DA Northern Cape Leader
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The Democratic Alliance in the Northern Cape hopes that Thursday’s State of the Nation Address will finally shed more light on past commitments to establish a university in the Northern Cape, as well as past promises of massive investment in infrastructure in the province.
Last year, the president made big promises regarding investment in infrastructure in the Northern Cape, which he said would “industrialize” the country. Of major significance is the development of a major new South Eastern node that would improve the industrial and agricultural development and export capacity of the Eastern Cape region and expand the province’s economic and logistic linkages with the Northern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal. The expansion of the iron-ore rail between Sishen in the Northern Cape and Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape, to create large numbers of jobs in both provinces, is also noteworthy. We have, however, received little information relating to these infrastructure projects from provincial departments and what we can gather is that things remain in the planning phase. We hope the president makes a definite pronouncement on timeframes, deadlines, available equity and so on because investors are getting tired of the inherent uncertainty when it comes to government commitments such as these. There is an urgent “need to know” by investors and business people in the Northern Cape, many of whom are currently weighing up whether or not to migrate or takes take their investments elsewhere, to other provinces and even countries. If we hope to maintain and grow the economy of the country and not least of all the Northern Cape, government can ill afford to diddle daddle any longer. People want concrete evidence that government is doing what it has promised. Without this, our economy is doomed to fail.
Last year, President Zuma also announced an allocation of R300 million for preparatory work towards building new universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape. Talks and endeavours towards establishing a university in the province have been on the backburner for far too long now, but at this stage there still remains much uncertainty as to whether this project is in fact going ahead or not. We hope that the President clarifies government’s true stance on this university and does not continue to use promises of such an institution as a political tool.
The DA further desires to hear a resolute pronouncement by the president on the long overdue youth wage subsidy, for which R5 billion was already budgeted. Eventual implementation of the wage subsidy would do much to assist first time job seekers to enter the jobs playing field. Hand in hand with this, we would expect nothing less than a denouncement of Cosatu by the President, as a result of their selfish intentions to stop the implementation of the subsidy.