DA’s Bhanga pre-empts 2019 SOPA says Eastern Cape ‘a broken province’

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DA’s Bhanga pre-empts 2019 SOPA says Eastern Cape ‘a broken province’

Update
Port Elizabeth

By Afikile Lugunya – Feb 13, 2019With Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masualle, set to deliver the 2019 Eastern Cape State of the Province Address (SOPA) on Friday, his rival in the upcoming 2019 National and Provincial Elections, Nqaba Bhanga, of the Democratic Alliance (DA) on Wednesday presented what he called the true SOPA of the province under African National Congress (ANC) governance.The DA SOPA was delivered at the Antheum in Central, Port Elizabeth.”Unfortunately, I am here today to tell you that our work is not yet done, in fact it is going to get harder and challenging as we traverse our province,” he began.’Eastern Cape a broken province'”I say this because every day it becomes more evident that the Eastern Cape is a broken province,” Bhanga said.”Broken by the hands of a failing ANC government that, for the past 25 years, has placed its own interests above those of the people.”A failing ANC that is once again coming with empty promises, telling the people how they have changed, how things will get better, but these are the same hollow words we have all heard before.”He said that the Eastern Cape is a province rich in cultural diversity and untapped potential, it is the birthplace of Molly Blackburn, Lilian Diedricks, Oliver Tambo and many other great leaders, “but it is broken”.”Our children are being denied quality education. Our mothers and fathers live in squalor, waiting in vain for the homes they were promised that never get built. Our brothers and sisters go to bed hungry. Unable to find work here, they leave to seek work elsewhere,” he added.”When our health fails, there is no help, the clinics are full and the hospitals in ruins. Our roads are crumbling, our water is drying up. Service delivery is in shambles and crime is escalating.”Bhanga said that over the past six months, he has travelled the length and breadth of this province and has “seen with my own eyes how the ANC has forgotten the people of the Eastern Cape”. ‘Eastern Cape needs an honest police service’Bhanga said that there can be no doubt that the police service is failing the province.”The bloody wave of violent crimes continue to sweep through our Province, with the latest crime statistics showing that Murder has risen by a staggering 5.2%. On average more than 10 people are being murdered each day in the province,” he described.”The Eastern Cape also has the second highest recorded murders for women and children, after KwaZulu Natal, with 550 women and 180 children murdered.”We must never forget Zavier Jassen the 17 year old from Helenvale who was shot in a gang-related murder. I want to remind the people of the Eastern Cape about the brutal murder of three children in Booysen Park.”All the above remain a painful reminder to many, that the idea of a safe and peaceful South Africa remains a pipedream to many poor South Africans.”He said that his party has a plan to establish “a capable metro police services both in Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela Metro’s with the capacity to fight gang violence and drug operations”.”Under a DA government in Nelson Mandela Bay, we appointed 139 police officers and insourced 460 security services into the municipality staff.”He added that the DA would introduce a Community Safety bill, along the lines of the Bill that was passed in the Western Cape which makes provision to improve accountability of the provincial legislature over the SAPS.”We would improve oversight over the SAPS by appointing an independent ombudsman, as has been done in Western Cape. We will also introduce unannounced midnight visits to all crime infested areas,” Bhanga described.”We would ensure that recommendations of the Department of Safety and Liaison, around oversight of SAPS, are enforced.”We would root out corruption in SAPS.” Securing bordersBhanga said that uncontrolled immigration violates the rights of ordinary South Africans, who have to compete for scarce resources.”The ANC government is incapable of ensuring law and order in the country. They only care about enriching themselves and are incapable of managing the real problems South Africans face,” he described.”The Department of Home Affairs is riddled by corruption and disorganisation and has caused an immigration system failure, followed by violence and tragedy. This is not what we were promised!”As premier, I will lobby the President to address this issue as a matter of urgency!”Bhanga said that the DA is “prepared to take the bull by its horns in piloting the cleaning of our major CBD’s buy removing illegal immigrants and to also deal with the cross border criminal syndicates in our major towns”.”We will clean illegal and drugs activities in Quigney East London CBD and in Central in Port Elizabeth and this will be done to bring back prospective property investment in these economic nodes. We will take back hijacked buildings from vagrants and revamp these areas for urban housing, entertainment and tourism centres.” Sustainable jobsBhanga balemd the ANC for the Eastern Cape’s high unemployement – highest in the country.”Yesterday the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, released by Stats SA, showed that unemployment in the province continued to rise, with the fourth quarter up by 0.5%, from 35.6% to 36.1%.”The Eastern Cape also has the highest expanded unemployment rate at 46.8%, growing from 1,129 million people in the fourth quarter in 2017 to 1,210 million in the fourth quarter of 2018,” he said.”Hundreds of thousands of people cannot put bread on the tables of their families and the numbers are only getting worse.”The hardship of unemployment is wreaking havoc amongst families as they battle to pay for schooling, food and medical expenses.”Those in power are exploiting this, demanding sex for jobs! This cannot be tolerated!”He said that in the DA-led Western Cape, jobs were being created and “our brothers and sisters are leaving this province and their homes to seek out opportunity in the DA-run Western Cape.””Our families should not have to abandon their homes to earn a living, they must be given the opportunity to build their best lives in the province of their birth.”Fighting corruption”One only has to compare Nelson Mandela Bay under a DA-led coalition government, to what we have today. A coalition of corruption whose sole purpose is to raid the public purse for their own personal gain,” Bhanga said.”According to a National Treasury Special Audit Services Report, R1.6 billion was squandered by the provincial government between 2011 and 2017. Funds which were earmarked for mobile classrooms, roads and housing in the province.”The Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Public works spent R632 million fixing some of the roads in the province, without the projects going out to tender. All these contracts were awarded between 2013 and 2016 with the companies being handpicked and appointed through deviations.”He went on to accuse the ANC of failing to spend budgets while “Departments eat the money”.”When I say eat the money, I mean it literally, with the last financial year showing that R102-million was spent on catering, up to more than R20-million from 2016/17,” Bhanga said.”The Education Department spent over R63-million on catering, money that could have been spent on books, libraries, computer labs and the rolling out of e-learning. Money that could have been spent on getting rid of pit latrines and mud schools.”Spending on consultants also increased by over R23,6-million year-on-year, up from R541 to R565-million, while travelling and accommodation rose dramatically from R720 to R792-million.”He said that the DA has a plan to tackle wasteful expenditure.”The DA believes that every line item should be reviewed, and non-core expenditure should be radically reduced. We would establish audit intervention teams for every department, to work towards clean audits,” Bhanga said.”We would open up the procurement processes to the public, so that they could watch the adjudication of tenders and we would enforce consequence management, and a zero tolerance for corruption.”Bhanga said that he visited many municipalities and “can confirm that all municipalities under the ANC government have collapsed the local municipal infrastructure”.”The lack of municipal financing of the underground infrastructure maintenance in Great Kei, Emalahleni, Enoch Mgijima, Makana and Walter Sisulu has been run down due to negligence under the ANC rule.” Speed up basic service delivery”When the DA says it will speed up basic service delivery, we are talking about access to electricity, water and sanitation.”Half of the province is on the brink of one of the worst droughts ever to hit us. For many towns and cities, the reality of Day Zero is fast approaching, if it has not already arrived. Makhanda is days away while Graaff Reinet’s water is already undrinkable,” Bhnga said.”Why has there been no action from the respective municipalities? Where is the ANC-led government? What are they doing to assist in this time of crisis?”The DA-led Western Cape faced a similar crisis not so long ago but were able to avert it.”I want to take this opportunity to thank our Team One SA volunteers who have been distributing water to those in need in Graaf Reinett.”He said that basic services is also about tackling things like the eradication of mud schools.”In 2011 the ANC promised there would be no more mud schools by 2018. The national department of Basic Education set aside R11-billion in 2011 to replace 530 mud schools in the province,” he described.”The Eastern Cape Education Department now estimates that the eradication of mud schools will only be a reality in 2022. There are still 436 mud schools that are operational in the province, with an estimated additional price tag of R16.9 billion.”Human settlementsBhanga said that the ANC has proven that it can build toilets.”Thousands upon thousands of them rise up out of the bush across the province. Yet, when it comes to providing toilets to schools, their skills suddenly fail them,” he described.”Our children are forced to place their lives at risk, squatting in the bush or using deadly pit latrines. Why?”Because apparently there is no money available to build toilets for our children. There is no lucrative tender deal designed to tap on public monies at inflated prices for the politically connected. Those toilets in the bush are monuments to the corruption that is part and parcel of the ANC.”Bhanga said that the ANC will say that this is not true, that the toilets are part of the roll out of housing schemes for the communities that live there, “but where are the houses? They have not, and most likely will never, be built”.”Ten years and longer these toilets have stood, with not one foundation dug for the houses meant to accompany them. Meanwhile, thousands of families across this province are still waiting for the homes promised to them by the ANC.”Promises made when the ANC remembers it needs votes to stay in power. But the truth is the ANC is building less and less houses in the province,” he said.”Human Settlements has said that, due to budget cuts, it only intends to build 8 950 houses this financial year, compared to the 11 158 houses built in 2017/18.”A drop in the ocean compared to the massive 660,000 housing backlog in this province.”It is therefore inconceivable that, even with this massive backlog, there are houses that have been built, standing empty.”Bhanga said that housing registry lists are in disarray.”Families whose names were on the list for years, suddenly find themselves removed the day the earthworks begin.”Education “Not so long ago, the province celebrated that, for the first time in years, the Eastern Cape was not at the bottom when it comes to the matric pass rate, beating Limpopo and breaking through the 70% matric pass rate barrier,” Bhanga said.”Unfortunately, this is just more smoke and mirrors by the failing ANC government.”What the Department did not mention is that of the 106 599 learners in the province who enrolled for the National Senior Certificate at the beginning of the year, only 65,733 wrote their final exams.”What happened to the other 40 866 learners? We have asked the Department to clarify this, but we are still waiting for answers.”He said that looking further back, there were 148 346 learners in the province who were registered for Grade 10 in 2016, which means that the real Matric pass rate last year was just 31, 3%!”The ANC does not care about our children. They throw them by the wayside so that they can look good on TV.”How are we going to fix the problem of a failing education system if we refuse to acknowledge that there is a problem? If we manipulate the numbers at the expense of the very children we are supposed to be educating?” he added.”How are we ever going to see a real improvement when 2 727 teachers in grades 10 to 12 are teaching subjects that they are not qualified to teach? When 264 teachers do not have the necessary professional qualifications to teach, at all!”The DA will not shy away from this problem. I want to stress that this is not something you can fix overnight, it will take time and effort. You cannot fix a production line at the end, when the problem is at the beginning.”He said that the DA will focus on literacy and numeracy in the first four years of a learner’s schooling, as this is the foundation upon which all future learning is based.”We will introduce and sustain a mentor programme to assist underperforming schools and we will review the appointments of principals, as too many schools lack leadership.”We will ensure that the principals sign performance contracts with the Department and have inspectors that regularly visit classrooms. We will prioritise all critical posts and populate vacancies with appropriately qualified educators,” he added.”We will also develop and implement teacher development programmes and introduce E-learning, apprenticeships and supervised after-school curricula.”Departmental Rate Card”We have compiled a report card on the state of each of the Departments in the Province, looking at their overall performance, and have given them a score out of 10,” Bhanga said.Office/DepartmentScoreThe Office of the Premier3/10Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs3/10Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism3/10Education3/10Health2/10Human Settlements3/10Provincial Treasury4/10Public Works4/10Rural Development and Agrarian Reform4/10Safety and Liaison5/10Social Development3/10Sports Recreation Arts and Culture4/10Transport3/10″I am sad to say that, based on the results, it is clear that the ANC has failed this province.”Follow more RNEWS articles, subscribe to our YouTube channel and for breaking news LIKE us on Facebook. For news on the Western Cape click here.

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