Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle delivered his State of the Province Address in the Bhisho legislature today.
The DA noted that the Premier’s state of the province address was more retrospective and read like an annual report. And this retrospection brought their late response to the consequences of the drought into stark relief.
The devastation of this drought could have been predicted and precipitated appropriate and pro-active assistance to the agricultural economy if the government had paid better attention to the forecasts of a record impending El Niño phenomenon.
The Premier’s comment on the government’s intervention in the education
crisis, unfortunately, holds little credibility as education has been in a critical condition in the Eastern Cape for many, many years. The 10% decline in the matric pass rate in the northern areas of Port Elizabeth is indicative of a department in chaos.
The Premier said very little about how we are going to deal with economic challenges, especially those precipitated by President Zuma’s firing of finance minister Nhlanhla Nene and replacement with an unknown backbencher, Des van Rooyen the end of last year. Premier Masualle gave no indication what his government will do about the record unemployment of youth in the province, with the figure being 47.3 % in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.
If the government can’t grow jobs in its biggest economic centre, how are they going to do that in the platteland that is gripped by recession and drought?
Lastly, the Premier’s reference to local government being stable is a matter of grave concern, as it is a reflection of his detachment from reality. An example of this is that our two metro cities, Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City have respectively had an unprecedented turnover of mayors and municipal managers for the last fifteen years that speak of total instability, not to mention their poor performance in service delivery, governance and financial accountability.
The DA will be providing the Premier with their ideas on how to deal with the seminal challenges in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday during the Sopa-debate in the provincial legislature. — Athol Trollip MPL, Provincal Leader