The two-day provincial cabinet lekgotla needs to take note that there is a growing, groundswell, demand for change in the Eastern Cape. It cannot be business as usual. This is a clear message from the municipal elections.
The provincial lekgotla needs to spell out in clear and unambiguous terms how they are going to deal with consequence management. This is the bleeding underbelly of the province. There are no consequences for poor performance.
Linked to this, is the whole question of corruption and maladministration. They must take note of the words expressed by Sipho Pityana at the late Makhenkesi Stofile’s funeral, in regard to “full-time thieves and looters”. It is time to get rid of the rot and to put an end once and for all to cadre deployment that is the wrecking-ball of governance in this province.
The lekgotla also needs to deal with the pressing issue of youth unemployment and spell out plans in this regard. A game changer in this area relates to the urgent need to roll out free broadband access points in the province. Our economy, particularly in the rural areas is being stunted by the lack of access to free Wi-Fi and many cannot break out of the poverty trap without it.
There needs to be a decisive plan going forward, in relation to the 4 200 additional teachers so that substantive vacant posts in schools can be filled. For too long government has ducked this issue because of union pressure. For goodness sake, stand up and lead so our learners can get the education they deserve in order to take their rightful place in our global economy.
A caring health system also needs to be prioritised so that the shortage of ambulances and staff in our clinics and hospitals is addressed.
Too many government-funded projects never make any difference to local rural economies, such as Magwa and Majola Tea. We need sustainable local economic development and at the same time put a stop to rampant wastage.
The presence of the provincial police commissioner, Major-General Liziwe Ntsinga is welcomed and we trust that there will be indications of how the police plan to deal with the ongoing gang-related violence in the Northern Areas of Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. One would also expect pronouncement about how technological innovation is going to be stepped up in the fight against crime, such as drones and number plate recognition cameras.
The government also needs to focus on speeding up payments to service providers, particularly to non-profit organisations (NPOs) such as children’s homes and those dealing with the aged, as financial delays are crippling to these organisations. This also applies to municipalities where provincial government is always in arrears.
The people of this province have spoken, they want change, they want governance that will take this province forward. The provincial government now needs to step up its pace or the voters will take revenge at the ballot box in 2019. — Bobby Stevenson MPL, Legislature Leader