Debate on State of the Province Address

22 February 2011

State of the Province Debate by the Honorable Member of the Executive Council for Health, Mr. Mxolisi Sokatsha at the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature


Honorable Speaker and Deputy Speaker

Honorable Premier Hazel Jenkins

Members of the Provincial Legislature

Distinguished guests and Visitors

You are all humbly greeted as we honor the third State of the Province Debate by the Head of our Provincial Government, Premier Hazel Jenkins with this sitting.

We meet to reflect on what is essentially the broad framework of the Programme of Action of government for the new financial year.

Previous occasions of this day consist of dark and blank pages on the history of some Honorable Members of this house. We would remember as early as last year when they regrettably left the same proceedings of this house when the hit became too much in the Kitchen.

It was not the first time that the hit became too much in the kitchen for some of them and they predictably then jump ship. The official opposition in this Legislature is a product of such awful politics in Polokwane and Moshaweng.

As a result comments heard from them up to now on the address of the Honorable Premier remains a silent echo.

Some of them bizarrely make it into the news papers, reflecting an opposition attempting to advance but moving fast in reverse gear.

Honorable Speaker:

We definitely also need the wisdom and sanity of the logic of Aristotle at its most basic level for sense to prevail in this debate.

I may also start by indicating that the State of the Province Address by the Premier is merely a new episode or a new Chapter in the Programme of the ANC government. It is not a new programme so consistency rather than what is wrongly termed repetition will be heard.

It should be understood as such; it’s a continuation, this is important for those who need to fill the dark and blank pages that have put them into a permanent reverse mode.

When the Premier reports on the progress that has been made on numerous matters that she mentioned in here State of the Province Address last year that cannot be regarded as repetition; because the Premier was actually reporting work done and the progress accomplished on those matters.

This is the same ANC led government; it will be the same government for a very long time to come. Its strategic goal remain the same that of building a united, non racial, non sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

Its Programme of Action will remain the same for the next five years because it is anchored by the manifesto of the ruling party for the next five years.

Briefly these include the following:

* One, work to improve on the eleven percent improvement in the Matric pass rate, providing continued support to poor quintile schools. Furthermore implement a very important innovation that impacts directly in the classroom of providing district officials and educators with daily lesson plans.
* Two, continue the sterling work done towards the establishment of the University, including the work done by the task team of shaping the character of the University. All of this follow successful lobbying by the ruling political leadership of the Province which saw National Government officially endorsing the notion of a University in the Northern Cape.
* Thirdly, consolidate the work around the SKA bidding process which is now an African Bid. Up to now the province has worked hard and has ensured that we stay in the bidding race for the SKA project.
* Fourthly, there is the successful hosting of the Uruguayan team during the World Cup, which the Premier indicated last year we were working hard towards such a goal. It was important to report back to the people of the province about this and other successes such as the Maloof Cup.
* Five, the construction of the De Aar and Upington Hospitals which are now under Construction. Last year the Premier indicated that government was to undo the log jams that faced particularly the De Aar Hospital today we can say work has started and much needed jobs will be created for the community.
* Six, the HIV and AIDS campaign that has seen 3914 new patients enrolled into the treatment programme in the past year.
* Seven, the numerous bursaries that the Department of Health and Premiers Bursary Fund avails to address the challenges of scarce skills particularly in the Health Sector.

Honorable Speaker, let me restate once more these and many other things are mentioned in the Premiers State of the Province Address last year, and are again mentioned this year with a clear indication of progress made since then.

More than it being a repetition it reflects a clear logic, a sequence of doing things in a systematic way and keeping tabs on the long term and medium term goals of governments Programme of Action.

Clearly if you do not understand this simple logic you cannot work for and within a system where things follow a particular logic. We must always keep in mind that Government and Departments have a five year Strategic Plan so some of the things will remain on the agenda for more than one year.

Clearly some of us cannot function within a system, we do not understand the protocols of functioning within an organization hence today we occupy the opposition benches opposing the proud legacy with which we were associated for many years.

Honorable Speaker, it is understandable that some of the parties in this house are in a battle for political survival ahead of the local government elections and would do anything to scavenge for votes.

The Honorable Member Fred Wyngaardt was quoted in the news papers as objecting to the Premier announcing funds to be allocated to municipalities in order to improve service delivery. Now how pathetic can opposition politics get in our country?

Are we not expected to support the work of local government in word and deed, or should we join those who are seasoned experts in playing the blame game on the opposition benches? Our responsibility is different it is to govern.

Honorable Speaker clearly in this World you do you are damned, you don’t do you are damned!

In the same vain the DA correctly raises the question of the shortage of water that we experienced in the CBD and some of the suburbs of Kimberley.

However the DA’s Andrew Louw goes on to commit a serious fallacy, chastising the Premier in the DFA amongst others for not mentioning the issue of the shortage of water in Kimberley in her state of the province address. This crisis reportedly became public on the Tuesday of the week of the State of the Province Address.

Well the Premier could have done some political grandstanding on the matter as the Honorable Louw deed.

She could comment without dealing with the problem at hand. However as Head of the Provincial Government she understood that problems within other spheres of government; particularly the local sphere of government cannot be resolved by shouting from the top of the mountain.

Local government must be treated with respect, following the due process of the law. Local government is not a junior sphere of government, a naughty child waiting for a parent to scold them at any time. In fact the Constitution provides it with concurrent powers in numerous respects.

When required as in the past we will follow the existing channels to communicate with Mayors and Councilor’s rather than resort to the “loud hailer” approach that the DA would like to see.

The Provincial Government will continue to support local government to deliver optimal services to the people and key economic players in our community.

It is precisely for these reasons that the Premier announced allocations to municipalities particularly directed at service delivery. To our poor and struggling municipalities this is a much needed intervention.

Revenue is poor in some municipalities because of the minimal role the manufacturing sector is playing in our province. As a result unemployment remains unacceptably high.

The role of a developmental state is to make the kind of momentary and long term economic interventions at all level that will in the end promote sustainability.

The long term interventions that are being made in some of these municipalities is amongst others the promotion of the green economy focusing on solar hubs in Pixley ka Seme and Siyanda amongst others where there are poor municipalities.

Given the extent to which some our small towns have been ravaged by the floods the objection to this funding is laughable.

More importantly the ruling party is taking action to improve the performance of local government.

Honorable Speaker it is also interesting that the opposition which has consistently claimed to be the custodians of the fight against corruption have been silent on the resilient commitment of the Premier to deal with the corruption relating to the now former trustees in the Mme Re Ka Thusa Trust Fund.

The ruling Party applaud Premier Hazel Jenkins for her fight against corruption.

The less said about this opposition cherry picking on matters of fraud the better.

The Provincial Government remains committed to the five priorities of government announced by the Honorable President Mr. Jacob Zuma, these being:

* Education
* Health
* Creation of quality jobs
* Agrarian Reform
* Crime

The State of the Province address of the Premier has been able to systematically deal with these matters without fail.

Her address will always be veiled in subjectivism of oppositional politics as far as the opposition is concerned. We speak of an opposition that is increasingly clutching at straws.

Honorable Speaker:

The President of the Republic in his response to the state of the Nation Debate refers to Honorable Ben Turok who outlined the need to ensure equal outcomes to enable the disadvantaged to also access opportunities.

He cautioned against so-called equal opportunity policies whose outcomes are usually the continued affirmation of the advantaged.

You can sense from some of the comments of the members that they are merely repeating without mentally digesting the flawed comments made by their leaders during the debate of the State of the Nation Address.

Honorable Members, I started by saying that the address by the Honorable Premier provides the broad framework of the Programme of Action of Government.

It provides the listener with a contextual position of where we are and where broadly we intend to go. It is the Budget Votes of the various departments that shall provide the detail.

The Premier knows how to function within a system where she has mandated particular MEC’s to perform certain functions.

With the State of the Province she has set the context and parameters. We must listen to the Budget Votes before we make politically ill fated comments.

The President of the Republic and the Premier could not have provided more comments then they did.

Honorable Speaker, what must be awaited now is how the Health Department fore instance will realize the commitment to create jobs and training opportunities for the people of the Northern Cape.

We will also make announcements for new projects that will not only revitalize health services but will further boost the need to create jobs within the provincial economy.

There is clearly a problem with the Emergency Medical Services in the province. In the past year we procured about twenty vehicles, but the health demands continue to rise given the burden of diseases and injuries.

To an extent we are not yet in a position to clear the backlog that is there. The Department of Health will in the course of the year present a long term plan to revitalize EMS.

Honorable Speaker, we remain true to the service of our people and will always be the first to highlight the challenges that we face just as the Premier did, thereby setting an honorable example.

If there were no challenges a government would not be necessary, the state would have ceased to exist. We must be judged on our sincerity and commitment to deal with the challenges at hand with the minimal resources at our disposal.

The demands far outweigh the resources to address them yet even the recent South African Institute of Race Relations Survey says the sentiments about service delivery are sometimes at odd with the substantive delivery of the past ten years.

Honorable Speaker:

The HIV and AIDS campaign has been progressing very well, we have reached a stage where we can almost say we are about to turn the tide in the Northern Cape. We are not saying it because the enemy that we are facing together with our people has proven to be particularly resilient.

Our TB and HIV campaigns have been very robust; we actually do deserve applause from this house as government. We have taken the fight to the door step of our people. Our TB tracer project will certainly ensure that we reach the targeted 85% cure rate by 2014

Finally, this year marks a very important period in the history of our country, not only is it the twentieth anniversary of the founding of SASCO who together with its predecessors SASO and SANSCO played a critical role in our struggle for freedom epitomizing the sacrifices of the youth of the eighties and early nineties.

It is also the twentieth anniversary of the release of the gallant fighter for freedom Cde. President Mandela.

It is also the eve of a special year on the African Continent, a year much bigger than many can imagine, and a year that transcends political affiliation.

That in itself tells the story of monumental achievement, an unheralded African achievement.

The hundredth anniversary of the oldest movement on the African Continent the African National Congress; the history and future of the continent will always be littered with that name.

The ANC lives the ANC leads, I thank you!

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