23 February 2017
The table was set for premier Sylvia Lucas to deliver a State of the Province Address which prioritises economic growth, job creation and service delivery. Instead of giving hope and confidence, however, she chose to repeat her usual rhetoric and failed to provide tangible solutions to challenges facing the province.
It should also be noted that the premier misrepresented the facts on the audit outcomes for 2015/16. Contrary to her assertions, the Western Cape also achieved clean audits in its three main oversight bodies. We invite the premier to familiarise herself with the facts before she embarrasses herself in public by speaking untruths.
We are concerned that she ducked and dived on the absorption of graduates into the mainstream of the Northern Cape economy. The reality is that we are preparing people for employment in other provinces, as there is no retention strategy and graduates whose studies are funded by provincial departments are not given employment opportunities. Unemployment has skyrocketed under the premier’s watch. She keeps talking about strategies and plans, but nothing happens on the ground. The only reason she mentions youth employment is to attract support going into the elective conference.
In previous years, the premier was brave enough to speak about the ongoing controversy surrounding the mental health hospital. She has said nothing about it this year, because she has run out of ideas on how to ensure that a facility that has been “under construction” since 2005 actually gets completed. If the premier does not know how to do her job, she must go and take her useless MECs with her.
The premier talked at length about the importance of Batho Pele, but failed to address the collapse of health services in the province. The department of Health is run by officials who without consultation stop paying salaries over the Christmas period and the premier simply shrugs this off.
The provincial and municipal administration is being run by consultants who are marched in to do the work assigned to highly paid officials. We see time and again that municipal staff like CFOs are appointed on the basis of their political connections, not their merit. Yet the premier chose to remain silent on the takeover of the provincial administration by consultants.
It cannot be that government abdicates its responsibility to mine houses to provide infrastructure. The core responsibility of mine houses is to create jobs, not to fund and implement the projects that should be provided for by our taxes. The truth of the matter is that funds allocated for infrastructure projects are mismanaged, often for political and personal gain by the ruling party, and now mine houses are expected to do government’s job for them.
The provincial administration has proven itself incapable of managing and maintaining infrastructure and high impact projects. We have lost the Kimberley Diamond Cup to the Western Cape after millions was invested in the project, yet the premier brags that we are an adventure destination.
Ultimately, the premier has again proven that she has a great capacity for making promises and failing to follow through on them.
DA Provincial Leader in the Northern Cape
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071 251 5558