I would like to suggest we begin today’s gathering by observing a minute’s silence for the people who have now become known as “The Silent 94” – the 94 mental health patients who have died as a result of extreme negligence by our government.
I must say that making speeches, at this time in our history, sometimes feels like something of a hollow act.
At a time when the psychiatric patients can no longer rely on their own government, the people’s government, to care for them properly, words fail me.
Words also fail me at a time when those who are completely dependent on social grants can no longer rely on their own government, the people’s government, to put a proper social safety net in place.
Of course, our own President, Jacob Zuma, will not be short of words when it comes to delivering his State of the Nation address a week from today. He will have plenty to say. He will gloss over the mistakes he has made, he will ignore the rampant corruption and abuse that causes the current crises we face, and he will roll out another set of promises, replete with unintelligible numbers.
The reality, however, is startlingly different. His leadership has set our country many years back on so many fronts.
An infrastructure-led growth strategy was intended to stem the tide of de-industrialisation and protect not only the manufacturing jobs, but also stimulate the economy.
We could go on and on. To be honest, sometimes Zuma just feels like one big fake news website.
Corruption, under Zuma’s hand, has its hand at the throat of government service delivery.
If you doubt me, or doubt the extent of corruption and looting, you should spend some time with SECTION27, one of the most vibrant and active members of the Save South Africa movement.
Theirs are shocking stories. They are an indictment on everything South Africans fought for during our battles against colonialism and apartheid.
Those of you who follow the news will know that the Cabinet is holding a Lekgotla while we are meeting here today.
This, ladies and gentleman, is what the Cabinet Lekgotla should really be addressing this week. And it should form the core of next week’s State of the Nation Address, if Zuma is in any way serious about saving South Africa.
Despite the fact that Zuma has indicated he will not be seeking another term in office as ANC President, the Save South Africa campaign is totally committed to spending this year highlighting the damage he causes to the country — and to the ANC.
We’ve created a legitimate and principled voice with moral authority — yet one that is not oppositional.