‘Supranomics an excuse for looting’
North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo has been accused of using his provincial “rebranding” programme to loot state coffers.
Speaking at a dialogue this week, Mahumapelo told the audience that he was traversing the province promoting his “supranomics philosophy”, which is aligned to the National Development Plan (NDP). His vision was to implement the NDP through rebranding, repositioning and renewal to benefit the province using five themes, he said.
The first theme was agriculture, culture and tourism (ACT); development in villages, township and small dorpies was the second; the comprehensive and integrated service delivery campaign, Setsokotsane, the third; the SaamwerkSaamtrek call for unity of purpose above race divisions was the fourth theme; and reconciliation, healing and renewal the fifth. “Our ultimate goal is to ensure that we reduce poverty, unemployment and inequality,” he said, adding that the North West should not be known as the “platinum province” but the “ACT province”.
“Commodities will not last forever. In our case, the most strategic pillar of our economy is ACT because people have to eat in order to survive. There is no way you can separate people from their culture and tourism. These sectors carry a potential to create more sustainable job opportunities for our communities,” he said.
However, opposition parties in the province told City Press that very little has come out of the premier’s enthusiastic promotion of his vision since he took power three years ago.
“He spends time crisscrossing the province pretending to consult communities and listen to their challenges, but this is just an excuse to dish out contracts for, among others, catering, transport and marquees to his people,” said EFF member of the legislature Alfred Motsi.
“He is using this to loot state coffers hence his office’s budget has increased by 87% since he took over. There is zero impact showing from all those campaigns,” he said.
The DA in the province called the premier’s programme a “smoke screen”, saying Mahumapelo was going out to communities to make promises and leave them hanging. “Service delivery is not his priority but furthering his own self-interests,” said DA leader Joe McGluwa.
Mahumapelo dismissed the opposition’s accusations as having no substance and said if there was anything to them, the opposition would have handed the matter to the police for investigation.
However, he admitted that a catering service was provided at Setsokotsane gatherings. He also said his office’s budget had increased after the relocation of the North West Development Corporation and the funding of the ICT transformation programme to his office.
Mahumapelo acknowledged that the province was battling challenges including the provision of water, sanitation, housing, addressing unemployment as well as developing infrastructure. There was still more than 14 000km of gravel roads compared with just over 5 000km of tarred or paved roads. He said improving all these could be used as “rebranding opportunities”.
“I found a province that had a huge backlog of service delivery ... Through our interventions, we have built and handed over water infrastructure and in other areas construction is still taking place,” he argued. He spoke very highly of his vision and said he was writing a book about it.
Mahumapelo also argued that in the event that a new leader succeeded him in 2019, he believed that they would continue to implement the manifesto of the ruling party. “The framework will remain largely the same. This is the vision of the provincial government as adopted by the fifth administration and not just the premier’s project,” he insisted.
The EFF, however, was not convinced. “We have always asked the premier why he did not bring this whole thing to the legislature so we could legalise it. Once he is gone, the new administration may decide on something else and all he has done over the years will amount to nothing but a waste of time and millions of rands that could have been put to better use,” Motsi said.