SOPA REPLY BY EC PREMIER

Honourable Speaker, and Deputy Speaker

Members of the Executive Council

Chief whip

Members of the Provincial Legislature

DG and HODs

Members of the media

Ladies and Gentlemen

Mandibulise ngalenjikalanga.

Somlomo apha ekukhuleni kwam phaya eDeberha eNgcobo ndafundiswa ukubulela xa ndinikwe into ngumntu nokuba incinci kangakanani. Mandiyitsho ukuba incinci into endiyinikwe ngamaqela aphikisayo kulendlu kwingxoxo mpikiswano yayizolo. Ndixakwe nokuba ndiphendule ndawoni, kodwa ke mandamkele igalelo labo kuba AmaXhosa athi ucuntsu akafani noshici.

On the same breadth, let me extend a word of appreciation to the Members of the Legislature from the governing party, the ANC, for doing their outmost best to help members of the opposition comprehend our State of the Province Address. Ukuba abevanga soze baphinde beve. Nenze njengoko silindele kuni majoni ka Oliver Tambo. Niqulile, nahlanganisa, nabetha ikoro nabetha imbambo.

Honourable Members, the 1994 democratic breakthrough was the beginning of our collective journey to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa. That moment did not mean we had forgotten about our colonial and apartheid past and all the harm it brought to our mother land. Here in our province the dark days of the past are still reflected in many forms. Firstly it is reflected in the names that were attached to our geographical locations when colonialists arrived in our province and altered our identity.

Addressing the Tourism Indaba in 2003 former President Thabo Mbeki narrated succinctly the problem of colonial names when he said: “I have been considering asking our government to give me sabbatical leave for one year. I will use the 12 months to tour South Africa and call on places that have strange names to me as an African, such as Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown, King Williamstown, Berlin, Sutterheim, Fort Beaufort and East London. I will try to understand who Graham was such that a town is named after him. In the process I will learn something about what happened, then. Who fought whom, and who lost and won! Who owned this land, and who took it by force!”

This narration by former President Mbeki is the essence of why we have to change colonial names. They simple do not originate in our province and have no meaning to our identity. We are kind to the people who sympathise with these names because we will send them to museums to teach our children and tourists about our painful history. Therefore we are moving ahead with the restoration and cleansing process of removing colonial names in our geographical locations, and we are replacing them with uniquely Eastern Cape names that resonate with our people, such Gqeberha, David Sturrmaan International Airport, Ntabozuko, King Phalo Airport, Qonce and Kariega. I know this matter is giving our DA colleagues sleepless nights. Endingalitsho kuni lelokuba nizoqina.

But Honourable Speaker, it would be a great sin if I would not use this opportunity to tell Hon. Coetzee that there is no cost high enough to restore the dignity and heritage of our people. Hon. Coetzee, there is no cost huge enough to defend the identity and history of our people. While you sit there and think of rands and cents, we are thinking about the blood that was spilt in this country for us to achieve freedom; we are thinking about the price that our people had to pay, including with their lives just to be recognised in their own country of birth and origin.

So, Hon. Coetzee and Hon. Botha you must think twice before you refer to the changing of names, that to us represent violence, terror and oppression in our land, as useless and meaningless. You and other white supremacists, including your lackies masked in black skin, must think twice before you speak on behalf of the majority on what matters to them and what doesn’t matter to them, especially if you do so while sitting there in the opposition benches.

The process of restoring our dignity and identity is not incompatible with the process of growing our economy, and we will not be made to choose between the two or be lectured about which one is more important by beneficiaries of the unjust system of oppression.

Honourable Members, one of the forms of our colonial and apartheid baggage that is still prevalent in our province is underdevelopment which is the direct cause of poverty, unemployment and inequalities. Our SOPA is responding to this challenge, building on the solid foundation that has been laid by the five previous administrations of our democratic government. I sat in my office wondering where the members of the opposition have been when they say nothing has changed in the 26 years of democracy. The only answer I could think of, is that they have been hiding behind high walls in their homes completely unaware of the developmental work we are doing in our communities to reverse the legacy of the past. Phumani ngapha kwamadoga amade, nisithakele kuphuhliso.

Ibhida mpela ke eyokuba nalamalungu emibutho ephikisayo ahlala kwezilali nee lokishi sisebenza kuzo athi awaboni tshintsho. Ingathi athande ukutya kumyezo onetyhefu weemposiso ze DA. Tell no lies Honourable Members, the truth shall set you free always.

Kwame Kruma warned us about people like our colleagues in the opposition benches when he said: “Those who would judge us merely by the heights of what we have achieved would do well to remember the depths from which we started.”

Luckily for us, the masses of our people have heard what we communicated through the SOPA and appreciate the work we are doing to attract investors because they know everything we are doing is for their benefit.

For instance on the announcement we made about the construction of 6 new factories in the EL SEZ, Mr Ntsikelelo Maqhaba wrote on our social media page and said: “Keep on doing the good work of attracting investors to our province”.

Honorable Stevenson, I am very disappointed in you. You spoke about the storm of unemployment but you could not even acknowledge the jobs that our SEZs are creating under a very difficult economic climate.

Unlike you and other members of the opposition, Mr Ntsikelelo Maqhaba appreciates the 1534 manufacturing and services jobs that will be operationalized by the EL SEZ. He also heard us when we said the EL SEZ is currently constructing 6 new investor facilities, which will create 409 additional manufacturing and services jobs. These investor facilities men and women of our province who are skilled in the built environment. Between 2019 and the end of the 2021/22 financial year, the EL SEZ would have created in excess of 5000 construction jobs for our people.

I must confess that one matter that is always on my mind with regards to the investors in the EL SEZ is that of Yekani Technologies. That company employed the people of our province in a critical sector of ICT. I was there in that factory. I saw the state of the art machinery and the products that were produced there. Ndilala ndiguqile ndizamela ndibonisana no Minister Ndabeni Abrahms ukuba ivulwe kwakhona la factory, babuyele emsebenzini abasebenzi bayo. We are watching the liquidation process with keen interest.

Our social media followers also received with great admiration our report that the Coega Development Corporation has created 481 operational jobs and 3 951 construction jobs by the third quarter of the 2020/21 financial year. Nithi aniyiboneli ntweni lemisebenzi kwimibutho ephikisayo. Abantu bakuthi bayayithakazelela ke bona kuba isusa ikati eziko kumakhaya wabo.

Siqhubela phambili ngokwakha imfusi yalamawele ayi EL SEZ ne Coega SEZ, esiyibiza ngokuba yi Wild Coast SEZ. It will change completely the economic status in the eastern part of the Province, particularly freight and logistics. Again I invite members of the opposition to go see for themselves that the work is underway there with a fencing contractor on site. Phumani ngapha kwamadonga amade, nisithakele kuphuhliso.

Many of our social media commentators have urged us to move with speed on the revitalization of industrial parks to augment the good work of our SEZs. The Dimbaza Industrial Park will rise from the ashes of vandalism to be a jobs hub for the community of Dimbaza before the end of this term of government. Mark my words!

Honourable Speaker, unlike our colleagues in the opposition benches, the people of our province welcomed the announcements we made on strategic infrastructure programmes, aimed at rendering our Province one big construction site. On the Transnet railway branch lines announcement Ms Yolisa Ndzuta wrote in our communication platform: “That is the best move for transport and logistics in our province.” Indeed her opinion is true, work is ongoing on the branch lines as we speak. I invite Members to visit the Blarney to Cookhouse branch lines to see for themselves implementation of this project.

Honourable Members, we made mega announcements that Transnet will be implementing in our province. Ayingomaphupha lawa besiwathetha. Members of the opposition need to appreciate the amount of work we do behind the scenes to net such investments for our province. I want to assure you members and the people of our province today, that the projects we announced in relation to widening and expansion of the East London Port; the extension and the upgrade of the SouthCor rail corridor; transformation of the Port of Gqeberha into a mixed use precinct anchored by the waterfront development and the relocation of the Manganese terminal will be implemented during this term. Mark my words!

Somlomo into entle iyanconywa. SANRAL is a truly developmental State Owned Entity. Their footprint in wide, it is not concentrated in a particular province in South Africa or a particular region within our province. Apho bafika khona bashiya kukuhle ngamathuba emisebenzi, nangamathuba oshishino.

The progress SANRAL is making on the N2 Wild Coast Road is exciting and will silence many naysayers soon. Structural Engineering work is gaining momentum on both the North and South Banks of the Msikaba Bridge Site. Maintenance and re-gravelling of provincial and local roads by local SMMEs is underway. These projects come with great developmental project to communities. Five Community Development (CD) projects already completed with 51 Grade 1 &2 CE SMMEs trained and developed and over 600 local labour trained and employed for 12-18 months.

I must add that R220 million has been budget for local & provincial roads with 23 local suppliers, 16 local service providers, 11 local sub-contractors benefiting and 265 local persons employed in the project. Road construction projects that are implemented will cover 223 km connecting areas such as Port St Johns to Ntafufu and Lusikisiki Town; connecting Lusikisiki to Flagstaff; Flagstaff to Holycross; Magusheni to Brooks Nek; Magusheni to Mbizana and Mbizana to Wild Coast Sun. But there are challenges that SANRAL is facing repeatedly in that area Honourable Members that all of us must assist SANRAL to overcome that relate to social facilitation. None of us win, particularly the people of that area when that project is hampered by delays.

Honourable Speaker, many of the Honourable Members who spoke yesterday from the opposition benches conveniently did not hear anything we said about basic infrastructure projects we will be rolling out with the Presidency. Let me assist them again.

We will participate in the roll-out of SA Connect which will augment our broadband project to connect schools, clinics, hospitals and other service sites. The 114 SMMEs of our province that SITA accredited will also benefit from rollout of this project. We are one of the provinces that will benefit from a project that will eliminate inappropriate structures in schools using alternative technology, the eradication of informal settlements and construction of rural roads and bridges. Honourable Bochenroeder the roads to farms and game reserves fall under this project, as it is aimed and augmenting the roads construction projects that we are implementing with our limited resources.

Honourable Cowley, you started your debate remarks beautifully yesterday by applauding the phenomenal work our Department of Public Works has done to upgrade healthcare infrastructure that gave us more Covid-19 beds. I expected you say Premier your EXCO took an excellent decision by investing R590 million in that project.

For your benefit Honourable Cowley, the SIU found zero corruption in the awarding of contracts for those projects and SMMEs were major beneficiaries of that program and they delivered quality work. We see the value for the money we invested in the healthcare centres that have been face lifted.

I thought you would commend us for installing new high care units in health facilities in areas that did not have them before. I thought you would say Bravo to us for installing oxygen infrastructure in health facilities that never had such capacity before. Again, political point scoring is blinding you unfortunately.

In all that members of the DA said yesterday, I share their sentiments on drought. My problem with their argument though is that they confine drought to commercial farming. Drought affects all our communities, particularly the rural masses. So we must work together to find sustainable solutions to the drought problem which is a natural occurrence. I definitely do not have supernatural powers to stop the drought, but together we can act responsible to minimise climate change in our province.

Part of what we are doing is ensuring water security in Ndlambe and Makana. This includes exploring prospects of venturing into desalination. We have also encourage the Nelson Mandela Municipality to take this direction assisted by Coega .

We are of the view that the nine bulk water infrastructure projects, valued at R4.9 billion that are at varying stages of completion in our province will end the burden of water scarcity in areas such as Mbashe. The uMzimvubu multipurpose water project will finally take off this year and when completed will enable us to provide clean drinking water to communities that reside along the Mzimvubu River.

I agree with honourable members who raised the issue of power outages. Indeed they affect businesses and the daily lives of our people. In our communication platforms we received a message from Mr Wushe Resha Nkanti who pleaded with us to bring electricity in Amalinda Forest.

I am certain the community of Mr Kanti is one of the newly established communities which our municipalities are attending to. What we referred to in the SOPA are the areas that have huge backlogs particularly villages in our rural communities.

Connecting 13 808 households in a financial year in Buffalo City Metro, Amathole District, Chris Hani District, Joe Gqabi District, OR Tambo District, is one financial year is no child’s play. We applaud Eskom and our municipalities for bringing light in the homes of our people. For members of the opposition with selective listening, in the 2021/22 financial year, we plan to make 19 416 connections, at a cost of R653 million.

We are fully committed to the realisation of a diversified energy mix in our country and our province is ready to participate in nuclear, renewable energy and gas to power projects to ensure energy security for our province and country. The Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), and other domestic gas opportunities such as the one that has been discovered in Mosel Bay are our key priorities to create an energy hub in Coega. I have heard Honourable Tetyana talking at length about Wind Farms. MEC Mvoko responded correctly to him, suffice to add that as government it is our responsibility to ensure beneficiation of our people in all projects that are implemented in our province. That is one thing we are unambiguous about.

Honourable Speaker, again the honourable members missed an opportunity to give credit where it is due when it comes to the performance of the agricultural sector in our province. South Africa became the world’s second largest exporter of citrus and the bulk of the fruit that made South Africa to achieve that feat is the citrus from our province, not the one from the Western Cape Honourable Members of the DA. Most notable and contrary to your beliefs black citrus farmers that are supported by this government of the ANC grew by 25 % from 2019 to 2020.

I assume your posturing clouded your judgment in the opposition benches hence did not acknowledge the R359 million that flow into our economy resulting in 2 152 jobs in the export of 4593 tons of Red Meat and Poultry from our abattoirs. Be ready to applaud us in the next SOPA because we aim to achieve more on this front, hence we are investing R332 million to create agriculture value chains for major commodities such as crop and livestock production.

Sibona iziphumo ezintle kakhulu phaya kwi feedlots zethu ezenze abalimi abakhasayo bathengise imvuyo ephaya ku 886, bazuza I (R8 million). Soon I will be visiting Sulenkama to see and official hand over a feedlot we have done there, that is already operation helpin our rural subsistence farmers to improve their live stock.

We are excited about the growth prospects of the Ncora Irrigation Scheme which will results in 1277 permanent through our partnership with Anglo-Gold Ashanti and Exxaro. I have been asked to visit the Dordrecht Diary by our social media followers from the area of Dordrecht because they want it to be revived. Such invites from our people get preference in my diary. I will be in Dordrecht to see what is happening in that dairy before the end of this month.

I see that the caucus of the DA is hell-bent of destruction. Mandibalumkise ngelithi kulula ukuchitha, kunzima ukwakha. We cannot close the Magwa/ Majola Estate because it is provides jobs for our people in an impoverished community. We are doing our best to make it work for the benefit of our people. Hence we support the diversification into other commodities and the ecotourism aspect.

Hon. Zibonda, I was shocked by the contradiction you made when in your opening statement you criticized us on your misinformed thinking that we don’t provide support to farmers, yet in the same speech, it was you who was against the support to Magwa/ Majola Estate citing that we should’ve built roads instead.

But then again, Hon. Nqatha explained that you given notes just before approaching the podium, as such you were just conveying the message of the real owners of the DA. It also occurred to me that by farmers, you meant the white sections of established farmers and not our people who striped off their land. So, I now understand. To put you at ease, we will continue providing support to emerging and black farmers, and will do so without hesitation or fear of contradiction.

On the issue of District Mechanisation centres we believe our approach to use the tractors for massive ploughing, will turn the arable land that is lying fallow into productive land that will produce food for the people of our province.

Honourable Zibonda of the DA, said we are repeating ourselves on Cannabis. I don’t know how because we have updated the Honourable Members that the bill on the use of cannabis for private purposes is currently being considered by the National Assembly. And that hemp has been de-scheduled from the restrictive schedules of the medicines and related substances act of 1965 and this paves the way for hemp to be declared as an agricultural crop.

Our medium term strategic goal is to establish five Cannabis Production Corridors focusing on creating a value chain for medicine, fiber, fuel and food. Our SEZs and most definitely the Wild Coast SEZ when it is operational will be processing centres for the cannabis products.

I was taken aback when some members of the house underplayed the relief funding we have disbursed to businesses, sports people and artists. The tourism sector was a critical beneficiary of our relief efforts. We even augmented our Jobs Stimulus fund with R75 million to assist more businesses in distress. Our opposition colleagues have dug their heads into the sand and do not see the value of saving 1538 jobs in the province through our efforts.

Not a single member of the opposition acknowledged the fact that in our province 76 692 employers and 763 470 employees benefited from TEERS to a value of R3.164 Billion. Apparently these are small things to our opposition, but they are big things to our people who faced a bleak future due to Covid-19 whose impact on lives and livelihoods was downplayed by the opposition parties yesterday.

Members of the DA were crying from start to finish about support to farmers yesterday. I think they were looking for that support in the wrong SOPA, because in the one we delivered last week we said through the Agriculture Support Disaster Fund, R80.4 million was also disbursed to support 1915 smallholder and communal farmers. Kanti benimamele eyiphi iSOPA malungu abekileyo eDA? Bendithe phumani ngapha kwamadonga amade, nisithakele kuphuhliso.

Honourable Speaker, we are now on alert level 1 as announced by our President. This means more economic activities will be allowed and tourism is certainly one of the economic activities that will benefit from the relaxation of regulations. This will aid our efforts of economic reconstruction and recovery.

We are an all-in-one tourism destination and we encourage the people of our Province to tour their own province. We are creating more tourism products in our province to cater for adventure enthusiasts, culture and heritage explorers and nature lovers.

Honourable Speaker, maybe the bold plans we presented in the SOPA were too good to be true to Honourable Members of the opposition. Take for instance developments on the ocean economy. Members of the opposition were left paralysed by the announcement of R206 million from the stimulus fund for the development of the first 100 ha of the Aquaculture Development Zone in Coega that is currently underway. By the time they recover from their state of shock 5 600 people will be working in the Aquaculture Development in Coega.

Honourable Cowley, I will give you a special invite to accompany me to the launch of the marine tilapia project to remove all your doubts about the project. It is one of the groundbreaking project that has full support of all spheres of government and it will not fail. The people of Mbhashe Municipality will benefit immensely from the potential 4700 jobs that the project is envisaged to create.

Honourable Mahlathi, we definitely want to ensure beneficiation from our fish resources. The Wild Coast SEZ will be the ideal location to do that when it is completed. For now the OR Tambo District Municipality has done the right thing by giving our fishermen 4 refrigerated containers to store their catch.

Honourable Members, the statistics of unemployment are not just numbers. They represent the people of our province who seek employment opportunities. Among them are young people. Informed by our Provincial Youth Development Strategy, our focus is on placement of youth in vocational programmes, skills development, township and rural youth development hubs, entrepreneurship and development. I want to assure the Members of the house that the Isiqalo Youth Fund which will be located in the OTP on the 1st of April, will benefit deserving young people of our province. Into engazokwenzeka yeyojikwa kwe mali yeSiqalo Youth Fund eOTP ingasetyenziswa, kodwa abantu abatsha bandinga uncedo lokuqala amashishini.

Last week we supported Khanyisa Siyo of Khayalethu Village in Dikeni with machinery worth R100 000 to grown his small business. Baninzi esizofika kubo, kuba sifuna badale amathuba emisebenzi baqeshe abanye abantu abafuna imisebenzi.

Honourable Speaker, I don’t not know where Honourable Cassim gets his mis-information about scholar transport and school nutrition in our province. Maybe he is mistaking us with the Western Cape Province. Mandimlumkise ngelithi ulwazi oluncinci luyingozi.

We maintain that our school nutrition programme reached 1.6 million learners, instead of the 1.5 million target. We maintain that Fifty five thousand tablets were issued to all Grade 12 learners in Quintile 1 to 3 schools. Indeed remain focus on creating functional schools, strengthening administration and management of curriculum delivery and the use of ICT to improve education outcomes.

The anywhere, anytime learning approach is possible and will be achieved in our province. Last week, I, together with Minister Stella Ndabeni of the Department of Telecommunications and Digital transformation handed over a cyber-lab with 42 computers connected to the internet at the historic Healdtown High School in Fort Beaufort as well as 30 laptops for youth of Alice to undergo it skills training program.

With the ease of restrictions we will see acceleration of school infrastructure implementation projects with a particular emphasis on installing water and sanitation in our schools.

Unlike, members of the opposition parties who continuously pour called water to the efforts of our grade 12 learners, we once again congratulate the class of 2020 for trying against all odds. Many of their critics did not get our province to the percentage they reached when they sat for their matric exams years ago.

Abanalungelo logxeka abantu ababeke umyinge ongaphezulu kwalowo bawubekayo ngalonyaka babebhala ngawo ibanga leshumi. A word of gratitude goes to parents and teachers who made it possible for our learners to succeed. I have instructed the Department to explore all avenues to help the unsuccessful learners to get over the grade 12 line.

Honourable Speaker, at least we agree with some members of the opposition that our healthcare workers are the undisputed heroes and heroines of our fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. The vaccination is starting with them because they continue to be our first line of defence, we must protect them against the virus, so they can protect us if we are hospitalised. Honourable Members must be patient with the process of vaccination. We are within schedule to meet our population immunity target. We will take appropriate measures to prevent a rise in infections during the Easter Holidays.

Issues of staffing at health are exacerbated by a shrinking fiscus. We are however reprioritising budgets to ensure that there are nurses and doctors in wards to care for sick patients.

We want to welcome yet another kind humanitarian gesture by Germany Company Siemens which is building a 100 beds in Cecelia Makhiwane Hospital. Siemens will provide equipment and medical technology such as X-Rays, Monitors, and ICU equipment.

While members of our opposition parties are pointing fingers to challenges, our partners from local and abroad are putting their shoulders on the wheel to help us deliver quality healthcare services to our people. They are following on the good example of VWSA, Gift of Givers, Mercedes Benz, Isuzu, solidarity fund and other companies that have contributed resources to our fight against the pandemic.

Somlomo xa umntu enendawo athatha kuyo, uyathanda ukungayiboni into enceda abantu abangathathi ntweni.

Members of the opposition are critical of poverty alleviation and social protection services because they have no clue about the relief these service bring our people. Again we maintain that the President is correct to extend the Social Relief of Distress Grant which has benefited 776 882 people by a further three months. We will also continue to expand the pull of beneficiaries for the Expanded Public Works Programme in local municipalities as a poverty relief measure.

Honourable Speaker, it will be disingenuous of me not to respond to some of the remarks made by Hon. Van Vuuren.

Let me reiterate that during this pandemic, the government has demonstrated its commitment to ensuring social security and protection.

In this regard, we have provided a social assistance package to vulnerable people and families in distress and further provided temporary shelters to homeless persons. This was facilitated by collaborations between municipalities, COGTA and Social Development. I must also state that family reunification programmes were undertaken and many did return home, but I must also indicate that in some instances the people would return to the streets.

On the issue of spending on social relief of distress, which is generally provided in the form of food parcels, the MEC for Social Development, Honourable Lusithi did indicate the Department experienced delays in its shift of providing social relief from the food parcels to a voucher system, which among other advantages would reduce the cost of procurement and put more value in the package of support to the families. In this regard, the Department will procure services of a bank to ensure that about 76 917 beneficiaries receive an amount of each R750 in the form of a voucher for two consecutive months.

Honourable Members, when we started this term we said we would be a transparent government. In the SOPA we alluded to the challenges of underperformance in Human settlements. It is not a matter we take lightly because it affect the people of our province who need decent shelter. We are dealing with that matter of underperformance within our consequence management regime.

The DA must be careful not to blow its own trumpet on issues of housing delivery in Nelson Mandela Metro. Our social media follower Mr Langa Mgolozeli said since 2016 sites have been serviced and approved in Nelson Mandela Metro ward 41 but no housing delivery. This is the period the DA has been playing political games with our people in Gqeberha. In a matter of months your toying with the people of Gqeberha will be over.

Honorable Members, I am disappointed once again that members of the opposition failed to acknowledge the good work of our police officer in combating crime in our province. In the SOPA I mentioned a list of crime incidents that have gone down in our province. I urge you to do the right thing Honourable Members of the opposition and congratulate our police officers.

The fight against GBV, Honourable Tetyana is a pandemic indeed, a man made pandemic I must add. Unlike the Covid-19, as men of the Eastern Cape must change our behavior towards women. If we do not voluntary change our behaviors, the law must help us by removing us from society finish and klaar.

We applaud the women of our province who are reporting incidents of abuse to the police. We also applaud the NPA for prioritizing cases of Abuse in our court rolls. The conviction of perpetrators will give more women confidence that the law is on their side. Eli dabi sizokude siliphumelele.

Honourable Speaker, members of the opposition focused 80% of their speeches talking about corruption. What is funny though is that they were preaching to the converted. It is the sixth administration that wrote to the President and asked him to send SIU to look into Covid-19 related procurement concerns . That process has not found large scale corruption yet in most of the contracts that were awarded, contrary to what was widely reported by media.

What this shows is that we can and we must win the war against the cancer of corruption in our society which is prevalent in both the private and public sector. What we must not do though is to give corruption a colour. We will miss the point if we do that. We are also not going to compromise our transformation agenda of affirming black owned SMMEs in procurement, because black owned SMMEs get opportunities to do business from government than in the private sector.

As I mentioned in the SOPA, we expect accounting officers of health and education to act against the remaining 421 officials who are doing business with government. We also expect all accounting officers to close gaps in procurement systems so that no one can beat the system. The anti-corruption council that will be chaired by the Premier will definitely have structured meetings that will be attended by all members of the council regularly. It will take decisions and get reports on programme to combat and prosecute corruption cases in the public administration.

Honourable Members, when I said our Towns are filthy I was speaking the truth that is experience by many of our people in our communities. Municipalities are failing citizens dismally in this regard, but Matatiel has been consistently good in this area. I was encouraged by the eagerness of our people to clean their own towns. Ms Anita Somila wrote to us: “I am willing to clean my town in Willovale, where do I apply for this volunteer task”? The municipalities must rise to the occasion and enroll young people such as Anita to do their civic duty. I have undertaken to visit municipalities starting with Enoch Mgijima Municipality to oversee the town cleaning programme.

Honourable Members, the SOPA we presented calls on all of us to play our part to ensure the realization of the commitments we made because they will benefit the people of our province. One of the things we must liberate ourselves from in the Eastern Cape, is the culture of speaking with many voices on developmental projects in our province.

Any development that comes in our province is for the benefit of the people of the Eastern Cape not of the particular region that development is located in. We must also stop whispering about our developmental ambitions, because other provinces are louder. Lastly we must have a unity of purpose and refuse to be divided across party political lines when it comes to developmental projects we want for our province.

It pains me to see that political parties like the DA are vocal about Transnet investments than they are about Mzimvubu Dam and the Wild Coast SEZ. We must take a leaf from the words of Ford Motor Company founder, Henry Ford who once said: “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

We have come a long way since the 1994 democratic breakthrough. We have kept our democracy and decorum intact in this house despite our political differences. We must graduate to heightening the spirit of working together to succeed in our quest of building the Eastern we want.

I thank you.

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