by Andrew Louw – DA Northern Cape Premier Candidate
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Date: 06 December 2018
Note to editors: The following is an extract from a speech presented to the media at a press briefing by Northern Cape Premier Candidate, Andrew Louw MPL at the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature today on the Northern Cape’s Report Card.
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Please find attached an Afrikaans and an English soundbite by the DA Northern Cape Premier Candidate, Andrew Louw.
As we come to the end of yet another term under the leadership of the failing ANC, I have this year opted to rate the performance of the Northern Cape Provincial Government as a single unit, as opposed to assessing performance per department.
I have done this because, when it comes to the issues that most affect the people of the Northern Cape, these are not neatly categorised per department.
Instead, the most pressing concerns of this era, including: jobs, crime, corruption, service delivery and immigration, all spill over into a number of portfolios.
Given that Premier Sylvia Lucas is currently the political leader of the government administration, albeit superficially, this report card is therefore made out to her.
Nonetheless, her cabinet members, whom, it goes without saying also play a significant role in the ultimate state of the Northern Cape, as well as the failing ANC provincial leadership, which generally tends to confuse the roles of the party and the state and thus also have a substantial influence on issues of governance, should share responsibility for the grading that I am about to announce.
Let me get straight to the point.
I have scored the Northern Cape provincial government poorly. This may sound harsh but the realities faced by the people of the Northern Cape, as a direct result of this government’s failures, are even harsher.
Since 2014, the Department of Economic Development and Tourism as well as Provincial Treasury, have been piloted by acting heads of department.
Given the inherent leadership crisis within these two departments, that are in effect tasked with the economic growth and financial matters of the province, it is little wonder that provincial government has failed to foster an environment that is conducive to job creating growth.
The province’s expanded unemployment rate of above 40% speaks volumes in this regard.
On top of this, the Northern Cape has the highest unemployment rate for youth aged between 15 and 24 years of age, meaning that the chances of young people getting work later in life are so much less than their peers in other provinces. This paints a very bleak and hopeless future for our youth.
Often, as we speak of unemployment in numbers, we fail to comprehend the gravity of exactly what joblessness in the Northern Cape context means.
In the Northern Cape, unemployment is so severe that it directly causes poverty. In fact, according to Stats SA’s latest Poverty Trends report released last year, 59 % of people in the Northern Cape live in poverty, meaning that more than half of the population in the Northern Cape is largely dependent on grants to put food on the table.
Poverty generally translates into hunger, hence the Northern Cape finds itself with one of the highest rates of child hunger in the country.
Let me tell you that child hunger is indeed painful to witness.
On my Premier Campaign Listening Tour, I recently came across a mother in Upington, who had nothing but water to feed her crying baby. This was heart breaking to witness and touched me deeply.
Worst of all, this is not an isolated case.
It is therefore little wonder that the Northern Cape has the highest rate of child stunting due to a combination of malnutrition and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, in the country.
This is a shocking symptom of chronic poverty and is most definitely not an achievement that this government can be proud of.
I therefore score the government of Sylvia Lucas and the failing ANC, an “F” on job creation.
Another symptom of the high unemployment rate is crime, as it relates to theft for food and other essentials to survive.
But there are also other reasons for crime in the Northern Cape, most notably our under-staffed, under-equipped and under-capacitated police service. Coupled with this is the inability of the Department of Safety to ensure effective oversight of SAPS.
In effect, we have police stations without enough police officers and patrol vehicles to attend to emergency calls, to investigate cases and to apprehend perpetrators.
It is therefore not surprising that the Stats SA’s Victims of Crime Survey indicates that people in the Northern Cape are more likely to become victims of robberies and housebreakings than their fellow South Africans living in other provinces.
During my Listening Tour in the month of 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women and Children, I also saw that in the Northern Cape there is a lack of political will, that filters down from top police management all the way to our constables, to deal decisively with cases of gender-based violence.
In effect, the Northern Cape boasts the second highest ratio of rapes in the country.
The provincial Health Department also reported earlier this year that the incidence of violent crimes perpetrated against women and children is significantly on the increase in the Northern Cape, with more and more murders of these vulnerable groupings being reported.
On top of this, there is a growing trend of violent crime amongst our youth in the Northern Cape, increasingly making the youth of this province the victims and the perpetrators of such crimes.
In fact, information provided by the Northern Cape Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison, suggests that 61,4% of the suspects arrested for contact crimes during 2016/2017 financial year, which include murder sexual offences and assault, were below the age of 29, with the youngest accused being just 11-years old. The department further says that, the fact that more than 45% of the youth is unemployed has a definite impact on crime statistics.
Once again, as far as crime is concerned, this province’s high rankings in certain crime categories, are a disgrace to the Northern Cape government.
I therefore score the government of Sylvia Lucas and the failing ANC an “F” on combatting crime.
Unfortunately, crime has not just crept past our gates and burglar bars into our homes, but it has also extended its tentacles into the top levels of government.
Irregular expenditure by the provincial government stood at over R1,1 billion at the end of the 2017/2018 financial year due to non-compliance with Supply Chain Management processes for which there can no longer be excuses, other than fraud and corruption.
The Northern Cape Fleet Management Trading Entity and the EPWP Kimberley Cleaning project are treated as cash cows for connected cadres and ANC political programmes.
The Premier is accused of protecting a close family member working in the Department of Transport, who appears to have evaded punishment for her key role in the issuing of hundreds of fraudulent taxi licenses to provincial operators.
The Health Department this week conceded in court that fraud was at play in the longstanding fax and copier scandal, that was finally concluded in favour of a service provider whose contract was unduly terminated to make space for a connected tenderpreneur instead.
The Premier retains in her cabinet the MEC of Economic Development and Provincial Treasury, whom she herself reported to the Hawks on corruption allegations.
The same MEC has overseen the management of the Economic Growth and Development Fund (EGDF), which has proven to be nothing more than a smokescreen for corruption, kickbacks and fraud.
In fact, the programme manager of the EGDF has admitted that funds are allocated to projects that the department knows full well will fail. It’s all about the building of a patronage network instead of empowering deserving entrepreneurs. We’ve seen it in the collapsed Maloof Money Cup/Kimberley Diamond Cup Skateboarding competition, the short-lived bed factory, the Douglas biscuit factory that saw just 15 jobs created after R30 million was allocated to the project over a two-year period. We’ve seen it in money that was appropriated to Bosco to host the controversial Flamingo Park Horse race.
Believe me, it is no coincidence that the department has since transferred the administration of the EGDF to the NC SMME Trust, in an attempt to conceal further abuse of the fund.
From his luxury prison cell, corruption kingpin, John Block, continues to pull the strings of strategically placed puppets, who are scattered across provincial government departments and throughout the ruling party, to continue his looting spree.
Meanwhile, the ANC is anxiously waiting to welcome him back into their ranks after he gets out of prison. This is an ANC that endorses and supports corruption, not an ANC that denounces and fights corruption.
The list goes on and on. It is a never-ending tribute to corruption by the failing ANC government. What an uninspiring victory for them to have under their belt.
I therefore score the government of Sylvia Lucas and the failing ANC an “F” on combatting corruption.
In effect, financial resources are diverted from where they are needed most into the pockets of a connected few. And at the end of the day, it is always the poor people that suffer the most from the breakdown of government services.
Most noteworthy is the collapse of health care in the province that is at an all time low since the dawn of democracy.
The number of nurses employed by the state have been halved over the years and tiny, innocent babies in the neonatal ICU at Robert Sobukwe Hospital, are suffering the most.
Thousands of TB patients have been lost to the system, not receiving treatment and infecting their friends and family, due to inadequate systems.
Thousands of patients living with HIV and AIDS have also been lost to the system and are not receiving their anti-retroviral medication. Once again, this is due to a breakdown of health services.
Thousands of patients requiring mental health services cannot access them due to a lack of services. This in turn stems from the corruption that delayed the completion of the new mental hospital for over a decade, ultimately leaving the department without funds to operationalize the facility now that it has finally been completed.
Only about half of the Emergency Medical vehicles required to service the province are operational, with most being operated by single-crew staff.
Stock of medication and medical supplies are always dangerously low. Health equipment and infrastructure are also not maintained, posing additional risks to patients and staff.
I could speak for a day on the dire state of health services alone but other department’s also have their failures.
COGHSTA for example has failed dismally in supporting ailing municipalities. Month after month we see power cuts due to unpaid and unmanageable Eskom debts.
We continue to see ANC factionalism bringing service delivery to a standstill. If its not Sol Plaatje, its Dikgatlong or Phokwane or Gamagara municipality in the limelight for all the wrong reasons.
We also see a growing sewerage crisis developing across the province.
We see a declining state of our roads.
We see a growing number of dysfunctional libraries.
Without a doubt, I am therefore left with no choice but to score the government of Sylvia Lucas and the failing ANC an “F” on service delivery.
Last but not least is the issue of illegal immigration.
While it is not per say a function of the provincial government, the provincial government is turning a blind eye to the weakened state of our borders, to non-existent port health, to inadequate border fencing on rural land, to risky animal control and even to secret smuggling routes and the possible threat of diamond losses due to a lack of policing of the ocean boundaries.
The fact that Lucas and her cabinet choose to remain quiet and inactive on these matters, is a serious transgression in itself.
I score the government of Sylvia Lucas and the failing ANC an “F” on combatting illegal immigration.
In effect, the government of Premier Sylvia Lucas and the failing ANC has flunked, failed and foregone their right to continue governing this province.
They get a big, fat “F” for utterly poor performance.
They have had 24 years to prove themselves but they took a serious wrong turn, they lost their way and now they cannot self-correct.
If we continue on the path of the failing ANC, there will be nothing left of this province, nothing left of state resources and nothing left of the already scant government services on offer to our people.
It is time to take away the power of the failing ANC. It is time to rebuild this province. It is time for change.
Come the end of 2019, I want the DA to be at the receiving end of the annual scorecard presentation. I want to show the people of this province that we are capable of bringing change that puts them first. That we have implementable plans to turn the tide on unemployment, on crime, on corruption, on dismal service delivery and on illegal immigration. And that we, the DA, carry the concerns of the people in our hearts.
If the people of this province want a government that is capable of delivering A+ services, then they must lend their vote to the DA and put us to the test come next year’s elections.
This is my plea to the over 1 million residents of this province: vote for a party that cares and is working to bring change that builds One South Africa for All.