The following remarks were delivered by ActionSA Senators Dr Makhosi Khoza and Ms Vytjie Mentor on the steps of the National Assembly ahead of President Ramaphosa’s SONA reply speech:
Dr Makhosi Khoza:
We were part of a group within the ANC that used to spend late nights debating how the organisation could be fixed, how we could play our role in the legislature to hold unethical leaders to account.
We both held senior positions in this Parliament. Sis Vytjie was the Chairperson of the ANC Caucus and the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises.
I have served as the Deputy Mayor of Msunduzi Municipality in KZN, the CEO of SALGA, an MP and the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration.
Despite our relative seniority, we were forced out of this building behind us and the organisation we were imprisoned for as children, because we chose country over party.
I publicly declared my intention to vote for the final motion of no confidence against then President Jacob Zuma and my sister here spoke out about State Capture against the very same man.
Today, despite having a new President, former President Zuma continues to create a Constitutional crisis for our country.
From retirement, in his publicly funded palace in Nkandla, he continues to trample on the Constitution he swore to uphold, for which he and his family continue to enjoy benefits paid for by South Africans.
But he is not the President any longer and has not been since he resigned in 2018. We have a new President, Cyril Ramaphosa, who now has the responsibility to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution of the Republic.
So, when former President Jacob Zuma defies the Constitutional Court and refuses to testify at the Zondo Commission, that responsibility to defend the Constitution lands on President Ramaphosa.
Rather than decisive leadership, instead of hearing strong words backed by tough action during the SONA, President Ramaphosa said nothing about this Constitutional crisis.
It is being treated as an internal ANC matter, something that those outside the ANC should just wait until the ANC is good and ready to inform us how a political solution will be reached.
Once again party will come before country, once again doing what is right will come after what is expedient to the factions of the ANC.
We are here today to say that as long as the ANC remains in power it doesn’t matter who the President is, it doesn’t matter what gets said in this building behind us.
The reason why we have joined ActionSA is because we know that to fix our economy and create jobs, we must first unseat the ANC.
Before we can get our police working and put criminals in jail the ANC must be out of government.
To educate our youth and give them a future, the ANC must be relegated to the opposition benches.
This is the truth that is spreading throughout our country, hastened by the mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic, that promises the first signs of hope our country has seen in many, many years.
Ms Vytjie Mentor:
The refusal by former President Jacob Zuma to adhere to the Constitutional Court and testify before the State Capture Commission, is personal for me.
Like Makhosi, I was chased out of my political home and Parliament for doing what was right for our country. Our story, however, is slightly different.
The great sin that I committed was calling out the former President for state capture and corruption.
When the preamble to our Constitution said that South Africa belongs to those who live in it, the drafters didn’t intend that a group of foreigners should be wrongfully issued ID documents and given shares in our country.
I do not care about the way I was treated or the victimisation I experienced.
What I do care about, is that my speaking out played a role in Adv Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture Report that led to the State Capture Commission of Inquiry.
It is this that’s makes me proud. There can be no pride in serving the ANC at the expense of our country.
Most of all, I want to see those implicated in State Capture and corruption, face their day in court. Whether it is former President Zuma, Johannesburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo or anyone in between, there has to be real consequences.
I do not believe that those protected within the ANC will ever see the inside of a jail cell as long as the ANC is in charge.
Despite the excellent work of the commission, somewhere in our criminal justice system these cases will stall and fall apart.
I say this with certainty because one of the elements of state capture is the capturing of our institutions of government. When combined with cadre deployment, this has created that ultimate protection to the politically connected within the ANC.
This is why Makhosi and I joined ActionSA.
We need leaders who fight corruption and not corrupt leaders.
We need leaders who do what they say and not say what they do.
We need leaders who will put country before party and not party before country.
This is the kind of party we want to build within ActionSA.
ActionSA’s Constitution, after learning the lessons we have, includes a provision that, if there is ever a conflict, our members must act in the best interests of the people instead of our party.
That is how serious we are.
It is easy for South Africans to become disillusioned with everything we have to live with.
But I want to tell you today that we can unseat the ANC.
We can fix education, fight crime, create jobs and stop corruption.
We can have political parties that work together in the interests of our country.
For all of this to happen, there is one thing that MUST happen first:
The ANC will be removed from power, and placed in the opposition benches.
This is what is needed to get South Africa working.
The power lies with us, the South African people, to take control of our own future and our country, so that days like we have had this week become a distant memory of a past that we have defeated.