An ‘uninspiring’ address

2015-02-28 00:00

OPPOSITION parties yesterday slammed KZN Premier ­Senzo Mchunu’s State of the Province address saying it failed to deal with the bread and butter issues affecting KZN.

The premier delivered his ­address — themed “Consolidating progress we have made, and stepping up the pace to achieve radical socio-economic transformation to end Poverty in our Lifetime” — yesterday at the ­Pietermaritzburg Royal Showgrounds.

He said provincial government was unhappy that the percentage of people in KZN living below the poverty line of R318 per month had risen from 25% to 28% between 2010 and 2014 despite the fact that they had wanted to reduce the figure to 18% by this year.

Mchunu said there had been an increase in crimes related to murder and that rape in the province was still very high.

Quoting national statistics, he said: “A woman is killed every six hours by her partner and 51% of this took place in the woman’s home.”

To address this, Mchunu ­announced that 130 police ­stations were currently being evaluated to identify challenges and shortfalls to assist in improving policing in the province.

“We will also be reviewing the KZN Liquor Licensing Act … to act more decisively against illegal trade in liquor and declaring consumption of liquor in public as a criminal offence,” said Mchunu.

Addressing the energy crisis, he said progress had been made to establish beneficiation plants at Ngagane, South of Newcastle and Colenso.

“The proposal intends creating five smelters at a cost of R22 billion and could possibly create 8 000 permanent jobs.”

Furthermore, he said the government had commitments from the sugar and paper and pulp industry to contribute up to 200 megawatts of new renewable energy within a relatively short space of time.

Mchunu said there had been a significant improvement in the municipal audit outcomes in the 2013/14 financial year.

“We are pleased to announce that the Asset Forfeiture Unit recovered R434,5 million between January 2014 and December 2014 and so far in 2015, an amount of more than R100 million has already been forfeited. We will be relentless in this war against those who are intent in stealing our freedom,” he said.

Regarding education, he said a Provincial Academic Improvement Plan for 2015 and beyond had been developed and was ­being implemented as “Operation Bounce Back”.

This year marks the first five-year cycle in the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) and the province’s Provincial Growth and Development Plan (PGDP), said Mchunu.

He said the government was now focusing on the 2015 to 2020 period.

But KZN DA leader Sizwe Mchunu said the premier’s address was uninspiring.

“He didn’t talk about … the unprecedented step of dissolving two municipalities, the Durban to Pietermaritzburg train, the much-publicised Drakensberg cableway and last year’s matric ­cheating scandal,” said Mchunu.

Erickson Zungu from the NFP said: “We expected the premier to talk about each government department in detail but he did not go into specifics. Education received a huge budget from Nhlanhla Nene but we know that the money won’t be used accordingly.”

The IFP’s Blessed Gwala said: “The premier spoke but there was nothing new in what he said. There have been 264 promises made since 1994 and none of those promises have been met. There was no mention made about the state-of-the-art ­business train that was ­promised by the government.”

Economic Freedom Fighter’s Vusi Khoza said the premier failed to address the pupil transportation problem facing the province. This is after the deaths of eight children in a school bakkie accident in Imbali last month. Mchunu announced that government was determined to follow through on the banning of bakkies or vans transporting school children.

“The bakkie issue is a very sensitive one. ‘Uncles’ transporting children to school are going to be out of business. This also means that the quality of education in the townships is substandard if children are ­taking bakkies to go to other schools not in their areas.”

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