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Time for less talk and more action.

Five things that the premier MUST remove from his 2016 SOPA

Mpumalanga premier, David Mabuza, will be presenting his ninth state of the province address this morning. Millions of taxpayers’ money will be spent, merely to give the political head of the province the platform to make groundbreaking announcements.

Now, the norm, or at least we are told, is that before the premier presents the State Of the Province Address (SOPA), departments have already concluded their strategic planning. Budgeted implementation plans have already been presented to and scrutinised by the legislature.

All that remains is the presentation of the SOPA and two weeks later, the presentation and appropriation of the provincial budget.

At the end of the financial year, the government departments develop annual reports for tabling at the legislature, where they account what they’ve done with the appropriated budget.

This is called “holding the executive accountable”.

But then what does it mean when the legislature appropriates budgets for the executive to implement specific deliverables, but year-after-year, the same issues are presented or just simply disappear in the following year’s SOPA?

We have selected just a five pronouncements that the premier has been making for the past five years, which we suggest he removes in his 2016 SOPA.

We have not added anything, except a short introduction in some of the issues or in cases where we indicate that the issue has disappeared from the policy and budget speech.

Fresh produce market

This deliverable found its way into the province’s plans about two years of his appointment as premier. This was when the province adopted the Mpumalanga Economic and Development Growth Path (MEDGP) in 2010/11 financial year.

Ever since, it remained a permanent feature every year in Mabuza’s state of the province address.

2012 SOPA – “Government is currently in a process of establishing a Fresh Produce Market in the province to supply agricultural commodities to Oman – our gateway to the Middle East markets.” Premier Mabuza, February 2012.

2013 SOPA – “The Province is at the advance stage of developing an International Fresh Produce market,” February 2013.

2014 SOPA – “As we prioritise agriculture as one of our key sectors, we should ensure that we establish a fresh produce market for local and international markets,” February 2014.

2014 SOPA, June: (After the elections) “We will be prioritising strategic infrastructure projects to support key economic sectors. This will include: The establishment of a Fresh Produce Market.

2015 SOPA – In the next financial year, we will commence with the construction of the Fresh Produce Market.

High Altitude Training Centre

2011 SOPA: We are doing all we can to sustain the legacy of hosting the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup. During the 2011/12 financial year, we will commence with the establishment of the Sports Academy.

We have already identified and secured suitable land in Emakhazeni Local Municipality.

2012 SOPA: Last year, we committed ourselves to the establishment of the Sport Academy in Emakhazeni local municipality to nurture and develop world-class sporting talent in various sporting codes. I am happy to report that all plans and designs for the Sports Academy have been finalised. In the next financial year, we will commence with the construction phase of the project.

2013 SOPA: “Last year we announced plans for the development of the High Altitude Training Centre in Emakhazeni.

2014 SOPA: It disappeared from the speech.

2014 SOPA: The High Altitude Training Centre in Emakhazeni Local Municipality. This project is ready for private sector investment so that we finalise the establishment of this centre.

2014 SOPA: June (After the elections) “We will be prioritising strategic infrastructure projects to support key economic sectors. This will include: The establishment of a High Altitude Sports Training Centre.”

International Convention Centre

This one, he inherited from former premier Thabang Makwetla, and the trick did not work for him either.

2015 “Going into the future, we will continue to prioritise strategic infrastructure development initiatives to support the growth of priority sectors. These initiatives include: The establishment of the International Convention Centre. In this regard, Mbombela Municipality has publicly launched the concept and the model of the proposed ICC to entice private sector interest and investment.”

2014 SOPA June (after the elections): “We will be prioritising strategic infrastructure projects to support key economic sectors. This will include: The establishment of an International Convention Centre (ICC).”

Cultural Hub

2011 SOPA: “This year, we will commence with work on the establishment of a cultural hub that will contribute to the development of various performing arts genres such as theatre, dance, music, crafts and drama.

This hub will become a centre that will contribute to the development of talent in various arts genres as well as the promotion of artistic expressions of our diverse history and heritage.

As part of the cultural hub, we will finalize the establishment of the Film Office to ensure that we promote the development of the film industry in Mpumalanga.”

2012 SOPA: “Last year, we committed to the establishment of a cultural hub that will contribute to the development of various performing arts and contribute to the development of talent in various arts genres. It will provide a platform for performers, artists, musicians, designers and film makers to develop, exhibit, and market their artistic talents and skills.

This cultural hub will provide an opportunity to showcase crafts and artefacts that promote our history and heritage.

More importantly, the cultural hub will catalyse opportunities to export local crafts, create local employment and contribute to the growth of cultural industries in the Province.

Honourable Speaker, I am happy to report that the business plan has been finalized. Land has been acquired. We are ready to begin with the construction of the Cultural Hub in 2012/13 financial year.”

2013: “Honourable Speaker, I am pleased that work towards the established of the Cultural Hub is in progress. We have purchased well suited land for the construction of the Provincial Cultural Hub. All planning work, including all legal processes, will be concluded by the end of the current financial year. In 2013/14, construction will commence.”

2014 SOPA: It disappeared from the speech.

2014 SOPA June (after the elections): “We will be prioritising strategic infrastructure projects to support key economic sectors. This will include: · The establishment of a Cultural Hub.

2015: Going into the future, we will continue to prioritise strategic infrastructure development initiatives to support the growth of priority sectors. These initiatives include: The construction of the Cultural Hub. In this regard, we will ensure that opportunities for private sector investment are explored.”

Water infrastructure & MEGA

2012 SOPA: “To move expeditiously on the funding and implementation of bulk water and sanitation infrastructure, MEGA has agreed in principle with the Development Bank of Southern Africa to support this bold decision.”

2013 SOPA: “As government, we have made a commitment to attend to the persistent problem of bulk water and sanitation infrastructure. If Members will recall, we have assigned the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA) to translate this objective into reality. We are expecting that by mid–April 2013, contractors will commence with the construction work.”

2014 SOPA: “Of the many service delivery challenges experienced by our municipalities, access to water tops the list. As a province we committed to attend to the persistent problem of bulk water and sanitation infrastructure by assigning the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA) the responsibility in the eight selected CRDP municipalities. Whilst this process has taken longer than anticipated due to the lack of cooperation by some municipalities, we have started to record progress and contractors have been appointed.”

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