The North West Government Ought to Promote Sustainable Development

2014-08-01 07:36

I want to challenge the leadership of the North West Provincial government. I want pure and genuine principle to guide what goes on in their heads, and more desirably, wish upon them a half a decade of sleepless nights for them to better engage their thoughts as intensely and robustly as possible.

In these personal engagements, they must define to themselves what leadership is, but most importantly, what role the North West Province ought to play in South Africa socially and economically and how they can best improve it. In particular, I want the them to use their position as "leaders" as an excuse to make wonders in the province.

The North West Province is the living legacy of the then Bophuthatswana government, and with reference to its capital, Mahikeng, a lot less than what it used to be. Mahikeng/Mmabatho used to be home to some of the best infrastructure in the province, certainly not in the league of Johannesburg, but one of its own. 20 years down the line, very little has been done to develop the area further, in fact, the old infrastructure supersedes what has been developed so far leaving a significant amount of it worn out and dilapidated.

Central to this regress, is the kind of leadership we have in the province, or lack thereof. Like poverty is to the many socio-economic challenges we are confronted with daily, the absence of self-determination and political will is the primary reason the province continues to experience high levels of service delivery strikes, slow economic growth and high unemployment. To support this, a certain study released early this year, shows that North West is among the worst provinces to look for employment in the country.

As such, one is confronted with unsettling yet obvious questions: Firstly, how is it possible that a province that produces significant quantities of platinum for global consumption is unable to create employment? Secondly, why is it that the province has failed so dismally in local government when it has institutions of higher learning through which it can produce skilled and learned personnel to better manage state institutions? Lastly, who is in charge, why and to who's benefit? These are the questions one needs to ponder, and certainly issues our leaders must grapple with. There certainly needs to be an intensive campaign to rebrand and strengthen the face of the province.

Over the years, sports and arts facilities such as the Mmabatho Stadium and Mmabana which used to host annual events of a great magnitude i.e. Telkom Charity Cup and The Arts Calabash respectively, have in many ways become shadows of their former selves, without exception to television studios which broadcasted shows for the then Bophuthatswana TV (BOP TV) and many others, of course. This agitating sight of the height of unsustainable initiatives is representative of the province's failure to attract and sustain investment, but more disappointingly, its failure to invest in its own human resource capacity.

Yes, there has been development, but not much of it has been sustainable. The province, despite a failed public relations stunt at the beginning of the year that it had put aside over R21 Million to help prospective students as well as those already enrolled in institutions of higher learning to further their studies, has in the broader scheme of things, done very little to invest in education. The one tool the whole world collectively agrees is the gateway to development.

Arguably, in so far as economic and social challenges are concerned, these pertinent questions and substantial issues speak to a reality which in many cases represents a lack of critical and innovative thinking on the part of the provincial government, as per the requirements of the country's development project. Fundamentally, the performance of the North West provincial government has been in decline because very few are prepared to acknowledge and contest, with conviction, the honest view that all is not well.

With the firm acknowledgement one speaks of, there needs to be emphasis, not only on the practical application on the Integrated Development Plan; as it remains the primary framework with which local government can realize efficiency and effectiveness in service provision, but on understanding the pillars that carry what can somewhat be described as the overarching body in the development project: the National Development Plan.

Essentially, the message I am trying to communicate to my esteemed leaders is that: There is something about a leader who when his soul rests, the world changes. Two things are imminent, such a leader may either have been saintly or evil, but there can never be a grey area between what he may have epitomised and what may have very well been the opposite. This leader, could never in anyway have been distanced from nature as it be, for he may have either breathed life into it or taken away what lay deep in its promising spirit. Yours, my leaders, is to decide which you want to be.

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