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Free State Premier receives memorandum from farmers

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“The current terrible state of most of our Free State roads cannot just be blamed on the heavy rains but to poor management and neglect by the Free State government.” This was the opening statement of the memorandum Free State Agriculture (FSA) handed over to the Free State Premier during her visit to the Hoopstad area today.

According to representatives of FSA, the premier’s visit to the area is nothing more than a public relations stunt. “It was remarkable to suddenly see road maintenance machinery appearing this morning on our roads to “repair” impassable roads just before her arrival. This proves that the provincial government is not only aware of our road problems but has the ability to fix roads if it is politically convenient to do so, said Jakkals le Roux, representative of FSA.

FSA decided not to allow this PR-stunt to go unchallenged, and presented the Premier with a memorandum demanding the provincial government’s immediate action across the province.

The memorandum demanded that:

  1. Professional engineering firms be used when fixing roads, and not just another job creation exercise for politically connected cadres.
  2. That the MEC for police, roads and transport, William Bulwane, make the budget and plans for road maintenance in the province publicly available.
  3. That the top heavy personnel structure of the department be critically reviewed to free up funds to employ more full time general workers and grader operators that can maintain roads.

Free State Agriculture condemns the misuse of state funds as highlighted in the Auditor General report and allowing our national infrastructure networks to decline to such an extent that it highly impacts on the local, provincial and national economies, the ability of the private sector to create jobs, and farmers to deliver food.

According to dr. Jack Armour, commercial manager of FSA, the organisation will maintain public pressure on the Premier and responsible officials to fix roads. “Citizens are paying exorbitant amounts of tax to the government, yet we are receiving less and less value for money. We cannot allow corruption and mismanagement to hamper our ability to produce food for the nation.”