Northern Cape premier Zamani Saul sent a strong message that the days of public office bearers leading expensive lifestyles were over when he delivered his maiden state of the province address last week.
Saul vowed that the sixth administration executives would live a normal and modest life, and would cut costs and redirect funds to the people of Northern Cape.
Other cost-cutting measures include the curbing of new cars for members of the executive council (MECs), and would do away with “disruptive blue lights”.
“As the executive of this sixth administration, we will set an example by cutting back on executive luxuries and frills to ensure that the little resources we have are directed towards development projects,” he said.
“We therefore commit to put ourselves at a disadvantage by pursuing an extremely modest lifestyle, by seeking the modest and absolutely necessary benefits of the new guidelines for members of the executive.”
His vision for the province is that elected officials should not be too detached from the people on the ground. They, too, must experience the struggles faced by the people.
Since taking over office, his pictures and that of his MECs have been taken down from government buildings.
He arrived for his address in Kimberley in two state vehicles with minimal security.
He managed to save R1m by cutting out things like the red carpet, special food for guests, expensive catering and decor, among others, provincial officials said.
The almost 3,000 guests attending the event received pre-packed basic takeaway meals.
Among his big plans for the province is digitising the health sector.
“Electronic patient files will be implemented to improve file management. All these efforts will minimise medical litigations, reduce waiting time and enhance system efficiencies,” he said.
Saul will also ensure that hospitals are equipped with systems that continually monitor medication stock to minimise, and eventually end, the normalised problem of patients being turned back due to shortage of medicines.
“Effective implementation and monitoring of the stock visibility system will ensure that clinics and hospitals never run out of medication and that no patient is ever sent away without receiving medication because of stock outs,” he said.