ANC members turned a session of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (2 June) into a chaotic powerplay within mere minutes.
Probing questions and statements by opposition parties regarding incomplete developments and planned community programmes, which clearly pointed to the ANC-controlled provincial government's poor management, immediately made the members of Premier David Makhura's executive council defensive.
In the session, members slung insults and derogatory remarks at one another and at times it was nearly impossible to follow what was going on in the meeting. Opposition parties that demanded a point of order were not given an opportunity to speak, while other's microphones were simply switched off.
The meeting in which critical issues were supposed to be discussed turned out to be extremely disappointing and the impression was created that the ANC is exploiting the Covid-19 regulations for political powerplay rather than protecting the province.
The MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, continually referred to the Western Cape as a poor government and he alleged that ministerial directives were violated by re-opening schools. He linked the re-opening of schools in the Western Cape to the higher Covid-19 infection rate and number of deaths in that province.
Lesufi emphasised that schools in Gauteng will not re-open until all the schools can adhere to the prescribed Covid-19 regulations. According to him, suburban schools cannot be allowed to re-open while there are schools in rural areas that still do not have proper infrastructure and equipment.
It is alarming that numerous schools where teachers and principals worked non-stop to ensure that they can safely accommodate learners as from Monday (1 June) now have to wait even longer before re-opening.
The schools that are ready to re-open cannot be punished because there are other schools that were vandalised during the lockdown and as a result, they cannot comply with the regulations. It is the Department of Education's responsibility to accommodate the learners at other venues and to help these facilities to comply with the regulations. The FF Plus will not just let the matter go. It is unconstitutional to deny learners, who want to return to school, access to education.
The unsatisfactory answers provided by the MEC for Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements, Lebogang Maile, in response to opposition parties' questions about the Department's underperformance lead to chaos. The Department is responsible for low-cost and affordable housing.
One cannot help but wonder what the greatest danger faced by the people of Gauteng really is – Covid-19 or the ANC's opportunism and obsession with power?
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