Mmegi Online :: Boko's response to SONA 2018 [full text]
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Boko's response to SONA 2018 [full text]

Response delivered by Duma Boko Leader Of Opposition and president of the Umbrella For Democratic Change (UDC) in parliament this afternoon.
By Duma Boko Wed 07 Nov 2018, 17:26 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Boko's response to SONA 2018 [full text]








INTRODUCTION

1.         I begin, as always I should, on a note of piety; of fond humility. The philosopher Plato tells us that piety refers to the reverent attachment to the sources of good in your life and the people who have given so much to allow you to be whom and what you are. I acknowledge gratefully, the people of this great Republic who continue to repose so much faith and confidence in the Umbrella for Democratic Change. I thank the residents of Gaborone Bonnington North who trusted me with their vote and afforded me the privilege to be their trumpet voice in this House. I urge them to register in large numbers and seize the opportunity of 2019, to vote in a new and revolutionary government.

 

2.         I acknowledge my colleagues on my side of the aisle, one and all, who have supported and continue to support me as their leader. I embrace you all, without paying any regard to the temporary barriers of party, or indeed the temporizing agonies of our separation from each other. I look forward to that point in our journey when we will all reunite and refuse to remain imprisoned in any entrenched divisions.

 

3.         I acknowledge our adversaries on the other side of the aisle, the members of the Botswana Democratic Party and trust that they have appreciated from our interactions with them and their leaders, past and present, that even in our most intense and animated condemnation of their actions and their Government, we are not motivated by malice or ill-will. We are neither vindictive nor vengeful. We do not love them any less. We just love Botswana more and place her interests above our own and theirs.

 

4.         On 1 April 2018, President Masisi peacefully and seamlessly took over from President Khama, and became the Fifth President of our country. On the occasion of President Masisi’s One Hundred days in office, I jolted him out of his euphoria by tabling a Motion of no Confidence against him and his Government. I sought to expose through that Motion, not only the rotten fragility of the BDP, but also the one-dimensional brittleness of its Members of Parliament. I exposed fissures that were not so obvious then and raised questions they’d rather not ask but knew we could not sidestep.

 

5.         Subsequent developments served only to vindicate me and mark that Motion out as an act of political dexterity from which the BDP is reeling even now and will never recover. Many BDP heads have rolled since. The scalp of the BDP will be delivered at the next elections in 2019, and a new Government, the Second Republic, will be ushered in. It’s about time.

 

6.         Our country is captured and dominated by non-indigenous and predatory business interests that have amassed obscene amounts of wealth at the expense of the ordinary, indigenous Motswana. The ordinary Motswana lives a life of exilic marginality, subsisting at the periphery of the economy and suffocated by rising debt. Hundreds of thousands of our people, especially young people, are unemployed and are systematically handicapped by crushing poverty and deprivation.

 

7.         Our citizens are unsafe in the streets and walkways. They are unsafe even in their homes and their houses. To bring home the grim and painful reality of how unsafe we are, in my constituency, Gaborone Bonnington North, in the period from 1 January to October this year, we have had 77 cases of burglary and theft, 158 cases of house breaking and theft, 40 cases of store breaking and theft, 82 cases of robbery, 3 cases of murder, 50 cases of rape, 22 cases of threat to kill and 14 cases of motor vehicle theft.

 

8.         This situation is widespread across all constituencies in this country. The police and law enforcement agencies are overwhelmed and cannot cope. The crime situation is at crisis levels and is getting worse by the day. These violent and intrusive crimes pose a grave danger to the safety and well-being of our people and result in huge financial and other losses to them.

 

9.         The response of this Government is feeble and half-hearted at best. The President has been touring the world, claiming to woo foreign investors and obviously offering a suite of incentives to lure them to Botswana. Some of the promises to the Foreign Investor include tax breaks and expedited access to land and requisite licences and permits. This preferential treatment of the Foreign Investor amounts to preferential injustice for the Local or Indigenous Investor who has invested in spite of the discrimination meted out by the Government and its hostile regulatory framework.

 

10.       The small businesses; professional outfits that operate in this country: the small law firms, accounting companies, secretarial service companies, and other players in the service industry employ, collectively, many Batswana who would otherwise not find employment. These small or medium sized businesses do not enjoy any patronage from Government. Instead the Tax authorities pursue them in the most ruthless manner resulting in many of them simply having to close down. They also deserve a break.

 

11.       The SONA presented an opportunity for the President to present a visual outline of reforms and interventions not made or conceived in idle contemplation but in response to these pressing challenges. It is a big let down. It comes across as a poorly compiled operational report, with various ministries, departments and agencies throwing in their contributions without much thought of a strategic focus, laced with platitudes. We have seen this over and over again in the last ten years. What is painfully missing from this SONA is a sense of strategy, of priority and of urgency. It has no strategic thrusts. It has not isolated a manageable set of strategic themes that anchor government business and which the president and his government will focus on as game changers for the country and its people. The SONA is not the place for the President to tell the nation that a 20 km road is 40% complete against a planned target of 46%. The President does not seem to have a sense of high level results, indicators and processes that he himself must focus on to make the government effective in transforming society.

 

12.       We are a country at a crossroads. This much the President ought to have acknowledged. The fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us. It demands that we be future-ready. The decisions and choices we make today, or fail to make, will determine whether our beautiful country, which God has generously endowed with natural capital and development potential that is the envy of many, will miss the Fourth Industrial Revolution and slide further into the backwaters of global prosperity.

 

13.       I am talking about the global phenomenon of accelerated transformation of productivity and competitiveness and the very way we do business, work, live and interact with each other, driven by connectivity, creativity and big data, and compounded by technological breakthroughs in such areas as quantum computing, robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and biotechnology. These changes matter because they will be very disruptive. They will leave no country or industry untouched. They will transform entire systems of production, management and governance, producing winners and losers on a grand scale. They demand that we understand what it means to be future-ready and do the needful to adapt.

 

14.       For these reasons, Mr. Speaker, I will buck the trend in debating the SONA. There is an expectation in this country, and certainly in this House, that the debate on the SONA must be reactive, confined in a linear sense to the contents of the President’s address. What are we to do then, when an out of touch and out of depth President delivers what is largely an irrelevance that skirts the issues that matter most to citizens’ lived experiences, the challenges they face in their daily toil, the threats from rapid change, their aspirations, and the angst from opportunities routinely missed, mostly on account of the disservice they face from the laws, policies, procedures, processes and institutions of their government and the detachment of their leaders from their woes.

 

15.       I reject the strictures of reaction and the fatuous responses they impel. I choose, instead, to engage the SONA on the basis of what I know to be the true state of the nation. We must address the everyday despair of our people. Within these hallowed walls, at this moment, and for the sake of the voiceless majority and posterity, that is what we must speak to without fear or favour. And that is exactly what I will do. Honourable Polson Majaga, in a rare moment of ruthless honesty, delivered a concise but devastating critique of this SONA in an interview he gave immediately after the SONA was delivered. I applaud his courage and hope that it heralds a new and desirable trend on the part of other BDP Members of Parliament. I can only hope, for the sake of their integrity, that they follow Honourable Majaga’s example lest they render themselves liable to the rebuke of the question asked by one Rapitsenyane, at the Serowe Kgotla recently. That question looms large and loud: How far were you when things went off the rails and the country was sent into a tailspin? “One ole bokgakala jo bo kahe…?” Where and how far were you? I understand the uneasiness, often the agony, and always the responsibility summoned by this question? How far were you? Let the Hansard record that aside from the overinflated fanfare and the pompous rhetoric you stepped up and engaged the issues that torment our people.

 

16.       The SONA is not just a routine speech, to be read callously, with neither comprehension nor regard for context and the daily pressures of the lives of the people in whose name we sit, debate and make decisions within these consecrated walls. It affords the President an opportunity to provide an honest and comprehensive assessment of the nation’s well-being and risks thereto. Sadly, on the occasion of the 2018 SONA, as on 1 April 2018, President Masisi’s inauguration, we were treated to a monumental misdiagnosis and, ipso facto, a weak basis for charting pathways out of the morass our country is in and make it future-ready.

 

THE TRUE STATE OF OUR NATION

 

17.       As a country we are facing a serious human development crisis and a gravely imperiled future. We are sitting on a powder keg of pervasive poverty, debilitating unemployment, deepening inequality and increasing despair, especially among a rapidly growing population of young people. Nearly one in five Batswana subsist below the official poverty line. An almost equal proportion of citizens who want to work and are able to work (17.7%) are without a job. Of those reported to be working, one in six (16.4%) are “employed” in Ipelegeng. A sixth of our  “workers” work for three months a year, for P540 and a fat cake. There is no dignity at all in this. An estimated 25.2% of those aged 15-35, one in four, a growing proportion of them with college diplomas and degrees, are unemployed. The descent of these young people into despair, in the numbers we see, removes the veil from the lie, routinely told, that we are harnessing the demographic dividend. We have sacrificed these young people at the altar of a failing education and skills development system.

 

18.       Tens of thousands of low skilled workers put in eight hour shifts, some do two such, but still struggle to afford three square meals a day for themselves and their families. As a direct consequence of this, thousands of our children are malnourished and predisposed to physical and mental stunting with tragic consequences for our stock of human capital. Meanwhile the government, stuck in conservative economic orthodoxy, refuses to engage the growing evidence that a properly calibrated effective minimum wage, or in UDC parlance, a living or decent wage, is not only good for workers’ welfare but also lifts productivity and growth. It also helps create decent work and reduces inequality as well as the spectre of the working destitute. The Government seems neither embarrassed by nor concerned about this situation of the low skilled worker. I am deeply concerned about this situation. The UDC is acutely aware and gravely disturbed by the plight of the low skilled worker, as indeed the plight of all Batswana.

 

19.       We thus condemn the callous rejection by this Parliament, at the instigation of the current President and his Party, of the noble motion of a decent/living wage of P3000, tabled by Comrade Shaun Ntlhaile. We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to a decent/living wage of P3000. We call upon this Government to commit to this decent/living wage and the pursuit of a high wage economy. It is an ethical, moral, economic and social justice imperative for work to provide sufficient income for working people to meet essential costs of living – food, shelter, clothing, health and sanitation for themselves and their families.

 

20.       Tragic as these realities are, they do not even begin to give the full depth of our nation’s human development challenges and the extent to which our future is imperiled. These are most manifest in our country’s lack of preparedness for a future in which dynamism in leadership, enterprise innovation, creativity and technological uptake will be the determinative forces for competitiveness and prosperity in what is now referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We are talking about an epoch in which rapid technological progress will change the very nature of work in profound ways. No nation wants to be caught in the lane of laggards who fail to develop skills for the future and to adopt and use modern technology to carve faster paths to inclusive and sustainable prosperity. For nations that do not invest wisely in future skills for their workforces and fail to keep pace with technological progress, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will not be an opportunity but a threat. And that is exactly the trajectory Botswana is on. It is a legacy of the captive state and the extractive institutions this government has built.

 

21.       Our human resource development system, especially education, (from early childhood to the tertiary level), are in a decrepit state. It is not just me saying so. It is also the verdict of experts and international development institutions based on a battery of robust policy guiding indicators. I have had the opportunity to look at the 2018 Social Progress Indicators for Botswana. Our country performs dismally in the critical areas of Basic Human Needs and Foundations of Wellbeing. Our peers outperform us under Nutrition and Basic Medical Care, on which we rank 106th in the world, with ranks of 124th, 83rd, 102nd, 100th, and 121st for the sub components of undernourishment, maternal mortality, child mortality, child stunting and deaths from infectious diseases, respectively. What these figures suggest is that too many of our children are physically and cognitively stunted.

 

22.       We rank 96th on water and sanitation, 100th on shelter, with rankings for the sub components of access to electricity, quality of electricity supply, and household air pollution attributable deaths at 112, 89 and 92, respectively. On Access to Basic Knowledge, we rank 88th in the world—99th for primary school enrolment, 89th for secondary school enrolment and 62nd for access to quality education. We rank 94th on Access to Information and Communication, 92nd on Health and Wellness, under which we rank 114th on life expectancy, 122nd on premature deaths from non communicable diseases, (many critically ill patients die waiting for procedures that take weeks or months to be done), and 86th on access to essential services.

 

23.       Under the third area of Opportunity, we rank 104th in the critical sub component of access to advanced education, with our peers beating us in all its sub indices: (years of tertiary schooling 91, women’s average years in school 96, globally ranked universities 80, percentage of tertiary students enrolled in globally ranked universities 72).

 

24.       These indicators suggest that our investment in human capital development is failing on account of a collapsing education and healthcare system. This is not what is expected of an upper middle-income country. We spend considerably more, per capita, on education and health than our peers but get a considerably poorer Social Return on Investment, (SROI). The ineffectiveness of Botswana’s investment in human resource development is also reflected in the Global Human Capital Index, which places Botswana 91st behind such countries as Rwanda, Ghana, Cameroon, Mauritius, Kenya, Zambia, Uganda, and South Africa. Failing human capital development imperils our capacity to compete effectively in the global economy, sustain economic growth and build a workforce for the more highly skilled jobs of the future.

 

25.       It is also evident that our innovation systems are weak, a result of years of neglect of this strategic imperative for future competitiveness and a failing education system. For decades, our children are being outperformed by their peers in the four areas most critical to innovation capability: Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), not because of any natural deficiencies on their part but because of a mismanaged and failing education and skills development system. This is the State of Our Nation. We deserve better. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, Botswana ranks 101st in the world out of 140 countries under the pillar of innovation capability. We also rank 101st out of 139 countries on the 2016 Network Readiness Index, a measure of our preparedness to harness the benefits of emerging technologies and capitalize on the opportunities presented by digital transformation. This is a searing indictment of our innovation ecosystems and our readiness for a future that is rapidly turning digital.

 

26.       This government has neglected the critical innovation imperatives of

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efficient regulation, quality ICT infrastructure, smart investment in skills, especially STEM fields, and affordable connectivity. The result is that the usage of ICTs by individuals, businesses and the government itself, is way too low, especially for an upper middle-income country and one dreaming of a knowledge economy and a knowledge society. Right on the outskirts of Gaborone, households and firms have no affordable access to the Internet. In places like Mmopane and parts of Mogoditshane, those who can pay lose thousands of Pula a month to access erratic Internet through the services of cellular phone companies. This is not how you build first-rate human capital and a competitive future-ready economy. For a contrast sample this experience of a Motswana who briefly visited Estonia and shares as follows:

 

“…I am at a place called Talinn, Estonia. Politicians and public officials claim Internet is a social right to all residents. In my walk about I try and call out this bluff. To my surprise they are not bluffing. Even the most rustic restaurant in the back alley has free WiFi at supersonic speed; shopping malls and public transport facilities are fitted with charging stations. For all its efficiency and world-class infrastructure, Talinn has a population of 400 000”.

 

27.       This is the kind of ethos that builds a competitive, future-ready economy. It is the track Rwanda and many others have chosen. We are sufficiently resourced to think and act this way. The future of this country demands it. We are limited by our leaders’ lack of comprehension, vision and ambition. Human resource development, enterprise competitiveness, innovation and creativity are considerably hamstrung when connectivity is a preserve of the privileged.     

 

28.       There is no doubt that the countries that lead in innovation and creativity will claim the future. Those that don’t must adopt and adapt fast or they will be bypassed by the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Nothing less than a revolution in human resource development, connectivity and big data is required if Botswana is to be a net gainer from the Fourth Industrial Revolution. There will be no jobs for our youth if we dont take these intentional leaps and make this transformative shift. The slouchy and indecisive approach of this government just doesn’t cut it. It will not deliver the knowledge economy this country envisions by 2036. The President and this government must come clean and tell the nation that this aspiration is but just a pious wish totally unrealizable at the rate things are going. The World Bank has already pronounced it unrealistic. The facts of our human resource development and governance attest.

 

29.       Perhaps the most frustrating feature of the State of Our Nation is the state of governance and the quality of public investment. Behind the glossy veneer of Botswana’s macroeconomic success there is real deterioration in the assets necessary to sustain prosperity into the future. I count amongst them leadership, institutions, the quality of Government decision-making and social capital.

 

30.       We have a dearth of visionary leadership. From the political to the administrative level, we have too many leaders who are neither enterprising nor capable of producing desired results. They occupy positions in cabinet, government ministries and in parastatals but lack the vision and the capacity to plan and execute. It is not their fault. They are products of a patronage network and a crony system that does not recognize merit and competence but rather rewards loyalty. In this country, in which human capital is a scarce resource capable citizens are denied opportunities to serve. Instead, too often, the same privileged surnames move from opportunity to opportunity through a revolving door between politics and public service. This government is trading away our common interests for the benefit of a few through nepotism and patronage networks. This is a ubiquitous feature of the state of our nation. We deserve better. We need competent people in cabinet and in executive positions in the civil service, public enterprises and boards.

 

31.       Mr Speaker, I would like to bring the spotlight on the quality of decision-making in the public service, which is another determinative feature of the state of our nation. There is a surfeit of evidence demonstrating that public investment in Botswana is substantially inefficient and ineffective. Nowhere is this more apparent than in education, on which the World Bank observes as follows in its 2015 Systematic Country Diagnostic for Botswana:

 

“Despite huge public investment in education (on average close to 8.5% of GDP) and generally equitable access, outcomes are not only unequal, but also weak across the board… The secondary education system in particular is failing to equip young Batswana with the skills that are needed for them to contribute productively to firms and to society. This failure of the education system, combined with a labour market that has failed to create employment opportunities (particularly for women), increasingly restricts the long term prospects for youth.”

 

32.       This problem has its origins in the quality of public decision-making. Nothing exemplifies it better than the irrational, cruel and costly premature closure of the BCL Mine. Government closed BCL against the advice of management and experts outside the company, and without any rigorous cost-benefit analysis. At the time the price of copper was about US$ 2/lb., well below BCL’s projected trading price of US$ 3/lb. Commodity prices were expected to rebound. BCL needed US$ 2million to stay afloat until the market normalized, but the government shut it down. The human cost of the decision is yet to be fully determined. It is a catastrophe not just sounding in money but in human life as well. In plain speaking the BDP Government and all its Members of Parliament have the blood of innocent citizens on their hands. We know that more than 10 miners committed suicide as a result of the closure of BCL. About 20 000 BCL related jobs were lost in Selibe Phikwe and thousands more people in the rest of the SPEDU region have been thrown into poverty. Billions of investments in the town have been rendered redundant. Copper prices have since rebounded to US$ 2.80/lb on 6 November 2018 and continue to rise on the back of increasing global demand for copper. The prognosis for copper is good. Meanwhile the costs of closing BCL, with production at zero, have already exceeded the US$ 2 million it needed to fight another day, save jobs and save a regional economy.

 

33.       The government owes the people of Selibe Phikwe, Mmadinare and Tswapong villages candor and contrition regarding the closure of BCL. The President found space in his SONA for micro projects in other areas but could not find space to openly and publicly apologize to, and empathize with, the people of Selibe Phikwe, Bobonong, Mmadinare and Tswapong over the government’s ill- advised and premature termination of the mainstay of their economy. Governments have a duty to defend jobs. Your Government failed the people of Selibe Phikwe and its environs.

 

34.       Once again the brutal and devastating question posed by Rapitsenyane obtrudes: How far was the President when BCL was closed down and thousands of our people left to die? How far were the BDP Members of Parliament? When are they going to account and even apologize for their own complicity in this callousness?

 

35.       The President presents what sounds and is made to appear, a new and path breaking decision by him. He announces a sudden realization by his Government of the need to develop a National Employment Policy for Botswana. The truth is that this inefficient and bumbling Government has been sleeping on this for over five years now. Former President Khama in his SONA of 4 November 2013, stated at paragraph 18, that,

 

“To further augment efforts to reduce unemployment, Government in collaboration with the ILO is currently formulating a National Employment Policy to provide for better coordination of existing employment intensive investments.” Five years down the line a new President mentions the National Employment Policy as some fanciful novelty seemingly originated by him.

 

Corruption

 

36.       Mr. Speaker, the current President took office when the country was mired in corruption and wanton waste of public resources. The National Petroleum Fund saga is still fresh in our minds. The State was swindled no less than 240 million Pula. So far only three pawns in a grand scheme of looting are facing prosecution. The President has now become a recurrent decimal in the NPF saga. He must account. He must face up to Rapitsenyane’s question and account and atone.

 

37.       We call for an independent, comprehensive and thorough forensic audit of the NPF and all processes and procedures related to its management and operation. We reject any process that would place the President in any position of control over such audit.

 

38.       Morupule B has gobbled up in excess of 10 Billion Pula of public resources with no results to show and yet no one has been held to account. How far? How far Mr. President? Members of Parliament on the other side of the aisle, how far?

 

39.       In excess of 300 Million Pula was thrown down the drain in Palapye’s ill-fated glass project. How far, Mr. President?

 

40.       Over at the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund, millions of workers’ pension investments have been plundered and wasted, with the President’s chief aide frequently linked to impropriety in this saga. Yet in his SONA the President speaks passively about anti-corruption. He says,

 

“Oversight institutions continue to enforce the rule of law”

 

Which rule of law, Mr. President? And then again Rapitsenyane is jeering at you and asking that blistering question: How far were you? How far? An honest and truthful answer to Mr. Rapitsenyane’s question would compel the President and all leaders to adopt accountability as both a personal credo and a civic tenet.

 

41.       Corruption is pervasive in this country. It is institutionalized. It is a prominent feature of the State of our Nation. We would like to see your Government getting tough on corruption and that involves investigating all the BDP big wigs who have ever been awarded a tender by Government as well as all those who have served and continue to serve in the Boards of State Owned Enterprises. We need tough laws and action on insider trading and conflict of interest. We said, when the former President went around collecting gifts in his capacity as President, for himself, that it was wrong. We point out that it was wrong for you to accept for your own person gain, two prime beasts from a Gantsi farmer, gifted to you whilst attending a function in your official capacity, and as a sitting President.

42.       The Government must urgently promulgate an executive ethical code that will regulate the gifts members of the executive as well as senior government personnel can receive and keep without express approval and define the approval processes. We need action to stop members of the executive and their families from doing business with Government. Civil servants must be paid well and the decision to allow civil servants to do business whilst in the public service must be reversed.

Sport

 

43.       We should commercialize sport and culture. Young people are working hard to use their creative abilities and talents to earn a living and employ others. Without Government intervention and support it will take ages for sports and the creative arts to contribute maximally to wealth and employment creation. We can start by sharpening our talent identification and development processes to ensure that no gifted children go unnoticed. We should improve incentives for teachers who are involved in sport as coaches, talent scouts and managers. We should rapidly improve sports infrastructure across the country as well as facilitate sponsorships for outstanding sports people.

 

44.       We should review incentives for sports persons and involve private companies to chart clear paths to financial security for athletes who excel. Our outstanding athletes and national team players should not retire into poverty. There are a number of former national soccer team players who suffered career-ending injuries while on duty for the national team. They must be fully assisted and taken care of.

 

45.       The rewards for those athletes who make the national team must be reviewed as a matter of urgency and a proper reward system introduced. When people put in an effort and make sacrifices to develop themselves well enough to play for the national team and carry the national flag, we must reward them sufficiently for them to see their sport as a potential source of livelihood and financial security. It is totally unacceptable for a footballer, for instance, to play for the Zebras for years and retire into poverty. Our sports people are uniquely positioned to market our country.

 

46.       In other countries where sport is regarded with some seriousness, former elite sports persons are engaged as commentators and in various other roles related to their sport. It is only in Botswana where our former elite sports persons are ignored or sidelined.

 

WHAT SHOULD BE OUR HIGH LEVEL PRIORITIES?

 

47.       Botswana must embark on a path of inclusive and sustainable prosperity. As leaders we must identify the critical factors in any situation we confront and design ways of coordinating and focusing actions to deal with these factors. That activity entails three critical elements: a diagnosis, a guiding policy and coherent action. All these are painfully missing from the President’s SONA. This is what makes a good strategy. President Masisi has not presented any strategy thus far. We expected feasible coordinated policy pronouncements, resource commitments and actions designed to carry out the guiding policy. President Masisi has adopted an approach of calculated ambiguity on key issues and artful procrastination on pressing decisions. His Government is at an impasse, transfixed and paralyzed into terminal passivity.

 

48.       The President’s first order of business is to get the government functioning efficiently and effectively. Government inefficiency is a binding constraint on competitiveness and overall economic performance, job creation and the eradication of poverty. A substantial package of reforms is needed which will encompass the entire institutional repertory currently in existence. E- Government must be made to work but it won’t work when you lead a government in which it is acceptable to tell citizens and firms that there is “no network” or the “system is down”. Our people have a right to a reliable Internet connectivity and systems that always work.

 

49.       Second, there is need to replace the current growth and development model, which is overly dependent on Government investment and consumption, because relative to need fiscal space is shrinking. We have lived through this model’s success and we know its limitations. It has given us fast paced but jobless growth. It has entrenched dependence on the state which carries with it significant risks to long-term sustainability. It has allowed us to achieve, and bask in, macroeconomic excellence in the face of failure at the microeconomic level. It has allowed us to mask our weaknesses by throwing money at problems.

 

50.       We should shift to a model that depends more on creativity and enterprise in Government to unleash creativity and enterprise in the private sector. It should be a model more focused on addressing the micro-level determinants of growth and competitiveness. It means, amongst other things, fast-paced evidence-led reforms to the doing business environment, with a slant toward the needs of SMMEs, smart investment in future-readiness skills and infrastructure, and universal access to electricity and connectivity for households and firms in the shortest possible time. It should be based on truly decentralized economic management, harness local level knowledge, skills and creativity, democratize the economy and give meaning and purpose to local economic development.

 

51.       Third, we must revisit our strategy for human resource development. We must, in particular, train less for the economy’s current needs and more for its future needs. Classrooms and working conditions for teachers are important and should be attended to, but those are routine requirements. The strategic focus lies in equipping the school system, from the classroom to management; from early childhood learning to the tertiary level, to deliver first rate education and skills for the future. We need first rate public schools and a first rate public health system to develop the human capital we need for the future.

 

52.       Fourth, we must create a healthy macro ecosystem for creativity and innovation. That means commitment to free and unfettered flow of information, knowledge and ideas; tolerance for diversity, a real commitment to human rights and civil liberties, respect for democracy and freedoms, as well as openness to foreign investment and trade but on terms that promote fair trading and trading practices. It is critical to work hard to create liveable communities.

 

CONCLUSIONS

 

53.       To the people of this country I say, please register in large numbers so you can participate in the opportunity of a lifetime, to vote in a new and revolutionary government of the Umbrella for Democratic Change in 2019. We need authentic change; a revolution and nothing less. We need a revolution in our priorities, a re-evaluation of our values as a nation, a reinvigoration of our public life and a fundamental transformation in our way of thinking and living that promotes a transfer of power from oligarchs and plutocrats to everyday people and ordinary citizens.

 

54.       Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind and admonish all my colleagues in this House: Mr. Rapitsenyane is waiting and listening. He has posed the question. We cannot afford to simply sanitize ourselves in order to evade and avoid the question.

 

55.       It now remains for me to thank you Mr. Speaker and my esteemed colleagues in this House, for the pleasure of their company and the privilege of their attention. Thank you so very much.

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