Premier’s KZN SOPA turns into Zuma praise-song – Francois Rodgers

DA MPL says it appears as if Willies Mchunu is living in a parallel universe

#KZNSOPA: Premier’s critical moment turns into Zuma praise-singing event, Total Change needed

Today’s State of the Province Address by KZN Premier Willies Mchunu turned into a farewell speech for former President Jacob Zuma, who was in attendance, with the focus on praising his so-called achievements rather than on the real state of our province.

While the depressing Address, titled “100 Years of Nelson Mandela: The year of renewal, unity and jobs” finally acknowledged some of the province’s many problems, it offered very few concrete plans on how they would be fixed.

In fact, it appears that the Premier is living in a parallel universe, one where tired platitudes are the order of the day. Yet, while he talks, the reality on the ground is that the lives of KZN’s people have not changed for the better.

Today the Premier said that 100 000 new jobs had been created in the province in the last year. This statement is at odds with the latest Stats SA Labour Force Survey which shows that unemployment in KZN increased by 28 000 during 2017.

He also said that absolute poverty levels had decreased which flies in the face of a further Stats SA survey which shows that poverty levels in the province increased from 30.6% in 2011 to 34.3% in 2015.

It is not clear where the Premier gets his stats from but either he is being misinformed or he is scrambling to cover up for the inadequacies of his own ANC administration.

Today the Premier said that ‘no one’ is to blame for the challenges within the province’s education system. If ever there was evidence that he and his ANC leadership are living in a parallel universe this must be it.

Today the Premier said nothing about the violence that continues to cripple teaching and learning. He said nothing about crumbling infrastructure, nothing about the Department’s financial crisis and the resultant R400 000 overspend which has resulted in teachers not being hired. He also said nothing about the 44% drop-out rate in the province and he also said nothing about the fact that 83% of Grade 4 children not being able to read with understanding in their home language.

Education is the key to opportunity for thousands of KZN’s young people. That the Premier essentially chose to ignore the crises within the area is a damning indictment against him and his ANC-led cabinet.

Today the Premier gave the impression that the province’s health system is being administered the right treatment. This while the wrong doctor is handing out medication and peddling false hope. He completely ignored the financial crisis in the Department which has required a massive rescue act by Provincial Treasury.

The province’s oncology crisis shows an MEC caught flat-footed at best. The same applies to the many other patients in KZN who are suffering more than ever before. It also refers to the average of 19 children dying each month as a result of severe acute malnutrition.

Today the Premier showed that he is out of touch with the reality on the ground in our province, that he is misinformed when it comes to critical areas and that he and his ANC leadership don’t really know how to fix what they have allowed KZN to become.

Tomorrow, the DA will present its offer to the people of KZN. It is a plan which is tried and tested and which is bringing Total Change where we govern. It is a plan which we believe will bring the ANC to below 50% in this province in 2019.

Issued by Francois RodgersLeader of the DA in the KZN Legislature, 28 February 2018