The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the reconciliatory tone with which the Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela approached her reply to the debate on the State of the Province Address (SOPA).
Instead of the usual attack that the DA has become accustomed to under Ace Magashule, the Premier thanked opposition parties for their inputs and made a commitment that these will be accommodated in the provincial governments programmes of action.
A highlight of her reply was the comment that apartheid is over and that Free Staters must build the province together and not blame apartheid for problems facing the Free State. The DA believes that Free Staters must acknowledge our divided past, and take ownership of our joint future.
During the SOPA debate the DA placed a great deal of emphasis on youth development. The Premier acknowledged this by indicating that the youth must take ownership of their future and committed the province to youth development and the DA’s continuous stance that your living condition should not determine whether you get an education or not.
The Premier also lamented the brutality unleashed on farmers and farmworkers again and made a commitment to fight these and other crimes such as gender-based violence. She also indicated what the DA has been saying for years that corruption is a crime and must be treated as such in the Free State.
While she thanked people for joining hands and building their communities the DA remains firm in our stance that government has a responsibility to deliver services to residents who are paying for these.
The DA remains committed to the construction of the Free State and will continue to work with residents and individuals from other political parties who share our vision of an open opportunity society for all.
We will continue to monitor the commitments made by the Premier during her SOPA and will hold her accountable for the commitments she has made on behalf of the provincial government.