Langa Bodlani response to Office of the Premier Budget Speech

Langa Bodlani (MPL)

DA Limpopo Spokesperson on Office of the Premier

This budget debate occurs in the context of the near collapse of the provincial government in the last term of office.

It is for this reason that the Democratic Alliance stands here today to emphasize the critical issue of good governance.

Your office is entrusted with the enormous responsibility of being exemplar to other departments on matters of governance.

Your duty is derived directly from the constitution when it says in section 125 that you must coordinate the functions of the provincial administration and its departments.

When things begin to go wrong in any department in the province, people have a right to look to the premier and ask what is the premier doing about it.

The Constitution enjoins us to want answers from the office of the premier.

If we are to avoid the happening of the last term, this office of the premier must be effective in its transversal coordinating role.

Failure to do that by the premier is a dereliction of his constitutional obligations.

This responsibility extends also to the functioning of the local government sphere.

It will therefore be an indictment on the office of the premier when departments of health, education, and public works continue to get worse audit opinions.

Do not turn a blind eye on these because if you do so you will not only be failing the Constitution but you will be failing the people of this province who are in dire need of services.

Your predecessor failed on this score, fortunately for him he got promoted to the national assembly.

You may not have the same fate.

But your name will go down the history books as being complicit in failing our people.

You dare not fail our people.

The DA will play a complimentary role every step of the way where you execute your mandate to improve the lives of our people.

Equally so Mr Premier we will be confrontational when you fail our people.

In this regard ours will be to offer practical alternatives to improve our people’s lives rather than the empty leftist shibboleths which have defined our latter day political discourse.

Just recently we tabled the AG report on the audit findings of our municipalities.

This too is your responsibility Mr Premier because you must coordinate provincial administration which includes local government.

To coordinate is not the same as usurpation and centralisation of powers in the office of the premier.

But it means that it must be source of concern for the premier when 7 municipalities fail to get their books audited.

In describing the failure of our municipalities, the AG attributes this to a lack of political will.

This falls squarely on your shoulders to drive that political will.

Mr Premier, it is for these reasons why we become concerned when your office presents to the committee an incomplete Annual Performance Plan.

It is a worrying concern when your office needs to be reminded by the committee that your role cuts across all other departments.

They simply failed to capture this important role in the APP.

When asked about the challenges they faced when implementing operation clean audit, they simply said and I quote “no challenges”.

How can that be when education, health and public works are perennial trouble makers?

Mr Premier do not simply strive to achieve clean audit as you put it in your speech.

Have the political will to crack the whip if necessary. In that way you will not share in the blame when things go wrong.

That we do not degenerate into what happened in the past, this office must be fully aware of its powers under the constitution and other laws.

In passing this budget we urge the office of the premier to be the epicentre of good governance in our province.

It must awaken to its own reach in terms of the existing laws.

Because when the office of the premier does this, our people will be better served through good governance.