SPEECH NOTES BY BOBBY STEVENSON, DA LEGISLATURE LEADER SPEAKING ON THE ANNUAL REPORT AND THE FINANCIAL OVERSIGHT OF THE VOTE TO THE PROVINCIAL LEGISLATURE

Somlomo, Nkulumbuso,

abapathiswa bePhondo, amalungu eNdlu

iNdwendwe zethu

Ndini bulisa egameni le-DA..

I would like to begin by congratulating the speakership and the management of this institution for the clean audit without any emphasis of matter that this institution received. This is a magnificent achievement of which you can be very proud of. Particularly so because no other Department in this Province has achieved this status.

There have also been many positive achievements over the years. For example, the chamber and the committee rooms. Members are well resourced within this institution with equipment and so are political parties. We also are very privileged that we have opportunities to attend conferences to improve portfolio knowledge. The improvement to the way our salaries are being paid is also acknowledged as well as improvements to issues with our houses.

Ningadinwa Nangamso.

The approachability of the Speakership and top management is also acknowledged. I also believe that one of the great assets of this institution is the spirit of multi partyism that exists here.

Members treat each other with dignity and respect. The way we conduct our politics in this institution is an example for the rest of the Province.

Having said this there is a need for me to point out that there is an expectations gap that still needs to be filled. And that surrounds some of the minor issues.

I really don’t want to talk about some of these things from the platform but I want to illustrate one by way of example. For at least six months of this year, four of my colleagues tried to obtain new batteries because the batteries on their computers ceased to work.

After many months of trying the message came back that they are unavailable. I am someone who never takes no for an answer. I made one phone call to one supplier in Port Elizabeth. They phoned me back three hours later having found the best quote. A week later I received a call to ask where they could deliver the batteries. We need to be careful that in this institution we do not have too many managers and too few people that can actually do the work that needs to be done. Some functions in this Legislature clearly need to be outsourced.

However, the big picture is to improve our oversight work so that this Province can surge ahead when it comes to service delivery so the people of this Province can get the services that they deserve – that we have the type of administration in place in all departments that is conducive to creating a climate of efficiency that will help to promote economic growth.

Good administration attracts good investments and good investments create jobs.

IN the committee report before us there is a recommendation that we need to review our model. Committee work can be done a lot smarter. By reading reports before meetings and allowing meetings purely for questioning and clarities as opposed to presentations, would save half the time.

But Honourable Speaker this is a minor adjustment. What we really need to do as leaders is to be seized by a vision to make this a vibrant people’s assembly that all people in this Province will be interested to attend. For most part of this year in many of our sittings and debates there was not a single journalist present. What does this tell you about the relevance of this institution?

It wasn’t always like this. In the 1990s there were sittings that went on till midnight and MEC’s made important announcements from the platforms. There were more questions for oral reply, there were interpellations. Government is failing to use this institution to it’s advantage to make important statements and pronouncements. Other Legislatures sit once a week.

I believe that a feeling crept in amongst the governing party that if we have too many sittings and questions for oral reply, we are going to give the opposition too much oxygen and they are going to get publicity.

The opposition does not need sittings and questions for oral reply to get publicity. We can do that outside of sittings. What we want to see is a vibrant culture of democratic accountability instilled in this Province. There is no doubt if we had more regular sittings, there would be greater accountability. We look forward to the workshop on this matter.

There are other issues that we are concerned about. The overloading of the server is a critical issue and if SITA cannot sort out these problems, we really believe that the Legislature needs to have it’s own network. At some stages our support staff were unable to type letters because you couldn’t save them on the server.

The legislature budgeting also needs to improve. We note that in the last financial year R43 million was unspent and this budget and oversight committee actually recommended that it be returned to the Provincial Revenue fund. We also note that R20 million is going to be surrendered from the current budget.

There needs to be a common understanding when it comes to function and they should be discussed in full by the internal arrangements committee where all parties are present. A lavishness has crept into this institution which we do not agree with.

In the coming year this institution really needs to get on top of the service delivery issues in this Province.

It is us that can hold Departments and the executive accountable. There is never going to be drastic change in this Province and improvements unless we are prepared to make the changes in this institution. There is a slogan – if it’s going to be it’s up to me. We, as leaders, need to rise up and lead and bring about the change that this Province needs.

Ndini nquenela iKrisimesi emande.