EC Sopa expectations – action required on jobs, drought, education, poor performance and corruption

BY Athol Trollip (MPL), Leader of the Official Opposition in the Provincial Legislature

During his State of the Province Address on Friday, Premier Phumulo Masualle must present to the citizens of the Eastern Cape a credible plan around the economy and joblessness, the on-going drought, the current education crisis, poor local government performance and corruption. 

The hungry, the unemployed, disadvantaged learners and worried families are looking for hope that their life circumstances are going to improve.  

Sadly this province recorded the highest expanded rate of unemployment in the country for the third quarter of the current financial year, of 42. 5%.  For the same period, Nelson Mandela Bay had the highest official unemployment rate of the all the metros in the country of 34. 3%, with youth unemployment at 47. 7%.  Premier Masualle must spell out realistic, positive measures to create real jobs in the Eastern Cape. 

Large parts of the province continue to suffer terribly from this relentless drought and the government’s late and reactive response.  The El Niño climatic phenomenon has been predicted a long, long time ago and required a proactive response.  We want to know how the agricultural sector in the province will be assisted in terms of immediate support to save jobs and to farmers facing livestock and crop losses coupled to financial ruin. 

The Eastern Cape produced the lowest matric pass rate in the country, for 2015, of 56. 8%, a decline of almost ten percent.  The Premier must make bold decisions about the leadership and management in the Department of Education. 

Our municipalities are under threat due to poor financial management, with even Eskom threatening to cut electricity supply to five of them.  Please don’t announce another turn-around plan, just the action steps with time frames!

Corruption and maladministration remain the Achilles’ heel of the province while the cost of state employees continues to put even more strain on the Eastern Cape’s financial position. 

What we want to hear is how the Premier will bring about an efficient civil service, functioning municipalities, cut corruption and red tape and bring about cost effective infrastructure development.

The DA believes that this province can be a place of rising opportunity for all its people if the right policies and people are put into place.

 February 17, 2016
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