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Mbeki long on words, short on action - Leon

By unknown | Feb 14, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Waghied Misbach

Waghied Misbach

DA leader Tony Leon, pictured, yesterday attacked President Thabo Mbeki in parliament for failing the South African public by being deficient in fighting crime and in delivering basic services to the poor.

Leon used the state of the nation debate to announce that this was his last response to the president's yearly speech.

He retires from parliamentary politics and as leader of the DA later this year.

Leon was scathing in his criticism of Mbeki, saying the president had been honest in his assessment of problems facing the country, but that the actions he announced to "rectify the failures" were no more than a "wish list".

He said the ANC government was putting transformation based on race before the delivery of services to the people.

"If we are serious about winning the war against crime, we need to send out a clear message that connections with the ruling party will not lead to your falling off the list of Travelgate accused, or to your featherbedding in prison, or to your early release from jail," said Leon.

He said the national police commissioner, Jackie Selebi, previously a civilian, had failed and should be replaced by a policeman.

The United Democratic Movement's leader, Bantu Holomisa, said the FNB saga showed that citizens were still divided about the approach to curbing crime.

To fight crime, a review of the police structure should be made, he said. And citizens who bought stolen goods should be prosecuted.

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi welcomed Mbeki's "honest assessment" of the problems facing this country, saying it marked a "turning point" in the history of South Africa.

He called for a return to basics and said crime and lawlessness were due to a lack of respect by the young. He said an example of this was when members of the ANC insulted Mbeki in front of the visiting Indian prime minister last year. Buthelezi said such behaviour was "foreign to African culture".


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