by Andrew Louw – DA Northern Cape Provincial Leader
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Date: 26 February 2019
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Northern Cape SOPA 2019 was probably one of the most desperate and uninspiring speeches that the people of the province have ever had to endure.
I suppose this should come as no surprise given that Hon. Premier Sylvia Lucas never really wanted to take to the podium in the first place.
Hon. Premier, you had an ideal opportunity to take the people of the province into your confidence around the charges you laid with the Hawks regarding alleged corruption to the value of R26 million, relating to MEC of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Mac Jack, I want to remind you, Hon. Premier, that we are still waiting.
Your silence, however, doesn’t come as a surprise to me. You already hung up your title late last year and retreated into the background, after the ANC confirmed your unpopularity in the ruling faction.
It must therefore have been very difficult for you, as a broken Premier, to have to stand in front of your adversaries and take the heat in government’s Mitta Seperepere Convention Centre, with its broken air conditioners, in an orchestrated show of unity by the broken ANC.
It must have been even harder having to declare that all is well in the Northern Cape, when everybody knows that the Northern Cape is in very poor shape.
I wonder who the failing and uncaring ANC government thinks it is fooling?
Its certainly not fooling the approximately 1 million citizens of the Northern Cape who are dependent on state health care.
It is our social responsibility to be honest about the collapse of the health sector, so we can fix its decline and offer basic services to communities who desperately need it.
It cannot be that pregnant women must give birth in hospital staircases because lifts are out of order or give birth in cars because ambulances are unavailable.
It cannot be that dedicated nurses, doctors, pharmacists and other specialists have to fight for their salaries while the Health Department is fighting its own employees in legal battles.
Yet the Hon. Premier creates the impression that nothing is wrong in the health sector.
It serves no purposes to brag with the amount of clinics or hospitals built when these facilities cannot be operationalized.
I have witnessed, during my tour, that these beautiful white elephants serve no purpose to many communities that need them so desperately.
Hon. Premier, the people of the Northern cape need change, and they need it now.
About ten years ago, the Robert Sobukwe Hospital had about 1000 nurses working at the facility. By last year, the number of nurses working at the hospital had declined to 450.
This says it all – the ANC is no longer capable of managing the real problems that our people face.
The Hon. Premier is also certainly not fooling the 43% of our youth, who sit at home because they can’t find a job.
The Northern Cape has the second highest unemployment rate in the country, and it is the most difficult place in the entire South Africa for young people to find a job, according to research done by Adzuna.
For some of you, unemployment statistics might just be numbers but, when you visit a young woman who is unable to breastfeed her child after her milk dried up because she cannot afford to buy food, and you watch as she feeds her child sugared water from a jug, then these statistics take on a whole new meaning.
This is the honest truth. Unemployment is a reality, it is only the ANC that doesn’t see the mess and crisis it created.
This is why the DA wants to increase the value of the Child Grant to meet the food poverty line of R547 for starters.
This is also why the DA says we want a job in every home.
This, however, will never happen under an ANC-led government. Instead, under their watch for the past 25 years, they have transformed the Northern Cape into the Nonviable Cape, which is in no way conducive for job creation and growth.
I have got it on good authority that well known businesses are looking at relocating or taking job creating expansion elsewhere. This is at a great loss to our people, who are desperate for jobs but are excluded from the economy because they lack the political connections currently needed to get a job.
Well, unlike the ANC, the DA wants to take everyone along to be part of the economy.
We believe that every person who is able to work should be able to access employment opportunities and support themselves and their families. This isn’t a pipedream. The DA can and does deliver. We have a proven track record where we govern.
The DA-led Western Cape has the lowest unemployment rate in South Africa at 14 percentage points below the national average on the expanded definition. The Western Cape has also managed to created half of all the jobs in South Africa in the past year.
The DA will do the same in the Northern Cape when we take over.
Instead of kickbacks for government employees, we will offer tax incentives to entrepreneurs to kickstart business.
The DA will create job centres throughout the Northern Cape that provide information, advice and free internet to job-seekers.
We will also increase funding assistance to small businesses and do away with red tape that stifles growth, at the same time removing blockages that make it hard to conduct business, such as an unsustainable supply of water, as a result of the Kimberley water shutdowns.
The DA knows how to attract and retain investment, unlike the ANC who only knows how to cling on to corruption.
This said, it also comes as no surprise that the Hon. Premier had such a little to say in her SOPA about fighting corruption. In fact, she tried to defend corrupt civil servants and politicians by implying that they have been corrupted by participants in the private sector.
The only conclusion that I can draw is that the ANC remains soft on corruption in spite of what President Cyril Ramaphosa says. In other words, the ANC is no longer a political party, instead it is a sophisticated racketeering system that enriches the elites at the top while millions continue to live in abject poverty!
The ANC talks about corruption. The DA acts against corruption.
A classic example is the new anti-corruption unit that DA Mayor Herman Mashaba established in Gauteng. The unit has uncovered R17 billion in corrupt activities. His unit has also investigated more than 2400 cases of fraud, corruption, theft and maladministration in just one year. As a result, there were 362 arrests, 15 suspensions and 27 dismissals.
What can you tell us about the Northern Cape Hon. Premier? Let me give you the answer – “sweet boggerall”.
The DA will get rid of corruption by creating a new, independent and fully-resourced anti-corruption unit staffed by specialist prosecutors and investigators.
We will introduce a 15-year sentence for corruption involving a public representative or official and over R10 000’s worth of public money.
A corruption-free future will ultimately free up billions of rands that can rather be spent on the people of this province, not least of all the dignity of housing opportunities.
The housing backlog in the province is ever growing and at the last known date stood at 24 865.
Every time projects are delayed and funds are misallocated, the possibility of ever eliminating this backlog slips away even further. In fact, under the ANC government, at the current rate of progress, it will take over 87 years to meet the housing backlog.
The DA, however, has a plan to speed up the delivery of housing.
We will upgrade informal settlements and speed up service delivery.
We will also ensure that people who qualify for government housing quickly get the ability to receive a decent home. During my Listening Tour, I have discovered the real need of housing, especially when I met Oom Pieter Van der Sandt who resides in Karos, not too very far from where you live in Upington, Hon. Premier.
During my conversation, Oom Pieter told me that at the age of 72, he is still living in a reed hut. His biggest wish is to get a house, which he can leave behind for his only daughter. This will enable him to die in peace.
In the meantime, Hon. Premier, your administration brags by saying Thuma Mina. How can the electorate trust you, while you can’t even get the basic things right. Things that you and your administration have control over. These are things that Hon. Premier, I am preprared to address without asking whether a person is an ANC member or not.
On top of this, the DA will also accelerate urban land reform by giving every housing beneficiary a title deed to their own home.
This is because the DA, unlike the ANC, values property rights. Property empowers people, property frees people, property releases loans and property enables us to pass something of worth onto our children.
Speaking about our children, I now want to touch on a very sensitive matter.
I want to ask the uncaring ANC government why is it only since President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his intention to eradicate all pit latrines, that this province is propelled into action to target the schools that urgently require ablution facilities?
What were you waiting for, another child to fall in a pit latrine and die such an unspeakable death?
Why, 25 years after democracy, do we still have 23 schools in the province with pit latrines anyway?
If our children are not even safe at schools, then where are they safe because our communities have turned into drug nests and crime havens?
If you think I am over-exaggerating, let me inform you that Stats SA’s Victims of Crime Survey, released late last year, indicates that people in the Northern Cape are more likely to become victims of robberies and housebreakings than people living in any other province.
These Hon. Premier are the issues most affecting our people. I agree with you that “crime remains an unnecessary evil that we can do without” but what are you going to do about it? These are the issues that the people want you to address.
The ANC cannot, however, address crime with the mafia run police force that we have in the Northern Cape!
Hon. Premier, if it’s the last thing that you do as the head of the provincial government, I want you to investigate the purchase of a R2,9 million vehicle, for Police Commissioner Rismati Shivuri, with taxpayers money.
I also want you to look into the police “saamtrek” organised to take place in Kuruman next weekend, at a cost of R450 000. This, while the police offices don’t even have working fax and copy machines and printing paper.
Hon. Premier, we are sitting with a manmade crisis in the police force, which is headed up by a police commissioner who is more of a “nice time guy” than he is a “crime fighting guy”. He prefers to deploy police out of the towns where they work, so he can organise talk shops to boost his personal image. At the same time, he has pushed the divorce rate in the police sky high because he is unnecessarily deploying police officers away from their families for weeks at a time.
Our police force is in turmoil and we urgently need to restore integrity in our police force.
Well, I will tell you what the DA will do to make our police service honest, professional and effective.
On a national level, we will allow capable provinces to take over from the national government and be responsible for running policing.
We will then also focus on:
Fighting corruption within the police;
Retraining police officers to serve and protect with pride;
Hiring people with a passion for policing;
Instituting an effective drug-busting force within the South African Police Service and;
Ensuring that law and order is maintained in our communities, and that there are effective arrests, prosecutions and convictions of criminals.
We will also ensure that police serve protection orders within one month by expanding the number of sexual offences courts.
Once again, I pose the question, what will the ANC government do?
The Hon. Premier said in her speech, and I quote, “that a single term of government is too short a time to complete our project of building a prosperous, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa”.
Well, I think you got it wrong Hon. Premier.
The broken ANC bus has been at the helm of the Northern Cape government for 25 years, not just five years. And in this time, you have hit a number of your own potholes.
You have had ample opportunity to turn the state of this province around, but you failed.
Now you are heading for a write off, come 8th May 2019.
And the DA will be there to pick up the pieces and build One South Africa for All. And mark my words, we are a party that gets things.
DA Northern Cape Provincial Leader
082 383 6914
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387