ACDP’s response to KZN SoPA February 28, 2013 Speech in KZN Legislature ACDP MPL KZN: Hon Jo-Ann Downs State of the Province Debate Madam Speaker, I will leave the ANC members to congratulate themselves on the things that they have done well and there are no doubt a few of those. I will focus mainly on three issues: The first one is violence against women. The second is education, as far as it pertains to youth unemployment and the third one is youth unemployment. For the last 17 years I have consistently highlighted violence against women and children and it is with a heavy heart that I say today: the situation is largely unchanged. Looking at sexual crime statistics in KZN from 2004 to 2012, there are very few fluctuations in the reported numbers, which hover around 12 500 cases per year. There is no real downward trend. Honourable Premier, you know that I have respect for you, but on this issue, my blood boils every time the ANC makes a statement. This is because you have it in your hands to improve things, and for 17 years, nothing has changed. Honourable Premier, at the end of last year, the ACDP begged you to fund a research project into the drivers of violence against women. Your silence is deafening. The ACDP has begged you to put in practical measures to change attitudes and targeted programs to educate men. Your silence has been deafening. On a national level the ACDP has repeatedly begged the ANC government to put measures in place to curb access to pornography for children, particularly on cell phones. Your silence has been deafening. The ACDP has requested that the monitoring capability of community safety and liaison be adequately financed and that in particular, monitoring of police stations with regard to rape be a priority. Your silence has been deafening. The ACDP has repeatedly requested that the department of social welfare adequately fund NGO’s that work with outstanding results in this arena. Your silence has been deafening. The ACDP has requested that adequate counsellors be made available so that every women and child who has experienced sexual or domestic violence receives psychological support. Your silence has been deafening. Honourable Premier, you need to take a good long hard look at yourself and your party, particularly with respect to Proverbs 31 which instructs governments to speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves. In addition, I need to make a public statement about the national minister of women and children, Lulu Xingwana. The ANC had an opportunity to really get to grips with violence against women and children in our country. Instead it chose to appoint an incompetent apparatchik who shows absolutely no insight whatsoever into these crimes. This department has done nothing to improve conditions for women and children and the statements made during this week would be laughable if they didn’t have such tragic consequences for the nation. Over half of our population suffers from violence or the threat of violence. This is higher than poverty levels, this is higher than unemployment, and it should be the number one priority. The ACDP would particularly like to commend and honour his Majesty the King for telling communities to hand over rapists to the police. We would request His Majesty to head a campaign against rape, abuse and domestic violence. One of the sexual violence issues is a perversion of the Ukhuthwala custom, which is particularly prevalent in the Bergville area, where young girls are kidnapped and raped by much older men and forced to marry. This is another area where his majesty could make the biggest difference. The King, as the repository of traditional Zulu culture, could also run a campaign on educating his people in the proper practice of Ukhuthwala which at it’s foundation, must have the women’s consent. Only in this province is the role that alcohol plays in sexual violence ignored. Why do we insist on making our own mistakes and let our women and children bleed for it. The increase of hours of sale of liquor in KZN will directly reflect on sexual violence in the coming years. The ACDP personally handed a World Health Organization report urging governments to reduce hours of sale as a prevention measure for road accidents and sexual violence, to the Premier and the MEC. The response was to totally ignore the social consequences. Drug related crime has risen from 13.5 thousand in 2004 to 37.4 thousand in 2012 in KZN. This also has a direct impact on sexual violence. The MEC for educations has proposed handing out condoms in schools. The ACDP views this as highly irresponsible. It sends a message to learners and teachers that the government is advocating sex at a young age. The ACDP does not believe that this will reduce the pregnancy rate, as condoms are freely available in many places. The ACDP has been talking about the poor state of education in this house for years and whilst the percentage passes have risen, the ACDP takes issue with the self-congratulation of the ANC. This is because when you break down results, the number of pupils taking mathematical literacy instead of mathematics is at a ratio of 1.3 to one and climbing. 46% of those who sat for Maths failed outright and only 30% of pupils managed to obtain a 40% or more pass, and of those, only 18% obtained above 50%. A part of the reason for the high unemployment rate is the dismal showing in Maths and Science which are the prerequisite to many skills needed for business. There are only 17.3 thousand opportunities for apprenticeships nationally. Unemployment among youth is also heavily concentrated in the rural areas, and if you happen to be a black female living in a rural area, the chances that you will find employment are reduced to almost nil. I will talk more on this during the education budget debate .The absolute prerequisite for growth and development and poverty alleviation is education. Honourable Mchunu is without a doubt the best MEC for education that we have had and I recognize and acknowledge his passion and commitment to improving education. I would ask him to take on his counterparts at national level so that we can have an education, which allows our children a future. It should include preparation for jobs in the curriculum. Every developing country has only taken a leap forward by increasing the level of technical skill and innovation. In India they focused on IT and made sure that there was an educated population willing and able to take up the challenge. In South Korea, they focused on manufacturing and educated their population with the proper skills. The government has known this link since it came into power and yet from Kader Asmal onwards, it has permitted each minister to conduct social experimentation with education, which has put a lot of money in a lot of pockets, but done absolutely nothing to further the interests of this generation. The biggest growth opportunity for jobs remains within small entrepreneurial businesses. Large firms are shedding jobs worldwide but there is an 18% growth in jobs in small enterprises. The only other growth is in government sector job creation programs, which are unsustainable in the long term. Entrepreneurship training must start at school level. We need to encourage and train creativity and embracing of risk when it comes to business. We need to better align the skills for supply and demand in the labour market. Career guidance is practically non-existent and guiding non-academic students towards practical or trade skills must be done at every appropriate level. Young people must be helped to evaluate the economic returns on degree and certificate programs and this will assist in steering academic youth towards more appropriate degrees. We need to ramp up support for programs that have the most impact. One example is the hospitality industry, which has the greatest opportunity for unskilled youth to enter the market place. The premier has the youth desk directorate located in his office and whilst short-term opportunities have definitely been provided through the youth ambassador program there is a desperate need for longer term programs to be put in place immediately so that we can start to see the fruit in the next 5 years. GDP has declined, and government supported job creation is not sustainable beyond the short term. About admin No comments yet. Leave a Reply Name (required) Mail (will not be published) (required) Website Submit Comment