There were mixed reactions to Limpopo Premier Chupu Mathabatha’s State of the Province Address (SOPA) last Thursday in Lebowakgomo.
Among other issues tackled, Mathabatha said they are in the process of acquiring additional 150 buses for Great North Transport (GNT) through a rental arrangement to supplement the existing fleet.
“The implementation of the Great North Transport Turnaround Strategy is in full swing. Just recently, the Great North Transport has acquired a fleet of new 75 buses which have since been distributed across the five districts. There can be no doubt that the additional fleet of buses will go a long way in ensuring that our people have access to affordable and reliable public transport service,” revealed Mathabatha.
DA’s Jacques Smalle said the speech was riddled with promises for the people of Limpopo and smoke and mirrors for the issues that represent significant failures for Mathabatha and his executive.
“The premier also utterly failed to address Gender Based Violence at all. Mathabatha failed to outline provincial strategies to tackle the scourge of GBV despite Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown having highlighted it as a serious societal issue facing the people of Limpopo. ”
Limpopo recorded the highest increase (13.5%) nationally for sexual offences in the latest crime statistics for the period of October to December 2020. During the period under review Limpopo recorded 2453 sexual offences.
The party applauded Mathabatha for addressing the issue of unemployment and job creation.
“The severity of the job loss crisis in the province was downplayed by Mathabatha. The province currently has 3.176 million people who are unemployed, discouraged work seekers and not economically active and has seen employment decrease by 119 000 people from quarter 4 in 2019 to quarter 4 in 2020.”
During SOPA the Premier indicated that over the next two financial years his government would provide 40 schools with adequate water infrastructure and provide 100 additional schools with proper sanitation.
“This is despite the fact that the Education MEC Polly Boshielo had committed to eradicating pit toilets in 2020 and failed dismally.The Premier also promised to build 17 brand new schools with none of them being in Polokwane despite the current failure to accommodate all learners in schools. He failed to shed any light on plans to address the infrastructure backlog in the Education Department that amounts to over R20 billion in infrastructure and maintenance backlog,” added Smalle
The DA said it is committed to holding Mathabatha accountable to ensure that the plans and commitments made in the 2021 SOPA are implemented.