It’s all systems go for the State of the Province Address (SOPA) in the Eastern Cape. Communities across the province are hoping that Premier Oscar Mabuyane’s speech will address their needs.
Basic services such as water provision, housing and unemployment remain the burning issues. The recent floods that hit the province exacerbated many of these challenges.
Tackling the rising crime levels in the province, which in turn hinders investment, is expected to be part of the address. The youth are also calling for sustainable jobs.
“We have been promised change over and over, but we see nothing. They don’t even make follow-ups on what they promise. He is as the premier must do that,” says Eastern Cape resident Ntsikelelo Makaka.
Another resident Andile Mkhosana says, “Youth employment there are a lot of graduates who are sitting at home doing nothing because of limited job opportunities so if can only address that kind of situation then it will be better for youth to progress.”
Flood disasters have also wreaked havoc across the province since last year, leaving many homeless.
“At home, I stay in a one-room rondavel. I lost my house in February last year to a disaster. And we are staying in that rondavel with my entire family. My husband is unemployed, no one works at home, and we all depend on the money I make here,” says Nomfundiso Lidziya, an Eastern Cape resident.
The legislature is ready for the day, with beefed-up security.
Speaker of Eastern Cape legislature Helen Sauls-August says, “All preparations have been done now, in just concluding logistical issues, just here and there still dealing with one or two issues that we have to contend with, the issue of load shedding and its impact, but we have looked at the schedule and we are clear for tomorrow in that respect.”
More than 300 guests have been invited.