Opposition sets the bar high ahead of Zikalala’s Sopa

2019-06-27 12:49
Premier Sihle Zikalala. (Gallo IMages, file)

Premier Sihle Zikalala. (Gallo IMages, file)

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With all eyes on Thursday’s State of the Province Address (Sopa), opposition parties have set a high bar for Premier Sihle Zikalala, with the IFP calling for a clear plan on high unemployment and poverty.

Leader of the IFP in the KZN provincial legislature, Velenkosini Hlabisa, said anything short of a concrete plan to deal with the province’s pressing challenges ranging from crime to unemployment would be regarded as failure on the part of Zikalala.

“If the province is geared to lifting the development of our people to great heights, these are the areas which will have to be the focus of the premier and his government in the next 12 months and the next five years.

“We expect the premier of KwaZulu-Natal to lay out practical actions to deal with key challenges of this province: creating the growing economy to provide jobs, provision of decent housing to our people who are still without proper and dignified shelter, crime that affects our communities and schools,” he said.

With KZN’s unemployment rate hovering around 25% and municipalities in the province unable to provide decent services to residents, Zikalala was in a position where, “unlike his predecessors” he could not afford to make empty promises.

“The province has recently suffered a string of service delivery protests in a number of communities ... some of these have turned out to be violent.

“Management of municipalities in our province and in the country leaves a lot to be desired,” Hlabisa said.

Zikalala, who will be delivering his maiden Sopa, was inaugurated late last month.

Currently the ANC provincial chairperson, Zikalala was MEC for Economic Development for about two years before his elevation to the provincial government’s top position.

The DA said it would not buy the excuse that Zikalala was still new in his position.

“The reality is that Premier Zikalala has effectively been running KZN for several years from behind the scenes and that, during this time, little if nothing has changed. And so, the question ahead of Sopa must be — what will he do differently now that the role is officially his,” DA provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango said.

Mncwango said he should present clear strategies on the revival of the economy, violent protests engulfing the province and poor levels of service delivery within the province’s municipalities.

“Instead of more vague promises and ‘plans about plans’, the DA expects a clear and precise strategy from Premier Zikalala,” he said.

Sopa will be preceded by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini’s official opening of the provincial legislature on Thursday

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  sopa

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