Speech by Premier Hazel Jenkins on the fitness of MEC Block

SPEECH BY THE PREMIER OF THE NORTHERN CAPE, MS HAZEL JENKINS, ON THE OCCASION OF THE HOUSE SITTING DEBATE ON THE FITNESS OF MEC JOHN BLOCK, 25 NOVEMBER 2010

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Honourable Speaker and Deputy Speaker,

Honourable Members of EXCO,

Honorable Members of the Legislature,

The Staff of the Legislature,

Guest’s in the Gallery.

I stand before this august house as Premier of the Northern Cape Provincial Government; fully aware of my oath and commitment to the people of the Northern Cape and the Republic of South Africa; I have sworn allegiance to the Constitution of our land which we, collectively as a government intend to uphold.

Honourable Speaker, it is with great conviction to my role as Premier and the understanding of the folly of the behaviour of our fellow honourable members of the opposition benches; who today may unconsciously and undesirably assume the sacred role of our courts.

To cast aspersions on the competence and integrity of an MEC without any factual basis is grossly irresponsible, mischievous and undermine the confidence the public have in him.

Honorable Speaker, I also stand before this house to profess the Constitutional injunction that barring the personal and political dislike that some may have for the Chairperson of the ANC, the Honourable Comrade John Block, who is also the MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, he is innocent until a competent court finds otherwise.

It is not for me or any other person to pass judgement either through words or deeds, despite our personal dislikes as individual’s common sense and political judgement in a democracy commands us to act with reason and restrain to that which the anthropologists describe as our inherent animal instinct.

Anyone with a modicum of respect for the country’s laws will concede this much.

The democratic institutions for which we fought for over many years are on a firm footing. We have confidence in the independence and the ethical workings of our judiciary and our law-enforcement agencies. We are therefore not prepared to compromise the credibility of our judiciary system by prejudging the matter and find somebody guilty before the case is heard in a court of law and finalised.

We have learnt from our past experience and mistakes not to push a person to stand down only for the person to be exonerated by the courts. It is this kind of maturity that must guide all the Members of the Provincial Legislature now and in the future.

The ANC has a long standing tradition of advancing basic human and democratic rights, which were denied to the overwhelming majority of our people and for which many fought and died.

It needs no rocket scientists to realize that the matter at hand cannot be engaged without the risk of speaking to the matters that can only be determined by an appropriate and competent court of law.

Fortunately these matters are now for the record before a competent court, thus what we say here today due to the lack of patience for the due process of law may be said to “Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice To our own lips", according to Shakespeare.

It is in the haste of those who are not trained to dispense justice that very often good man and women convert enmasse to be evil.

It is like mob justice where those who act because of an alleged crime that has been committed become instant and worse criminals than the convicted.

This very debate which we are honouring because of political decency and courtesy to the elected members of this house may easily blur the distinction between the Judiciary and Government.

How do we debate the fitness for Government Office without venturing into what is the sacred territory of the courts; which this government respect so much.

We also stand here to witness honourable men and women, commanded by that which the anthropologist define as the animalistic instinct come here before this house to shout as those masses deed in the bible condemn him to death, condemn him to death, condemn him to death.

We are here only because a wrong is once more about to be committed in this matter if we do not warn and if we are not listened to. There has been blatant averring towards justice through public opinion by the opposition parties aided by the sensational media reports.

This has been exacerbated about what people have read and heard in the media amongst others; and these has not gone unnoticed by our courts that made grave comments on the matter in this direction.

The debate in this house may just have this undesired result of subjecting an innocent citizen to further populist’s justice thus eroding the very principles on which the Bill of Rights of our country is found.

The Bill of Rights declares supreme what makes us human amongst others which our dignity, our integrity, equality and the security of person; which I trust like always that the Honourable Speaker as our guardian in this House will ensure these are not violated in this debate.

Scripts have been written and are about to be presented to this house with possible absolute disregard to the very Constitution which is directed at protecting the rights of amongst others any citizen who is at the receiving hand of any situation.

Honourable Speaker, it is so disheartening to note that the opposition parties combined lack the intestinal fortitude to do anything substantive in the political space that this ANC led government has so generously offered to them. They have instead engaged in juvenile nitpicking about trivial matters and failed to advance the aspirations and interest of the people who put them in power. They are so eternally pleased with doing nothing that they cannot see the wood from the trees and as a result suffer from bouts of delusions of grandeur.

Honourable Speaker:

South Africa is a Constitutional Republic within which all persons are equal before the law.

Hence Chapter two (2) of the Bill of Rights; the Equality Clause states:

1. Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law

It is the same highest law of the country that unequivocally states, everyone must be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Honorable Speaker we are here to defend justice, let justice prevail in this House, let those who have been elected to this House on the basis of defending the Constitution stand up for this supreme law of our country.

May I also put it on record that I have worked with the Chairperson of the ANC, Honourable Cde John Block in various capacities before I appointed him as MEC for Finance and Economic Development and Tourism.

I appointed him to this gigantic task because of his great commitment and work ethic, he has never failed the people of the Northern Cape and continues to this day to execute his tasks without fail.

Up to this day nothing, no shred of evidence has been brought to my attention that may signal a failure on his part to diligently execute his responsibilities as a Member of EXCO.

Anything to the contrary, based on no evidence can only be the product of fertile imagination and speculation both of which play little or no role in the actual act of governance.

As the provincial government we are firmly committed to our priority area of fighting crime and corruption wherever it manifests itself. We will take active steps where concrete evidence is provided, like in the case of the Mme Reka Thusa Trust. It has been established that the Management of the trust has been misusing public funds. We are in the process of lodging criminal charges against them.

Honourable Members, during his tenure as MEC for Finance and economic Development and Tourism we have seen amongst others the following noteworthy developments in our province:

Through the hands on and rigorous approach of the MEC and the Executive collective , the Province was in a position to secure securities for the hosting of two international sporting events namely the Bloodhound Project and the Maloof Money Cup

1. The Maloof Cup Skateboarding Competition , the richest skateboarding competition in the world, the first time that it will be hosted outside the USA. As a result of this project, we have witness the launch of the schools skateboarding Development programme in Kimberley (REACHING OVER 1500 CHILDREN PROVINCIALLY)

2. The Bloodhound project, an attempt to break the fastest speed record on land by the current record holder, Mr. Andy Green. This magnificent event will be hosted in Hakskeenpan in the Kalahari and has generated massive international and national interest, good for tourism.

3. The massive township rejuvenation programme (khotso, pula, nala) that will create massive jobs for the people of the province, soon to be roll out etc.

4. Through his efforts as MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, he was able to raise R 72 million over the MTEF period from the EU Commission for the diamond hub of which R 26 million has been received already by the province to spend on infrastructure of the hub including the Academy.

5. Through his efforts as Head of Treasury, he also managed to stabilize the financial situation of the Department of Education for the 2009/10 financial year when they projected an over-expenditure of R 160 million to an amount of R 13.6 million actual over-expenditure.

6. The two departments which he is responsible for, both received unqualified reports for the year ending 2010.

7. His predecessor the Honourable Pakes Dikgetsi, travelled abroad to Antwerp (Belgium) as well as the DRC and St Petersburg, Russia (all his trips had not resulted in anything tangible to benefit the province), while, when MEC Block visited Armenia and Antwerp, government is on the verge of signing MOUs with both countries.

8. Furthermore, through his leadership and guidance the Northern Cape was intensively and successfully marketed domestically and abroad. There was a drastic increase in coverage in foreign media during the current term of office of MEC Block, profiling the Northern Cape in a very positive light. A comparison was drawn on media coverage of the previous financial year (324 mentions worldwide with a online ad value of approximately R11 million) to the period November 2009 to October 2010 (2361 mentions worldwide with an online ad value of approximately R1,1 billion). Increased awareness of brand Northern Cape can especially be seen in the United States (24.61% Oct 2010 as opposed to 11.73% Mar 2010) and South Africa (23.51% Oct 2010 : SOURCE MELTWATER NEWS)

Honourable Speaker I thus wish to express my full confidence in the abilities and capabilities of MEC John Fikile Block and I believe that he will continue to see these and other projects through; he will continue to play a meaningful role in the life of our people and government into the foreseeable future.

He has the full support of myself and the Executive collective I lead.

I thank

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