Revolutions begin with an idea

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, says those who continue to sell the idea that the President’s State of the Nation Address was slim in detail are disingenuous.

He also said that all major revolutions around the world begin with a dream and that a revolution without a dream is a failed one.

Mthembu said this when he participated in a debate on the speech in a joint sitting of Parliament on Tuesday. 

In his State of the Nation Address, the President outlined seven priority areas that government will focus on with an aim of turning the country’s economy around following its bad performance in the first quarter of 2019.

“Let me remind you that the purpose of the State of the Nation Address is for the President to report on the status of the nation and [to] outline the overall strategic direction and priorities.

“This is followed by this debate, where more information is provided on key themes of the President’s Speech, followed by the Minister of Finance’s Budget Speech to indicate the resourcing framework for the priorities indicated by the President.

“The purveyors of the misguided narrative that the President’s SONA was slim on detail are disingenuous and very economical with the truth.

“The President made specific mention of sectors that can turn our economic fortunes around, elucidated on areas of great potential including stimulating local manufacturing and promoting the ‘Buy Local’ campaign, developing new markets in agriculture and agro-processing, and increasing international tourist arrivals to 21 million by 2030,” he said.

Mthembu said through various sectors, Ministers’ Budget speeches - which are now scheduled for the week of the ninth to the 17th of July 2019 - government will unpack further details of the programmes for implementation.

These platforms allow for debate and engagement at the appropriate level of detail until the process is concluded.

“Those who claim that the SONA is all about dreams do not understand that all major revolutions worldwide begin with an idea.

“A people without dreams, without vision and purpose, is a people with no future. It was the dreamers who gathered in Mangaung in 1912, and formed an organisation that would wage a resistance struggle against colonialism and oppression informed by the dream of a free South Africa which now all of us enjoy,” he said.

In his speech on Thursday, the President told the nation of a dream to create a new smart city.  

Mthembu said in Parliament on Tuesday that President Ramaphosa is a big dreamer and a big doer at the same time.

He said the new smart city that the President talked about is government’s collective dream.

“It will be followed by decisive action, wherein we invite young innovative minds who are ICT savvy to share their ideas on the design and architecture of such a future smart city.

“It is our fervent view that such a smart city must be located in one of our rural provinces so as to disrupt the colonial and apartheid spatial patterns,” he said.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the priority should be to fix what is broken and build a South Africa where all can be guaranteed an equality of opportunity - be it in the classroom, on the sports field, or in the workplace.

“Honourable Members, if we are to overcome our challenges here in South Africa, it will also require innovative and solutions – not doing more of the same.

“We must ask ourselves what kind of planet will our children inherit, will they be prepared with the right skills to step into this future, and can we ensure that our population remains healthy and resilient? These are the questions our plan needs to address,” he said.

EFF leader Julius Malema said people are poverty stricken, unemployed, are victims of crime and landless “now” and that instead of being told about a dream, government needs to implement programmes that are going to change people’s lives. –