Speech notes by DA MPL, Edmund van Vuuren – ECPL 1st quarterly report for the Office of the Premier

Madam Speaker, Honourable Premier, Executive Members, Members of the Provincial Legislature, Staff of the Office of the Premier, dignitaries and visitors. It is always an honour to represent my political party, the Democratic Alliance in debates in this august house.

Honourable speaker, before I give any input on the first quarterly report, I believe it is imperative to respond to numerous statements made in this house on Tuesday, 29 September 2015.

Honourable Speaker, it was stated that DASO lost the elections at both the University of Nelson Mandela Bay and at Fort Hare, based on the number of seats obtained. Honourable Speaker, if this was indeed said then it is the most nonsensical statement of the century I’ve ever heard. At both universities we have obtained the majority vote and thus the majority seats on council, whether they are fewer seats for DASO as per the previous council, is irrelevant. If I should superimpose my learned colleague’s statement to the results obtained in the National Assembly in 2014, then the ANC, according to his interpretation has lost the election based on the DA’s increase in the number of seats in the National Assembly. I want to reiterate what I’ve said – If that was the impression the MPL wanted to convey that DASO has lost the election at NMB because of its decrease in seats on the council then once more, based on election results in the National Assembly, it is the most nonsensical statement. In plain English, what was alluded to with regard to election results is just plain nonsense.

Honourable Speaker, a lot of references were made to capitalism, communism and the struggle front runners.

Before I get to that, allow me to congratulate DASO once more for capturing the only seat at the George Satellite Campus of NMB. Maybe now, we have won the election at NMB, according to some skewed logic dished out here.

Honourable Speaker, a number of the ANC MPLs have a tendency to perpetually and consistently refer to capitalism as the ultimate evil of mankind.

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, a capitalist is a person who has a lot of money, property etc and uses these things to produce more money. Communism, on the other hand, with reference to our situation as MPLs is a theory advocating elimination of private property and a system in which goods are owned in common and are available as needed.

Honourable Speaker, with all due respect, our communist friends in this house are actually by design and default all capitalists, because (1) they all have a lot of money – earn more than R1 million per year (benefits included). (2) They own movable and immovable property.

Honourable Speaker, I will refer to my communist friends as communists only if they can prove that they are sharing their own wealth with others and that they are using their own resources for the emancipation of others. If not, to me they will be capitalists.

Honourable Speaker, most of us have been somehow involved in the struggle to dethrone the undemocratic government we had. The struggle was not only in the domain of a selected few from a specific ethnic group. I was at the University of the Western Cape in 1976, when some of you present here today, representing the majority party, were not even born, when we all fought as a unit at UWC for the rights of the Xhosa speaking learners not to be forced to take Afrikaans as a subject. We stood firm, sacrificed our education at the University for an authentic case, resulting in many of us not completing our studies. That was a sacrifice for freedom of choice, fairness in decision and for other opportunities to be created for all learners.

In 1992 when I became principal of Hillside High in Port Elizabeth, it was the first school in the Northern Areas to open the doors of learning to all, and not only to those staying in the Northern Areas. It was also one of the first schools to appoint an African (IsiXhosa) speaking teacher in 1995, that taught technical drawing to all learners. Let me emphasize once more, the struggle for freedom and a fair society is not in the domain of a specific ethnic group.

Honourable Speaker, the Democratic Alliance fully concurs with the Honourable Premier when he said that the public must be treated by all public servants as masters, and not servants. This, the Honourable Premier said in his Presently On My Mind media statement as published in the Daily Dispatch on Saturday, 26 September 2015.

Honourable Speaker, the Democratic Alliance supports the stance taken by the Honourable Premier that public servants should be dedicated to their prescribed tasks in order for all of us to build a thriving and efficient Eastern Cape. We are all inhabitants of this beautiful coastal province, and we all want this province to flourish in order to attract investments that will lead to job opportunities which will ultimately contribute to a decrease in unemployment and improve the quality of life for the impoverished. This is what we all cherish, but can it be achieved.

The province has embarked on nine strategic integrated projects of which four are at a planning and feasibility phase, three are in execution phases and two projects have been completed. There are currently no strategic integrated projects that have relevance to tourism. There is also nothing about access roads.

It is in the best interest of the Eastern Cape to know what National is doing in the province and to influence National to do more. There are other initiatives that can be included, with reference to the Eastern Cape. The ten year infrastructure plan will most certainly close gaps that have been identified and create opportunities for many, if due processes are followed.

As the DA, we are of the opinion that these projects can bring much needed employment if the civil servants involved, keep in mind that government officials are not the masters, but merely servants of the public, as alluded to by the Honourable Premier.

Honourable Speaker, the Honourable Premier has also asked the following in his media statement namely;

  1. How sound is the mission in each of our provincial departments?
  2. How effectively is the mission performed?
  3. How efficiently is the mission accomplished?

We are aware that the implementation of these questions poses a real dilemma for most of the provincial departments. How then is the Honourable Premier going to rectify the situation when the majority of his civil servants act with impunity and behave as if they are doing the public a favour. Why then do we have a Registrar at Fort Hare University that does not believe in providing service for all and sundry and who is hell bent on victimizing, marginalizing and destroying a legitimate structure at the university, namely DASO.

Honourable Speaker, the Honourable Premier has said all the right things in the newspaper. We hope that if civil servants are responsible for protest actions due to their inactions or inability to deliver services, or to ignore requests from ward councillors that are not from the majority party, that the Honourable Premier will show by deed that consequence management will be applied.

The DA supports the report.

Thank you.