The provincial government will this year meet its new target of completing 13 682 housing units. In addition to speeding up the delivery of incomplete houses, the province will also complete 1 131 emergency houses. More than 800 of the emergency houses have been built in the Bushbuckridge Municipality, an area of the province that was hardest hit by heavy storms experienced in the area.
The provincial department of social development has set aside money to fund 200 Early Childhood Development centres this year. It will help the department take care of 10 000 more children. The centres form part of the department's drive to improve the lives of children living in the province. To date, it has offered free school uniforms to 227 000 children entering grade one.
The province's Department of Local Government and Housing handed over 1 800 homes to needy families in Marapong Extension 4. The houses form part of a R81 million housing project. It aims to reduce the housing shortage and eradicate informal settlements in and around Lephalale. The local community benefited during the construction of this project with over 2 000 jobs where both skilled and unskilled labourers were employed.
The Football Development and Crime Awareness Programme was started in February to help reduce crime in the north of Durban. The programme, rolled out in Intuzuma, KwaMashu and Inanda (INK), aims to encourage youth to play soccer instead of doing crime. It follows a partnership between the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, the South African Police Service (SAPS), English Premiership Club Charlton Athletic FC, British Airways and the United Kingdom Metropolitan Police.
A new machine, called a Symbia T scanner, will go a long way to improve service delivery at the Universitas Hospital in Bloemfontein. Universitas is the first academic hospital in the country to get this high-technology machine. Some of the benefits are that it can study a wide variety of diseases in all the organ systems of the human body. These include the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, spleen and skeleton.
To help grow the province's economy, the provincial government is focusing its attention on skills development this year. More than 252 Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) centres were started between 2004 and 2008. They form part of efforts to reach a 100 per cent literacy rate in the province. Literacy has already improved from 57,1 per cent in 1996 to 66 per cent in 2007. But there are still almost 700 000 people older than 20 who have not completed Grade 7.