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Premiers map the way forward

State of the Province Addresses

All nine Premiers recently delivered their State of the Province Address where they spelt out their plans the next five years. Here are some of the highlights...

North West

Marikana in the North West is set to undergo massive developments as the provincial government forges ahead with plans to upgrade mining towns.

North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo said the province would focus on developing the troubled mining area.

“As part of our contribution to development in the mining areas, we have set aside R462 million for housing projects in the Bojanala District in the Rustenburg Municipality, specifically in Marikana,” he said.

The provincial government has also identified land in Marikana for human settlements.

“We have also purchased 400 hectare portions of land from private owners in Marikana at a cost of R47 million purely for human settlements purposes,” he said.

Education infrastructure will also get special attention from the provincial government, the Premier announced.

“We have set aside R292.925 million for the construction of 26 new schools. Over R 75 million of this budget will go towards classrooms additions and renovations of existing schools,” he said.

In an effort to address the challenge of youth unemployment in the province, Premier Mahumapelo said more than 7 000 job opportunities would be created.

Free State

The Free State will focus on providing quality services to those living in the province over the next five years.

Premier Ace Magashule said attention would be given to providing quality water to the citizens in the province. Municipalities would prioritise the cleaning of reservoirs to avoid polluting water sources, deal with the illegal connection of water, as well as step up operations of waste water treatment plants to improve sanitation services and address water supply problems in communities.

Premier Magashule also highlighted the need to improve education.

“Our commitment for the next five years is making early childhood development a priority, eradicating illiteracy and improving the quality of teaching and learning in schools.”

To tackle youth unemployment, the provincial government would continue working with its partners such as Department of Higher Education and Training, various training colleges, Sector Training and Education Authorities (SETAs) and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) in the area of skills development and training, the Premier said.

He added that his government would increase the number of participants in the National Rural Youth Service Corps (Narysec) over the next five years and would introduce a programme in all the districts to help 900 youth get their driving licences.

Gauteng

The Gauteng Provincial Government will focus on boosting the province’s economy and creating decent jobs in the coming years.

To create jobs, the province plans to revitalise and mainstream township economies through township enterprises, said Gauteng Premier David Makhura.

The Premier noted that township entrepreneurs were capable of producing many services, such as food for the school nutrition programmes, clothes for school and police uniforms, as well as furniture for government offices.

“This will help us bring millions of township residents into the mainstream of the economy,” he added.

To further boost employment and township economic inclusion, the provincial government and municipalities would now get 75 per cent of all goods and services from local producers, especially Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), township enterprises, women and youth enterprises and those are black-owned, he said.

Also on the cards is the new Tshepo 500 000 programme to be rolled out in March next year. The programme will boost the entrepreneurship skills of 500 000 young women and people with disabilities over the next five years.

The Premier said the province would work with municipalities and state-owned enterprises to ensure public transport infrastructure development and the creation of new integrated and sustainable human settlements and post-apartheid cities that are more connected, liveable, smart and green.

Limpopo

Cooperatives and Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) are expected to become a vital part of the Limpopo economy.

Premier Stanley Mathabatha highlighted the important role cooperatives and SMMEs would play in the province.

“Cooperatives and SMMEs will form the backbone of our economic interventions in the province. We will ensure that at least 10 per cent of procurement of goods and services by government should be from both the cooperatives and SMMEs,” he said.

The province would also aim to create 426 000 jobs through the Public Works Programme by 2019. Over the next five years the province would facilitate the conversion of under-utilised land in communal areas and land reform projects into productive units. This would also include the revitalisation of irrigation schemes.

The Premier said the province had set its sights high when it came to education.

He was pleased that Grade 12 results had improved from 48.9 per cent in 2009 to over 70 per cent in 2013.

“Our target for this year is no less than 80 per cent.”

Premier Mathabatha said the provincial government had also allocated R145 million to buy and repair equipment for hospitals across the province.

Northern Cape

Supporting cooperatives, youth development and decent housing were high on the list of priorities of Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas.

The Premier said the next five years of her administration would be characterised by implementing government policies.

“We have done the planning. We have drafted the strategies. We have put the structures in place. We are now implementing,” she stressed.

Premier Lucas said her government would use the services of cooperatives and small businesses across the province because they played an important role in its economy.

“The utilisation of cooperatives will be extended to supply identified goods and services to other public institutions, including provincial departments, municipalities, hospitals and Early Childhood Development Centres.”

She said her administration would work hard to create more jobs for young people.

“We will upscale the Environmental Youth Services Programme in the areas of Working with Waste, Working on Wetlands, Working for Water and Working on Fire.”

Residents of Colesberg can also expect to benefit from the provincial government’s human settlements initiatives as a result of R186 million Ouboks Housing Project.

“This project will be implemented in phases which will see 1 848 houses being completed over the contract period comprising five phases,” she added.

Western Cape

One of the key priorities of the Western Cape Government is to make the province a leader in broadband access.

Through a partnership with the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and Neotel, the provincial government is expected to provide broadband services to 2 000 sites including schools, libraries and health facilities over the next three years, said Premier Helen Zille.

The roll-out of these hotspots was a game changer for development, as it would help reduce the digital divide, make economic opportunities more accessible and generate new business opportunities, she added.

The province was also dedicated to bringing down high unemployment levels through the aquaculture industry, Premier Zille pointed out.

The aquaculture (farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, shellfish and even plants) sector employs about 2 300 people in the province, which is 78 per cent of workers in the industry countrywide.

The provincial government has identified the Doringbaai Abalone Farm as a potential aquaculture hotspot to be the location of a 300 ton production facility.

Two additional suitable sites in Doringbaai have been identified for abalone and salmon farming.

KwaZulu-Natal

Youth development took centre stage in KwaZulu-Natal recently, when Premier Senzo Mchunu delivered his State of the Province Address.

The Premier announced the creation of a Chief Directorate for Youth Development in his office to coordinate youth development projects in the province.

The new chief directorate, known as the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Development Council, is also expected to focus on research on youth development and promote the interests of young people.

The Premier said the province would step up efforts to tackle poverty.

One of the targets highlighted by Premier Mchunu, was that by 2020 the province should reduce the number of households that go hungry in a year from 35 per cent to less than 25 per cent.

He added that attention would be given to small and medium businesses, which are the largest contributors of new employment opportunities.

“We want to increase the number of jobs through the establishment of SMMEs and cooperatives by at least 300 000. We are encouraging our compatriots in the townships and in rural areas to work hard and rekindle their interests in business,” he said.

Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape Government will invest billions in bulk water projects to ensure clean water for residents of the province.

Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle said R6 billion would be set aside for bulk water projects.

He also noted that more investment needed to be directed to the rural economy and in sectors with potential to create employment.

The provincial infrastructure programme would be divided into four elements, the Premier noted.

“Firstly, we have prioritised linkages with the mineral producing regions in the country to promote large scale industrialisation in the province. To this end, we are working on an ore rail between the Port of Ngqura and Hotazel in the Northern Cape.”

The second element included positioning the Eastern Cape as the new energy hub of the country.

The third element focused on trade and logistics infrastructure. Investments would continue in all three provincial ports and the maritime sector as a growth industry for the province.

The fourth element focused on infrastructure for rural development with the Mzimvubu Multipurpose Project launched by the President Jacob Zuma in April a key project.

The project involves the construction of two multipurpose dams, Ntabelanga and Laleni, on the Tsitsa River, which is a branch of the Mzimvubu River, to supply irrigated agriculture, domestic and industrial water requirements and hydropower generation.

The Premier said 600 local people had already been employed and work on the site had already begun.

Mpumalanga

Job creation and economic growth will be at the forefront of the Mpumalanga Provincial Government’s agenda for the next five years, according to Premier David Mabuza.

The Premier said the province planned to create 390 000 jobs by 2019, grow the provincial economy by 5 per cent annually and spend about R18.5 billion to support the infrastructure build programme. Premier Mabuza said sectors such as agriculture and forestry, mining, manufacturing, tourism and information communications and technology would receive attention.

Infrastructure that supported development would also be prioritised to fast track service delivery. The strategic infrastructure projects identified by the province include:

  • The establishment of an International Convention Centre.
  • The establishment of a Cultural Hub.
  • An Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Call Centre.
  • The establishment of a Fresh Produce Market.
  • The establishment of a High Altitude Sports Training Centre.
  • The Moloto Rail Corridor Development.

The Premier also highlighted the need to equip the province’s young people. He announced the establishment of a skills development hub in Emalahleni aimed at providing skills for youth who were not in school.