By Hon MB Gwala MPL
28 February 2019
I must start by acknowledging the insightful comments and advice offered by His Majesty the King in his speech during the opening of the Legislature on Tuesday. The Speech delivered by the Premier yesterday was to good to be true.
Before I forget it is unfair that the Hon Premier invite members of the public to come and become his spectators when delivering his SOPA, while opposition parties are isolated in a confined space of the Legislature, away from the same audience when they debate the very same SOPA. We believe that community members have a right to listen to opposition parties debating SOPA in an open space as it has been the case with SOPA.
On Premier’s speech there is no need to pick on specific and pertinent sectors that are most affected because nearly all things aren’t going right. Premier’s ambitions, vision compared to the budget are totally different. If you move around and talk to people of different persuasions from all walks of life, you will come to acknowledge that there is a cloud of hopelessness, despondency and desperation that has encircled the lives of KwaZulu-Natal residents to the extent that people have resigned to the vagaries of life.
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. We are living in a broken province, which is in urgent need of fixing and of total change. As everything is in shambles we question where is the KwaZulu-Natal Citizens’ Charter launched by Premier Sbu Ndebele that promised to commit all provincial civil servants to delivering efficient and prompt services to the citizens of the province.
CORRUPTION & OUTSTANDING REPORT IN FORENSIC INVESTIGATION
The elephant in the room is corruption. Until corruption and accountability is taken seriously by the ANC government arresting high profile politicians and officials guilty of corruption, we will continue to have more of the same where corruption erodes confidence, opportunity and service delivery. Public funds are being embezzled by executives in State Owned Enterprises such as Eskom, SAA, Bosasa, Denel etc. The budget allocated to one of the SOE’s equals to the entire budget of Lesotho. The Premier said nothing about MECs and officials who should be fired if they do not do their jobs. This implies that they will continue to draw salaries regardless of their efforts and outcomes thereof. We have been told about lot of Commissions of Inquiry to investigate corruption but no one has been prosecuted from top officials and office bearers.
The Premier announced that the KwaZulu-Natal government will conduct lifestyle audits of officials in high-risk positions “starting with our supply chain management units”. We want to know from the Premier how many officials in his office has undergone under this process? We were hoping that the Premier will use his last SOPA to give a clear picture of the distance he has travelled to clean corruption. Ill-advisedly, The Premier is leaving without revealing some of investigation reports such as:
An explosive forensic investigation into tender fraud in the office of KwaZulu-Natal Premier which revealed how a personal assistant and an administrative clerk dished out tenders worth almost R23-million to five companies with the knowledge of their superiors.
A forensic investigation launched into how the KwaZulu-Natal government spent more than R220-millions of its drought-relief budget‚ which was meant as relief for subsistence farmers and struggling smallholder farmers. The poor people deserve to know what happened to these funds because R220 million cannot just disappear into thin air and secondly, there must be a paper trail. It cannot take years for investigators to walk to the department to look at the batch of papers that would have been prepared to authorise illegal payments.
The forensic report commissioned by former Agriculture MEC Dr Meshack Radebe in 2012‚ and which cost the province R10m‚ was completed in February 2014‚ but has not been released to the public.
Umbiko wenkohlakalo omayelana nokulungiswa kwehholo eMzimkhulu okunezinsolo zokuthi uNdunankulu uwufukamele ngoba iqembu likaKhongolose lesaba ukuthi lombiko uma udedelwa uzodala uqhekeko kubaholi be-ANC esifundeni iHarry Gwala, eXobho.
Siyazi ukuthi konke lokhu kwenzeka nje ingoba kunobhongoza ababambe lesisifundazwe ngobhongwane njengo Mnumzane uJohn Wills osebenza ukucindezela noma ngabe iluphi uphenyo oluthinta inkohlakalo kulesisifundazwe.
CORRUPTION IN MUNICIPALITIES
We have not heard of any plan of action to implement the findings and recommendations contained in the reports into corruption involving ANC led municipalities which is Mpofana Municipality where no one has been arrested for the irregular appointment of a service provider for a vehicle fleet lease has cost the municipality R27.9 million. Tender processes were flouted and fictitious documents submitted by the bidder were overlooked by municipal officials. The bid price further exceeded the second lowest bidder by R14.9 million.
Again, KZN Cogta initiated the forensic investigation into allegations involving R35-million worth of irregular expenditure incurred through alleged acts of misconduct by senior managers during the merger of Ezinqoleni municipality and the Hibiscus Coast municipality. It is alleged that the R35million was spent in just one month before the municipal systems were consolidated and the two municipalities merged as per the recommendation of the Municipal Demarcations Board.
POVERTY, UNEMPLOYMENT & FINANCIAL STATUS OF GOVERNMENT
We have the ANC as a governing party that doesn’t seem to grasp the depth of the South African people’s real suffering and anguish. Where is the ANC vision to get South African in particular the KwaZulu Natal Province across the river? The ANC government must admit that there is no capacity to change economic status, no capacity to create jobs and fight poverty facing the people of South Africa.
For years, it has been claiming to implement new projects aimed at reversing the levels of the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. South Africa today is in distress, facing dire economic times as people’s suffering deepens because of the failed ANC implementation of policies. Even the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni he recently admitted during his 2019 Budget Speech that the country is bankrupt and they are borrowing R1.2 billion a day.
The majority of universities have been shut-down by frustrated students across this province. Many students are still unregistered due to financial problems and other urgent issues. Students are losing hope and using aggressive measures to communicate with this government but leaders are nowhere to be seen to intervene and give the much-needed support. You promised them free education, it is then the duty of this government to be in the forefront addressing funding related issues affecting students.
Correspondingly, our schools are not safe anymore as they have become playgrounds for criminals. Many people are still living in shacks in areas like Cato Crest, Mayville and Isipingo etc. Our healthcare is in shambles yet there are hundreds of unallocated nurses seating home hopelessly. Many people still have no water, electricity, housing and sanitation in this province.
Criminals are in charge of communities they do as they please without any fear of being arrested and prosecuted. Police officers are demoralised due to the fact that the ANC led government has failed to provide them with enough resources to fight crime. Gun violence is the order of the day in this country. Our justice system is dysfunctional and we will never have an effective criminal justice system until we focus on stopping problem and criminal behaviour.
2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS
I contend, that KwaZulu-Natal cannot survive five more years of this ANC governance. Let us persistently prod: — What will it take and when will the oppressive prices of mealie meal, housing, transport, fuel, come down? What will it take and when will power blackouts stop in South Africa? What will it take and when will unemployment be eliminated from our midst? When will South Africa’s sick find relief from overcrowded hospitals and clinic facilities and gain access to affordable medicines? How about the oncology patients who to this day are still on the waiting list for help?
So where do we go from here – survive or perish? There is a saying that the best way to predict the future is to create it. 8 May 2019 General Elections should give every South African an opportunity to create that future for a better life – not just to survive but to prosper as well!
The ANC was given a chance to solve these issues but failed and has now run out of ideas. South Africa in particular KwaZulu-Natal need and deserve a government that is a servant of the people, not their master! This can only happen by voting the IFP.
Reconciliation between the IFP and the ANC is necessary for the restoration of a conducive environment for politicking between the two liberation movements. The ANC’s abandonment of reconciliation with the IFP does not serve the best interests of South Africa. It serves only the interests of the ANC because the ANC believe that the IFP would vanish in the near future which is not the case.
Again, Hon Premier, the recognition of Amakhosi under your term of office leave much to be desired. While lip service is paid to the role of Amakhosi in administering effective democratic governance, Amakhosi are prevented from voting in municipal councils and their voice may freely be discounted in decision-making. Municipalities are undermining traditional leaders and traditional councils and they did not seriously take traditional councils and their representation on municipal councils is merely ceremonial.