Oppostition parties vow to push govt to deliver

2009-06-22 00:00

OPPOSITION parties have vowed to hold the provincial government to account and urged the government to pay minimal lip service on promises and get on with delivery.

Speaking during the response session on Friday to Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize’s State of the Province address, IFP caucus leader Dr Bonginkosi Buthelezi said that while his party is committed to co-operation and collaboration, it is not prepared to give unconditional support to all government proposals.

He said the people of KZN expect the official opposition to keep the government accountable and want to see the opposition’s initiatives and proposals put forward.

He said that Mkhize recognises that the province faces significant challenges and there needs to be a new approach to deal with these issues. “The global economic melt-down suggests that we have an evolving financial crisis on our hands — a situation, which, if ignored, will threaten the future of the province and seriously compromise the ability of this government to deliver,” said Buthelezi.

One of the most significant changes that the people of KZN voted for was an accountable and strategically-minded government, he said.

Government’s approach should be two-pronged: firstly, the government must regain control of its expenditure over a reasonable time-frame; and, secondly, it must retain an unwavering commitment to growing the economy and creating new jobs.

Buthelezi said the Provincial Planning Commission’s programmes of monitoring and evaluating government departments were absent in Mkhize’s address. He said he would have liked to hear the premier’s commitment to re-deploy incompetent MECs and deal appropriately with lazy public servants and the specifics of how corruption will be rooted out under the new administration.

“A little less conversation, a little more action please,” was the call from DA caucus leader John Steenhuisen.

He said Mkhize expressed many sentiments in his address that the DA supports. “What was distinctly lacking was the concrete action required to turn these sentiments into tangible results for the people of KwaZulu-Natal,” he said.

The premier in his speech touched fleetingly on the constraints resulting from over-expenditure, he said. He expressed his party’s concern about the state of the Health Department, labelling it as a “critical patient”.

KZN currently sits with some R3 billion in overdraft, yet there’s no concrete action plan to get the province out of the mess, he said. Steenhuisen said this amount is going to severely hamper the efforts of the government to implement many of its new programmes.

Steenhuisen said his party welcomes projects such as the one home, one garden, one tree campaigns, but voiced his disappointment on the announcement to retain the co-operative model, despite its unmitigated disasters.

He said that as the recession may hamper service delivery and result in job loss his party “wholeheartedly” endorses the call for a job and economic summit.

The ACDP’s Jo Ann Downes said Mkhize’s speech had clear plans, but her party is concerned about the ability of the Agriculture Department to provide the necessary service.

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