Francois Rodgers, delivering an alternative State of the Province Address (Sopa) at in Pietermaritzburg said that the party was no longer an opposition party, but a government in waiting.
“What this means is that the DA will now strive to drive the agenda for the province and not simply react to an ANC agenda that has no direction, no purpose and no tangible result for our people,” said Rodgers.
He took a swipe at the African National Congress (ANC) government which he said had failed dismally in areas such as education, health and economic development. He cited the qualified audit opinions in many of the province’s municipalities in the province as an illustration of consistent political interference from the ruling party.
“What KwaZulu-Natal needs is radical political transformation so that people of the province can appreciate service delivery and clean governance,” said Rodgers.
Part of the transformation would include trimming public entities – a move which he said would reduce salaries of board members and lead to savings of millions of rands annually.
According to the DA, problems in education and in health could be traced to the power that unions have in the public service because of the ANC’s alliance with the Congress of SA Trade Unions.
Rodgers told ANA that the DA would up the ante both inside and outside the legislature and be more aggressive towards the ANC.
Monday’s address by Rodgers to the party faithful, including Members of Parliament (MPs), Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPLs) and councillors, comes as Premier Willies Mchunu is set to deliver the State of the Province Address at the Royal Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday outlining government’s plans for the year.
DA provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango noted that the alternative SOPA by Rodgers was delivered on the eve of the opening of the legislature where Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini will deliver the keynote address on 28 February.
“This is by no means a move to undermine the monarch, but there was no other day in which we could present our plan,” said Mncwango in conveying gratitude to members and supporters.