Patricia Kopane MP
DA Leader in the Free State
We acknowledge that the Free State today is a much better place than it was in 1994. However, Zuma’s ANC, under leadership of Ace Magashule in the province has seen corruption increase, service delivery has become almost non-existent, and the abuse of power is rife.
Premier Ace Magashule is in denial about the state of the province. During his state of the province address he dedicated his entire speech to campaign for Zuma’s ANC and to attack opposition parties. It is our view that he was speaking in his capacity as chairperson of the ANC in the Free State rather as premier.
He used the state of the province address to make promises for the next provincial government to keep, while highlighting successes of previous administrations as his own successes.
Premier Ace Magashule failed to report back to the people of the Free State on key issues.
Magashule failed to address the Free State’s drastic economic decline and ever increasing unemployment figures. Overall unemployment in the province is at 34%, the highest in the country. Youth unemployment is at 46.7%.
Magashule promised more housing developments yet 8 500 houses remain incomplete. He promised the handover of title deeds to beneficiaries, yet his government has failed to empower more than 5 000 families.
On corruption, Magashule used Zuma’s line, reiterating that his government has put measures in place to fight corruption. However, the reality is that corruption in the Free State is on an increase. In Magashule’s cabinet the Finance MEC, Ms Elzabe Rockman, and Health MEC, Dr Benny Malakoane, continue to enjoy government perks despite being implicated in serious corruption scandals.
Premier Ace Magashule has failed to cancel the contracts between his office and Letlaka Media as directed by National Treasury. He further failed to bring clarity to the people of the Free State regarding the controversial Vrede Dairy Project.
Ace Magashule celebrated the Free State matric pass rate, yet failed to address the issue on how to address the high school dropout rate, 56% of all learners that enter grade 1, drop out of school before completing matric.
The Premier failed to address the poor state of health in the province. The department is plagued by administrative and financial mismanagement to the extent where it will overspend its budget by R1.2 billion. Vacancy rates for medical doctors in the Free State is at 28%, for medical specialists 31% and for pharmacists at 42%, Ace Magashule failed to table a plan on how to turn this department around.
More importantly, Premier Ace Magashule ignored the Free State’s water crisis. More than 26 towns across the Free State struggle daily with access to clean, safe and drinkable water. This is a matter currently under investigation by the Human Rights Commission, he also failed to apply to National Treasury for drought assistance for farmers in the province.
Since Ace Magashule assumed office, the Free State has gone backwards because the ANC of Jacob Zuma and Ace Magashule has become more corrupt and is stealing money away from job creation and service delivery.
The DA in the Free State has a plan for government that would stop corruption and create jobs by implementing the right policies on education, infrastructure development and governance.