Holomisa blasts government for collapsing homeland infrastructure

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa is rallying the government and Eastern Cape kings to come up with solutions to arrest the decay of infrastructure built by the homeland governments of the former Transkei and Ciskei.

Holomisa’s proposed intervention will take place through imbizo at which he wants President Cyril Ramaphosa to bring his ministers to address them.

The envisaged date for the imbizo is the second week of May at Dan Pasiya Country Club in Mthatha, and Holomisa hoped for tangible solutions with delivery time frames so that “this must not be just another talk shop”.

In a letter to Ramaphosa and Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane on Tuesdsay, Holomisa voiced his dismay about the dilapidating infrastructure and deteriorating economy of the province, saying even what was built by the homeland governments has been run down by provincial administrations since the democratic dispensation.

He charged that this was the reason people born in the province sought economic refuge in big cities for a better life.

According to Holomisa, many prominent individuals who hail and reside in the Eastern Cape have expressed “frustration” to him about the state of affairs in the province.

They have called for intervention, he said.

“The current emerging consensus is that the infrastructure of the past, especially in the homelands that were run by paramount chief KD [Kaiser Daliwonga] Matanzima and Dr LL [Lennox Leslie] Sebe, is on the brink of collapse and the projects that once sustained flourishing economies are now defunct,” wrote Holomisa to Ramaphosa and Mabuyane.

“People who have left their Eastern Cape homes in search of jobs in the big cities have been met with the harsh realities of life and live in shacks in the townships.”

Holomisa insisted that the economic prosperity achieved by the Transkei and Ciskei governments has been destroyed by the ANC government.

These include, he said, agricultural schemes, the then Transkei development corporation, Ciskei development corporations, the establishment of nursing and teaching colleges, as well as dams for massive irrigation projects.

In his view, the Eastern Cape was a hotbed of export agricultural produce and industrial activity under the homeland governments, which had international partnerships with other countries such as Taiwan, which built factories in many parts of the province.

“It is a pity that the Taiwanese incentives were discarded by the new dispensation, and those industries were closed, dislodging thousands of people and jobs.

“The narrative that was sold at the time was that mainland China would replace those industries since South Africa now had ties with them; we have yet to see the resuscitation of those industries – what would be wrong in having ties with both territories with a view to reviving the erstwhile border industries to generate rural jobs?”

The UDM leader also criticized the Eastern Cape government for dragging its feet in completing major projects meant to set the province on a path to economic prosperity such as the “Umzimvubu water project, which has been in the works for decades”.

Mabuyane and the premiers before him since 1994 had also neglected the role of traditional leaders in the province, said Holomisa.

He said traditional leaders were only prioritised by the governing ANC during election season, only to be ignored afterwards.

Traditional leaders who had spoken to him, he added, had called for the return of systems employed during homeland days to fight unemployment in rural areas.

Several stakeholders, said Holomisa, had raised concerns over the rise of violent crime in the poorest province in the country, including the emerging phenomenon of political assassinations, poor roads, and lack of access to the internet.

“Broadband was rolled out in other provinces, especially in KwaZulu-Natal, during the administration of former president Jacob Zuma. The same should now be done in the Eastern Cape,” he said.

“This region seems to be punished twice, first it was penalised in the apartheid years, because it was believed to have produced revolutionaries and was therefore denied resources, and now it lags behind in infrastructure development and is not on par with the rest of the country.”

Holomisa said after consultation with residents of the Eastern Cape, they had resolved that an imbizo is the right cause of action to find lasting solutions.

“There was a feeling that the president should be invited to open this indaba/imbizo and the premier of the province should be invited to participate, and that both should bring along ministries/government officials that would be able to address some of the frustrations.”

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