Thumps up for speech

2012-02-22 00:00

POLITICAL parties gave KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize a thumbs-up for his state of the province address, although there were also concerns about the province’s capacity to do the job.

 

Blessed Gwala, leader of the opposition Inkatha Freedom Party in the legislature, welcomed the increased investment in the province’s public infrastructure.

“However, the announcement comes without a clearer indication how the challenges associated with service delivery will be addressed, given KZN’s poor record on project management,” said Gwala.

“The scope of this new infrastructure delivery, which includes water and electricity supply as well as the rail network, is impressive.

“But the challenges that have previously resulted in failed, delayed or overpriced projects remain largely unaddressed,” Gwala said.

Democratic Alliance Leader Sizwe Mchunu was cautious in his reaction. He said that although the premier had made all the right noises, more aggressive provincial leadership was needed to ensure accountability and the monitoring and oversight of service delivery projects “on time and on budget”.

“There can be no doubt that the premier’s strategic plan for the province for the coming year is well intended.

“But whether our province’s political leadership or its minions have either the capacity or the political will to implement such a grandiose plan remains to be seen,” Mchunu said.

The DA questioned the plan to build museums and erect statues of liberation struggle heroes, saying the decision to spend taxpayers’ money on items that did not address the wellbeing of the citizens of the province was questionable.

National Freedom Party secretary-general Nhlanhla Khubisa said Mkhize’s speech was balanced in terms of giving a report-back on what had been done and what remained to be done. The speech added meat, especially in what the president had said about the infrastructure revolution, he added.

SA Communist Party provincial secretary Themba Mthembu said his party was particularly impressed with the premier’s focus on the agrarian revolution and infrastructure development and the determination to improve provision of quality healthcare and education for all the people of the province, especially the working class and the poor.

However, he cautioned the provincial government “against some corrupt tenderpreneurs who are already lining their pockets to enrich themselves through these projects, while depriving the majority of workers and the poor of much needed developmental projects”.

The ANC congratulated Mkhize for “ushering in a new era of growth and prosperity”.

• skhumbuzo.miya@witness.co.za

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