Pupils will re­ceive all text­books and sta­tionery

CityPress - - Voices -

We must pro­mote unity be­cause Oliver Regi­nald “OR” Tambo, who would have turned 100 this year, was him­self an em­bod­i­ment of unity. Above all, as OR cau­tioned, we must con­tinue to be vig­i­lant against abom­mam’gob­ozi (gos­sipers) who ped­dle lies that have the po­ten­tial to desta­bilise good gov­er­nance that has be­gun to take shape in our prov­ince.

The per­sist­ing and deep-seated triple cri­sis of poverty, un­em­ploy­ment and in­equal­ity re­quires fo­cused at­ten­tion to the ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing of our chil­dren.

We have en­tered a knowl­edge econ­omy era, and, there­fore, ed­u­ca­tion must form the ba­sis of our sec­ond phase of tran­si­tion. How­ever, the chal­lenges we con­tinue to en­counter in the de­part­ment of ed­u­ca­tion have a propen­sity to un­der­mine our ef­forts in this re­gard. The turn­around strat­egy we have put in place has be­gun to make the nec­es­sary im­pact. As a mea­sure of im­ple­ment­ing this strat­egy, the past three years saw us in­vest­ing heav­ily in ed­u­ca­tion to achieve uni­ver­sal ac­cess to ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion, in­clud­ing early child­hood de­vel­op­ment.

Last year, Lim­popo ex­pe­ri­enced ser­vice-de­liv­ery protests in Vuwani where schools were burnt and learn­ing was dis­rupted for al­most six months. The prov­ince failed to achieve its ma­tric pass rate tar­get of 80%. Late de­liv­ery of learn­ing ma­te­ri­als and text books to schools has made a se­ri­ous dent to the good gov­er­nance of the pro­vin­cial ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment.

I have di­rected the ed­u­ca­tion MEC to de­velop a com­pre­hen­sive, co­her­ent and work­able plan to en­sure that this down­ward trend is im­me­di­ately re­versed. The ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil has adopted a 10point plan to en­sure that by the end of April, all schools have placed their or­ders with the de­part­ment of ed­u­ca­tion. By the end of May, the de­part­ment should have or­dered books from pub­lish­ers. These text­books and all sta­tionery should be de­liv­ered to the ware­houses by pub­lish­ers by the end of July. The distri­bu­tion of these text­books to schools should be con­cluded by the end of Oc­to­ber this year. Pupils should re­ceive all text­books and sta­tionery on the first day of school­ing in 2018.

Lim­popo has built 354 class­rooms, sup­plied 57 schools with proper san­i­ta­tion fa­cil­i­ties, con­nected 33 more schools with drink­ing wa­ter, built 128 spe­cial­ist rooms and built five new schools to im­prove the teacher-learner ra­tio in the prov­ince. In the 2017/18 fi­nan­cial year, we will pro­vide 210 more schools with potable drink­ing wa­ter, 185 schools with de­cent san­i­ta­tion fa­cil­i­ties and con­nect nine more schools to elec­tric­ity.

The te­dious process of the re­de­ter­mi­na­tion of mu­nic­i­pal bound­aries was com­pleted well on time be­fore the Au­gust 2016 mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions. In the prov­ince, al­most all the af­fected com­mu­ni­ties have em­braced this process with the ex­cep­tion of some com­mu­ni­ties around the Vuwani area in the Vhembe dis­trict.

While we re­spect the com­mu­nity’s right to ob­ject to any process of govern­ment, we to­tally re­ject and con­demn the ten­dency to use vi­o­lence and de­struc­tion of prop­erty as a means to com­mu­ni­cate any dis­sat­is­fac­tion. Com­mu­ni­ties are, in­stead, en­cour­aged to use le­git­i­mate com­mu­nity and mu­nic­i­pal struc­tures for en­gage­ment and di­a­logue.

The pro­vin­cial au­dit opin­ions on mu­nic­i­pal­ity have im­proved and dis­claimers have re­duced from five in the 2014/15 fi­nan­cial year to two in the 2015/16 fi­nan­cial year, and on un­qual­i­fied au­dit opin­ions from 10 in 2014/15 to 13 in 2015/16 fi­nan­cial year.

The pro­gramme to re­duce the hous­ing back­log and re­store the dig­nity of our peo­ple has in­ten­si­fied. In this fi­nan­cial year, we have man­aged to build 9 561 ru­ral hous­ing units. We have also man­aged to build 211 disas­ter hous­ing units and an ad­di­tional 286 aban­doned hous­ing units were rec­ti­fied, com­pleted and handed over to ben­e­fi­cia­ries. We have also man­aged to con­nect 1.4 mil­lion house­holds to elec­tric­ity and in­crease ac­cess to func­tional san­i­ta­tion ser­vices from 38% to 54%.

Lim­popo con­tin­ues to ex­cel with the man­age­ment of ini­ti­a­tion schools and they in­creased from 205 in 2015 to 321 in 2016. The prov­ince has man­aged to re­duce the num­ber of il­le­gal ini­ti­a­tions schools from 62 in 2015 to seven last year.

Ac­cord­ing to Stats SA’s year-on-year anal­y­sis, 103 000 peo­ple who were un­em­ployed in the fourth quar­ter of 2015 had se­cured em­ploy­ment by the fourth quar­ter of 2016.

We are pleased that Lim­popo has recorded the sec­ond high­est em­ploy­ment gains. In the fourth quar­ter alone, Lim­popo has man­aged to cre­ate 64 000 new jobs. Jobs gained were mainly in the ar­eas of con­struc­tion, min­ing and agri­cul­ture. With this in­crease in em­ploy­ment in Lim­popo, the rate of un­em­ploy­ment has also re­duced to 19.3% in the fourth quar­ter of 2016, com­pared with 19.8% dur­ing the same pe­riod in 2015.

The pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive has ap­proved Musina–Makhado as a Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zone. This will at­tract in­vest­ment of over R44 bil­lion and will cre­ate about 20 800 di­rect jobs, while the yetto-be-de­clared Tu­batse Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zone is ex­pected to cre­ate about 2 000 jobs. To­gether with the pri­vate sec­tor, we have iden­ti­fied 10 ma­jor projects for in­vest­ment worth over R46 bil­lion, which will go a long way to­wards help­ing us to ex­pand the pro­duc­tive ca­pac­ity of our econ­omy.

The Ilima/Let­sema con­di­tional grant con­tin­ues to be one of the fund­ing sources to im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity of emerg­ing farm­ers. By the end of the sec­ond quar­ter, the grant had sup­ported 46 projects that have over 2 300 ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

A to­tal of 77 health­care fa­cil­i­ties are meet­ing [the re­quire­ments of] the Ideal Clinic Pro­gramme, which is meant to im­prove sys­tems and cor­rect de­fi­cien­cies. This means that these fa­cil­i­ties have good in­fra­struc­ture, ad­e­quate staff, ad­e­quate med­i­cal and bulk sup­plies and good ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­cesses.

David Makhura voices@city­press.co.za voices@city­press.co.za Stan­ley Matha­batha

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