication to make sure that government departments function properly in order to make Madiba’s dreams come true.

“We have a responsibility to eradicate poverty. To achieve this goal we need to establish a legislative framework on fair, free market principles that are conducive to job creation and economic development,” she said.

Pittaway reminded people about Mandela’s view:

“If the ANC does to you what the apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the apartheid government.

“We see daily how government tries to limit our freedoms. We see the deprivation and desperation on the faces of our people. We see a persistent culture of self-aggrandisement in an environment that is corrupt and secretive.

“Greed and selfishness by individuals in government are destroying our democracy.

“Madiba dedicated his entire life to a cause that he, and millions of ordinary South Africans, believed in. His selflessness, his perseverance and his courage has been an inspiration to millions.

“We thank Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela for his great leadership. He remains an inspiration to us all. His legacy will live on to inspire generations to come.

“Madiba’s legacy lives. His actions continue to inspire, not only here, but across the globe.

“It is that legacy that the DA seeks to protect. It is that legacy that inspires the DA.

“At the end of apartheid Madiba did not stop his work. His work had only begun. He started bringing a country together that had been torn apart by an oppressive apartheid regime.

“That project continues today. Building a prosperous, non-ra-cist, non-sexist, free and equal society is what the DA fights for every day. It encapsulates our Vision2029 ideals and is informed by the DA’s Values Charter adopted in Port Elizabeth in May this year.

“Change is coming. And we will realise Madiba’s vision for South Africa in our lifetime, a society that celebrates freedom and fairness.

“A society that is filled with opportunity. A society that is successful, prosperous and productive. That was Madiba’s dream and that informs the DA’s programme of action.

“As we celebrate Mandela’s legacy today, let us honestly reflect on the problems and challenges in our province and in our country and their causes.

“It is only through such honest reflection that we can take stock of how we measure up in honouring Mandela’s universal legacy,” said Pittaway

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