“Inequality, most striking feature of the EC”
The Premier of the province and ANC Provincial Chairperson, Lubabalo Mabuyane shot from the hip during the extended Provincial Executive Committee meeting held at East London City Hall on November 17, 2019 when he told EC leadership that they cannot continue with business as usual when every day the province is losing scores of skilled people to other provinces in search of better opportunities.
“People could find all they need here in the Eastern Cape if we were pre-occupied with what we are required to do,” stressed Mabuyane. The meeting was attended by the Provincial Executive Committee, the leadership of the Alliance, Contralesa, South African Local Government Association (Salga), deployees of the ANC and members of the Legislature and Governance Subcommittee.
Mabuyane urged all present to use government to meaningfully transform communities and not wait for a protest and court instructions for them to do what they are elected to do. He reminded that, although there have been efforts to reduce the levels of inequality since the democratic breakthrough, there has however been limited progress achieved, as stated by the National Development Plan (NDP).
Mabuyane laid the blame squarely on the shoulders of lack of proper leadership in the province.
“The levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality require cadres who are prepared to serve the people first. Too few South Africans work, the quality of school education for the majority is of poor quality and our state lacks capacity in critical areas. In particular, young people and women are denied the opportunities to lead the lives that they desire,” he said.
The meeting sat to deliberate on the state of governance in the Eastern Cape and find solutions to the complex problems facing municipalities and government departments.
“We should be going around corner to corner taking services to the people, and not go around using the resources of the state peddling divisions and sowing confusion.”
At the top of his list are the prospects’ of strengthening ties with the African continent following the Africa Investment Forum that was held in Johannesburg to redefine and unpack the continent’s investment opportunities. R5 158 trillion was secured for investment deals.
“The violence that was directed to foreign-owned shops in the country must stop. This violence has the potential of undermining the work of uniting and promoting cooperation within Africa,” he warned.
He equally lashed out at State-Owned Enterprises and advises that they learn from the Province’s well-run state entities in the form of Coega and East London IDZ. He cited Eskom and SAA as needing a turnaround strategy and for the people responsible for the current state of the SOEs to be held accountable.
“We must agree that executives that are running our SOEs and are not achieving profits must not receive bonuses as it is done in companies in the private sector. SOEs must contain their benefits that they accord to executives so that we avoid options such as retrenchments which lead to far greater problems as seen in SAA,” he declared.
As far as the province is concerned, there are goals that must be pursued vigorously towards 2030 to ensure that we become an enterprising and connected province where people reach their potential.
These goals include Innovative and inclusive growing economy, Building and enabling infrastructure network, Rural development and an innovative high-value agriculture sector, Human development, Environmental sustainability, and a capable democratic institution.
“We can turn the fortunes of the Eastern Cape around; it simply requires us to be focused on the mandate we have been given and place the interests of the people ahead of ourselves”.