SOPA – too little to late

Roy Jankielsohn MPL

DA Caucus leader in the Free State Legislature

The Free State Premier’s plans to create an environment conducive to job creation in the province towards the end of his term of office is “too little too late”.

Unemployment has increased in the last couple of years and the Free State currently has 357 000 people without jobs.

Government projects give temporary relief to some, and the 1000 formal sector jobs and 7000 informal sector jobs (excluding agriculture) created last year are not even a fraction of what is required to bring relief to this crisis.

The DA supports the re-opening of factories in Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu, but no detail has been supplied by the Premier as to who will invest in such projects.

The premier has given concrete information on his plans to complete certain road projects in the Free State, but this also comes very late in his term of office.

Improvement of municipal service delivery, education and health care are dependent on certain skills that are required for each of these sectors. The best plans cannot be implemented without the necessary skilled individuals. The premier needs to inform the province where the skilled managers, teachers (especially in mathematics and science), and healthcare practitioners will come from.

His attempts to defend this cadre of deployments by indicating that South Africans have the right to work anywhere will not assist in alleviating service delivery problems or political unrest in the Free State, since the policy of cadre deployment is the root cause of many of these problems.

The DA will monitor the premier’s promises to deliver title deeds and improved housing to residents in the Free State. The DA will also monitor the water and sewage projects mentioned in his speech.

The premier also mentioned that the whole community must mobilise in the fight against crime and mentioned specifically the increase on attacks on farmers and farm workers. The DA shares his views in this regard.

Corruption, however, requires commitment and action from the premier and his government. In this respect, the premier merely mentioned that he is waiting for national legislation whilst the DA in the legislature has a Private Member’s Bill which can assist in restricting civil servants from doing business with government. If the Premier is serious about engaging the opposition as mentioned then he can start by supporting positive initiatives by the opposition.

Free State Vision 2030, which is the provincial government’s plan to build the economy, contains many of the DA’s proposals which were submitted to the office of the premier. The DA will support this, or any other plans, to create opportunities for the people in the Free State. We hope that either Premier Ace Magashule, or future premiers will ensure that plans to improve the lives of the people of our province are implemented.

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