Premier Phumulo Masualle’s response to the debate on this State of Province Address was reconciliatory and appreciative of the decorum and constructive input from the opposition. This in itself appeared to be magnanimous yet he remains in denial of the true state of the province.
He said that the opposition has to create an “imaginary crisis” to remain relevant. Well, we believe that he should consider the state of education, joblessness and escalating violent drug- and gang-related crime as a very real crisis that requires bold intervention and leadership.
In this regard, he disclosed nothing about what will actually be done by the Security Cluster and the criminal justice system to counter the gang-related crime wave in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.
His comment about education being the responsibility of everyone in the province and actually naming parents, learners, teachers, principals and the department of education was an admission of how dire things are, but his neglect at mentioning the role of SADTU, in particular, was a glaring omission.
The response was somewhat muted, especially since the programming committee and other sources seemed to imply that we could expect some fireworks, bold announcements concerning education and employment and even a possible cabinet reshuffle. This was sadly not the day for any of the above.
Lastly, is was clear that the premier was going to steer well clear of any substantive issues as he deflected these to the ensuing policy speeches of the MECs. Essentially, is was a “nice” ending to one of the most important debates of the year, the ANC clearly intends to carry on without any major amendments or changes to strategy and modus operandi. We expect to, therefore, get more of the same.
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