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Speech By Minister Ronald Ozzy Lamola (MP) on the occasion of the State of Nation Debate 2022 held at Cape Town City Hall, 15 February 2022

Honourable President, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa;
Honourable Deputy President, His Excellency David Mabuza;
House Chairperson; and
Honourable Members;

The relationship between the national democratic state and all private capital, including monopoly capital, is one of ‘unity and struggle’, co-operation and contestation.

This is contained in the ANC’s Strategy and Tactics and is line with what President Ramaphosa said on the role of the private sector on the economy.

Almost to this day in 1995, President Nelson Mandela stood at the inauguration of the Constitutional Court where he said something which we must continue to hold very dearly.

The authority of government comes from the people through the Constitution. Your tasks and responsibilities, as well as your power, come to you from the people through the Constitution. The people speak through the Constitution. The Constitution enables the multiple voices of the people to be heard in an organized, articulate, meaningful and principled manner.

I will dare add, attacks disguised through revolutionary sounding phrases, remain counter revolutionary, they are against the people. It is a language aimed to replace people’s institutions with a personality cult where only one person thinks for the whole nation.

The struggle is about the people.

This Mr President, will be our war cry as we battle for the soul of our country.

And we are armed with an incredible instrument, the Constitution, which is a culmination of battles by legions of South Africans of all races, Africans, and the world at large.

Our commitment to Constitutionalism is a product of blood and sweat of our fallen heroes and heroines.

It can be traced back to the formation of the ANC to 1923, with the likes of Selope Thema and Pixely Ka Isaka Seme, who gathered in Bloemfontein to adopt the African Bill of Rights.

This evolved 20 years later through the adoption of an international character, when the then ANC President, Dr. A.B. Xuma, appointed a committee to interpret the Atlantic Charter from an African point of view.

Chaired by Professor Z.K. Matthews; and consisting of prominent African professionals and intellectuals of varied political views, the committee presented their report entitled ‘Africans’ Claims in South Africa’ which contained a Bill of Rights and was unanimously adopted by the ANC conference on 16 December 1943.

A decade later, this journey of Constitutionalism evolved to incorporate a gender struggle through the Women’s Charter under the leadership of the Federation of South African Women.

In 1955, the Freedom Charter was adopted and in a message to the Congress of the People gathering, Nkosi Albert Luthuli said the following:
“This task of gaining freedom in our multi-racial society is of considerable magnitude and will tax severely the determination and courage of the best of us. But the need and urgency of the task and the justice of the cause demand us to be willing to pay the supreme sacrifice for the noble cause.”

The ANC is an organisation deeply embedded in constitutionalism.

Constitutionalism proclaims the desirability of the rule of law as opposed to rule by arbitrary judgment or mere declaration of public officials.
Our history of constitutionalism also indicates that the DA has learned about constitutionalism from the ANC. They can’t today want to be the custodians of the constitution than the ANC.

Perhaps it is worth reminding this house that Constitutionalism is not only about law but a concept in political theory which entails : government does not derive its power from itself, power is gained as a the result of there being a set of written laws that give the governing body certain powers.

This is a departure from feudal systems, apartheid and dictatorships, in which the power was not confined to an agreement with citizens.
Constitutionalism therefore naturally prescribes a system of government in which the government’s powers are limited.

But ours is not just a Constitution, ours is a transformative constitution. As the late Chief Justice Langa reminds us in a paper titled transformative Constitutionalism:
The Constitution is not transformative because of its peculiar historical position or its particular socio-economic goals but because it envisions a society that will always be open to change and contestation, a society that will always be defined by transformation.

The fact that our Constitution has been amended 17 times to date is testament of what Chief Justice Langa argued. It is a living document.
As we gather here, 25 years after our Constitution has come into effect, it is clear that our ability to make this framework a reality and condemn the legacy of apartheid to the dustbin of history is shackled by corruption and lack of social cohesion.

The rule of law may have been momentarily bruised, however, it was not destroyed.

The late secretary general of the United Nations Kofi Annan’s words are instructive.

The rule of law is not a luxury and that justice is not a side issue. We have seen people lose faith in a peace process when they do not feel safe from crime. We have seen that without a credible machinery to enforce the law and resolve disputes, people resorted to violence and illegal means.

The National Prosecuting Authority is breaking the shackles which constrained it. Despite capacity challenges and budget constraints, our law enforcement and criminal justice agencies have achieved noteworthy successes.

To strengthen the capacity of the National Prosecuting Authority, we will be implementing sections of Reconstruction and Development Program funding act.

Furthermore, to strengthen the human capital of the NPA, we will continue to invoke section 38 of the NPA act which enables the NPA to acquire the services of persons who have suitable qualifications and experience to perform services in specific cases.

The NPA is also prioritising appointments at a senior level, this process will be concluded speedily.

The Fusion Centre, established by government to bring together the key law enforcement agencies to strengthen the collective efforts to prevent, detect, investigate, and prosecute COVID-19 related corruption, has enrolled 45 cases in court with 101 accused facing charges as of January 2022, 16 of these cases have been finalised with a guilty verdict.

The NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit has recovered R168 millions on COVID-19 related matters.

The Special Tribunal announced by President Ramaphosa in 2019, has recovered R500 million through preservation, review and setting aside orders.

The NPA’s Investigating Directorate is seized with 37 high profile state capture cases with 14 matters enrolled in court relating to the various sectors it is focused on. In the next month, the Investigating Directorate will be enrolling additional three seminal matters.

In terms of asset forfeiture, the Gauteng High Court granted an order to seize assets worth R1.4bn belonging to accused implicated in the corruption scandal involving the construction of Eskom’s Kusile power station.

In the Bloemfontein High Court, the NPA has been granted an unlimited restraint order to the value of R 520 million for assets in relation to various Gupta-linked companies.

A preservation order was filed by the NPA for the Optimum Mine estimated at R 8 billion. This is on the back of R 870 million and R 1,1 billion Rand recovered from McKinsey & Company for their involvement in Transnet and Eskom saga respectively, R 217 million has been recovered from Bain and Company and the SIU has recovered over R 1.5 billion from ABB South Africa.

Our fight against corruption is taking place, no stone will be left unturned even here in the Western Cape.

We have also seen that our capacity to address white collar crime is on the rise, this among others, is demonstrated by the prosecution of fraud amounting to some R3.5bn in the Tongaat matter which is laudable. Steinhoff remains on the radar of law enforcement agencies.

A total of 5 451 sexual offence cases were finalised with a verdict and 4 098 convictions were obtained. This represents a conviction rate of 75.2%; the highest conviction rate achieved in the past five years.

With the three new Acts on GBV, the conviction rate on Sexual offences will improve, we will improve from the stats Minister Cele mentioned in this house yesterday. The three acts are a product of government working with civil society, proof that social compacts work. But Mr President it’s not just laws that will change a culture of patriarchy and violence, our social institutions also need change.

Institutions build successful nations. We are determined to implement the National Development Plan’s goals of professionalising the public service, strengthening accountability, improving coordination and prosecuting corruption.

Access to justice has expanded under this Constitution, the idea of challenging a government in court was a remote possibility under the apartheid regime. Today this happens on a daily basis.

In the next financial year, through Legal Aid South Africa, this government will ensure that indigent South Africans, such as farm dwellers, are able to approach legal aid when evicted in order to have adequate legal representation.

Honourable Malema referred to Thohoyandou Management Area, popularly known as Matdhatse, where he claimed Correctional Services was procuring items from Polokwane, at the expense of local business.

We want to assure South Africans that through the Self-Sufficiency Model, inmates are producing their own food across most management areas. As a result, Correctional Services no longer procures items such as eggs and pork.

Thohoyandou Management Area, in the current financial year, through offender labour, produces fruits, vegetables, beef and pork for inmates’ rations resulting in a huge saving to the Fiscus.

Where we need to procure items which we do not internally produce in enough quantities, we always prioritise local business. Any insinuation suggesting otherwise, is spectacular display of lack knowledge.

Correctional Services will through the Self Sufficiency Strategic Model, continue providing skills to inmates and to empower the victims of crime.

So honourable members let’s work together to build this great nation.

Our generation must rise to advance and defend the gains of democracy.

Hakhensa