Andrew Louw, MPL
DA Provincial Leader:
The Democratic Alliance expects the premier of the Northern Cape to stop delivering promises. The State of the Province Address on Thursday is an opportunity to provide clear leadership and introduce fresh initiatives that can combat poverty, unemployment and slow economic growth.
In the past, the premier has used this platform to make wonderful promises that unfortunately never realise. If you compare the premier’s speech to what happens on the ground, you see two completely different pictures. For example, she promised that the provincial waste management strategy will be launched in April 2014. This never happened. When you look at the state of landfill sites in the province, you can see that we urgently need a provincial waste management strategy to ensure that everybody enjoys the right to a clean and healthy environment.
The DA is concerned about the number of funded projects that either don’t materialise or don’t offer the benefits promised. Subsequent to that, the DA will be doing our own internal investigation to see what value for money the province benefitted from. What benefit did we get from the paprika factory, for example? Is it value for money to spend nearly R30 million on the biscuit factory in Douglas which only created 15 jobs?
When the premier talks about job creation, she often talks about it in terms of the EPWP-project. As the DA, we support the theory of EPWP.
However, the implementation of it in the Northern Cape is flawed. We need to hear from the premier how EPWP will begin to prioritise the transfer of skills to ensure that beneficiaries remain economically active.
We want to hear a crystal clear contingency plan to prevent any further school shutdowns. Not just for the Joe Morolong area, but for the entire province. Education lies at the heart of us and plays a crucial role in shaping the lives and characters of our youth.
Unfortunately, our children are becoming the soft targets for communities who are dissatisfied with service delivery. The premier must announce a strong, definitive plan of action to prevent communities from taking our children hostage again.
We’ve heard in June 2014 that the provincial government plans to build
1 735 houses in the 2014/15 financial year. But the provincial housing need is 44 111. The premier’s promise was, in effect, to address 4% of the current housing backlog. We want to hear how the delivery of safe, reliable houses will be sped up and how the transfer of title deeds will be improved. And we want to know how the provincial government will stop appointing contractors who delivers houses that need to be rectified immediately afterward.
We expect to hear a lot of talk about national interventions such as the Industrial Policy Action Plan and the National Development Plan.
We want to hear how these plans will be actively implemented in the province. The premier has paid lip service to national plans without announcing its practical implementation. We cannot just talk about national plans without it becoming a reality on the ground.
We have heard a lot of talk in the past about the Port Nolloth harbour and the Upington Cargo Hub. It seems these projects can’t get past the phase of feasibility studies. If the feasibility studies are unfavourable, the premier should focus the provincial government’s energy on projects that can deliver real, tangible benefits.
Ultimately, we want to hear about services, not about empty rhetoric and even emptier promises.