SOPA 2014: Mpumalanga needs a new vision

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

With the 2014 national and provincial elections only weeks away, the hopes and aspirations of Mpumalanga’s citizens of a better life, are ever increasing.

Today, Premier DD Mabuza will deliver Mpumalanga’s 2014 State of the Province Address (SOPA), the last of his term of office.

While the Premier will undoubtedly use this SOPA address to parade self-acclaimed achievements of his tenure, the true state of our province is yearning for a new vision and direction for its citizens.

Despite early progress by ANC administrations post 1994, life in Mpumalanga under the leadership of DD Mabuza has become increasingly tough. Unemployment abounds with thousands of citizens trapped in poverty with few to no economic opportunities. Economic development has been scarce and scattered. Rural Mpumalanga remains in a deteriorating cycle of decay, with no immediate prospect of improved service delivery.

DD Mabuza has presided over an administration where corruption and maladministration has become entrenched as the order of the day. Department after department are unable to deliver on their core mandates. Collapsing health facilities, the failure to improve conditions in schools – especially in rural areas, lack of proper sanitation and the unreliable provision of clean drinking water has made life in Mpumalanga a daily battle for the delivery of life’s most basic services.

While DD Mabuza has learnt well how to eloquently “talk-the-talk”, his administration has failed dismally to “walk-the-walk”.

To this end, the DA hopes for a SOPA address that will outline a new vision for Mpumalanga, that will implement sustainable solutions to end corruption, fight poverty, and create jobs.

We hope that Premier Mabuza will:

  • Take a definitive stand against corruption by making public the investigation reports into scholar transport, the provincial archives building, the Pilgrim’s Rest tender adjudication, as well as the many other probes into questionable supply chain processes;
  • Announce his support of the DA’s proposed provincial bill outlawing and prohibiting all government employees, their spouses and immediate families from doing business with government;
  • Disallowing every head of provincial government department from being an active member of any political party;
  • Taking decisive action in local and district municipalities by removing all municipal managers and financial heads who do not comply with National Treasury minimum competency standards from office;
  • Announce the removal of mayors of municipalities who do not comply with financial management legislation;
  • Provide a comprehensive progress report on the provision of bulk water as promised two years ago;
  • Outline a comprehensive plan to support the ailing provincial agriculture sector, and how government will support farmers in our province to grow the sector and expand investment, and increase our contribution to national food security;
  • Announcing Mpumalanga’s rolling out of the Youth Wage Subsidy including steps to building the economy by attracting investment to create more jobs;
  • Announce a fresh approach to saving Pilgrim’s Rest and other prime tourist destinations with a new approach to expanding our provincial tourism sector; and
  • A new vision on how government intend to turns around the despair of rural Mpumalanga to provide residents not only with basic services, but how to give individuals a greater sense of ownership of land, with opportunities to establish small businesses.

The DA firmly believes that all is not lost. We can rekindle the dreams and aspirations of a united South Africa, with prospering opportunities and the delivery of a better life. All that is required is the political will to reduce corruption, increase investment and create jobs that enable all citizens to develop their potential, and achieve the best that they can be.