DA expectations for premier’s SOPA

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

In anticipation of Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza’s 2013 State of the Province Address (SOPA) tomorrow, the DA has identified 6 key areas which we believe the premier must focus on, if we are to see a visible improvement in service delivery and the quality of life of our province’s citizens.

In the days ahead, we will expand on each of these areas, both as reaction to his address, but also in the spirit of presenting alternative policy focus areas for our province.

Economic growth and job creation

Poverty in Mpumalanga cannot be eliminated with economic growth and job creation. To date the province has failed dismally to achieve the 54 000 annual jobs target, and are far of attaining the 720 000 job target by 2020. The premier must announce clear strategies to address this failure.

Implement the Youth Wage Subsidy

With looming job losses in several sectors, most notably agriculture, the premier must now put action to his words and announce definitive steps to implement a youth wage subsidy in the province – a policy programme he already agrees with.

Education

It is our belief that the learning environment has a direct impact on the quality of education a learner receives. This year must be government’s year of delivering education infrastructure, and by doing so restore pride and dignity to learners and teachers by making our schools safe havens for learning.

Health

Health care services remain a cause for concern. The premier must provide a clear and authentic strategy to deal with deteriorating health facility infrastructure, while at the same time addressing the low morale of health care workers and announce workable attraction and retention strategies.

Rural Development

Premier Mabuza must take the bold step in rural development and address the current communal land system. Millions of hectares of valuable land are currently locked in tribal authorities with residents unable to attain title deeds for the land on which they live. A review of this system could stimulate widespread economic growth.

Crime and corruption

Crime and corruption levels in Mpumalanga remain unacceptably high, with a growing public perception that government is losing the fight against crime. Premier Mabuza must announce clear strategies to ensure increased visible policing in all communities, the reintroduction of specialised policing units and the establishment of rural safety units to stem the tide of continued farm attacks in our province.

By addressing the above premier Mabuza will do well in bringing Mpumalanga’s people one step closer to a better life. The DA eagerly awaits the premier’s SOPA tomorrow.

Local Government MEC must make an example by using Section 139 in Mbizana

Veliswa Mvenya MPL

Provincial spokesperson

In the latest in the on-going fight between the mayor and municipal manager of the Mbizana Municipality, councillors and officials have not been paid their salaries.

The latest events in the Mbizana municipality presents the MEC for Local government with the opportunity to make an example and act against those responsible for chaos instead of service delivery . He must invoke Section 139 to intervene and take over the running of this municipality. A fight between the mayor and municipal manager of the Mbizana municipality has left officials and councillors without their pay this month.

The MEC admitted in public recently to “administrative decline” in municipalities after the Auditor-General’s findings that none of the 45 municipalities in the province received a clean audit in the 2011/12 financial year.

The elected leaders in municipalities were chosen by their communities to ensure development and service delivery. Instead we are faced with people in powerful positions who care nothing for service delivery and who only care for power.

I have been informed that the reason for non-payment of salaries in Mbizana municipality as a result of a tit-for-tat-game between the mayor, Zoleka Busuku who attempted to fire municipal manager, Simphiwe Thobela without the consent of the Mbizana council last week. The two parties have been at each other in a labour dispute for months.

I was told that the municipal manager was getting back at councillors by not signing the necessary documents for salaries to be paid. I was also informed that the contract of the Chief Financial Officer has not been renewed.

Employees were not informed that they would not been paid. The behaviour of all parties involved in this mater shows the contempt they have for the communities who voted them to power. It is time that the MEC takes the lead and acts against municipalities where infighting has brought service delivery to a standstill.

I have written the MEC to against request on behalf of the DA that he uses his powers in terms of Section 139 of the Constitution. The MEC must take ruthless action against non-performing municipal- and departmental officials or face a vote of no confidence.

For far too long the public has been hearing on a daily basis how municipal governance in this province has become dysfunctional.

Little, if anything, is done to bring lazy and incapacitated departmental- and municipal officials to book or to sufficiently capacitate these individuals to effectively discharge their duties. The hesitation and fear of the MEC and his department in not invoking Section 139 of the Constitution is of great concern and a disservice to the residents of Mbizana.

reconciling the social cohesion broken by sexual crimes

Anroux Marais MPL

DA Western Cape spokesperson for Social Development

As expected, the media frenzy and public outrage surrounding the plague of violent sexual crimes diminishing the social cohesion in South Africa is slowly subsiding. Despite the decreasing coverage, sexual crimes are still a reality. A reality which affects each and every citizen in South Africa as it can happen to you, a family member or friend and the chances are strong in South Africa that it will.

In a Standing Committee meeting held 27 February 2013, together with RapeCrisis, the Department of Social Development (DSD) presented the situational analysis of reported sexual offences in the Western Cape. Recent South African Police statistics (April 2011 – April 2012) indicate that the Western Cape had the fourth highest number of sexual offences nationally, with a total number of 9153 reported cases.

Bringing it closer to home, police stations recording the highest numbers of reported sexual offences of all kinds combined from April 2011 – 2012, are

* Delft – 269 * Khayelitsha – 284 * Mfuleni – 249 * Nyanga – 347 * Gugulethu – 247 and * Mitchell’s Plain with 476.

These numbers are alarmingly high and awareness thereof should continuously be driven and not only when it is “trendy” to do so.

DSD elaborated on their Victim Empowerment Programme and the focus for 2013/2014. The primary aim of the Victim Empowerment Programme is to design and implement integrated programmes and services to support, care and empower victims of violence and crime, with a specific focus on women and children. The DSD clarified that there has been a lull in the Victims Empowerment Programme due to capacity constraints but emphasized that they will be driving the programme full steam ahead.

The Standing Committee on Community Development will constantly monitor the development of this programme, amongst others, as it has a significant role to play in the fight against violent sexual crimes. This will be done by requesting the DSD to brief the committee on Parenting Programmes, Safe Homes and the empowerment of social workers in the province. It will also be beneficial to have briefings from the Provincial Victim Empowerment Forum pertaining to the Justice and Supervision Systems, the Local Child Protection Unit presenting on the programmes and the Gender Justice Forum to elaborate on their activities.

In a collective effort to proactively and continuously raise awareness on eradicating sexual offences in the Western Cape, all committees in the social cluster of the Western Cape Provincial Legislature will redress the issue by working together to reconcile a broken society and create a caring one, one which supports and strengthens family and fosters social cohesion.

Important Bills off to Parliament

Eugene Von Brandis MPL

DA Western Cape Spokesperson Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Legislature

Today, 27 February 2013, the Standing Committee on Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, considered and finalised the Cape Town International Convention Centre Company Amendment Bill, and the Western Cape Transport Infrastructure Bill.

The formal consideration of the Cape Town International Convention Centre Company Amendment Bill today will allow it to be referred to parliament. This was predated by publication of the Bill in the Provincial Gazette on 15 November 2012, where no comments were received on the Bill, as well as a public participation process.

The Bill facilitates the technical requirements necessary for the Cape Town International Convention Centre Company Act, 2000 [Act 8 of 2000] to facilitate the expansion of the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). The Bill further elaborates on the Province’s representation on the Board of the holding company, Convenco, and provides for the contribution of the Province to Convenco.

Both the informal and formal consideration of the Western Cape Transport Infrastructure Bill had to be completed today. This was due to a lack of a committee quorum at the previously scheduled date for the informal consideration, 6 February 2013.

As DA Spokesperson on Finance, Economic Development and Tourism in the Western Cape, and as Chairperson of the Standing Committee, I am happy that despite the change in the committee’s schedule, the bill was agreed to unanimously, without amendments. The extensive public participation process in January 2013 yielded no objections to the Bill, as comments received were not relative to the legislation in its totality or to any of the specific clauses.

The Western Cape Transport Infrastructure Bill will legitimise the Provincial Minister or the relevant municipality as the responsible transport infrastructure authority, enabling them to undertake planning, design, construction, management and financing of transport infrastructure.

School building corruption in Limpopo must be probed

Desiree van der Walt MPL

DA Limpopo Spokesperson on SCOPA

The DA calls on Premier Cassel Mathale to act against all Limpopo Public Works officials involved in corruption surrounding school construction tenders.

The latest report presented to Parliament’s Public Accounts committee (SCOPA) shows a disturbing trend in the manner in which school building contracts amounts are inflated from the original amounts.

Not only has public money been wasted in inflated payments to contractors, the irregularities have also impacted on school children through delays in school construction.

The list below shows examples of how payments for several of the 15 construction projects reviewed by SCOPA were inflated:

Project Name: Buyisonto Primary School Original Contract Amount: R 1.5 million Total amount paid: R 2.1 million % inflated price: 42.3%

Project Name: Mankete Primary School Original Contract Amount: R 98 300 Total amount paid: R199 245 % inflated price: 247.2%

Project Name: Mastec College Original Contract Amount: R9.2 million Total amount paid: R16 million % inflated price: 103.8%

Project Name: Rabatswana School Original Contract Amount: R819 900 Total amount paid: R 1million % inflated price: 19.73%

Project Name: Ramollo Primary School Original Contract Amount: R1 million Total amount paid: R1.3 million % inflated price: 18.68%

Project Name: Education Head Quarters Original Contract Amount: R19 million Total amount paid: R22 million % inflated price: 19.44%

The Democratic Alliance demands that the Premier take action against Public Works officials immediately. Officials must be suspended or fired depending on their role in this apparent corruption. This is a flagrant abuse of the state’s coffers and it must be investigated.

DA gives textbook challenge to Limpopo Premier

Desiree van der Walt MPL

DA Caucus Leader

The Democratic Alliance wants to put on record that Premier Mathale’s 2013 State of the Province address was the weakest in the province’s history.

Premier Mathale spoke like someone on his way out of office, and indeed he should be.

How can a sitting Premier neglect to mention the word “textbooks” even once in his speech when there is a shortage of at least 42 000 books in our schools in 2013?

Where the DA governs, we deliver 100% of the books schools need every year. We expect nothing less from ANC-governed provinces. Today I want to challenge Premier Mathale to match the DA’s textbook performance in the following ways:

* Deliver a book for every child for every core subject in their grade

* Deliver all books by the end of the previous school year

* Eliminate corruption through an online ordering and quote generating system

* Invest more in textbooks than what the national government is willing to fund

* Allow schools choice in terms of the books they need

May I add this, Honourable Speaker – the Education MEC, Dickson Masemola should be fired for the pain and suffering he has brought upon the innocent learners of Limpopo.

The truth is that textbooks is not the only crisis in education in Limpopo. Right now there is an infrastructure shortage of epic proportions. And it is unnecessary shortage of buildings, desks and basic services in schools due mainly to under-spending and mismanagement of funds.

The Limpopo school infrastructure report presented to Parliament’s SCOPA committee tells the story of shocking corruption in the Public Works Department.

The report tells the sad story of 15 schools in Limpopo that should have been built, but because of corruption children are still learning under trees. These schools are a drop in the ocean, there are many more that the ongoing investigation has not yet unearthed.

And this infrastructure crisis continues in our hospitals and clinics. How many babies must die unnecessarily in Limpopo hospitals because there are not enough staff to cope with the patient load?

How many patients will be turned away at the door for basic health problems like broken arms and ARV medication before we fix our public healthcare facilities?

But beyond the right to education and health, Honourable Speaker, we are dealing with the most basic crisis imaginable in Limpopo – the right to drink water. In townships in Lephalale, toilets at the local schools are not flushing while residents are forced to go to other villages or dig deep in their pockets to buy water. School children spend the whole day without water in scorching heat and even the school feeding scheme has stopped due to a lack of water. And this crisis is not restricted to Lephalale. It is happening province-wide.

Honourable Speaker, is this what President Mandela fought for? For people to be robbed of their dignity, and their right to life, in most basic way? And there is a simple solution – eliminate corruption and under-spending in our municipalities. There were no new anti-corruption measures announced even though provincial departments and municipalities have collapsed from financial mismanagement. Consistently where the DA governs, our municipalities achieve the highest service delivery ratings in the country. We expect nothing less than that from the ANC where they govern. Honourable Speaker, allow me to conclude by saying that a Premier who can’t point out these glaring crises in government in Limpopo is out of touch with reality. It is clear that we need a new cabinet to deliver for the people of Limpopo. Those who have not performed, including the Premier, should go.

Service delivery must be priority number one and under Premier Mathale this has not been the case.

DA launches provincial website

Andrew Louw, MPL

DA Northern Cape: Provincial Leader

The Democratic Alliance in the Northern Cape is embracing technology and today launched our own unique provincial website. This forms part of our strategy to win the province in 2014.

The transformative impact of the internet and cellular technology cannot be ignored. They add a new dimension to political technology by creating interactive platforms through which politicians on every level can now meet you in your living room. These platforms also allow people to quickly spread ideas, information and even organize political protests.

Thousands of people in the Northern Cape are connected to social networking sites via cell phones, laptops and so forth. At the same time, technology appeals to a specific demographic, more specifically the affluent, the educated, and the young. And while a YouTube video may not sway the grandparents in the crowd, the youngest voters are listening. In this regard, the DA understands that technology affords political parties the opportunity to take our campaigns to a whole new political arena and we plan to harness this energy, which has become a way of modern political life.

Through the regular updating of the DA’s Northern Cape website, we plan to grow our support base by alerting the public about what we stand for and what issues we are driving. The website will also afford people the opportunity to send us their comments, suggestions and, criticisms. At the same time, our website cites the names and contact numbers of all DA public representatives in the province, making it that much easier for people to get in touch with councillors, Members of the Provincial Legislature and Members of Parliament. In this regard, the website will serve to improve relationships with constituencies in order to demonstrate the work done during oversight or constituency periods.

In much the same vein, the DA has also recently started provincially orientated Twitter accounts. This too is a new arena for campaigning, and has the benefit of enabling people to find out what is going on as it is happening.

Social media is one of the main political platforms on which we aim to build the new majority for 2014 and beyond. The DA, like so many people in this province, is also tired of all the corruption, maladministration and inefficiency within our provincial and local governments. By using our old and new platforms, we plan to grow a support base capable of taking on the ANC in next year’s elections. The DA thus encourages members of the public to view our site and follow us on Twitter, and to get involved.

The DA website can be viewed at: www.dancp.co.za

DA opposes adoption of Standing Rules

Andrew Louw, MPL

DA Northern Cape: Provincial Leader

The Democratic Alliance takes offence to the way in which the revised Northern Cape Provincial Legislature’s Standing Rules were sneakily pushed through at a House Sitting this afternoon.

It is true that the Rules have been outstanding for some time. However, the manner in which the adoption of these rules unfolded is completely unacceptable to the Democratic Alliance.

We are not merely opposing the adoption of the Rules for the sake hereof. Instead, we firmly believe that the process of consultation with all parties was not completed. It goes without saying that this process should have been finalized on the relevant platform before being taken to a House Sitting.

At the same time, we deem it intolerable that party Whips were not presented with sufficient advance notice of the intended adoption of the Rules.

It is very unfortunate that the ruling party decided to push through the Rules, knowing full well that the consultative process had not been decided upon. In doing so, generations to come may have to bear the brunt of the un-debated mandates that now form part of these Rules.

Provincial government not doing enough to stop corruption

Gerda Moolman, MPL

DA Northern Cape

The Public Service Commission (PSC) Report on compliance and performance matters presented at a legislature portfolio committee meeting today, confirms the need to for legislation to prevent senior government officials from doing business with the state and for a dedicated anti-corruption unit.

It was stated that the Northern Cape government improved from 75% in the 2010/11 financial year to 100% compliance in the 2011/2012 financial year in terms of submitting financial disclosure forms to their executive authorities and in turn to the PSC. However, in departments where financial disclosures were scrutinized, there was enormous overlap between the official responsibilities and private business interests of senior managers. In fact, some members of the Senior Management Service (SMS) have as many as eight companies listed on their disclosure forms. Given the likelihood of a conflict of interest occurring in such cases, this is extremely worrying.

Furthermore, while the volume of cases of financial misconduct has decreased slightly on a national level, the cost of financial misconduct has increased significantly and there has been a steady increase in the number of senior managers involved in financial misconduct. In the Northern Cape, more than R1 million was lost to the provincial government in the 2011/2012 financial year due to the failure of provincial departments to recover losses as a result of financial misconduct. This includes, amongst others, one case of financial misconduct at the Department of Economic Development valued at R400 000, three cases at the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture valued at R557 000 and six cases at the Health Department valued at R177 800.

Yet another concerning element is the fact that while disciplinary hearings should be held within 60 days from the date when an employee is placed on suspension, this is not happening. Instead sampled departments took up to 355 days to finalize cases. The Education Department for example had 16 cases that took on average 174 days each, costing approximately R2,1 million.

The PSC report further confirmed that there is a lack of investigative capacity by departments to deal with cases through the Anti-Corruption Hotline and highlighted the need for dedicated capacity and resources to deal with corruption. This translated into 100 cases being referred to the Northern Cape but only 42% of these cases receiving feedback and only 34% of these cases being closed.

The DA has long called for legislation preventing senior government officials from doing business with the state, and for the need for a dedicated anti-corruption unit. Corrupt activities allow valuable state resources to go to fat cat officials rather than South Africa communities in need of services.

The PSC’s findings should spur the Northern Cape government into action. Its complacency on corruption is not serving the people of this province.

Debate – State of the Province Address

Roy Jankielsohn MPL

DA member of the Provincial Legislature

The following speech was delivered today (Tuesday 26 February 2013) during the debate of the State of the Province in Bloemfontein.

Honourable Deputy-Speaker

In his document titled: “The Federalist Papers”, James Madison wrote in 1788 “But what is government itself but the greatest reflections on human nature”.

Let us look at human nature and determine whether our government has become, in South Africa and especially in the Free State Province, a mere reflection of human nature. We could argue that the opposite of Madison’s argument could also apply, in that the nature of our society could be a reflection of the nature of our government, since government has great influence and much control over individuals in society.

Human nature could be placed on a spectrum ranging from extremely good to extremely evil, with variations of these aspects in between.

Let us examine at our government and society and determine where we as South Africa and the Free State find ourselves on such a spectrum of human nature.

I start with our government. In our ANC-run government corruption has become entrenched. Lawson Naidoo of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution has indicated that an estimated 20% of our GDP is lost to corruption annually.

Our government invests the most per capita on education in the developing world, yet our young people remain functionally illiterate.

Honourable deputy-Speaker, our pass rates are increasing, but the quality of education is declining at the same rate. Education is about quality, not about quantity. Dr Ramphele Mamphela recently noted during an address at the UFS that what our government doing to our children, under the pretext of education, is “a crime against humanity”.

Our government spends huge amounts of money on healthcare, yet our life expectancy remains extremely low. Poor management in our healthcare system has denied our people value for money out of this system. Two weeks ago my family lost someone who was very close to us for six years, only two weeks before a doctor at a state clinic told her that she was not ill enough to apply for a medical disability grant. The good work that many of our doctors and nurses continue to do in the province is often neutralised by poor management, shortages of resources, and the lack of a nurturing attitude required by all individuals working in this sector.

We have one of the best constitutions in the world, yet our crime rates indicate that many of our people show very little respect for their fellow citizens in South Africa. Rape, murder, and brutality against women, children, and our senior citizens are out of control. Such perverse crimes have become so prevalent that only the most brutal of these become headlines, unless of course a high profile person is involved. Many of our crimes are accompanied with the sadistic physical and mental torture of the victims.

Only two weeks ago a six year old child in Bohlokong (Bethlehem) was forced to watch for two hours while a vicious criminal raped her mother and bit her body parts while she was tied with wire to her bed. She almost lost her lip and nipple in the process. The police reaction and work was outstanding, but these victims sadly received no counselling or social assistance. Unfortunately our society has become immune to these extremities that reflect the most evil or dark side of human nature.

The daily enactment of the evil side of human nature is destroying our social cohesion. It is encouraged by an environment within which indifference has become the norm, and by a government that at times itself displays that which is bad and evil in human nature. Our families which are the building blocks of social cohesion are being eroded by drug and alcohol abuse, separation, and the lack of role models. Our ultimate role model, the president of the country, has through his indiscretions, shown little regard for any of the values on which our families should be built.

Honourable Deputy-Speaker, in 2012 the head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) informed Parliament that between R25-billion and R30-billion of government’s annual procurement budget alone was lost to corruption, incompetence and negligence.

Our people as a nation have lost a staggering R385 billion due to corruption at every level in government since 1994.

We are aware that pre-1994 governments were morally corrupt, but 1994 was meant to open an era of mutual respect among citizens and accountability, honesty and transparency in government. Our democratic political order is currently threatened by all of that which our democratic constitution was meant to prevent.

Let us examine at the Free State:

In the Free State, millions of rand are spent on forensic investigations into alleged irregularities into municipalities such as Matjhabeng, Dihlabeng, Nala, Setsoto, and Mohokare. The executive summaries of the reports that our public pay for make allegations of irregularities, and even criminal activities, yet the full reports with the names of the criminals are never exposed. We just hear that such people have once again been redeployed. Is this in line with the bill of rights that says that: “Everyone has a right to access to any information held by the state”?

Under the banner of Operation Hlasela, the Department of Rural Development indicated to the legislature that it did not have to follow procurement procedures because the instructions regarding procurement come from the Office of the Premier. Corruption in procurement leads not only to waste of public money and resources, but inferior quality of products and services. DA Leader, Helen Zille, is correct when she continuously repeats the phrase that “corruption makes poor people poorer”.

Early in the current Premier’s term of office, his Director-General instructed all departments to direct their communication to the Office of the Premier.

Communication tenders are a source of concern, with the Office of the Premier issuing instructions that government and municipal advertisements must be directed to The Weekly newspaper belonging to the same Letlaka Communications that has a monopoly over many other lucrative provincial and municipal government communications contracts.

Before she left the legislature as Secretary, one of the last things that the current DG did was to give The Weekly a multi-million rand contract with the legislature without a tender which is still in place, and through which, the legislature still places mostly irrelevant full page advertisements every week. Senior provincial government officials have threatened businesses who place advertisements in newspapers that do not produce reports favourable to the current governing faction of the ANC.

Advertisements in the provincial government budget increased from R32 616 000 in 2009/10, to R43 900 000 in 2010/11, to a whopping R68 967 000 in 2011/12. This expenditure has more than doubled in three years.

Hlasela TV, which should showcase and promote the province, does nothing more than promote the Premier and his Executive Committee. When visitors enter the Free State from the airport, they are confronted by a big screen TV with nothing about business opportunities, accommodation, or tourist destinations in the province. No, they are confronted by a number of promotional snippets about the Executive Committee. This, together with the weekly Hlasela programme on the SABC costs taxpayers millions of rands. Once again, millions spent on self-promotion.

Under Premier Magashule, Hlasela is nothing more than an extended five year election campaign using government funds. In fact it is more than an ANC campaign; it is a personal campaign to promote the Premier and his cronies. It is also a pretext for by-passing procurement procedures and enriching those same cronies, both within and outside of government.

The Premier stated is his written speech that a former Premier Mosiuoa Lekota: “failed to conceptualize post-Apartheid spatial planning as no amenities such as shops, schools, and clinics were located in this settlement”. He spoke as if a different government in power at the time. I would like to remind the Premier that it was an ANC government, under his chairmanship, that was in power in the Free State at that time. These houses that the Premier is criticising were built as part of the ANC government’s Reconstruction and Development Programme under former President Mandela. He makes this statement with the knowledge that it was former Premier Lekota who fired him as MEC under a cloud of corruption allegations. Once again, who has Honourable Magashule ever fired for corruption, and what are the police case numbers? And we mean fired not redeployed.

In an attempt to justify his crony deployment policy, the Premier stated during his speech last week that South Africans have a right to work anywhere. Cadre deployments in the Free State are sadly not even aimed at promoting the best cadre for the job, but rather to place Magashule-friendly cronies into influential positions. These are individuals who are willing and able to manipulate their government environment, whether provincial or municipal, to obtain an outcome that is beneficial to the controlling faction within the governing party.

The Premier also mentioned in his speech that he is aware of collusion between contractors and officials in contracts to build RDP houses.

Who are these officials and what has the Premier done about this? Have they simply been redeployed, or can he supply us with police case numbers?

Last year the premier said that he had requested advice on how to deal with the matter of conflict of interest of public servants. This year he says he is waiting for national legislation in this regard. He only had to go to the legislature to find the solution to this problem. The DA submitted a private member’s bill three years ago that could effectively deal with the issue of conflict of interest of civil servants. This bill has, however, not seen the light of day. The DA would like to be part of the solution to our problems, if we are given the opportunity to do so.

Honourable Deputy-Speaker, I do not even have time to delve into controversial rental agreements and the sale of municipal property. Neither have I had time to delve into the Free State “Roadsgate” scandal in a department where tenders continue to be controversial.

Further potential for corruption exists in the new legislature complex, on which R70 million has already been spent with no visible progress on the ground.

We have a dairy project in Vrede in which R30 million has been invested, but once again little or no progress can be seen on the ground. Perhaps the Premier would like to enlighten us today, in his reply, who the government’s private sector partners are in this PPP dairy project. Is it is perhaps the Gupta’s as alleged on the ground?

Deputy-Speaker, I refuse to believe that our provincial government is a reflection of the general nature of our people in the province. In 1788, Madison was never exposed to an ANC-run government.

I do, however believe, that those individuals in our communities whose actions display the dark side of human nature are to some degree a reflection of this government. Individuals, who have evil natures with a tendency to satisfy their personal needs at the cost of others, will always thrive in a society that is governed by a faction that holds power for similar purposes.

There is still much that is good in the general nature of our society and also in government that could be harnessed to turn our province around. We will support any efforts to create opportunities for the 357 000 unemployed people of the Free State, and improve the opportunities for those who are already employed. The 1000 new jobs in the formal sector and 7000 in the informal sector created last year are important, but remain a fraction of what we require. If all our resources could be channelled towards achieving many of the positive objectives outlined in Free State Vision 2030, instead of being squandered along the way, then the Free State has the potential to revive all that is good in the nature of South African society.

The manufacturing sector has an infrastructure that is greatly under-utilised. Qwa-Qwa, Thaba Nchu, and Botshabelo have a number of factories that have become redundant. These areas also have the largest concentrations of unemployed people in the province. We support the Premier’s statements that this under-utilised infrastructure will be revived to re-ignite this sector of the provincial economy by the end of this year. We require details on who is going to invest in these factories. The province will have to become competitive by providing incentives for investment in this sector, specifically in these areas. Provision of a secure environment, a sound infrastructure, and financial incentives such as reduced rates and taxes and service fees based on the size of the investment and numbers of jobs created could be a huge economic injection in these areas and create much needed employment. The costs to local governments will be recouped through the financial injection into other industries and through the increase in numbers of people able to pay for services. The implementation of a youth wage subsidy could create further incentives to create opportunities and transfer skills.

What is most important to note is that only economic growth in the private sector can create sustainable long term employment for our people. Government projects are temporary and should only assist in building the infrastructure necessary for an enabling environment for investment.

The Premier is correct in dealing with the water problems in the Free State. We must however realise that water scarcity is a reality, and our planning for new settlements must take this into account. Every new house requires an municipality that can deliver safe and sufficient water, sanitation and electricity. This is also crucial for any economic development.

I will continue to repeat what I say at every opportunity in this legislature: “evil prevails because good men and women keep quiet”. I will stop repeating this when the majority of people representing the governing party in this legislature have the courage to do what their conscience dictates. Your failure to do the right thing because of your lack of courage will place you on the wrong side of history, for the same moral reasons that a previous regime in this country was placed on the wrong side of history.

We can all assist in the fight against the mediocrity that has become entrenched as the norm in the Free State’s provincial government and municipalities. Our people must, however, accept responsibility for the actions of a government that they continue to vote for. In a democracy you get the government that you vote for, and you deserve the government that you vote for.