Address by MEC Thandiswa Marawu at the launch of the Joe Gqabi Economic Development Agency
25 May 2012
Cabinet Colleagues, MEC Jonas and MEC Qoboshiyane
Executive Mayor and Councillors of the Joe Gqabi District Municipality
Mayor and Councillors of the Maletswai Local Municipality
Leadership of the Joe Gqabi Economic Development Agency
Ladies and gentlemen
As the former Executive Mayor of the Joe Gqabi District Municipality I would like to commend the leadership of the municipality in this new term for the continuation of the implementation of economic development programmes that the previous leadership initiated.
Today, the people of this district can join the millions around the continent and the world to celebrate Africa Day with hope for a prosperous future, because this initiative will enable government and our social partners to unlock the economic growth potential of this region.
The Joe Gqabi District remains a model of an environment that the African National Congress (ANC) wants to prevail throughout the Province, where there is political stability and consensus-driven decision-making, which pave way for a stable administration of the local sphere of government and effective and efficient delivery of services to our people.
This is a foundation that we have laid and we were impressed by the outcome of the recent ANC regional conference, which never made media headlines, because of the discipline of local comrades when dealing with regional political dynamics. We all know that the ANC has a political responsibility to lead society and society can only hold us in high esteem if our own house is in order.
As the PEC, we highly commend the good example that is always set by the Joe Gqabi region and hope that other regions will emulate this good example, because political conflicts frustrate the development of our people, especially in this Province.
We all understand that since 1994, our people have been pinning their hopes on the ANC-led government to improve their living conditions and to grow the economy. We have been given sufficient time for institutional arrangements and the electorate is now desperately waiting for tangible service delivery.
As the current generation of leaders, we have a responsibility to honour those who came before us and sacrificed for our liberation and freedom, including Joe Gqabi, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Alfred Nzo, Chris Hani, Nelson Mandela and many others by ensuring that we invest towards systematically dealing with structural poverty, increasing inequality and worsening unemployment.
The combination of state, private and community investment will contribute to the achievement of shared growth and the creation of decent jobs through state led policy and programmes of development.
The launch of the Joe Gqabi Economic Development Agency comes at a right time, when government is attempting to correct the mistakes of the past, where our impressive multi-billion infrastructure development programme were driven through state-owned entities but did not have an impact on the rural areas.
This year, for the first time in our history as a democratic state, government’s infrastructure investment programme is biased towards the Eastern Cape and one of our priorities in this electoral term is rural development, which was previously not made a “key” focus area, because of accelerated urban development initiatives.
This new transition is captured in the motto: a better life for all, which finds its origins from the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP of 1994) as a key pillar of the South African post-apartheid developmental path that attempted to democratise the state and society, meet basic needs, develop our human resources and transform the economy.
The launch of the Joe Gqabi Economic Development Agency augurs well with government’s plan for the new ‘South Eastern Node and Corridor’ for the Eastern Cape through the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission to bolster the province’s industrial and agricultural development and export capacity.
When signing the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans and the Eastern Cape Provincial Government on Monday this week, Minister Lindiwe Sisulu pronounced that the new arrangement would enable the South African National Defence Force to patrol the border line between the Eastern Cape and Lesotho, which is situated in this district.
Through our Blue Skyway Aviation Strategy, we will continue to ensure that the rural airstrips in the district add value to local economic development and the delivery of various social services.
In conclusion, let us continue to work together to lead our people to a prosperous future, because a future of prosperity and a better life is within our reach. Let us grasp the opportunity with both hands.
I thank you!
Cell: 082 562 6023
Issued by: Eastern Cape Transport
25 May 2012
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