The Home of Le­gends pro­duces favourable re­port

CityPress - - Voices -

We join the rest of South Africa in mark­ing the cen­te­nary of the birth of one of the fa­thers of our lib­er­a­tion strug­gle, Oliver Regi­nald Tambo. In Tambo, we recog­nise a rev­o­lu­tion­ary in­tel­lec­tual; a hu­man rights ac­tivist; a fighter for our lib­er­a­tion strug­gle; a fa­ther of African sol­i­dar­ity; a youth ac­tivist; a fighter for women’s eman­ci­pa­tion; and a pro­tec­tor of the vul­ner­a­ble.

This ad­dress was pre­ceded by a pre-state of the prov­ince ad­dress roadshow, where I sought to come face to face with the cit­i­zens to take them on board as we re­flect on the road trav­elled, and take hon­est stock of achieve­ments and lin­ger­ing chal­lenges. This ad­dress is boldly premised on seven broad strate­gic pri­or­i­ties set by govern­ment for this term.

On ed­u­ca­tion, I am ex­cited that, dur­ing the 2016 school year, the prov­ince did not ex­pe­ri­ence any lost school days due to civil or worker-re­lated protest ac­tion. This is im­por­tant as it dis­plays that all stake­hold­ers, par­ents, teach­ers and ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials are united in recog­nis­ing that learn­ing and teach­ing are pri­or­i­ties.

In the area of higher ed­u­ca­tion, I ap­plaud the on­go­ing con­struc­tive en­gage­ment es­tab­lished with the vice-chan­cel­lors and prin­ci­pals of Tech­ni­cal Vo­ca­tional Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing col­leges in the prov­ince.

We have gal­loped to im­prove the health pro­file of our peo­ple. The ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity rate has been re­duced from 156 ma­ter­nal deaths per 100 000 births at the be­gin­ning of the term, down to 135.2 in 2016; while the in­fant and child mor­tal­ity rates for chil­dren un­der five have been re­duced to 12.8 per 100 000 chil­dren in 2016. We have also man­aged to re­duce the rate of preva­lence of HIV/Aids in peo­ple aged be­tween 15 and 49 from 10.4% in 2014 to 7.7% by 2016.

Year on year, we con­tinue to lead the pack, out­per­form­ing other prov­inces in hous­ing con­struc­tion by over­achiev­ing our set tar­gets. To date, 38 345 hous­ing units have been de­liv­ered and in­stalled since 2014.

In the com­ing fi­nan­cial year, we will be fo­cus­ing on new hous­ing units for the des­ti­tute, on our mil­i­tary veter­ans and those af­fected by dis­as­ters.

Our un­em­ploy­ment rate has, sadly, over­taken the rate of eco­nomic growth. We are pleased that a pro­vin­cial eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment strat­egy is an­chored to six eco­nomic sec­tors on which the prov­ince has a com­par­a­tive ad­van­tage, namely: agri­cul­tural de­vel­op­ment; oceans econ­omy; tourism; re­new­able en­ergy; light man­u­fac­tur­ing; and the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try.

The Coega In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Zone has signed 61 new in­vestors, with a com­bined in­vest­ment value of R35.8 bil­lion. The re­cent in­vest­ment of R11 bil­lion by China’s Orig­i­nal Equip­ment Man­u­fac­tur­ing and R4 bil­lion by Volk­swa­gen has con­sol­i­dated the prov­ince’s dom­i­nant po­si­tion as the strate­gic mo­tor sec­tor hub. Fur­ther­more, Coega has cre­ated 18 366 jobs thus far, of which 7 174 are op­er­a­tional jobs and 11 192 are con­struc­tion jobs.

In an ef­fort to bring to life the cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tion of the leg­endary OR Tambo, the Nkan­tolo road link­ing the R61 and his birth­place is be­ing sur­faced.

The na­tional de­part­ments of pub­lic works and trans­port have started with a fea­si­bil­ity study that will lead to the con­struc­tion of the Port St Johns fish­ing har­bour, and Transnet will com­mence with pro­cesses to es­tab­lish a mar­itime train­ing cen­tre at the Port of East Lon­don in the first quar­ter of the new fis­cal year. This has in ef­fect helped kick-start the prov­ince’s oceans econ­omy pro­gramme.

Re­gard­ing re­new­able en­ergy, the prov­ince has been awarded 16 wind farms and a sin­gle so­lar en­ergy farm, with a to­tal in­vest­ment value of R33.7 bil­lion, and the cre­ation of 18 132 de­cent jobs.

We are pleased and wel­come the fur­ther cre­ation of 430 600 work op­por­tu­ni­ties and 135 609 full-time equiv­a­lent jobs through our Ex­panded Pub­lic Works Pro­gramme dur­ing this term.

The peo­ple of the prov­ince hold their heads high as they have pro­duced the 2016 Fe­male Farmer of the Year – Vane­cia Janse from the Kou-Kamma Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

There are many young peo­ple who are try­ing to make it in agri­cul­ture, but they need ex­tra sup­port to go from “try­ing” to “suc­ceed­ing”. In line with Op­er­a­tion Masiphathisane, we have de­cided to fo­cus on youth who are al­ready in­volved in agri­cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties by pro­vid­ing them with fi­nan­cial and non­fi­nan­cial sup­port. They will also be as­sisted with ac­cess to mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing pro­vid­ing pro­duce for school nu­tri­tion pro­grammes.

We ap­pre­ci­ate the good work achieved to im­prove tourism. The host­ing of the Ironman SA con­test and the na­tional and pro­vin­cial tourism ca­reers ex­pos, which at­tracted about 80 000 spec­ta­tors and more than 10 000 par­tic­i­pants, in­clud­ing pupils, is worth ap­plaud­ing.

Our na­tion-build­ing and so­cial co­he­sion ini­tia­tives have been cen­tral in help­ing us fly our flag high. The con­tin­u­ous host­ing of big per­form­ing arts and cul­tural fes­ti­vals across the prov­ince, as well as the ad­mirable tal­ent that con­tin­ues to spring up, serves to en­hance our slo­gan – Home of Le­gends.

We wish to con­grat­u­late all the cit­i­zens of our prov­ince who have brought home awards and ex­celled in var­i­ous sports.

We are vig­i­lant in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of govern­ment’s pol­icy pro­hibit­ing pub­lic ser­vants from do­ing busi­ness with the state, and have man­aged to re­duce con­flict­ing in­ter­ests, which tended to creep in dur­ing ten­der pro­cesses. For the past three years, the num­ber of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties with un­qual­i­fied au­dit opin­ions in­creased from 12 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in 2013 to 21 in 2015.

In spite of hur­dles, in spite of storms, our prov­ince is in a sound state. Let us all arise to the task of mak­ing our prov­ince a bet­ter place. It is through unity in ac­tion that true power can be ad­vanced to all our peo­ple.

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