by Lebo More MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Petitions
Whilst you and I can speak freely in these chambers protected by all its laws and privileges, we need to reflect on these freedoms that we have today.
What does freedom mean to South Africans outside these chambers?
Are Gauteng residents truly free to enjoy all the privileges of freedom that many of our elders fought for?
How can we truly be free when our people who have been on waiting lists for houses since 1994 are still residing in shacks with no real hope of ever receiving dignified housing? How can we be free when our people living in informal settlements don’t have access to basic services such as water, electricity and proper sanitation which are all rights enshrined in our Constitution?
How can we be free when our children are being abused by the very people who have the responsibility to protect them? When our children are being sexually abused by teachers in their schools?
Are we truly free when the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements and COGTA which is tasked with providing houses for our poor people, is under-spending on its allocated budget and is failing to reduce the housing backlog that has reached over a million in the province.
All this indicates that we are not truly free and there is a long way to go before our people can declare that they are truly free.
How can we truly be free when law abiding citizens who are living below the breadlinego to bed hungry at night, while criminals are being fed KFC by an ANC-led MEC of this house.
What is more horrifying, Madam Speaker, is that this very prison which is meant to rehabilitate criminals was turned into a strip club for the entertainment of prisoners, courtesy of the ANC-led government.
To make matters worse, this government is responsible for the death of 144 mentally ill patients who were housed at Life Esidimeni. No one has, as yet, been jailed for this atrocious crime.
For us to be truly free and enjoy the fruits of our democracy, we need an accountable and transparent Gauteng government that truly cares about the needs of our people and not about lining their own pockets for personal gain.
We need a government that respects the voices of our people, that is not corrupt and that is not a law unto itself.
The only party that can bring CHANGE is the DA, we have proven this where we govern and we will continue to strive for excellence.