Welcome to the Mpumalanga Provincial Government

Premier D D Mabuza delivered State of the Province Address

19 June 2009

Honourable speaker
Madam Deputy Speaker
Members of the Mpumalanga Legislature
Members of the Executive Council
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Honourable M K N Gigaba
Deputy Minister of Communications, Honourable D D Pule
Speaker of Gauteng Legislature, Honourable L Maseko
Deputy Judge President of the High Court of South Africa, Honourable Justice Mojapelo
Judge of the High Court of South Africa, Honourable Judge M F Legodi
Honourable Members of the National Assembly and Members of the National Council of Provinces
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Honourable Members of the Provincial Legislatures present
Honourable Mayors and Councillors present here today
Ubukhosi bami obukhona lapha phakathi kwethu namhla-nje
Representatives of business and labour formations
Distinguished guests
Comrades and compatriots
Ladies and gentlemen

Honourable speaker, the commitment of our people to the ideals of the freedom charter cannot be overemphasised. The trust and confidence shown in the African National Congress (ANC) led government as the best vehicle to breathe life to the charter is unquestionable.

This is a task that we, as the ANC led government, have, and will continue to fulfil with distinction. We have never in our history failed our people and certainly, we dare not fail them now.

We have, over the past fifteen years of democratic rule in the country, demonstrated, together with the masses of our people, that our march into the future of a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa is unstoppable.

The recent massive vote of confidence passed by our people on 22 April 2009 reconfirms the obligation placed on the shoulders of the ANC led government to continue to lead the country towards the creation of the society envisaged in the Freedom Charter.

Looking back down the road that we have traversed since 1994, we can safely say that, together with our people, we have made great strides in our quest for creating a better life for all.

Together, we have laid a concrete foundation from which we will continue to build a society founded on dignity, equality for all, and the advancement of human rights and freedoms.

Let me take this opportunity to, once more, thank all the Premiers who preceded me, for laying a firm foundation from which this administration will build on going forward. To my predecessor, Honourable Thabang Makwetla, I wish to express my gratitude for your leadership over the past five years. We understood the enormity of the challenges you faced. You gave it your best and ours is to continue where you left off.

While we appreciate the achievements gained thus far, we are also conscious about the enormous challenges still lying ahead. However, it is our conviction and belief that working together as a united people, we can do more.

In the 2009 ANC Manifesto we have put together a set of priorities that we will be focusing on in the next five-year term of government. These key priorities are a product of extensive consultation with our people.

Although almost two months have passed since the elections, I can still hear those many voices resonating with despair in my ears:

  • I can still hear, loud and clear, the outcry of workers, appealing for government intervention because mines are retrenching them in great numbers. They were saying to me, that if they lose their jobs, not only those alone would suffer, but also other members of their extended families.
  • I can still hear the whispering voices of the farm dwellers, yearning for delivery of basic services to reach their door steps too. I can still hear their cry for the protection of their human rights.

Their physical and material conditions were saying to me, fifteen years of democracy have come and gone, and these farm dwellers have not as yet touched, smelled or felt the freedom that democracy has brought along for the majority of us.

Despite all these hardships, when I knocked on their doors during our election campaigns, our people still managed to welcome me with respect and a broad smile on their faces.

I am talking of individuals whose rights are being trampled on a daily basis without much help from society and government. I am talking of individuals who continue to face the brunt of evictions from some ruthless farmers. As government, there is nothing much that we are doing for those farmers, despite being armed with a plethora of legislation meant to deal with such matters.

  • Yes, I can still hear the voices of those people who were saying to me, my small business has folded, because government has not paid for my services as agreed. Instead, government has left me with huge debts which I am failing to honour and also not knowing as to how I am going to settle such debts because the interests are accumulating on a monthly basis.
  • Of course, I can still hear those voices of the poor people who say that they have to wait for one of their beloved ones to die before their roads are graded. Other than that, they cannot access their own residential areas and neighbouring villages.

When our people renewed the mandate of the ANC on 22 April this year, it was an unequivocal call for action to deliver tangible results on government priorities for the next five years as articulated in the ANC election manifesto. These priorities are:

  • creation of decent work and sustainable livelihoods
  • education
  • health
  • rural development, food security and land reform, and
  • the fight against crime and corruption

In essence, our people expect the democratic government to continue in its quests to reduce poverty, unemployment and inequality in the context of a growing economy.

We are aware that the negative global economic environment will constrain our ability to accelerate delivery on the identified priorities. As we are all aware, the global economy is in recession and the implications for both our national and provincial economies are huge.

The people who are the hardest hit by this recession are the poor. The retrenchments that one alluded to earlier are as a result of the economic meltdown. Many companies are folding, especially companies in the mining sector and those involved in export. Food prices are high, making it difficult for the poor to access basic foodstuffs. The figures of repossessions of cars and surrenders of houses in bond contracts are alarmingly high. The investment level in the economy has also been declining at a faster rate.

Fundamentally, the economic downturn will affect the pace at which we respond to the issues raised in the Manifesto. However, as government, together with you, we are going to survive this storm because we are a courageous nation.
Marko Saravanja put it much better when he asserts that:

“Those who are internally confident do not fear the external world. Courage combined with perseverance is magic that dissolves obstacles and opens the door to success and freedom.”

On the occasion of his inauguration as the fourth democratically elected President of South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma spared no moment but laid down a clear line of march for going forward. Citing his exact words, the President said:

“We are now called upon to implement our Manifesto. The dreams and hopes of all the people of our country must be fulfilled. There is no place for complacency, no place for cynicism, no place for excuses. Everything we do must contribute in a direct and meaningful way to the improvement of the lives of our people.”

In his State of the Nation Address delivered on 3 June 2009, the President elaborated further as to how the administration intends translating the priorities reflected on the Manifesto into reality.

In line with the Medium Term Strategic Framework of government, the Province will focus on accelerating economic growth and transforming the economy to create decent work and sustainable livelihoods.

The critical challenge we face as a province is to ensure that we work together with organised labour and business to support measures that will prevent job losses and mitigate the negative impact of the economic downturn on the poor and vulnerable people within our society.

In the short to medium term, we are convinced that the promotion of investment in massive infrastructure could assist in cushioning the current spate of job losses experienced in the province. In partnership with business and labour, government will pay special attention to the whole coal haulage road network as a central strategy in job creation to mitigate the negative impact of the recession.

Fortunately, Eskom has already come to the party. Over the next five years, Eskom will spend R385 billion in expanding its asset base. This will be one of the biggest build capital programmes in the country. It is a programme that will open new opportunities for small businesses and create over 100 000 direct and indirect new jobs.

In the next ten years, Eskom plans to deliver 41 new Mpumalanga supply and expansion projects to existing and new power stations, including the Kusile power station. The total cost of these projects will amount to R100 billion. It will also require more than 9 000 additional full time skilled staff for the running of new mine operations. However, these mining operations will put more pressure on the road infrastructure. As government, we appreciate the commitment of Eskom to work with government to mobilise resources for the construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of the coal haulage network.

Clearly, our success in driving an accelerated programme of economic growth and job creation requires the existence of requisite institutional capacity to enhance enterprise development and build massive economic and social infrastructure.

We need to strengthen the capacity of our parastatals if we have to contribute meaningfully to enterprise development and job creation. It is important to streamline functions, improve efficiencies, and consolidate resources for the purpose of delivering services better and faster.

Equally, we need to utilise the asset base of the parastatals to mobilise financial resources to fund the accelerated delivery of massive economic and social infrastructure.

To this end, government intends to merge some of its parastatals and review the flagship programmes with a view of enhancing economic growth that will result in job creation and development. We will merge the Mpumalanga Agricultural Development Corporation (MADC) and the Mpumalanga Housing Finance Company (MHFC) with the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA) before the end of this current financial year. What we expect to see with this merger is an acceleration of enterprise development and delivery of massive infrastructure.

With regards to flagship projects, we will review the institutional arrangements and streamline governance and accountability processes to ensure that their implementation achieves optimal impact on economic development and job creation.

Honourable speaker, the development of small and medium enterprises contributes significantly to the share of employment creation. As a province, we will leverage government procurement to support the growth and sustainability of SMMEs, including the advancement of broad based black economic empowerment objectives. Alongside these initiatives, we will ensure that we expand programmes to enable young people, women, and persons with disabilities to participate meaningfully in the mainstream economy.

In partnership with key economic sector players in the provincial economy, we will seek to expand market access and entry into value chain opportunities by small businesses. To ensure that we contribute to the sustainability of such small businesses, the government recommits itself to the principle of paying for services procured, especially from SMMEs, within 30 days. We have agreed that all long outstanding payments owed to small businesses by government for services rendered should be settled before the end of August 2009.

As government, we will continue to support sectors with high potential for growth and job opportunities. Over the next five years, we will accelerate the implementation of phase two of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) as part of job creation to mitigate the effects of the recession. By 2014, Mpumalanga will have created a total of 237,170 work opportunities, of which 75,617 will be full time equivalent jobs. During this financial year, we will create 28,378 work opportunities. Of these, 8,625 will be full-time equivalent jobs.

Honourable speaker, for all these initiatives to be successful, we have to stop paying lip service to the principle of partnership and begin to walk the talk. We have to streamline and focus our plans and resources if we have to confront the challenges of the recession head on. It is either we work together or we choose to perish in our separate silos. To encourage dialogue and forging a common growth path, government will, within two months, convene a Provincial Economic Summit to craft better mechanisms to respond to the recession.

Honourable members, part of our contribution to tackling poverty will be achieved through the implementation of the Anti-Poverty War Room campaign which was launched in the province last year. This campaign entails the profiling of the most deprived households to identify their specific needs so that they are assisted to access government services and development opportunities. Through the implementation of the anti-poverty war room campaign, we will ensure that poor and vulnerable households are provided with an integrated suite of services and development support to graduate them out of poverty. These include access to education, nutrition, basic services, and economic empowerment opportunities.

As a province which is largely rural, it is our view that rural economic and enterprise development should be central to improving the livelihoods of the majority of our people, especially individuals living in abject poverty. Within the context of a comprehensive rural development strategy, we intend intensifying agriculture and the transformation of agricultural and natural resource products so that such deliberate actions would lead to more employment, increased local incomes, reduced household risk and additional income opportunities for non-farming activities.

In partnership with other role players, government will accelerate the implementation of the Masibuyele Emasimini intervention to alleviate poverty and enhance sustainable livelihoods. Comprehensive support in the form of tractors, seeds and fertilisers will continue to be provided to the rural poor in order to maximise food production and improve food security for all.

Let us not allow any piece of land to lie fallow and our backyards to remain under-utilised. Let us utilise the material and financial support provided by government as efficiently as possible. We will be looking at better ways of strengthening our monitoring and evaluation systems as a matter of urgency to ensure that the utilisation of tractors and the distribution of agricultural inputs achieve desired outcomes and reach the intended beneficiaries.

In this regard, the role of traditional leaders will be crucial in assisting government to make this programme a success.

Honourable Speaker, we remained seized with the task of meeting the objectives of the five-Year Strategic Local Government Agenda. Among other things, it prioritises the delivery of housing and basic services such as electricity, water, sanitation and waste removal.

Of critical importance is the need to address challenges related to water provision to our communities. We need to strengthen institutional capacities to deal effectively with management, distribution and maintenance of water infrastructure. Equally, there should be alignment and better co-ordination among different role players to avoid fragmentation and the duplication of efforts meant to deal with the challenges of water demand and supply.

It will be crucial to eliminate wastage, vandalism, illegal connections and perceptions of communities that water is a free, God given and abundant resource. To assist the process of better management and utilisation of water, water will be high on the agenda of the Premier’s Co-ordinating Forum.

Evidently, for service delivery to have maximum impact on the lives of our people, an integrated and focused approach at municipal level will be required in more practical terms. There will be a need for us to change our current approach to service delivery.

In this regard, one expects to see a targeted approach where all basic services are delivered holistically in a particular area. For example, if we are constructing houses for people in a particular human settlement, we have to leave that area with running water, tarred or paved roads, water storm drainage and sewage systems, and connected electricity.

Moreover, we need to utilise this approach to create opportunities for more people to participate in the construction of this entire service delivery oriented infrastructure. Underpinning this approach is also the issue of tight monitoring of the quality of services delivered. We have to ensure that acceptable quality standards are met by our service providers. In this way, I believe that we can contribute far much better in terms of job creation, small business development, skills development and delivery of quality services.

While still on social infrastructure, one needs to point out that some of the service providers have, over a period of time, taken advantage of government. They have left us with incomplete houses, schools and health facilities.

Justifiably, we are concerned that this has a negative impact on the quality of life that citizens enjoy. As government, we have made a decision that during this financial year; we will deal with the entire backlog of incomplete infrastructure.

We intend to finalise the completion of all incomplete housing units so that next year we are able to commence with construction of new human settlements in the context of the redefined mandate of the provincial Department of Human Settlements. We will also address backlogs of incomplete schools and health facilities.

Honourable members, our approach to building cohesive and sustainable communities will focus on the development of integrated and de-racialised human settlements. The development of socially inclusive settlements with economic and social infrastructure is essential in fostering social cohesion and racial harmony. The task of building a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society is a social transformation imperative that we will continue to pursue.

Honourable speaker, the growth and progress of successful nations depend on quality education that is geared towards the development of human capital to drive accelerated economic growth and improved public service delivery. Undoubtedly, education is key to social empowerment, poverty reduction and the elimination of inter-generational cycles of poverty.

Education is an important priority area to which this government intends to pay particular attention over the next five years. As a province, we have an obligation that our education system delivers quality outcomes at all levels. We need to improve learner attainment and instil a culture of quality teaching and learning at all grades.

The question of learner performance at Grade 12 continues to be an indicator of systemic weaknesses in the quality of learner outcomes within our education system. 151 schools in the province have never performed above 60% over the past five years. This is a matter of grave concern.

Equally, the management of our matric examinations last year pointed to the need to effect process and system improvements to avoid the recurrence of the debacle surrounding the delayed matric exam results. The management of the scholar transport and the school nutrition programmes are also serious challenges.

To respond to these challenges, the Department of Education is implementing a multi-pronged learner attainment strategy that seeks to improve performance at Grade 12 and the Grades below. For this year, the focus will be on underperforming schools so as to improve both the quantity and quality of learner performance.

To enhance the quality of teaching, we will provide support to educators to improve their content knowledge in their fields of specialisation. We will provide short term training for educators to master new content and assessment methodology.

To enhance examination management efficiencies, we have already brought new management capacity into the examination unit, and we have implemented new systems and processes to improve accountability and effectiveness.

Honourable members, part of our obligation to improve learner outcomes is to ensure that we provide comprehensive support to poor and vulnerable learners in the form of “no fee” schools, transportation and nutrition. This year, we will review the best model to deliver quality education to remote farm and rural schools to ensure that we are able to provide holistic support to learners from poor households.

Among other things, we will explore the option of utilising abandoned boarding facilities to maximise learner accessibility to institutions of learning while enabling government to provide a wide range of anti-poverty interventions to support poor learners. The MEC for Education will in due course provide further details in this regard.

Honourable speaker, the level of our skills base remains very low. As a consequence, growth and development in the Province is constrained by the limited availability of scarce and critical skills. We need to strengthen the capacity of our Further Education and Training Colleges to respond to the needs of the provincial economy and development challenges.

As government, we remain committed to assisting young people to acquire skills that are relevant to the needs of the economy. To this end, we will establish a Provincial Bursary Fund during the course of this year to pursue study opportunities in various areas of specialisation. We wish to invite both business and labour to work with us in this endeavour aimed at enhancing the skills base of the province.

An honourable member, access to quality health care is a key determinant of the health profile of communities. Our health care system has, over the past few years, faced challenges. Poor service to our people continues to be a pervasive phenomenon in most of our public hospitals and clinics. Long queues of patients have become a norm in all reception areas of public hospitals and some clinics.

The volume of ambulances on the N4 to Pretoria is alarming due to the province’s inability to provide some of the tertiary health care services. This situation cannot be allowed to continue. It is imperative that, in the medium to long term, we explore the feasibility of upgrading two or more facilities to tertiary hospitals so that we address health care delivery gaps.

Undoubtedly, government needs to jack up the performance level of the public hospitals and clinics. As a province, we the need to improve institutional capacities for the provision of services at all levels of health care delivery, expand the hospital revitalisation programme, as well as improve the quality of service delivery, including shortened response times.

We will continue to fight against the devastating impact of HIV and AIDS, and ensure that we also improve our capacity to respond to a range of non-communicable diseases. We will implement the comprehensive plan for the treatment, management and care of HIV and AIDS so as to reduce the HIV-incidence rate by 50% by the year 2011, and reach 80% of those in need of Antiretroviral (ARV) treatment by 2011.

Honourable speaker, the scourge of crime and corruption undermines the core values of human development and the enjoyment of human rights enshrined in the Constitution. Crime curtails the freedom of communities to live their lives without any fear of abuse and murder of women, children, the elderly and persons with disabilities.

As communities, we must mobilise the collective commitment of all community stakeholders to rise and say no to crime. We must galvanise all the sectors of society and strengthen partnerships between government, civil society formations, and organised business in the fight against crime in the province.

As government, we will not tolerate corruption as it undermines service delivery. We need to fight fraud and corruption in the private and public sectors. We will put in place effective systems to eliminate the manipulation of supply chain management processes. We must entrench a culture of transparent, honest and accountable public service.

Honourable members, it is clear that the necessary condition for our success in implementing the priorities that we have set ourselves is the existence of a democratic developmental state that is able to provide strategic leadership and direction. Well oiled state machinery is required to fast track service delivery and development.

Within the framework provided by the National Planning Commission, we will focus on strengthening intergovernmental relations to enhance the alignment of planning and implementation of government programmes across all spheres, including parastatals and state owned enterprises. In this regard, we will realign the Provincial Growth and Development Strategy and Integrated Development Plans of municipalities to speak to the manifesto priorities.

In the same breath, we will ensure that the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) becomes a common frame of reference for planning across all spheres of government. Meaningful participation of provincial departments in IDP development and implementation processes is essential for improving quality of integrated planning and implementation. We will also strengthen monitoring and evaluation systems to ensure that we continuously evaluate government performance on key priorities and targets.

For us to achieve the objectives that we set for ourselves there is a need to revamp the government machinery. We will need to improve its efficiencies and gear it for better performance and responsiveness. Among other things, there is duplication of functions, bloating of the bureaucracy, excessive wastage of government resources, and poor accountability and poor financial management.
During this financial year, we will focus on strengthening organisational performance, including the management of public finances to avoid instances of over-expenditure and under-expenditure. There will be no accruals of expenditure allowed. Departments will be expected to spend within allocated budgets.

Honourable speaker, public accountability and democratic governance requires of us to enhance engagement to create space for public participation in policy implementation and governance processes. It is a cause for concern that there are weaknesses in our systems of public participation.

The institutions that we have set up to foster public participation are ineffective. These include institutions such as ward committees, community development workers, hospital boards, school governing bodies and community policing forums, to cite but a few.

As a matter of priority, we must strengthen democratic governance institutions that foster public participation so that communities are able to participate meaningfully.

Honourable members, our commitment to “working together to do more,” calls for the creation of meaningful space for the institution of traditional leadership to play an important in our democratic system of local government. As a Province, we will continue to strengthen partnerships between government and the institution of traditional leadership to focus on rural development, fighting poverty and the delivery of public services in arrears under the jurisdiction of traditional leaders. We will continue to provide necessary support to the Provincial and Local Houses of Traditional Leaders to ensure that they are able to execute their legislative mandates.

Honourable speaker, the privilege of hosting some of the 2010 events in Nelspruit creates opportunities for the province, but also poses a number of challenges. The opportunities lie in the potential for the province to utilise the 2010 soccer spectacular to catalyse economic development, particularly in the tourism sector.

The substantial public investment in infrastructure vastly enhances our potential for growth. In the context of the recession that we are in, the 2010 World Cup infrastructure delivery programme is an important intervention to sustain the momentum of the provincial economy. The challenge is to ensure that the public and private investment brings about social and economic returns to the all the citizens of Mpumalanga.

As a Province, we are confident that we will be ready to host one of the most memorable soccer events on African soil. Despite challenges that we are currently addressing, there is no doubt that the province will meet its obligations in terms of the 24 FIFA guarantees. The construction of the stadium is on course. The Matsafeni Land dispute issue has been resolved and all parties have now signed the deed of sale agreement.

Notwithstanding challenges, there is satisfactory progress in implementation of the FIFA World Cup related projects to which government has committed. At this stage, there is no cause for alarm.

The 2010 FIFA World Soccer Cup event provides a platform that should inspire our sportsmen and women to achieve excellence in their respective sporting codes.

Honourable speaker, we have in this august house today with us the Mpumalanga Black Aces a team that has done this province proud with their recent progress to the Premier Soccer League. May this achievement spur other teams such as the Batau Football Club on to increase the province’s presence in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to at least three teams by 2012?

Honourable members, we also have in our midst today Khotso Mokoena, the only South African medallist of the last Olympic Games.

You have done us proud. May the tenacity, commitment and dedication you have shown to reach the top in your respective sporting codes inspire in particular our young men and women to go the extra mile to sporting greatness?


As I conclude Honourable Speaker, allow me to underscore what our President said both in his Inaugural Address and the State of the Nation Address. He asserted that we made a commitment to our people and the world that:

for as long as there are South Africans who die from preventable disease
for as long as there are workers who struggle to feed their families and who battle to find work
for as long as there are communities without clean water, decent shelter or proper sanitation
for as long as there are rural dwellers unable to make a decent living from the land on which they live
for as long as there are women who are subjected to discrimination, exploitation or abuse
for as long as there are children who do not have the means nor the opportunity to receive a decent education.
We shall not rest, and we dare not falter, in our drive to eradicate poverty”

Together we can do more.

I thank you.

Issued by: Office of the Premier, Mpumalanga Provincial Government

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