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North West Premier’s SOPA vague, will not solve the province’s problems

Vague and void of feasible solutions. That is the State of the Province Address (SOPA) by the North West Premier, Job Mokgoro, in a nutshell.

One does not have to be an expert to identify North West's biggest problems. Municipalities spend more money than what they collect for services delivered. In the district municipalities, more than half of the budget is spent on salaries while less than 10% of the income is invested in capital projects.

When all the money finally runs out, not one person will have access to basic services like water, electricity, sewage and garbage removal.

Not a single municipality in the North West received a clean audit from the Auditor-General (AG) and still government departments and municipalities disregard the AG's recommendations.

The question of how relevant district municipalities really are is justified. Instead of merging municipalities to form large, clumsy entities, the aim should rather be to have smaller municipalities that are closer to the communities as it will ensure more focused decision making.

The FF Plus wants to ask the Premier if he really is serious about combating corrupt activities and fraud in the province seeing as very few forensic audit reports relating to investigations were issued. These processes must not be repeated, strict action must be taken.

In his SOPA, Premier Mokgoro said that water scarcity is a real challenge in the North West and yet he did not address the pollution of fresh water sources through defective sewage plants and broken infrastructure.

Furthermore, the reports on water losses in municipalities due to water leaks as a result of negligence and poor maintenance is shocking.

While the Premier voiced his concern regarding gang activities and taxi violence, he said nothing about farm murders and attacks in the province. Farmers and farm workers of all races are affected by the wave of attacks and murders on farms.

Economic growth is crucial. The Premier made mention of economic zones in his SOPA and the FF Plus proposes that if such zones are created, they must be free of racial discrimination so that everyone has equal opportunities. These zones must also be based on merit and sound economic principles.

There are numerous critical problems that have long since emerged in the country as well as in the North West province. Residents are desperate and service delivery protest actions are a regular occurrence.

Tough times call for tough decisions. Like elsewhere in the country, this province's list of problems seems endless and the time for merely making empty promises is over. Hard work lies ahead to save the North West from utter ruin.

Contact details: 082 529 3001

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