‘Supra­nomics an ex­cuse for loot­ing’

CityPress - - News - POLOKO TAU poloko.tau@city­press.co.za

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.

Supra Mahumapelo

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