Free State shows the revolutionary way
Just before the 2009 elections, the Free State provincial government started developing a comprehensive programme to, among others things, fasttrack service delivery and deepen the objectives of fighting poverty, inequality and unemployment.
We then developed Operation Hlasela. The programme was named to indicate our intention: to attack poverty, unemployment and inequality through the acceleration of education, health, social and basic services.
Throughout the process of the conceptualisation of Operation Hlasela, we understood very well that the ANC had, as the basic tenet of its struggle, the National Democratic Revolution. We avoided moving our eyes away from the real struggle to make our contribution towards the National Democratic Revolution.
The ANC, in its strategy and tactics, reaffirmed its commitment to advancing the National Democratic Revolution, with the ultimate goal to “liberate the African people, in particular, and blacks, in general, from political and economic bondage”.
The 53rd national conference held in 2012 in Mangaung further emphasised that the second phase of the transition should mark a decisive break with unemployment, exploitation, inequality and poverty – this being the goal of the National Democratic Revolution – with an obvious bias towards the working class and the poor.
Operation Hlasela seeks to mobilise social partners, civil society and business to collaborate with government to eliminate duplication and wastage, eradicate poverty, tackle underdevelopment and stimulate our economy to radically improve the lives of our people. The basic focus of Operation Hlasela is to embark on targeted interventions to achieve maximum effects, in line with the ANC’s vision of the attainment of a national democratic society.
Since its implementation, Operation Hlasela has made strides in the pursuance of a better life for our people.
OPERATION HLASELA Education
In the six years between 2009 and 2015, the Free State matric pass rate increased by 14%, from 69.4% to 81.1%. In 2013, the Free State achieved the highest matric pass rate – 87.4%. Despite registering the highest percentage of progressed learners in 2015, the province managed to increase the total number of passes, as well as bachelor passes, when compared with the 2014 matric results. In 2009, there were only 129 bursaries funded by the provincial government. In 2013, merely four years later, there were more than 7 500 students benefiting from our bursary scheme.
Our budget for bursaries increased from R5.4 million in 2009 to about R510 million in 2015. There are currently 212 medical students studying in Cuba, and 37 studying medicine, civil engineering and international trade in Turkey. We are also supporting 277 students in China.
About 450 students will, in the next couple of weeks or more, go to further their studies in Russia, Bulgaria, Germany and the autonomous regional government of Madeira in Portugal.
Under the prevention of mother-to-child transmission project, Nevirapine uptake among babies born to HIV-positive mothers is at 100%, and mother-to-child transmission of HIV declined from 2.96% to 0.09 % in the first quarter of 2014/15. Through rigorous efforts to improve the health of our people, we have increased the provincial average life expectancy at birth for males from 43.1 in 2001 to 53.7 in 2011, and for females from 46.5 to 54.7 in the same period.
The People’s Republic of China donated about R45 million to the Free State for the construction of a demonstration fish hatchery and training centre, which is in operation. China has sent three professors and one technician for technological cooperation. To date, 30 officials and 135 farmers have received training on fish production.
In an endeavour to ensure sustainable human settlements, we have delivered various housing arrangements for our people. Housing packages include, but are not limited to, rental housing, community and social residential units, RDP houses and houses for military veterans.
Following the successful implementation of our multiagency provincial crime-prevention strategy, we have seen declines in major criminal activities. Between 2009 and 2015, total sexual crimes in the province declined by 9%. In the same period, assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm declined by 15%.
To liberate the African people, in particular, and blacks, in general, from political and economic bondage is not easy, and is not a task that will be completed overnight. But we also know the National Democratic Revolution, like all other revolutions, is a process and not an event. Operation Hlasela is, therefore, our contribution towards the national revolution to liberate the masses. Magashule is the Free State premier
and ANC provincial chairperson