Provincial Legislature Of Kwazulu Natal
Hon MB Gwala MPL
The Inkatha Freedom Party recognises that the Office of the Premier is the frontrunner in marketing KwaZulu-Natal to the world while at the same time it is tasked with monitoring and evaluating provincial government programmes and providing strategic leadership and direction for the provincial government. This Office is the apex office in the province and as such it must display a clear vision for the province and provide guidance to all other departments and public entities. This is the office that is tasked with setting the pace for provincial growth and instilling investor confidence.
Unfortunately the functions of this office are being stifled due to the two centres of power that now exists in this province. It would appear that the Premier is being undermined and therefore unable to forge ahead with his vision for the province. This is something that will stifle economic growth and deter foreign direct investment, and this is not good for KwaZulu-Natal.
On Page 4 of the Green Book it is stated that:
“Several diplomatic corps were hosted upon their request, such as the Ambassadors of Russia, Germany Singapore, Comoro Islands, etc. Hosting members of the diplomatic and consular corps is aligned to the province’s proposed strategy to forge relations with global partners in order to strategically place KZN on the map.”
Whilst it is good to host these diplomats, it must be borne in mind that they are here to gather information and get a feel of what is happening on the economic front as well as the political and social fronts. They will report back to their respective principals on the political stability and economic viability of future business prospects in our province and country. It is unfortunate that the political picture from a national perspective is not something that will instil business confidence. To make the situation even worse is that the number of service delivery protests that are crippling our economy is generating negative publicity around the globe. The destruction of factories as was seen in Isithebe and at the Zululand Anthracite Colliery coupled with labour unrest will only serve to deter prospective investors and also demoralise those who are already doing business in KZN.
We are aware that the Hon Premier has signed a co-operation agreement with the State of Maryland in the USA which is focused on economic development. We also know that that there is interest from other countries to establish an aircraft assembly and manufacturing plant in KZN. These, amongst others are excellent initiatives that could have far-reaching and positive implications for our provincial economy. But these initiatives can be doomed to failure if there is continued political uncertainty and civil disobedience. The unrest at tertiary institutions are also having a negative impact on the image of our country internationally. We cannot go on blaming global economic factors for the declining value of our currency. We must evaluate our own internal conditions and repair what needs fixing because these are things that were within our control.
The Hon Premier and his Office needs all of our support in the interest of the people of our province. That does not mean that we do not perform our oversight role on the various departments, in fact we need to intensify our oversight and offer guidance where necessary. The IFP is the only other party in this House that has experience in governing KwaZulu-Natal. We have the knowledge and the expertise, and we are willing to advise because we know that our input will benefit our people.
Having said that, Madame Speaker, the IFP is of the view that the Office of the Premier has taken on too many responsibilities and is continuing to expand those responsibilities to the detriment of achieving its objectives.
We often find that this Department initiates certain projects and after a year or two and the waste of huge sums of money, the projects are abandoned and something new is started. I am reminded of the Youth Ambassador Programme that was launched amidst much fanfare and great expectations. This programme has now been abandoned and is replaced by a Youth Chief Directorate in the Office of the Premier.
I am hoping that the Hon Premier will tell this House what has become of the R5million that was allocated in the 2010/2011 financial year for the construction of a monument to honour the arrival of indentured Indian labourers in Durban. After this amount was transferred to the eThekwini municipality the project never took off and we are now in 2016. In July last year acting director-general Frikkie Brooks told the portfolio committee:
“We are not getting the sense of urgency from eThekwini. There is a possibility that we may be heading for a retraction of the funding.”
Even the Hon Premier is quoted in the same article as saying:
“We shall put pressure on them to say: ‘Let’s make a move”.
Has there been any move in this regard?
As of 01 April 2015 all affairs of the Royal House were placed under the control of the Office of the Premier and therefore the DG. We are reminded that Treasury had stated last year that it was not convinced that the budget allocated to the Trust was sufficient to meet the needs of the Royal House. The Hon Premier must inform this House about the affairs of the Trust and whether His Majesty is receiving government support commensurate with his status. We cannot have the dignity of His Majesty being undermined in any way.
We have raised our concerns several times about the lack of transparency and feedback on progress on many crucial matters that involve huge amounts of tax payer’s money. To this day we have not been informed as Members of the Legislature on the progress made in the investigation surrounding the spending of tax payers' money on projects like the International North Sea Jazz Festival, Commemorating Prisoners of War - St Helena event and the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board. Millions of rand were spent but some of the projects never took place and money was not recovered. This House is still awaiting answers and I am expecting the Hon Premier to say something regarding these issues.
I want to call on the Premier, as the leader of this government to take the lead in putting an end to the senseless killings that are ongoing in our province. The Hon Premier should be concerned about the killings in the hostels around EThekwini but just making statements and expressing condolences will not stop the killing of innocent people. The Hon Premier must show leadership and ensure that the people of our province are safe.
I thank you,
Mr Blessed Gwala MPL
078 290 5842