Howard Feldman

The budget speech Gigaba should've delivered

2018-02-23 10:46
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba delivering his Budget Speech.  (Roger Bosch, AFP)

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba delivering his Budget Speech. (Roger Bosch, AFP)

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South Africans, I stand before you in humility.

I recognise that I am a servant of the people and that I have let you down. The budget that will follow and that I will deliver today is largely one that is a result of government and ANC mismanagement and corruption. And I recognise that we are asking you to fund the folly.

You have already paid once by being tax compliant, and yes, we are asking you to pay once again and that is unfair.

I am unworthy of the honour of addressing you. I have been found wanting by the highest court of the land and even if I challenge that, as it stands, the law has ruled that I am not to be trusted. I understand how difficult it must be to accept the budget at my word. Because my word is tainted.

As am I.

But I believe in South Africa. More than that I believe in its people. South Africans are resilient and kind and naïve and of pure spirit. And I believe in the ANC. I believe that the ANC can return to the values that it once stood for and I believe that corruption, arrogance and laziness will reflect the ANC of the last few years, but not of the future.

I intend to make things right. I beg for the opportunity to prove that I value the position that I have been trusted with. I intend to disclose the full nature of the corruption without reserve, despite the personal consequences.

But this is not the time. That is for later.

Today I ask you to suspend your valid scepticism and against your rational judgment to trust that we have the best interest of this country at heart. Today I ask you to believe in the integrity of our new president, who although human, is a man of honour. And I ask that you trust in his leadership and his desire to change the course of South African history.

Today I ask you for one more chance.

We have walked a long road. And although we have taken many wrong turns along the way, we are mindful and clear as to where the journey must take us. We have chosen a dangerous route and we nearly destroyed all we had built.

Studies indicate that the greatest impact on people breaking the law is the environment. A corrupt environment leads to further corruption. And we have created that. We are responsible for the mess that we have created.

But South Africans have demanded more and did not tolerate this. Together with the press, that must remain free, the people of the country have demanded better. You have demanded that we take a different road. And we have heard you.

Getting back there will not be easy. It will be costly and painful. And we are asking you to, once again, help us to make this country one for all of its citizens.

Fellow South Africans, if I have sent you a request for a Candy Crush life, I apologise.

But we need to reach the next level together.

Let us begin.

- Feldman is the author of Carry on Baggage and Tightrope and the afternoon drive show presenter on Chai FM.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

Read more on:    malusi gigaba  |  budget 2018  |  anc
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