Mpumalanga premier, Refilwe Mtshweni is DD Mabuza’s security guard. That’s how the opposition, Economic Freedom Fighters, described her after she delivered maiden state of the province address on Friday.
This is probably Mpumalanga EFF leader, Collen Sedibe’s fiercest attack on premier Refilwe Mtshweni since former premier David “DD” Mabuza ordained her as his successor a year ago.
Mtshweni had just delivered her long awaited State of the Province Address (SOPA). The speech 26 page long speech did not give a hint of what the provincial plans to do in the next twelve months, as usually is the case, but largely focused on the provincial government’s achievements over the past 25 years.
This incensed Sedibe.
“She’s just a security sent to safeguard the interest of Mabuza. She was speaking the language of her predecessor. She did not come up with her own programmes. The International Fresh Produce Market, Vision 2030 is the programme of the former premier,” said Sedibe.
“The speech does not give any hope. It was just a wish list. There’s no plan. She didn’t even make any promise or commitment,” said the outspoken EFF leader.
Prior to the SOPA, The New Era asked some of the readers what their expectations were. Clean water, an end to crime and corruption, lifting of the moratorium on the filling of the vacant posts in the public service, mainstreaming disability, quality health and early childhood development, were some of the issues that they wanted to hear.
Topping the list was tackling corruption.
“I want to hear whether or not there’s progress in our province, especially a “war” against potholes and corruption…if there’s any “war” as well as the state of our health and education institutions,” said Bongani.
Senzeni echoed his sentiments, “Plans to minimize fraud and corruption. Infrastructure development…” he said.
Simanga, also wanted to hear her speak about tackling corruption in Mpumalanga province.
“She must tell us how is she going to tackle government enemy number one which is corruption especially in our province because it is very high,” he said.
Phakamile wanted the premier to address health issues.
“Progress towards the first oncology unit in the Province. Our people are dying from Cancer,” he said.
Another reader, HluliSizwe wanted to know what she plans to do to retrieve the bodies of the three Lily mine workers who were buried underground after the collapse of the mine two years ago.
“She must tell us the plans to recover our three mine workers who are still stuck undergoing. What’s her plan as the Premier?” said Hlulizwe.
Mtshweni, however, had other ideas.
She dedicated the entire 29 pages speech to the “achievements” of the past 25 years since the ANC government was elected during the historic 1994 elections.
“This State of the Province Address comes at a time when we approach the 25th anniversary of the advent of our democracy. Whilst this is my maiden SOPA speech, it also marks the end of our term as the fifth democratically elected government since 1994,” said Mtshweni in her introduction.
That was the start of a long and often repetitive history of what happened during the 25 years and very little, if anything about what she intends doing in 2019/20 financial year.
Mbongeni was pessimistic about the premier’s ability to address the problems following previous engagement with her.
“It will be unfair of me to expect much from her. To me the issues we tabled before her were high school issues and to expect her to rise to that level. It’s too much to ask,” said Mbongeni.