Mkhize’s address falls short, says opposition

2010-02-25 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL opposition parties have labelled Premier Zweli Mkhize’s state of the province address “lacklustre”.

Opposition leaders were unanimous in criticising Mkhize’s address, delivered at the Royal Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

The provincial chairman of the Inkatha Freedom Party and member of the provincial legislature, Dr Bonginkosi Buthelezi, described the programmes laid out by Mkhize as “a bland extension and continuation of ongoing government programmes and initiatives”.

Buthelezi criticised the premier “for once again putting the blame for KwaZulu-Natal’s precarious financial position on the global economic recession without acknowledging that it is partly the result of gross overspending by the previous ANC government”.

“There are few fresh ideas and little innovation. The IFP has been disappointed not to hear anything specific or credible about speeding up forensic investigations into fraud and corruption, addressing internal inefficiencies within government departments or measuring the performance of civil servants in auditable terms.

“We hoped for a commitment to cheaper ARVs and medicines in general by way of redefining inflexible procurement rules, or insistence on individual responsibility for failure on the part of MECs and senior officials. Instead, we get a vague commitment to improve on the current practices and to streamline ‘cadre deployment’,” said Dr Buthelezi.

The Democratic Alliance caucus leader in the legislature, John Steenhuisen, described the address as weak and lacking in details about new programmes to be introduced.

He said no mention was made of how the province plans to prevent public servants from using government money for themselves.

No plans were forthcoming as to how the government intends to address the deteriorating state of provincial roads, a concern that was raised by King Goodwill Zwelithini during his address on Tuesday, he added.

Minority Front leader Amichand Rajbansi said Mkhize’s speech was the most lacklustre state of the province address he had ever listened to in his parliamentary career.

The ANC’s provincial secretary, Sihle Zikalala, rejected the criticisms.

“The address really presented the government’s commitment to making sure that 2010 programmes are successful and it was in line with the ANC’s January 8 statement by President Zuma and the last year’s ANC election manifesto,” said Zikalala.

Cope’s Lucky Gabela said the premier’s total silence on issues of governance and corruption was most disappointing.

“One was expecting that, having set a high standard last year, this time around the premier would do more in terms of outlining government’s programme, taking into account evaluation,” he said.


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