Sizwe Mchunu, MPP
Leader of the DA in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature
KWAZULU-NATAL Premier, Zweli Mkhize, delivered a lacklustre State of the Province Address today, glossing over the areas that pose a threat to progress within the province and devoting a derisory 13 lines to how the provincial government is fighting corruption.
The DA believes that the Premier failed to live up to expectation. We see his tenure as being marked by the announcement of a myriad grand plans and not much action. We also believe that the Premier will leave a legacy of not having demanded accountability from his executive members.
The areas that the DA believes the Premier has treated superficially are;
· Drugs in schools and the alleged involvement of SAPS members
· The drop-out rate between Grade 1 and Grade 12 in KZN’s schools.
· Road and rail infrastructure: Where is the Premier’s 2012 plan to see heavy freight return to rail? Today he announced extensive plans aimed at improving passenger rail but he seems to have forgotten the promise he made during the SOPA 2012.
· Ability of agencies such as the ADA and Royal Household to deliver value.
· Weak efforts to combat waste and inefficiency within the Agriculture and Health departments specifically. The Premier did not once mention Addington Hospital’s failure to provide a quality health service to the people of the province.
· Municipalities in meltdown: Despite our province’s municipalities being in financial crisis, the Premier has only touched on this. Provincial operation clean audit has proved a dismal failure with just one municipality in the entire province able to achieve a clean audit from the Auditor-General. Yet there is not a single harsh word for the 60 municipalities that failed to deliver. What does this say about the provincial government’s commitment to the people of this province?
· The proposed rural development summit must tackle head on the widespread failure of the land restitution programme to delivery meaningful transfer of productive land. It is astonishing that the Premier can concede that 108 960 hectares handed over are now totally unproductive – this is a massive failure that cannot simply be glossed over.
The one highlight for the DA in today’s SOPA is the reduction in HIV infection rates and the extended life expectancy figures, especially in rural areas. A programme of making anti-retrovirals freely available, for which the DA fought for many years and which the province of KZN adopted long before it was national ANC policy, is definitely bearing fruit.
Many of the plans proposed for the province of KwaZulu-Natal are set to culminate in 2030. To the poor and the unemployed this is a very long way away. They are not interested in academic or political speeches – action on the ground is what counts. The people want results now.
A DA-led government in KwaZulu-Natal would confront the issues in the province head-on. On behalf of the people of KwaZulu-Natal, the DA demands that the leadership of the province step up to the plate and deliver on their undertakings.