Welcome to the Mpumalanga Provincial Government

Remarks by Honourable Premier R.M. Mtshweni-Tsipane on the occasion of the closing address of the Taking Legislature to the People programme

13 May 2022

Honourable Speaker of the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature, Honourable Makhosazana Masilela;
The newly elected Deputy Speaker of the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature, Honourable Jeanette Thabethe;
Honourable Members of the Executive Council;
Honourable Members of the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature;
His Worship, the Executive Mayor of Gert Sibande Local Municipality, Cllr. Walter Mngomezulu;
Our host, the Executive Mayor of the Pixley ka Isaka Seme Local Municipality, Cllr Tshepo Thwala;
Traditional leaders led by the Chairperson of the Mpumalanga House of Traditional Leadwers, iNkosi Sandile Ngomane;
Senior Managers of the Provincial Government, led by the Director General, Mr. Makhukhu Mampuru;
Representatives of labour, business, religious and other community-based organisations;
The beautiful people of Pixley kaSeme Local Municipality and the entire Gert Sibande District; Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and gentlemen;

  1. Honourable Speaker, it is now almost two years since we last held our public participation engagement of this magnitude, a process that remains central to the mandate of our government. The emergence of the Covid 19 pandemic and its consequences made it impossible for us to engage with our communities under the auspices of the Taking Legislature to the People programme.

  2. It is therefore my great pleasure to join you the beautiful people of this marvellous area, with its rich political history at the invitation of our Honourable Speaker umama uMakhosazana Masilela.

  3. Kuyinjabulo enkulu kimi nozakwethu kuhulumeni wesifunda saseMpumalanga ukuzohlanganyela nani kulomcimbi obaluleke kangaka.

  4. When drafting the Constitution of our land, our forefathers insisted on the need to include sections in the Constitution that enjoins us in government to conduct public participation gatherings that will give you members of the community an opportunity to engage us and tell us what your needs are and how and when such needs can be met.

  5. Our Constitution asserts that South Africa is a Constitutional democracy that upholds representative and participatory democracy. What this means is that Amalunga ephalamende, nawakhetha nathi abanimele banikhulumele ephalamende, kanti fanele ukuthi nani banenze nibe yingxenye yezinqumo abazithathayo ngokuthi beze bazonivakashela bezwe ngani ukuthi yini izidingo zenu. Asikwazi ukuthi singuhulumeni sithathe izinqumo eziphikisana nentando yenu sibe singabonisananga nani.

  6. Such public participation should and must happen in all three spheres of government. In furthering this ideal, the Province shall host His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa in Albert Luthuli Municipality where he will be engaging with communities as part of the Presidential Imbizo.

  7. Kanjalo nomkhandlu wenu oholwa umhlonishwa ukhansela Thwala kanye nawo wonke amakhansela fanele benze ezabo izimbizo lapho behlala nani phansi banichazele ukuthi yini ezokwenzeka kwezentuthuko endaweni yenu nokuthi izokwenzeka nini kanjani. Nani nibe nemibono eniyibekayo.

  8. The intention of public participation and involvement in democratic processes is primarily to influence decision-making processes that reflects ‘the will of the people’.
  9. Significance of Pixley ka Isaka Seme
  10. We have gathered here in the area that was aptly named after Pixley kaSeme who was an intellectual and whose academic excellence and commitment to the struggle for justice led to the democracy that we all enjoy today.

  11. We can all learn from his passion for learning, his determination and commitment to the struggle for the poor. Seme’s doctrine that Africans must focus on self-determination and self-sustenance and not depend on other people for their survival should serve as an inspiration to all of us.

  12. Sihlangane lapha ngesikhathi abanye abasichaza ngokuthi “Yisikhathi esihle kakhulu lesi, kodwa futhi babuye bathi yisikhathi esibi ngokweqile, Baqhubeke bathi kubonakala ubuhlakani obukhulu khonalapho futhi nobulima obethusayo bukhona ngaphakathi kwethu, Sithi sesinethemba lokuthi izinto ziyalunga kuphinde kuvele ifu elimnyama lishabalalise lawomathemba”.

  13. Indeed Honourable Speaker we have seen best things happening in our province and our country in general. Recently, the ruling party held its successful elective conference, from which a new executive council led by Cde Mandla Ndlovu was elected.

  14. Earlier this week Cde Ndlovu joined my executive in the Provincial government as the MEC for COGTA. Honourable MEC Ndlovu brings along with him vast experience in leadership position but also an understanding of what we need to do to assist our municipalities to deliver what our people are yearning for, which include good governance that provides efficient and reliable basic services.

  15. But we have also seen unimaginable tragedy unravelling before our eyes. Only a few days ago a young woman, Hillary Gardee with a promising bright future ahead of her, was brutally murdered in an act that can only be described as Gender Based Violence that is barbaric, sordid and outright evil.

  16. This kind of violence against the vulnerable members of our society must come to an end.

  17. As government we will soon be embarking on road shows throughout the province engaging with civil society, young boys and girls at schools, traditional leaders, and members of the police service on this issue that has since become endemic.

  18. Our deepest and sincere condolences go to the Gardee family, friends and relatives. We also applaud the Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Manamela for the speed with which the police have moved in arresting the alleged perpetrators.

  19. Honourable Speaker, earlier on I spoke of hope and despair, light and darkness, wisdom and foolishness. The Covid-19 pandemic pushed us to a point of despair, covering the whole world with unprecedented darkness and leaving us with little hope. Salahlekelwa kakhulu kwafa izihlobo nabathandwa bethu, abanye balahlekelwa imisebenzi.

  20. As if this was not worse enough, our province was hit by storms and floods destroying the social and the economic infrastructure. Little did we know that our fellow countrymen, our neighbours in KwaZulu Natal, will experience the worst climate disaster in the history of our country. Lives and livelihoods were destroyed, families broken, businesses perished and again our people were pushed under the cloud of darkness.

  21. Yet we chose to hang on to that diminishing hope, allowing it to claw back, and now we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and here we are today, picking up and putting together all the pieces that were shattered and rebuilding our lives again. Suffering has bound us together, uniting us even more than ever before. Our renewal and rebuilding of government’s capacity and capability after these natural disasters continues to gain momentum.

  22. Bakwethu siqalile siyakha kabusha, konke lokhu okwalinyazwa kwahlukunyezwa iCovid 19, nalokho okwabhidlizwa kwacekelwa phansi zimvula nezikhukhula, sisebenza mawala ubusuku nemini siyakuvuselela. Kuzothatha isikhathi ukuthi izinto zibuyele esimweni sazo, kodwa zona zizolunga.

  23. Njengoba sonke sazi imali eningi siyisebenzise ukusiza abantu bethu ngesikhathi ubhubhane iCovid beludlangile. We redirected our budgets away from basic services to areas that needed urgent attention like hospitals, medicines, vaccination programmes and others.

  24. Asigcinanga lapho sibuye sakhipha imali yesibonelelo kubona bonke abantu bakithi abangasebenzi ukuze nabo bakwazi ukuxosha ikati eziko. We extended social grants to millions of our people to cushion them against the negative effects of Covid.

  25. We are now refocussing back to the basic needs of our people. Working with your municipality, the district municipality and departments in the national sphere of government under the District Development Model, we will mobilize resources and address the most urgent needs of our people in this area.

  26. Delivery of basic services

  27. Siyazi futhi sizwile ukuthi izinkinga zabantu bakithi kulendawo, amanzi angatholakali njalo, ugesi, imigwaqo efuna ukulungiswa, amabridge adilikile kanye nokuthuthwa kwendle, udoti kanye nokubiyelwa kwamathuna. Sizwile ukuthi izinkinga zamanzi zimandla kakhulu e ward 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 kanye no 11. Wonke lama wards athola amanzi awo ebuya e Amersfoort Water Treatment Works. Njengamanje sibhiza siyayilungisa kabusha le plant okuyiyona ehlanza amanzi iwenze aphuzeke.

  28. Sesiqalile ukwenza lomsebenzi esikhuluma ngawo. Umasipala wenu uthola uxhaso abalubiza nge Municipal Infrastructure Grant which is meant for the provision of basic services and is aimed at providing grant funding to municipalities to implement infrastructure development and maintenance.

  29. MIG supports the development of new and the upgrading of infrastructure to provide basic services (water, sanitation, refuse), roads and social infrastructure for poor households. It also allows for the renewal of infrastructure servicing the poor and also the maintenance of roads servicing the poor.

  30. Kulonyaka wezimali ka 2021/22 iDr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme municipality ithole R27.25 million. Lemali umasipala uyisebenzisela izinhlelo zenqalasisizinda ezifana nokufakela abantu amanzi, ukulungisa umsebenzi wokuthutha indle, ukulungisa nokwakha izinkundla zezemidlalo, ukulungisa imigwaqo kanye namapayipi adonsa amanzi ezimvula emigwaqeni.

  31. A budget of R9.5 million is committed to water projects which are currently under implementation in various areas. This includes the drilling and equipping of 8 boreholes in farm areas, Refurbishment of Water treatment Works in Amersfoort and installation of internal water reticulation in Ezamokuhle. The completion of these projects will improve access to water to 1 270 households.

  32. In improving access to decent sanitation, the municipality has prioritized the implementation of sanitation projects in various areas whereby a budget of R6.4 million is set aside for the implementation of sanitation projects, namely: Refurbishment of The Vukuzakhe Waste water Treatment Works, construction of Sewer Reticulation Networks in Vukuzakhe, Siyazenzela, Wakkerstroom, Daggakraal and in the farm areas. These projects will benefit a total of 4 635 households.

  33. A budget of R5m is committed to improve 1.5 km of access roads in Vukuzakhe, Wakkerstroom, Esizameleni, Sinqobile and Daggakraal.

  34. The sports facilities in Vukuzakhe, Ezamokuhle and Daggakraal are currently being refurbished to benefit 16 589 households and will serve as ideal facilities for our youth top explore their potential and distance them from drug and alcohol abuse.

  35. In 2022/23 financial year, the municipality is allocated with a budget of R30 million. This budget will ensure the acceleration and completion of the projects which are currently under implementation as their implemented in phases.

  36. Abantu bethu abahlala emapulazini basaqhubeka nokubhekana nezinkinga zokungatholi izinsiza ezifana namanzi, indle ehamba ngamazi, izindlu kanye nogesi. Sizoqhubeka nokuletha ama boreholes, sakhe izindlu sibasize nangama VIP/Pit toilets. Lokhu sikwenzela ukubiyisa isidima nesithunzi somuntu wakithi onsundu. Siyacela kulabobalimi abamhlophe ukuthi abayeke ukuhlukumeza abantu bethu bebenqabela ukuthi sibalethele izinsiza ezindaweni abahlala kuzo.

  37. Enye inking ekhona ukucekelwa phansi kwenqalasisizinda nezinsiza okusuke sekwakhiwe, kwakhelwa umphakathi, besekusuka izinswelaboya zikucekele phansi.

  38. Bakwethu uhulumeni angeke aqhwandela emuva njengekhukhu, siyakha siyalungisa abanye benu bayabhidliza. Kungani kufanelwe kuze kuqashwe onogada ukuze bagade izinto zenu, Nihlulwa yini nina ukuzigadela izinto zenu ngoba ezenu lezizinto.

  39. Kukhona abanye benu abakhale nge quality yamanzi eWard 11 sizokulandela lokho sithumele izazi ngokuhlolwa kwamanzi sizinike umbiko ophelele.

  40. Inter-Governmental Relations through District Developmental Model

  41. After years of the three spheres of government working in Silos, resulting in failure to maximize the impact on the ground, government has realized that in order to deal with challenges faced by our people in particular the poor, we need to understand that setting targets and objectives for growth and development requires a well-coordinated governance system to support implementation of service delivery.

  42. This will be achieved through the District Developmental Model which will ensure that national and provincial governments are properly positioned to support local development in a time of rapid socio economic transformation.

  43. Agricultural development

  44. Uhulumeni oholwa nguANC usukubeke kwacaca ukuthi umhlaba fanele ubuyiselwe kubantu ukuze bakwazi ukuziphilisa.

  45. I-Pixley kaSeme inomhlaba omkhulu futhi okulungele ukufuya izinkomo, izimvu, izingulube, izimbuzi, izinkukhu kanye nokunye. Lomhlaba futhi uvundile ukuthi kungatshalwa umbila, ujikanelanga, soya beans, ama-vegetables, ukolo, amabele, amakinati, kanye nezithelo ezifana nama-apula nezinye.

  46. Njengohulumeni obanakekelayo abantu abahluphekayo sinazo izinhlelo zokulima nokufuya ezinikwa labo abanamakhono okwenza lomsebenzi.

  47. In the recently concluded 2021/22 financial year through Phezukomkhono Mlimi programme our government supported 23 Vegetable gardens, 84 Smallholder farmers, 155 subsistence farmers and 619.5ha were ploughed and planted.

  48. In this municipality alone our people are producing vegetables on 9,5ha, maize on 391 ha, soya beans on 130 ha and dry beans on 40 ha. Going forward we will support more African farmers who are passionate about crop farming.

  49. Through our Masibuyele Esibayeni programme, government has supported no less than 102 animal production projects for farmers in the Gert Sibande District. Of these, Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme has a fair share in this key service delivery undertaking with no less than 18 projects or farmers having received animals from this programme.

  50. Bonke lababantu esikhuluma ngabo lapha bathole izinkomo, izimbuzi, izimvu nezingulube. Babuya khona lapha Vogross, eWakkerstroom, e Perdekop, Daggakraal nase Amersfoort. Sizoqhubeka nokuxhasa abanye futhi abafuna ukufuya, asebenendawo nasebenolwazi lokufuya. Angeke kusisize ukuxhasa umuntu ongenalwazi futhi ongenalo uthando lokufuya noma lukulima. Kungakho udaba lokubuyiswa komhlaba lwenza singalali siphelelwe ubuthongo. Siyawufuna futhi sizowuthola.

  51. Youth Development Fund

  52. Our most immediate concern is how to deal with high unemployment rates among the youth in this province. Ngokubona ukuthi imisebenzi ayitholakali sibe sesiqala iYouth Development Fund, okuyisikhwama esizosiza intsha ukuze iqale amabhinisi ayo. Bangu 18 abantu abasha abahlomulile kulesisikhwama abavela eGert Sibande District. Kanti sinabo ababili abavela ePixley kaSeme abazothola usizo lokwelekelelwa ukuqala amabhizinis abo. Lesisikhwama esaminyaka yonke nangokuzayo sizoqhubeka sibaxhase abafuna uxhaso futhi betshengisa ukuthi banamakhona okuqala amabhinisi.

  53. Human Settlement development

  54. Honourable Speaker and Members, Pixley kaSeme Local Municipality has and will continue to benefit immensely from our Upgrading of informal settlement programme. Low income housing subsidy provides access to housing for the poor.

  55. Our integrated human settlement policies are beginning to bear fruit. We are no longer building houses for people but we are providing them with homes that are fully serviced in terms of water and sanitation. Sesakha imizi eseduzane nezikole, amakliniki, izitolo, ama-ofisi anezinsiza ezifana nezimpesheni, izindawo zokudlala zabantwana imigwaqo kanye nokunye.

  56. We have also identified a segment of our society that has the capacity to build their own homes but need serviced stands with complete infrastructure. To meet this demand we are servicing stands and sell them to those in need at cost in line with the relevant prescripts. This has reduced a huge burden on those who do not qualify for free housing subsidy but also fall short on qualifying for high costs bonded houses. Akasekho umuntu ozosala ngaphandle.

  57. Honourable Speaker we have over the years delivered housing opportunities in the communities of Pixley kaSeme Local Municipality where more than 400 houses were built in the communities of Daggakraal, Pedekop and Amersfoort and about 1216 sites were serviced in Vukuzakhe A and B and Wakkerstroom.

  58. We will not stop as we have noticed that there are elderly people who are still living in dire conditions and in need of houses. The Department will continue assisting the rural communities through the Rural Housing Programme particularly those who own sites/ stands.

  59. There are projects that are currently under implementation in Vukuzakhe A where 190 houses are already completed, another allocation of 500 houses has been approved in Vukuzakhe B which will be implemented over the period of two years. Already 250 beneficiaries have been approved and the contractor is appointed to start with implementation. Note should also be taken that our target groups to benefit for the houses are the elderly, people living with disability, child-headed families amongst others.

  60. Honourable Speaker, as I have stated earlier, Human Settlements is no longer about houses but also ensuring that there are required services, in that there are 228 sites to be serviced at Esizameleni and 627 sites to be serviced at Siyazenzela where contractors are already on site. The Department is also assisting the Municipality with the formalization of the areas in terms of the town planning processes so that our communities can be able to receive the Title Deeds and have full ownership of their properties.

  61. Sizwile ukuthi abantu bethu eWard 2 bakhala nge asbestos roof abacela ukuthi ishintshwe sizokulandela lokho sibone ukuthi izimali zokwenza lokho zingatholakala kuphi futhi nini.

  62. Education

  63. Somlomo ohloniphekile, nani malunga ephalamende, our collective task to move this provide forward to a higher level requires that we improve the quality of our education system. Imfundo likusasa lesizwe sethu, ivula iminyango futhi iqala umntwana ezalwa.

  64. As an ANC led government we have made sure that more and more children have access to education from Early Childhood Development through to their graduation into post-secondary training and career development.
  65. Naphezu kokuthi zonke izinkomba zithi isimo semfundo kulesisifunda siya siba ngcono, kuningi okusafanele kwenziwe ikakhulukazi kulendawo yasePixley KaSeme. Imiphumela ka-Matric yangonyaka owedlule nakweminye iminyaka ayimihle kahle. Lendawo isahamba ngaphansi kuka 60% ezinye izindawo sezigijimisa u80%.

  66. As part of improving teaching and learning infrastructure the Department of Education in the 2022/23 financial year has earmarked the rehabilitation of the 2 storm damaged schools to create a conducive teaching and learning environment. In the 2022/23 to 2024/25 MTEF we have planned to eradicate inadequate sanitation backlog by providing additional toilets to 5 schools and 1 school for the replacement of facilities built with inappropriate material (asbestos) to meet the norms and standards requirements.

  67. The government also plans to relieve overcrowding at Vukuzenzele Combined School and replacement of unsafe structures of Isu-Elihle Primary School through the provision of a new secondary school and re-alignment of Vukuzenzele Combined School to a primary school. In addition, the government will commission phase 2 for Volksrust Primary School to provide the education support facilities and additional classrooms to replace all existing mobile classrooms.
  68. Plans are also underway to identify sites for a new school to relieve overcrowding at Nalithuba Secondary School.

  69. As part of our efforts to modernize learning last month we issued, tablets loaded with content to all grade 12 learners in quintile 1 to 3 schools. The plan is to roll out the programme over a period so that all grades are catered for.

  70. The issue of bullying, gangsterism, vandalism and thuggery in our schools is still a matter of concern. We should all condemn it in strongest terms. All these acts rob our children of valuable time for learning and teaching and as such derail their future. As government we will continue implementing the integrated school safety plan and call on all communities and organisations to support this initiative.

  71. As indicated earlier learner performance in this municipality continues to be poor year in and year out. Schools will be supported on their attempts to implement school academic improvement plans. This includes providing additional learning opportunities outside the normal school hours. Parents and communities are also expected to play their part and support our schools and teachers by ensuring that all learners avail themselves as required. Our target for this year remains 83% pass rate at Grade 12 and we expect Pixley kaSeme to make a positive contribution to our overall target. Any negative outcome is likely to drag us down and affect our overall target.

  72. Sizwile izikhalazo zenu mayelana ne scholar transport izimoto namabhasi angasekho esimweni esihle, sizokuphenya sikulandele lokho.

  73. Health

  74. Honourable Speaker, we have done well in implementing the principles of the Freedom Charter and substantial progress has been made up to now. The Freedom Charter called for a “preventative health scheme to be run by the state. This will entail free medical care and hospitalization to be provided for all with special care for mothers and young children.”

  75. I am very pleased to report that all our Primary Health Facilities meet the required minimum standards and are in the process of implementing the National Health Insurance, a strategy that is designed to give access to universal coverage and therefore respond to the call by the Freedom Charter. Medicine availability in all our health facilities in this area stand at above 90%. Now that we have learnt to live with and manage Covid 19 pandemic, our focus will be on diseases like HIV/AIDS, TB infections and other non-communicable illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.

  76. Social Services

  77. Government will continue to support non-profit organizations that operate from this area. For the past three years we have supported the construction and upgrading of four day care centres. Some have acquired the status of Early Childhood Centres and their functions will be transferred to the Department of Education. We are also facilitating and assisting those who want to apply for SASSA grants. Sizwile futhi ogogo nomkhulu bethu bacela ukuthi kusondezwe izindawo zokuthola umdende izimpesheni phela sizokhuluma nomnyango ophethe izindaba zezimpesheni.

  78. Roads and bridges

  79. Sinizwile bantu bakithi nikhala ngamabridge emuka nezikhukhula. Naphezu kokuthi isimo sezimali singesihle kahle sizozama ngokusemandleni ukunisiza sinelekelele siwalungise ngendlela ezokwenza ukuthi abantu nezingane zikwazi ukwedlula ziye esikoleni nabalimi bakwazi ukwedlulisa imikhiqizo yabo. Lowomsebenzi uzoqala zingakapheli izinyanga ezintathu. Lamabridge esikhuluma ngawo ase ward 6 Perdekop, eWard 10 phakathi kweDaggakraal neVogrose. Kanti ke umgwaqo uD281 phakathi kweDaggakraal neVogrose wona ususemaphethelweni sizoqiniseka ukuthi usonkontileka uyawuqeda kungekudala. Nomsebenzi wokuthuthukisa nokulungisa iThembeni Primary School uzoqedelwa kungekudala. Uma nibona kuthulile kungenanqubekela phambili kulemisebenzi esengiyibalile kuze kuphele izinyanga ezintathu ningesabi ukubikela ihhovisi lami.

  80. Arts, Sports and Culture

  81. As part of our efforts of supporting reading and learning by members of the public and improve academic results of all our learners, our government will continue to support six libraries that are located throughout this municipalities.

  82. These libraries have WIFI connectivity. We have begun embarking on the renovation and upgrading process on some of them including Daggakraal. We have set aside a budget to renovate the one in Vogrose.

  83. Social cohesion remains a cornerstone of our efforts to unite this nation. We are aware that centuries of racial divide, oppression and segregation cannot be resolved overnight. However, it is up to us as individuals and as a collective to rebuild, renew and heal the wounds of our nation. Through Arts Culture and Sports we will continue to support groups that aspire to make a difference in their communities. This include sports teams, cultural groups and programmes that are targeted at keeping our old age citizens active.

  84. Our cultural groups of this area are also given opportunity to perform at national and international platforms such as “Iqhugalipholile Cultural Group” from Daggakraal that participated in Europe and some were given exposure in the annual Mpumalanga Cultural Xperience and SATMA awards.

  85. Honourable Speaker and Members, we are aware that people in the creative industries were the most adversely affected by Covid 19 restrictions and their livelihood was diminished. We will continue to support them within the limited resources at our disposal.

  86. Safety and Security

  87. Pixley kaSeme lies on the boundary between Mpumalanga province and our two sister provinces, KwaZulu Natal and Free State. This presents an opportunity for cross boundary crime including mostly stock theft, car theft and car hijackings. We have a number of safety community forums that are operational and effective.

  88. These forums include the farming community, the residents, police and businesses. Road blocks are set up from time to time and we do school visits to deter students from engaging in criminal activities. Noma singazama kangakanani ukuthumela amaphoyisa ukuqapha ubugebengu okusalayo siding ukubambisana nani bantu bakithi. Izigebengu zihlala nathi, ezinye yizihlobo zethu nabangani bethu abanye yilabo bafowethu ababuya emazweni kodwa siyazi ukuthi ngobani izigebengu. Ngakho asisebenze namaphoyisa ukunqanda ubugebengu siwatshele nangalabo abathengisela izingane zethu izidakamizwa.

  89. As the ANC led government, we will remain tireless in our efforts to improve the quality of life for the people of Daggakraal and the people of Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme. We will exhaust all avenues to restore the dignity of our people and build a Mpumalanga that our children will be honoured to inherit.

  90. Ngiyabonga.

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