STATE OF THE PROVINCE ADDRESS
The Northern Cape plans to increase efforts to empower young people in the province.
Speaking during the State of the Province Address, Premier Sylvia Lucas said her administration had completed a profile of young people in the province and was developing a strategy aimed at responding meaningfully to the challenges facing young people.
“As part of advancing young people we are providing apprenticeship, leanerships as well as bursaries. More and more of our young people in the Northern Cape have access to Technical and Vocational Education Training colleges (TVET) and universities.
“To this end we can report that in the previous financial year we spent over R54 million and we envisage to spend over R69.5 million in this current financial year,” said Premier Lucas.
Dealing with racism
In recent months, the country has experienced incidents of racism. To curb this, Premier Lucas said the provincial government would focus on fostering social cohesion and engaging communities.
“We will also be engaging various stakeholders in the non-government organisations,
labour, religious, business and farming sectors in order to ensure that we deal with this scourge of racism.
“It starts with each one of us to seriously look inside ourselves and realise that there is only one race and that is the human race,” said Premier Lucas.
Helping struggling farmers
The provincial government will spend millions to assist farmers affected by the drought.
“Approximately 2 000 smallholder farmers across the province are benefitting from drought relief of R23 million and we are expecting additional funding to the tune of R19 million from the national Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.”
She added that despite the tough conditions, the province should not lose hope and must work for a better tomorrow.
“We must not be deterred from laying the groundwork for a better tomorrow. Food security remains one of the key priorities of this administration and we will continue to do whatever is required to ensure that our fields and that we produce quality and quantity.”
Premier Lucas said to deal with the challenge of food security, the provincial government will support three major initiatives.
The initiatives are the Vaalharts/Taung Revitalisation Scheme and Onseepkans Rivervalley, the Farmer Training programme and conditional grant funding in the form of Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) and Ilima/Letsema.
“In 2016/17 we will continue to support agricultural production particularly the identified value chains that have comparative advantage in the Province and contribute to economic and food security,” she added.
Two companies have started with various projects that are expected to create jobs in the province. Vedanta has started with the development of the long awaited Gamsberg Zinc project
“Vedanta has committed substantial investment to this project. Since the announcement of the project, the next critical milestone at Gamsberg was achieved last year July, when Vedanta broke ground on the project.
“In a time that brings uncertainty to the mining industry, pre-development work is in full swing with about 300 workers on site of which more than 150 are from the Northern Cape.”
The project is expected to generate approximately 500 permanent jobs, with a potential to create a further 1 500 temporary jobs during the construction phase.
Similarly West Coast Resources, a diamond mining company with operations in the Namaqualand region of the province, is about to start with its operation.
“To date, West Coast Resources has created a total of 220 jobs, 146 of which are permanent and 74 temporary (including construction workers and 13 mining trainees still completing their training programmes).
The company plans to create approximately 550 jobs, directly and indirectly, by 2021.