The real state of the nation: Five takeouts from John Steenhuisen's tour

DA interim leader John Steenhuisen is touring the country for 'real state of the nation' engagements.
DA interim leader John Steenhuisen is touring the country for 'real state of the nation' engagements.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

DA interim leader John Steenhuisen on Monday engaged the community of Mangaung in the Free State during his “Real state of the nation” tour, to better understand issues South Africans grapple with daily.

Since kicking off the tour last week, Steenhuisen has met government health care employees and business owners to discuss how best to develop the communities in which they live.

The party will conclude its tour in time for President Cyril Ramaphosa's state of the nation address (Sona) set for February 13.

Here are five key takeouts from the engagement:

Sloppy service delivery

Steenhuisen described service delivery in the province as “a sad state of affairs” and the ANC government as “an incapable state” for failing to maintain the province's roads.

Addressing party members in the Mangaung metro, Steenhuisen said unfinished infrastructure prevented businesses from thriving.

“This road should be bringing hundreds of customers and access to the businesses should be made as easy as possible. We see exactly the opposite.”

Corruption at the heart of the province's problems

Steenhuisen said the only way the Free State can be fixed is if action is taken against corrupt officials. He blasted the ANC leadership for being self-serving and not prioritising voters. 

“While the politicians are chowing all the money, the people on the ground are suffering. This goes into water, sanitation and electricity. Everywhere you can follow the dots all the way back to corrupt officials who steal the money while our people get poorer every year.”

The DA is capable

Campaigning for his party, Steenhuisen said the DA is willing to extend its experience to help solve problems engulfing the municipality, but its attempts to work with the ANC have been ignored. 

Local economy 

Another way to help the Mangaung community is for the ANC to partner with local businesses to uplift the local economy and create employment. However, Steenhuisen said, this cannot be fully achieved unless proper infrastructure is provided.

“That is how a market economy grows, through private enterprise with a government understanding what its role is and being able to do that.”

Calls for the removal of current leadership

The party maintains its stance that politicians who don't deliver must be removed from their positions, as the community continues to pay for services it does not receive. He also denounced the hiring of those who know nothing about service delivery.

“The ANC would rather fall back to the default setting of cadre employment.”

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