Hon Speaker,

Today I am not going to spend too much time on the actual annual report or the Auditor General’s report on the performance of the Office of The Premier, save to commend the Premier and her department for leading by example with regard to their audit report outcomes: Mazenethole! Speaker, what the Premier and her department now need to do with regard to their transversal responsibilities and powers, is to address the perennially defaulting departments that repeatedly have qualified or disclaimer audit outcomes. Accolade for your department alone cannot be regarded as successful if there are key departments, run by members of your executive that simply cannot show audit outcome improvement. Premier you are probably somewhat relieved that education has improved from two successive disclaimers to a qualified audit outcome with findings. This improvement is acknowledged by the DA too. However education, its performance, the outcomes of learners’ results and the effective and efficient expenditure of the department’s budget is so important that the qualification must still be rejected as education is the foundation of opportunity for our future generations. The department of health has consistently had a qualified audit outcome over 3 years and this regrettably mirrors the department’s performance in the field. We have hospitals, clinics, ambulances and other health infrastructure but the services that are accessed there from are of a “qualified” nature with “findings”. The department of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform too has performed consistently poorly with three successive qualified audits and the main reasons for these qualifications are misstatement of accounts, under expenditure and poor leadership. This means we continue to underperform and under produce as a province that relies heavily on agriculture. This not only compromises food security, it compounds rural poverty and makes the rural poor more disheartened, despondent and desperate. The department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture too has shown no audit outcome improvement over the past three financial years. The good book says, “As you sow, so shall you reap” and this certainly shows in the outcomes of this department’s work. The sport facilities in disadvantaged areas are a shambles and the bulk of the department’s resources are blown on perimeter concrete walls and fencing with the actual sporting fields resembling ploughed fields or grazing paddocks such as the 2010 legacy project upgrading of the Needs camp Sport field where not one game of soccer has been played since the so called completion of the facility by Turfworx JV Topturf. (I will be giving the MEC all the information on this disgraceful project for her urgent attention) Lastly in this regard Speaker, the department of Roads and Public Works was a dead certain bet to receive a disclaimer. The relationship between this department and it’s so called delivery agency, the Coega Development Corporation, intended to improve the road maintenance of this province has been an unprecedented disaster. Premier, this relationship needs to be terminated as it is having a devastating impact on the state of our rural road network which is the economic life blood of this province. This must be made a priority intervention area. Another area that has flattered only to deceive is the biofuel factory in Cradock. This R1, 1 billion investment needs to be given immediate and specialist attention. Apart from the fact that this whole economic growth and job creation initiative in Cradock has gone from being one thing to another, over a number of years, there remains little to show for the millions invested to date. The thirty odd farms acquired by the state to provide the factory with biomass have become rundown and unproductive, the beneficiaries have no clear tenure ship agreements; they are not being trained and supported and are frankly disillusioned and confused. In regard to the green economy let me commend the department for the visible progress regarding the renewable energy projects that are taking shape in various parts of the province. This is not only exciting, it is creating jobs. Madame Premier, I also want to caution you that the human resource management practises in this province are on a calamitous trajectory, not only for the governing party but for the province as a whole. Despite MEC Masualle’s undertaking to redress the trend of having the bulk of provincial departmental staff being support staff, 64% as opposed to 36% being core (skilled professional) staff, the ratio remains as is and in fact if one excludes conditional grant funding and then does the sums, the ratio is even worse, 76% support staff and 24% core staff. This is the consequence of deficient human resource management that is compounded by the cancerous practise of cadre deployment and employment in the civil service. As long as this ratio remains anywhere near what it is, your respective delivery departments in this province will be unable to meet their key delivery objectives. In conclusion Premier I want to give credit where it is due. At a recent strategic workshop hosted by ECSECC we engaged in very open and frank discussion about what needs to be done beyond the safety net initiatives that the state has implemented to date to address poverty in this province. The social services safety net mitigates poverty; it does not address the causes and begin to eradicate poverty. What needs to be done in this regard is that there has to be a paradigm adjustment by government to begin creating an environment that promotes opportunity and attracts domestic and foreign investment, especially in the platteland and the rural areas of the two former homelands of this province. The current social safety net services, despite bringing some poverty relief serve only to entrench a psychosis of dependency rather than culture an attitude of self-empowerment and independence. ECSECC must be commended for their excellent audit report outcomes and they need to be encouraged to continue their good work around getting our Eastern Cape economy “growing” and their expertise must be harnessed better in the area of agriculture and agrarian reform as well as rural development where we seem to have no coherent strategy informed by international best practise.