Pupils will receive all textbooks and stationery
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.