State of the Province Addresses
Taking their cue from President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address, the country’s nine Premiers have declared themselves ready to lead economic development and job creation in their provinces.
Delivering the State of the Province Addresses in February, Premiers reviewed the progress made so far, while announcing measures to grow the economy in their provinces and create jobs.
Premier Nomvula Mokonyane announced that the Gauteng Provincial Government plans to create 196 000 work opportunities at provincial and municipal level through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) in the coming year.
A further 51 000 temporary and permanent jobs will be generated through other initiatives.
This will be an improvement on the 22 000 direct permanent jobs, 44 000 direct temporary jobs and 151 000 work opportunities created through the EPWP in the last financial year.
The province is also expected to collaborate with business and Sector Education and Training Authorities to place 6 500 youth in learnerships, internships and work places to gain on-the-job training.
Turning to health, the Premier reported that the province’s public health system was on its way to recovery. One hundred new ambulances and 20 specialised obstetric ambulances will be added to the Gauteng ambulance fleet.
More Gauteng residents are also receiving counselling and treatment for HIV/AIDS.
“We have reached over four million people through HIV counselling and testing initiatives since 2011. Of the estimated 1.2 million Gauteng residents who are HIV-positive, close to 900 000 now have access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) through the public health system; an exponential increase compared to just 75 000 on ART in 2006,” said Premier Mokonyane.
She also announced that the Bus Rapid Transit networks in Johannesburg and Tshwane will continue to expand and that planning is under way for a similar system in Ekurhuleni.
The Western Cape provincial government will pilot four job creation initiatives under the National Development Plan (NDP).
Premier Helen Zille said her province had been chosen by national government to pilot three NDP initiatives and would add a fourth of its own.
The three include reducing red tape related to small businesses, creating an Economic Development Partnership to facilitate growth and jobs, as well as an afterschool programme to keep young people involved in work activities in the afternoons.
The province has added a fourth component - the expansion of the Work and Skills Programme.
Since it was launched in 2009, the Work and Skills Programme has helped create 2 810 job opportunities for unemployed youth, with 60 per cent of participants finding permanent jobs after completing the programme.
The Development Bank of South Africa has granted R64 million from its Jobs Fund to supplement the programme, which will help fund more work opportunities.
Premier Zille said 89 per cent of the 921 administrative bottlenecks reported to the province’s Red Tape Reduction Unit since August 2011 had been cleared.
She said the province also spent R442.5 million on skills development programmes and provided more than 5 500 bursaries during the 2012/2013 financial year. The Western Cape government has also sourced R265 million from other government departments for rural development projects in seven areas. This has helped create 1 636 job opportunities and 2 905 skills training opportunities.
KwaZulu-Natal has to date created 89 455 full time equivalent jobs and 324 951 work opportunities under the EPWP.
“We have been commended by the national Department of Public Works as the top beneficiary of the incentive grant totalling R165 million and growing since 2009,” said Premier Zweli Mkhize.
The challenge for the province, said Premier Mkhize, will be to create 2.1 million jobs by 2030 in line with the NDP.
The Premier said information communication technologies had growth potential in the province.
Growth was also expected in the tourism industry, he added.
“A new Provincial Tourism Master Plan was approved by the Cabinet with a target to increase tourism jobs to 180 000 by 2020 and the number of domestic arrivals to 24 million by 2030.”
On the issue of housing, Premier Mkhize said the province had provided 85 733 housing units in urban and rural areas and upgraded 6 386 units in informal dwellings.
Efforts to address HIV/AIDS in the province were also paying off, he noted.
“Since 2009 we have stabilised HIV prevalence in our province from 39.5 per cent to 37.4 per cent as a direct result of our integrated approach through the Provincial Council on Aids,” the Premier added.
Limpopo, the province that created the most number of jobs in the last financial year, according to Statistics South Africa, is on course to repeat the achievement.
“In this financial year our province is still the highest, having increased its job creation by 6.5 per cent whilst the second province is at 5.1 per cent,” said Premier Cassel Mathale.
Looking ahead, new jobs will come from mining, small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), professional hunting and agriculture.
“The construction phase of the Venetia Underground Mine will create up to 1 000 new jobs, the majority of which will come from the local area,” said Premier Mathale.
When completed the Venetia underground mine will replace open pit mines (mines where minerals are close to the surface) as South Africa’s largest diamond mine and extend the life of the resource until 2042.
“This is a long term commitment to the future of South Africa and the largest by De Beers anywhere in the world. This is a strong sign of confidence in South African diamond and mining industry,” he added.
The province will also partner the Department of Trade and Industry to establish Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the Musina and Greater Tubatse municipalities.
“We are happy to report … that we are the only province to receive provisional approval for two SEZs,” he said.
SEZs are geographical regions that have economic and other laws aimed at increasing foreign direct investment, development of infrastructure and increasing employment.
The North West provincial government’s priorities for the year ahead include stimulating agriculture, SMMEs and strengthening the EPWP.
Premier Thandi Modise announced that her government had allocated R22 million to SMMEs.
“To date loans to value of R18.5 million have been granted to 96 deserving SMMEs, creating 263 permanent and 97 temporary jobs.”
According to the Premier, the EPWP has created 21 196 job opportunities in the province. “As part of our support towards employment creation through agriculture, a total of 1 502 jobs were created by implementing 401 projects and over 19 681 farming community beneficiaries were supported as part of the departmental job creation plan,” the Premier said.
She added that the province had formed a partnership with the Netherlands to teach local farmers technical, business and management skills to run farms successfully.
This will be done through the Kgora Farmers Training Centre, which was launched last year. The aim of the centre is to ensure that farmers receive support from government and are adequately trained.
On the issue of health, the Premier said that the National Health Insurance pilot programme at Dr Kenneth Kaunda District was making progress despite late grant funding.
In addition, the first human breast milk bank, in partnership with the North-West University and the Kangaroo Mother Care and Maternal Waiting Home, was established to improve access to healthcare for pregnant women and reduce maternal deaths.
Mpumalanga created 40 690 job opportunities through the EPWP from April to September 2012.
“The main beneficiaries of these jobs were 33 674 young people and 25 228 women,” said Premier David Mabuza.
This has placed the province in line to receive an incentive grant of about R56 million for exceeding its target for creating full time equivalent jobs, said the Premier.
The province created more than 19 000 jobs through the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme in the past year.
He added that Mpumalanga had set a job creation target of 76 000 for the year ahead, which will focus on construction, maintenance renovations and rehabilitations.
The provincial economy will have to grow at a rate of between 5 per cent and 7 per cent a year to meet the target of 719 000 new jobs by 2020, Premier Mabuza pointed out.
The province was expected sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the China Development Bank Corporation, he added.
“This MoU will open avenues for the Chinese businesses to invest in the province and the estimated value of the anticipated investment from China alone is about $1 billion (approximately R9 billion) with over 1 000 permanent jobs created.”
To address the problem of scarce skills, a Maths, Science and Technology Academy with four satellite hubs linked to 100 schools will be established in the province.
It will provide an in-service learning platform for teachers to improve their teaching skills and ensure that learners have access to relevant learning material, equipment and e-learning technologies.
“Through this academy, the province is hoping to increase output in maths and science at Grade 12 level in order to have a bigger pool of learners who will follow maths and science related careers at tertiary level,” said Mabuza. He also stressed the importance of healthcare in schools, saying the province would continue to increase preventive healthcare for school-going children through the Integrated School Health Programme.
The Eastern Cape Provincial Government exceeded its own target when it created close to 110 000 job opportunities by the end of last year through the EPWP.
In addition, 2 622 people across the province were trained in technical and life skills through the EPWP, said Premier Noxolo Kiviet.
But the Premier was cautiously optimistic in her assessment, saying unemployment in the province remained unacceptably high at 29.8 per cent at the end of 2012.
On the positive side, the province got more than R100 million from the Jobs Fund to work with Mercedes Benz South Africa to establish a training centre.
“Furthermore, the investment of R600 mil- lion from our new Chinese original equipment manufacturers, FAW, is on track, with factory construction underway in Coega,” she added. Premier Kiviet said more than R24 million was set aside to support 27 struggling companies, with R10.5 million having been disbursed
to companies, where 2 460 jobs were saved.
Admitting that 2012 had been a bad year for education in the province, the Premier promised that the coming years would see a significant investment in school infrastructure critical for improvements in the quality of education. The province had made progress in eliminating mud schools, she added.
In addition, more subject advisors, education development officers and district curriculum heads have been appointed to improve education.
Premier Kiviet reported that the majority of critical vacancies had been fi and the province’s turnaround strategy, overseen by national government, had begun showing positive outcomes as seen in last year’s improved matric results.
She also pledged to channel more resources towards HIV/AIDS and TB prevention.
Notable strides have been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the Eastern Cape as more patients have been put on antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, the Premier noted.
The number of facilities providing ARV treatment increased from 85 in 2009 to 780 by the end of 2012. More than 1 400 nurses were trained to administer ARV treatment instead of this being done by a doctor. Close to 200 000 people were registered on the ARV programme in 2012 compared with just over 102 000 in 2009.
The Free State government has renewed its commitment to job creation and improving education and healthcare in the province.
Premier Ace Magashule said the provincial government planned to work with organized labour to create jobs for Free State residents.
“The reality is that the state of the provincial economy will not improve and job creation will not be achieved if we do not take concrete and decisive action,” he stressed.
In a bid to ensure that more jobs are created, Magashule said he was going to initiate an intensive campaign with employers and organised labour.
He added that the Community Works Programme, which is expected to create 22 000 jobs a year, is being implemented in 13 municipalities in the province.
“This is a key initiative to mobilise communities towards providing regular and predictable work opportunities at the local level.”
The province is expected to create some 48 124 work opportunities through the EPWP this year.
The provincial government is also set to make more investments in education as part of the broader strategy to fight poverty, the Premier added.
To achieve this 1 500 bursaries will be awarded to worthy beneficiaries this year.
Schools achieving an 80 per cent and higher pass rate in the province had increased from 116 in 2010 to 155 in 2011. To sustain and improve this, Magashule said more attention and support will be given to underperforming schools.
To ensure good healthcare, the Premier said the province will continue to screen the qualifications of all medical practitioners in the province.
Access to primary healthcare in all the province’s municipalities will also be expanded, with the main focus on combating HIV/AIDS and decreasing maternal and child mortality.
Six hundred fully trained community health workers will be employed in 47 wards to help achieve this.
“The maintenance of health facilities in the province will continue to receive priority attention,” he said.
The province plans to build new hospitals in Bloemfontein, Amelia in Sasolburg and in the rural areas of Qwaqwa and Botshabelo.
The Northern Cape is on the verge of an economic boom, riding on the back of the Square Kilometre Array project and renewable energy initiatives.
Acting Premier Grizelda Cjiekella reported that the provincial economy managed to create 36 000 jobs between the fourth quarter of 2010 and the fourth quarter of 2012.
She said the province had created 4 709 jobs in the renewable energy sector with more projects on the way.
“The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme has awarded preferred bidder status to certain solar projects to be located in the Northern Cape,” she pointed out.
The acting Premier also welcomed the R2 billion allocation from National Treasury for the SKA project, saying the project “presents an opportunity to intensively recruit and train young South Africans to pursue careers in the field of science and technology”.
The SKA telescope will be the world’s most powerful telescope. The majority of the SKA will be built in Africa, while the core – the region with the highest concentration of receivers - will be constructed in the Northern Cape. Turning the spotlight to the new university to be built in the province, the acting Premier said she was happy with developments so far. “The Northern Cape provincial government foresees the new university to become a symbol of the new order, democracy, inclusiveness, growth and opportunity as it will be the first post-1994 university for our country.”
She welcomed the establishment of a university in the province in 2014, saying it would provide critical skills to the key sectors locally and would help to advance research and in- novation.