by Andrew Louw – DA Northern Cape Provincial Leader
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Date: 26 February 2018
The Democratic Alliance wants Premier Sylvia Lucas to show some boldness and show who is charge, especially with the undercurrents happening within the ANC, when she delivers the State of the Province Address on Wednesday. We know that the premier is distracted by political infighting within the ANC and that this address might very well be her last, but she needs to focus on the people now and the politics later.
In her previous State of the Province Address, the premier spoke at length about the national nine point plan aimed at expanding the provincial economy. This plan has not taken effect in the provincial administration, with the exception of nine bullet points being copied and pasted into departments’ reports. As the recent Quarterly Labour Force Survey shows, our expanded unemployment rate remains one of the highest in the country and the ANC-led provincial administration has proven incapable of addressing the structural inequalities which underpin the high unemployment rates.
While the premier previously bragged that the Back to Basics programme is bearing fruit in the province, the reality is that fifteen of our municipalities are rated as ‘dysfunctional’. When one considers how frequent electricity and water disconnections have become, it is easy to see just how dysfunctional our municipalities truly are.
The premier must also announce a better way forward for the departments of health and education, which are on the brink of dysfunctionality themselves. While the Democratic Alliance will support any MEC who works towards the good of the people, we wait with baited breath to see if the newly appointed MEC for Health, Fufe Makatong, will address the rot in the department of health.
Instead of hoping that announcing a few new projects will distract us from service delivery problems in the province, the premier must give some feedback on outstanding projects. We do not want to hear that the mental health hospital is still under construction. We want to hear when it will be operational, when the doors will open and when the first patients will begin treatment at this much-needed facility.
We look forward to hearing, in greater detail, how the province will benefit from the announcement of drought relief in the president’s State of the Nation Address. The drought has crippled the agricultural sector and our farmers need to receive drought relief sooner rather than later.
The people of the Northern Cape are tired of hearing about the same plans every year. Only a DA-led government can bring Total Change to the Northern Cape, where policies are implemented, corruption is tackled, jobs are created and services are delivered.
We are tired of politics and promises, we need implementation now.