True state of Limpopo is far off Mathabatha’s fantasy

Jacques Smalle MPL

DA Limpopo Provincial Leader:

The Democratic Alliance challenges Premier Stanley Mathabatha to prove his claims made during the SOPA reply debate yesterday in the Limpopo Legislature, on delivery of 100% of textbooks.

The DA has exposed numereous examples of undelivered textbooks, warehouses full of thousands of undelivered textbooks, and examples of incorrect delivery of textbooks since the start of 2015.

As recently as yesterday the DA uncovered yet more examples, in Phalaborwa. Yet Premier Mathabatha will not own up to these failures and prefers to remain stuck in his own fantasy that all textbooks have been delivered.

The DA notes with grave concern that this government would rather let our school going learners suffer than admit the errors as a result of the department’s dysfunctional systems.

The DA has uncovered or seen proof of schools without any books in certain grades or which have a shortage of certain text books in some subjects. Meanwhile the premier recklessly assured the people of Limpopo that all books were delivered earlier on in February.

In challenging Premier Mathabatha, we remind him of the following:

  • The plight of learners of Mohlakaneng Secondary School in Seshego who went on strike over non-availability of Maths, Tourism and Sepedi textbooks.
  • Kheodi Secondary School in Belleview in Mopani also embarked on a strike from February 24 to March 2 for physical science text books in Grade 12. The school also runs short of many other books in various grades.
  • Magaedisha High School still awaits physical science text books for Grade 10, 11, 12 and Maths for Grade 11.
  • The Rebologile High school, in Phalaborwa area, has also not received any of the books as per the list of books sent by the school to the department.

The DA further puts it on record that the Provincial Development Plan was neither ever tabled in the Limpopo Legislature nor was it debated or scrutinized in any portfolio of the Limpopo Legislature.

The deliberate exclusion of political parties by the Premier when documenting the Provincial Development Plan, proves that democratic process in Limpopo remains as limited by Premier Mathabata as the textbooks he refuses to deliver.

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Promise of 100% universal access to water by the end of 2015 is nothing more than an election gimmick

Address by Bosman Grobler DA MPL, in the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature, on 06 March 2015 during the Premier’s response to the debate of the State of the Province Address: TLP Emalahleni:

Hon. Speaker

 

I rise to deliver a member statement on behalf of the Democratic Alliance

 

Emalahleni is one of four municipalities that were identified by the South African Human Rights Commission’s 2013 report for violating the rights of our citizens by failing to provide water.

 

Honourable Speaker, we know that this situation has not changed. As I speak now, hundreds of Emalahleni residents, particularly those of Spring Valley informal settlement and Kroomdraai have to gather water at springs and utilise plastic containers to collect water for their families.

 

These springs do not contain water that is suitable for human consumption and people usually have to sift through human waste and the occasional dead animal just to get some water.

 

Honourable Speaker, such inhumane conditions should have been completely eradicated 20 years after the dawn of democracy. As such, the DA calls on members of this house to stop denying the conditions our people find themselves in.

 

The promise of 100% universal access to water by the end of 2015 is nothing more than an election gimmick that seeks to put hope in the hearts of our people, when it is a known fact that is not achievable.

 

I thank you

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Dept Social Development must address drug and substance abuse in eMalahleni

Motion without notice by Jane Sithole DA MPL, in the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature, on 06 March 2015 during the Premier’s response to the debate of the State of the Province Address: TLP Emalahleni:

Hon. Speaker

 

I rise to move a motion without notice on behalf of the Democratic Alliance, noting that:

 

The DA is highly concerned over government’s inability to address the scourge of drug and substance abuse around the eMalahleni area. I was a Councillor in this very Municipality for thirteen and half years and as a resident of eMalahleni, I know and everyone sitting in this house today is very much aware of how drugs are destroying our youth in eMalahleni.

 

To date, there is no in-patient or rehabilitation centre in the whole of Nkangala region.  Addicts are referred to the Swartfontein centre near White River which is the only state owned rehabilitation centre in the Province.

 

I move that this house:

 

  • Compel the department of Social Development to prioritise this matter before our young people perish for good.
  • I urge the department of Social Development to put a plan of action on the table that will see in-patients rehabilitation centre being opened in eMalahleni.

 

The whole province cannot rely on one in-patient drug rehabilitation centre. SANCA, as an out-patient facility and other NGO’s are trying their level best but this government is failing them.

 

I so move.

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Premier Mathabatha bunks SOPA debate

Jacques Smalle, MPL

DA Limpopo Provincial Leader:

The DA in Limpopo will submit written questions in the Legislature to question the whereabouts of Premier Mathabatha today, as he bunks out of the debate on the State of the Province Address.

 

On 23 February 2015 Premier Mathabatha delivered a State of the Province Address that was nothing more than more of the same empty promises.

 

It is unacceptable that Premier Mathabatha is nowhere to be seen today as the Legislature debates the true state of the Province.

 

Premier Mathabatha would do well to hear from the Opposition what is really going on in Limpopo. From a breakdown of basic services, to school learners being poisoned in our schools, the real state of Limpopo is far less rosy than Mathabatha would have us believe.

 

The DA will not allow the Premier to escape accountability and will hold him to his promise in his SOPA speech that we should leave after that day with a renewed sense of commitment to make Limpopo a better place.

 

If Premier Mathabatha meant this seriously, he wouldn’t skip the Legislature on such a critical day.

 

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Mpumalanga SOPA 2015 debate: Address by Bosman Grobler MPL

Hon. Speaker

 

I rise to deliver a member statement on behalf of the Democratic Alliance

 

We are in the Lynnville stadium, in Emalahleni for the first TLP week of the 5th parliament. This week we will hear many stories of how the ANC have bettered the lives of people during the last 20 years. One of these good stories will undoubtable be the story of the Klarinet High School. Members of this house will tell us how well the ANC has done to build this school. Unfortunately, many truths of this story and many other stories will not be told in this house this week.

 

Facts that we won’t hear about the Klarinet School is:

 

  • That it took 18 months longer to complete than originally planned.
  • That the School operated since January 2014, without electricity.
  • In 2014 no budget was allocated to the school, resulting in the school having to make debt to operate in 2014 and use the 2015 budget to pay the debt of 2014.
  • We won’t hear that the school has not, up to today, received text books for this year.
  • We won’t hear that the school has a library without books, a science lab without equipment and a computer lab without computers.

 

Hon Speaker,

 

The DA calls on all members of the legislature and the executive not to boast about superficial achievements, but to face the facts that service delivery on all levels is not up to standard in Emalahleni. Let’s not pretend that the ANC is doing a sterling job, the ANC should admit that as an organisation it has failed to deliver services to the people of this municipality.

I thank you

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Mpumalanga SOPA 2015 debate: Address by Anthony Benadie MPL

Anthony Benadie MPL,

DA Provincial Leader:

The State of the Province Address delivered by the Hon Premier on Friday once again demonstrated the extent of the ANC’s disconnection with the people and the real state of the Province.

 

Hon Premier, it is a sad fact that you have become the master of saying the right thing, things you believe the people of the province want to hear, but which are grossly contrasted by your government’s inability to either understand what you are saying, or simply lacking the ability to implement the bold promises you make.

 

By way of illustration, over the past four years you have made repeated sensational announcements about the Moloto rail corridor, the high altitude sport centre, the fresh produce market and the cultural hub. But, I sometimes think you forget what you say from one SOPA address to the next. On Friday, you once again mentioned these, but the reality of the matter is that we are today none closer to the physical implementation of these projects than we were when you announced them the first time.

 

In fact, a careful analysis of your address on Friday reveals that your government has practically abandoned the construction of the cultural hub, the International Convention Centre and the High Altitude Training centre as in each one of these you have laid the responsibility to implement these projects squarely at the feet of the private sector. The same can be said of the required investment in broadband infrastructure, the skywalk, cable car and the bourkes luck hotel, all of which sound very positive, yet its success rests entirely on private sector investment.

 

If Hon Premier you were committed to securing private sector investment, to grow the economy and create jobs, why then the stark contradiction of recapitalising and commercialising the Zithabiseni Resort, but cunningly the town of Pilgrim’s Rest is to be rejuvenated rather than commercialised – is it perhaps due to the lucrative tenders associated with this historic town (perhaps MEC Mashego can tell us more).

 

Hon Speaker, the claim by the Premier that 86710 jobs were created in Mpumalanga since 2008 is yet again a carefully crafted untruth. The fact is that since 2008 the number of unemployed persons increased by an additional 162 000 persons, pushing unemployment from 23% to 29,3% in Mpumalanga.

In addition Hon Premier, you proudly state that 53173 jobs were created in the community and government services. However this begs the question, if you are employing so many more people, why then are we not seeing an improvement in service delivery.

 

Hon Speaker, we are sitting in Emalahleni today, and I attempt to consider the Premiers SOPA through the eyes and life of a resident of Emalahleni.

You refer Hon Premier to the triple burden of poverty, unemployment and inequality, especially under the youth, and by your own admission 70% of the unemployed are young people.

 

And, you are right Hon Premier, but the question is do you know the persons you are referring to? They are sitting right here, because if there sufficient jobs in Emalahleni, the majority of our guests today would be at work, and have the time to spend an entire day listening to ANC propaganda. But my questions is this, if you know that 70% of the unemployed are young people, how much longer will it take you before this government implements the youth wage subsidy, that will afford thousands of young people, right her in Emalahleni to get a job, acquire training and make themselves contributors to the provincial economy.

 

On a positive note, we once again (as we have for the past four years) welcome the announcement that the Moloto rail corridor development is now ready to proceed. For too long government has been dragging its feet on this project, and while dozens of innocent people continue to lose their lives on that infamous road of death, we certainly hope that we will now, at last see some action in developing this rail corridor.

 

Hon Speaker, what goes beyond comprehension is the Premiers obsession with MEGA, and year after year allocating mammoth responsibilities to MEGA, yet this entity consistently fails to deliver on those mandates. First they were tasked with assisting municipalities with the installation of bulk water supply services, they failed and the project was taken away from them. In this SOPA, MEGA is tasked with developing infrastructure for the fresh produce market, the setting up of a commercialisation plan to attract investment to MTPA parks, and they are being tasked with the responsibility to attract investment for the building of the 10 modern, high tech hospitals.

 

Hon Premier, MEGA no longer holds any legitimate right of existence, it is an entity in perpetual chaos, unable to even manage their own affairs, and I challenge you to mention even one project that MEGA has executed in the past year that has resulted in the creation of jobs. Indeed, MEGA is nothing more than a blood-sucking entity unable to deliver on a single mandate.

 

Hon Speaker, in terms of Agriculture, a sector that the Premier rightfully sited as being critical to addressing the challenges facing our province and we agree 100% with the Premier that something drastic must be done to improve the performance and output of this sector.

 

However, the declining output and employment in the agricultural sector can be directly attributed to the ANC governments failed land reform programme. While Premier Mabuza boasts that 921 981 hectares of land has been redistributed, the big question is how much of that land is currently productive.

You see Hon Premier, land reform and redistribution is not only about land ownership for residential purposes, but a programme that should be escalating emerging farmers, through proper government support and private sector mentorship, onto the arena of commercial agriculture.

 

Hon Speaker, the ANC must stop using land reform merely as an electioneering tool, and realise that the people of our province are not lazy, the people sitting here today are not lazy, they are ready to work, but they require support, skills and financial backing to turn land reform projects into commercially viable businesses.

How long, Hon Premier must the emerging farmers of Thembisile and Dr JS Moroka wait for government’s disaster relief support. Before election 2014, MEC Siwela was quick to visit these farmers and promise them that relief was coming, yet today, almost one year later they are still waiting.

 

Education Hon Speaker, remains the most critical factor to advancing one’s ability to participate in the formal economy. However, while year after year the ANC gloats on news of an increased grade 12 pass rate, it is a fact that this government is fostering and breeding a lost generation of young people.

The fact is that in 2012 84 585 learners were enrolled in grade 10 in Mpumalanga schools, however, in 2014 only 46307 learners actually wrote their grade 12 exams. In a space of two years, our education system lost 38631 learners. That is over 38 000 young people, whose chance of ever receiving a formal education that would render them employable is practically destroyed, and sadly Hon Premier – you don’t care.

 

Hon Speaker, allow me to express my disgust at the Premiers insult to the people of this province, by claiming that the current load-shedding, that has cost our economy over R300 billion since 2008, is a good thing. We all know that the Mpumalanga Highveld accounts for the vast majority of the country’s electricity generation.

Hon Speaker, it is a slap in the face of Emalahleni residents, that thousands of people go to work every day, travelling long distances, working long hours to produce electricity for the entire South Africa, yet return home at night to darkness, unable to reap the benefit of their own labour.

 

Hon Speaker, I can go on and highlight the inability of this ANC government to effectively turnaround the ailing health department, their inability to promote tourism in Mpumalanga and their inability to get our economy growing and to create jobs.

Instead I use my last few minutes, to raise serious concern about the ongoing political and administrative instability within the Emalahleni municipality. It is now common knowledge that the 20 month long intervention has not delivered the desired result. The municipality is today in a worse financial crisis than it was before the Administrator was appointed. Road infrastructure continues to collapse and the ability of the municipality to provide residents with a continuous supply of drinking water leaves much to be desired.

 

While some communities in Emalahleni have no water at all, others are left with dry taps for days on end. Most concerning, and notwithstanding the millions of rands already spent on this intervention, there is little to no sign that service delivery is set to improve any time soon, as residents continue to suffer at the hand of the uncaring ANC government.

 

Which links very closely Hon Speaker, to the Premiers announcement of the implementation of the ‘Back to Basic Campaign’, which we know is nothing more than a fig leaf of the ANC’s 2016 municipal election campaign, funded by public money. We will indeed monitor this campaign closely and expose any and every attempt of the ANC to use this campaign as an electioneering tool.

In conclusion Hon Speaker, the Premiers SOPA is noted and while he might believe much of what he said, the big test will whether his cabinet and administration can actually deliver on any of the promises made.

 

I thank you.

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“Listen to the people Honourable Premier” – KZN SOPA debate speech

Speech by Hon. Sizwe Mchunu, MPP

Leader of the DA in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature:

Madam Speaker, I’m aware of the fact that it is not customary or the norm for this House to engage in a debate on the official opening speech by his Majesty, King Zwelithini Zulu.

 

However, I respectfully wish to use a portion of my time during this debate to convey the DA’s appreciation to his Majesty for his address, which tackled many critical issues that confront our province.

 

It saddens me to think of the many calls that his Majesty has made to this provincial government – requests which have largely been ignored over the years. These include giving the people of KZN what is deservedly theirs without attempting to loot them for votes, rooting out corruption even from within government sectors and broader consultation with various stakeholders and role players on matters that affect them.

 

I can only hope that one day sanity will prevail and some of these critical calls will be realized by this government.

 

The Premier urged us to give due respect to matters relating his Majesty and the royal households.  The DA is in full agreement with this but such action should start with you.

 

–          It is you that did not consult his Majesty about your intention to have the Royal Household department disestablished

–          It is you that didn’t consult the Premier and Royal Household committee and went straight for the disestablishment of the department

–          And, it is officials in your office who have not heeded the invitation from his Majesty to come and engage him on staffing and financial management matters relating to the royal household.

 

Mr Premier and the ANC, you must lead the way in giving the deserved and due respect to his Majesty and the affairs of the royal household.

 

I now come to what was meant to be a State of the Province address – but what was in effect a “state of the KZN Provincial Growth Development Plan (PGDP) over the past 5 years”…..

 

I hasten to add that, as residents of KZN we should be grateful we do not live in the North West or Limpopo – the two worst performing ANC provincial governments.

 

By the same token, I could also say that it is unfortunate that we don’t live in the Western Cape or Gauteng – the two best run provinces in the country as per the auditor General’s report/findings on the 2013/14 audit.

 

Instead we live in KwaZulu-Natal – a province which, if governed properly, has the potential to be right up there along with these two top performing provinces.

 

Speaker, the Premier’s speech and my role as leader of the opposition in KZN has prompted me to use this platform to convey the pleas of thousands of our province’s residents and voters.

 

They are crying out for a government that “listens to the people”.  Today I want to ask you to hear their voices.

 

Last week’s SOPA showed just how out of touch the Premier is with the reality of the daily lives of ordinary KZN residents.

 

His speech failed to inspire people of our province – instead it was depressing.

 

Madam Speaker, the Premier by implication has admitted that his party and his leadership have failed the people of KwaZulu-Natal.

 

In his speech it emerged that;

 

  • Despite having taken office some 10 months ago, he has not managed to achieve some of his own ‘100 days in office’ promises.  One wonders if he will ever meet any of the commitments he made last week Friday
  • The Premier indicated that there is a significant increase in a number of people that are now receiving social grants, meaning there are more people in KZN who are state dependent. This, in effect, means that the poverty gap is widening rather than closing.
  • The Premier stated that KZN has seen an increase in the number of people/households living below the poverty line – this under ANC leadership
  • The Premier pointed out that 42% of KZN roads are regarded as bad – yet he did not seem to regard this statistic as worrying
  • The Premier indicated that there are still households that don’t access the 75 litres of running water, per day
  • The Premier told us that, according to recent crime stats, serious and violent crime such as murder, attempted murder, rape, assault, arson and stock theft is still high
  • The Premier told us that the rate of farm murders in KZN is also high
  • The Premier told us of the high rate of failure of SMMEs and Co-operatives

 

In addition, the Premier was notably silent on the following;

  • He said nothing about the matric results “cheating scandal” and teacher colleges
  • He said nothing about the DNB – PMB business train
  • He said nothing about learner transportation in KZN

 

Mr Premier, while your SOPA was far from inspiring I would not go so far as to call you a ‘broken man’.

 

Instead I would warn you that the cracks are starting to show.

 

The question I want to put to Premier Mchunu today is;

 

“How do you want KZN to be perceived?  At the top of the list with the Western Cape and Gauteng – or down at the bottom with all the non-performers?”

 

The success of our province and indeed the overall test must surely lie with employment figures.  This is the barometer by which we can measure the success of the ANC’s rule – and it is not a good indicator.

 

At a very recent KZN EDTEA portfolio committee, the department revealed that more than 40% of KZN are unemployed.  To make matters worse our youth make up 70% of this figure.

 

These damning figures forecast a bleak future.

 

The ANC government has much to answer for.  Today there are 1,6 million more unemployed people in South Africa than when Jacob Zuma came to office in 2009. In fact, 730 more people become unemployed in South Africa every single day that President Zuma remains in office.

 

The only province to buck the trend is the DA-led Western Cape where the broad unemployment rate is 23,6% – a massive 12,5% below the national rate.

 

The Western Cape also has the lowest number of discouraged work seekers, at 22 000 compared to KZN’s 616 000, Limpopo’s 403 000, or Gauteng’s 379 000.

 

This statistic more than any other shows how the DA government in the Western Cape has, with sound economic management and policy leadership, built a province of hope and opportunity. The unemployed in the Western Cape feel they have a reasonable chance of getting work, and indeed, many of them are able to find work reasonably soon.

 

We have shown that it can be done.  We challenge the Premier to put his pride in his pocket in the interests of the people of KZN and do the same.

 

Today I will highlight the issues which the DA believes are critical to unleashing the potential of our province and, more importantly, making our province a better place to live and work.

 

These include;

* Achieve energy security; promote rapid growth in three key economic sectors with the highest potential for new jobs.

* Ensure delivery of high-speed broadband internet access across the province.

* Test effective e-learning models in our schools.

* Create after-school opportunities for young people to participate in sport, cultural and academic activities.

* Tackle alcohol abuse.

* Provide water and decent sanitation that exceeds the basic national minimum standard.

* Pioneer an integrated living model to restructure the apartheid legacy of our cities and towns.

On these issues, we expect the Premier to release plans which have measurable outcomes and defined timelines – all of which must have one common denominator – to improve the lives of the people in our province.

 

In writing today’s debate it was difficult to single out the challenges which KZN’s government needs to deal with – because there are just so many.

 

I have managed to narrow it down to the following;

 

Service delivery

 

This is the issue that most seriously affects the people of our province, yet there is not a day that goes by without another story of hopelessness.

 

Just an hour’s drive away lies the small town of Muden.  Last week residents were left literally stranded when some – angered by ongoing poor service delivery and unresolved land issues – took drastic measures and dug deep trenches across the R74.  Their complaints are not new, nor are their drastic actions.  Since 2010 they have been trying to get the provincial government to notice them.

 

Also not far away is the town of Estcourt.  Recently one community took the drastic step of cutting of water to a neighbouring settlement which has running water.  They did this to get government’s attention.

 

These actions are indicative of extreme frustration and must serve as a wake-up call to the Premier and his cabinet to become more proactive. This sabotage of property cannot be allowed to perpetuate.

 

Health

 

Stagnant leadership continues to affect the quality of health care in KZN.  An under-spend on NHI and over-spend on the department’s wage bill show very clearly where the priorities lie, as does spending R150million on a laundry facility.

 

Cadre deployment, gross non-compliance and poor infrastructure maintenance have seen this department grow more and more sick.  Just around the corner from here at Murchison Hospital the emergency room is old and crumbling while there is just a shed-like structure for out-patients.

 

In Ugu, the only MDR-TB unit in the entire district operates from dilapidated park-homes with almost no ventilation.

 

The department is plagued by one qualified audit after another.  Meanwhile the Western Cape DoH has achieved ten successive clean audits.  By contrast, KZN is positively primitive and the Premier needs to do something about it.

 

Another area in which the MEC and his department are failing is that of EMRS.

Further protest action is imminent with yet another strike planned by EMRS staff on Thursday. This shows that very little or nothing has happened since the previous protests,

Any death or disability as a result of an immobile emergency service lies at the MEC’s and his department’s door after the alarm bells have been severally rung.

A task team must be urgently established to investigate and resolve the long outstanding matters of this critical and essential sector of healthcare.

 

Fraud and corruption:

 

Fraud and corruption continues to bring our province to its knees.  For the Premier to dedicate just eight lines in his 42 page speech to this massive scourge is either ignorant or disingenuous to the extent of the impact that it is having on service delivery in our province.

 

Just last week the DA established that, to date, almost R60 million was fraudulently spent by individuals within the KZN Agriculture department under erstwhile MEC, Meshack Radebe.  The situation is so severe that the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) has instigated its own probe into the department as whole.  So far, the investigations have cost the department in excess of R10 million.  Of particular concern is the admission that most of the fraud committed by departmental staff happened at provincial head office and not at regional levels with gaps in management controls cited as the cause.

 

Wasteful expenditure

 

We only need to look at our own Speaker’s Office to find wasteful expenditure.  This office employs 18 staff with an annual budget of R13.144 million.  Yet its counterpart in the Western Cape manages to operate effectively with just four contract personnel and an annual budget of R1.7 million.

 

The difference – more than R11 million – is money which should be spent on frontline services in Health and Education in KZN.

 

 

Housing

The Premier failed to tell us why his MEC is stalling on providing the housing list he promised months ago.  He must also explain why the first 100 houses in the Masinenge Housing project have not been handed over as per his post-election SOPA promise.

We also want to know why a recent proposal by the DA – that members of the KZN Human Settlement portfolio committee adopt fair housing allocation as a priority in the committee’s Annual Oversight Plan – was rejected outright by the ANC.

 

RTI Commission

 

The RTI Commission Report has yet to be dealt with.  While the Premier has given us a sanitised summary, there is still no sign of the full report.  Nor is there any sign of a progress report on the implementation of its recommendations and findings.

 

Learner transport

 

Despite having the biggest need, KZN spends less than almost every other province on learner transport.  This is according to Equal Education who last week also revealed that children in Nquthu walk anywhere from 3 and 12kms to get to school.  They arrive exhausted and hungry and certainly not in any position to absorb knowledge.

 

In the Umzinyathi district there are only 15 schools out of more than 500 which currently benefit from scholar transport.

 

While the department complains about budget constraints, fraudulent teachers owe millions after having received salaries despite non-existent qualifications.

 

 

Economic Development and Tourism

 

Despite being a potential game-changer for KZN, this portfolio has met only once since May 2014.  Why is this?

 

During his SOPA address last year, the Premier stated that the tourism contribution to the National Economy is larger than that from mining.  Surely this makes it fertile ground for job creation?  Renewable energy in particular comes to mind.

 

While we are pleased to report that infrastructure is in place at Richards Bay’s IDZ – there are smart fences, great roads and a professional team on site – there is no industry yet so there is no job creation.

 

KZN is being left behind the other provinces as the department bleeds its tourism spend on all manner of schemes, including a Drakensburg cableway, despite objections from both experts and the local community.

 

Ongoing administrative bungling

 

The DA is astounded by the revelation, last week, by the PPP chairperson, who admitted that petitions have been lost in the system.

 

This raises serious concerns about the Community Safety Bill, submitted by the DA to the KZN Legislature almost two years ago – ever having made it past the Speakers Office

 

This Bill could form part of the answer to KZN’s serious crime problem.  It is already making a big difference in the Western Cape.  Yet its implementation is in jeopardy simply because we don’t know where it is.

 

I am pleased to announce though that my colleague, Dr Rishigen Viranna, will again table this Bill during the forthcoming weeks.

 

We expect acknowledgement and serious consideration of this Bill by the ANC in KZN.

 

The administrative bungling in some departments is so severe that they can be likened to badly run spaza shops.

 

This in turn impacts on the overall performance of government and again highlights the need to skilled and competent personnel.

 

Mr Premier, the people of KZN are running out of patience.

 

The ANC’s messages on billboards around the province will no longer wash.

 

One reads – “Be patient we are at work 24/7”.   Another says- KZN government has a master plan to eradicate poverty by 2030 – 1994 Liberation 2015 Implementation and 2030 Eradication.

 

The question is how much longer must the people of KZN be patient?

 

It is almost two decades since the start of ANC rule in our province yet poverty is endemic and many still don’t have basic services.

 

Hon Premier – the people of our province are not asking for much.

All they want is a government which hears their concerns and responds to them

All they want is a Cabinet and officials who put our province before their political careers and bank balances.

What they don’t want is more of the same.

 

Your challenge, Hon Premier, is to make this happen and not to settle for mediocrity in any way, shape or form.

 

The future of our province depends on it..

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SOPA 2015: Denial tops the agenda of Premier’s address

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga:

Today, Mpumalanga Premier, David Mabuza delivered a State of the Province Address (SOPA) that, if anything, demonstrated the extent of ANC government’s disconnection with the real state of the province.

 

The DA welcomes the Premier’s announcement that the Moloto Rail Corridor Development programme has now been approved and is included as part of the national Strategic Infrastructure Project 1: Unlocking the northern mineral belt.

 

The DA has for a long time been calling for the implementation of the Moloto Rail Corridor to alleviate the pressure on the ill-fated R537 Moloto Road.

 

Premier Mabuza has also heeded the DA’s call for the commercialisation of parks. This will free Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) to focus fully on its mandate of marketing tourism and conservation of biodiversity.

 

We are however disgusted at the Premier’s statement that loadshedding is a good problem and is a sign of development. Premier Mabuza sentiments are a clear sign of the ANC’s complete denial of the devastating effects of loadshedding on the economy.

 

Although the Premier mentioned that 86 710 jobs were created between 2008 and 2014, he failed to mention that, in this period, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 162 000, pushing the unemployment rate from 23% to 29.3%.

 

Also of concern is the fact that so much faith has been put on the controversial Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA) to handle massive infrastructure projects such as being the lead implementation agent of executing the development of the 10 hospitals earmarked for development over the next three years. This Agency failed to establish bulk water infrastructure, lost over 750 housing loan agreements and constantly fails to reach over 50% of their set targets.

 

With the housing backlog standing at 197 156, it is a worrying factor the Premier made no mention of how this issue would be addressed. Instead, he again promised to revitalise distressed mining towns, a promise that by his own admission has yet to be fulfilled.

 

The SOPA did not provide effective remedies to cure the multiple problems plaguing the province, instead, it was a game of denial self-congratulation of gains that in reality, were not achieved.

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DA KZN: Premier’s SOPA fails to meet the needs of expectations of ordinary people

Sizwe Mchunu, MPL

Leader of the DA in the KZN Legislature:

Today, KZN Premier, Senzo Mchunu, had the opportunity to deal with the bread and butter issues affecting the daily lives of our province’s citizens during his State of the Province Address.

 

Instead, he only touched on some and failed to come up with the tangible solutions that the people of our province are looking to him for.

 

Hopes for a revitalised KwaZulu-Natal – in line with provincial government’s 2030 vision – took a severe knock with the announcement that poverty and inequality rose from 25% to 28% between 2010 and 2014, economic growth rate was lower than expected, social inequality figures remained stagnant at 17% and consistently high crime levels continue to destabilise and limit investment in the province.

 

But the elephant in the room today had to be the misleading announcement of a 3% decrease in the provincial unemployment statistic to 20.8% – when in fact unemployment increased by 5.7% over the 2013/2014 period.

The figure is also very different to the 40% KZN unemployment rate announced to members of the KZN Economic Development and Tourism portfolio committee last week.  There was also no reference to the fact that this shock statistic relates to 70% of the youth in our province.

 

 

Not only do these figures raise serious doubts about the accuracy and credibility of the information provided to the Premier for his SOPA address – they also tell us that the plans to date, to deal with the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment, are failing spectacularly.

 

Yet another statistic offered by the Premier today relates to the housing delivery backlog, which he claims has dropped from 17.9% to 13% in just four years.

No province can do that and the DA will request a full breakdown of these figures.

 

Today the Premier disappointed on a number of issues, failing to even acknowledge them.  These included;

–          The disastrous state of local government in KZN and the unprecedented step of dissolving two municipalities

–          He did not mention the Durban to Pietermaritzburg train announced with much fanfare by the former Premier

–          There was no mention of the much-publicised Drakensburg cable way

–          He failed to mention last year’s matric cheating scandal which has compromised the integrity of a Grade 12 qualification in our province

–          The Premier’s sweeping statement – that bakkies used to transport will in future be banned – was unrealistic and unimpressive and fails to deal with the transport challenges that faces parents and children daily

–          Despite spending millions on a Commission of Inquiry into the deaths of candidate KZN RTI Officers, he made no mention of when the full report or any disciplinary measures would be communicated

–          Despite expressing concern about the scourge of rape and other violent crime, The Premier did not reveal any concrete plans to deal with this apart from saying there should be increased policing.  Meanwhile the ANC-led KZN government ignores the Community Safety Bill submitted by the DA some two years ago.

 

The DA believes that the people of KZN deserve a government which hears their concerns and responds to them.  They deserve a Cabinet and officials who put our province before their political careers and bank balances.

 

While many of the Premier’s intentions may be honourable, we have a challenge for him today – that he no longer settles for mediocrity in any way, shape or form.

The future of our province depends on it.

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Gauteng Premier should confront corruption and failed implementation

Summary extract of Speech by Jack Bloom MPL in debate on the Gauteng Premier’s State of the Province address on 26 February 2015:

Madam Speaker, the Honourable Premier spoke on his Ten Pillars of radical Transformation, Modernisation and Re-industrialisation, which he calls TMR for short.

 

When I was at university TM stood for Transcendental Meditation, so I wondered if TMR was an updated version.

 

Transcendental Meditation is all in the mind, which made me also wonder if the Honourable Premier is living in the same province as the rest of us.

 

This provincial government has a long history of failed promises, which is why it would be radical indeed if new promises were actually kept.

 

The truth is that we live in a dynamic province with dynamic people, which is why we have made welcome strides over the last 20 years.

 

But when it comes to the public sector, we see failure, waste and corruption that is a huge drain on what we are capable of achieving.

 

The Premier mentions huge building projects, but the only ones that are likely to be done in time and within budget are the private sector ones.

 

This provincial government is incapable of building anything in a cost-effective way that is anywhere near scheduled deadlines.

 

It’s not just big projects like the Jabulani and Natalspruit hospitals – a failed contractor has been paid R14.2 million for a half-built clinic in Randfontein.

 

The Premier praises Natalspruit as the hospital of the future, an exemplar of modernised health care.

 

He should do an unannounced visit there and he’ll find that many patients say they preferred the old hospital because it had shorter queues.

 

They have to re-register on the electronic system every time they come because it does not record their previous details.

 

The hospital is not too clean either and staff are leaving in droves. It’s really a great disappointment.

 

This department which has still not recovered from the rampant corruption that erupted when Honourable Member Brian Hlongwa took over as Health MEC.

 

The reason we still have paper files is that according to court documents, the health information contract was allegedly corruptly awarded in 2008. This R1.2 billion contract was cancelled but the department could not award a new contract because the Baoki Consortium was claiming damages for the cancellation.

 

The Boaki Consortium has now surrendered this claim because they concede that they cannot defend themselves against evidence that one of their senior directors, Mr Hans Smidek, bought Honourable Member Brian Hlongwa’s house for R4.6 million to assist him in buying a new house for R7.2 million.

 

This is part of a host of allegations about a “generally corrupt relationship” between former MEC Hlongwa and the 3P Consortium that was first supposed to “turn-around” the department.

 

We still hear about the turn-around in this department. The Premier says there is good progress and that the department will be out of administration by May this year.

 

But the Big C problem will remain. As observed by Reverend Frank Chikane, who was Director General of the Presidency under Thabo Mbeki: “Every tender and contract under an ANC government is designed to make someone in the ANC rich.”

 

The truth is that so long as there is corruption, cronyism and cadre deployment, there will be government failure and the people will suffer.

 

The criminal justice system is so slow that we still do not have accountability for the period when the Gauteng Health Department plunged into disaster.

 

The Honourable Premier is on record as saying at the ANC’s 2012 Policy Conference that stepping aside doesn’t mean a person is guilty, but no-one should “hide behind” the argument that they are innocent until proven guilty, and thereby worsen the “troubled image” of the party.

 

Honourable Premier, you weren’t the premier then, but you are now, and you will have a “troubled image” so long as Honourable Member Hlongwa is still an official representative of your party.

 

You are the lead figure in your party’s provincial leadership. You can show a decisive break with the past by ensuring that he is no longer a prominent representative of your party.

 

Honourable Premier, I think you should meditate on this.

 

This is a test case. The more you delay, the more you must expect scepticism that the real reason you cannot get rid of the rot is because it is entrenched in the way your party operates.

 

The choice is yours.

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