Address by the Premier of the Eastern Cape Ms Noxolo Kiviet, EXCO media briefing, cabinet room
8 Sep 2010
Members of the Executive
Ladies and gentlemen
We wish to thank the media for attending this briefing which comes after our provincial lekgotla which ended yesterday.
As provincial government we recognise the major impact caused by the recent public service strike. We also express our relief that the public service strike has come to an end. We recognise the impact it has had on the provincial landscape and are optimistic as the parties continue to engage, a mutually beneficial settlement will be reached.
I need to indicate at the same time though, that whilst we respect the right of workers to embark on an industrial action, it was sad and disturbing to receive reports of neglect of patients in hospitals, intimidation, violence and even criminal activity which has no place in our democracy.
Following the industrial action we have seen it fit, to develop acomprehensive recovery plan that includes the following:
• In place of trial examinations, question papers and memoranda will be used to speed up syllabus coverage and also ensure exam readiness by the Grade 12 class.
• Learning centres will be established throughout the province for intensive teaching, catch-up and learner preparation
• Retired teachers and experts will be organised per district to focus on learner motivation and monitoring of the learning centres
• Regular radio talks will be utilised by various managers and educators to reach learners
• The 496 underperforming high schools in our province are a priority in this regard.
With regard to health services I wish to extend a word of compassion to all our people, and regret that they were exposed to many trying conditions in the health care system in our province. We remain committed to proving quality health care in the province.
At our lekgotla meeting that ended yesterday afternoon, we reaffirmed our eight strategic priorities, outlined earlier this year in the State of the Province address. We also acknowledged that the province faces huge challenges in both areas of economic and social transformation.
This tends to impact negatively on our development indicators, in particular.
We also acknowledged that we need to focus on the state of the public sector and the need to be more innovative and efficient in our operations. The lekgotla agreed on the necessary strategic responses to address the challenges that we face.
These interventions will be directed mainly in the sectors of health and education. A particular focus on these departments has been made necessary because of the critical place they occupy in the ANC Manifesto, their potential in sustaining development and that they consume the biggest chunk of our resources.
The key feature of our turnaround in these two department centres on the judicious management of resources allocated to them, improving systems efficiencies and human resources management.
As government we also emphasise the importance of inter-sphere collaboration where different spheres work together to accelerate service delivery. A case in point where this is working well, is the King Sabatha Dalindyebo Municipality Intervention. In this intervention the Premier chairs a committee where the leadership of different spheres of government participate in giving guidance to this initiative.
A master plan that spans a 20 year horizon has been developed. It addresses challenges and identifies 280 projects for implementation in various focus areas and emphasises the need to approach the projects in an integrated and coordinated manner.
Once again I take this opportunity to thank the people of this province for being such great hosts and ambassadors of our province. A few points indicate that we were successful in hosting this event and these include the commendable work done by the safety sector, particularly the dispensing of justice where necessary, which saw the court operation centre finalising more than131 FIFA related cases.
Let me take this opportunity to also thank the media for a job well done, in its coverage of the event, and also partnering with government in sharing the information on the successes, and generally keeping our populace up to speed with the activities during the World Cup. This is really commendable. This augurs well for the Eastern Cape as a brand going forward and has left us with a great legacy which we must now build upon.
In terms of government programme of action as outlined in the State of the Province Address the lekgotla reflected on some of the highlights and areas we need to sustain in our delivery.
• With regard to job creation, we are progressing well with our EPWP targets with departments creating a total of 22294 work opportunities
• In health, through the HIV Counselling and Testing campaign 198 275 people were tested, 310 970 counselled and 78 088 screened for TB across districts
• The number of patients on ART is now 118 036 and the number of health facilities providing ART has increased from 85 to 147
• All health care facilities are rendering Prevention of Mother to Child Transmissions.
• In education, the process of establishing ECD centres is progressing well, with 12 new ECD centres established. Currently out of 4,634 schools the department has attached Grade R classes to 4538 schools.
• We are finalising our process of rationalizing the rural development agencies so that we streamline our rural development efforts. It is important that different spheres of government and all sectors of society take their place in addressing the issues of marginalisation in the rural hinterland.
With regard to combating crime and corruption
• Our point of departure as government is that members of the community are our eyes and ears and therefore one of the pillars of our strategy is crime reduction through community mobilisation.
• We are pleased to report the following
• 24 crime mobilisation awareness campaigns were held across districts and street and village committees have been established within community police forum precincts as pilot projects.
• A Provincial Crime Prevention Indaba is planned for the third quarter, which starts next month.
• The cluster in partnership with the Department of Education, is undertaking the safer schools project, aimed at reducing incidence of crime in our schools. – In this regard 282 safer schools committees have so far been established across the province.
We are also very firm in our quest to root out corrupt practices as we recognise the extent to which they can undermine our efforts to create a better life for our people.
• Support has been given to preliminary investigations conducted for alleged irregularities in the Department of Education, Health and Transport.
• In fact we are hosting the Provincial Anti-Corruption Consultative conference on Friday, 10th of this month to review our anti-corruption strategy.
- There is also a concerted effort to strengthen the criminal justice system by ensuring there is a bias towards addressing the scourge of violence against women and children. To this end:
• 40 victim support centres are now operational in police stations
• 24 District Justice Forums are operational including the provincial forum
• Working with sectors of society including traditional leaders we are addressing the areas of concern to us namely:
- The deaths of initiates(especially) in the Pondoland area
- The forced marriage of teenage girls (ukuthwala)
- The killing of elderly women accused of practicing witchcraft.
All these reverse the gains we have made as a country and a democracy, and hence the partnership to find ways and means to eliminate these incidents, that eat into our moral firbre as a people.
1.1 As part of accelerating the development of the province, leadership, all sectors of society, and indeed all the people of the Eastern Cape, must unite behind a few strategic projects that have the greatest potential to alter the conditions of people for the better.
1.2 As we grapple with financial challenges, we need to also work closely with our social partners in the Province to forge common ground and find solutions to provincial challenges that confront us.
1.3 The state of agriculture in the country has been is on a decline, and this poses a threat to food security. The entire value chain in agro processing in the province therefore needs to be supported. Such support will include upgrading of rural infrastructure as part of easing access to markets.
1.4 Above all, we must ensure that all efforts in building the economy of the Eastern Cape are synergised. As part of this, we must improve communication, especially across the spheres of government.
1.5 With regard to the public administration we must urgently consolidate our efforts to ensure that our human resource capacity is characterised by a high degree of efficiency.
1.6 The Presidential Hotline must also be linked to the local government level in order to shorten response times. We recognise the need to revisit our model to improve efficiency
1.7 We must engage society in a sustained dialogue around issues of social cohesion in the Eastern Cape.
1.8 To further improve our capacity to deliver we must consolidate our efforts in implementing our intergovernmental relations strategy as it remains a critical lever for collaboration between different spheres of government
In due course there will be cluster media briefings that will go in to detail with regards to the work of government, progress thereof and some of the challenges.
The MECs are also present to add and provide some of the detail where necessary regarding what I have just presented.
In closing, we wish the Muslim Community Eid Mubarak as the month of fasting draws to a close.
Source: Office of the Premier, Eastern Cape Provincial Government
Issued by: Eastern Cape Office of the Premier
8 Sep 2010
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