Anthony Benadie MPL
Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga
The Democratic Alliance notes with concern the election of DD Mabuza as Mpumalanga Premier. His ‘election’ does not bode well for the people of our province, and frankly our province is in for a torrid five years.
While the premier may take a moment congratulate himself on this feat (which none of his predecessors managed to achieve), his tenure will go down in history as the worst decade ever in the history of Mpumalanga.
During premier Mabuza’s first term in office, hundreds of millions in public funds were lost as corruption ran rampant and service delivery deteriorated. According to the Auditor General’s report for 2012/13, unauthorised expenditure in the province increased from R1.3 million in 2011/12 to R136 million in 2012/13 in the province.
While Mabuza made repeated public proclamations about being serious on fighting corruption, the truth is that his political allies were protected and opponents ruthlessly swept aside. Mabuza, also stands in violation of the ministerial handbook, after spending over R5 million rand on purchasing three luxury vehicles in the final months of his previous term of office.
While it waits to be seen who Mabuza will appoint to cabinet, it is clear that he has ensured only his closest allies and loyalists are elected to the legislature, indicating that he will have carte blanche on the provincial government. The DA as the official opposition will have our work cut out for us to hold Mabuza and his cabinet to account. A task we are ready for.
We also note the election of the new Speaker of the Legislature, BT Shongwe. While undoubtedly she will have a clear mandate to shut down the opposition voice which she desperately tried to do as ANC chief whip in the previous term, the DA sincerely hopes that she will take her position seriously as head of the institution and execute her tasks in the impartial manner that is befitting to the position of Speaker.
As the fifth Mpumalanga legislature takes office, the score board is telling, the ANC is smaller the DA is bigger and we will use every platform and opportunity to our avail to hold the executive to account and advance the interest of the people of our province.