Cabinet Reshuffle: New MECs must Put the Free State Before ANC Before it’s Too Late

ActionSA cautiously welcomes the newly appointed MECs, the majority of whom have minimal experience.

The Free State government is teetering towards a state of complete collapse under ANC’s control and the province needs new and fresh ideas to address these challenges. This will require the Free State’s Executive to put the needs of the people ahead of their own to arrest the decline.

This new cabinet should focus on getting the basics right. This includes the township economic recovery, local municipality empowerment, completion of abandoned capital projects and dealing decisively with corruption in their departments.

Cogta MEC, Moses Makume, has a steep road ahead of him with all the Free State Municipalities incapable of delivering basic services. All of them crippled by financial mismanagement, poor governance, and rampant corruption for two decades.

Rampant water cuts, residents from across these municipalities; Mangaung Metro, Matjhabeng, Kopanong, Maluti-a-Phofung and Masilonyana Municipalities have been at the receiving end of water cuts. Some of these municipalities have been forced to implement planned water-shedding whilst as a result of poor maintenance of water infrastructure.

The debt owed to Eskom by Free State municipalities is estimated at R17 billion. Almost R7 billion is owed to water boards and outstanding debt to pension funds of R446 million.

Sanitation is an enormous human rights violation in the province that needs to be tackled with urgency.

Provincial Cabinet will have to come up with a strategy on how to complete abandoned capital projects that are compromising service delivery such as the Silver and the Dark City which has cost the taxpayer  R260 million to date yet they remain white elephants whilst people are in desperate need of housing.

An urgent plan is needed for the abandoned Bloemfontein Taxi Rank which has cost the state R400 million, yet it remains incomplete. The plan was to have a rank with a covering that will protect commuters and hawkers from adverse weather conditions. This should be one of their priorities.

Public Works and Infrastructure MEC, Dibolelo Mahlatsi, needs to come up with a plan for decrepit road infrastructure that is severely hampering our economy, especially the agricultural sector which is the buttress of our economy.

Furthermore, she should focus on the basics by using the existing expanded public works programme (EPWP) to provide work opportunities to more people, especially young people, to help fix the potholes in our roads, clear public spaces and improve service delivery.

The Department of Health has massive challenges it faces from dilapidated buildings, immobile ambulances stationed at the government garage and the longest list of surgery backlog.

I believe that if they address these basics, the province can once again get back on track and become the beacon of hope for South Africa, driving economic growth everyone can benefit from.

ActionSA is committed to ethical public leadership and social justice, we will keep them accountable to ensure that they deliver the basics our people desperately need.