DA KZN: Premier must unleash KZN’s unrealised potential

Sizwe Mchunu, MPL

Leader of the DA in the KZN Legislature:

TOMORROW, KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu, has the opportunity to unleash the true potential of our province as he delivers his State of the Province address.

As the political head of KZN he has the opportunity to tackle the real issues facing citizens so that our province can become a better place to live and work.

Over the years, the KZN State of the Province address has been little more than a propaganda machine, with the announcement of one grand plan after another, many of which never get out of the starting blocks.

Tomorrow, the Premier has the opportunity to show that he and his ANC-led cabinet understand the challenges facing the people of this province.

The DA has identified the following six issues which we believe continue to hold back the people of KZN and which threaten the realisation of our province’s full potential;

Service delivery

Poor service delivery affects the day to day lives of millions of people in KZN as many struggle without water, sanitation, electricity.  Cadre deployment, damning Auditor-General reports and unqualified and inefficient officials have led to the unprecedented move of two municipalities being dissolved and several placed under provincial administration.  Tomorrow the Premier must tell us his immediate plans to deal with the fact that KZN municipalities are being brought to their knees.

Education

Consistently shocking matric results and cheating scandals threaten to undermine the credibility of a KZN matric pass while hopeless educator management adds to the woes of schools which remain marked by great inequality.  The Premier must commit to a national audit of school infrastructure so that funds can be directed to fixing our schools, and systems developed for delivering textbooks to every learner on time.  He must ensure that his provincial leadership takes a hard-line against teacher union, SADTU, by enforcing teaching time as sacred, performance contracts for school principals, and regular assessments of teachers.

Health

The number of horror stories coming out of public hospitals continues to grow – this despite assurances by the MEC that all is well.  Cadre deployment, gross non-compliance and poor infrastructure maintenance have seen this department grow more and more sick.  Meanwhile an under-spend on NHI and over-spend on the department’s wage bill paints a clear picture of where the department’s priorities lie.  The Premier must tell us what he intends doing about this.

Unemployment

Despite much talk about the triple threat of poverty, inequality and unemployment it is not clear what the Premier is doing about it and whether the ANC even recognises the threat it poses to our province.  The Premier must explain why he consistently refuses to implement the Youth Wage Subsidy – in preference over government’s watered-down Employment Tax Incentive – as the province buckles under unemployment.  He must explain why it is preferable for KZN to be a “nanny province” with so many dependent on social grants and entrenched in poverty.  While the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer.

Corruption

Corruption remains endemic at every level of government, with cadre deployment and lack of accountability key drivers. The Premier must show that he prepared to deal with this, not just with words but through actions.

Community Safety

The Premier must explain why he and his cabinet will not acknowledge or implement the Community Safety Bill submitted by the DA in 2012 which has already proved a success in the Western Cape.  This while the right to live and work in safety remains a distant wish for so many.

These are the bread and butter issues that will come back to haunt the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal if it fails to address them.

Tomorrow the Premier must deliver a message of hope to the people of KZN.  He must show them the respect they deserve by demonstrating that he understands their challenges and that he is taking them seriously.

He must do this by announcing real and immediate steps which will improve their daily lives and move our province towards realising its unfulfilled potential.