KwaZulu-Natal Legislature Debate on the State of the Province Address

Mar 1, 2024 | Press Releases

Response by
The Leader of the Official Opposition
The Hon. Mr Mb Gwala MP – Inkatha Freedom Party

Pietermartizburg: 29 February 2024

 

HONOURABLE SPEAKER,
HONOURABLE DEPUTY SPEAKER,
HER EXCELLENCY THE PREMIER,
ESTEEMED MEMBERS OF THE KWAZULU-NATAL PROVINCIAL LEGISLATURE,
DISTINGUISHED GUESTS.

We take umbrage at the arrogant political grandstanding by the Premier about violence in KZN as she campaigned over the bodies of those who died in the internecine violence of 1980’s. Quite frankly, Hon. Premier, you misled the public yesterday. The Premier’s lies were despicable. The Premier should tame her tongue. The ANC did not put in place an arrangement in 1994 “to ease into a new environment” by having only a handful of ANC leaders in the provincial government. The electorate rejected the ANC in 1994 and gave KwaZulu-Natal to the IFP. It was Prince Buthelezi’s commitment to reconciliation that allowed the ANC any place in our government.

This is indeed an era of revisionism. Hon. Premier, you referred to acts of political violence that should never be forgotten. Yet you forgot the 13 victims of KwaShange in 1987, the 40 victims of Thokoza in 1991, the children killed in the Mjika bombing of 1991, the 32 victims of Zonkizizwe, the 24 victims of Ensangwini, the destitute of Hlanganani whose homes were burned, the 23 killed in Crossroads, the 19 gunned down outside Shell House – and countless other murders of Inkatha leaders, members and supporters at the hands of the ANC. Besides ordinary members, the IFP lost more than 450 office bearers.

Do you really want to raise the spectre of violence? The ANC did not bring lasting peace in KwaZulu-Natal. It was Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, whose pleas that we not retaliate or seek revenge broke the cycle of violence.

When you honoured the great men and women of our Province, you should have honoured Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. But instead of looking to the actual heroes of KwaZulu-Natal, you named leaders who hail from the Eastern Cape, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth. Is there such a dearth of leadership in the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal that you can’t even think of homegrown heroes?

You must recall that the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said “We have no guns – we have only stones, boxes of matches and petrol. Together, hand-in-hand, with our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country.” This resulted in the death of Kinikini Thamsanqa Benjamin who was stoned, stabbed and killed by ‘necklacing’ by named UDF supporters on 23 March 1985 in KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage.

Your misguided comments are unfortunate and are clear signs of desperation on the part of the ANC. You must remember that the AK 47s and other weapons came from Russia, and the IFP has no connections with that country. You should read Dr Anthea Jeffery’s book, “People’s War”, to get to know who the perpetrators of violence were. It is rich of you to stoop so low and point fingers at the IFP instead of getting your own house in order. We do not expect a leader to make such comments instead of promoting peaceful elections. Those who live in a grass house must not play with fire and those who live in a glass house must not throw stones.

The State of the Province Address, much like the State of the Nation Address, left us wondering how a government that is meant to serve the people can be so grotesquely out of touch with the realities of life in South Africa. As we sit here and debate the Premier’s campaign speech for the ANC, more than 18 million South Africans are living in extreme poverty. And the number is growing by hundreds of thousands each year. In addition, 27.3 million people are receiving grants from 7.1 million tax payers.

Where is the New Dawn we were promised?

The ANC is like a slippery serpent that cannot be trusted. It speaks with a forked tongue. Unemployment is sitting at over 41%. For those younger than 34, it’s over 44%. Yet an ANC-led government keeps promising jobs, just like it did in 1994, in 1999, in 2004, in 2009; you see the pattern? It’s 2024, and the ANC is promising jobs. It has yet to deliver on its stale election promises. But still it persists.

South Africa’s people are hungry and frustrated. We have lost patience after 30 years of waiting. South Africa yearns for a competent government, a government led by honest leaders with actual solutions, who will deliver basic services, create jobs, keep them safe, fix dilapidated infrastructure and end loadshedding. That government will be elected in 2024. It will be installed in KwaZulu-Natal through the votes of the people of this Province, as they vote for the IFP.

The ruling party should hang its head in shame for its dereliction of duty to our nation. They slept on duty. There is not a shred of integrity in the ruling party.

The IFP’s President the Hon. Mr Velenkosini Hlabisa summarized it well when he said during the State of the Nation Debate (and I quote): “The ANC and the ANC alone gave us State capture. The ANC gave us loadshedding. The ANC gave us ‘nine wasted years’. The ANC gave us 8 million unemployed citizens.”

South Africa deserves a leadership she can trust. A leadership of integrity. When you consider the IFP’s track record of good governance, and hear about the IFP’s legacy of honest leadership, it is clear that you can trust the IFP. It is time for leadership that will get South Africa to work.

SOPA 2024

During SOPA 2024, the Premier boasted about her government’s intention to attract and retain investment in KwaZulu-Natal. Yet she failed to present any concrete plans, and no clear timeframes were provided.

It takes an honest leader to present a fair and balanced account of an incompetent Government that has neglected and failed our people. Yesterday, we listened to the Premier delivering a eulogy and another ANC election manifesto. Indeed, SOPA 2024 was another sign of the ANC’s insatiable appetite for power and self-aggrandizement. She spoke about her vision and her aspirations for the Province years from now, rather than giving us a blueprint to solve our immediate problems. In the face of a very real crisis, the Premier was cavalier.

You decried what you called the “meagre” salary of AmaKhosi in 2004, conveniently ignoring the fact that it was the same as the average salary of a municipal councillor. You then boasted that an ANC Government had increased that salary by 300% over the past twenty years. Again, conveniently sidestepping the fact that you increased councillors’ salaries by around 800%. AmaKhosi have become poorer by far under an ANC-led Government.

You talked about the number of houses built since 1994, conveniently ignoring the fact that the IFP Government built more houses in ten years than the ANC-led Government did in its first ten years, and in its second ten years. The numbers don’t lie, Hon. Premier. Unlike you; who claims that “the pace and tempo” of service delivery “quickened after 2004”.

How dare you say that the people of KwaZulu-Natal only tasted the real fruit of liberation ten years into democracy? What an insult to our people’s intelligence.

Hon Speaker, as opposed to the IFP’s Premiers from 1994 to 2004, the ANC gave us Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, who tried to weasel the premiership of KZN away from the IFP in 1999 by insisting that President Mbeki make his offer of the Deputy Presidency to Prince Buthelezi conditional on the IFP giving KZN to the ANC.

The ANC gave us Dr Zweli Mkhize, the very Minister of Health who refused to comply with Premier Mtshali’s instruction to roll-out free anti-retrovirals across KZN. How disingenuous to say that in 2002 “we” rolled out anti-retrovirals – there is no “we”, Hon. Premier. That was the IFP. By contrast, how many people died when the ANC’s Peggy Nkonyeni supported a dangerous and untested concoction to cure HIV/AIDS, Ubhejane? How many people died when the ANC’s Dr Sbongiseni Dlomo failed to address the oncology crisis in this Province? And how many are still dying because they cannot access proper treatment, when they need it, in the dilapidated hospitals and neglected, understaffed and under-resourced clinics of KwaZulu-Natal? It makes no sense that so many doctors are unemployed.

The ANC gave us Mr Senzo Mchunu, whom the ANC eventually ordered to resign. A Premier tainted by allegations of sexual harassment and accused of interference in the appointment of the CEO to a bulk water supply service.

The ANC gave us Mr Willies Mchunu, straight from one of the worst performing ministries in KZN, as a place-holder for Mr Zikalala. It was he who failed to implement the recommendations of the Moerane Commission, which exposed tender fraud that led to political assassinations, weak leadership and political deployments of unqualified individuals to government positions.

Then the ANC gave us Mr Sihle Zikalala, who had a water tanker delivered straight to his home while desperate communities queued for drinking water, and who presided over the R22 million blanket scandal.

The Premier boasted about a major milestone achievement which has been recorded in the provision of services in KwaZulu-Natal. Yet people in areas such as Phoenix, Verulam, uGu and Jozini do not even have access to water. Their basic right, enshrined in Chapter 2 of our Constitution, is ignored.

The crisis in Phoenix is a demonstration of a failing State. It has happened because the ANC-led eThekwini Metro, under the incompetent Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, has failed our people. eThekwini Metro is in dire need of competent leadership. Service delivery has ground to a halt, so much so that the Metro was forced to return R1.2 billion to the National Treasury. These funds were earmarked to repair infrastructure that was damaged during inclement weather in recent years; but was simply not used. The IFP believes that eThekwini Municipality should have been placed under administration, instead of Section 154 intervention.

The deception we heard yesterday is laughable. In a desperate attempt to paint South Africa as a leading investment destination with a vibrant economy, the Premier quoted from the Washington Times of July 2023. But she referred to a sponsored article. It was not written by the Washington Times and did not reflect their views. It was actually a promotional piece, complements of SA’s Department of Trade, Industry and Competition. Citizens of KZN and South Africa cannot be continuously misled.

CORRUPTION

Your provincial government always says “Lets do more, together” – to increase the pace to steal public funds. When President Cyril Ramaphosa signed Proclamation R130 of 2023 authorising the SIU to investigate serious allegations of maladministration in the affairs of the Office of the Premier, and the Director General Dr Nonhlanhla Mkhize was arrested, we expected the Premier to read the riot act to everybody – including her Cabinet MECs – that she would not defend anyone involved. Yet, she remained silent. In 2019, Hon. Premier, you mentioned you were considering various options to conduct lifestyle audits. Are you still considering that?

You have not released to the public the findings of the investigation into the R2.1 billion KZN Schools Nutrition tender, which collapsed after it was awarded to Pacina Retail, which failed to deliver the bulk of items to pick-up points.

You have not released the report of a forensic investigation launched into how more than R200 million allocated towards drought relief was squandered.

You have not released a forensic report commissioned in 2012, by late former Agriculture MEC Meshack Radebe, after R60 million in taxpayers’ money – meant to assist emerging farmers in rural areas – could not be accounted for. This investigation, which cost R10 million, was already completed in February 2014.

You have not released a report into alleged irregularities and corruption in the uMzimkhulu Local Municipality in KZN, relating to the renovation of uMzimkhulu Memorial Hall. These reports have been concealed since the tenure of the former KZN Premier, Willies Mchunu, and they speak to rampant corruption in the Office of the Premier.

HOUSING

We still have people living in temporary shelters since being displaced by floods in April 2022. This, despite the KZN Department of Human Settlements’ R4.3 billion budget for the 2023/2024 Financial Year, and their promise that 13 parcels of land had been identified to build houses for flood victims. Over 7 years, the R130m Umbhayi housing project in oThongathi has managed to finish just 11 units. The Umzumbe Cluster C Rural Housing Project was approved in 2014 with a budget allocation of R144 million, to build one thousand units. To date, only 539 houses have been completed, with R91 million spent. There are countless examples of incomplete housing projects. In uGu District, the Masinenge Slum Clearance in Ward 3 in Ray Nkonyeni Municipality started way back in 2013; and where construction never even started on the Bhobhoyi housing project Phase 2 in Ward 20, despite R3 million being spent on planning in 2014. It is unacceptable, when so many of KwaZulu-Natal’s families still have no safe and decent housing.

CRIME

This Government has failed to implement the recommendations contained in the Moerane Commission. It has failed to eradicate illegal guns. It has failed to get the Crime Intelligence Unit functioning as it should. How is this happening when the ANC-led provincial government has received a combined R100 million in contributions from various departments and provincial entities towards the fight against crime? We were led to believe by the KZN provincial government that the KZN Department of Community Safety and Liaison had been allocated R11.5 million for the proposed establishment of a Community Safety Intervention Unit, for the protection of traditional leaders in KZN. So why do the murders continue? There is no political will to act. Inanda is now the murder capital of South Africa, closely followed by uMlazi and KwaMashu. Gun-toting, ruthless criminals have taken over and are running this Province with impunity.

ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE

The condition of many roads in KwaZulu-Natal is deadly. During SOPA 2023, the Premier committed her government to prioritizing the maintenance of our aging road infrastructure over the following three years. R2,5 billion was set aside to deal with potholes and road rehabilitation.

The IFP then discovered that the KZN Department of Transport had awarded a R404 million contract to upgrade the roads in uThukela, and they had awarded it to a contractor whose failure in the Eastern Cape had led to their contract being terminated due to poor performance. To this Government, a poor track record means nothing. They give us failed contractors and failed projects, and they expect us to be grateful.

EDUCATION

History will never forget this Government’s failure on the school nutrition programme in April 2023. The ineptitude and laissez faire attitude of the MEC, the Department of Education and the ANC led Provincial Government, as school children went hungry or were fed rotten food, will never be forgotten. We will also never forget how the ANC protected the MEC from taking responsibility.

Her department has failed to address lack of safety in schools. It has failed, since 2012, to provide scholar transport to schools in uMkhanyakude and Harry Gwala Districts. It has failed to employ teachers, despite the MEC admitting that there are 25 566 unemployed teacher graduates, and 3 720 vacant teacher posts.

Why are there vacant teacher posts when the KZN Department of Education has been allocated R60.6 billion for the 2023/2024 financial year; the largest share of the provincial budget? It speaks to gross failure.

CLOSURE

Hon. Members, it is time for the ANC to pack their bags and leave, before they destroy KwaZulu-Natal completely. We deserve a government we can trust; not a government mired in sleaze, cronyism and scandal. Hon. Premier, as your term and your government come to an end, the IFP has no doubt that you will be remembered for your grand announcements at every SOPA – that lacked implementation. You will be remembered for your words that never matched your actions.

The ANC’s governance of KwaZulu-Natal will be remembered, but for all the wrong reasons. It is a cautionary tale. After May 2024, we will move forward without you.

Ijadu liphelile izitsha azibuyele emakhaya baphume asebehlulekile ukusebenza kungene abazosebenzela abantu ngobuqotho nangokwethembeka ngokuthi kuthunyelwe izidingo zentuthuko kubantu.

I thank you.

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