Little substance to EC State of the Province Address

Issued by Nqaba Bhanga, MPL
DA Eastern Cape Provincial Leader

Premier Oscar Mabuyane is living in a parallel universe – there is his state of the province, given this evening, and real state of the province. Mabuyane is acting as if everything is fine, whilst the province falls apart.

The Premier spent a great deal of his time reporting on successes implemented by other stakeholders, and very little feedback on what his own administration has accomplished.

He failed to address concerns of collapsing municipalities across the province, nor provide residents across the province with concrete solutions that would turn these collapsed municipalities around.

The school infrastructure rollout he mentioned is an embarrassment. As of the end of December, only R600 million of the over R1.6 billion Infrastructure budget, which comes from the Education Infrastructure Grant, was spent.

This is a province with a school infrastructure backlog of R79 billion.

While we welcome the 77 new schools promised, there are still 582 mud schools that need to be eradicated, and 1 598 schools that have been identified as having inappropriate and unsafe sanitation in the province.

The roads the Premier is so proud of, such as the N2 Makhanda to Fish River, are already falling apart and will soon need costly repairs.

Timeframes must be spelt out around movement of the fuel tanks and manganese ore facility to the Port of Ngqura. Our residents have heard these promises for more than a decade.

Sadly the Premier failed to commit to black-list non-performing contractors. They keep appointing failing and non-performing contractors to critical infrastructure projects. This is why it never gets completed on time and within budget.

Very little concrete was said regarding corruption.

Premier Mabuyane announced the filling of vacant Heads of Department, but said nothing about what is being done to address critical frontline staff shortages such as doctors and nurses

The DA welcomes that the Premier heeded our concerns regarding the financial crisis of Education and Health and has announced that comprehensive turnaround plans are being put in place.

He however failed to acknowledge how dire the situation is. These Departments must be placed under administration. A turnaround strategy down the road is great, but right now hospital patients are starving and children don’t have textbooks.

The DA will continue to monitor the situation, to ensure that the measures announced by the Premier are indeed implemented.