Anthony Benadie MPL
Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga
On Friday Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza will deliver the first State of the Province Address (SOPA) of his second term in office, and he will do so knowing that he carries the hopes and aspirations of millions of people of the province.
It is critical that this SOPA break from the tedious annual recital of rehashed national ANC policy, and delivers a sustainable plan of action to deal with the high rates of unemployment, slack economic growth, the scourge of corruption and the disastrous state of provincial and local government service delivery.
While the announcements following the provincial executive lekgotla this past week may be a harbinger of a dramatic policy shift in the provincial ANC, the proof of its commitment to delivery will lie by carrying out the following:
- The new boards of MEGA and MTPA must comprise suitably qualified individuals to provide knowledgeable leadership, and not well-connected ANC cadres only interested in lining their pockets;
- The health department curator must take definitive steps to address the shortcomings as identified in the Human Rights Commission investigation report, and provide quality health care to the people;
- Take a definitive step in the fight against corruption by removing the head of the education department and firing the members of the bid adjudication committee implicated in the fraudulent school nutrition feeding scheme tender awards; and
- Start proceedings to remove every municipal manager, chief financial officer and senior financial management staff in municipalities who do not comply with the National Treasury’s minimum competency regulations, and replacing them with suitably qualified individuals.
We have to see premier Mabuza take definitive steps to implement the National Development Plan at a provincial level, laying out clear strategies for job creation, economic growth, and improving the level of education in our schools.
Such steps should include an announcement to grow small and medium enterprises through the implementation of a youth wage subsidy, the commercialisation of provincial parks to increase tourism to the province, and the official announcement of the Moloto Rail Corridor and the development of industrial nodes along its route to stimulate job creation in a deeply impoverished area.
Mpumalanga is at a cross-roads, and decisive action is needed to halt the steady decline in living standards experienced by the province’s citizens.
The DA hopes that this Friday, a new dawn will break over Mpumalanga, bringing an end to poverty and despair.