Monday, February 20, 2006

State of the Nation response

The South African President, Thabo Mbeki, made his State of the Nation address on Feb 3, 2006.
Following is the response of the ACDP's president, Dr. Kenneth Meshoe, on Feb 7, 2006:
Madam Speaker, the President surprised most people in this nation by quoting from the prophet Isaiah, not only once, but three times. His speech which was well received by most of us instilled hope and optimism, and raised the expectations of our people. I was asked by Tim Modise on his show why I thought the President chose to quote from the prophet Isaiah and not from the other prophets and what I thought was the significance of the quotation. While not knowing his real reasons for doing it, I nevertheless expressed my appreciation for the President doing it and gave Tim my thoughts about the matter which are as follows: The name Isaiah means ‘JEHOVAH SAVES” or “SALVATION OF JEHOVAH”. I hope the quotation of Isaiah simply means that the President, like me, hopes in the salvation of Jehovah. The fact is, Mr President, we need God’s help to make our nation a truly winning nation. You did the right thing, Sir, and I hope that you will continue to search for answers in God’s Word. May I remind the honourable President and members that before the nation can go out with joy, and be led forth in peace, and before the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing, there are conditions that the prophet Isaiah referred to that must be met. The three conditions I have time to mention are firstly to seek the Lord while He may be found, secondly to let the wicked forsake their way and the evil man his thoughts, and thirdly, that we return to the Lord who will have mercy on us and will freely pardon. I now want to focus on areas I believe the President’s speech fell short. Firstly, the President only mentioned HIV/Aids once in his speech, and thereby failed to deal with this pandemic as a national priority. The ACDP believes that HIV/Aids has to be included on government’s priorities agenda alongside poverty, and unemployment. It is not good enough to be told that about 100 000 patients are receiving Antiretroviral Treatment. According to the Actuarial Society of SA, another 520 000 HIV positive people urgently need treatment. The government must address the problem of HIV and Aids much more aggressively and the President must take the lead in that. Government must have a clear policy of not only providing treatment for those who need it, but also have programmes to help those who are HIV negative to stay negative. I know that on paper, government does refer to their ABC strategy that they don’t seem to be convinced about. Government has to urgently do something to prevent predictions that 5.8 million South Africans will be infected by the Aids virus by 2010, from coming to pass. The most reliable way of ensuring that children do not easily get infected with the Aids virus is to teach them to refrain from sex until marriage. While it is primarily parents’ responsibility to teach their children to abstain from premarital sex, we believe that schools must teach the same. The President had an opportunity to endorse Education Minister Naledi Pandor’s call to school children to abstain from sex and focus on their studies, but he didn’t do it. The ACDP hereby endorses the Education Minister’s call. Madam Speaker, I know that it will not be easy to convince some school children and nation to abstain from premarital sex while they are bombarded with pornography every day of their lives. Our country is losing the fight against child pornography and the rape of children because this parliament does not want to outlaw pornography that is damaging the minds of our children. Where on earth do you hear of an eleven year old girl raped in a classroom in front of other children, while ten year old boys are pinning her legs and arms down to help the rapist? Where on the continent of Africa have you heard of a thirteen year old schoolgirl raped by 18 boys, many of them her schoolmates as it was reported in the media two weeks ago? Honourable members, pornography is the theory and rape is the action. Mr President, if you truly want the nation to go out with joy and be led out in peace and the mountains and the hills to break forth into singing, then you should not support any move by this parliament to amend the Marriage Act to include same sex marriages. All nations, tribes, religious groups and cultures worldwide believe marriage to only be between a man and a woman. Homosexuals and lesbians can have their sinful civil unions if they want to, but should not be allowed to interfere with marriage as we have it today. This parliament must be seen to be promoting and protecting our children, families and the covenant of marriage between men and women only and not undermining it.
I agree with you, Sir, in your quotation of former president, honourable Nelson Mandela, that, we must, and I quote: “seize the time to define for ourselves what we want to make of our shared destiny.” What the ACDP wants to make of our shared destiny is to have a prosperous nation that embraces the plan of God and enjoys His blessings, and not one that rebels against Him. The so-called homosexual marriage is nothing but rebellion against God the Almighty and the ACDP will oppose it with every fibre of our being. We truly want this nation to go out with joy and be led out in peace and hear the mountains and hills breaking forth into singing before us. We want all the trees of the field to clap their hands as the prophet Isaiah said. But for this to happen, Mr President, we must not be seen to be challenging God’s authority or fighting Him because the nation would lose badly which will be worse than seeing Bafana Bafana lose all their games. From what many business leaders and economists are saying, it looks like unemployment will remain this nation’s greatest challenge for many decades to come. While they agree that the economy is creating some jobs, they believe job creation is not fast enough to drastically reduce the high unemployment rate. Many have blamed the economy’s failure to create sufficient jobs on the country’s rigid labour laws which make it difficult for employers to fire non-performing workers. The ACDP agrees that Labour Laws need to be relaxed and regulatory reforms also need to be put in place to bring more flexibility into the labour market. The unwilling and unproductive workers must know that they will be replaced if they stay away from work without valid reasons and that for the economy to grow, they must make a greater effort and choose to be more productive. Those who have an eight to four job behind a desk, must know that they are not expected to start working ten minutes after eight a! nd then want to leave ten minutes before four. They must know that if they do that they will be replaced by other keen and industrious workers who know that having a job is a privilege and not a right, and hence, have to give their best. Madam Speaker, if government manages to root out corruption, drastically reduce crime and manage to instill a culture of hard work and productivity in our people, then we will be on our way to ending jobless economic growth as domestic investors will be encouraged to invest more in this beautiful country. Then, Mr President, we will go out with joy and be led forth in peace and the mountains and hill will break forth into singing before us. When that happens, then SA will truly be a shining model among nations of the world in the true sense of the word. I have hope that it will happen. Thank you.
Just thinking...

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