The Democratic Alliance (DA) are concerned by the Free State Covid-19 vaccination plans announced by Premier, Sisi Ntombela, during her State of the Province (SOPA) address.
According to the Premier, the province will vaccinate 1,9 million people in the next 12 months. However, she then went on to indicate that the target is 2,042 vaccinations per day. This implies that the province will only be able to vaccinate about 750,000 people a year during a 7-day week and about 500,000 per year during a 5-day week.
If one takes the 2,9 million Free State population into consideration, it will take between 4 to 5 and a half years to vaccinate the whole province. This implies that in the Free State our population are going to have to endure Covid-19 for at least another half a decade.
The Premier also spoke about many plans, projects, and task teams with billions of Rands worth of budgets to deal with issues relating to water, roads and other infrastructure projects. The DA is concerned that the Free State is littered with incomplete and unfunded projects. Within the current economic climate the DA is concerned about the sustainability of this funding.
Many of the developmental and job creating projects within the Expanded Public Works and other government programmes are valuable short-term social relief efforts. Such efforts can never replace the value of real private sector jobs that can only be realised through investment in the province. Investment requires an enabling environment that includes a sound roads infrastructure and reliable basic municipal services. The Free State requires less dependency on government and greater independence from government.
The DA welcomes the Premier’s tough words on crime, especially rural crime, and corruption. These tough words must however be transformed into convictions. Former Premier, Ace Magashule, used to make similar statements about crime and corruption which the ANC-run government has failed to address. The DA wants to see criminals nailed and jailed. Premier Ntombela stated: “We need to be transparent, effective and accountable to create trust in government”. Within her speech there were many “needs” which the DA will monitor and hold the provincial government accountable for transforming these into deeds.