Andrew Louw, MPL
DA Northern Cape: Provincial Leader
The current candidacy for premiership fails to excite the Democratic Alliance. The only thing that will really make a difference to this province is a new administration, not a new figure head at the helm of this sinking ship called the Northern Cape.
The Democratic Alliance last year conveyed our shock with regards to the acting appointment Grizedla Cjiekella, MEC for Education, as acting premier of the Northern Cape. Our reasons for this submission included the following:
Firstly, Cjiekella was charged in 2009 with overseeing the provincial education department. This is a department on which the future of our children depends. It is a department that demands the attention of a dedicated MEC, whose loyalties are not divided. This said, the DA did not approve of the fact that the Education Department would be sidelined as a result of Cjiekella having to share her time between two very important departments.
Secondly, Cjiekella failed to prove herself during her tenure as MEC of Education. The Northern Cape Education Department showed a direct decline with regards to our education system. This is evident from the erratic matric pass rate, not to mention numerous issues pertaining to teacher shortages and textbook problems, amongst others. Cjiekella’s track record of running the education department doesn’t bode well for her steering the Northern Cape. She can’t seem to keep a firm hand on a single department, how can she be expected to cope with the entire province?
Cjiekella, in her role as acting premier, is now also failing to provide strategic leadership to provincial government departments, let alone to her own department. This can be seen in the issue, as raised by the Auditor-General, that there is a “lack of consequences for non-performance”. This does not set a good example for other departments.
However, given the opportunity granted to Cjiekella to prove herself in two extremely important positions, and her subsequent failure to do so, we will by no means support her nomination as premier, nor do we think she should be allowed to carry on heading up the provincial education department.
Regarding the premiership of the province, it has long since been the DA’s view that it is unacceptable that the Office of the Premier continues to entertain the untenable situation of two premiers (one of whom is acting and the other whom is booked off sick), and that no decision has as yet been taken as to who will fill the position permanently. This again points to a lack of leadership and adversely affects service delivery to the people of the Northern Cape.
Nonetheless, it is the DA’s view that regardless of which ANC cadre is appointed to lead the province, be it Cjiekella, Sylvia Lucas, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, or anyone else for that matter, these are merely superficial reigns. The real force of power behind the Northern Cape Provincial Government is the provincial ANC. They continue to fail to distinguish between the party and the state. Hence, it will make little difference as to which puppet they now decide to place in the hot seat because as long as the ANC keeps barking out its orders for placement of its deployees, corruption, maladministration and inefficiency will continue to prevail.