Premier Stan Mathabatha’s State of the province address (Sopa) was debated in the Legislature on Tuesday and described in the worst terms as being sugar-coated and painting a picture of hope while it does not reflect reality.
The Economic Freedom Fighters’ Rendani Munyai criticised the Premier for missing out on realities such as racism and said it seems as if the Premier did not live in the same province as the rest of the people.
She also said his imagination was good, saying a 2015 survey showed there was adequate food in Limpopo as the poverty index in 2016 had shown poverty increased from 10,1% to 11,5% as did the statistics for people who missed some meals because of not being able to afford it. She said Mathabatha must be using old statistics and he should keep abreast of developments in the province.
As for non-delivery of stationery and books to schools she called it “gross negligence”, saying Legislators’ children possibly attended prestigious schools where this was not a problem.
Jacques Smalle, provincial leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) was chided by members of the ruling party for criticising the Sopa, while he had walked out and did not hear the address firsthand. Smalle mentioned the issue of R7,6 billion irregular expenditure by government departments in the province and politicians looting state coffers. He said the Department of Education was the worst department in the country with five consecutive disclaimers. He advised the Premier to take the hard-line approach and give direction with regards to issues of temporary teachers whose services were suspended and unregistered Early Childhood Development centres. He referred to 25% of youths who are unemployed and 1,5 million people living under the breadline.
Jossey Buthane, EFF Member of the Legislature spoke about corruption and mentioned the case of three laundry companies appointed wrongfully and members who still had to pay thousands of rands for watching x-rated videos and “exposed their little weapon of mass destruction”. He called Mathabatha a toothless leader and a liar, saying all departments regressed. He said Mathabatha should listen to that inner person who tells him to resign. He said the provincial government should stop sending small boys and use state resources to investigate and threaten him, as he is scared of no-one. When asked to withdraw his statement that he was not scared of anyone as it was not a battle zone, he said when saying he is not scared of anyone does not mean he does not respect people.
Congress of the People (Cope) Member of the Legislature Patrick Shikutsi said the Sopa comprised rhetoric and Mathabatha spoke more as a visitor than someone who lives in the province. He said he would have liked to hear more about changes to be affected by radical economic transformation and said the premier will in future be held accountable. “When writing his speech he listened to people who said what he wanted to hear,” Shikutsi said.
Various ANC members congratulated the premier on the Sopa and spoke about the improvement in education since the ANC took over 27 years ago.
The debate will continue today (Thursday).
Story: NELIE ERASMUS