Parties react to Premier

2010-02-26 00:00

OVER-EXPENDITURE, corruption and a call for lifestyle audits to be extended to include politicians as well as civil servants were the main issues picked on by opposition parties in their response to Premier Zweli Mkhize’s state of the province address.

Dr Lionel Mtshali (IFP) said his party was surprised to be treated to the usual extravaganza associated with the opening of parliament, this time against the backdrop of the most “precarious financial position KwaZulu-Natal has ever faced throughout its history”.

DA leader in the legislature John Steenhuisen said it was unfortunate that, despite requests from treasury, some departments were still using five star hotels and spending too much on lavish catering for members and outside functions.

On corruption, he said the premier did not address how he was to deal with civil servants running businesses on the side, or those who get tenders in their own departments.

“Not a word from you, Mr Premier, on your former head of provincial treasury and current Ithala CEO Sipho Shabalala. He still has serious allegations over his head, yet remains at the helm of an organisation with a track record of being pilfered by the political elite,” Steenhuisen said.

IFP leader Dr Bonginkosi Buthelezi said acts of corruption, negligence and maladministration must be dealt with severely, and the current inaction and backlog of unresolved disciplinary hearings does not inspire much public confidence.

Opposition parties also picked on the golden handshake given to former Agriculture head advocate Modidima Mannya

Mkhize said the Mannya issue was unfortunate and that there were two or three different appeals. “This would have cost us a lot more money than just to send him out.”

He said, while they could not stop Izimbizo as it was important for government to reach people, the provincial government will review the number and the size of these gatherings.

Mkhize said the problem in dealing with corruption was obtaining evidence. He urged opposition parties to assist in this regard.

On a challenge from the DA that he had not met with opposition parties in the legislature, Mkhize said he will rectify this.

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