Today’s State of the Province Address (SOPA) by KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Sihle Zikalala, was an insult to the people of our province as he presented a picture of a province bursting with opportunity – when the opposite is the case.
It is clear that the Premier is out of touch with what is happening in KZN and that he has not recently set foot in many parts of the province. If he had, he would have been forced to deliver a completely different Address. Instead, he hit the ANC election campaign trail, speaking at length while saying very little.
Critically, the Premier dedicated just five lines to what is the most urgent issue in the province today – the roll-out of KZN’s Covid-19 vaccine programme.
To make matters worse, he did not release the names of the hospitals that will roll out vaccines across the province while also claiming that KZN’s public hospitals have not been swamped during the pandemic.
This is a complete fallacy and further proof of his disconnect with the reality on the ground. It is also a slap in the face to the many understaffed and overworked healthcare workers in our provinces.
If the Premier and his ANC-led executive do not begin to address this issue with more transparency and in greater detail, then his many promises today will be useless in the face of another wave and another lockdown in our province.
The Premier also failed to acknowledge and fully address the other pandemic within KZN – that of unemployment, instead rehashing the same old plans and projects which never come to fruition. The time for cheap rhetoric on economic development is long gone when the current unemployment rate shows that almost half of all KZN’s people are unemployed.
He was weak when it came to telling the people of KZN what he intends doing about corruption with little on how he and his ANC-led cabinet will be ensuring accountability and harsh consequences on behalf of KZN’s citizens.
In dealing with KZN’s municipalities, the Premier failed to address the ongoing electricity and water crises that exist, with no real interventions either on service delivery or governance issues. The issue of Msunduzi in particular is a massive disappointment with no improvement despite the Premier’s ongoing promises.
The DA in the KZN Legislature will unpack today’s Address in more detail during the SOPA debate next week. As KZN’s only real opposition voice, we will demand accountability from the Premier and his ANC-led executive on behalf of the province’s people.
Issued by The DA