The Mpumalanga government will plough major investment into road infrastructure.
This was announced by Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza when delivering his state of the province address.
“In the past year alone, the province invested R2.3 billion in road construction and maintenance projects spanning the rural and urban localities of Mpumalanga.
“In the coming year, R2.4 billion has been set aside to maintain and renew road infrastructure and to increase capacity to meet projected future demand.”
He said investment in road infrastructure is targeting critical areas of need in many parts of the province to enhance mobility and access.
He added that for the 2016/17 financial year, over R4 billion has been set aside by the provincial government to deliver on socio-economic infrastructure such as roads, schools, health facilities and other critical social development infrastructure.
Premier Mabuza said the province made progress in economic growth and job creation.
“Our key instrument in this regard is our recently adopted provincial industrial development plan. This plan, is the seminal strategy for implementing high impact, integrated and diversified industrialisation programmes in the province.”
The focus of the plan includes labour intensive manufacturing industries and the development and localisation of supply chains that will provide local suppliers with access to the major industries in the province.
“For this to happen, we are inviting the private sector and key industry players in the province to join us as we catalyse economic growth and improve prospects for job
He added that for the 2016/17 financial year the province will focus on mobilising partners and private sector investment.
Agriculture and Forestry
Premier Mabuza said the South African Forestry Companies Limited (SAFCOL) has committed to work with the province to establish the Forestry Technology Park in Sabie.
“Thaba Chweu municipality has committed to making land available for this initiative.”
He added that the province would continue to prioritise the revitalisation of agriculture and the agro-processing value chain as key economic drivers for the Province.
“The Mpumalanga Fresh Produce Market remains a critical platform to stimulate agricultural production, downstream beneficiation and investment opportunities across the agro-processing value chain.
“At the heart of this initiative is the empowerment of emerging black farmers to access domestic and international markets for their produce.”
“In 2016/17 we will make resources available to accelerate the establishment and operationalisation of the International Fresh Produce Market.”
Adding that as part of the youth empowerment programme it was important for young people to be active in the mainstream economy.
“In the agriculture sector, we will continue with the Mpumalanga Fortune 40 Young Farmer Incubator Programme which is poised to make a contribution to increased agricultural production through the commercialisation of 20 farms for the youth throughout the province.”
Supporting SMME development
Premier Mabuza said the provincial government would continue supporting existing Small, Medium, Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) incubation and youth entrepreneurship programmes.
“We are delighted to announce that over the next five years the the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency will substantially grow its loan advances, disbursing a total of R500 million to SMMEs, cooperatives, and agricultural enterprises.”
“ In 2016/17, the total loan disbursements will amount to R80 million – a significant injection that we are sure will yield positive returns for our economy and employment rates.”
He said SMMEs and cooperatives enterprise eevelopment has been the link of the Kusile Project with the socio-economic impact amounting to R8.473 billion since inception.
“Further cause for commendation is the fact that 55 percent of those who benefited are youth and women owned companies.”
He added that 1 724 people have graduated as engineers, artisans and technicians through the Eskom Kusile Skills Development Programme.
“The cherry on top is that 82 small black enterprises from Mpumalanga Province graduated from an intensive nine month programme on project management, business sustainability and new engineering held by the Eskom Contractor Academy.”
Improved quality of education and training
Premier Mabuza said investing in education is the single most effective way of reducing poverty.
The province was establishing an Early Childhood Development (ECD) Insititute.
“Whilst the progress towards completion of the ECD Institute has been slower than anticipated, we have nonetheless trained a total of 1 102 ECD practitioners at various qualification levels.”
“These numbers will be increased by an additional 1 800 practitioners to be trained in the coming financial year. We will also complete all the renovations to ensure that the ECD Institute operates at maximum capacity, including the deployment of required staff.”
He said during the 2015/16 financial year , 77 779 learners were able to access Grade R in both public and community centres.
“In effect, the number of schools that offer Grade R has been increased to 1 075.”
Strengthing primary health care
He said the provincial government would strengthen the delivery of primary health care.
“We will, over the next three years, invest over R470 million in the upgrading and construction of primary health care facilities.”
“In 2016/17, we will commence with the construction of Kanyamazane, Pienaar, Pankop, and Oakley health facilities. These Primary Health Care facilities will be completed in 18 months to a total value of R385 million. More importantly, 24 other primary health care facilities will undergo comprehensive renovations and upgrades amounting to R89, 522 million.”