All protocols observed.
During the past two weeks, I was part of oversight visits to ensure school readiness in the Sarah Baartman District in the Eastern Cape.
My heart broke to have experienced so many people, young and old, walking the streets aimlessly, begging for money or something to eat while we pay exorbitant taxes to the government that should be used to help them.
The provincial unemployment figures remain the worst in the country, shooting up from 45,8% in the 3rd quarter to 47,9% in the 4th quarter, with the expanded unemployment figure also up, now at 52,4%, from 51,2% in the 3rd quarter.
A further 148,000 people joined the unemployed in the province between October and December 2020.
Unemployment in the Eastern Cape’s rural parts has also deepened, with the expanded unemployment rate now at 58,7%.
SOPA after SOPA, we hear commitments dripping with honey from the Premier, only to witness after SOPA how those same commitments, and the money promised for the people, are lost through maladministration and corruption by self-serving ANC cadres.
Madam Speaker, we need a government built on the rock of good governance, not on the quicksand of corruption.
The net effect of corruption is inferior service delivery, escalating unemployment, poverty, hunger and crime.
Madam Speaker, the unemployment figures I mentioned clearly indicate that the interventions by the Mabuyane, 6th provincial government, to date, are not working and please don’t just shift the blame to COVID-19.
I challenge the Premier to tell us what makes his leadership so different from any other previous ANC Premiers?
What is your government doing differently from that of previous administrations?
What do we get from the ANC’s SOPA, repeated year after year?
Let me tell you what we get.
We get well-documented reports and cases indicating that the Eastern Cape’s budget has been taken for a rough-ride, such as in the case of the “scooter-gate-Gomba” revelations.
Our money and our future are not safe under your stewardship, Premier!
The Premier bragged about his Provincial Anti-Corruption Council that will fight corruption, but this has failed dismally!
They could not hold one meeting over the last financial year and, to date, have not sat this financial year either.
This highlights the sheer lack of political will of the provincial government to tackle corruption head-on!
Madam Speaker, to the Premier, your slow pace of trying to stop the corruption and maladministration frenzy is simply contributing to more blood in the water that will attract even more vicious sharks.
ANC “tenderentrepreneurs” are circling. Their wallets are being filled, while the people of this province get little to no value-for-money in return.
What we need is competence, calibre and consequence management, not chaos, cadres and corruption.
Your ANC controlled municipalities across the province collectively owed in excess of R2,6 billion to service providers such as Eskom and the Department of Water and Sanitation.
The collapse of local government structures such as in Makhanda LM, Amathole District Municipality, continue to place vulnerable communities at increased risk, especially in the context of the ongoing threat of the coronavirus epidemic and the drought in large parts of the province.
The Democratic Alliance has been calling for the ringfencing of funds collected from the sale of electricity for years, in the hope that these funds can be directed to where they are needed, namely paying back Eskom.
But the ANC doesn’t listen to good sound advice from the DA.
The Eastern Cape Education department drop-out rates is another sad story to tell and could in part be attributed to corruption, overcrowding, lack of appropriate sanitation and infrastructure, lack of sufficient scholar transport, and insufficient qualified teachers to teach critical subjects and post-gate-keeping.
The Department of Health is rotten to the core. The provincial response to the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed in shocking, and often tragic, detail just how rotten the Department has become with medico-legal claims skyrocketing.
Magwa and Majola Tea Estate is also of great worry as it still struggling to become commercially viable, even though it has received over R254 million rand from the provincial government over the past five years.
The Auditor General’s report indicates widespread lack of financial controls and project monitoring, an ongoing culture of a lack of accountability as well as a tolerance of transgressions, which resulted in a further regression in audit outcomes in the Eastern Cape that could lead to the total collapse of most local municipalities.
What we needed to hear were the practical steps that the Premier will be taking to stop corruption, improve the functionality of local municipalities, and his plans to roll out vaccines.
I want to know, practically, how you will get our economy growing and restore the political accountability that is essential in a functional democracy.
Transform the SOPA format into a new format of reporting to the citizens.
Give us a true reflections of the previous year successful budget implementation, followed by challenges that you experienced on outstanding projects and report on your solutions to budget project challenges and lastly indicate what you would like to do in the next budget.
It’s time to tell the truth, as only the truth will set you free and help us help you.
In closing, the people of the Eastern Cape more than ever require a DA government that is forward-thinking and innovative, which will rebuild the province and get it back on track so that it can work for all the people.