Redressing the Regress of our Democratic Freedoms

May 15, 2018

by Janho Engelbrecht MPL, DA Gauteng Legislature Caucus Chairperson

Today I stand in front of this house as a proud but disappointed South African.

Proud because of what we have achieved in the fight against the Apartheid regime.

However, in the same breath, my disappointment comes from the regress and weakening of our democratic freedoms.

Unfortunately, due to ANC maladministration and mismanagement of state operations; our democratic freedoms have suffered to the point of unbearable concern.

I would like to highlight one lesson we can take away from the fight against Apartheid is that freedom does not come for free.

We must fight for it, nurture it and protect it at all costs.

The Democratic Alliance today is standing up against the cronyism and patronage ANC network that infringes on our people’s right to access free and fair opportunities for all.

here are three specific areas where regress has been notably worrying; firstly, the South African Police Services has taken several leaps backwards. Instead of SAPS being a strong trusted police institution, it has amounted to nothing but an office where cases go to die. An office where dockets can go missing if your brown envelope is thick enough, an office where sexually abused victims investigated for being “provocative”, rather than being victims of a crime.

Secondly, employment cannot flourish without an educated or skilled workforce. The South African education system is still far from where we should be as a middle-income country that spends 15% of its total budget on education.

Work opportunities in South Africa have become so scarce that the youth have resorted to desperately begging for employment on street corners. This is one sad reality that the ANC government has failed dismally on. There is no doubt that for a citizen to experience true social and economic freedom, they need access to employment.

The Democratic Alliance supports the right to freedom of movement. However, we must stress that this must be within the confinements of the law.

The law exists to protect both the state and the immigrant. Therefore, the third and final issue that needs redress includes the problem of unmonitored boarders.

We have seen the rise of Xenophobic attacks within the past few years. This was due to a combination of issues, but the main ones are unemployment and the influx of unaccredited immigrants moving down to South Africa.

Therefore Speaker, Freedom Day marks a very important day for us to reflect; reflect on where we have come from. Reflect on where we are now and envisage where we should be going.

The Democratic Alliance truly believes that if we can focus on these three issues; creating jobs, the overhaul of SAPS and improving the functionality of our boarders, South Africa will truly be heading the right direction in strengthening economic and social freedoms for the citizens of the country.

I would like to end off with a quote by our late Former President Mandela; “For to be free is not merely to cast off ones’ chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”

The time has come. A time where we commit to action. Action that enhances Freedom.

Thank You.

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