Speech notes by Nosimo Balindlela MPL, speaking on the budget vote for the Office of the Premier, 16 May 2017

Honourable Premier of the Eastern Cape, Honourable Speaker, Honourable MECs, Honourable Members of the Legislature, Ladies and gentlemen

THE OVERALL ROLE OF THE PREMIER

UNEASY LIES THE HEAD THAT WEARS THE CROWN, therefore, a Premier assumes the most difficult position, to monitor and assist the other departments.  I can understand how crucial the position is.

Specifically today, this department has not resolved continuous departmental conflicts in relation to stability, interdicts, conflicts between staff members, counter-accusations, etc. Only a few weeks ago we, as OTP committee members, sat to listen to the concerns of staff in the OTP, who explained the difficulties and conflicts within their own spheres of work. Van wie hang dit af? Through you, Madam Speaker, dink ek dit hang van die Premier af.

SPORTS, RECREATION, ARTS AND CULTURE

Regarding departmental monitoring, the Middelburg Museum, for example, is on the brink of closure and has begged the Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture since 2014 for assistance in an attempt to save the museum and keep the heritage and culture alive. BUT YET, we sit with the Department of SRAC, who underspends its budget on a yearly basis. Madam Speaker, Van wie hang dit af?  Definitely on the shoulders of the Premier, who is the political leader of the province.

EDUCATION

Education is another Department which is in need of drastic intervention as it has consistently achieved the lowest position in the Matric results. In the Annual Operational Plan, Madam Speaker, a budget and focus has been assigned to progressive improvements in the functionality of the Department of Education. We are midway through quarter 1, we are awaiting the progress reports on the three Planned Quarter 1 activities.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Recently we lost the HOD of Social Development, Stanley Khanyile. Before him, in 2015, the Department lost Bea Hackula, and earlier in 2015, the Department lost Masiza Mazizi, who acted as a unit head. Madam Speaker. Wie is verantwoordelik?

OFFICE OF THE PREMIER

Madam Speaker, the long and drawn out legal conflict between senior staff members of the Premier’s office (communications department) has to date not been resolved. Disagreements in the office increase the likelihood of other departments being negatively affected, resulting in all departments not delivering the services needed by the people of the Eastern Cape. Van wie hang dit af?

Part of the purpose of the Administrative Budget is to provide reliable legal services on behalf of the government. Why then, Madam Speaker, does this department and most other departments, continue to find themselves embroiled in litigation? This is very costly to the taxpayer and clearly shows that our legal services are ineffective.

Madam Speaker, why is our Premier allocating funds — which we as a province cannot afford — to Operation Masiphathisane, which is simply a duplication of local government ward committees and a duplication of the function of IGR, when our province, particularly our Education and Health departments are crying out for access to broadband? Surely health and education is more important than fruitless and wasteful expenditure on structures that already exist.

On the subject of education, through you, Madam Speaker, why has the Office of the Premier allowed the Unemployed Graduate’s Programme to collapse on their watch? This played a vital role in channelling graduates into various careers in numerous departments. No wonder we are faced with a Lost Generation of young people who cannot access opportunities for their future.

The Office of the Premier should not run any independent programmes, but rather focus its energy and expertise on tightening the fiscal discipline and oversight of all other departments within the provincial government. This will contribute far more effectively to the upliftment of the poor in our province.

The DA supports the report.

I thank you.

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