EC Premier clearly living in a different province than the rest of us

Issued by Bobby Stevenson, MPL
DA Chief Whip in the Eastern Cape Legislature

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane’s description of our province as “a story of good progress” is a delusional fairy tale that ignores the harsh realities confronting citizens daily.

This is best summed up by the fact that there is no water in the Legislature right now. We can’t turn on a tap or flush the toilets in the building that is the centre of government in this province. How much worse is it for our communities?

No new bold pronouncements were made that would put the province on a new trajectory.

The Eastern Cape that the people of this province want is one where roads are not crumbling, schools are not on the brink of collapse, and healthcare is accessible. They want basic services from their municipalities and reliable electricity and water.

The people want to live in a province where they feel safe. The mass killings and rampant crime are not just a setback. It is a devastating indictment on the ruling government that has failed to maintain law and order and protect its citizens.

The Premier must be blind if he thinks that the Department of Health has a good story to tell. Our people are dying in the streets, waiting for ambulances that never come — dying because their clinics don’t have their chronic medication because suppliers were last paid in December.

We would also have liked a commitment to eradicate pit latrines and mud schools or even address the monumental backlog in fencing and maintenance of the existing crumbling school infrastructure.

We do welcome some of the Premier’s announcements, including the R50 million for distressed students, the new DNA lab in Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB), and the commencement of the Coerney balancing dam, which will beef up water security for NMB. We also welcome beefing up police resources and lifestyle audits for local government.

To build the Eastern Cape we want, we need a solid foundation of a competent and capable state that is service delivery focused. The premier has failed to set out how he intends to do that.