1. This is the engine of the provincial administration which carries the aspirations of the citizens of the Eastern Cape. It is supposed to be the centre of policy formulation, implementation and coordination. It has to ensure that social and economic practise of the provincial administration are effected.
However, it faces the challenge of a subdued economy inter-sphere policy conflicts, rampant maladministration, inability of both the municipalities and the government departments to manage finances well.
The fact that we have over 100 000 unemployed graduates confirms that our education curriculum is not informed by industry needs, and so the expenditure on such education is almost tantamount to being fruitless and it does not take the graduate anywhere. This assertion is further supported by the fact that, even after obtaining those tertiary qualifications, these graduates must still be further skilled. The United Democratic Movement (UDM) suggest that the office of the premier facilitates some kind of partnership between industry and the Education Department at a much lower level rather than wait until tertiary level.
2. The role of ECSECC has become diminished in the recent past. Given its strategic position in the economic development of the province, every effort should be made to strengthen it one more time.
3. The economic transformation trajectory must needs have a strong element of business ownership. No matter how much experience one has in operating someone else’s business, but to run your own is a totally different ball game altogether. This is why intergenerational farm labourers struggle to run the very farms they have previously worked on, once they own them.
4. This department should focus more in coordinating the work of other government departments and be less involved in implementing its own programmes, especially in construction. Who oversees them, other than the Legislature?
5. The 2016 survey reveals that unemployment is at 38% and food insecurity is at 28% and the geni coefficient is very sharp, a situation which persuades the Eastern Cape government to allocate over 75% of its budget to health and education collectively, yet individually these departments are not succeeding in resolving poverty and unemployment, let alone touch inequality.
One of the reasons for this failure is that there is no synergy. The missing catalyst is obviously then, this budgetary trend is short termed reactionary and visionless. The UDM suggests a budgetary approach that will be in favour of economic development.
People who have a healthy economic lifestyle are more self-reliant rather than government dependent. All the above listed social ills will be simultaneously addressed. For this to be realised in the medium-to-long-term, this department must clamp down on civil servants who continue not to come to work, yet continue to draw salaries.
At 54% work attendance you will not even be able to take off. New labour policies supported by appropriate legislation, must be developed. Only then can this department turn the Eastern Cape into transformation mode, from a socio needs focus to an economic pursuits focus.
6. (i) The UDM has deliberately steered clear of dealing with the budgetary terms on a rand by rand approach when the amount is so small anyway. We have chosen to follow the scientific route of cause and effect, because this is the prime overarching department.
(ii) A regular evaluation of the progress made on the economic front needs to be effected. Only then shall we know if we are progressing or not. Such evaluation should not be done internally but rather by an external party.
7. So, we say, think on these things and consider your verdict.