What Solly Msimanga says about apartheid is ‘embarrassing’, says Lindiwe Zulu
‘We haven’t really produced a state that is able to generate income so that we get out of the poverty cycle, but what we have done is create a welfare state‘
Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu lashed out at DA Gauteng leader Solly Msimanga during a debate in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on the rising cost of living, after Msimanga said living conditions for South Africans were better under apartheid than under the democratic government led by the ANC.
Msimanga made the remarks at an NCOP sitting intended to debate the soaring cost of living.
“I say to the ANC‚ don’t you have any shame? You have rendered South Africans poorer and poorer. You have rendered the once-upcoming middle class into poverty. Those people who were beginning to restore their dignity after the injustice of apartheid now find themselves worse off than what they were during the apartheid days. You better have shame‚” said Msimanga.
The social development minister did not take kindly to the apartheid comparison.
“The embarrassing thing for me is for Msimanga to stand here and tell us that our people are in a worse position now than they were under apartheid. We are not going to be nice about issues when he speaks about apartheid having been better. Where was apartheid better? Can he go and tell the people of SA‚ with all the challenges they are facing‚ that apartheid was better?”
The debate on the cost of living crisis and desperately needed relief measures was sponsored by Msimanga’s party.
“I am very disappointed in Msimanga‚ but what did I expect? Sometimes as South Africans we try to unite with each other‚ we take each and every topic that impacts our people seriously and sometimes we even remove the politics because we want to see the change that the people of SA need.
“I want to remind Msimanga that ‘amaqabane ka Tambo’ are still here‚ and we are going to be here for as long as the people of SA give us the mandate to continue to implement the decisions and policies that we have developed on the basis of taking SA forward.”
In his remarks‚ Msimanga criticised corruption as having crippled SA’s ability to provide for its citizens.
The DA provincial leader said the rising cost of living that had increased drastically over the years had left many South Africans struggling to make ends meet.
“It is made worse by corruption and this is a point that all South Africans must live with and come to accept. For years South Africans have grappled with the relentless surge in fuel and food prices‚ creating a cost of living crisis that has left many families struggling to make ends meet. More and more South Africans are falling below the poverty line and there seems to be no way in which this government‚ if willing‚ is going to address this issue.
“We have turned SA into a state of dependency. We have done so much damage to the country that more and more of our young people don't see a future. Is this what ‘maqabane ka Tambo’ promised us‚ 30 years ago?”
Msimanga criticised the debilitating state of public transport‚ saying it had caused a further dent in consumers' pockets.
“People are spending 60% of their salaries on transport to get to work because the government-subsidised buses are not running as they are supposed to. In fact‚ the corruption there exists to ensure that the public transport system is collapsing‚ further plunging our people into a poverty cycle. Rail is falling apart in Gauteng.”
He continued to criticise the government subsidy grant for creating dependency instead of empowering South Africans with the ability to earn a livelihood.
“We haven’t been able to produce a state that takes care of its own. We haven’t really produced a state that is able to generate income so that we get out of the poverty cycle. But what we have done is create a welfare state that provides R350 because we are heading to elections even though it is unaffordable. The R350 grant that continues to trap our people in poverty is what is being pushed‚ instead of developing industries that will create jobs that will remove our people from poverty permanently.”
The DA provincial leader blamed soaring interest rates for worsening the cost-of-living crisis. He said residents were becoming poorer and having to do more with less money.
“The DA has a plan for alleviating the crisis. We have proposed an expansion of the zero-rated food basket — we are saying‚ why do you keep adding VAT and taxing the poor?
“The standard of living is not improving for the poor; instead it is just getting worse and worse. This once-glorious movement of the people is not doing what it is supposed to do‚ which is creating quality life for the majority of people in SA.”
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