As the Democratic Alliance we view the Premier’s Sopa as more reflective than forward looking and this has been echoed in the media and by those who were able to analyse it with a clearer mind. And indeed it was the continuation of what was said at the last Sopa- nothing exciting about the changes that we want to see.
Yes, reflection is important in such an address but vision casting is more important, especially in times of economic hardship compounded by joblessness and a lack of opportunities for the young people of the province. Every year we welcome graduates from a number of higher learning institutions in the country who are hungry opportunities to advance their lives and invest back into our society.
The address by the premier has not revived their hopes of getting employment in their home province, the Eastern Cape.
Having listened very carefully to what you have said last week and after rereading your last year state of the province address, I realised that what you undertook to do last financial year has not all materialised and some of what you have done, did not produce the intended or desired outcomes.
Outcomes are actually what define successful government 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 do not equate to outcomes.
With regard to the state of the economy and high rates of the unemployment 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 a rate of 42 % in our Nelson Mandela 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 of this province don’t need youth units or turn around strategies, or back to basics plans, they want job opportunities that will give them dignity and break the cycle of dependency that the current government depends on to stay in power (The youth of this province needs change Hon Premier).
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 the best and most sustainable EPWP programme, we address joblessness by growing the economy to create real jobs and we continue to have the lowest unemployment rate in the country. The DA rescue plan will approach growth and job creation, not as a government problem with a government solution, but as a partnership with business large and small to rescue our lost generation (The young unemployed of this province).
Only the private sector can create jobs at the scale and pace that South Africa need, which is why we will radically reform the labour regime to support job creation –especially for low labour intensive small businesses. This will serve as our rescue plan to bring back lost jobs and create hope for millions of young people of this province.
Integrated human settlement
Hon Speaker, if we are serious about improving the lives of our people and restoring their dignity in our endeavours to change their lives, we should continue to build houses that are integrated and included into our towns and cities’ main hubs to make their lives easier. Hon Premier I welcome your stance that you will focus more on new housing units for the destitute, military veterans and those affected by the disasters, as has been the case in a number of areas around OR Tambo region and Alfred Nzo. We welcome the effort made to set aside 70 million rand to assist those families affected. Indeed, it has come in a time most needed, thanks to the ears that listen when victims cry. The over-achievement in housing construction as the premier has stated in his address last week and outperforming other provinces, has not yielded any good results for us, as so many contractors were not paid and we are still sitting on millions of rands of unpaid invoices.
The statistics show:
Alfred Nzo – more than R80-million unpaid invoices
Amathole District Municipality – R7-million unpaid invoices
BCM – R11-million unpaid invoices
Chris Hani District – R56-million
Joe Gqabi – R36-million
NMBM – R36-million
OR Tambo – R73-million
Sarah Baartman – R3-million
This is a huge amount of money owed to the contractors and your commitment to deal with this crisis is not enough, Hon Premier. The impact of non-payment of contractors on the projects on the ground and the local labour employed is severe. The MEC should be held to account for the failures in this department. She knew about this and nothing was done because one wanted to achieve election promises.