STATE OF THE PROVINCE ADDRESS DOES NOT RISE TO THE CHALLENGE

The Eastern Cape State of the Province Address was remarkable for what it didn’t say, rather than what it did. It did not rise to the big challenges and opportunities that this province faces. It was disconnected from some of the key issues facing the Eastern Cape.

Not a word was said about the drought and the massive implications this has for our agricultural economy as well as the towns and cities that are threatened by this water shortage. The financial crisis generated by the projected over-expenditure of R2,7-billion was ignored. How the whip would be cracked to turn around the poor state of education and health care was not clear. No mention was made of accountability of MECs and civil servants.

The opportunity that the World Cup presents to this province for branding received no mention, nor was any attention given to any of our cities being potential host cities for the world cup. Re-prioritising the budget to focus all our resources on core business was not dwelt upon.

On the positive side the commitment to adopting a package of measures to drive industrialisation and diversifying the economy is positive, as is the adoption of a rural development strategy. The proposed establishment of a provincial maths and science academy is welcomed.