Honourable Premier's opening remarks at the Taking the Legislature to the People

11 March 2013

Thank you Programme Directors, Honourable Memela and Honorable Lubisi, for the opportunity.
The Executive Mayors of both the District and Chief Allbert Luthuli municipalities;
The Chairperson of the NCOP;
Honourable Members of the NCOP;
Honourable Members of the Legislature;
Members of the Executive Council;
The Chairperson of SALGA and Councillors present here today;
The Chairperson of the House of Traditional Leaders and other Traditional Leaders who are within our midst;
The Director General of the Province and HODs;
Representatives of all organisations present here today;
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

Welcoming the visit

On behalf of the Provincial Government and the people of this Province, I wish to join the previous Speakers in welcoming the visit of the NCOP to the Province. We really feel privileged and honoured indeed.

Honourable chairperson of the NCOP, as the Province, we really appreciate the oversight work that the NCOP is continuously conducting in the Province.

The observations, findings and recommendations that the NCOP always produces from its visits are taken extremely serious by the Provincial government in that we view this oversight work as an important element that strengthen the endeavours of government geared towards creating a better life for all our people in the Province.

Challenges and interventions

Honourable Members of the NCOP, it is also our belief that working together we can do more with regard to the reduction of poverty, unemployment and inequality – ills which continue to devastate our people on daily basis.


Looking at the 2011 Census, the figures are showing that the population of the Province has experience a growth rate of 20% between 2001 and 2011. Put it differently, it means that the Provincial population has grown from 3,3 million people to 4 million people over a period of ten years.

Looking at the different Districts, in the Gert Sibande District municipality, the population decreased with approximately one (1) percent, while the Ehlanzeni and Nkangala districts registered growth.

Of the six municipalities in Gert Sibande, five showed population increase over the ten-year period under review except Chief Albert Luthuli municipality, which recorded a negative growth of approximately 1%.

Mkhondo leads the pack with a 20% population growth rate while the rest are standing below a 10% mark. 

Other indicators

The figures are further showing that, in Chief Albert Luthuli:

  • 35,4% of the people are unemployed and the majority are young people;
  • 19,9% of the people have no schooling;
  • 47,9% are living below the poverty income level;
  • 6,2% have no access to sanitation

HIV and AIDs prevalence

Honourable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen, our biggest threat in this Province is the prevalence of HIV and AIDs pandemic.

As a Province the prevalence increased from 34,6%  in 2007 to 36,7% in 2011, still lying second in the country after KwaZulu-Natal Province. Over the same period, Gert Sibande led the other districts and Mkhondo leading all the municipalities.

What is scary is that Gert Sibande, instead of decreasing after interventions of many stakeholders, the prevalence has shown an increase of prevalence cases from 40,6% in 2007 to 46,1% in 2011, which makes this District the leader of all the districts in the country.

Without doubt, this situation cannot be allowed to continue unabated. It is a situation that requires something extra-ordinary to be done as a matter of urgency.

Of course, we have to join efforts to fight this scourge that has placed the people of Gert Sibande under siege.

Fortunately, the National Department of Health and the Province have identified this district as one of those that will benefit from the National Health Insurance Pilot Programme.

As preparation for this pilot, both national and  Province have conducted a status quo report of all the health facilities in Gert Sibande, checking as whether or not they meet the required core standards.

The results of the report revealed that our facilities are not faring well as far as the core standards are concerned.

As a response to this bleak situation, together with national, we are going to, among other things:

Bring all the health facilities in Gert Sibande to their basic minimal functionality, that is, attend to challenges of facilities and infrastructure; resolve the issue of leadership and governance, deal with patient safety and many other related issues. This includes the hospital here in Carolina;

Demolish and build the Elsie Ballot Hospital in Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Bethal hospital in Govan Mbeki, Ermelo Sesifuba in Msukaligwa, Standerton TB hospital in Lekwa;

Vigorously drive the male Circumcision Campaign, primarily in this District;

Bring health issues close to our children and the elders, including people living in the farming areas.

However, these plans and our good intentions won’t work if all of us are not going to participate in these initiatives. 

Economic growth

Ladies and gentlemen, all is not doom and gloom.

Recent STATS SA figures are also showing that the Gert Sibande District has experienced an economic growth rate of 3,7% in 2012, far above than those of Nkomazi and Nkangala which were sitting at 1,7% and 1,4% respectively in the same year.

The local economic growth rate of Chief Albert Luthuli stood at 3,6% in 2012, almost matching that of the District.

Matric Results

Looking at the matric results in Chief Albert Luthuli, the matric pass rate improved from 69,7% in 2011 to 71,1% in 2012, making this municipality number 8 when ranking all the our municipalities in the Province. 

Water and Electricity

The other element where improving is telling relates to water and electricity. The 2011 Census indicates that 81,8 % and 87,5% have access to water and electricity respectively.

Going forward

Honourable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen, we need to build on these positive developments as we continue with our journey to the future of a better life.

As the Province, through our Economic Growth and Development Path, our intentions and objectives are very clear.

We intend to intensify our quest of growing the economy so that we are able to create jobs, reduce poverty and address the challenges of inequality.

Youth development, cooperatives and small business developments are at the center stage of our development agenda, not to mention women and people living with disabilities.

Through the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme we intend to continue changing the rural landscape for the better.

Already, we have started to observe the impact of this programme on the lives of our people where we are busy rolling it out.

We have seen jobs being created, young people being trained in different trades, cooperative being developed and houses being built for the poor.

Through MEGA, we will be attending to the issue of Bulk Water Supply and sanitation so that, come 2014, all our people in this district must have access to water without fail.

Let me take this opportunity to say to the people of Silobela, the problems of water here in Caroline have been resolved. The quality of water is good and safe for consumption.

Currently, we are busy attending to the expansion of water supply in this area to accommodate the current and future growth. 

As I conclude, I wish to, once more, express our appreciation of the NCOP visit.

We hope you will be walking with us in this challenging road lying ahead.

I wish you a pleasant stay in the Province.

Indeed, together we can do more.

I thank You
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