Welcome to the Mpumalanga Provincial Government

State of the Province Address 2014 by Premier DD Mabuza

28 February 2014

State of the Province Address by Premier DD Mabuza




Honourable Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Mpumalanga Legislature;
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;
Consul of the Republic of Mozambique’, Ms EF Tondo;
Provincial Commissioner, General Ntobela;
Chairperson of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders,
Traditional Leaders;
Chairpersons and CEOs of our parastatals;
The Director-General, Heads of Departments and Municipal Managers;
ANC Provincial Secretary, Cde. Lucky Ndinisa and the entire Leadership of the Alliance;
Our special guests, our “Born-Frees” who are here with us today, our talented artists who flew the Mpumalanga Flag at the SA Idols 2013 Musa Sekwana & Brendan Ledwaba;
Representatives of labour, business, religious and other community-based organisations;
Distinguished Guests and all Dignitaries present here today;
Comrades and Friends;
Ladies and gentlemen.


The context

1.    President Zuma, in his message from the ANC 2009 Manifesto, has got this to say:

“Our Constitution, inspired by the vision of the Freedom Charter unites a nation of many languages and significant  cultural, religious and socio-economic diversity. We have to work together to weave the threads that will see us celebrating a nation which is non-racial, non-sexist and democratic….. 

2. Honourable Speaker, we are truly a nation in the making - a nation born out of the bitter struggles waged by the people of this country, and the Anti-Apartheid movements worldwide, against Colonialism of a Special Type.

3. The African National Congress has been at the forefront of the liberation struggle that culminated in the overthrow of White minority domination and the ushering-in of a democratic rule in the country 

4. On the 27th of April 1994, we saw the people of South Africa beginning the protracted journey of building the future society envisaged in the Freedom Charter.


Twenty Years of Democracy

5. Honourable Speaker, this year we are celebrating 20 years of freedom and re-affirming our belief that, “a nation united in diversity and common purpose can move the country forward.”

6. We have all, in one way or another experienced the consequences of a long history in which race, ethnicity and culture were used as the basis for the imposition of a divided, unequal and hierarchical society that excluded the majority of its population from active citizenship.

7. This long standing exclusion is still having an adverse social and economic impact on the lives of many South Africans. 

8. Honourable Speaker and Members, the challenge of our new democracy has been to enhance social cohesion, a collective identity and a sense of national pride.

9. The social cohesion that we want to manifest in this Province is rooted in our rich and diverse cultural heritage and the natural resources that we work together to conserve and share.

10. We take pride in the fact we have worked hard to build a united multi-cultural Province characterized by diverse racial and ethnic identities that enrich our collective experience and common destiny.

11. Today, our children enjoy a better future because our forebears dedicated and sacrificed their lives to the struggle for liberation and equality. The ideals of a free and united society are engraved in our inclusive history and liberation heritage.

12. Over the past 20 years, we have honoured and paid tribute to our struggle and liberation heroes and heroines whose selfless sacrifices have made it possible to unite our country and create a sense of common nationhood and national pride. 

13.  We have immortalized the contribution of the heroes and heroines of the struggle for our freedom with cenotaphs and statues as a constant reminder to our people of the road we have travelled, and those who cleared the way.

14.  Sadly, on the 5th of December 2013, death robbed us of Tata Madiba, one of the leaders paving the way to our hard-earned freedom.

15.  Throughout his lifetime, Tata Madiba fought for a society where no person must be exploited, oppressed or dispossessed by another.

16. As we all know, Comrade Mandela was a member and a leader of the African National Congress who dedicated his life to the struggle for the liberation of his people and the people of world. 

17.  Most importantly, it is his humility, compassion and humanity that earned him the love and respect of the people of South Africa, Africa and the World as a whole.

18. We must admit that life will be very different without him and that we were so blessed to call him our Leader and the Father of our nation.

19.  However, what we know is that death cannot kill what never dies – his inimitable spirit.

20. We are, therefore, convinced that it is His spirit that will continue to live in our hearts and minds and guide us as we proceed with our journey of building a democratic society.

21. To honour his memory, we, as a country, will strive to realise his ideals of building a society that is truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous.

22. President Zuma also echoed this sentiment when paying tribute to this giant at a memorial service where he asserted that: 

“In his honour we commit ourselves to continue building a nation based on the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.

United in our diversity, we will continue to build a nation free of poverty, hunger, homelessness, and inequality.

…we will continue working to fulfil his desire for a better Africa and a more just, peaceful and equitable world.” 

23. Honourable Speaker, as a Province, we will continue to face the future confident that what we do continues to uphold the vision and values of Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme, Nokuthula Simelane, Gert Sibande, Nomoya Masilela, the comrades of the Lowveld Massacre and the many other liberation struggle stalwarts in our Province.

24. We will be facing the future confident that our daily conduct does not betray the values of a democratic, inclusive and united society, which our leaders sacrificed their lives for.  

25. Mpumalanga is world renowned for her biodiversity, wildlife, scenic attractions and idyllic tourist destinations.

26. These gifts find further expression in the languages, arts and crafts of her people, and it is our duty to utilize the rich fabric of our diversity to fashion a society united in its respect and care for its environment, its communities and its exceptional individuals.

27.  Honourable Speaker, while we acknowledge that we are at the beginning of our long journey to a truly united, democratic and prosperous South Africa, we can confidently say that South Africa is indeed a better place to live in today, than it was in the pre-1994 era.

28. Today we are walking tall as a people, both Black and White, because our political landscape and the quality of our lives have changed for the better.

29. The Ruling Party-the ANC, together with the people of our country, have put in place one of the best Constitutions in the world – a Constitution founded on the principles and values of, inter alia, human dignity; human rights and freedoms.

30. It is a Constitution that is protected and advanced by Chapter nine (9) institutions such as the Commission for Gender Equality, the Human Rights Commission, the Public Protector and others.

31. We also put together the Reconstruction and Development Programme as a framework that guides the transformation agenda of our society.

32. We further eliminated institutionalised racism and all racial restrictions on property rights, trades and other forms of activity.

33. In addition, we have introduced an array of policies and strategies to create a strong foundation upon which we will be building the envisaged democratic society going forward. 

34. Honourable Speaker, looking at all the issues that I have highlighted above, you will agree with me that the ANC, together with the people of this country, have made much progress in the last 20 years, particularly in stabilising the political landscape. 

35.  Indeed, together, we have moved South Africa forward.

36. While we appreciate and celebrate these achievements, we are also quite aware that we still have a long way to go towards eradicating the ills that we inherited from the past regime.

37. To this day, our people are still confronted by the triple and interrelated challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality – challenges that the Ruling Party has been confronting since the dawn of democracy. 


Our Mandate 

38.  As with the Manifestos of the past, the 2009 ANC Manifesto also prioritised these challenges.

39. The Ruling Party, under the leadership of President Zuma, was given a specific and unambiguous mandate. 

40.  Unlike with previous Manifestos, the current Manifesto reflects our people’s demand that the Ruling Party focuses on select issues that will have the maximum impact on their lives and in particular, on the lives of the poor. 

41. They mandated this administration to accelerate job creation and provide more economic opportunities, particularly to those who are still stuck on the lowest rung of the developmental ladder.

42.  Our people demanded from the Ruling Party that it opens the doors of learning for all and improves the quality of education – a critical priority if we are to effectively prepare our people for the needs of the modern economy and a democratic society

43. The electorate further called upon this administration to improve access to health care for all South Africans regardless of their social or economic condition.

44. They drew the attention of this administration to the bleak situation that continues to confront our people living in rural areas.

45. They requested the Ruling Party to address their harshest conditions - poverty, lack of access to land and basic services. 

46. Fighting crime and corruption was also added to the basket of priorities that this administration would be expected to address during its term of office. 

47. Honourable Speaker, the five-year term of this administration in office has come and gone.

48. The question that comes to mind is, how has the Ruling Party fared over the past five years?

Creating decent work and sustainable livelihoods 

49. Honourable Speaker, as far as gearing the economy towards rapid economic growth is concerned, one must admit that we have fallen short in this area of work.

50.  In 2009, we aimed to grow the economy at a rate of 5% per annum. Unfortunately, this target was never realized due to the unprecedented world economic meltdown that started in 2008.

51.  In the same year, Mpumalanga experienced a negative growth of -1.7 per cent. However, in subsequent years, we saw the GDP growth of Mpumalanga showing some signs of improvement -  but still performing below the expected economic growth rate.

52.  The average annual GDP growth between 2009 and 2012 was 2.4% which was, of course, still below the 5% target. 

53.  Obviously, the low economic growth rate has a direct negative impact on the creation of more job opportunities in the economy.

54. If Members will recall, through the Mpumalanga Growth and Development Path, we set a target of approximately 70 000 to 80 000 jobs that must be created annually if we are to address the challenge of unemployment effectively.

55. The Growth Path went so far as to identify the levers that we would be utilising to generate this number of jobs.

56. Looking at the period under review, the number of jobs that were created was lower than our expectations.

57.  The number of people employed between Quarter one (1) of 2009 and Quarter four (4) of 2013 has increased by 9.2%, that is, the number increased from 1 052 000 to 1 149 000 – bringing the total number of jobs created since Quarter one (1) of 2009 to 97 000.

58. This increase in employment, was mainly driven by the Community services sector, which created approximately 52 000 jobs. The Finance sector added approximately 31 000 jobs , utilities added 14 000 and Mining generated an additional 23 000 jobs.

59. Through the Expanded Public Works Programme, we also managed to create a total of 270 807 work opportunities between 2009 and 2013, particularly for the poor.

60. Honourable Speaker and Members let me hasten to point out that most of these work opportunities were generated by our Infrastructure Build Programme. 

61. As the Provincial Government, we spent R12,18 billion over the past five years to improve the road infrastructure network, and social and economic structures. 

62. Yes, we connected villages and improved the mobility of people and goods, and we enhanced the local economic activities of many communities in the Province.

63. Among others, we upgraded the Tweefontein, Bulembu and Sibange to  Madadeni roads, including the Luphisi; Marloth to Komatipoort and Mooiplaas to Ekulindeni roads. 

64. We constructed bridges such as the Goromane Bridge over Sabie River and even upgraded many roads that connect towns.

65.  We built schools and health facilities, including houses and many social amenities.   

66. Honourable Speaker, this is definitely a good story to tell. The Ruling Party is moving Mpumalanga forward. 

67. This does not mean that our infrastructure challenges are over. The fact of the matter is that the backlog is still enormous, with current demand outstripping our available resources.

68. Fortunately, as a Province, we have developed the Mpumalanga Infrastructure Master Plan – a framework that will guide us with our infrastructure build programme in the future.

69. Kancane, kancane, we will ultimately reach all the corners of the Province. Njengoba bengishilo ukuthi ‘Yinde lendlela esiyihambayo…..’. 

70. Honourable Speaker, despite the job gains that we have achieved over the past five years, the Mpumalanga unemployment rate remains unacceptably high.

71. Agriculture, manufacturing, construction and private households are among the main sectors to shed jobs during the period under review, basically escalating the already high unemployment rate.  

72. Stats SA indicates that the unemployment rate in Mpumalanga increased by 2.9 percentage points from 24.3 per cent in Quarter one (1) of 2009 to 27.2 per cent in Quarter four (4) of 2013.

73. Of critical importance is that the Youth, I mean those who are between the ages of 15 and 34 years, still makes up more than 70% of the total number of unemployed.

74.  Clearly, this remains one of the key areas of focus going forward.  

75. As government, we believe that the Partnerships that we have already set in motion with the private sector and other foreign countries will go a long way in contributing positively towards economic growth and job creation in the Province.

 76.  We are currently working together with the mining houses that have operations in the Province focusing mainly on Human Capital Development; Infrastructure development; Rural Development; and increasing production and beneficiation.

77.  We are paying special attention to the issues of:

-  Improving the quality of Maths, Science and Technology for both our teachers and our learners.

-  Urban renewal of mining towns and promoting rural infrastructure development;

-  Scaling up SMME and cooperative development support; and

-  Promoting sustainable environmental management.

78. As we speak Honourable Speaker, together, we are establishing a Maths, Science and Technology Academy whose main Hub will be at Emalahleni with its four satellites situated in each district of the Department of Education. 

79. Let me take this opportunity to thank Bhp Billiton for donating a building for the Academy and also for agreeing to re-configure it to suit the needs of our Academy. We hope to officially open this Academy in August of this year. 

80. We are further working together with the mining houses on the issue of skills development. We will be establishing a Skills Development Centre that will assume the same model of the Academy. This Centre is intended to produce skills relevant to the economy and to produce them en masse.  

81. Relating to infrastructure development, we are focusing on rejuvenating mining towns within the context of developing sustainable and integrated human settlements. We are already working with SASOL to rejuvenate Secunda Town and transform it into a smart city.

82. The i-Kusasa Project has already set the ball rolling. We hope our partnership will strengthen this work going forward.  

83. As government, we would like to thank SASOL for its intervention in Mbalenhle with regard to the sewer problem, including the housing project for the poor and many other developmental projects that are being rolled out under the i-Kusasa banner.

84. Government and the mining houses are also considering the establishment of industrial parks or supply parks to support the development of SMMEs and cooperatives.

85. There is consensus that a critical success factor for these industrial parks is that they are linked to the core business of the mining industries rather than industries in general.

86. To the mining houses, ESKOM and SAB, thank you very much for your on-going commitment to working with government in its endeavour to grow the Mpumalanga economy and also address the ills of unemployment and inequality that remain rife within our society.

87. Your contribution towards the provision of bursaries to deserving learners of Mpumalanga to pursue their tertiary education and the provision of business opportunities to SMMEs does not pass unnoticed or unappreciated.

88.  Without doubt, working together we are doing more and we will continue to rope in as many players as possible, particularly those who are operating in the other key sectors of the Provincial economy going forward.

89. As Partners, we will continue to roll back the frontiers of poverty. Our collective efforts over the last five years are beginning to pay dividends. 

90. According to Global Insight’s Regional Explorer the percentage of people in poverty has decreased from 43.7 percent in 2009 to 36.9 percent in 2012.  

91. The share of income earned by the poorest 40 percent of households has increased from 7.4 percent in 2009 to 8.3 percent in 2012.  

This is still inadequate because, for us to make a meaningful impact on the poor, the share of income of the poorest 40 percent of household should rise to 10 percent.

92. With regard to inequality, Mpumalanga’s income inequality has recorded a slight improvement during the period under review, decreasing from 0.62 in 2009 to 0.60 in 2012.

93. As we move forward, I am convinced that we will do better because we are now armed with a long-term Plan - the National Development Plan, which maps out very clearly the mechanisms and conditions required to accelerate our work relating to job creation.  

94. We will continue to strengthen our Partnerships in the key sectors of the Province, namely, mining; tourism; agriculture and manufacturing. 

95. We will intensify our programmes of attracting foreign direct investment to unlock job opportunities and SMME development, particularly in the agriculture and mining sectors. 

96.  Beneficiation and agro-processing will feature high on the agenda going forward. 


Rural Development, Land and Agrarian Reform

97.  Honourable Speaker and Members, in 2009, we also committed ourselves to give our undivided attention to the plight of people living in rural areas.

98.  Today, I am happy to report to this House and the people of Mpumalanga that the caring government of the people has made some reasonable progress in this regard. 

99.  The implementation of the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) in the eight identified municipalities is contributing massively towards improving the quality of life in rural areas.

100.  If Members will remember, I am speaking of the Bushbuckridge, Nkomazi, Chief Albert Luthuli, Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Mkhondo, Dipaleseng, Thembisile Hani and Dr JS Moroka municipalities. 

101.  What is worth noting is that our emphasis on the participation of local people in this programme has ensured that business development, skills development and employment opportunities are created to benefit local people, particularly through our support for cooperatives. 

102. During the period under review, we have managed to organise farmers into 340 Primary cooperatives and 159 of these have established eight (8) Secondary cooperatives to link farmers to the market. 

103.  The Programme has also created 78 278 work opportunities to date.

104.  The roll-out of rural infrastructure in those municipalities has impacted positively on improving access to education, primary health care and housing and has enabled mobility through upgraded access roads.

105.  We have seen this Programme deliver approximately 10 906 houses; increase the percentage of households with electricity between 2001 and 2011, improve food and livestock production, and assist many households to access clean water. 

106.  Honourable Speaker and Members, we made reasonable progress in terms of access to land for African people. 

107. The total land size of Mpumalanga Province is 7 649 500 ha with 4 840 940ha constituting arable land. Of the arable hectares, 4 412 954 are owned by commercial farmers whilst approximately 427 986ha is owned by emerging farmers.

108.  In the period 1995 to January 2012, 2 790 land claims have been settled in Mpumalanga, benefitting 51 197 households, that is, a total number of 233 723 beneficiaries.

109.  However, with regard to land and agrarian reform, our performance was below par. 

110.  For instance, we targeted acquiring and distributing 120 000 ha of land during the period under review. Only 38 000 ha was acquired and this could be attributed mainly to tardy land claim processes.

111.  Poor performance has also been recorded for the plan to recapitalise and develop 292 farms over the five-year period. Only 30 farms were recapitalised and developed. The persistent infighting amongst farmers is one of the major causes of this slow pace of delivery.

112.  Honourable Speaker, it is worth emphasising that the CRDP is definitely touching the lives of ordinary people in rural areas.

113.  Therefore, as we move forward, we must refocus on how we are better able to transform land reform farms into productive commercial assets. As we prioritise agriculture as one of our key sectors, we should ensure that we:

·       Provide comprehensive support to farmers for targeted commodities

·        Prioritise land reform farms to increase production

·       Invest in irrigation schemes for sustainable production

·       Provide comprehensive support to small scale farmers and cooperatives

·        Establish a fresh produce market for local and international markets

·       Implement targeted skills development programmes in the sector


Improving the quality of education

114.  Honourable Speaker and Members, since the passing of our father, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, we have had much time to contemplate the impact of his wisdom and compassion, and nowhere was he more outspoken than in his belief in the inextricable link between our children and our future:

“Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation. They will be the leaders of our country, the creators of our national wealth, those who care for and protect our people.” 

115.  Rooted in these sentiments, we have, over the past 20 years, put in motion a number of programmes designed to improve the quality of Mpumalanga’s education system.

116.  Many of you will recall that we inherited seemingly insurmountable educational reconstruction challenges in 1994.  

117.  Effective schooling had, in fact, virtually collapsed in large sectors of the system and this state of institutional disrepair was mirrored in the abysmal conditions present in much of the school system’s dilapidated infrastructure.

118.  Transforming the education system had seemed an impossible task, but I stand here today confident that our efforts are beginning to bear fruit. I stand here confident that the ANC-led government in the Province has laid a solid foundation for a better education system for future generations to come.

119.  Our historic mission of building a better education system has always been founded on the strong belief that every child, irrespective of economic status, has a right to dream and imagine a different future with endless possibilities of success and progress. 

120.  Not only is quality education a pre-requisite for a developing nation, but it is the only hope for children from poor households to break the shackles of poverty and social deprivation.

I stand here today confident that this Administration has responded to the plight of children on the farms, rural areas and townships whose social circumstances impede possibilities for their future success.

121.  Through our comprehensive support to learners from poor households, we have created an education system that allows every child to dream of a better future, free from the entrapment of poverty.

122.  Currently, there are 1646 public ordinary schools in the Province that have been declared “no fee schools” and this translates into 863 690 learners from poor households being afforded the opportunity to attend school.

123.  In addition, we are providing sustenance to 874 600 needy learners for 196 school feeding days through the extension of the school nutrition programme to cover all Quintiles 1 – 3 primary and secondary schools.

124.  Standing steadfast in our belief that education goes beyond the mere exchange of facts and figures in the classroom, we have systematically prioritized efforts that focus on holistically improving the learning environments of our children from pre-school through to Grade 12.

125.  Honourable Speaker, it is well documented that the foundation for a child’s success in secondary and tertiary education is laid by the experiences and exposure of his or her early school years.

126.  Prior to 1994, Early Childhood Development Centres were not funded and this crucial step in every child’s development was not given the consideration that it is due.

127.  Early Childhood Development has been and remains a top priority for the Province, and this is evidenced in the progress that has been made in this sector over the past 20 years. 

128.  Over the last five years, the current Administration paid particular attention to Early Childhood Development to ensure that a solid foundation is laid for our children to perform better in the later years of schooling. We are pleased that the Province has made significant progress in expanding access to Early Childhood Development.

·         The number of  learners in pre grade R has  increased to 75 275

·         135 741 children are registered for ECD in schools and community-based centres

·         1030 public schools are offering Grade R


129.  Despite remarkable progress made in the provision of ECD, we have noted with concern that there are urgent areas of intervention that must be prioritized to improve the quality of teaching and learning at all our ECD centres.

·         Firstly, we need to improve the qualifications of ECD practitioners.

·         I am pleased that we are making progress with regard to addressing the slow pace at which ECD practitioners are qualifying, and to that end we can report that 700 ECD practitioners have been enrolled with FET colleges to pursue NQF Level 4 & 5 ECD qualifications.

·         Secondly, we need to accelerate our work on providing ECD infrastructure, especially in rural areas.

130.  Honourable Speaker, the last five years has seen a cumulative R2.91 billion investment in education infrastructure as part of our efforts to improve the access to and quality of learning and teaching in the Province.   Over the last five years,

·  We have built 25 new schools, 26 Grade R facilities and ensured that all mud and unsafe structures are eradicated;

·   We have built 3 boarding schools in Nkomazi and Mkhondo municipalities. This week we handed over Zimbali Boarding School in Amsterdam;

·   We have re-built a total of 19 storm damaged schools to ensure that learning is not interrupted in areas that have been affected by natural disasters. 

131.  Honourable Speaker and Members, we are inspired by the fact that our investment in education is beginning to bear fruit. When the current Administration assumed office in 2009, we committed ourselves to turning around the Province’s education system for the better.

132.  It has not been easy. We have had our fair share of challenges to overcome. But today,   we stand here proud that our collective efforts have ushered in the dawn of our new hope that our education system is on the right track to deliver quality education - a right for every child in the Province.

133.  As it stands, we are pleased to report that our Grade 12 results have continued on a positive trajectory, with 2013 seeing a matric pass rate of 77.6%.

This is a remarkable achievement if one considers that this stood at just 47.9% when this administration took the reins five years ago.

In this regard, it is also gratifying to note that the number of candidates attaining bachelor’s degree passes has risen from 12.1% in 2009 to 25.9% in 2013 – a figure we are sure will continue to increase with the launch of Mpumalanga’s own long awaited University.

134.  As a result of the Province’s direct interventions, we have increased the number of mathematics and physical science passes from 15 575 in 2009 to 22 405 in 2013.

135.  As we celebrate our success, we would like to thank our teachers, parents, learners and our communities in general for their contributions to the achievement we have recorded as a Province. The political and administrative leadership of the Department of Education must be commended for their efforts.

Our congratulations and best wishes go the matric class of 2014. Through hard work, the sky is the limit. 

136.  Honourable Speaker, whilst these advances may give us cause to celebrate, we must equally register our grave concern with the ongoing poor performance of Mpumalanga’s learners in the Annual National Assessment.

137.  In this regard, the Province undertakes to redouble its efforts to improve learner performance in numeracy, literacy and physical science by ensuring that all of our teachers have acquired adequate subject knowledge and teaching competency in these subject areas.

138.  In partnership with the private sector we will continue to implement programmes aimed at  improving our performance in mathematics and physical science.  

139.   Honourable Speaker and Members, it is clear for all to see that the Province has been committed to improving the quality of education that our children receive throughout their school careers, but of course, we must ask the question, 

 How do we ensure that our now educated children become the gainfully employed youths that contribute positively to the socio economic development of our Province?

140.  Human capital development has long been a key pillar for growth and development in a Province whose labour force is characterized as having a “narrow skills base, poor levels of productivity and outdated technological skills”.

141.  The introduction of the FET College System went some way towards addressing these challenges, but the system has failed to meet the growing demand and has exhibited poor throughput rates.

These shortcomings contribute to the growing legion of youth that can access post-school education, but remains ill-prepared for the workplace. 

142.  The high youth unemployment rate remains a major cause for concern.

As part of our provincial Human Resources Development Strategy, we have introduced a number of mechanisms to improve the skills base of the Province.

143.  A key component of our skills development initiatives has been our partnerships with local businesses and industries in order to develop market appropriate skills.  

144.  In this regard it is gratifying to report that in partnership with SASOL, BHP Billiton, Xstrata and ESKOM, 998 bursaries have been awarded to unemployed youth in order to develop the scarce and critical skills that our economy requires for future growth and development. 

145.  Through skills development programmes delivered by the Mpumalanga Regional Training Trust (MRTT) we provided opportunities for training across various trades and disciplines  to build entrepreneurs and respond to the skills demand of the labour market.

146.  Over the last five years, 10821 learners received accredited technical skills training in manufacturing, engineering, construction and entrepreneurship. In addition, 741 learners received accredited skills training in hospitality and tourism.  

147.  Honourable Speaker and Members, as we take this occasion to reflect on, and indeed celebrate, the milestones achieved in our journey thus far, we are also asked to contemplate the future strides we must take in order to achieve our vision of “good schools with well educated, trained and caring teachers".

148.  In order to set an accurate course for our journey towards 2030, we must take cognizance of the ongoing and emerging challenges that still plague our evolving education system. Our vision for the future must be guided by the lessons we have learned over the last five years. 

149.  To this end, let us utilize the foundation we have built to further improve the quality of Mpumalanga’s education system by:

·         Expanding access to ECD in centres that boast appropriate infrastructure and are staffed by competent, qualified and dedicated ECD practitioners;


·         Broadening and deepening our investment in teacher training – thereby ensuring that our learners engage with competent, qualified teachers, especially in the Maths Science and Technology subjects;

·         Ensuring that our future innovators, mathematicians, engineers and scientists are able to hone their skills and expertise in appropriately resourced classrooms, laboratories and computer centres;

·         Developing infrastructure funding and delivery models and partnerships that eradicate the lingering backlog and pave the way for future centres of teaching and learning excellence;

·         Intervening, mentoring and partnering where necessary to improve the systems and results at underperforming schools; and

·         Supporting school governance, leadership and functionality through dedicated, strategic partnerships with the broader institutions, communities and stakeholders that constitute a child’s overall learning environment.


Improving the Health Profile for All

150.  Honourable Speaker and Members, healthy citizens are the lifeblood of any productive, developing society. Healthy citizens are the engines that drive our nation forward towards the better life that we envisage for all.

151.  Acknowledging this, we have set ourselves the goal of “a long and healthy life for all South Africans”, and we continue to invest a large proportion of our resources to make sure that we do deliver quality healthcare to all the people of our Province.

152.  Before 1994, all administrative Provinces and Homelands experienced a fragmented health system that was inaccessible to the majority of our people.

153.  It was the task of this then nascent Province to take the splintered systems of KaNgwane, KwaNdebele, Gazankulu and the Transvaal Provincial Administration, combine them and then transform them into a fully functional, comprehensive healthcare system for our citizens. The resource and capacity challenges were, as you can imagine, immense.

154.  Honourable speaker, we did not only inherit an ailing healthcare system, we were also called upon to treat and care for a population struggling under the burden of what is commonly referred to as the “quadruple burden of disease”. 

155.  Our people continue to suffer the symptoms and consequences of the HIV/Aids pandemic, interpersonal violence, accidental and non-accidental injury, infectious diseases such as TB and the increased incidence of “lifestyle diseases” such as diabetes.

156.  Within this context, and with a growing sense of urgency, we have spent the past twenty years focusing on addressing this disease burden, the incidence of infant and maternal mortality and the overall state of the Provincial healthcare system. 

157.  Honourable Speaker and Members, over the last five years, this Administration has been seized with addressing the challenges characterizing our health care system. 

158.   Progress has been made in expanding primary health care to remote and under-serviced areas of our Province, especially rural areas.

Clinics and Community Health Facilities have been built to improve the accessibility and quality of health care that citizens receive.  

159.  Over R 2.57 billion has been invested in health infrastructure to ensure equitable access to health care facilities. 

160.  The hospital revitalization programme has ensured that some of our major hospitals receive the necessary support in terms of better infrastructure and equipment to improve the quality of health care.

161.  Through the implementation of targeted programmes:

·         Life expectancy has improved from 48.8 to 55 years for males and 52 to 60.1 years for females;

·         Maternal mortality has been reduced from 157 to 112 per 100 000 live births. Despite progress made this number is still unacceptably high.  

We will continue to intensify our efforts to ensure that our mothers attend the appropriate antenatal care services timeously and that our capacity to manage neonatal complications is strengthened;

·         TB Cure Rate improved from 73.1% in 2009 to 76.5% in 2011;

·         We have improved the overall immunization coverage of children less than 1 year and by 2013, 83% of our children had received the required immunizations.

·         The Provincial strategy for HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB has been developed and implemented to respond comprehensively to the challenges of HIV and Aids;

162.  Honourable Speaker, in our fight against the HIV/Aids pandemic we have targeted increasing access to treatment, counselling and testing. Remarkable progress has been made in the fight against HIV and Aids:

       Female condom distribution has increased from 230,698 to 1,221,401 above the set target of 438,000;

       100% of public health facilities are providing HCT;

       Currently 32 hospitals have been declared ART sites, which increased the number of patients who are put on ART from 70 310 to 227 663.

163.  The battle against diseases such as HIV/Aids is far from over and requires on-going interventions and innovative strategies on a number of fronts.

The Province has established and launched the Mpumalanga Provincial Aids Council with the primary objective of coordinating a multi-sectorial response to HIV/Aids, STIs and TB.


164.  Despite the positive strides made in the transformation of our health care system, we are concerned that the quality of service delivery and patient care in our facilities is still not up to standard and future efforts in this regard will require significant technical and financial support to improve our human resources and the infrastructure in our health facilities, especially hospitals.


165.  We have begun addressing the challenges of infrastructure and maintenance of hospitals that were identified last year as requiring urgent attention.  We are making progress with the designs and plans for the demolition and reconstruction of 8 key hospitals that currently have appalling infrastructure conditions including, Bethal, Elsie Ballot and Sabie.


166.  In addition, 12 hospitals are undergoing extensive repairs to resuscitate their deteriorating infrastructure conditions.

167.  Based on intensive studies, site visits and stakeholder engagements, we have developed comprehensive programmes and directed significant resources towards the improvement and maintenance of our healthcare infrastructure.

168.  We have set up infrastructure maintenance teams to ensure that there is on-going maintenance that averts the expense and inconvenience of extensive repairs and reconstruction, which neglected infrastructure can incur.


169.  As part of our Hospital Improvement Plan, we have ensured that our health care facilities are appropriately staffed with competent and qualified personnel. We have accelerated the appointment of CEOs and top management in many of our hospitals to bring about leadership stability at our institutions.

170.  We have also appointed and trained CEOs, 31 Hospital Boards and 205 clinic committees to further improve the overall management and efficiency of our healthcare facilities.

171.  Honourable Speaker and Members, our vision of a long and healthy life for all South Africans includes access to an equal standard of healthcare for each and every one of our citizens. 

172.   It is our imperative to ensure that this “equal standard” is premised on access to wellness information and education, state of the art medical equipment and expertise, competent and qualified healthcare professionals and properly resourced and maintained health care infrastructure. 

173.  These are the key pillars supporting the improved quality of our public health services.

174.  The numerous and various challenges facing our struggling healthcare sector will require additional human and financial resources and technical expertise.

I would therefore like to renew my call on our partners in the private sector to contribute to the restoration of our health system.

175.  Together, we can develop professional managerial and system efficiencies. Together we can ensure that patients are treated as customers.  Together we can make sure that our provincial healthcare system values all human life in the treatment process.

176.  It is only through these collaborative efforts that our health facilities and general service delivery ethos will come to meet the standards anticipated in the National Health Insurance approach.

177.   As we lay the solid foundation for the implementation of the National Health Insurance Programme it is critical that the Province continues to address the following crucial areas of our healthcare system. These include: 

·         Strengthening the quality of leadership at all levels, especially the management and leadership of hospitals;

·         Ensuring that all health facilities meet National Core Standards,

·         Providing quality infrastructure and equipment in line with prescribed standards,

·         Establishing dedicated maintenance teams in order to ensure the on-going maintenance of health facilities,

·         Appointing and retaining suitably qualified professionals in critical areas of health care delivery, and

·         Strengthening primary health care and improving the implementation of the referral system.


Fighting against Crime  

178.  Honourable Speaker and Members, we have a good story to tell in our fight against crime.  In 2009 we committed to ensure that all the people of the province are and feel safe.

179.  The ANC-led government has ensured that crime remains one of our priority areas of work as government.

180.  Working together we have made an effort to ensure that all townships, towns and rural areas are safe.  I wish to commend the team ably led by the Provincial Commissioner, General Ntobela and the MEC for Community Safety Security and Liaison, Hon. VR Shongwe for a job well done.

181.  Over the last five years we have invested our resources in the implementation of a number of interventions in areas such as Border Management, stock theft, immigration and public participation.  Further interventions include integrated social crime prevention strategies, Rural Safety programs, support for Vulnerable groups,  the establishment of Victim friendly facilities, the implementation of School safety programs and a rigorous focus on reducing contact crime.

182.  Honourable Speaker, recent crime statistics show that we are making inroads in certain crime categories however, more challenges are still lying ahead.  The ANC –led government’s initiatives have yielded the following results:

·         Total contact crime cases reported in 2009/10 were 44 353 and this number has been reduced to 34 142 in 2012/13.  This signifies a 23% reduction in contact crime.


·         Of the seven categories of contact crime, four have shown a consistent decrease during this period, that is, Attempted Murder, Assault, Grievous Bodily Harm and Robbery.  


·         There is a general decrease in the other categories of crime including cases of Arson, Malicious damage to property, stock theft, shoplifting, car and truck hijacking.

·         This can be attributed, in part, to the social crime prevention programmes rolled out to priority stations and the community safety forums and policing forums that we have established and maintained 

183.  In the same period, sexual crimes recorded a consistent decrease until 2013, where an increase of 5 percent was recorded. This disturbing trend must be tackled head on. The domestic violence perpetrated against women and girl children requires that all the citizens of our province take a stand and say NO!

184.  Honourable Speaker, as I have mentioned before, tourism is a key economic driver in the Province. Furthermore Mpumalanga province remains one of the preferred destinations for tourists not only because of our beautiful landscape, historic sites and heritage but also due to our hospitality. We wish to assure our local and international guests that they are able to enjoy the wonders of our Province safely. To this end, we have recruited and deployed 588 Tourism Safety Monitors to identified crime hotspots.

185.  Let us reiterate that criminal and their acts have no place in our society. As a province we will continue to work with all law enforcement agencies and communities to take the fight against crime to these offenders. We want to say that Mpumalanga is not and will not be a safe haven for them. 

186.  Over the last five years we hosted important events like the 2010 Soccer World Cup, Orange Africa Cup of Nations and recently the 102nd anniversary celebrations for the ANC. The security cluster once again made us proud, there were no serious incidents recorded.

187.  Honourable Speaker, we are saddened to note that during the period under review, we experienced an increase in the carnage on our roads.

188.  Inclement weather conditions, the condition of vehicles, reckless driving, drunken driving, fatigue and the aggressive attitude of some of our road users contributed immensely to the increased fatalities recorded.

189.  Honourable Speaker and Members, let me assure you that we will not rest until our people are and feel safe wherever they may live, work or travel.


Integrated Human Settlements 

190.  Honourable Speaker, integrated human settlements embody our national vision as premised on the Freedom Charter which states that:  There shall be Houses, Security and Comfort! All people shall have the right to live where they choose, be decently housed, and to bring up their families in comfort and security…”

191.  The ANC led government continues to redress colonial and apartheid spatial planning and development through the delivery of socially, economically and spatially integrated human settlements.

192.  In the last five years we have promoted non-racialism, the integration of society through the development of sustainable human settlements and the provision of quality housing. We wish to admit that we have not fared well in this area of our work.

193.  After a thorough assessment of our failures in this area of work, decisive actions were taken to strengthen the department of human settlements at administrative and political levels.  

194.  Despite these initial challenges, we can report that:

·    We have constructed 29 488 housing units. This figure includes 6 388 incomplete units that were prioritised through the establishment of the Provincial Rapid Implementation Unit.

·         The Breaking New Ground (BNG) programme is progressing well at Klarinet. We are pleased to report that in Klarinet 2272 sites have been serviced, 1 749 subsidized houses have been completed and we have managed to secure and transfer 170 ABSA bonded houses as part of the GAP market.

·         We have increased access to social housing (PHP) to 14 436 as part of the comprehensive rural development programme.

·         We have completed beneficiary identification in all municipalities.

·         We have completed a provincial audit on housing infrastructure delivery challenges in the 18 local municipalities.

·         We have secured  1 893.5ha (28 portions) of well suited land for integrated human settlements; and

·         We have delivered 711 rental units for those people who are earning between R3 500 and R12 000 a month but cannot be granted a bond. 

195.  As part of responding to the plight of the most vulnerable individuals within our communities especially the elderly, people with disabilities, the poor and child-headed families, we took the initiative to partner with the private sector.

196.   Through this partnership we have managed to build and transfer 200 housing units for those in need.  Once more I wish to thank all those patriotic and progressive businesses for their selfless contribution to building a truly caring society.


197.  Honourable Speaker and Members, true to our ideals as espoused in the Freedom Charter our task to ensure decent living conditions and sustainable human settlements remains on course. The following key initiatives will be undertaken as we move forward:

·         Accelerate the provisioning of housing opportunities for deserving households in rural and urban areas,

·         Implement the Human Settlements Master Plan,

·         Provide basic services and bulk infrastructure,

·         Increase access to affordable housing and

·         Implement the Breaking New Ground (BNG) model.


Expanding Access to Basic Services

198.  Honourable Speaker, Members and esteemed guests, we have made tremendous progress in the past 20 years with respect to expanding basic services to all our people.

199.  The last five years of delivery on the mandate given to the ANC by the people of our province have been years of un-paralleled progress.  However, we are the first to admit that more still needs to be done to reverse the legacy of more than 360 years of colonialism and apartheid.

200.  Our detractors and opposition continue to deny that South Africa is a better place to live in today than it was 20 years ago.

201.  We have succeeded in addressing the many challenges facing our province. Millions of our people now have basic services like water; sanitation; refuse removal; electricity; housing; education; health care and other services. 

202.  Our recent municipal annual reports indicate that we have achieved:

·         An increase of water provision from 77.1% to 94.9% (1 021 076) households;

·          An increase of access to sanitation services from 53.9% to 95.6% (1 028 606) households;

·         An increase of access to electricity from 81.7% to 89.8% households; and

·         An increase of access to refuse removal services from 41.5% to 54% (544 069) households.

203.  Honourable Speaker, in the last few years we experienced service delivery disruptions mainly due to the ageing infrastructure, illegal connections, shortage of bulk infrastructure and poor operations and maintenance. 

204.  Of the many service delivery challenges experienced by our municipalities, access to water tops the list.

205.  As a province we committed to attend to the persistent problem of bulk water and sanitation infrastructure by assigning the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA) the responsibility in the eight selected CRDP municipalities.  

206.  Whilst this process has taken longer than anticipated due to the lack of cooperation by some municipalities, we have started to record progress and contractors have been appointed. 

207.  During this period we undertook a number of initiatives working with the Minister of Water Affairs to deal with the acute bulk water infrastructure challenges in selected areas.  

208.  We are pleased to report that some of the major highlights on water infrastructure investments over the last 5 years include:

·    Victor Khanye- Delmas Bulk Water Treatment Works worth R96m and the Bloemendal to Delmas Bulk water pipeline worth R171m. 

·    Bushbuckridge-Acornhoek Bulk Pipeline, Inyaka Water Treatment Works of 100M/L worth R1, 075bn.  We are now concluding the Hoxane water treatment plant worth R78m. More than R221m is being invested to roll-out a reticulation programme in the surrounding villages. 

In the next few days the Minister of Water Affairs and I will open the plant and hand over the villages that are completed.

·     Upgrading and maintenance of water infrastructure at Emalahleni, Nkomazi, Mbombela, Dr.JS Moroka, Thembisile Hani, Bushbuckridge and Mkhondo at an estimated value of R171m. 

·    Msukaligwa Temporary Bulk Pipeline worth R52m to restore water supply in the surrounding communities;

·    Installation of water treatment system to resolve the mine water pollution at Carolina in Chief Albert Luthuli.

209.  Honourable Speaker and Members, over the last five years, the province has experienced violent protests.  In the main the issues raised range from the inconsistent or lack of water supply, poor state of our roads, housing delivery, corruption and levels of unemployment.  

210.    As government we condemn the use of violence, intimidation, wanton destruction of property, loss of lives and attacks on state authority wherein protesters contemplate burning or attacking state institutions.

211.  We are the architects of this right to protest as enshrined in our constitution. We need to send a clear message that some protesters are undermining this hard-earned fundamental right through their actions.  As government we will enforce the rule of law to protect innocent citizens and public assets.

212.  To all the citizens of the province, I wish to reiterate, that there are no grievances that can justify violence, intimidation, loss of life and the destruction of property.  All citizens who are patriotic, value peace and democracy must join hands and defend our hard fought gains. 


State of Local Government in the Province

213.    Honourable Speaker and Members, local government is where most of our people have direct and frequent contact with government. They are frontline institutions that enable citizen interaction with government services.  

214.  In 2009, when we assumed office, we committed ourselves to make local government everybody’s business.

215.  In December 2009, Cabinet approved a turnaround strategy for local government.

216.  Some of the areas of concern over the last few years have been the social distance between councillors and the communities, deteriorating financial health, administrative and political challenges in many of our municipalities.

217.  We have started to note improvements on the collaboration between the work of Community Development Workers, Traditional Leaders, Councillors and ward committees at a ward level. The work of the CDWs has been significantly strengthened through the provision of adequate working tools.  

218.  Our municipalities continue to struggle in terms of financial viability, and an inability to collect their own revenue. This situation was exacerbated by the debts owed to them by other spheres of government.  

219.  I am pleased to report that R367million in arrears owed by government departments to municipalities was settled by the end of January 2014.

220.   Equally we have directed all our municipalities to improve their billing system and their revenue collection efforts.

221.  The ANC led government firmly believes that we will turn local government around and change people’s experience of services and governance.  Let’s all join hands and make local government everybody’s business.

222.  Honourable Speaker and Members, our journey continues:

·       We will enhance the quality of leadership at political and administrative levels in local government,

·       We will ensure that households progressively gain access to sustainable and reliable basic services. 

·       We will accelerate the current bulk water and sanitation interventions,

·       We will improve public trust in local government through active and deliberate citizen engagement.

·       We will continue to appoint competent and committed staff  and where necessary train and redeploy,

·       We will continue tackling corruption within local government,

·       We will continue to strengthen the work of the Institution of Traditional Leadership, especially its developmental role, as part of our governance system.


Support to the Institution of Traditional Leadership

223.  Honourable Speaker and Members, we continue to cherish the role of Traditional Leadership in the struggle against colonialism and dispossession. 

224.  The Province has committed itself to strengthening the role of the institutions of Traditional Leadership to be at the centre of development in their areas of jurisdiction. 

225.  We have enjoyed good working relations with the Institution of Traditional Leadership and the communities in their areas of jurisdiction.  We have seen improved participation in our education programmes, CRDP interventions and healthcare initiatives. 

226.  Working together with Amakhosi, the ANC led government has increased the number of traditional councils from 59 to 61. 

227.  We are providing financial support and other tools of the trade to enable them to discharge their duties effectively. 

228.   We have appointed the Provincial Committee on Traditional Leadership Claims and Disputes to resolve long outstanding matters of claims and disputes. To date, it has concluded 90 cases of the 163 cases lodged. 

229.  Honourable Speaker and Members, last year we were saddened to have lost a number of young initiates during ingoma.  Once more, on behalf of the people of this province I wish to convey our sincere condolences to the families that have lost their children.

230.  The House has committed to work closely with the Department of Health to develop stringent measures to avoid a repeat of this unfortunate incident.


Building A Capable, Democratic, Developmental State

231.  Honourable Speaker and members, our collective task to build a capable, democratic developmental state was inspired by the desire to entrench new values of equality, freedom, inclusivity and respect for human rights.

232.  We all remember the nature of the state that we inherited in 1994 - a state based on exclusion, a state founded on a racially based disregard for many basic human rights, a state that allocated its resources to a few and stripped the majority of our people of access to assets and decent livelihoods through a litany of prohibitive policies and legislation. 

233.  This was the skewed foundation upon which we had to build a democratic South Africa for all. So, we embarked on a twenty year journey characterised by reconciliation and reconstruction.

234.   We embraced democratic principles and forged policies and programmes based on public consultation as a means of deepening participatory democracy and ensuring the inclusion of the agendas and aspirations of a variety of interest groups. 

235.  In 1994 the Mpumalanga Province had been recently formed by an amalgamation of the then Eastern Transvaal as well as portions of the former national states, KwaNdebele and KaNgwane, and parts of Gazankulu and Lebowa.

236.  This geographical amalgamation brought with it the need to integrate a number of inherited laws and prescripts from the various administrations as well as the staff and officials that had been working in these diverse contexts.

237.  Whilst the Province successfully absorbed the public servants inherited from former administrations, the first few years could be characterised as having had a bloated public service that battled a duplication of functions and insufficient capacity.

238.  Looking back over the last twenty years, there is no doubt that we have come a long way.  It has not been easy, but we stand here today proud that we have made a great deal of progress in establishing people-centred and caring institutions that are responsive to the needs of all the citizens of the Province.