Repetitive, lacking in detail and no outline of how targets would be achieved.
This was how political parties reacted to premier Oscar Mabuyane’s state of the province address on Tuesday.
All MPLs watched the address virtually as only Mabuyane, speaker Helen Sauls-August, a few officials and journalists were allowed inside legislature chambers.
While announcing billions in planned projects for the province, ranging from upgrading roads, planned construction jobs from the two special economic zones in Port Elizabeth and East London, Mabuyane stood alone in the Raymond Mhlaba Hall.
Reacting to Mabuyane’s address, EFF MPL Yazini Tetyana said instead of putting concrete plans on the table, Mabuyane blurted out big figures to distract people.
“For every problem he’s facing, he throws around figures [such as] R1bn and R500m. There’s absolutely no plan. If you can ask him today, what the drought strategy of the province is [he won’t tell you].
“We know that by the end of March the whole province, particularly Amathole district, Chris Hani district municipality and Alfred Nzo will be faced by drought — which includes Nelson Mandela Bay,” he said.
He labelled the provincial government underachievers and failures.
“On paper, we’re meant to believe there are interventions being made, yet the Eastern Cape government is being close to collapsing and this is the reality we must face.
“We’ve been calling for a state-owned construction company that will give permanent jobs to our people if you want to make the Eastern Cape a construction site,” Tetyana said.
DA leader in the legislature Bobby Stevenson said there were no game-changers in Mabuyane’s speech.
“The DA welcomes the announcements made by [the] premier relating to infrastructure development, economic growth and job creation, some of which was a repeat from last year.
“However, unless these initiatives are built on the rock of good governance, they will be swallowed up by the quicksand of corruption, cadre deployment and maladministration,” he said.
Addressing the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Mabuyane said the programme was under way with some health care workers already inoculated.
The Eastern Cape has set itself the target of giving 3.7-million people the jab to achieve herd immunisation within nine months. The provincial government previously said it would use schools and community halls to administer the vaccine within a 5km radius of where people live.
However, ATM MPL Veliswa Mvenya said they were not happy with the lack of detail concerning the vaccine rollout.
“The premier encouraged people to continue washing their hands but didn’t go into much detail about the continuing programme about phase 2 and 3. He didn’t say if this would reach rural areas and didn’t say whether hospitals in small towns are ready for the vaccination,” Mvenya said.
Mvenya also questioned who benefited from the Jobs Stimulus Fund.
“Do people know about this Jobs Stimulus Fund? Is there a way that this can go to the people and reach those who should be benefiting from it?”
Mvenya stressed the importance of monitoring the expenditure of the infrastructure projects and holding people to account.
“Companies are paid without having completed the work and roads are left incomplete,” she said.
Mvenya said she wanted permanent solutions to the province’s water woes.
Speaking on Mabuyane cautioning municipalities that were not delivering services, Mvenya said the buck stopped with him.
“He is the chairperson of the ANC in the province. He should fix municipalities, he should put an end to cadre deployment and stop appointing councillors on the basis they won conferences without having the skills required,” Mvenya said.
FF Plus MPL Theo Coetzee said he was disappointed with Mabuyane’s speech.
“He said nothing specific. He didn’t mention anything goals reached he had targeted during his 2020 address last year.
“Talking about building colleges in the province is a good idea but generally the province lacks maintaining school structures and pupils go to schools that are in appalling conditions,” Coetzee said.
He questioned what Mabuyane’s plan was for the increasing irregular and fruitless expenditure across government departments and municipalities.