Opposition parties give KZN Premier’s Sopa thumbs-down while ANC hails it as being in line with what needs to be done

Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube, red outfit arriving for Sopa on Friday. Picture: Sihle Mavuso/IOL

Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube, red outfit arriving for Sopa on Friday. Picture: Sihle Mavuso/IOL

Published Feb 24, 2023


Pietermaritzburg – Once again the ANC and opposition parties are sitting on opposite sides of the gulf following on Friday State of the Province Address (Sopa) by KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube from the governing party.

The three main opposition parties in the province gave her Sopa a thumbs-down, while the ANC welcomed it as being in line with what needs to be done.

On Friday, Dube-Ncube got the platform to address the province and map a way forward for the year 2023.

Her 40-page long speech, which she delivered both in Zulu and English, dwelt on dealing with load shedding, crime, road carnages, housing challenges and health matters in the province – among other issues.

The speech was themed: “Taking Decisive Action in the Time of Renewal and Hope as we Rebuild a Better, Prosperous, and Resilient KwaZulu-Natal.”

In relation to the ongoing energy crisis, Dube-Ncube said they were establishing a KZN energy war room comprising government and strategic partners to oversee the province’s response to the challenge.

“By the end of March 2023, KwaZulu-Natal will appoint a panel of energy experts to co-ordinate and help accelerate the implementation of the KZN energy master plan.

“We are accelerating the roll-out of rooftop solar panels to households in the province in line with the pronouncement by the minister of finance.

“Building standards will be reviewed to ensure new houses are fitted with energy saving equipment and that it is standard for RDP Houses to be fitted with solar rooftops,” she said.

Dube-Ncube said KwaZulu-Natal continued to be listed among the most violent provinces, especially for women as murder, rape and gender-based violence and femicide still rate high.

“We refuse to have our province defined as the rape and murder capital of South Africa because of the killing of ordinary citizens, artists, amakhosi and izinduna with impunity. We refuse to live in an age of wanton criminality or to be under any form of reign of impunity.

“Clearly, we need fresh and re-energised approaches to tackling crime and we are proposing drastic interventions which will include the following:

* We call for a review and tighter regulation of the possession of firearms and ammunition, limiting the number of rounds a person can purchase. Those contravening the law must face harsher sentences.

* Dealing decisively with unlicensed guns, fake gun shops, and guns which are in the hands of illegitimate firearm owners due to deceased estates.

* Implementing plans to remove all illegal guns that are terrorising our communities and are also used in the killing our policemen and women,” she said.

Among many other promises, Dube-Ncube said they would build new 11 clinics across the province and build a new modern hospital in the north of the province, as well as establish a maritime university to be based in the Ugu district in the south.

She also promised that by 2025, the City of eThekwini would not have temporary housing units, known as lindelas.

She also promised interventions in municipalities, lifestyle audits for some civil servants and to transform the structure of the agricultural value-chains.

Despite all this, opposition parties painted Dube-Ncube and her government as someone lost at sea.

The president of the IFP, Velenkosini Hlabisa, said he expected Dube-Ncube to start accounting for previous promises instead of making new ones.

“Even you yourself can confirm that really nothing much was said by the premier, we were expecting the premier to start from last year.

“What the ANC committed… even if it was Sihle Zikalala (former premier) it was an ANC government.

“She said nothing about promises made in 2022, she then started to make new promises and she was all over,” Hlabisa said.

Leader of ActionSA in KwaZulu-Natal, Zwakele Mncwango, gave the address a thumbs-down, saying, on many aspects it was too hollow to be taken seriously.

“The premier made a list of things and she was able to say what the people wanted to hear, because she was listing (matters) that is an issue in this province.

“But unfortunately she was lacking on the implementation – how these things would be done, tangible implementation.

“For example, she mentioned the issue of crime and we know about the issue of crime in this province and we know which areas have hitmen. She should talk about interventions,” Mncwango said.

The DA’s Francis Rodgers said: “Probably it was one of the worst state of the province’s addresses I have ever attended.”

He said it was becoming clear that the government was out of touch with reality. He added a lot of what Dube-Ncube spoke about, like smart cities, will never become a reality.

Despite all this, the ANC in the province gave Dub-Ncube-Ncube a pat on the back saying she focused on key issues like energy, water provision and hung municipalities where there is instability.

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