Free State Premier’s Budget Grows Exorbitantly



We note with concern that the budget of the Office of the Premier has grown again, percentage wise, even higher that the crucial department responsible for roads. The question is how the premier plans to use this extra money. We know that his office has become a safe employment haven for many cadres and ex-politicians. When the premier talks about jobs, these are the people he is referring to.

The premier stated during his state of the province address that our provincial economy is set to grow by 2,7% in the next financial year. This is a very low growth rate, even if it is in line with the national projections. The rest of Africa is growing at 5,5% and parts of the world that are facing an economic recession at 3,3%. In this respect we are only just managing to survive and no meaningful long term employment opportunities can be expected to develop out of this.

Speaker, our youth are suffering the most. The Free Market Foundation recently indicated that nationwide 52% of our population are below 25 years of age and that 62% of people between the ages of 16 and 24 are unemployed. With two universities and a variety of colleges in the Free State, we should have a wealth of skills to grow our economy.

Sadly Honourable Speaker, without opportunities, skills are meaningless.

In this respect Robert Wasserman recently wrote the following: “Less productive and over-priced workers in employment are increasingly being protected at the glaring expense of enthusiastic, often skilled, but always currently unemployed, potential workers. The unemployed have no lobby to represent them and their views, wishes and dreams are swept away by the loud, insistent and over-bearing voices of those enjoying the protection afforded them by current employment and union representation.”

The Free State has resources, the Free State has skills, and the Free State has location. As the central South African Province we have everything required to be a success. We lack one key requirement, namely a government that is willing to use the human potential of the province to create the infrastructure and levels of municipal service delivery that can create an environment that is conducive for the investment that is required to provide opportunities for all our people.

Currently, the DA government in the Western Cape is the best example of such a government in South Africa, and this government has vision of becoming the best run province in the world.

The Democratic Alliance also has a vision for prosperous Free State Province. A Free State in which every person has an opportunity to reach his or her potential, depending on their own personal efforts to do so. Such a Free State requires a nurturing environment, an environment which levels the playing field of opportunities, an environment that encourages and sustains investment.

Speaker, this is not beyond the potential of the province. The DA’s vision of an open opportunity society for all encapsulates this.

What do we mean by this?

An open society is one in which every person’s rights and freedoms are enshrined and protected by the constitution. A government in such a society is open, transparent and accountable to the people. The government must assist in creating an opportunity based environment and not become the only opportunities.

An opportunity society is one in which every individual is afforded the opportunity to take advantage of their rights and freedoms in order to determine their own destiny. In an opportunity society your prospects are not determined by demographics or the circumstances of your birth, but by your talent and effort brought to bear on the opportunities you are afforded.

A society for all is one in which everyone is equal before the law, no person suffers unfair discrimination, and everyone is given an opportunity to meet their potential.

Speaker, we should not have to reiterate that Apartheid was wrong and caused a great deal of suffering to the majority of our people, but I say this again for the sake of those whose purpose is to spread lies about the DA.

In this respect reconciliation should motivate our relationships with each other, and redress should determine our actions. It is in all South Africans’ interests that this happens.

The only way to ensure redress and deal with the historic inequalities in our society is by ensuring that the playing field is level and that hard work, merit and excellence are key factors in the rules of the game. This implies a uniform high quality of education for all our young people. Those who want to excel should not be held back by the social or economic factors of their birth. The 6000 bursaries handed out to our young people will assist with this, we must however ensure that this process is transparent and free of political agendas.

In closing allow me to thank all our colleagues and supporters on the ground, who openly support the opposition. We thank you for your bravery and dedication amid a total onslaught by the governing party.

A democracy is as strong as its opposition. We who are in opposition have a duty to provide a political alternative for our people, for the sake of all our children and grandchildren. We will continue to do this no matter how much intimidation, discrimination, threats, verbal abuse, and other forms of suffering we are forced to endure at the hands of a brutal ANC simply because of our belief in democracy and a better future for all.

Remember that in a democracy you get the government that you vote for, and you deserve the government that you vote for.

Thank you

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