State of Mpumalanga: What David Mabuza didn’t say

2014-02-28 16:50

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Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza delivered a state of the province address that emphasised the ANC-led government’s achievements over the past 20 years and could be easily interpreted as a vote-canvassing exercise in light of the looming general elections.

5 things Mabuza said:

1. Job creation in the province fell below the Mpumalanga government’s expectations.

The province only created 97 000 jobs between the first quarter of 2009 and quarter four of 2013 in the community services sector, finance, utilities and mining.

The province’s annual Gross Domestic Product was 2.4% between 2009 and 2012 – which was below the 5% target set in 2009.

2. More than R2.57 billion had been invested in health infrastructure to ensure equitable access to health-care facilities.

The hospital revitalisation programme had ensured that some of the major hospitals received the necessary support in terms of better infrastructure and equipment to improve the quality of health care.

3. The last five years had seen a cumulative R2.91 billion investment in education infrastructure.

A total of 25 new schools and 26 Grade R facilities were built during this time to eradicate mud and unsafe structures.

4. Recent annual municipal reports indicated:

» an increase of water provision from 77.1% to 94.9% (1 027 million) households

» an increase of access to sanitation services from 53.9% to 95.6% (1 028 million);

» an increase of electricity from 81.7% to 89.8%; and » an increase of access to refuse removal services from 41.5% to 54% (544 069) households.

5. “Today, I am pleased to report that no MEC has given permission to any employee of the Mpumalanga provincial government to perform any remunerative work outside his or her employ in the public service.”

5 things Mabuza didn’t say:

1. Mabuza failed to explain how his government planned to tackle patients’ food shortages that affect most of the hospitals from time to time.

2. He said nothing about how his office planned to revive and bring the work of the Mpumalanga Aid Council, which he chairs, up to speed with other provinces in the fight against HIV-Aids.

Mabuza has been criticised by the Treatment Action Campaign for delegating his job to an MEC and failing to ensure that the council functioned.

3. Mabuza failed to explain how his government would resolve the slow pace of RDP houses delivery, which has not improved even after he dismantled the Department of Human Settlements’ top management about a year and a half ago.

4. He failed to provide detailed progress or even mention the security tender fiasco, which saw the province committing R7 billion to 18 security companies over three years.

The price of the service increased seven-fold when it was awarded two years ago.

The tender has drained the coffers of the safety and security department so much that a team was appointed to try to negotiate with the companies to decrease their prices by at least 30%.

5. Mabuza did not mention what he was going to do with managers and mayors of the worst-performing municipalities, which consistently get disclaimers from the Auditor-General.

He made municipal managers sign pledges to resign if they get disclaimers in the 2013/14 financial year, but he has not acted against the managers of Thaba Chweu, Mkhondo, Bushbuckridge, Msukaligwa and Emalahleni.

He also failed to explain why municipalities under administration, like Thaba Chweu, Bushbuckridge and Emalahleni, still underperformed.

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