Speech notes: Reaction to SOPA 2020 by Edmund van Vuuren, MPL

Issued by Edmund van Vuuren, MPL
Shadow MEC for Social Development

Honourable Speaker, Honourable Premier, members of the executive members of this august house, dignitaries and visitors, I solemnly greet you.

Honourable speaker, the honourable Premier said a lot of things people wanted to hear,but has also lost focus on certain critical deliverables.

Honourable Speaker, the honourable Premier and his cabinet must stop making promises that they cannot uphold, and the honourable Premier must stop protecting some of his MEC’s in not fulfilling their mandates and we must stop the scourge of our people being misled and denied quality services by bureaucrats.

Take out your whip honourable Premier and whip your public servants into action as communities want to be serviced by people with a passion and not to serve the masters.

Honourable speaker to quote the Premier – open quote “some of our properties will be leased to the previously marginalized people in particular youth and woman to transform the sector. All tenants occupying government properties must honour their lease agreement and pay the rent” – close quote.

Honourable speaker, these are good intentions but unfortunately it is not the case in the real world.

Honourable speaker, in this province there are incalculable of illegal occupants in state houses. These illegal occupants including government officials have been abusing their right in not paying for services. Very few cases have been referred to assist with legal processes of eviction, way back in 2016 already, yet, they do not pay; they are not being evicted and yet the Premier has made promises that the marginalized will benefit through signed leases.

Why have there been no consequences – who are being protected and why? The Democratic Alliance is going to demand that these illegal occupants must be named and shamed. Honourable speaker revenue is being lost because of this illegal occupation but this is only the tip of the iceberg.

In the Sarah Baartman region alone, there are 248 parcels of unutilized land that could have been used for economic development and empowerment. There is such a big need for social housing, schools, early childhood development centers, but this government has no urge for revenue generation.

People living next to these open spaces live in fear because of the vandalism, dumping and other unacceptable activities that occur regularly on these often under-utilized pockets of lands.

Numerous applications have been made to purchase these pockets of land especially in Port Elizabeth but to no avail, why, why, why?

Honourable speaker, the Democratic Alliance is going to demand an audit of all unutilized state land and why it is not being used to the benefit of our people, considering expropriation without compensation that will become reality if the constitution is changed.

Honourable Speaker, when one drives through this vast province of ours it is heart-breaking to see derelict school buildings with no ownership taken by any government departments for the benefit of our community.

These buildings, if used properly, can be used to accommodate our more than 93% of children in the age group of 0 to 4 in early childhood development centers, yet as a government you allow our buildings to be vandalized.

Honourable speaker, I wonder if there is a readily available audit of empty school buildings that are being used as various centers to assist our communities.  I don’t think so but be sure the Democratic alliance is going to request this information.

Honourable speaker, it is clear that government systems are clearly broken and need to be fixed. The Democratic Alliance believes that government assets are there to serve the people, and it is vital that these assets are maintained and monitored on a regular basis to ensure that they are used correctly.

Honourable speaker,  since last year’s SOPA the Western Cape has opened  three new schools and 2 replacement schools – since July last year the Department of Transport and public works has started work in the Western Cape on 76 new grade and expansion classrooms at 22 schools accommodating approximately 2800 learners.

They have also delivered, in the Western Cape, 197 mobile classrooms to accommodate 6895 learners. The Western Cape government has also commenced design work for 2 new or replacement schools and have begun construction on 5 more.

Honourable speaker, we do acknowledge, that in the Eastern Cape, schools are being built, but the timeframes in building these schools are unacceptable.

Honourable Speaker, we have to acknowledge achievements and we have to learn from each other. Hopefully with time the Eastern Cape government will also do as well with delivery and maintaining of their fixed assets.

Honourable speaker, the Eastern Cape ICT roll out is currently still getting supply chain management processes in place, and contracting service providers to roll out the project – whilst the Western Cape government has rolled out broadband to 1875 public sites across the province – we will have to do more in the Eastern Cape. Data is at the core of digital transformation towards improving services for citizens.

Honourable Speaker, the Democratic Alliance is delighted that budget had been availed for the upgrade of the R335, linking Addo to Port Elizabeth. After many years of pressure, hopefully the upgrading of the R335 will start sooner than later.

The R75 is overburdened and in a shocking state. This road also serves as an arterial route for trucks to deliver their produce from the Sundays River Valley to the Coega Harbour. We also need action here.

Honourable Speaker, the Democratic Alliance believes in a capable state – only a capable state can fix our infrastructure, local government, education etc – we need action, and we need action now – Only a capable state can produce and deliver services of high quality to our people.

Talk less, promise less and act as if you are a capable state, by acting now – lets have action.

Hon Speaker, it is clear to all that our government in the Eastern Cape is a broken government, that is why our infrastructure is crumbling to the point where it is broken.