Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of the IFP, I wish to convey our deepest gratitude to His Majesty King MisuZulu KaZwelithini for the guidance and most appropriate address His Majesty delivered to this House at the official opening of the Legislature last Thursday.
The IFP denounces the drama that befell this Honourable House last week, in front of His Majesty. When this drama took place, it was the occasion of the maiden SOPA for the Premier, and it was the first attendance of His Majesty to the SOPA in his capacity as the King of the Zulu Nation.
Regarding the Ongoye violence, it takes two to tango. The violence was between the IFP and ANC. The ANC will not absolve themselves from that violence. Regarding Nongoma matter, COGTA must learn to do things right. Your ill-advised interference was stopped by the court of law.
Hon. Speaker, when a government of the day enters into a social contract with the people, it is not just a blank slate at the mercy of the government. It is a contract with terms and conditions. Government commits to deliver services and protect the natural rights of the citizens.
On the other hand, citizens commit to respect the laws of the land and ensure stability. When either of the two detour from the agreements of the contract, democracy is in danger. We are called upon here today to take stock of whether the government of KwaZulu-Natal has so far adhered to the aspects of the agreement with the people of the province.
We have to acknowledge that, indeed, some social and natural occurrences in the country and the world have had an impact on the performance of the government, either negatively or positively. The outbreak of Covid-19, the flood disasters in 2021 and 2022, and the looting spree in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in 2021, have all impacted the programmes of government to deliver services to the people. Be that as it may, we have to make it clear that some of these occurrences impacted a government that was already on a downward trend in servicing the people of the province. Therefore, these occurrences cannot be the sole scapegoat for mediocre performances and non-performance.
Under the government of the day, a terrible decline in the economy has been affecting this country – and the province – for far too long. This economic decline has affected our youth the most, as job opportunities run dry almost every day. This has caused this province to have high levels of unemployed youth, graduates and people in general. The last time we met for the SOPA in 2022, the unemployment rate of the province was standing at 28.7%, compared to this year, where it has risen to 30.6%. The expanded unemployment rate is now sitting at an alarming 46.4%. Just last week, South Africa got relegated to the economic ‘Grey Listing’, joining a list of countries that cannot be trusted to effectively curb money laundering and illicit financial flows. All this happen under the watch of the government of the day in South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal.
Hon. Premier, with all due respect, the SOPA 2023 was by and large a cut-and-paste, uninspiring, out of focus and hopeless. Towards the conclusion, she pleaded and said that Akulahlwa mbeleko ngakufelwa – the truth, Hon. Premier, is that the people of KwaZulu-Natal have lost hope in the government that has failed them.
The real State of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal is a province where crime is reigning. Gender-based violence is out of hand. People of the province are not safe in their homes, on the streets, and while commuting. Amakhosi and Izinduna are targeted and killed by the forces of darkness. Illegal guns exchange hands between criminals like hot cakes. Carjacking is extremely common and the people of uMkhanyakude in Umhlabuyalingana and Jozini are easy targets for criminals who hijack their cars, and then easily cross the borders to Mozambique and Eswatini. People who dare stand up against this crime become victims. May the soul of the crime activist Judah Mthethwa rest in peace.
Why has it become so easy to rob South Africans of their vehicles and easily cross to Mozambique, yet it is very difficult to get the same illegally taken vehicles back to South Africa – even when the people of uMkhanyakude have taken the trouble to cross the border and identify them? This happens because the borders of our country are poorly controlled and have become wide open to drug dealers, carjackers, illegal immigrants and other criminal elements who have made South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal a haven for criminal activities, including but not limited to murder and rape.
Teachers and children are not safe at schools. Businesses are attacked and cash-in-transit vehicles get attacked and robbed day in and day out under the watch of the government that has failed them, led by the ANC.
Hon. Mtshali, in 1988 when I arrived at the University of Zululand as a student, I went to the library and studied the report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Violence at the University of Zululand in 1983. The clash occurred between the members of the UDF/ANC and Inkatha followers. The first person who was killed was an IFP member and then retaliation occurred. Let us not go back and open these wounds.
We are reliably informed that the stress on the leaders of the organisation that is losing by-elections in this province, caused them to meet and they agreed on the plan to draw the IFP into the violence narrative so that the IFP’s attention is diverted. Forget this. You cannot drag us back to violence.
Hon. MEC Sithole-Simelane and MEC N Simelane, the IFP at Nkandla won the case of the MM against COGTA in the highest Court of the land. You know the truth. The IFP, during its erstwhile KwaZulu government, built more than 6000 classrooms, built colleges of education, built townships and police stations. The list is endless. You know them.
Hon. Premier, this province is bleeding due to unprecedented high levels of gender-based violence, violence against children – especially girls – and rape. As a province, it should concern us that when the crime statistics of the country are released, KwaZulu Natal usually tops the list in many reported incidents, as was the case with the recent reports of the Third Quarter for the 2022/23 financial year. In the trio crimes, murder, attempted murder, rape, sexual offences, and kidnapping cases, Kwazulu-Natal comes in on top in areas like Inanda and Umlazi. KwaZulu-Natal’s Plessislaer took the top trophy for robberies at residential properties. In all the above categories, KwaZulu-Natal has an average of eight police stations in the national top 30. These figures are a reflection of a province that is failing to fight crime.
To solve these and the many other crimes we need to get the basics right. We do not need the Hon. Premier to consider recalling retired detectives. No, retired detectives must be left in retirement. In fact, that will be a vote of no confidence in the current men and women in blue. We need a government that is willing to fight crime head on, that will prioritise crime as enemy number one against the people and crack down. How? Recruit and employ young, energetic and physically fit police men and women and make them more visible in all communities but with a dedicated focus on every street in the hot-spot areas.
Build more police stations, and if funds are limited, provide mobile police stations in hot-spot areas, and provide proper and adequate resourcing of police stations. Refresh and provide advanced training to existing detectives so that they become sharp in arresting criminals. We need to tighten the screws of the law and be tough on crime. We need to have police personnel that will be prepared and dedicated to fighting crime instead of aligning with criminals against the very citizens they are supposed to protect from criminals. We need a government that will put South Africa and South Africans first. Drones and microchips can then come later.
Hon. Premier, you committed to the New Smart Coastal City as a decisive action. Your predecessor made the same commitment to the creation of a Smart City in Ugu and Harry Gwala districts. This is a dream that President Ramaphosa also talked about. I remember the 2019 dream of President Ramaphosa and the empty promise of “the bullet train”. No one speaks about the bullet train today. We are still waiting for a day that will we see this dream of a Smart City become a reality.
The Transport Department has abandoned bridges, and left without completing them. Roads such as P713, P451, P735, and many others have remained incomplete for more than 10 to 15 years. These roads are less than 48 km long.
Hon. Speaker, loadshedding has destroyed our country, our economy, small businesses and caused unemployment. It has affected our lives badly, exposing us to crime at night and causing inconveniencies we are forced to live with. I feel sorry for interventions the Premier announced regarding the energy crisis in our country. Yesterday, I washed my hands when I read in the Daily Maverick that President Ramaphosa, in his answering affidavit, said that he has no legal duty to end loadshedding. Eskom is a government entity. Loadshedding is controlled and scheduled by Eskom. The head of government understands how Eskom has destroyed all aspects of life in South Africa, yet he and his government say they have no responsibility to end loadshedding.
Kuyiqiniso ukuthi abantu baKwaZulu-Natali badume ngokungalilahli ithemba kanti izikhathi ezilukhuni yizona ezibahlanganisayo. Kuyiqiniso futhi ukuthi noma befelwa abasheshi bayilahle imbeleko.
Iloadshedding imqumbe phansi uhulumeni obusayo and abantu baKwaZulu-Natali sebeyilahlile imbeleko.