Anthony Benadie MPL
Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga
In psychology, the Stockholm Syndrome is described as a “paradoxical psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them.” These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness.
When one considers the Office of the Premier, and the performance of the Premier himself, it is clear that the entrenchment of the Stockholm Syndrome has become the sole strategy of the Premier, and is actively present not only in this house, but also throughout the province.
This syndrome relates closely to the theory or technique of the “Big Lie”, which implies that, if a lie is repeated often enough, those hearing it will eventually come to believe it and accept it as truth.
We are led to believe, that if the Premier constantly speaks out against corruption and propagates the Anti-corruption council, that he is actually serious about it, despite never acting on it.
Honourable Premier, you constantly say jobs are the priority of your government, yet your government does nothing to attract investment.
You proclaim education and health as key delivery issues, yet our hospitals and schools are grossly under-staffed and are falling apart.
Honourable Speaker, nothing describes Premier DD Mabuza better, than these two descriptions. He is determined, not only to convince us and the public that his government is good for us, is not corrupt and delivers services, but he has systematically instilled the Stockholm Syndrome in many, to the extent that many within this house, within government and throughout the province actually rise to his defence, empathising with him against his critics believing that indeed, the Premier and his office is actually “good for us”.
One needs to look no further than the Strategic plan of the Office of the Premier. Their contradiction to reality is glaringly ironic:
· It claims to be “speeding up growth and transforming the economy to create decent work and sustainable livelihoods”, when in fact our growth has slowed down, access to the economy is becoming increasingly difficult and the struggle to survive in Mpumalanga today is more difficult than ever,
· It claims to “build cohesive, caring and sustainable communities”, when in fact more and more communities are becoming unsustainable, with practically no service delivery taking place
· It claims “Pursuing African Advancement and enhanced international cooperation”, what that means little more than more taxpayer-funded international trips for the Premier.
· And most critically, the Office of the Premier claims to be “Building a developmental state, including improvement of public services and strengthening democratic institutions”, when in fact public services are collapsing and are at their worst ever, and this very office is at the forefront of undermining democratic institutions, most notably this house, where question after question posed to the Premier is avoided.
Honourable Speaker, for us to agree giving the Office of the Premier this massive budget allocation, we need to trust that the money earmarked will be used to create a caring government, one that is with the people and for the people, but most importantly we must know that once this house has given the Premier’s Office this budget, that he will subject himself to the accountability and oversight of this house.
Honourable Premier, where have you been? You can’t just come to this house asking for money, using this institution when you need it, but then spend the rest of the year undermining it?
Honourable Premier, we need to trust you with the public funds, but, where are you when the province needs you:
· Where is the now infamous scholar transport report, the archive building report, why do you keep dodging questions in this regard?
· Where are you when Witbank, Emalahleni’s water is continuously off?
· Where were you when Bushbuckridge suffers endless water shortages?
· Where were you when Carolina was being contaminated?
· Where were you during the horrific Hazyview crime wave and brutal attacks?
· Where are you when communities protest for service delivery?
· Where are you while Thaba Chweu collapses, while municipality after municipality is going bankrupt?
· Where are you when hospitals turn away patients because there are no doctors on duty?
· Where are you in the fight against drugs, hunger and poverty?
Honourable Premier, your government has drastically failed the people. We don’t need a government of talk shops, empty promises and a heartless corrupt core, we need a caring delivery machine that can eradicate poverty, ensure world class service delivery and a government that puts the people first.
Sadly you, your office, nor your government offers us any of it.