State of the Province Address by Premier DD Mabuza
01 March 2013
Honourable Speaker and Madam Deputy Speaker of the Mpumalanga Legislature;
National Cabinet Ministers
Speakers of Provincial Legislatures
Members of the Executive Council;
Honourable Members of the Mpumalanga Legislature;
Honourable Members of Parliament and National Council of Provinces;
Executive Mayors, Councillors and leaders of SALGA;
High Commissioner of Swaziland in South Africa
Consul of the Republic of Mozambique’, Ms Lino Du Arte;
Provincial Commissioner, General Ntobela;
Chairperson of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders,
Chairperson of Mpumalanga Claims & Disputes Resolution
The Director-General in the Presidency
The Director-General, Heads of Departments and Municipal Managers;
Chairperson and CEOs of our parastatals;
ANC Provincial Secretary, Cde. Lucky Ndinisa and the entire Leadership of the Alliance;
Our special guests, Mama Ngele and Mama Khoza
Representatives of labour, business, religious and other community-based organisations;
Distinguished Guests and all Dignitaries present here today;
Comrades and Friends;
Ladies and gentlemen.
Honourable Speaker, as people of this country, under the leadership of the Ruling Party:
- In unity, we waged fierce struggles that brought down the walls of apartheid into heaps of rubble and subsequently ushered-in a democratic rule in 1994;
- In unity, we put together a Constitution hailed as one of the best in the world – a Constitution aimed at guiding all South Africans in their quest of a future society full of peace and prosperity for all;
- In unity, we agreed to begin a journey of building the ideal society as envisaged in the Freedom Charter – a society wherein democracy, liberty and respect for human rights will reign supreme;
- As a collective, we agreed that there are three interrelated challenges that are standing between us and our destiny, that is, the challenges of abject poverty, high level of unemployment and the inexpressible inequalities so pervasive in all levels of our society.
- Together, we agreed that unless we address these challenges head-on, our envisaged future society will be nothing but a mirage.
It is in this context that we entered into a social contract wherein we committed ourselves to walk together to our destiny.
Honourable Speaker and Members, today we have just traversed eighteen years of our long and demanding journey to the future – eighteen years full of both positive strides and mind-boggling bottlenecks.
Indeed, it has been eighteen years of hard work and dedication from all of us as a people of this country. It has been a period where we jointly directed most of our efforts and energies towards the institutionalisation of our new political dispensation. Today we can safely say, without any fear of contradictions, that our democracy is steadily deepening and definitely taking an upward slope on the maturity path. This is extremely welcomed because, as a country, we need such political stability as a necessary condition for the acceleration of transformation.
Honourable Speaker and Members, it is this good foothold of our political institutionalisation process that informed our resolve in the recent National Conference that we held in Mangaung wherein we agreed to change gear and move to next phase of the transition – a phase of stepping up the socio-economic transformation agenda.
All what we are saying is that the participation of our people in the mainstream economy cannot be delayed any further because the three stubborn challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality continue to petrify our masses, particularly the poor.
This does not suggest that there was nothing done to spur economic growth and development over the past eighteen years. Instead, a lot was achieved, I must say. The existing sound economic fundamentals applicable to our economy today bear testimony to this effect.
Therefore, Honourable Speaker and Members, in the second phase of the transition, we are going to build on this foundation going forward with a faster pace this time around.
Fortunately, the Ruling Party has recently produced a National Development Plan that will be providing us, as a nation, with a clear compass as we march to the future that we are all longing for.
In his state of the nation address on the 14th of February this year, President Zuma put it even more clearer when he argued that:
“The NDP contains proposals for tackling the problems of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
It is a roadmap to a South Africa where all will have water, electricity, sanitation, jobs, housing, public transport, adequate nutrition, education, social protection, quality healthcare, recreation and a clean environment.”
Of critical importance is that, our current and future Manifestos are seen as building blocks of the National Development Plan – a plan of which, as province, are at an advanced stage in adapting it to our own environment.
As you are all aware Honourable Members, like the rest of the other Provinces in the country, Mpumalanga Province is also at work, doing its best to live up to the expectations of the Manifesto priorities.
Honourable Members are also aware that government has been, and still is, implementing these five priorities under tough conditions. This includes, among other things:
• The world economic meltdown of 2008 and its slow recovery;
• The Eurozone fiscal crisis which also compounded the situation;
• The scepticism of investors to put in their capital into economy, citing declining growth, uncertainty of our economic policy and social tension, particularly with reference to the unrest in Marikana and farm workers in Western Cape, as the main reasons for their reluctance.
All these factors combined resulted in our delivery pace to slow down, making the impact on the reduction of poverty, unemployment and inequality, including economic growth to be below our expectations.
In essence, these conditions also slackened the delivery of the targets that we set for ourselves in the Mpumalanga Economic Growth and Development Path to deal with these ills which I have just alluded to earlier on.
The Province at glance
Looking at the figures from the 2011 Census, they show that the Mpumalanga population has increased from approximately 3,3 million to 4 million over the past ten years, representing a 20% increase – the third largest increase of the nine Provinces.
The high population growth areas with more than the provincial growth over the ten year period under review is:
- Steve Tshwete with 61% population growth , - the fastest growing town in the Province and followed by
- Emalahleni with 43.1%,
- Victor Khanye with 33.9%
- Govan Mbeki with 32.8%
- Umjindi with 29.5%
- Mbombela with 23.5% and Thembisile Hani, Thaba Chweu & Mkhondo just more than 20% increase.
Of this 4 million people, 69.4% constitutes the youth cohort of zero to 34 years of age and the majority thereof are Blacks.
The figures further revealed a positive net migration of 52 000 plus people between the years of 2001 and 2011.
The fourth quarter of 2012 is showing unemployment rate of 29.4% - the third highest of the nine (9) provinces. More than 75% of the unemployed are youth, I mean young people between 15 to 34 years of age. To be more precise, the youth unemployment rate is standing at 43% - quite an alarming percentage indeed.
In 2011, Mpumalanga’s poverty rate was at 41.6 %, showing a 4 percentage point decrease from 45,6% in 2010. Put it differently, an estimated of 1.59 million of citizens who lived in households with an income less than the poverty income decreased from 1.72 million in 2010 to 1,59 million in 2011.
Ehlanzeni still remains the highest with 45.3% poverty rate and Nkangala being lowest at 33.5%.
With regard to inequality, the Provincial Gini-coefficient increased from 0.60 in 1996 to 0.62 in 2011.
In 2010, the economic growth rate of Mpumalanga was at 3,1% but decrease to 2,3% in 2012, however, it is forecast to swing back to 3,1% in 2013, subsequently increasing steadily to 4.5% in 2016.
Performance on 2012/13 priorities
Creating decent work and sustainable livelihood
Despite the shrinkage of economic growth between 2010 and 2011, the provincial economy managed to create 36 000 jobs between the fourth quarter of 2010 and the fourth quarter of 2012.
Honourable Speaker and Members, while there is a slight positive development around the issue of poverty and job creation, evidently, the overall socio-economic outlook of the Province presents enormous challenges lying ahead.
It is a situation that demands from all us to redouble our joint efforts if we have to achieve the targets as set out in the Mpumalanga Economic Growth and Development Path.
We have to work hard and grow the provincial economy at a rate of between 5% and 7% per annum so that the target of seven hundred and nineteen thousand (719 000) new jobs by 2020 is realised.
As government, we are still convinced that if we pursue the sectors that the Growth Path has identified as growth points, the potential of creating an inclusive economy that is on a growth trajectory, is huge.
One refers to sectors such as manufacturing and beneficiation, mining and energy, agriculture and forestry, tourism and cultural industries, including the green economy.
Honourable Speaker, the findings of a survey report conducted by the World Bank Enterprise Survey, as cited by Terence Creamer in his article published on the 14th of January this year, entitled ”IFC outlines steps for expanding developing country jobs,” argues that:
“…private-sector job creation is critical, as nine out of every ten jobs are created by private enterprises”
The report further contends that:
“..weak investment climates, inadequate infrastructure, especially electricity, limited access to finance for micro, small, and medium enterprises, and insufficient training and skills are all serious impediments to higher firm-level employment”
Honourable Speaker, we cannot agree more with the findings of this report. It is in this context that we continue forging partnership with the private sector and other stakeholders to promote growth and development, particularly job the creation in those sectors reflected in the Growth Path.
To this end, I am pleased to report to this august House that, on the 2nd of October 2012, Mpumalanga Government entered into a Partnership Agreement with the Department of Mineral Resources, Mining houses, Labour, SANCO and Traditional Leaders.
We agreed on four areas of cooperation, namely:
Human Capital Development, which will be focusing on four projects:
- Maths, Science and Technology Academy to improve the capacity of educators in these learning areas and also increase the uptake of learners in maths and science based degrees.
- Bursaries to assist high performing leaners in Maths and Science, particularly from previously disadvantaged
- High Tech Centre of Excellency to increase the skills-base in the province, prioritising artisan and agricultural skills
- Mpumalanga University to provide support to the establishment of the Mpumalanga University
Enterprise development which will be focusing on two projects:
- Industrial Park to promote SMMEs and Cooperatives development
- Procurement to enhance targeted procurement to promote local enterprises
Urban Renewal which will be focusing on three projects:
- Rejuvenation of mining towns to promote basic, social and economic infrastructure development in the renewal process in the context of sustainable Human Settlements
- Coal Haulage network to contribute towards upgrading and maintenance of the coal haulage network)
- Social Labour Plans to realign Social Labour Plans to support both urban renewal initiatives and labour supply centres
Sustainable development and environment which will be focusing on:
- Mine rehabilitation to rehabilitate land for productive use, prioritising agriculture activities
- Water reclamation to purify underground water for community
Honourable Members I must also indicate that the Partners not only signed the Agreement but also adopted a PLAN that is meant to breathe life into this Agreement – I mean a Plan with clear activities and timelines. The Minister and I, including CEOs of mining houses and leaders of the other stakeholders will be keeping a close eye on the implementation of agreed plan.
What one must also point out is that, at a company level, we are signing MOUs on specific projects.
To date, we have already entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with SASOL. This MOU also focuses on the same areas outlined above but emphasising specific projects applicable to SASOL. For example, we will be working with SASOL on the IKUSASA project which is geared towards rejuvenating Secunda into a SMART city in the next 50 years.
Few weeks from now we will be concluding another MOU with BHP Billiton on similar areas of cooperation but focusing on specific projects that we have collectively identified and agreed upon.
Other MOUs that we are in the process of finalising involve the country Oman for Fresh produce and SUMSUNG on Information Technology and Communication (ITC).
A MOU will be signed between the Provincial Government, MEGA and the China Development Bank Corporation during the BRICS Summit in Durban later this month.
This MOU will open avenues for the Chinese businesses to invest in the Province and the estimated value of the anticipated investment from China alone is about $1 billion with over 1000 permanent jobs created.
We are also in other strategic partnerships with:
CSIR to promote Research and Development in order to position people of the province, particularly SMMEs and Cooperatives to seize opportunities in the economy;
The Department of Communication to bridge the digital divide and ensure that people of Mpumalanga benefit from this sector with the many opportunities it provides;
- On water and sanitation – a project aimed at providing and improving water supply to communities, schools and health facilities within four local municipalities in Mpumalanga that does not currently have municipal water supply at a budget of R7,5 million.
Water delivery to power stations is planned by end April 2013 and opportunity exists for access to Kriel Town from the Komati Water Scheme Augmentation Project. An estimated cost of R25 million for the pipeline from KWSAP to Kriel Town would be spent.
- On the Majuba Rail Siding Project. Construction will commence in the second quarter of 2013 with an aim of establishing a private railway line that will be used to transport coal from the existing Transnet Coal Export railway line to Majuba Power Station coal stockyard in Amersfoort.
The project entails the construction of a 68km single heavy haul track taking off at a junction located 8km West of Ermelo to the existing Majuba Power station.
The project is estimated to cost approximately R5 billion and create between 3500 and 5000 employment opportunities. More than 280 people will be trained on Technical skills
- On Coal Haulage and Kusile Project which continue to create huge opportunities for local communities, particularly small business. The Kusile Power Station alone has employed 13 000 people in Mpumalanga. Companies that benefited in the construction of Kusile Power Station are 304 at a value of R2.5 billion.
170 small business enterprises and women business were trained on capacity building training programmes.
What is worth noting is that all the parastatals of government are part of these Partnerships. As I pointed out in the previous State Of the Province Addresses, these parastatals would be jointly training, mentoring and coaching emerging enterprises, including financial support.
We are, therefore, calling upon all our young professionals and cooperatives to come into this space, so that together, we can create this inclusive economy that we are all so yearning for.
We expect to see our parastatals becoming aggressive in terms of developing SMMEs and Cooperatives. We expect to see the young people, women and people with disabilities swelling the numbers of people being selected by these parastatals for business development.
The office of the Premier will be establishing a dedicated unit to coordinate and foster youth development.
This unit will, by no means, substitute the National Youth Development Agency, instead it will be completing and facilitating its work within government.
Honourable Speaker, as Members will remember, the ANC-led government prioritised infrastructure development as the key driver not only for growth and development but also for job creation.
Over the first 6 months of 2012/13 financial year, Mpumalanga created a total of 40 690 job opportunities through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). The main beneficiaries of these jobs were 33 674 young people and 25 228 women.
As a result, the Province was eligible to receive an incentive grant of about R56 049 million for exceeding its target for creation Full Time Equivalent jobs. All 21 municipalities collectively received an incentive grant to the total of R29 794 million whilst 6 provincial departments received a total of R26 255 million.
The combined Provincial efforts towards this endeavour were further recognized during the Kamoso Awards where Mpumalanga scooped 5 awards in the following categories:
- Environment & Culture Sector – one award
- Social Sector – one award
- Infrastructure Sector – two awards and
- None-State Sector – one award
Mpumalanga will continue to ‘massify’ the EPWP through the roll-out of infrastructure development projects of varying sizes, from construction and maintenance to renovations and rehabilitations. We have set a job-creation target of 76 000 which will focus on the four sectors mentioned-above.
Rural Development and Land Reform for sustainable livelihood
Honourable Speaker, rural development remains high on our priority list. We continue to place particular emphasis on :
- building the economy in rural areas, developing industries where potential exist;
- Creating more jobs through agricultural development and other economic activities, including training and skills development;
- Improving socio-economic infrastructure and
- Providing basic services that will enable people to develop their capabilities and talents.
This year, Honourable Members, is a Centenary of the Land Act of 1913 – a brutal land regime introduced to expropriate land from the defenceless Black communities. This is the main contributor of poverty, unemployment and inequality that is haunting this day.
The figures of the 2011 Census are a testimony to this effect. Mkhondo and Nkomazi municipalities have more than 60% of their communities living below the poverty datum line, followed by Dipaleseng, Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme and Chief Albert Luthuli municipalities sitting above 50%.
It is this picture that compelled us to included Dipaliseng Local Municipality to the other seven municipalities that we have declared as CRDP sites.
Through the Comprehensive Rural Development Strategy, we will continue to intensifying our endeavours to fast-track the Land Reform programme and also addressing the challenges that I have just alluded to earlier.
We have already changed the approach of our interventions in the CRDP as part of demonstrating our commitment of changing the lives of the rural poor for the better.
We have decided not to implement the programme per ward any more. Instead we will roll it out throughout the entire municipality, that is, we will be covering all the Wards in those respective CRDP municipalities.
Honourable Speaker, I want to impress again on the statement that I presented in my previous addresses before this House about CRDP. A statement that says the CRDP is the beacon of hope for our people who live in the rural areas.
It is a programme that simply sends a message to the extent that today is better than yesterday and tomorrow it will be far much better than yesterday.
This is evidenced by the fact that this year alone we have managed to create more than 19,000 jobs within the CRDP areas. The matric results from the CRDP municipalities are improving significantly since our intervention. Our first Ezakheni Boarding School in Donkerhoek is the case in point. The socio-economic infrastructure that we have been, and still building, is bringing joy to our people. One is talking of our investment in schools, Early Childhood Centres and economic infrastructure.
As we speak, we are in the process of completing another integrated boarding facility in Amsterdam.
We are also working very hard to complete the delivery of the 5,300 houses that we have committed to our people this financial year.
We have managed to reach 76 890 households through the Masibuyele Emasimini programme. This programme is running concurrently with the Masibuyele Esibayeni Programme through which more than 2,000 improved breeds have been distributed to farmers across the province mainly in the CRDP sites.
As part of developing our farmers through the value chain and responding to the needs of the market, the Province is at the advance stage of developing an International Fresh Produce market. Government has already acquired 256 hectares in Mbombela for the establishment of this Market.
We are also busy putting together production hubs in all the municipalities, starting with the CRDP municipalities, to supply the Fresh Produce Market. This will ensure that every small producer is given an opportunity to participate along the value chain. As a build-up, government will provide markets for the small-scale farmers. As from the 1st of April 2013; all the schools participating in the school nutrition programme in the CRDP municipalities will buy their food from the small-scale farmers.
Government has also committed to direct at least 30% of the investment made in these rural communities to cooperatives. Cooperatives are already benefiting by supplying government with building and fencing material.
Improving the Quality of Education
Honourable Speaker and Members, our hope, our dreams, and aspirations to build a great nation must be anchored on the education system that empowers everyone, every child and every household to break the shackles of social deprivation and create limitless opportunities for everyone to realize their full development potential. It is an education system that consistently delivers better outcomes in order to advance the frontiers of progress and innovation.
Over the last three years, we have worked tirelessly to implement programmes that are intended to provide access to quality education and improve overall learner performance across all grades. Among other key interventions:
- We have strengthened efforts improve school governance and leadership to create a better environment for quality teaching and learning;
- We have paid particular attention to enhancing learner performance in Mathematics and Physical Science;
- Our targeted support programmes to turn around underperforming schools is beginning to impact positively on our overall grade 12 pass rate;
The ‘No Fees School’ policy has been implemented in 1635 schools to benefit learners from poor households;
- 873 957 poor learners from both primary and secondary schools are benefitting from the School Nutrition programme;
- We have ensured that learner support material is delivered in time to all schools
- Access to Early Childhood Development has increased,
Honourable Speaker and members, our overall assessment is that our comprehensive response to the education system challenges has placed the Province on the right path to deliver quality education outcomes.
As a Province, we are encouraged that, over last three years, our grade 12 results have shown sustained improvement. Our grade 12 performance increased from 47.9% in 2009 to 70 % in 2012. This means that a total of 32 807 young people in the province obtained their National Senior Certificates in 2012. Of these, 9 495 met the requirements of the Bachelor programmes at higher education institutions.
There was a marked improvement of 11 % in physical sciences’ passes. The pass percentage moved from 52.2 % in 2011 to 63.2 % in 2012; which saw Mpumalanga move upwards as compared with the performance of other provinces in this subject. The performance of the Province in mathematics also moved from 46.2 % in 2011 to 53,1% in 2012.
Honourable Speaker, let me thank the political and administrative leadership of our Department of Education for doing us proud. Under this leadership, the Department has improved its management and governance systems and has for the second year in a row obtained an unqualified audit opinion. We are confident that they are on course to move towards a clean audit by the end of 2014.
To all our partners, key stakeholders, and parents, we thank you for your contribution to the success we have achieved. Notwithstanding these positive achievements, we think that more still needs to be done to reduce the number of schools obtaining less than 50% in grade 12 examinations. Poor performance at this level is the key indicator of dysfunctionality at governance, leadership and operational levels.
These schools require urgent interventions to ensure that they improve their performance.
In 2013/14, we will implement a comprehensive improvement plan intended to provide targeted support to schools that performed below 50%. Among other key interventions, we will focus on:
- The capacitation of teachers on curriculum content and delivery
- Allocating suitable mentors to the schools
- Providing on-site curriculum support per subject at least once per quarter, including the provision of teaching and learning resources
- Subjecting Grade 12 learners to common monthly tests.
- Strengthening the monitoring of curriculum coverage, and
- Most importantly, we will hold principals, curriculum implementers and subject heads accountable for performance.
Everyone must put their shoulders to the wheel to deliver better results. If these schools continue to under-perform, there will be consequences.
Another important area of our intervention speaks to the need to improve our output and quality of passes in mathematics and physical science. If we are to address the challenge of scarce and critical skills needed by the labour market, we need more learners who pass these gateway subjects in order to pursue careers in finance, science, as well as technical and engineering fields.
We are concerned that the majority of our learners do not make mathematics and science their first subject choices. In some instances, learners are being discouraged from taking these subjects.
The poor performance of our learners in Annual National Assessments (ANA) continues to be a major cause for concern. This calls for extraordinary measures to improve learner performance in numeracy, literacy and physical science.
To improve learner performance in mathematics, science and technology we will prioritize, among other things:
- The recruitment and placement of suitably qualified educators in these key subjects
- The training and development of mathematics and science educations
- Provision of requisite infrastructure and equipment to support the teaching of mathematics, physical science and technology
- Strengthening partnerships with the private sector in our maths, science and technology improvement programme;
Honourable Speaker, in 2013/14 financial year, we will commence the process of establishing a Mathematics, Science and Technology Academy in the Province. This Academy will have four satellite hubs that are linked to 100 schools in the four districts of our province.
The fully-equipped Academy will provide an in-service learning platform for maths and science teachers to enhance their teaching skills. It will link to satellite hubs through which it will provide direct support to schools to ensure that learners have access to relevant learning material, equipment and e-learning technologies.
Through this Academy, the Province is hoping to increase output in maths and science at grade 12 level in order to have a bigger pool of learners who will follow maths and science related careers at tertiary level.
Honourable members, we are encouraged that the mining houses in the Province have committed to supporting the maths, science and technology improvement programme.
Honourable Speaker and members, we are cognizant of the fact that to improve overall learner performance across all grades, we need to pay particular attention to early childhood development to ensure that we strengthen the foundational phases of our education system. As a Province, we have made pleasing progress in the provision of early childhood development. According the 2011 Stats SA census, the period 1996-2011 shows a significant improvement in the level of access to foundation education. Despite this positive development, many qualifying learners do not have access to ECD.
According to the 2011/12 baseline survey undertaken by the provincial Department of Social Development, only 88 933 of 619 693 have access to ECD. 1574 ECD Practitioners in the Province do not have the required qualifications. The training of ECD practitioners is progressing slowly as the number of unqualified practitioners continues to increase.
In 2013/14, we will prioritize the provision of ECD infrastructure to improve the quality of infrastructure, especially in rural areas. Attention will also be given to the training of ECD practitioners to ensure that they have the requisite qualifications and skills to perform their duties.
Honourable Speaker and members, we will continue to address infrastructure backlogs and ensure that our schools are brought to the minimum level of functionality. Our infrastructure delivery programme will continue to focus on:
• the eradication of mud and unsafe structures
• repair of storm-damaged schools
• construction and upgrading of schools, including specialized learning centres for learners with disabilities, and
• the construction of new boarding schools in Emakhazeni and Mkhondo
Honourable Members, the transformation and overall improvement of our provincial education system should be measured by the extent to which our all schools meet minimum core standards and norms that define each schools as a ‘normal and fully functional school’.
This year, we will develop a set of norms and standards against which minimum functionality and performance of all our schools will be measured and evaluated.
In the main, these core norms and standards will cover key domains including;
- Leadership and governance
- Capacity and efficiency of teachers
- Learner performance
- Infrastructure and technology
- Safety and security
- Health, as well as,
- Responsiveness to community needs
As government, we will work in partnership with traditional leaders in ensuring that our schools become centres of excellence in learning and teaching, unhindered by social problems such as crime, learner and teacher absenteeism, ill-discipline, and abuse of drugs and alcohol.
Traditional leaders have a leadership responsibility to ensure that our schools function optimally and meet the required standard of performance.
Honourable Speaker and members, one of the key factors that constrain economic growth and development is the unavailability of skills in critical areas.
Our training and skills development programmes must be geared to increase output in scarce and critical skills to improve the quality of service delivery and meet the needs for skills in key sectors of the provincial economy.
As we do this, we need to strengthen partnerships with local businesses and industries in order to identify and develop market appropriate skills.
In 2013/14, we will continue to focus on creating opportunities for ‘out-of school youth’ to have access to training and skills development opportunities. Through MRTT, we will focus on skills programmes in hospitality and tourism as well as technical and entrepreneurial fields.
We will continue to strengthen collaboration with the private sector in providing opportunities for experiential learning and placement in long-term employment opportunities in the workplace.
Honourable Members, we reported last year that 200 new bursaries were going to be allocated to external students in scarce and critical skills. We are happy to report that about 236 students out of a total number of 3147 bursary holders in the Province have completed their studies in various fields in the country. For this reason, we are inviting the private sector to open its doors in ensuring that these students are offered opportunities for experiential learning, mentoring and employment. In 2013, the province has awarded 209 new external bursaries in critical and scarce skills in Health, Education, Engineering, and Finance.
To grow the scarce and critical skills base of the province, we will continue to form strategic partnerships with the private sector. We are happy to announce that for this academic year ESKOM has offered 201 bursaries to students who have enrolled in engineering and accounting fields.
In the medium to long term, we are confident that the establishment of the University in Mpumalanga will contribute to the provision of relevant skills required to drive economic growth and development. As a Province, we are very excited about this development.
Work towards the establishment of a University in the Province by 2014 is gaining momentum. The Department of Higher Education and Training has confirmed that the University to be established in the province will be a comprehensive university, offering both traditional and university of technology type programmes.
The seat of the University has been confirmed to be in Mbombela. A public call for proposals on the naming of the University has been made and our people have made their input. A public call has also been made for the nomination of people to serve on the Interim Council, and nominations have been received.
The Minister is expected to promulgate the university as a juristic person, including its name and the interim council in due course.
The University will develop over time into an institution that will cater for 15 000 full time equivalent students within ten years, with the initial 2014 start up intake being small and being accommodated in existing buildings. Spatial and physical planning are at an advanced stage and it is expected that aspects of construction will begin in the third quarter of the 2013/14 financial year.
As part of the process towards the establishment of a fully-fledged university, we have partnered with the University of Johannesburg, the National Institute of Higher Education in Mpumalanga, and the Department of Higher Education and Training to start a Teacher Education Programme in Siyabuswa in 2013.
This campus currently hosts 100 first year B.Ed Foundation Phase students and will gradually grow and increase its enrolment.
In future, this campus will become part of the university. On Monday this week, the Honourable Minister of Higher Education presided on the official launch of the campus in Siyabuswa.
Improving the Health Profile
Honourable Speaker and members, we are investing a large proportion of our resources to deliver quality health care to the citizens of the Province. We are doing this to ensure that our health care system is able deliver quality health care to all, including the poor and vulnerable sectors of our society.
Over the past few years we paid particular attention to increasing life expectancy, decreasing maternal and child mortality, combating HIV and Aids as well as strengthening the overall effectiveness of our health care system.
In spite of progress made, maternal and child mortality continue to be unacceptably high. We will continue to strengthen interventions to reduce the maternal mortality rate. We are concerned that pregnant women present themselves late to health facilities, and this contributes to maternal and child mortality.
Honourable Speaker, last year the Province promised to achieve immunization coverage of 80% for children less than one year. There has been improvement in the immunization coverage children under one year from 73.9% in 2011/12 financial year to 81.6% at the end of the third quarter of 2012/13 financial year.
We will continue to increase preventive and promotive health care for school-going children in 50% of the quintile 1 and 2 schools, through the Integrated School Health programme. Health workers will visit schools to screen the learners for health conditions that pose barriers to learning.
To respond to the challenge of maternal mortality, we have appointed three District Clinical Specialist Teams in each district to provide support to district hospitals and clinics in their quest to reduce maternal and child mortality.
We have also adopted the Campaign for the Accelerated Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality in Africa (CARMMA) in order to implement basic interventions that promote the health of women and children. This strategy was launched in Mkhondo Municipality in November 2012. As part of this campaign, Maternity Waiting Homes will be established in all district hospitals to close the gap of delays in accessing maternity care during emergencies. We would like to call on all families and communities to support the welfare of women and children.
Honourable Speaker and members, despite progress made in many areas of health care delivery, we are concerned that the quality of our health care system is failing to respond the health care needs of our people.
The quality of service delivery in our facilities is not up to the required standard. This is the area of our work that should receive urgent attention.
As a Province, we conducted a comprehensive assessment of all our hospitals to evaluate their performance against national core standards and six core priority areas.
The assessment focused on:
- Patient rights
- Patient safety
- Clinical support services
- Public health
- Leadership and governance
- Operational management, as well as
- Facilities and infrastructure
The assessment also assessed core priority areas including cleanliness, safety and security, waiting times, staff attitudes, infection control, and drug supply.
Honourable Speaker, our overall assessment is that there are serious challenges with the quality of service delivery in our health facilities:
- The bad treatment that patients are subjected to by staff in our health facilities seriously undermines the dignity and rights of patients to receive quality health care. This can never be tolerated.
- Our people continue to wait in long queues and spend long hours to be served
- Cleanliness and maintenance of our grounds and facilities leave much to be desired
- Infrastructure maintenance and repairs in many of our facilities have not been consistently done over the years, resulting in crumbling infrastructure that compromises the quality of services that our hospitals offer,
- The shortage of health professionals in critical areas of hospital operations continues to constrain the ability of our hospitals to deliver quality health care,
- Unavailability of essential medicines in some of our hospitals continues to be a serious challenge
Honourable Members, we are at the point of no return. We have to act, and the time to act is now. We have to be bold and confront these challenges head-on, and inspire confidence among our people that we have the political will and commitment to change this situation around.
We have developed a comprehensive improvement plan to respond to these urgent challenges confronting our health institutions, especially our hospitals. Among other key interventions:
- We will finalize the the appointment of suitably qualified CEOs in all hospitals by the end of April this year,
- We will ensure that we decentralize management and decision making processes to the CEOs of hospitals, with the Districts and the Head Office playing a monitoring and quality assurance role
We will complete all outstanding minor repairs and maintenance by the end of June 2013. In this regard, we will set up rapid implementation teams to attend to all minor repairs.
- We will prioritize the renovation and repair of critical infrastructure in all facilities, with specific focus on mortuaries, laundry facilities, kitchens, and wards
- We will establish maintenance teams in all hospitals to ensure that our facilities are maintained on a regular basis
- We will ensure that hospitals are supported through the acquisition of modern equipment required in the provision of quality health care. Our hospitals have to keep with modern technologies in the medical field.
Honourable Speaker, our assessment of hospital performance also indicated that there hospitals that so old and dilapidated that they pose serious danger to the lives of patients they are meant to help. Any form of continued maintenance will constitute a serious waste of resources. We have come to the conclusion that these hospitals need to be completely demolished and reconstructed.
This year, we will commence with the demolition and reconstruction of the following hospitals:
- Bethal Hospital
- Elsie Ballot Hospital
- Ermelo Sesifuba TB hospital
- Sabie Hospital
- Lydenburg Hospital
- Barberton TB Hospital
- Mapulaneng Hospital, and
- Standerton TB Hospital
For us to succeed in this work, we have to do things differently. There has to be a strong sense of urgency, agility and renewed sense of commitment to deliver on these massive projects within a short space of time. Our people deserve better.
I would like to call on all our partners in the private sector to support government in the delivery of these infrastructure projects so that we are able to deliver quality health infrastructure to improve the lives of Mpumalanga citizens. We would like support with technical expertise and financial resources to complete all these projects within a short space of time.
Honourable Members, in addressing challenges in the health sector, we need renewed focus and commitment in responding to the devastating impact of HIV and Aids on the quality of lives of citizens. Despite our efforts in expanding access to treatment and counselling, it seems as if we are not winning this war.
Although there are measures in place to curb the spread of HIV and AIDS in the Province, HIV infection remains relatively high and an important public health problem in Mpumalanga. The prevalence rate has shown a steady increase from 2010 at 35.1 to 36.7 in 2011. Gert Sibande district has the highest HIV prevalence amongst the districts in the country at 46, 1% in 2011 as compared to 38.8% in 2010.
To respond to HIV and Aids challenges, we will strengthen the implementation of National and Provincial HIV, STI and TB Strategic Plan for 2012 – 2016 and improve coordination among all sectors of society in the implementation of HIV and Aids programmes.
More importantly, it is a process that requires the mobilization of all sectors of society to contribute to the fight against HIV and Aids. The role of traditional leaders is central to the success of campaigns to fight the spread of HIV in our communities. As government, we will strengthen our collaboration with the institutions of traditional leadership in all our campaigns to raise awareness, and promote voluntary testing and counselling.
We will engage with the traditional leadership in the Province to strengthen our cooperation in the roll-out of the Male Medical Circumcision programme. We need to work to promote male circumcision and ensure that we perform more than 500 000 circumcisions a year. This will yield a positive impact in containing this epidemic.
In 2013/14, we will strengthen the capacity of the Mpumalanga Aids Council under the leadership of the Premier to coordinate and mobilise key stakeholders in reversing the negative impact of HIV and Aids.
Fighting against Crime and Corruption
Honourable Speaker and Members, the fight against crime and corruption remain priorities in the work of government.
Our committed towards ensuring that all South African are secured and feel safe in their homes, their places of work, their communities and in their own streets cannot overemphasised. This is evidenced by the recent crime statistics which show that, together, we are making inroads in certain crime categories, particularly contact crime.
For the past two years, we have seen an average of 7.0% reduction in contact crime and also 1.1% decrease in serious crimes in the Province. Property related crimes increased by 3.2%. What is also worth point out is that during the festive season we witnessed an incident free festive. This demonstrates that we are indeed turning the tide against crime. Early this year we hosted the Orange Africa Cup of Nations at Mbombela stadium.
The security cluster once again made us proud because there were no serious incidents recorded during the tournament. Our congratulations go to all the law enforcement agencies in the province, the hardworking personnel led by Provincial Commissioner, General Ntobela and MEC for Community Safety, Security and Liaison for the sterling job!
While we appreciate these gains, it is important to note that war against crime is still far from over and it cannot be won unless we all join hands in making our efforts work. The domestic violence perpetrated against women and girl children require that all the citizens of the Province take a stand and say NO TO ABUSERS! These acts have no place in our society. In addition, we need to address some of the root causes of these crimes such as poverty, unemployment and inequality, particularly youth unemployment.
Therefore, as a province, we shall work with all law enforcement agencies and communities to take the fight against crime back to the door steps of criminals. We need to capitalise on the intervention packages that we have introduce to deal with crime.
One refers to intervention mechanisms aimed at addressing the issues of:
- capacity building of human capital;
- change management;
- revamping of Border Management;
- stock theft; immigration, public participation;
- social crimes and
- crime against tourists
Talking of tourists, we all know that the Growth Path has identified the tourism sector as one of the key drivers for economic growth and job creation in the Province.
We are also aware that the Province remains one of the preferred destinations by tourists.
Therefore, it is critical that we have to continue ensuring that all our tourists are and feel safe in the Province.
To this end, we are happy to report that we have already deployed 520 Tourism Safety Monitors throughout the entire Province. They will be working together with the police and community structures to ensure safety our tourists.
We are still busy working on a system that will assist us to register all tourists coming into the province, link them with all important state organs that must ensure their safety during their stay in the Province. It is a system that will further assist us to rapid rapidly should anything bad happen to any tourist or a group of tourists.
In 2013/14 financial year, Honourable Speaker, we have decided on the following set of priorities:
- Reducing contact crime by 4-7%, with major focus on all hot spots in the Province;
- Expanding the integrated social crime prevention initiatives on Rural Safety; Vulnerable groups; Victim friendly facilities; School safety and Contact crime
- Strengthening community and institutional structures, including mobilization campaigns
- Roll-out a ‘365 days’ programme on No Violence against Women and Children.
Honourable Speaker and Members, the ANC-led government continues to intensify its fight against fraud and corruption in all fronts.
Our gloves are off to those implicated in fraud and corruption.
According to the results of the study conducted by the Public Service Commission released in August 2012, Mpumalanga registered the highest success rate in terms of investigation and closing of the reported cases.
The Provincial Government, working in partnership with law enforcement agencies, responds to cases mostly reported to the Presidential Hotline and the Public Service Commission Anti-Fraud and Corruption Hotline. On average, we are handling approximately twenty cases per month. With regard to cases of officials doing business with government and remunerative work while in the employ of the state, we are progressing very well.
In the 2012/13 financial year alone, approximately 334 officials were charged for doing business with the provincial government and municipalities. Sanctions ranging from final written warnings to recovery of earnings have been imposed. Approximately 56 officials were charged with fraud and corruption. The majority of these officials were dismissed, demoted and had salaries docked.
To show our seriousness in dealing with challenges, the provincial government has taken a decision that no public servants will be permitted to do business with government anymore, effective as from today, the 1st of March 2013.
Those who have chosen to be business people in their own right, let them ship out of government and join the business sector.
Integrated Human Settlements
Honourable Speaker, integrated human settlements embody our national vision of promoting non-racialism and prosperous communities. As government, we have not fared well in this area of our work. On a number of targets that we have set for ourselves, we are saddened to report that we are lagging behind. This could be attributed to, among other things, the challenges of leadership and management, corruption and poor forward planning.
Fortunately, we have already started to address some of the weaknesses that were revealed by our assessment report. This includes, among other things, strengthening the leadership of the Department, tightening administrative systems and processes, particularly in the supply chain area.
Honourable Speaker, despite these challenges, we have managed to build 1 027 houses at Klarinet in Emalahleni Local Municipality, including the provision of the bulk services. Through our partnership with ABSA we have managed to secure and transferred 80 bonded houses as part of the GAP market.
Through the Premier’s Special Housing Initiative, in partnership with the private sector, 147 houses were built for families living in abject poverty.
Let me, once more, extend my gratitude to all the sponsors, contactors and selfless individuals who contributed to the noble cause.In 2013/14 financial year, we are prioritizing to:
- Complete all the incomplete houses within the next 100 days.
- Move with speed to finalise the outstanding work on the establishment of integrated Human Settlements in Klarinet, Emakhazeni, Dipaliseng and Thaba Chweu
- Focus on spatial planning and integrated development planning for UMjindi, Nkomazi, Msukaligwa and Mbombela;
- Speed up and finalise the implementation of the people housing programme (PHP) in all the CRDP municipalities
- Conduct township establishment in Emalahleni, Govan Mbeki, Steve Tshwete and Mbombela as part of eliminating informal settlements
- Provision of basic services and elimination of backlogs
Expanding Access to Basic Services
Honourable Speaker and Members, access to basic service by all our people is of paramount importance because we are a caring government.
The 2011 census, shows that many of our people have access to water; sanitation; refuse removal electricity; housing; education; health care and other services between 1994 and 2011.
The census report indicates that, out of the 1,075, 487 households, 87.4% have access to water, 61.3% to sanitation, 88.3% to electricity, and 44.3% have their refuse removed.
While access to basic services have improved, a significant number of our people are still facing challenges of service delivery relating to water, electricity, roads and other social amenities. Of the many service delivery challenges experienced by our municipalities, access to water top the list. As government, we have made a commitment to attend to the persistent problem of bulk water and sanitation infrastructure.
If Members will recall, we have assigned the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA) to translate this objective into reality.
Honourable Speaker, we are the first to admit that the consultation process and sorting out the legal modalities, of which, is an important part of this process, have taken longer than anticipated.
We are pleased to report that the eight identified municipalities of Mbombela, Nkomazi, Chief Albert Luthuli, Mkhondo, Emalahleni, Dr. JS Moroka and Thembisile Hani have concluded a high level Memorandum of Understanding and Service Level Agreements with MEGA.
We are expecting that by mid–April 2013, contractors will commence with the construction work. This will involve, in the main:
- Increasing the storage capacity of the reservoirs,
- Expanding bulk water treatment works,
- Expanding the water source, and
- Increasing the capacity of waste water treatment works.
184. Honourable Speaker, parallel to this work, we undertook a number of initiatives with the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs during this period under review.
Among others, this includes:
- The twenty four kilometers (24km) Acornhoek Bulk Pipeline which is currently at 95% complete benefiting seven villages in Bushbuckridge.
- A new Water Treatment Plant at Hoxane Scheme which is 96% complete, and will benefit communities in Bushbuckridge South.
- The refurbishment of phase II of the Water Network at Emalahleni which is 60% complete. The target is that it must be completeby the end of April 2013.
- The augmentation programme using the Rust de Winter Dam for Dr. JS Moroka.
- The Bloemendal to Delmas Pipeline which is 95% complete. This resource will ensure that water security for Victor Khanye communities is guaranteed for the next twenty years and beyond. The Municipality will be assisted to secure uptake agreements for the surplus to service the pipeline.
Honourable Speaker and Members, what is also worth noting is that the water quality problem of Caroline in Chief Albert Luthuli has been resolved. The water has been declared fit for human consumption. We are planning to invest in bulk infrastructure to meet the expected demand due to population growth.
For the upcoming financial year, we have prioritise:
- To ensure that all our people have access to water services by the end of 2013/14 financial year.
- To eradicate sanitation backlogs in all formal settlements and deal with the state of all over capitated waste water treatment works.
- To accelerate refuse removal through the municipal public works programme
- To intensify the clean towns, townships and villages programme.
- To extend electrification to the remaining households through partnership with the Department of Energy.
Honourable Speaker, there is another disturbing phenomenon that is snowballing within our communities relating to service delivery – the violent protests.
Over the last few years, the province has experienced numerous violent protests. In the main, the issues raised range from the inconsistent or lack of water supply to poor state of our roads, housing delivery and levels of unemployment.
The South African Institute on Race Relations on its research report titled Two Scenarios for the of South Africa released on the 14th January 2013, argues at length that the protests arise not from the failure of the Government’s service-delivery efforts but rather from the success of these efforts.
The report further states that:
“Enormous gains have been made in the provision of free or subsidised water, electricity, and housing. Our research shows that these gains have been so impressive that we might comfortably describe service delivery as a great policy success of the ANC in government.
There can be little doubt that the policy resulted in a revolutionary improvement in the basic living conditions of poor people as corroborated by Living Standard Measure data. If you think we are mad in this assessment consider that for every shack constructed in South Africa since 1994, twelve formal houses were built in the country”.
Our detractors and opposition continue to deny that South Africa is better today than yesterday. This assertion is further collaborated by the results of the 2011 Census on the delivery performance of the Ruling Party.
Honourable Speaker, we must admit that the nature of these protests is crippling our country because they are accompanied by violence, wanton destruction of property, loss of lives and recently threatening of the state authority wherein protesters contemplate burning or attacking state institutions. While we acknowledge and agree that communities have the right to protest on issues that affects them, however, such rights do not give anyone the licence to trample on other people’s rights, particularly those who are not supporting your course.
As government, we are calling upon all our people to respect the rights of all citizens as enshrined in the Constitution. To those people who are deliberately undermining the rule of law, the patience of government has come to the limit. Protesters who are going to be found on the wrong side of the law, they will definitely face the consequences. We cannot afford to have a lawlessness country.
It is the duty of Government to enforce law and order. Therefore, we cannot fail the peace loving people of this country.
State of Local Government in the Province
Honourable Speaker, as we pointed out previously, Local Government is an important sphere of government. It is at the coalface of service delivery. Therefore, its capacity to discharge this mammoth task is critical.
As the Provincial government, we have an obligation, through intergovernmental relations, to support this sphere of government so that the delivery of service to our people is efficient and effective.
Honourable Speaker and Members, the majority of our municipalities are not healthy despite our support in relation to the implementation of the Turnaround Strategy.
Our municipalities continue to struggle on the issues of planning, delivery of basic services, financial viability, leadership and management, and public participation. Ward Committees and the work of Community Development Workers are also a call for concern. In our recent assessment of our municipalities, we have agreed, as a collective, to work even harder in our quest of turning local government around and change people’s experiences of services and governance.
The Province will continue to support municipalities in all those areas where they have exhibited weaknesses.
Priorities for our municipalities in 2013
To this end, we have agreed that all municipalities have to prioritise the implementation of the Programme of Action for Delivery Agreement on Outcome 9 and Local Government Turnaround strategy in 2013/14 financial year. This will include:
- The implementation of Bulk water and sanitation infrastructure for the Mbombela, Nkomazi, Bushbuckridge, Mkhondo, Chief Albert Luthuli, Emalahleni, Dr. JS Moroka and Thembisile Hani through MEGA
- Providing support in the expansion of access to basic services and eliminating backlogs;
- Implementation of integrated municipal support plan;
- Enhancing financial viability;
- Implementing the Community Works Programme, including the programme on clean towns, townships and villages;
- Support programmes for operation clean audit in all municipalities;
- Improving public participation to close the social distance between public representatives and communities
Support to the Institution of Traditional Leadership
Honourable Speaker, the province continues to work closely with the Institution of Traditional Leaders and we continue to cherish their role in the struggle against colonialism and freedom.
On behalf of the people of the province I wish to convey our congratulations to the new Executive of the Mpumalanga Provincial House of Traditional Leadership led by Kgosi Mokoena and the Local houses for their successfully elections.
The role of Traditional Leaders in the work of government cannot be overemphasised, particularly in the areas of Health, Education, Rural Development and Social cohesion and nation building.
We really appreciate the good working relations that we have established with the House. We are serious on the matters of settling traditional leadership disputes and claims.
The Provincial Committee on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims has processed 29 cases that I have considered so far and two were found to be valid. I have now given full recognition of the traditional communities of Yende and Mahlobo under Mkhondo Local Municipality as part of the restoration of our traditional communities. To speed up the work of the committee, I have appointed two additional members to strengthen the Committee so that this work is expedited and get all cases concluded by 2015.
We wish to once more appeal to all our communities to cooperate with the process and respect its outcome whether it favours you or not.
Disaster Incidents in the Province
Honourable Speaker, our province remains prone to flooding and disasters. Whilst we were still attending to major infrastructure damages during the heavy rains of January 2012, the Province was hit again by other flood on the same month this year.
The municipalities of Bushbuckridge, Nkomazi, Msukaligwa, Mkhondo and Mbombela were highly affected. These rains caused flooding of certain communities, infrastructure damages to schools, clinics, roads, bridges and, in certain instances, communities were disconnected from their day to day activities. In the process we experienced 22 fatalies during the period of December 2012 and January 2013.
On behalf of the province we wish to, once more, convey our sincere heartfelt condolences to all the families who lost their loved ones.
Our disaster team from the province and the affected municipalities have responded swiftly in respect of ensuring immediate relief to all affected communities. This included, among other things:
- ensuring that communities are reconnected,
- provision of temporary shelter, clearing roads and bridges, and
- ensuring that access to social amenities is returned to normality.
Let me take this opportunity to extend our sincere gratitude and thanks to all the volunteers, the Provincial Joint Operations Committee and the National Disaster Management Centre, Business, the Churches and NGOs for their swift response.
In 2013/14 financial year:
- We are going to deal with the entire infrastructure affected by the flood disaster and ensure that it return to its normal functionality.
- We will be looking at mechanism to improve our disaster management early warning system to warn communities timeously about potential floods situations. This early warning system will be linked to local municipalities.
This will include the development of appropriate plans and strategies to mitigate the risks of disasters as part of adaption measures on climate change.
Social Cohesion and Nation building
Honourable Speaker and Members, our past was based on racial and ethnic divisions devised to systematically exclude the majority of South Africans from full and unhindered participation in all aspects of national life. Our past left deep and persistent social, cultural and economic divisions and inequalities in society that continue to hinder progress towards an inclusive and socially-cohesive society.
As the people of Mpumalanga, we have a task to build an inclusive society that brings the citizens of this Province together to chart a common destiny and a shared sense belonging. We need to break the barriers that continue to perpetuate divisions across racial and ethnic, and gender lines.
Honourable Speaker, collectively, our sense of nationhood emerged from history that touched everyone differently in both sides of the divide. Whether touched negatively or positively, our inclusive history can never be erased. It is our inclusive history that must pull us together to imagine and create a new sense of identity and unity shaped by new values of equality, economic inclusion, and social solidarity. We must continue to mobilise society in its entirety to work together to build a caring society, proud of its diverse history and heritage. Together, we must begin to celebrate our diverse culture in a way that is inclusive.
As government, we want to focus on promoting the inclusive celebration of our culture and heritage and invite all race groups to rally around a common sense of identity, patriotism, and belonging to South Africa and the Province of Mpumalanga in particular. We must use inter-cultural communication and interaction to bring all sectors of our society together to celebrate our rich struggle history, historic days and important national symbols that define our new democratic, united and caring society.
Honourable Speaker and members, last year, we committed to the implementation of programmes that seek to bring all the people of the Province together in celebrating our struggle history and heritage.
Our rich struggle history and heritage is one of the critical levers to stimulate tourism as more people develop interest to visit the Province to experience places and routes of historical significance.
I am pleased to report that we concluded work on the construction and unveiling of the statute of Dr. Pixley ka Isaka Seme. Last year, we also unveiled a monument at the Delmas magistrate court in recognition of this area as an important site in our liberation route.
Honourable Speaker, our inclusive celebration and showcasing of diverse cultures is an important platform to promote cross-cultural understanding, tolerance and unity.
Last year, we announced plans for the establishment of the Provincial Cultural Hub in the Province. For us, this Cultural Hub is an important platform for all sectors of our society to work together in growing and nourishing our diverse cultures, including the promotion of performing arts genres such as theatre, dance and music.
The Cultural Hub will be the epicentre of intersections across multiple and diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds that collectively embody a unique identity that defines Mpumalanga as a socially-inclusive and united Province.
Honourable Speaker, I am pleased that work towards the established of the Cultural Hub is in progress. We have purchased well suited land for the construction of the Provincial Cultural Hub. All planning work, including all legal processes, will be concluded by the end of the current financial year. In 2013/14, construction will commence.
Honourable Speaker and Members, we will continue to invest in the promotion of inclusive sport at all levels to ensure that we enhance social interaction across the racial and class divides. This is important to ensure that we use sport to create opportunities for our communities to interact.
We should be to take rugby and cricket games to rural areas and townships, and introduce indigenous African games in predominantly White suburban schools and promote exchange programmes that deepen cross-cultural and multi-racial interaction and socialization. In this way, we will be able to break down those barriers that impede social cohesion and our ability to create a socially-inclusive society. As government, we will continue to promote inclusive school sport by implementing a school league system that fosters intercultural programmes.
Honourable members, we must take this opportunity to thank the rugby fraternity for their vision to foster social integration though sport. Recently, the Pumas and the Sharks played their game in KaNyamazane and this was an important step that signalled that nothing can stop us from forging and fostering a new sense of shared nationhood and identity as South Africans in Mpumalanga.
Honourable Speaker, last year we announced plans for the development of the High Altitude Training Centre in Emakhazeni. We see the establishment of the High Altitude Training Centre as an important vehicle to deepen sporting talent and create opportunities for all our youth in the Province to develop into athletes of national and international stature.
I am pleased to indicate that we have made progress in this regard. We have purchased land and finalised the designs for this Centre. All the Environmental Impact Assessment processes have been approved. Bulk services for offsite infrastructure have also been concluded. In the new financial year, we will commence with the construction.
Capacity of the State
Honourable Speaker and Members, we are continuing with our endeavour of building a capable and development oriented state that will restore the confidence of our people in us as the ANC-led government. In order to achieve this, we need a public service that has the requisite capacity to drive our development agenda in a manner that responds directly to the day-to-day needs of the people.
The stability and effectiveness of the public sector is greatly dependent on the commitment and devotion of its staff. In his second State of the Nation Address in February 2010, His Excellency, President Zuma said:
“We want to build an administration that knows where people live, what they think and which acts fast, efficiently and effectively on the issues they raise. We must keep in touch with our people”.
We owe it to our people to change the culture and attitude of public servants. Those that do not match the calibre of the public servants required by a capable state will have to leave the employ of this government. Our people deserve access to basic services. Indeed, we have a responsibility to strengthen the accountability chain and consequence management in areas where the culture of working is non-existent.
According to the National Development Plan, 2030:
“A capable state does not materialise by decree, nor can it be legislated or waved into existence by declarations. It has to be built, brick by brick, institution by institution, and sustained and rejuvenated over time. It requires leadership, sound policies, skilled managers and workers, clear lines of accountability, appropriate systems, and consistent and fair application of rules”
For us to deliver services, we need strong institutions with the requisite capacities to translate policy intent into programmes that are implemented to respond to the needs of the people. We need institutions that are able to account for how public resources are utilized efficiently and effectively to deliver on agreed development outcomes.
Honourable Speaker, a capable and developmental state has to develop internal capacity and efficiencies to realize value for money and do more with less. As a Province, we want to focus on ensuring that we focus on recruiting appropriately qualified and suitably skilled people in key and critical positions in order to reduce over-reliance on consultants. Where consultants are used, we will ensure that we strengthen internal capacity to monitor consultants and contractors to ensure that implementation targets are met on time, within cost, at the right level of quality. This is an area of work in which we are weak as government.
Honourable Speaker and members, to build a capable and responsive government, we must begin to be bold and do things differently. Our monitoring and evaluation visits to assess implementation have pointed out clearly where our implementation challenges are. It shows that
• There are unacceptable delays in the delivery of infrastructure projects
• Turnaround times in the delivery of houses takes too long due to the poor monitoring of contractors
• Agreed targets are not met, and there is no sense of urgency to deliver on the part of officials assigned on specific projects
• Rampant corruption undermines the quality of service delivery
• There is no respect for the in the way we conduct ourselves both at the level of our public office bearers and officials
Honourable Speaker, we can never allow a situation where government does not respect the people it is meant to serve.
To respond to some of the implementation bottlenecks causing delays in project implementation, we will strengthen our monitoring and evaluation systems to ensure that we identify all blockages and challenges in the project delivery chain. We will also establish a fully-resourced Rapid Implementation Unit under the leadership of my Office to unblock implementation delays and facilitate rapid implementation of all priority projects.
Honourable members, we have demonstrated that it is possible to build a house within a week if there is willingness and commitment to do things differently. Why should people be made to wait months and years before they receive their houses? Why should planning for the construction of a road or hospital take 3 -6 months? Why should the actual construction of a hospital take more than 3 year when the private sector is able to complete the construction of a hospital in less than 6 months?
These questions need our honest reflection. They force to think hard about some of the things we do have undermine the capacity of the state to serve the ordinary people. For us, a capable and developmental state must have the resolve to reduce turnaround times in project delivery to make a positive impact on the lives of the people in the Province, especially the poor. It is a question of now or never. The time to act is now.
In the next financial year, we will focus on critical measures to bolster the capacity of the state to deliver on its key mandates:
- We will continue to strengthen our the monitoring and evaluation systems to track and respond to the issues raised by communities, and ensure that we mobilise capacity to respond urgently to challenges and project failures or delays
- We will improve financial management controls to eliminate wastages and accruals that deplete resources earmarked for programme implementation
- We will continue with our efforts to redirect government expenditure from consumption to investment in infrastructure, and ensure that our growth in personnel takes place only in critical areas of public service delivery
- We will continue to implement measures to improve efficiencies in our supply chain management processes. To improve efficiencies and drive a strong ‘value for money’ principle in our procurement practices, a Price Standardization Committee will be established to deal with, among others, price manipulations and collusion between officials and service providers.
- Paying service providers within 30 days will continue to be a priority area for this administration. All Departments have been directed that all outstanding payments must be settled before the end of the financial year failing which there will be consequences for all Accounting Officers who fail to heed this call. We cannot be party to the destruction of businesses and much needed jobs
- We will focus on improving our infrastructure delivery capacity, paying particular attention to forward planning and deployment of requisite technical capacity in project implementation
Honourable Speaker and members, accountability for performance and prudent utilization of public resources is the essential feature of a capable and development oriented government. The capacity of the state is seriously undermined when financial resources are depleted without achieving desired development outcomes
In spite of major strides that we have made in improving audit outcomes at both provincial and local government levels, we are concerned about the regressions of some of our institutions in the Auditor-General’s latest reports. In some cases, the AG’s audit opinions are showing serious institutional failures in leadership and financial management. To address this, we will implement a comprehensive support programme to get these institutions on a sound financial footing and ensure that they deliver on their mandate.
Honourable Speaker and Members, we believe that all is not doom and gloom. There are some of our institutions that continue to shine as beacons of hope in ensuring transparency and accountability in the use of public resources. These are institutions that have managed to obtain clean audit opinions ahead of the 2014 stipulated target date.
Honourable Members, allow me to congratulate Steve Tshwete local municipality, Ehlanzeni District Municipality, the Department of Finance, Mpumalanga Gambling Board, and the Office of the Premier for obtaining clean audit opinions. These institutions will be used as best practice models for all government institutions as they implement initiatives to move towards unqualified and clean audits.
Honourable Speaker, as I conclude, I wish to invite all the people of this Province, young and old, Black and White, affluent and poor, to walk with us, as the Ruling Party, in this difficult journey. It is a journey full of all sorts of challenges. Let us draw strength from our difficult past. We fell and risen together during those trying times.The challenges of today cannot make us to despair and give up everything that we have fought for. This is our elephant. Let us all join our efforts and confront our challenges and in so doing, we will be preparing a better future for our children and many generations to come.
Let us go back to our disctum,” Backward never, forward forever”.
Honourable Speaker, let me add by borrowing the wise words of Jeffrey Sachs from his book titled ‘The END of Poverty: how can we make it happen in our life time” where he asserts that:
“Today we can…declare that extreme poverty can be ended not in the time of our grandchildren, but in our time. The wealth of the rich world, the power of today’s vast storehouses of knowledge, and the declining fraction of the world that needs help to escape from poverty, all make the end of poverty a realistic possibility by 2025…Will we have the good judgement to use our wealth wisely, to heal a divided planet, to end the sufferings of those still trapped by poverty, and to forge a common bond of humanity, security, and shared purpose across cultures and regions?”
I THANK YOU