Reply by Athol Trollip, Leader of the official opposition to the State of the Province Address

Hon. Speaker

I said on Friday that the Premier’s SoPA was more reflective than forward looking

and this was echoed later by the Nelson Mandela Business Chamber.

Reflection is important in such an address but vision casting is more

important, especially in times of economic hardship compounded by joblessness and

a record drought.

Having listened very carefully to what you said last week and reread your 2015

SoPA I realized that what you undertook to do last year hasn’t all materialized and

some of what you did didn’t produce the intended or desired outcomes.

Outcomes are actually what define successful governments and not outputs and this

is why we battle so much in this Provincial Government and our Municipal

Governments to get favourable Auditor General Reports, because outputs don’t

equate to outcomes.

Let’s look at some of the key priority areas in this regard.

Firstly, education! The Premier said last year that, “The doors of culture and

learning will be opened to promote quality education and skills development”.

He also said that “Education is an apex priority”. Despite these comments and Apex

budget allocation our education outcomes were again an embarrassment to

all. They devastated sacrificial parents and depressed thousands of disappointed

learners.

Hon. Makupula asked me if I could praise sing in isiXhosa at the SONA. Even if I

could, there would be nothing to praise sing about in education. A 10% Province wide

decrease in the Matric pass rate and a 20% decline in the Northern areas is a

disgrace.

The Northern areas results are caused by myriad reasons not least the closure of

schools before matric exams. Only desperate parents would do this. Their efforts

where ill-conceived and the results speak for themselves. Despite this, schools

where again closed for a month due to the same unaddressed, specific and

on-going challenges. This area is facing a flood of increased substance abuse, gangsterism and violent crime. These catastrophic results will compound these social challenges here.
You, Hon Premier thanked the principles of schools for their leadership at schools,

yet your department expects them to fight with their hands tied behind their backs.

This they have to do against your tripartheid alliance partner SADTU, the enemy of

all good education, and you support them.

Until you bring in performance management agreements in schools and re-introduce

school inspectors you will continue to fight a losing battle against SADTU and you

will bequeath more and more underprepared, unqualified and unemployable school

leavers to our faltering economy.

Last year you claimed, “That the continued increase number of learners attaining

bachelor passes is an impressive trend that makes the Eastern Cape one of

the top contributors to quality in the country.” Yet this province went backward last

year.

Until you change the model, the modus operandi and the entire management and

leadership of this department, nothing will improve! This much is now clear.

With regard to the state of economy and the burgeoning ranks of the unemployed in

the Province, we have a specific crisis of youth unemployment. The Premier said last

year that this would be addressed through a “youth development strategy”

Yet despite a youth unemployment rate of over 50% and 47% in the NMB Metro the

Premier says that the Province will intensify programmes towards youth

development and that they are progressing well with the establishment of a youth

unit in the office of the Premier.

The youth don’t want youth units or turn around strategies or back to basic plans,

they want jobs that will give them dignity and break the cycle of dependency that the

ANC depends on to stay in power.

The youth of today do not consider EPWP work opportunities as proper jobs and

though the DA led Western Cape has won a National award for best and most

sustainable EPWP programme, we address joblessness by growing the economy to

create real jobs and thus we have the lowest unemployment in the country. (Despite

people leaving the Eastern Cape to seek greener pastures in the Western Cape,

these people know how they feed their families; it’s because of good and progressive

DA Government).

Last year you said, “The winds of change are sweeping across our province, that will

ensure that famine and hunger are banished by lifting marginalized households out

of poverty.” This has not happened and we all understand that the crippling drought

has had an effect, however it is not the drought alone. The El Nino climatic

phenomenon was predicted years ago yet we only woke up to its impact in

December after I wrote to MEC Qoboshiyane, our response has been too little too

late and the consequences of this drought will be felt well into next year if not the

next few years.

We have declared 5 regions as disaster drought regions. This should be reason

enough to declare it a provincial disaster which coupled with other stricken

provinces, should have this drought declared a national disaster. The forecast is that

we will have to import 7 million tonnes plus of grain to counter drought related food

shortages. (This is equivalent to one 30 tonne truck leaving all our ports every 5

minutes of every day).

The drought is being understated by government and this is still going to have more

devastating consequences than the current livestock and crop losses, not to mention

the loss of livelihoods in an already depressed agricultural sector and rural

communities. In fact the WHO predictions are of widespread famine across Southern

Africa including South Africa, with the possibility of the loss of many lives.

The Premier also said that key to eradicating poverty and hunger would be the

“building of infrastructure for processing agricultural products including abattoirs,

dairy infrastructure, aquaculture incubation schemes and rural tourism

infrastructure”. Well I regret to inform this house that yet another poultry abattoir has

been built in Grahamstown only to become a “chicken sanctuary” like the white

elephant poultry abattoir in Bizana. MEC Qoboshiyane did much breast beating

about the opening of this abattoir yet the OUTPUTS and OUTCOMES are ZERO return for millions of rands. This abattoir was scheduled to open first in September 2013 as announced by Department Official Zama Zikhali then in March 2014! So much for on time delivery. It is still closed!

The only viable Agri processing infrastructure investments as well and commodity

producing initiatives are those that are run at risk by private sector partners, the

premier mentioned a few. These should be the models to replicate, not the

repetitively failing government projects

Kodwa aniva animameli!

You continue to throw good money after bad.

Magwa and Majola lost another whole year while your departments and the ECRDA

and ECDC all dithered to come up with a business rescue plan. Yet more millions

were squandered for no return just back date salaries, and no tea was produced.

So much for the invitation to enjoy a cup of tea with the MEC.

The Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, despite an excellent

public relations reputation continues to plant crops in marginal areas with returns

less than invested capital. This does nothing for our economy or food security, in fact

it’s just a “fool’s economy”.

The new initiative to rather plant fodder crops is probably more prudent but I wonder

once the so-called fodder banks are established, who will buy the fodder, sell the

fodder, to whom, at what cost and what will prevent the growers from selling to the

highest bidder. Has anyone thought about this?

Your support of some of the commodity producer organisations are appreciated but

must be properly managed as it is currently only the rand dollar exchange that

makes them viable as they are export orientated or they save foreign exchange by

reducing demand on imports.

With regard to tourism, I believe that the Eastern Cape continues to flatter only to

deceive. This is one of our biggest economic growth areas and job spinners, yet we

lag far behind other provinces as a tourist destination province. We are more like a

transit lounge.

In this regard, the current surfaced road improvements are acknowledged as they

will have a positive economic impact, especially the proposed resurfacing of the

Addo to PE road which is long overdue.

However, this province will have to seriously reconsider what it is paying per

kilometre to surface roads.

 In Gauteng and Western Cape it is approximately R3 – R4 million /km,

 In Limpopo it is R6 – R7 million/km (where Julius Malema became a

millionaire) and in this province it is approximately R9 – R10 million/km

(Bakona abantu abatya kamnandi)

The state of unsurfaced roads though doesn’t only compound the misery you spoke about

of rural living, it impacts adversely on economic activity and very negatively.

 

On eco-tourism, which should make the Eastern Cape a destination tourism province

that it is currently not (Siyogqitwa ngamanye amaphondo)

This brings me to two areas of grave concern arising from your address in 2015.
Firstly Hon Premier, you said last year that you would intensify the fight against

crime and corruption. In this regard you have done neither.

The Mandela funeral fraud scandal remains unresolved and those implicated therein

continue to hold high office in Parliament, here and in councils, not to mention in

ANC leadership structures.

These people committed fraud and corruption in the name of President Mandela at

his funeral, abanantloni ababantu and the ANC government won’t act against these

comrades.

The Siyenza toilet fraud and corruption saga is a blight on this province and your

leadership Hon. Premier. I read all the answers provided to me and my other DA

colleagues questions by the MEC of Local Government and Traditional affairs, MEC

Xasa whilst preparing this speech and I couldn’t help but laugh at your and his So

called “commitment to fight corruption”.

Yesterday the security cluster ministers met in the Northern Areas of NMBM

to design a strategy to combat gang related crime. This morning another person was

shot in Zimdahl street.

The NMBM council requested the establishment of a Metro Police force in 2009.

(Under the chairpersonship of Cllr H Sauls August) As the current MEC of Safety and

Liaison, she agreed to this request in a government gazette in 2012, yet there is still

no Metro Police force but there is a Metro Police Chief who earns more than R1 million

per annum.

This government is not serious about combating crime in the NMBM.

Judge Alkema effectively ruled all his responses to our questions null and void and

invalid because all required procedures where flouted. Yet there are no

consequences, not for him or corrupt officials or the corrupt contract beneficiaries

who have left half built toilets, collapsed toilets and slabs of concrete littering the

countryside of the ADM.

 

This contract has also effectively bankrupted this once financially secure council. No!

there is no war against corruption, rather it is seen as a “time to eat” by comrades.

So much for the ANC’s “integrity committee”

Lastly, the Premier said that “The systems of local government in the province has

been fairly stable since its establishment”

This is an indication of just how out of touch with reality you actually are Hon.

Premier. If I use the two Metros as an example, the turnover of municipal managers

and Mayors alone tells of the worst kind of political instability.

There is also a long and embarrassing list of broken promises, wasteful and fruitless

expenditure in these Metro’s that beggar belief and you say local government is

stable? It’s not.

The list of untabled forensic reports across the province are testimony to

administrative instability, maladministration and corruption.

The number of municipalities placed under administration and those that should

have been but haven’t, also speaks of chaotic instability.

The recent desperate amalgamation of failing and politically vulnerable municipalities

is perhaps the most telling testimony of instability.

Furthermore, there is the matter of broken Presidential promises for example the war

on leaks and the promise of R400 million in 2014 for the Nooitgedacht low water

augmentation scheme that never materialized. These broken promises and poor

infrastructure maintenance have placed the city’s water security at severe risk.

The now notorious IPTS bus service has cost over R2.5 billion to date and is still not

operational, word is out that treasury wants this money repaid and this Hon.

Members won’t exacerbate instability in this municipality, it will bankrupt the

municipality .

Lastly, the current and escalating intra party tensions regarding who is in and who is

going to be out after the elections as the ANC slice of the cake decreases, is the

most telling evidence of instability. They and you all know change is coming.

All of these factors have nothing to do with Jan van Riebeeck, the drought, the DA or

any other conceivable excuse! Their instability and collapse is directly due to failed

ANC leadership and governance.

It is this kind of delusion that led to your thanks last year for the collaboration

between your government and the traditional leadership of the province to reduce

initiate deaths only for this year’s death toll to reach new record highs.
No Hon. Speaker, the State of The Province is nothing to be proud of and there is

nothing wrong with me saying this, because in a constitutional democracy we have

the right to want and expect more.