Who is Ace try­ing to fool with his tri­umphal­ism?

CityPress - - Voices - David van Vu­uren voices@ city­press. co. za

In Premier Ace Ma­gashule’s col­umn “Free State shows the revo­lu­tion­ary way” ( Jan­uary 24 2016), as ex­pected in an elec­tion year, Ma­gashule came out to des­per­ately de­fend the poor per­for­mance of his ad­min­is­tra­tion in an at­tempt to stem the ANC’s de­cline in elec­toral sup­port.

It is ironic that Ma­gashule would open with a dis­cus­sion of the ANC’s Na­tional Demo­cratic Rev­o­lu­tion (NDR) and how it in­forms his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pro­grammes, when the NDR, an ANC ide­ol­ogy, is at odds with the ANC-led govern­ment’s pol­icy, the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan (NDP).

In­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ences in­di­cate the NDR ap­proach can never suc­ceed at im­prov­ing peo­ple’s lives.

Ma­gashule’s Op­er­a­tion Hlasela is fraught with con­tro­ver­sial projects, such as the Vrede Dairy and Diy­ata­lawa Agri-Vil­lage projects, both of which are sub­ject to in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor.

In con­sid­er­ing a govern­ment’s per­for­mance, it is ap­pro­pri­ate to ask: “Com­pared with what?”

There is only one op­po­si­tion-run prov­ince to com­pare the Free State with, the Western Cape.

Last year, Au­di­tor-Gen­eral Kimi Mak­wetu ac­knowl­edged that the DA-led Western Cape govern­ment con­tin­ued to ex­cel in sound fi­nan­cial man­age­ment, con­stantly im­prov­ing on its au­dit out­comes while im­prov­ing ser­vice de­liv­ery. It ob­tained 20 clean au­dits while the Free State man­aged only six.

Ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture in the Western Cape to­talled R79 mil­lion. In the Free State, it was R1.5 bil­lion.

Un­em­ploy­ment in the Western Cape is at 20.6%; in the Free State it is 31.5%. Ac­cord­ing to the ex­panded def­i­ni­tion of un­em­ploy­ment, the Western Cape is the low­est, at 23.1%, with the Free State at 37.7%.

The Free State pub­lic health sys­tem faces reg­u­lar medicine stock­outs, poorly equipped med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties and se­vere staff short­ages. Pub­lic health in the prov­ince has turned toxic, with an ex­o­dus of 177 med­i­cal doc­tors and 28 med­i­cal spe­cial­ists last year. The depart­ment ob­tained qual­i­fied au­dit out­comes with ma­te­rial find­ings for four con­sec­u­tive years.

Last year the depart­ment in­curred R600 mil­lion in unau­tho­rised ex­pen­di­ture. It failed to pay teacher salaries and school sub­si­dies on time. More than 2 000 teach­ers re­signed. For the class of 2014, al­most 30 000 Free State learn­ers left school be­tween grades 10 and 12, bring­ing the dropout rate to 61%.

The Western Cape education depart­ment achieved the high­est pass rate na­tion­ally, of 84.7%. It also ob­tained 41.7% bachelors’ passes. Ev­ery learner in the Western Cape who ob­tained their na­tional se­nior cer­tifi­cate qual­i­fied for ac­cess to higher education, the first prov­ince to do so in a demo­cratic South Africa.

Ma­gashule cel­e­brates the com­ple­tion of the Gariep Dam fish hatch­ery, but not a sin­gle fish has been hatched. The Vrede Dairy Pro­ject, cost­ing the Free State more than R190 mil­lion, has of­fered no ben­e­fit to any of its 80 ben­e­fi­cia­ries, but has al­legedly paid ben­e­fits to a Gupta-linked com­pany.

The prov­ince is in the grip of the worst drought in decades, threat­en­ing food se­cu­rity and agri­cul­ture jobs. Ma­gashule’s govern­ment could only al­lo­cate R39 mil­lion to­wards re­lief aid, but found mil­lions to pur­chase lux­ury Ger­man sedans for tra­di­tional lead­ers and the pro­vin­cial govern­ment over the past two months.

Gov­er­nance and fi­nan­cial man­age­ment

Em­ploy­ment

Health

Agri­cul­ture

The Free State depart­ment of hu­man set­tle­ments has a back­log of 63 501 ti­tle deeds that still need to be reg­is­tered in the names of ben­e­fi­cia­ries. The depart­ment’s tar­get was set at 6 895, but only 663 were reg­is­tered. Like­wise, the tar­get for the con­struc­tion of new houses was set at 4 358, but only 422 were built.

The Western Cape depart­ment of hu­man set­tle­ments man­aged to trans­fer full own­er­ship of prop­erty to 31 350 ben­e­fi­cia­ries dur­ing the 2014/15 fi­nan­cial year.

Hous­ing

Un­der Ma­gashule, the Free State has be­come poorer, un­em­ploy­ment has in­creased, ser­vice de­liv­ery has de­te­ri­o­rated and eco­nomic growth has stag­nated. Com­par­ing the Free State govern­ment’s per­for­mance with that of the Western Cape, it is clear the DA is the only party in govern­ment that de­liv­ers on its prom­ises – im­prov­ing lives, cre­at­ing pros­per­ity. Van Vu­uren is DA chief whip in the Free State

leg­is­la­ture and spokesper­son on fi­nance

Con­clu­sion?

Education

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