Prov­ince to fo­cus on poverty, ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion and other is­sues

CityPress - - Voices -

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

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