SOPA 2013 – KZN Premier must deal with leadership crisis

Sizwe Mchunu, MPP

Leader of the DA in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature

The Democratic Alliance calls on KZN Premier, Zweli Mkhize, to address the leadership crisis within the provincial government in his State of the Province address (SOPA) later this week.

As the DA, we believe that KwaZulu-Natal is a province bursting with opportunity. Yet, there are several glaring opportunities that the provincial government has not capitalised on. These are;

* The Ingonyama Trust: Thirty percent of the province remains in the hands of the Trust despite being the biggest single opportunity to empower millions of KZN’s residents by making them individual or family property owners. What are the Premier and his government doing to secure the long overdue repeal of this Acts?

* The N3 corridor: This continues to be the most over-used freeway in the country, with a mounting death toll. Yet the Premier’s 2012 plan to see heavy freight return to rail is nowhere to be seen.

* Government department failures: Health and Agriculture in particular have been named and shamed in recent months in the media with reports of massive wastage of resources. What is the Premier doing to ensure real oversight and answers from department officials?

* Municipalities in crisis: What is the Premier doing to ensure real action from KZN’s COGTA MEC and her department?

* Provincial forensic inquiries: Despite the best efforts of the Finance MEC and Treasury officials, the number and complexity of forensic investigations continue to grow. What is the Premier doing to curb this?

As with any province, there are threats that the Premier must confront. The DA challenges him to detail how he plans to deal with the following;

* The decline in the province’s equitable share as a consequence of 2011 census

* Political intolerance, instability and the re-emergence of no-go zones

* Weak leadership in key agencies such as the NPA

* Failures of leadership within the provincial government. This includes the Premier’s failure to rein in his MEC’s when it comes to the unethical use of emergency transport

* The collapse of service delivery and the recent audit failures within local government

* The failure by civilian bodies along with the portfolio committee and CPFs to exercise real oversight over the police force within the province

A DA -led government in KwaZulu-Natal would tackle these issues. We would offer exactly what the ANC cannot deliver. We have proved it possible in the Western Cape through clean audits, officials being held to account, the elimination of wasteful expenditure and real service delivery.

The people of KwaZulu-Natal must be told the true status of the province. Despite ongoing attempts to spin a positive story, the DA does not believe KwaZulu-Natal is in a good state. Society is in pain, evidenced by the frequent incidents of violence against women, children and the elderly.

Poverty and unemployment remain the provinces biggest challenges, meanwhile the ANC continues to dither over the youth wage subsidy as young people become ever more depressed by the lack of job opportunities.

Come Thursday, the DA expects the Premier to offer results. He must clarify exactly what he and the ANC leadership in KwaZulu-Natal have done during the past year to improve the lives of the people of this province.

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