‘Country is divided into two realities’ – Maimane

2019-06-25 15:22

DA leader Mmusi Maimane has tabled an alternative dream to that of President Cyril Ramaphosa, saying he wants one South Africa for all as opposed to the fragmented one which currently exists.

During his response to the president’s state of the nation address, Maimane said the country was divided into two realities in which one half can fulfil its needs and wants while the other half cannot.

“We live in two separate worlds, determined by the circumstances of our birth. When we speak about inequality, it’s not merely an issue of income or wealth. It’s an inequality of opportunity.

“An inequality of dreams and possibilities. We are a country of insiders and outsiders, and right now we’re making no headway in breaking down the walls between these two groups,” Maimane said.

“The image we were treated to by the president on Thursday evening of a future South Africa with hi-tech cities, high-speed trains and classrooms where children are taught to code and analyse data and no child goes hungry. While these may be experienced by some, the majority are left out and left behind.”

The opposition leader said there was a need for the president to start by fixing broken trains which let down thousands of commuters on a daily basis and ensure that cities are functional before rushing to build new smart ones.

“We must have a vision of our place in the future. We must think big and we must know where we are going. Our vision is one South Africa for all, in which each child has access to quality education, a modernised economy that puts at least a job in every home, access to healthcare and basic services for all, and where citizens live in safe communities free from crime and corruption. A South Africa that is reconciled, prosperous and a beacon of hope for developing countries across the world.”

Maimane outlined his seven necessary reforms which spoke to: state-owned enterprises, education, healthcare, labour legislation, the building of a capable state, the extension of property ownership and policing.

“The last thing we should be doing now is committing ourselves to a decade or more of bailouts for Eskom. We must immediately split Eskom into two entities and open the market to more independent power producers (IPPs) – particularly solar power in our sun rich nation.

“Solar power is to the energy sector what Uber became to the transport industry and we cannot afford to be left surprised and left behind.

“We must allow well-functioning municipalities to buy directly from IPPs. Eskom requires us to move away from being coal dependent to other technologies. While we’re splitting Eskom, we must also sell off SAA. It is a luxury we neither need nor can afford,” he said.

During last week’s state of the nation address, Ramaphosa committed to a further bailout for the embattled power utility.

“We will therefore table a special appropriation bill on an urgent basis to allocate a significant portion of the R230 billion fiscal support that Eskom will require over the next 10 years in the early years. This we must do because Eskom is too vital to our economy to be allowed to fail,” the president said.

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January 19 2020