By Andrew Louw, MPL, DA Provincial Leader in the Northern Cape:
The Democratic Alliance calls on the premier of the Northern Cape to take the provincial administration seriously. There is no excuse for the delays in the appointment of a permanent Member of the Executive Council for Education and for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism. Both of these portfolios are pivotal in driving provincial growth and require a permanent appointee.
Why does it take the ANC-led administration so long to make permanent appointments and when will it begin to prioritise provincial interests over internal party matters? The province and its people matter more than a political party. When former premier Hazel Jenkins suffered a stroke, it took more than a year to appoint a new premier.
We are not casting aspersions on the work being done by either of the acting MECs. But it is inhumane to expect that one person can do justice to both the crucial portfolios of Health and Finance, Economic Development and Tourism. We know that Mac Jack has made all the right noises about service delivery, but there simply isn’t enough time in the day for him to do everything that these demanding portfolios require.
Likewise, Education requires full-time attention which should not be split with the equally important portfolio of Transport, Safety and Liaison. It was recently revealed that the provincial pass rate for grade 12 learners has decreased by 7%, including a decrease in bachelors’ passes of 3.6%, a decrease of 6.4% in the Mathematics pass rate and a decrease of 6.1% in Physical Sciences. While the quality of education offered to learners declines, violent crimes such as assault and robbery have shown an increase in 2015. We need two different MECs who can devote their attention full-time to delivering quality education on the one hand and safe communities on the other.
Not only is the premier neglecting her duty to appoint competent members of her executive, but she is failing to appoint permanent heads of departments. There has also been a number of vacancies among heads of department in the province, including a vacancy in the Provincial Treasury since October 2014 and in the Department of Economic Development and Tourism since November 2014.
One cannot run a spaza shop like this, let alone a province.