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True leadership is the only thing that will save the Eastern Cape

(Debate on Eastern Cape Legislature on the provincial opening address of 2022)

The Eastern Cape needs true leadership to develop the province's potential for the benefit of all its people.

Regrettably, the opening address by the Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, sounded like an election campaign for next month's ANC provincial leadership elections.

Mabuyane's opening address was basically a rehash of all the promises he had made in previous opening addresses.

Only time will tell whether the Premier's undertaking to build 77 new schools will actually realise seeing as there are hundreds of schools in the province that are dilapidated, do not have proper toilet facilities or enough teachers. The Department could not even succeed in providing learners with the necessary stationery and books in time.

Announcing turn-around strategies for the Departments of Education and Health, but failing to disclose any details on what those strategies entail or how they will be implemented, means nothing.

The only turn-around strategies that will make a positive difference to the dysfunctionality in these two departments are to get rid of cadres and replace them with competent managers, and to eradicate corruption.

In last year's opening address, the Premier undertook to have the manganese terminal relocated to Coega by the end of December 2021. But it was no more than an empty promise.

In his 2019 opening address, the Premier pointed out that the Eastern Cape is underdeveloped with a high unemployment rate, inequality and high levels of poverty. In order to address these challenges, the development of the Nelson Mandela corridor, among other things, would have been prioritised. But those words never lead to any action. Lemons cultivated in the Eastern Cape are still being exported to China though the Durban harbour.

It is not enough to merely point out the poor state of local government. As Premier, he must act and take the necessary steps to address the issues at dysfunctional municipalities.

The FF Plus believes that the Eastern Cape has tremendous potential. The people of the Eastern Cape – all communities – must be afforded the opportunity to help build a winning province together. The only way to help the Eastern Cape reach its full potential is to abolish the failed ANC policy of Affirmative Action (AA) and Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). Everyone must have access to equal opportunities.

Economic development and growth cannot take place while infrastructure is falling apart and there is no basic service delivery. Whether the Premier has the political will to end cadre deployment and the looting of tax money remains doubtful, though.

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