The Democratic Alliance in Mpumalanga has decided to boycott this year’s “Taking Legislature to the People” (TLP) outreach programme as millions of rands will be wasted while only ANC members and friends will benefit.

The TLP, from 11 to 15 September 2017 in eMzinoni Township, Bethal and Govan Mbeki Local Municipality is an ANC roadshow that has been disguised as an outreach programme for all members of the legislature. Its main aim is to benefit ANC members of the legislature and their friends. The DA calls for a programme that will benefit all the people of the province.

The Legislature has spent in excess of R35 million over the past few years presenting the TLP programme to different municipalities every semester, however, the event always gets reduced to a week-long ANC roadshow where members of the Legislature sleep in lavish hotels like the Graceland casino in Secunda at the expense of the poor people.

While community members are invited to attend and air their concerns about issues affecting them, no resolutions are taken at the events to ensure that there’s a follow-up on issues brought forward. What’s worse is that this time, Legislature Speaker Thandi Shongwe removed all the “questions to the MEC’s” item from the agenda, and this squashes any chance of the House holding the MEC’s to account.

Under Thandi Shongwe, the TLP programme has become a money draining machine where millions are wasted. Even Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza’s role at the TLP is been reduced to him just coming to close the festivities on Friday. What a joke!

Since 2015, the TLP has been held in Nkomazi, Bushbuckridge, Lekwa, eMalahleni, Steve Tshwete, and now Govan Mbeki Local Municipality, but the precedent that has been set by Thandi Shongwe is that the TLP is used to sing ANC praises for a week long while the poor people continue to suffer. Millions that should be used to alleviate poverty is wasted on festivities that have no benefit to the people on the ground.

To date, Nkomazi and Bushbuckridge are still without access to water. In Lekwa, housing and sewage are still a problem. eMalahleni is still facing service delivery problems and now Govan Mbeki will remain unchanged after the TLP leaves the area.

The DA calls for the TLP programme to be scrapped in its entirety because as it stands it is failing on its Constitutional mandate of law-making and particularly oversight of the Executive. The programme must be replaced with a more intensified oversight programme that puts people first to ensure the improvement of service delivery. Money meant for the people must be spent on the people.