1. We would like to take this opportunity as the United Democratic Movement and formally congratulate you on your crowning as the Premier. However, William Shakespeare once scribed in Julius Caesar, if my memory serves me well: “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown’’. You will be no exception to this notion. Let us dissect the beast you presented to us.
2. The route to solving most social challenges lies in an inclusive economy in which the majority of the Eastern Cape citizens wholesomely participate. There is a whole mile to meander in order to get there. Your speech hardly sounded like a starter’s gun. Consequently, we remain with more questions than answers, the reason being that you indicated the pointers but fell short of:
• Telling us how to get there and, more importantly,
• Exactly what fruits we shall harvest for our efforts, and when. No short-term, medium-term or long-term projections. You were generous with generality. Because of the dire situation engulfing the state of our economy, we expected a more radical approach to tackling the economic woes of the province.
3. Today’s policy buzzword in government corridors is a ‘’ transformed economy’’.
Part of your preamble states that: “…we are here to outline our programme of action in the next five years’’. ‘That is why we expected more detail.
4. Some of the questions that arise are:
(i) How much will preferred areas of investment contribute to the GDP of the province?
(ii) How much ownership stake will be allocated to the previously disadvantaged to advance the cause of ownership?
(iii) How much raw material, including for infrastructure development, will come from the Eastern Cape? Are you setting up factories for the manufacture of those materials? Here we wait to see an extension of the value chain, both vertically and horizontally.
(iv) Exactly at what rate will your administration produce food within the province so that we greatly reduce the unhealthy importation of food? This is very sore point, Honourable Premier, when one considers the amount of land the Eastern Cape has. A lot of which is suitable for agricultural produce. How many will feed from 50,000 hectares?
(v) You have listed tourism as one of your administration’s priorities, yet you have spent less than half a page talking about this sector. As a result, you have not addressed the very fundamentals of any economy, which is product development, referring only to the second last value step which is selling. “What will be sold, and produced by whom with what and where? The exception here is the waterfront in Port Elizabeth.
(vi) Sport attracts lots of consumers yet you have said zero on it. Knowing that sport offers itself as a very viable option to intelligence driven economic opportunities, then we have to ask you why you did so much injustice to sport?
Knowing that sport is also a catalyst for social cohesion, then why did you leave it out? This would have given the Eastern Cape citizens an opportunity to feel that those that want to make a living out of sport are foregrounded by the Mabuyane administration.
You have missed out on a golden opportunity. The Eastern Cape has produced a number of rugby springboks, but the current administration has sent out a loud message saying “we care less about the legacy you have left behind. Mara why, why, why Honourable Premier.
(vii) You painfully complain that it was the deliberate act of the apartheid regime not to invest in the economic infrastructure of our province to make us the labour basket of the country.
But alas, all the proposed construction projects were neither for of specific employment numbers nor level of local ownership once in operation. If the focus of government remains anchored just on skills development only, then your administration will have created a perfect platform for prolonging the very apartheid strategy you rightly bemoaned, we want change. Change is what we want. Are you able to deliver drastic change? Siphendule Mhlekazi.
(viii) So, you are planning to build a Smart City. Hmmm? Where are you going to get smart administrators and mayors from? When you allowed yourself to day-dream about a smart city, had you so soon forgotten about Mthatha’s rolling collapse with filthy streets, no water, no power and a recently sacked mayor of the ANC?
Had you forgotten about the fact that most villages in Mnquma are accustomed to live without water, or were you actually dreaming about a “dark city” but because it was during the day you actually thought there was light in that city?
(ix) Kha uqale ulungise I gravel road ezi zibulala imoto ezithutha abantu.
(x) We welcome your admission of fifteen years of failure by three administrations, but now you want to pass the buck to civilians by establishing a Khawuleza Project Management Office within your office. Thereby sending a clear message to the current public servants to say ‘’I have no confidence in you’’, look I am superimposing another structure on you. Are these members any better qualified than your current staff compliment?
(xi) One of the best ways if preparing a country for economic revival is to re-organise the fundamentals in the education sector. I just would not believe my own ears to hear you say that you want to equip children with skills that would make them highly competitive in the labour market.
A flood of questions gushed to my mind as a seasoned development practitioner.
(a) In whose forms will they be working?
(b) Why not prepare them to be creators of wealth instead hewers of wood?
(c) Why not prepare them to be knowledge producers, inventors, researchers, product creators in their own right? The list is long, but time is limited for me.
(d) Why leave out men on projects?
(e) The effect of climate change in development.
(f) The fourth industrial revolution to be embraced with caution, there are too many unskilled citizens who must earn an income. It is already beginning to bite, estimated to take six million out of work.
(g) Prevalent fraud in department like education.
(h) Will you ensure the implementation of the amended Audit Act?
(i) How many job submits must your administration organise in order for jobs to be actualised. Since 2005, this province has been holding these fruitless summits very regularly, but jobs dololo. Instead, more jobs were being shed by the previous economy. We suggest a different approach in fighting joblessness.
(j) Your administration has virtually no local government as if the Auditor General’s report is anything to go by.
I thank you