Committee reflects on its first year

2018-05-23 06:02
Prof. Patrick Fitzgerald (at the podium) of the Sol Plaatje University (SPU), reflecting on the provincial executive committee’s (PEC) first year in office. Seated are, from the left, Bentley Vass (deputy chairperson), Fufe Makatong (treasurer), Zamani Saul (chairperson), Deshi Ngxanga (secretary) and Maruping Lekwene (deputy secretary).Photo: Boipelo Mere

Prof. Patrick Fitzgerald (at the podium) of the Sol Plaatje University (SPU), reflecting on the provincial executive committee’s (PEC) first year in office. Seated are, from the left, Bentley Vass (deputy chairperson), Fufe Makatong (treasurer), Zamani Saul (chairperson), Deshi Ngxanga (secretary) and Maruping Lekwene (deputy secretary).Photo: Boipelo Mere

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“I see many opportunities for economic development here, there is a lot that can be done economically, socially, in terms of innovation and job creation. All those just need to be facilitated, and driven properly for implementation of those programmes.”

This was the view emphasised by Prof. Patrick Fitz­gerald of the Sol Plaatje University (SPU) when he reflected on the one year in office of the provincial executive committee (PEC) that had been elected in Colesberg.

He was referring to the perception that the Northern Cape is dark, with no opportunity.

“This province has plenty of potential and it could be important to recognise that potential.”

Fitzgerald partly blamed it on politicians who tend to be bureaucrats and managers at the same time.

He spoke at a media breakfast at the Protea Hotel Kimberley, where he shared the stage with the PEC members, who deliberated on the state of the ANC in the pro­vince and on how far they were from achieving their set goals.

These are to bring unity within the party, strengthening political ties between the ANC and provincial government, and fighting corruption before their term in office ends.

Elaborating on the role of the PEC, Fitzgerald condemned the attitude of politicians wanting to have an effective and unified political party that is going to win the elections, while communities suffer.

He regarded democratic politics, which he had been observing within the province, as unfair to the Northern Cape community.

Fitzgerald partly blamed politicians for obstructing productivity by wasting time on party in-fighting, instead of ensuring that strategies and programmes are effectively delivered by government departments or local government.

“Their role includes ensuring mechanisms are funded for social and economic inter­ventions, in the interest of development.”

He questioned the PEC’s mission of ensuring the ruling party wins the elections.

“Is it so that some people can come to power and dispense patronage, or is it to actually uplift people to drive social economic development within the province?”

As an observer from outside, he further raised the question as to how activities within the party impact on the people of the province, a year after this PEC had been selected.

Singling out what he referred to as fairly dramatic incidents in “the transformed PEC” in 2017, he pointed out that the results should be of less interest for the people who were still waiting for service delivery.

He expressed criticism by saying the bulk of the energy and distributed information that the PEC had, was focused on the party rather than being put into speeding up service delivery.

The importance of continuous dialogue between the party and the communities was highlighted, regardless of community members’ choice of party, or whether they were voters or non-voters.

“The Northern Cape has also fallen within the national critique that they are very focused on themselves and forget the people.”

Fitzgerald said questions had to be raised as to what was being done to take the province forward while the ANC leadership was moving back and forth.

He urged the PEC to possess a new spirit, much better politics and a leadership that as much more interested in development in the province.

He admitted there were challenges involved for a newly elected leadership going into office with high expectations, only to realise how tough it is when it comes to implementation.

According to him, party struggles tend to become so consuming that hardly any dialogue or interaction can be seen from outside.

There are government officials who put in hard work, but, according to the professor, they wait too long for politicians to get things done

“They spent too much time in in-fightings to give mandates and go-aheads to pave the ways.”

The session saw the Northern Cape provincial ANC chairperson maintaining the province’s support towards former chairperson John Block, who had been found guilty of money laundering and corruption by the Northern Cape High Court in 2016.

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