A FORCE FOR CHANGE – MAKING A DIFFERENCE

The above statement is the theme that Bobby Stevenson, Legislature Leader, outlined to the caucus under which the Democratic Alliance in the Provincial Legislature needs to position itself.

“We are not only here to point out the failures of the ANC or put forward policy alternatives, but also to use our position in the Legislature to make a tangible difference in the lives of individuals and communities in this province”, he said.

“This is achieved by forcibly driving issues with all the parliamentary tools at our disposal. The plight of a poor, unpaid pensioner is of equal importance as is funding for our IDZs. By touching the lives of individuals and communities the DA will truly brand itself as a difference maker.

“This can only be achieved if we operate as a team – a team being MPLs and staff working together as a cohesive unit”.

As Stevenson is fond of saying: “Teamwork makes dream work and not one of us is cleverer than all of us”.

After a long and hard election campaign, the orientation of new MPLs, the first two legislature sittings of the new term and even some overseas visits, the new team at the Legislature is settling in and getting down to business.

The Democratic Alliance remains a strong and stabilising force within the Legislature. This was proven again last week, when the majority party agreed to debate two DA motions in the House, which has set the tone for improved working relationships in the Legislature.

The motion by Dacre Haddon, regarding the rectification of houses, is an encouraging step in improving service delivery in the province, and was passed with minor amendments. The House resolved that:

  • all houses identified for rectification in this financial year in the province, be repaired by the end of this financial year;
  • the MEC establish in conjunction with the National Housing Task Team a system to ensure that this rectification programme be speeded up and completed by the end of the financial year;
  • the MEC ascertain the exact number of housing units in the Province to be rectified and provide the exact budget as may be required for the project, with report back to the Portfolio Committee for Housing and the House within 30 days.

Pine Pienaar’s motion, regarding better preventative measures against the H1N1 flu virus, was passed, without amendment. The House resolved that the Department of Health ensures:

  • awareness amongst the people of the Eastern Cape;
  • testing procedures for people suspected to be infected with the H1N1 virus as well as international visitors to this province;
  • preventative measures be taken to curb the spreading of the virus; and
  • treatment is given for people infected with the virus.

Only when we debate the hard issues can we hope to find workable solutions. No one party has a monopoly over solutions for our  provinces’ problems. These debates will position the legislature as a stronger force to ensure greater accountability from the  departments.