KZN SOPA: Premier delivers ANC propaganda as SOPA

Sizwe Mchunu, MPP

Leader of the DA in the KZN Legislature

Today, KZN Premier, Senzo Mchunu, used his State of the Province Address (SOPA) as an opportunity to crank up the ANC propaganda machine. There was little real reflection on the state of the province or plans for the future. It was a campaign speech that had little to do with taking KZN forward.

Just like President Zuma did with his State of the Nation Address, Premier Mchunu chose to focus on the successes of his predecessors as opposed to talking about the true state of the province today.

It is the Zuma ANC’s primary electioneering tactic – to claim Thabo Mbeki and Nelson Mandela’s successes – even though they’ve sold out the values of the ANC of old.

Everyone knows and celebrates that South Africa is better than in 1994. But the real question is whether the Zuma ANC is taking South Africa forward. Have we been on the right track in the last 5 years?

I believe that Zuma, and the corruption he brought with him, has taken us in the wrong direction.

Today the Premier presented his ‘wish list’ for KZN with no clear course on how he and his cabinet will reach these objectives.  In so doing he showed that he does not have a real plan for our province.  He also showed that he is out of touch with the suffering of ordinary citizens in our province.  Many of the promises and ‘commitments’ made today are in fact ‘old news’, having been said many times in recent years.

Today the Premier fell short on the two most important objectives – those of job creation and getting rid of corruption.

The Premier’s plans around job creation today lack credibility based on several factors;

–          The failure to adopt the Provincial Growth Development Plan (PGDP) within the Legislature to date.  This plan is the blue-print for economic transformation in KZN yet it has not been tabled since being unveiled in 2012.

–          Failure to announce the implementation of the Youth Wage Subsidy – a move his predecessor committed to.

–          The Premier’s answer to job creation in KZN – the Youth Ambassador’s Programme – was not mentioned once.  Clearly this multi-million rand scheme is an embarrassment.

He did his best to paint a glowing picture on agriculture in KZN yet the reality is that this sector is another massive embarrassment.  Certainly the much lauded Agrarian Revolution, announced by his predecessor and on which millions were spent, is nowhere to be seen.

He failed to prioritise the fight against crime and completely ignored the KZN Community Safety Plan – submitted by the DA eight months ago.  Certainly, he has nothing to lose and everything to gain by adopting it.

Today the Premier did not once mention the revitalisation of KZN’s rail infrastructure – a key element of his predecessor’s SOPA several years ago.  What has happened?

The promises on slum eradication are also not new.  Successive ANC administrations have said much the same while people have continued to live in squalor.

There are some aspects of today’s SOPA that the DA welcomes.

These include the announcement of a Committee on Social Cohesion aimed at race-based attacks are investigated.

We also welcome the inroads made by the Ezemvelo Anti-Rhino poaching campaign against this scourge.

We welcome the task team which will analyse the profiles of companies awarded government and/or municipal contracts by provincial government departments during the last five years.

Tomorrow, in my State of the Province Debate, I will tell the real story of KZN.

It is the story of a province whose potential is being held back by an ANC leadership.

It is a story of a province where real job opportunity does not yet exist.

It is a story of a province in which a select few are enriching themselves at the expense of many.

It is a story of a province in which citizens still live in fear of violent crime.

Despite the many challenges, KZN still has enormous potential – if we get the basics right.

The key is economic opportunity through jobs and ending corruption.

The DA is committed to this fight.