OPPOSITION parties in the Bhisho legislature expressed mixed feelings after premier Phumulo Masualle’s maiden state of the province address (Sopa) yesterday.
DA leader Athol Trollip said the party was pleased with the speech as it gave an insight into Masualle’s “thought processes” and strategic objectives.
“It’s encouraging that the premier identified the importance of creating better opportunities for the people of this province through improved education and provision of learnerships and internships.
“This is an important measure to reverse the brain drain that this province has experienced for the last decade.
“We are also encouraged by his special focus on economic development and growth and his intention of converting our two industrial development zones into special exporting zones,” Trollip said.
He said this was commendable, as it was an international best practice and could go some way in improving investor confidence and attracting foreign investment.
Trollip said Masualle’s reference to growing the rural economy through a partnership between the public and private sectors was also encouraging.
On corruption, and with reference to the charges Buffalo City Metro (BCM) mayor Zukiswa Ncita and her deputy Temba Tinta face, Trollip said the DA was pleased the premier was determined to launch an offensive against the scourge of corruption.
“However, this was fundamentally undermined by the fact that one of his MECs, Sakhumzi Somyo, had instructed his BCM colleagues to carry on in their current positions. This dichotomy will have to be addressed,” said Trollip.
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Themba Wele – who had to leave the chamber before the speech, because he had not honoured the legislature dress code – said he was not impressed by the speech as it did not dwell much on programmes which would benefit the poor and working class.
Congress of the People’s sole representative Bishop Lievie Sharpley said he was pleased Masualle had spoken on improving roads in rural areas, but unhappy he had not dwelt on fighting corruption.
He also lambasted cadre deployment, saying it was a major Eastern Cape challenge as people were employed not on merit but for political affiliation.
United Democratic Movement leader Max Mhlathi said the speech “was promising”, but he was sceptical about its implementation.
He said he was pleased Masualle had addressed the issue of corruption and non-performing civil servants promising action against them. — asandan@dispatch.