Province to focus on poverty, beneficiation and other issues
The Northern Cape provincial government is committed to expediting the radical transformation of the economy to enhance mass participation of our people in the economy. A provincial planning forum has been established to guide the development and finalisation of the provincial Growth and Development Plan. Three interventions have been designed to work together to grow the economy, namely: job drivers; enablers; and cross-cutting interventions. These interventions will be crucial in addressing unemployment, poverty and inequality.
The province is a prime destination for foreign direct investment in the mining and energy sectors. Besides actual investment, there should be more local benefit through local beneficiation, procurement, local empowerment and corporate social investment.
A social pact between provincial government and the mines will be entered into to ensure that investment from the mining sector is directed towards infrastructure development, which will ensure that a long-term effect is felt by the people of the province.
The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme is also a priority for the province and proves to be a game-changer. This sector can assist government to radically transform the economy. To this end, the total foreign equity and financing involved in the renewable energy programme has been R35.4 billion since 2013. This amounts to 66% of the total investment attracted to South Africa by this programme, which has proven to be a success for the province through employment creation in the construction phase and related industries. A total of 17 801 jobs were created between November 2013 and September 2016. This, however, needs to be backed up by the creation of more sustainable jobs in the sector by expanding the industry to manufacturing.
Focus on the Upington Special Economic Zone will be retained because this is a critical enabler for growth, and the province will drive the process of this designation to its successful completion. The project has the estimated potential to create 3 500 permanent employment opportunities in Upington, and a further 7 500 to 10 000 indirect employment opportunities in the province and the rest of the country.
Investment of the provincial infrastructure budget will continue so it can broaden economic participation in the economy and encourage social transformation. Key infrastructure projects include construction of schools, clinics, community healthcare centres, as well as the resealing and upgrading of gravel roads. Construction of community libraries and community sports complexes will also take place.
Significant investment in agriculture and water infrastructure will be made by provincial and national governments, such as the Agri-parks programme and the Vaal Gamagara Water Supply Scheme.
Five megaprojects are also in the works, namely: the Namakwa Irrigation Development Plan; the development of a Rooibos extract/aroma project; the Vanderkloof Trout Aquaculture Development Zone; the Vaalharts Revitalisation project; and the Northern Cape Vineyard Development Scheme. The combined worth of these projects is R10 billion over the next 10 to 15 years, and government requires strategic partners and investors to assist in the development of these megaprojects.
Continued support will be given to small, medium and micro enterprises to enable our local entrepreneurs to compete, own and be allocated work. Local procurement and supply remains our top priority. Further support from the side of provincial government and other state entities to small business is in the form of grant funding and related business development support services.
Education is a key priority and we continue to invest in the promotion and provision of quality education to our children. We will build on the 9.3% increase in the overall pass rate of the 2016 Grade 12 results. We will also expand the provision of early childhood development centres so that more children in villages and rural communities can access education from an early age.
In partnership with Sector Education and Training Authorities, the Sol Plaatje University, and Technical and Vocational Education and Training colleges in the province, the Human Resource Development Council of SA will invest in skills development for young people.
Government spent R69.5 million on bursaries in 2016 and envisages spending about R73 million in 2017. An amount of almost R30 million will be allocated for youth development programmes in the province.
As part of social service delivery, we will hand over 9 300 title deeds to home owners and construct 1 261 new houses.
The goal of fighting crime, through the integrated efforts of government, nongovernmental organisations, business and the public sector, continues to be high on the agenda of government. This is evident in the reduction of murders, common assaults and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
We will build on the mutually beneficial twinning agreement with the Namibia-Kharas region to enhance mutual relations that will benefit citizens in both countries. TALK TO US Do you think the premier of your province is addressing the issues you think need addressing? SMS us on 35697 using the keyword PREMIER and tell us what you think. Please include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50