Leader of the Official Opposition in the Free State Provincial Legislature:
The DA in the Free State rejects the proposal by Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC, Mathabo Leeto, that the name of the Free State Province should be changed.
It seems MEC Leeto is desperate for relevance.
Instead of advancing sports, arts, and our cultural heritage as tools for nation building and empowerment, especially amongst the youth, she is obsessed with cosmetic issues like name changes.
This proposal seeks to hide the rampant levels of corruption, poor governance and deteriorating levels of service delivery of the ANC-led government in the province.
The Free State is on the verge of a financial crisis and a systematic collapse of governance at a local level. Municipalities are increasingly unable to deliver basic services.
The direct financial cost of a provincial name change would be huge, funds that could be better utilised in funding programmes to improve the province’s economic outlook and fixing the financial mess within the Departments of Health and Education. The financial cost of unintended consequences would be astronomical.
We have repeatedly stated that Premier Ace Magashule’s government should start to focus on the critical issues in the province, and apply funds accordingly, instead of wasting the people’s money on ‘nice-to-haves’ like luxury gala dinners and expensive international trips to Cuba.
While the DA supports the use of name changes in the spirit of nation building and reconciliation, we cannot support the abuse of name changes to serve only the interests of the current leading ANC faction.
The DA will defend the name of the Free State, the Vrystaat and Foreisetata with whatever it takes.