Open letter to the Premier of Mpumalanga Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane

Good morning Premier Refiloe Mtsweni-Tsipane.

This morning you will be engaging the people of Mpumalanga in your annual delivery of the State of the Province Address to the hopeless people of this Province. The people of this province deserve better and want action, not politicking speech.

They need a plan on how to get out of poverty and unemployment. As ActionSA we wish you well in your address. We want to highlight some of the key issues that the people of this province are keen to hear:

  • Corruption

At the 2022 SOPA the Premier did not come with realistic strategies to curb the corruption syndrome that is entrenched in provincial and local government departments, including the parastatals. The Premier only highlighted the training without mentioning the skills audit that was done and what the outcomes were?

The issue of lifestyle audit was omitted by your last SOPA.  We do not know whether it was intentional or was to cover up the cadre deployment policy of your movement the ANC. The failure to address the issue of corruption and setting up instruments to deal with corrupt officials and blacklisting corrupt entities that trade with the state creates distrust with the people of the Province.

  • Municipal intervention and support

Eskom is owed billions of rand and could not pay the Eskom account – SOPA did not address how they are going to deal with the Eskom account and this creates a challenge on building a capable state with skilled people in the right positions.

  • Trade and investment

The 2022 SOPA elaborated about trade and investment summit without giving clear objectives for the summit and timelines. Where are the outcomes of the summit? Did the summit take place? MEGA has a responsibility through the trade and investment division to run the operations of trade and investment.

It seems that the portfolio has not been taken seriously by the Premier, of which the old Mpumalanga Investment Initiative (MII) was the custodian and when the merger of the parastatals took place it was overlooked and shifted from its focus. MEGA is embedded with lack of leadership, unethical and indecisive leadership both in the board and in the administration.

  • Towards a capable developmental and ethical state

The 2022 SONA also lamented the employment of skilled and qualified people to join the government sector. There is no plan on how this is going to be done within the province. Without a proper plan, it is bound to fail.

Many qualified provincial citizens have left the province because of cadre deployment and unqualified people occupying strategic positions and them being overlooked. The question is how is the province going to recognise the skills within the Province? Municipalities are run by incompetent, unqualified, matric-less Councillors and Members of the Mayoral Committees.

  • Rural development

Agri-processing is a catalyst of creating employment. The government should find the market first for dry fruits and vegetables and then redirect the farmers that are trained in agri-processing to tap into the market.

  • Nkomazi Special Economic Zone

The last SOPA moved the Nkomazi Special Economic Zone will report to the Premiers Office, to do what in the Premier’s office? Is there capacity in the Premiers office? Why is the SEZ supposed to be housed in the Office of the Premier and not at the Department of Economic Development and Tourism? It is advisable that a separate entity with its CEO run the SEZ and report to the department of economic development and tourism.

This will create synergy and alignment from national to a provincial government’s mandate.

  • Nkosi City

We welcome the government initiative but ActionSA sees the Nkosi City initiative as a looting project for ANC politicians. The questions we have is it the role of the government to build cities or is this initiative a private sector initiative? Cities are built by the private sector and the government has to create a conducive environment for it to thrive.

  • International Fresh Produce Market

In the 2022 SOPA address, it has been announced that the Fresh Produce Market will be based in the Premiers Office. Is there budget and skills in the office to operationalize the project? The people of Mpumalanga want to know the extent of the billions spent on the project and why is it still a white elephant?

  • Road Infrastructure

The Premier pronounced that all gravel roads will be surfaced in the 2022/23 financial year.  The premier was dreaming and unrealistic on the matter. We want to remind the Premier that all Mpumalanga roads are worse than they were when she announced the ambitious project.

  • Strengthening HealthCare System

There is a need for the overhaul of the health care system in the province. Nothing is working at Shongwe, Tonga, eMalahleni hospitals and other health care facilities. The people of this province deserve better health care.

  • Opening of Colleges

Lastly, the closure of Mgwenya College of education, Mango College of Nursing and Marapyane College of Agriculture is an insult to the people of this province. In order to redeem your government from the embarrassment, ActionSA wants those colleges to be reopen and the people of this province will judge you better.