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North West Premier Thandi Modise
 
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Date: 17/02/2012

Source: The North West Provincial Government

Title: NW: Modise: State of the Province Address by the Premier, at North West University

 


Honourable Speaker
Honourable Deputy Speaker
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng
Judge President Leeuw and other Members of the Judiciary
Honourable Members of the Legislature and National Council of Provinces (NCOPs)
Members of the Executive Council
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Executive Mayors and Mayors of local municipalities
Commissioner of Police
Director-General and Heads of Departments
Leaders of opposition parties
Chairperson of the House of Traditional Leaders Our Esteemed Majesties and Royal Highnesses
Stalwarts and veterans of our struggle
Leadership of various religious formations
Leadership of labour and business
Community leaders and media representatives
Distinguished guests
Comrades, ladies and gentlemen
Baagi ba Bokone Bophirima
Honourable Speaker

On 8 January 2012, the African National Congress (ANC) celebrated its 100th anniversary, marking a century of proud, tireless and selfless struggle to advance the cause of freedom for all our people.

This centenary provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of this great liberation movement for its work, together with the people of South Africa, to defeat the most evil of systems - Apartheid.

Speaking at George University (Washington DC) Oliver Tambo said in 1987, (I quote) “We seek to create a united Democratic and non- racial society. We have a vision of South Africa in which black and white shall live and work together as equals in conditions of peace and prosperity."

Today, the ANC enjoys the overwhelming confidence of the masses as a trusted leader and loyal servant of the people in the ongoing struggle to build a better life for all.

Our democracy is maturing. Our people continue to show confidence inthe achievements made since 1994. Our people are confident that we shall do more and will continue to lead them into a future of dignity and respect.

They are aware that we have not reached all of them; they are aware that they have not been forgotten. They are aware that step by step, too slowly for their liking, we are on the way to bring the services they are awaiting and to improve the quality of what they are already getting.

Mr Speaker

The North West province is facing a number of ills that affect our society - high unemployment rate, poverty, deepening inequality, rural marginalisation, corruption and racism.

In his State of the Nation Address on 9 February 2012, the President, Mr JG Zuma, agrees that by combating these challenges this year and beyond the government should, among others, be involved in the delivery of basic infrastructure.

The North West (NW) government is working towards improved quality education, long and healthy life for all people, safety and security for all, economic growth that translates into work and improved living standards; vibrant, equal and a responsible, accountable, efficient and effective local government.

We commit our government to take reasonable measures within the available resources to ensure that these basic services are accessible to our people.

We are also alert to the 2010 New Growth Path’s key job drivers:

a) Infrastructure development – stronger local procurement and encouraging labour intensive construction
b) Agriculture, Agro-processing, Mining, Manufacturing and Tourism
c) New economies – knowledge and green economies and investing in social capital; and
d) Spatial development – rural and regional development.

Mr Speaker

Last year, I committed the North West government to perform the following tasks:

On job creation – our target over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) was 158 000 jobs.

The target for the 2011/12 financial year is 52 898 jobs. We have exceeded this target with 27 535 jobs by creating 80 433 jobs to date. We intend to work much harder to reach the 2014 target.

We comment Dr Modiri Molema and Bojanala District Municipalities for creating more jobs.

I announced the intention to fill all the vacant strategic positions in the Provincial Administration – I also insisted that we would look for capabilities and skills - that we would not simply hire people because we knew them or liked them.

Four of the six vacancies have been filled. We are finalising the head-hunting process for the HOD for Public Works.

Two departments are at interview stage and one HOD has retired (Public Safety – advertisements are out already).

Two HODs have since been suspended – one is facing internal disciplinary processes and the other one’s matter is in the courts. The North West is still without a substantive Director-General – the matter is at the labour court and is expected to be finalised by end of February 2012.

Honourable Speaker

We promised a new Bophelong Psychiatric Hospital – the work started in April last year and we hope to complete the project this year.

We said we will resolve the Mafikeng Medical depot debacle – I am happy that vacant positions in operational and management posts are being filled and that the information technology (IT) system challenges are being addressed to deal with the inventory management systems challenges.

We will utilise the hospital revitalisation grant to upgrade Lichtenburg hospital and the nursing college, Brits staff accommodation; the Moses Kotane, Potchefstroom and Taung nursing colleges. Extensions of facilities will be done at Mmabatho and Excelsius nurses training colleges; Buxton, Tweelingspan and Moshana clinics will be refurbished. Four (4) community health centres will be constructed at Sikhing, Maquassi Hills, Mathibestad and Joubertina.

We have come from behind – from being amongst the worst–run departments of health to being amongst the best-run! We have won awards for a number of our hospitals as the cleanest hospitals. We must make sure that all our clinics and hospitals improve bedside manners, are clean and safe.

We have exceeded our targets for voluntary tests and have even managed to be the only province to marginally reduce the rate of HIV infections by 0,4%. Arrangements for MEDUNSA final year students to do their practicals at Job Shimankana Tabane hospital are at an advanced stage.

Honourable Speaker

We are fixing the Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport. Disciplinary processes are about to commence, some matters are under investigation and some tenders have had to be withdrawn. We are happy to announce the support of the Minister of Public Works who has graciously seconded personnel to us; we also welcome the secondment of personnel from the Eastern Cape.

We have also improved our payment system. We now pay within the 30 days period. There may be some department that is still trailing behind.

Mr Speaker

We have retained our position of third (3rd) best performer and improved our matric pass rate to 77,8%. We thank our dedicated teachers, learners and parents for this achievement. We must invest energy, time and resources in education to fight against poverty and inequality.

Tourism is the mainstay of our economy – we must ensure that it continues to grow and contribute to the socio-economic well being of this province. To this end, our facilities are being refurnished and some will be upgraded. It is a sad state of affairs to have a 1,3% growth in tourism in the last year. Our target for 2012 should be higher.

The North West province will host the National Tourism Day in September this year. A preparatory team has been established. We must encourage people of our province to discover the joys of their facilities in their own province.

We are proud to announce that sport school is taking off; that the mentorship by our national sporting icons is shaping up and that this North West initiative is being adopted by the national minister of sports.

Libraries and recreational centres are being constructed at Lomanyaneng, Mafikeng, Manthe, Moretele, Lichetenburg and Schweizer-Reneke.

The Taung and Potchefstroom agricultural facilities are being refurnished and will soon be completed. There is no need for people to sweat and misrepresent us on this matter.

We must however ask ourselves whether we want to create average facilities of agricultural learning and training or whether our contention and intention be an agricultural hub should not be motivation to aim to be the best in South Africa.

We will be launching the Kgora Training centre to afford emerging and aspirant farmers practical farming experience.

Honourable members,

The Mafikeng Child and Youth Centre is 98% complete. Social Development also stepped in to help the destitute situation during the Aurora Mines debacle and has also helped many families in desperate situations.

Mr Speaker

We promised to revive the NW Premier's Coordinating Council. This has been done. NWPCC has met thrice in the last 12 months. We are encouraged by the enthusiastic and productive interactions on this Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) forum. We intend to help districts to set up their own IGR fora by September this year.

Honourable members

We also promised to revive or re-establish the Imbizos. We have done so and have already had two successful Imbizo which informed some of the budget decisions we have taken so far.

We promised to review and resuscitate all relations within and outside the Republic. We have done so.

We received two high powered delegations from Henan Province (China) and Texas (USA). We have signed new MoUs with Henan and Manitoba (Canada).

Henan – Agriculture, Tourism and Economic Development
The new MoU with Manitoba Province (Canada) focuses on youth development, the environment, and sustainable agriculture.

We have hosted a meeting of the South African Development Community (SADC) Ambassadors to Zimbabwe, demonstrating the attractions of the NW and the economic and developmental advantages our geographic position offers to the rest of SADC.

We thank the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation for helping open the possibilities of relation between some Indian provinces and the North West province.

Mr Speaker

We are happy that the President has moved to address the problem of South Africans who could not access bank bonds or quality for RDP houses.

We will commence this year with the rental stock (social housing). High rise is the way to go because all of us realise that land is inelastic. Human Settlements has constructed 13 200 housing units to date. Backlog for housing unit has moved from 249 000 to 207 000 whilst informal settlement backlog has moved from 50 000 to 49 000. Ga nnyane, ga nnyane.

We promised to address the quality and the quantity of electric energy we get. We are pleased to say after several meetings, Eskom has made an investment of R10.85 bn in infrastructure for electricity for the next five years in the North West.

In this financial year 10 162 new electricity connections will be made. Yes, we know many more must still be made but “Ukufani Nokuhlala”.

The department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs adopted the Turn Around Strategy after its approval by Cabinet in December 2009, which seeks to achieve a responsive, accountable, effective and efficient local government system by 2014.

A segmentation model for municipalities has been developed.

I committed MECs of Finance and Local Government to a programme with the municipalities to improve and eradicate challenges experienced in management of services and capacities. This work is being done. We hope to see better results in the coming Auditor-General’s report.

Honourable members

We cannot pretend though, that local government will be hitting the targets soon. The 2010-2011 audit reports are shocking. Most municipalities did not even bother to submit their financials to the Auditor-General in time. Only nine municipalities and two municipal entities submitted. This situation cannot be tolerated. Desperate times call for desperate measures. We must act and act decisively.

“Do you think there are municipalities in this province” a member of the opposition asked. Another one said you need to get “fit for the purpose” people to get our municipalities working.

We must address the issues of mismanagement irregular expenditures, fraud and corruption. We must insist that hard skills be bought by all municipalities.

We continue with our partnership with SA Institute of Chartered Accountants, the North West University and our Thuthuka Project to identify and sponsor students to enroll for accounting and finance management degrees. These students, upon finishing, will be placed in different municipalities.

Mr Speaker

We have decided to establish a fund for critical services – water, water purification as well as sanitation.We need to act urgently in Morokweng and Bojanala in partnership with the national Department of Water Affairs. There is already a service provider on the Taung Dam water distribution programme.

Honourable members

We have set up the North-West Planning Commission. More Commissioners must be appointed. The NW Planning Commission is developing a business plan and has finalised a Founding Statement and strategy which EXCO is considering.

Several assignments have been assigned to the commission. The North West Public Works (NWPC) works with all departments and municipalities to produce the NW development plan which will be incorporated into the country’s development master plan.

Honourable Speaker

The President has announced the national infrastructure plan. He highlighted that our province (NW) will benefit from the Limpopo programme - rail and water on the eastern part of our province.

Our province will benefit on roads roll out programme – the South African Narional Road Agency Limited (SANRAL) is being approached to lay out safe and professionally built roads – we are in the process of finalising 10 roads for the purpose.

The rehabilitation of the Vaalhartz scheme will benefit both the NW and the Northern Cape with Dr Ruth Segomotsi benefiting. Schweitzer-Reneke scheme and Madibeng- Rustenburg, Setumo Water are also on the cards.

Minster Gigaba is busy rolling out broadband across the North-West and our rail network will get attention across strategic economic routes and also as entry into Botswana. The Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Council (PICC) has concluded the technical feasibility studies of upgrading the four (4) existing rail routes.

It is important to note that when the electricity transmission is built, 748 km of 400kv lines, 10 transformers (4115 MVA) will be installed and 10 compensation devices will be available.

This speaks to both the New Growth Path and the National Plan which is crucial to promote a balanced economic development, unlock economic opportunities, and promote mineral extraction and beneficiation. In turn this will help job creation, integrate human settlements and help narrow inequality.

Mr Speaker

The Youth summit was hosted by the North West province. It was successful. It raised the challenges of youth unemployment, the need to amend the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Act to enable provinces to assist and oversee the activities of NYDA in provinces. The youth summit also focused attention on AIDS and agreed that taverns close to school be viewed as illegal and their licences should be withdrawn.

Honourable members

We said we were frustrated by the bursary allocation process. We have reviewed the Bursary Scheme. New criteria established.

We have 208 bursary holders with 54 learners completing this year. There are 37 new intakes. Our focus as of this year is on our scarce skills - accounting and finance, engineering, medicine and we want to find town planners for the province.

We are proud to say we have produced 953 artisans in the last 3½ years, through the national skills fund programme. We hope to work with mining companies to produce even more.

Honourable Speaker

We will re-establish a maintenance unit within the Department of Public Works – with a new unit head and the existing staff assisted to repolish skills and hopefully they will recover high morale.

We are investigating all issues around scholar transport – after all, we love our children. In the meantime sufficient funds are available for this purpose.

We recognise the critical roles of our social partners to attain our developmental priorities. I am delighted to announce some very exciting commitments.

Anglo American Platinum has launched project Alchemy, an integrated community development framework model which goes beyond their commitments and regulatory requirements in order to imprint their enduring legacy for their host communities and labour sending areas.

Taung, as a major labour sending area, will benefit from the R3,5 billion set aside for project Alchemy. This marks a fundamental shift from the traditional empowerment models. The whole community and not a few individuals, stands to benefit from this. I can only hope that other mining houses are taking note.

We must thank Anglo- American for coming to the party on the Taung Skull. Processes are ongoing.

I must also thank Impala Platinum for donating skills and financial resources committed to the building of the new multi-purpose centre in Dryhartz. We are at sod-turning point, plans are being finalised.

I want to thank LaFarge Cements works for the beautiful school in Bodibe and PPC for the clinic in Ottoshoop. “Le ka moso”

We cannot forget Xstrata mines. The slag that was put at our disposal by the CEO Mr Mick Davis will enable us to work on the critical roads in the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati. We hope this time our application for “re-use” will be met with approval by the Minster of Environmental Affairs.

We are launching the provincial publication – “Sedi la Setshaba”, formerly known as the Mirror to reflect all spheres of government.

You may ask why the Moral Regenerations unit has not been fully revived. To quote a member of this House, we must rebuild the person of a citizen – values, obligations, rights and responsibilities. Simple behaviour and habits, beliefs and rules must permeate the lives of our citizens and state. “I am because you are“. Moral Regeneration programmes must speak to all aspects of a person’s life.

We are pleased to acknowledge the energetic opposition in our province. They do not just criticise when things are wrong but often acknowledge when we do right. They make good governance a reminder to those of us who are not always on our toes. They give meaning to democracy at work.

We must continue to push for corruption free administration. We must move forward cautiously but with speed to deliver to our people. We must be accountable, lead with humility and always remember we are all here to serve. Our provincial anti-corruption unit , lead by Bishop Matebesi, has been hard at work advocating for good governance, administration build on a system of good values and beliefs.

I wish to thank the speaker and all members of the NW Legislature. May they continue to hold us to account and represent the people of the North West well. Thank you EXCO for the collective effort you put up; my family for putting up with a lot. Congratulate the people’s movement, the ANC, for its brilliance, fortitude, patience.

I wish to thank the people of the North West for the support and for listening to this address.

Together let us build better communities.

I thank you.

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
 
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