Province needs to rewrite script of failure

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane
Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane
Image: Alan Eason

The Eastern Cape is known for many things, some good and some bad.

It is home to some of our country’s political greats, our first two democratic presidents, our very own Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi and Springbok rugby captain Siya Kolisi.

It is also famously known for the rolling green hills in the old homeland areas and some of the untouched beauty along the Wild Coast.

But our province is notorious for its exceptionally bad service delivery — be it at a municipal level, our health services and school infrastructure.

Over the last week or so, the Eastern Cape’s shortcomings were again front and centre of the national discourse, more so after it emerged that health minister Zweli Mkhize had to intervene in the province to help manage the Covid-19 outbreak.

At the time, he raised concerns that not enough testing was being done to get a true reflection of the infection outbreak in Nelson Mandela Bay specifically.

To many of us lay people in the province, this came as no surprise, especially as we witnessed how health MEC Sindiswa Gomba has fumbled along from one muck-up to another.

There were increased calls from the public, even from within the ANC, for her to be removed and replaced with a qualified doctor.

It therefore came as no surprise when she let slip during a live Zoom briefing with Mkhizwe that she was “fed up”.

Andidikwe (I am fed up)”, she said, though she later explained, through a spokesperson, that she was fed up of the doek she had been wearing since earlier that morning.

Some bought it, many did not.

The point is that the Eastern Cape can ill afford to have someone at the helm who is not 100% committed to ensuring that we get through this pandemic with as few deaths as possible.

Yes, our infrastructure and resource challenges are many in the province.

But now is not the time to remain true to our bad reputation as a province that does not deliver.