As in previous years, the State of the Province Address (SOPA) delivered by the Free State Premier, Sisi Ntombela, on the 25th of February was full of promises, but had very little to show for it. She emphasised projects that were no more than a rehash of previous SOPAs. Some of these projects have run on from one year to the next, but very little has been done to execute them.
The Premier promised six new schools for the Free State, but there are already five other schools that have to be finalised within the current financial year. She brags that eight clinics will be completed, but they were supposed to have been finalised in this financial year. There is less than a month left to compete all these projects.
Many of the roads that should have been repaired were put back on the agenda. These roads are simply not being repaired and it puts immense pressure on the provincial economy and agricultural sector.
The ANC is playing for time by making empty promises to the people. Residents can, for instance, not yet go to these incomplete clinics for treatment. Thus, these people are being deprived of vital medication and medical treatment.
The municipal infrastructure allowances, that amount to approximately R305 million, were already spent in December 2019. Many Free State municipalities are, however, in a shocking condition and it is extremely worrying that the funds earmarked for maintenance are not used for the intended purpose.
Most of the Free State municipalities experience severe water and sewage problems, but these are pushed aside so that salaries can be paid.
There is obviously enough political will to combat violence through Zama Zamas, but the pleas for increased rural safety fall on deaf ears. It is unacceptable that the Premier made no mention of rural safety.
The moment when there is enough political will to ensure safety in rural areas, we will see a drastic decrease in farm attacks and murders.
The FF Plus is here working for its supporters to ensure that circumstances in the province improve for everyone's benefit. The FF Plus is also calling on the ruling party to consider its workable solutions – they may just be the answers that the province needs to save it from utter ruin.
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