Sizwe Mchunu

Durban -

Opposition parties have slammed Premier Senzo Mchunu’s State of the Province address, with some calling the speech nothing short of ANC propaganda.

Mchunu’s speech, delivered in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday, largely focused on the government’s successes over the past 20 years and how life had changed for the better in the province, especially under ANC rule.

Government successes listed by Mchunu included an increase in life expectancy, improved access to clean water and electricity, the creation of jobs, infrastructure development and improved access to social grants.

IFP caucus leader Blessed Gwala said that instead of delivering the State of the Province address, the premier had delivered an exaggerated account of the ANC government’s achievements.

“He told a bedtime story, if anything. It was more of a manifesto. If you go to the people on the ground they will tell you a different story.”

The DA echoed the IFP’s sentiments, saying Mchunu’s speech was nothing more than ANC propaganda as it did not mirror the reality faced by the people of KwaZulu-Natal.

“There was little real reflection on the state of the province or plans for the future. It was a campaign speech that had little to do with taking KZN forward,” said DA provincial leader Sizwe Mchunu.

ACDP MPL Jo-Ann Downs said the speech had focused on history, with few pages dedicated to what was going to be done next.

“For me the big story is the 48.4 percent of people still living in poverty that is nearly half of our population. The speech should have been about the reduction of poverty - it’s the big issue in this election”.

Downs said that despite the term of the administration coming to an end, the premier could have at least alluded to some future plans.

Downs acknowledged that the ANC had done well in improving access to health, education and social grants.

“On HIV and Aids, a lot of that belongs to the IFP and opposition parties who were first to raise the issue of ARVs. For example, I know that I was the first person in the country to raise the issue of ARVS for rape victims.”

The ANC defended Mchunu, saying the successes he listed were there for everybody to see.

Sihle Zikalala, the party’s provincial secretary, said the speech was an account of how far “we have travelled as the ANC”.

“Those disputing this would have to take a tour of KZN to see what we are talking about. We can take them on a tour all over KZN and they will see the development we are talking about.”

He said the ANC had inherited a province where mud schools were commonplace but this had changed.

The provincial legislature will today formally debate the State of the Province address. - Daily News

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