Speech of the Honourable Premier Noxolo Kiviet delivered on the occasion of the Eastern Cape State of the Province Address
12 Jun 2009
Honourable Speaker and Deputy Speaker
Members of the Provincial Legislature and Delegates of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP)
Executive Mayors and Mayors
Traditional leaders, religious leaders and representatives of civil society
Members of the Judiciary, and heads of the security services in the province
Ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps
Ladies and gentlemen
Somlomo, ndivumele ndithathe eli thuba ndibulise kubantu bakuthi abo bamamele kwiindawo ngeendawo, nakwabo babukeleyo kwezi ndawo zilandaleyo: Cape College eFort Beaufort e-Amathole, Dundee Community Hall eMount Ayliff e-Alfred Nzo, Louterwaters Stadsaal in Cacadu, eCala Community Hall e- Chris Hani, Veeplaas Community Hall in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Ntabankulu Town Hall e-OR Tambo, en die Venterstad Stadsaal in Ukhahlamba. Molweni bahlali beMpuma-Kapa kwezo ndawo nikuzo. Lumelang ba ahi Kapa Botshabela, bo mme le bo ntate. Dit is vir my ‘n eer om julle almal toe te spreek vandag.
Today I stand before you to present the first State of the Province Address of the fourth term of our democracy. Looking back over the past 15 years, we can all agree that giant strides have been made towards the attainment of the vision of a better life for all. Our current endeavours are a continuation of the stoic contributions made by our forebears and titans of our revolution. We recall the names of Oliver Tambo, Govan Mbeki, Chris Thembisile Hani, Wilton Mkwayi, Steve Tshwete, James “Chamelehashini” Kati, Nontuthuzelo Mabhala, and many others.
In this Youth Month we also would like to acknowledge the role of youth veterans such as Mzwandile “Gundrisse” Mchunu, Lizo Ndzobole, Sizwe Manzi, Andile “Nyembezi” Yawa, Nolizwe Mnyaka, Loyiso Mdikane, Holo Hlahatsi, Sheya Kulati, Mzi Skweyiya, Manelisi Zibi, Xola Nene and others.
On this occasion, honourable speaker, we are proud to recognise some of our luminaries of our province in the world of sport. We want to acknowledge Elrio van Heerden from Port Elizabeth and Innocent Mdledle from Matatiele who have made it to our national team, Bafana Bafana. Furthermore, we congratulate five young men who are participating in Team Siyakhula. They played in the International Triathlon Championship in Germany. Their names are Vukile Makeleni, Alithemba Maliwa, Michael Matyila, Elroy Lesch and Bulelani Madlavu. We also congratulate the Southern Kings who have obtained the Eastern Cape Rugby Franchise status and will be playing the British Lions on 16 June 2009 in Port Elizabeth.
Our analysis reflects a mixed bag of successes, achievements and challenges over the past fifteen years. We are under no illusion that much remains to be done to put our province and country firmly on a developmental growth path, ensuring sustainable livelihoods for the majority of our people. We know that while much has been achieved since 1994, ours is still a society that displays a legacy of deep and pervasive levels of poverty and inequality.
Therefore as we pause momentarily to reflect on what has been done, we recall our beloved former President Nelson Mandela’s words that the long walk to freedom is a journey of many hills and valleys, that “after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
Honourable speaker, it is against this background that I wish to take this opportunity to express a word of gratitude to all my predecessors in pioneering the establishment and consolidation of a development path for our province. We acknowledge with pride the contribution of Premiers Raymond Mhlaba, Makhenkesi Stofile, Nosimo Balindlela, and Mbulelo Sogoni. We will build on the positive legacy that has been bestowed on us, and in keeping with an African idiom, “inyathi ibuzwa kwabaphambili.”
We are also deeply humbled by the overwhelming mandate given to us by the people of the Eastern Cape to continue the task of transforming our society towards a better life for all. As we traversed the length and breadth of the province interacting with people during the election campaign, we heard the cry of our people for better services. In an unequivocal manner, our people have asked the African National Congress (ANC) to lead a collaborative effort to provide quality health services, improve access to quality education, improve the livelihoods of rural communities, provide more opportunities for decent work, and eliminate the scourge of crime.
We have heard the message of our people loud and clear, and we dare not disappoint them. We pledge to respond decisively to alleviate the plight of the poor in our province and move closer to our ideal of a better life for all.
Based on our understanding of the development challenges facing the province, and on our vision for a prosperous Eastern Cape, we have developed a Provincial Strategic Framework (PSF), which articulates eight strategic priorities for this five year term. This framework is aimed at translating our electoral mandate into an implementation programme by government. It will inform government plans and budget allocations. These strategic priorities, all of which are aligned to both the ANC Manifesto and to the Programme announced by President Jacob Zuma during his State of the Nation Address, are:
* speeding up growth and transforming the economy to create decent work and sustainable livelihoods
* building social and economic infrastructure
* rural development, land, agrarian reform, and food security
* strengthening education, and building a skills and human resources base
* improving the health profile of the province
* intensifying the fight against crime and corruption
* building a developmental state, improving the public services, and strengthening democratic institutions
* building cohesive, caring and sustainable communities.
I may also indicate, honourable speaker, that in aligning ourselves to the National Programme of Action, work on the management of natural resources and matters pertaining to international relations have been integrated into these strategic priorities.
Let me then elaborate on each of the areas covered in our Programme of Action. The first priority is to speed up growth and the transformation of the economy to create decent work and sustainable livelihoods. In this area we seek to grow the economy and to ensure equitable distribution of the benefits of such economic growth and quality job opportunities for our people. Working together with the relevant social partners, we will work on diversifying the economy of the province. We are paying urgent attention to the finalization and immediate implementation of the Provincial Industrial Development Strategy (PIDS).
This strategy outlines our deliberate efforts at altering the structure and distribution of industrial activity to promote economic growth and development. It is a set of dedicated government sponsored plans and interventions designed to build the productive capability to place the province on a more equitable and labour absorptive growth path. Its success is premised on the extent to which growth is sustained, jobs are created, and the economy is transformed in terms of de-racialising and broadening ownership of capital and assets.
As I am sure many of you know, Statistics South Africa has confirmed that the South African economy is now in recession. Indeed it has been evident for some time that the world economy is in deep crisis, with job losses being a clear and inevitable outcome. Our Province has not been immune to this trend. We have resolved to ensure that we consolidate our strategy to intervene in stemming these job losses.
In partnership with labour, civil society and industry, we are consolidating up scaling our interventions. This includes developing measures to immediately preserve existing jobs, a clear medium term strategy to create new ones, increasing public sector employment through the Expanded Public Works Programme, and accelerating public investment.
Furthermore, as part of ensuring greater levels of fixed capital formation and investment within the provincial economy, we will undertake an institutional review of the existing investment capacities. This will ensure that the provincial government is more responsive in facilitating strategic opportunities within the Province. We will intensify marketing the Eastern Cape as an investment destination.
We will also promote entrepreneurial development towards existing and potential opportunities and programmes beyond trading and government tenders. We will focus on the aggressive implementation of the Provincial Co-operatives Strategy, whose thrust would be on the training of primary cooperatives. Through the Co-operatives Development Fund we are targeting primary cooperatives in the areas of agribusiness (which includes agro-processing and marketing), forestry and timber processing, construction, the automotive sector, metals processing, chemicals production, textiles and clothing, tourism, and cultural industries.
Honourable speaker, the Eastern Cape is endowed with many tourism assets such as our golden beaches, culture and heritage sites, friendly people and great scenic beauty. We will therefore intensify tourism promotion due to its great potential for SMMEs and for job creation. The promotion of conference tourism, eco-tourism and sports tourism represents enormous opportunities. Similarly, the liberation route, which we recently launched at Chris Hani’s birth place, at Sabalele, is a uniquely Eastern Cape attraction, which will be taken forward. We will continue to work with the National Heritage Council (NHC) in advancing this agenda. With all these as our competitive advantage, we will continue to market our Province as the destination of choice.
Honourable speaker, our second strategic priority is the massive programme to build social and economic infrastructure. Through this priority we seek to respond to that characterise our province, and to create jobs. Focus will be placed on the provision of provincial transport and logistics infrastructure. This will include the expansion of the road construction programme. The construction of rural access roads in the province will be especially fast tracked and due consideration will be given to innovative alternative surfacing measures. Infrastructure challenges and backlogs planning for the provision of economic and social infrastructure will be up scaled in order to improve integration and maximise the impact on the well being of people, particularly in rural areas. To this end, focus has been placed on the development and revitalisation of education, sport, and health infrastructure, whilst the provision of affordable housing and the development of sustainable human settlements will also be speeded up.
We are implementing measures to improve infrastructure delivery. We are also exploring migration of all infrastructure delivery responsibilities to the Department of Roads and Public Works. This will enable other departments to concentrate on their core functions. Building technical capacity across the board will be key to accelerating infrastructure delivery.
Central to the provision of social and economic infrastructure is job creation through the implementation of phase two of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). The provincial target over the next five years is 480 000 work opportunities, across all departments and local government, with 60 000 work opportunities planned for the current financial year. The Expanded Public Works Programme will be linked to the National Youth Service. The objectives will be to employ 1 000 young people as part of the National Youth Service (NYS), to utilise these unemployed youth in the maintenance of public assets (clinics, hospitals, schools), and to equip them with basic skills while maintaining these assets.
Honourable speaker, one of the five pillars of the ANC Manifesto is rural development. Accordingly, rural development, land, agrarian reform and food security is our third strategic priority for the term. As a province that has a legacy of endemic rural poverty, the objective is to improve the quality of life of people in rural areas.
Our vision for rural areas will be guided by a Rural Development Strategy, which will be taken for consultation with relevant stakeholders before finalisation by end of June 2009. Fundamentally, the strategy seeks to unleash the socio economic development potential of the Eastern Cape, by addressing decisively the historical neglect of rural areas, to reverse the legacy of inequitable access to basic services, to reverse spatial imbalances which have continued to dog our economy, to improve the coordination and integration of service delivery across government, and to foster sustainable partnerships.
We will pay particular attention to ensuring long term sustainability of food security. In this regard, we will intensify the implementation of the Siyazondla Programme, which research shows, has been a successful intervention.
Working together with other spheres of government, we will strive for the protection of the rights of farm workers and dwellers, engage the Land Claims Commission for finalisation of all land claims to remove impediments to investment, address challenges of land administration in communal areas, and develop a clear regulatory framework for effective land use and management.
The rationalisation of rural development entities into a single Eastern Cape rural development entity is going to receive urgent attention. Current anti-poverty initiatives in the province will be integrated into both the Industrial Development and Rural Development strategies. The Eastern Cape is going to benefit from a sustained focus on the development of rural infrastructure and the development of income generating capacity for rural areas. For this purpose, we will soon launch a Provincial Rural Development Fund. We have chosen the Mhlontlo Local Municipality as a pilot site for this integrated approach to rural development, wherein all sectors of government will converge.
Honourable speaker, and honourable members, our fourth area of service delivery engagement is the strengthening of our education, skills and the human resource base. We are also aware that one of the key impediments and binding constraints to growth and development in the province has been the scarcity of skills, and the lack of a consistent skills building programme. We will therefore continue to implement and lead the various skills initiatives under the Provincial Strategic Skills Programme, whilst continuing to build partnerships for skills development across all targeted growth sectors. In order to increase the skills required in the economy, the re-capitalisation of the Further Education and Training (FET) colleges is being intensified. Teacher training and the provision of teaching facilities will be improved. We shall also strengthen our partnerships and collaborative efforts with Lower Saxony and Baden-Württemberg on the area of skills development through the FET colleges.
Honourable speaker, there is no doubt that the School Nutrition Programme has been a key weapon against poverty in the province. We acknowledge that its implementation has been beset by a number of challenges. We will therefore focus our attention on a range of initiatives aimed at improving the overall management and impact of this programme in its footprint, quality, geographical reach and the nutritional value of the meals. With the introduction of School Nutrition in Quintile One secondary schools, 174 105 learners in 183 schools will benefit in the 2009/10 financial year.
Through the development and implementation of an intensive Learner Attainment Improvement Strategy (LAIS) for the Eastern Cape, we will redouble our efforts to improve the provincial learner outcomes throughout the system in general, and matric results, in particular. Learner Attainment Improvement Strategy provides on site school support for new curriculum statement implementation and learning area support for teachers, especially focused on content knowledge gaps, developmental programmes for curriculum officials, strengthening the assessment guidelines for curriculum delivery for Grades R to 12, as well as developing teaching/learning support material. Special emphasis is being placed on Maths, Maths Literacy, Physical Science and English. Focus is being placed on under performing schools.
Furthermore, we are going to work hard to ensure that scholars from poor and working class communities are encouraged and assisted in their enrolment at tertiary institutions. We will do this because we are mindful of tertiary education attainment as a lever for breaking inter-generational poverty. The role of proper vocational guidance and career planning as a long term solution to skills shortage will also take centre stage in this term. Similarly, we are already hard at work in reviewing the impact of the various financial schemes to ensure greater synergy.
President Jacob Zuma has lifted education as a societal priority. In this regard we would like encourage all parents and communities to participate in the election of the school governing bodies that are underway throughout the month of June. Government, together with the social partners, will closely monitor the implementation of the quality teaching and learning campaign that was launched in April 2009 in our province.
Honourable speaker, the task of improving the health profile of the province is our fifth strategic priority. This seeks to promote the general health and well-being of the people of the province, especially the promotion of equity, accessibility and utilisation of health services. The focus for this term will be on the functionality of the health system at institutional level, notably at clinics and hospitals, on recruitment and retention of health professionals, and on infrastructure development and maintenance.
As part of strengthening the District health system, we are committed to ensuring the availability of essential drugs at all times through the proper management of supplier contracts. We will also accelerate the refurbishment and renovation of clinics, 24 hour community health centres and district hospitals, and we will promote healthy lifestyles through sport and recreation.
We are reviving and strengthening community involvement in health issues through structures such as clinic committees and hospital boards.
The rate of HIV and AIDS and of TB remains unacceptably high in the province. We are therefore intensifying a number of interventions, including the expansion of prevention, care and treatment services to people infected with, and 25
affected by, HIV and AIDS and TB. 105 health facilities will be accredited to provide comprehensive care, management and treatment services in the current year. We would like to call on all the citizens of the province to play their part through responsible behaviour and in encouraging TB patients to complete their treatment regime.
We believe that primary health remains the frontline of improving the health profile of the province. We are aware of the challenges facing the Eastern Cape in this regard, and we are committed to working with the local sphere to deliver comprehensive primary healthcare in this term.
Honourable speaker, the intensification of the fight against crime and corruption is our sixth strategic priority. Among other things, we are establishing Community Safety Forums (CSF) within all municipal areas, to focus on issues such as tourism and school safety.
As part of the crime prevention strategy, community policing structures will be strengthened through active participation in street and village committees. A special emphasis is going to be placed on rural safety, placing youth at the forefront of the fight against crime. We are intensifying our efforts at curbing social crimes aimed at women and children. In this regard our oversight of the South African Police Service will be improved.
Initiatives, like the Provincial Anti-Corruption Strategy and Plan, started in the previous term, will be strengthened. This will include ensuring that all Departments have the requisite anti-corruption, risk management and fraud prevention capacity.
Honourable speaker, our seventh strategic priority is the building of a developmental state, the improvement of the public service, and the strengthening of democratic institutions. Our approach to social transformation is premised on the understanding and acknowledgement that government remains central to the fundamental task of confronting the challenges of poverty and underdevelopment. The public service is the engine of government and its posture is fundamental for the overall performance of the state.
In this term we will return back to basics and pay particular attention to those issues that define the experience that ordinary people have when they access government services. Among other things we will ensure that in our dealings with the public we are timely in our responses, we dignify the less fortunate and go the extra mile in rendering services. We will display zero tolerance to non-performance, and we will comply with the guidelines of paying our service providers within 30 days. All public servants must play their role in our quest to build a caring society.
Honourable speaker, it is crucial to recognise that both the executive and legislature are important partners in improving performance.
In this term we will inculcate a culture of respect to the organs of state in general, and the legislature in particular. We will be responsive to house resolutions and petitions and field accurate answers to questions.
We also acknowledge the need to develop and maintain a fully enabled, functional and vibrant planning, monitoring and evaluation capacity within our provincial government. To this end, the establishment of the Provincial Planning Commission, based in the Office of the Premier, and tasked with improving planning coordination across the spheres of Government in the province, will receive urgent attention.
2009 will be the year of grounding our planning for the next five years. We will also strengthen all structures meant to facilitate co-operation with local government. In this regard an Inter-Governmental Relations Summit will be held before the end of 2009 to firm up co-operation, especially around planning and service delivery.
The improvement of financial governance will continue to be a key priority for our government in this term, in both provincial and local spheres. To this end we are supportive of a campaign driven nationally to achieve clean audit outcomes by 2014. Working in consultation with municipalities, the three co-ordinating departments, namely the Office of the Premier, Provincial Treasury and the Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs will devise coherent plans of support to municipalities to further improve municipal audit outcomes.
We will take urgent steps to address the shortage of office accommodation in Bhisho and in the districts. We will also explore accommodation options for public servants, especially in small towns and rural areas in the eastern part of the Province.
Honourable speaker, our eighth and final strategic priority is building cohesive, caring and sustainable communities. It is incumbent upon us, as directed by the President, to develop a common attachment to our country, our Constitution and national symbols. In advancing this message, we will initiate a range of activities, which will contribute to the development of national identity. The promotion and strengthening of school and community sport and arts and culture have an important role to play in fostering a sense of patriotism and community solidarity.
Our society faces many challenges. The rape of children and the high rate of abuse of women are scourges which call for rebuilding the moral fabric of society and a return to the values of ubuntu. Working with faith-based organisations, traditional leaders and local government we will intensify support for the Moral Regeneration Movement (MRM). The effective provision of child care and protection services, care and support to the elderly, and people with disabilities, and programmes aimed at prevention of substance abuse and rehabilitation will be enhanced to promote care for the poor and the vulnerable.
We welcome that a Ministry for Women, Youth and People with Disabilities has been established. We are already working together with the ministry in preparing to host the National Children’s Day in November 2009. We will also be working together to ensure the strengthening of the provincial gender machinery.
Furthermore, as honourable embers know, the Eastern Cape will host 2010 FIFA World Cup matches in Port Elizabeth, and offer training facilities in Mthatha and East London. As a province we are proud to be the first to have completed and opened a 2010 stadium. We are indeed ready to welcome the peoples of the world and the multitudes of soccer fans to our shores. We must ensure that this international spectacle leaves us with a lasting developmental legacy.
Accordingly, everything is being done to ensure that the current infrastructure improvements as well as related benefits are sustainable beyond 2010. As a province we are confident that security arrangements and protocols for 2010 are well in hand.
Honourable speaker, in implementing these eight strategic priorities we commit to work in partnership with all our social partners. In particular, we will work very closely with the institution of traditional leadership, especially in relation to our Programme of Rural Development.
Let me also take this opportunity to thank the people of the Eastern Cape for successfully hosting the Indian Premier League cricket tournament, which was organised at short notice and during a very busy time in our national calendar.
As I conclude honourable speaker, let me take this opportunity to wish the young people of our province success in celebrating Youth Month. This year the commemoration of 16 June takes place against a backdrop of changes in youth development policy, heralded by the advent of the National Youth Development Agency. Work is already underway to pilot legislation aimed at repealing the Eastern Cape Youth Commission legislation, in line with the spirit and imperatives of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Act.
In the coming days, Members of the Executive Council will provide more line function specific details of this programme in their respective policy speeches.
Furthermore the Executive Council will embark on an extended outreach in the month of July. This is aimed at engaging communities and our partners in the local sphere of government on all aspects of this Provincial Programme of Action, to ensure seamless implementation.
Our success lies in our collective effort as the people of the Eastern Cape. We have the potential to succeed.
Working together, we shall ensure that the steps we have outlined in this house today contribute meaningfully in changing the lives of our people for the better. We accordingly declare to the people of our province that, through honesty and dedication in working together, we shall achieve more.
I thank you
Ke ea leboha
Issued by: Office of the Premier, Eastern Cape Provincial Government
12 June 2009
Source: Office of the Premier, Eastern Cape Provincial Government (http://www.ecprov.gov.za)
Issued by: Eastern Cape Provincial Government
12 Jun 2009
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