by DA Media –
Date: 30 November 2017
Note to editors: The speech below was delivered by DA Provincial Leader, Andrew Louw MPL, during the closing sitting of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature, held at the Phokwane Municipality in Hartswater today.
As we put another long year to bed, I want to thank the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature, and especially the Deputy Speaker, for the humanity that you have shown me throughout my illness during the last quarter of 2017. I appreciate the flowers, the well wishes and the leave of absence granted so that I could work towards a full recovery. For this, I sincerely wish to thank you.
Hon. Speaker, this has been a tumultuous year indeed.
We had a rocky start to 2017, with the chaos of relocating the NCPL, as well as working out of boxes and without telephones, internet and photocopy machines for an extended period of time. It was not easy and it was not pleasant, but we persevered.
We do not know when we will be returning to the old legislature precinct, but I want to appeal to the Hon. Speaker to ensure that, next time round, the move is more efficient and less disruptive, especially to the work of political parties.
The next big upheaval, Hon. Speaker, was the provincial elective conference of the ANC and all its infighting.
I would be failing in my duty as leader of the opposition if I refrained from mentioning that this impacted on legislature proceedings. It caused many a delay and many a reconfiguration of the programme and ultimately hampered the legislature’s oversight role.
This is worrisome considering that the latest audit report indicated that irregular expenditure for the last financial year totaled R1,732 million and that pure non-compliance with Supply Chain Management processes was predominantly to blame.
Given the extent of this financial mismanagement, I do not, in all honesty, think that the legislature has done justice in probing the happenings within Northern Cape departments.
I think that party loyalty far too often sees MPL’s turning a blind eye to serious irregularities. It also gets in the way of convening special committee meetings and it particularly inhibits SCOPA from launching investigations into incidents of grave misconduct.
Hon. Speaker, Guptagate should serve as a stern warning to the NCPL that, as with other state institutions, the legislature has, in all probability, been infiltrated by Guptonians. Hence, we must not drop our guard.
On a more positive note, however, Mugabegate should also serve as a reminder to all of us that no one is beyond reproach and that eventually the past will catch up to you, be it in three years, or thirty.
Hon. Speaker, what I am saying is that, despite elements of rot within state institutions, including the legislature, we must not be intimidated and we must not give up trying to do what is right. This is the very least that the people of the Northern Cape deserve.
Hon. Speaker, we must also not give up hope.
Yes, our democracy is in tatters. Yes, unemployment and poverty are at an all time high. Yes, we have hit junk status again. And yes, our country is being run by a mafia.
But I truly believe that change is coming.
In closing, I want to leave all Hon. Members of this House with something to mull over during the coming holidays.
If you have become despondent within your political home, you have every right to look elsewhere. So jump, before your ship sinks. The waters are blue and if you choose to swim, you will steer this country and this province towards an undiscovered island, full of opportunity, full of freedom and full of fairness.
Hon. Members, I wish you all a safe and enjoyable festive season with your loved ones. May you all return to a more prosperous 2018.
Andrew Louw MPL
DA Northern Cape Provincial Leader
082 383 6914
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387