Keynote Address delivered by Premier Mabuza at the occasion of the launch of the Provincial Human Resource Development Strategy

27 March 2012

Thank you Programme Director for the opportunity. 

Our host, the Principal of Nelspruit Hoërskool
Members of the Executive Council
Executive Mayors and Councillors present here today
Members of the Provincial Legislature within our midst
Our Traditional Leadership who are with us today
Heads of Department and other Senior Management from Provincial Departments and our Agencies
Members of the Provincial Steering Committee on HRDS
Representatives of our different stakeholders in the education fraternity
The Media
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen 

On behalf of the Provincial Government, I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for inviting me to come and make few remarks on this important occasion. I feel honoured and privileged indeed.

As we all know, the importance of skills development in our country, the Province included, cannot be overemphasised. For us to be in a position to tackle the challenges of abject poverty and the high level of unemployment so pervasive in our communities in a meaningful way, we have to stimulate robust economic growth.  

Unfortunately, this is not possible because the requisite skills required by the very economy are extremely inadequate.

At the occasion of the Provincial Human Resource Development Summit on 18- 19 August last year, we promised the people of Mpumalanga that every effort will be made to ensure that the HRD Strategy finalised as speedily as possible.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is nothing more pleasing than to note that indeed that promise has finally come to fruition.

In my brief remarks today, I will focus largely on:

  • the importance of education and skills development; in our success as a province;
  • the priorities outlined in the HRD Strategy;
  • progress and the significance of the establishment of the University; and
  • some reflections on the importance of stakeholder contribution and the role of the HRDS Steering Committee.
Education and Skills for Development

Academics and analysts of comparative country experiences of development tell us that those countries that can be characterized as ‘successful developers’ prioritised ‘human capital’ and its quality.

Furthermore they point out that the emphasis in these countries lay in;

‘creating a learning economy so as to acquire skills, absorb ideas and technologies and lay the foundations for domestic innovation’

They point out that this ‘learning economy’;

“includes the schooling system and vocational training, tertiary education, research conducted in universities, public institutes and by domestic and foreign businesses, and the harnessing of digital intelligence with the help of a state-of-the-art IT network."  

There are lessons to be learnt from these experiences by us as a country and as a province.

The World Bank published ‘Africa Competitiveness Report’, continues to indicate that Africa has a poor business environment due to, among others, the insufficient availability of skills and ability to absorb technology’.

The lesson for us as a province is that there must be greater investment in education and skills development for us to create a better business environment and to achieve the human development goals we have set ourselves. 

This was the basis for our pronouncements in the State of the Province Address where we indicated that; 

“the unavailability of scarce and critical skills remains a major constraint to economic growth and development.

Our priority should focus on improving the quality of basic education and create a pipeline into tertiary institutions which, in turn, increases the output to provide a sustainable pool of skills needed for economic growth and development”.

A Provincial Strategy

We have finally before us a Strategy that is a product of extensive consultation and can take skills development in the province to another level.

Today, we are gathered together here to launch the Provincial Human Resource Development Strategy – a framework that will go a long way in responding to the challenges of skills shortage that are confronting us as a Province.

It is a strategy expected to provide the required skills for a competitive, labour absorbing and inclusive economy that must benefit all the people of Mpumalanga.

Among others, the Provincial Human Resource Development Strategy advocates for improving the provision of Early Childhood Education (ECD) and paying particular attention to laying sound foundation in literacy, numeracy, life skills and human rights values within our schooling system.

It advocate for re- alignment of curriculum with the needs of industry and particular focus the teaching and learning of gateway subjects such as Mathematics, Physical Science and Technology.

It also looks at teacher quality and development and on improving learner performance in all the grades with focus on grades 3, 6 and 9.

The Strategy calls for Community Mobilisation to support all education efforts as well as the strengthening of the quality provisioning of Adult Basic Education and Adult Education and Training to improve basic literacy and the acquisition of required skills.

Progress on University

We were all pleased at the announcement by the President in his State of the Nation Address regarding the establishment of a University in the Province.

I wish to re-iterate, as I have done so, on various occasions that the provincial leadership and administration will continue to work closely with the Department for Higher Education, led by Dr Blade Nzimande, to realize the dream of that University.

There is no doubt that the establishment of the university will, in the long term, address some of the skills challenges facing the Province.

When we look at tertiary education attainment in the country, on the continent, and we compare with the rest of the world, we are able to see that this provincial university must be established as soon as possible.

In 2010, Sub-Saharan Africa had 0.78% of its adult population having tertiary education compared to 3.94% for the rest of the world.

Compared to the rest of the continent we do not perform very well. Botswana had 2.7% of its adult population with a tertiary education, Tunisia 6.2% and South Africa only 0.6%.

We have much to do in the tertiary education environment.

The establishment of a university in our province should help re-open the discussion of challenges regarding expanding access to tertiary education and at the same time improving quality and relevance, how to make it more equitable and the funding models most appropriate given our limited resources. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Provincial HRDS calls for investment in critical and scarce skills by paying particular attention to the sectors of focus that are capable of bringing economic growth and capable of absorbing a large number of our unemployed population. 

The Strategy also requires collaboration of purpose with Higher Education Institutions and economic sectors.

This will create an environment where education institutions would pay attention to mainly the quality of teaching programmes and also encourage them to form strong partnerships with industry.

This calls for all stakeholders to work together, from schools to SETA’s to FET colleges. We all have a critical role to play. From parents, to industry associations, government, the SETA’s and so on. We all must ensure that the Strategy succeeds.

The responsibilities of the HRDS Steering Committee

I want to take this time to express our appreciation to members who volunteered to be part of the Provincial Steering Committee on HRDS and at the same time congratulate you on your appointment.

As indicated earlier, your roles will be to:

  • Assist the Provincial Government to implement the  strategic priorities contained in the HRDS;
  • Facilitate the continuous review of the Provincial HRDS in line with changing economic demands and in line with the Provincial Growth and Development Strategy(PGDS) and the Mpumalanga Economic Growth and Development Path (MEGDP);
  • Assist in ensuring that the HRDS is a useful tool that enables the province to develop and grow the skills needed to make the economy flourish and in so doing assist in achieving the objectives of the MEGDP and the PGDS; and
  • Monitor and evaluate the implementation of the HRDS in the Province.

We have no doubt in our minds that you are equal to the task and will contribute towards the attainment of this mandate.

In conclusion, I wish to pay tribute to all role players and the leadership of MEC Mhaule that has ensured that this day arrives and we are able to launch this important pillar of the success of our province.

Wishing you all the success as you enter the critical stage of Implementation.

I thank you

^ Back to Top