While Saul was lauded for presenting plans, as opposed to dreams in his inaugural SOPA on Friday at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre, opposition parties were not in full support of some of his more radical, albeit well-intentioned plans for the province.
The Freedom Front Plus’ leader in the province and Member of Parliament (MP), Wynand Boshoff, criticises Saul’s plan to establish a state construction company towards the end of 2020 which will help to build RDP houses and roads. While Saul sees this as a step towards his vision to scrap the tender system, Boshoff doesn’t believe it bodes well for the provincial government. “The socialist leaning of having a state construction firm is a little questionable. The Freedom Front Plus supports a free market economy,” says Boshoff. While he feels the idea has its merits, he is concerned it leaves a lot of room for corruption.
Provincial Secretary of the EFF, Shadrack Tlhaole, says the Premier needs to speak definitively on what the government will do to curb corruption at municipalities, he accused Saul of merely glancing over issues. “He is merely flying above our heads. It’s not clear how he is going to deal with corruption. We are going to raise that with him. We are going to debate it and make sure we hold the Executive accountable,” says Tlhaole. The EFF in the province also welcomes Saul’s plan to establish a Northern Cape State Mining Company but demands that the province be told what happened to other mines in the area before. He asks who were the beneficiaries of Kumba Iron Ore’s Sishen Mine in Kathu?
Meanwhile, Alexkor, the part state-owned mine in the Richtersveld, is retrenching a substantial number of its employees, with concerns being raised that the mine is on the verge of being shut down.
The Sopa debate is expected to take place at the Francis Baard District Municipal Offices in Kimberley.