The DA’s wish list for the SOP address

Andrew Louw, MPL

DA Northern Cape: Provincial Leader

The upcoming State of the Province address is a golden opportunity for the provincial government to provide us with a bold new plan to take the Northern Cape forward. For the sake of all the people of this province, it is our wish that Friday will finally provide hope for all the forgotten people of this province who are crying out for real leadership. Sadly, however, given the apparent in-fighting and confusion of power lines between the ruling party and the state, we merely expect to hear more of the same empty promises.

Nonetheless, some of the points on our wish list for the SOP are as follows:

• In contrast to President Zuma’s vague pledge to fight youth unemployment, we want our provincial government to announce the implementation of a provincially driven version of the Youth Wage Subsidy, as the Western Cape is doing. This will give young people a foothold on the ladder of our economy so that they can build careers and move out of poverty. • In response to the burgeoning problem of violence against women and children, we expect not only a strong condemnation of this social ill but also a clear and concrete plan as to how government will improve safety and security of all people of the Northern Cape, with specific reference to: training of police officers, increased resources to the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences unit, and how the provincial government aims on effectively implementing the Domestic Violence Act, and the Sexual Offences Act. • A clear pronouncement on plans to crack down on fraud and corruption, including a long overdue review of the Northern Cape’s Ministerial handbook will be appreciated. • A distinct plan as to how provincial government includes cleaning up provincial departments, not least of all our sinking municipalities is long overdue. This should include a clear set of consequences for non-compliance to the Public Finance Management Act, as well as details of who will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing these consequences. • We expect a detailed plan as to how the growing backlog of human settlements is to be prioritized, as well as a commitment to ensure that underspending, which in effect translates into non-delivery of services on such programmes, will no longer be tolerated. • Similarly, we would also want to hear exactly how the provincial government intends on attracting investment to the province, as well as whether certain quantities of bulk infrastructure will be put aside in municipalities specifically with the aim of enabling investment in our province. In this regard, we also expect an announcement on the future of the Northern Cape Economic Development Agency, which has thus far failed dismally to contribute to economic growth in the province.

Provincial government needs to pronounce itself on these issues, which if properly addressed, could go a long way in addressing burgeoning challenges within the Northern Cape.

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