Modern, Growing, Successful Province

Premier Sylvia Lucas, on the occasion of the State of the Province

Address by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Mrs Sylvia Lucas, on the occasion of the State of the Province Address on 26 June 2014 at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre in Kimberley.

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Honourable Speaker and Deputy Speaker
Members of the Executive Council
Chief Whip of the Majority Party
Members of the Provincial Legislature
Honourable Judge Cecile Williams
Members of the Diplomatic Corps in the form of Consuls General from Indonesia, India, Namibia and the USA
The Provincial Leadership of the South African Local Government Association
The Leadership of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders and indeed all Traditional Leaders across the Province
Executive Mayors
The Provincial Police Commissioner
Honourable Leaders of Political Parties
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen
And, most importantly, the Citizens of the Northern Cape Province

Goodmorning! Molweni! Goie more! Demelang

I assume this podium bolstered by a firm mandate bestowed by the greater majority of the citizens of the Northern Cape through our recent general elections.

It is a singular honour for us as the Northern Cape Provincial Government to present to you the first State of the Province Address of the Fifth Democratic Administration. We are profoundly humbled by the overwhelming vote of confidence expressed by the masses of our people.

Our people have sent out a clear message that they have confidence in and are satisfied in the way the ANC government has carried out its mandate to achieve the goal of a better life for all.

It is no co-incidence that I address you on this seminal day in our Country’s history. The Provincial leadership took a conscious and politically enlightened decision that the Premier delivers this address on the 59th Anniversary of the adoption of the Freedom Charter.

A day on which our people re-dedicated themselves to the struggle for freedom in South Africa.

I am filled with deep emotion on this momentous day and can proudly declare that the Freedom Charter is the soul of our nation, and certainly the blueprint of our young, vibrant democracy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, before commencing with the substantive aspect of my Address, allow me to extend our deepest condolences on the sad passing of the former secretary of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature, Mr Godfrey Mashope, earlier this month. His invaluable contribution to the Provincial Legislature will forever be remembered. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

In the same vein, I want to register our collective condolences on the passing of Mam’ Epainette Mbeki. Her courage, wisdom and love for her people will forever be etched in our memory.

Moreover, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am honoured to deliver this Address in the month in which we celebrate the 38th anniversary of the June 16 Uprising. We salute the class of 1976 who sacrificed their lives to bring about the democracy that we enjoy today.

Today, I wish to acknowledge the contribution of every citizen of the Northern Cape to the process of renewal, reconstruction and development of our Home Province over the past 20 years. It is through your hard work that we are able to count so many achievements in only 20 years of democracy. Despite our successes the Northern Cape continues to suffer from massive inequality and poverty largely due to the debilitating legacy of apartheid. If we are to overcome these challenges we must rise up as a united Province and deal with them for the benefit of our people. In essence, although much has been achieved, more is yet to be done.

Ladies and Gentlemen, socio economic transformation will assume centre stage during our new term as we put the economy on an inclusive growth path. The Development of the Programme of Action will be informed by the priorities of the Ruling Party Manifesto, the National Development Plan and the Medium Term Strategic Framework. These are:


  • Economy and jobs
  • Human Settlements and Basic services
  • Rural Development, Land Reform and Food Security
  • Education and Training
  • Health
  • Fighting Crime and Corruption
  • A better Africa and a better world
  • Social Cohesion and Nation Building

We are convinced that the building blocks are in place to tackle the challenges faced by our Province. However we will only succeed with the support of a united Northern Cape behind us as we move the Province forward. Therefore the third decade of freedom will be defined by a relentless drive to transform and further grow our provincial economy.

I therefore call on all the citizens of the Northern Cape to join and partner with us so that we together build a winning Province within the parameters of one, united Nation.

In accordance with the National Planning Commission, this Provincial government will replicate the same structure to draw on the energies of the people of our province in order that we collectively grow an inclusive economy, build capabilities, enhance the capacity of the state, and promote leadership and partnerships for the common good of our Northern Cape.

Honourable Speaker, the African National Congress, led by President Jacob Zuma, obtained a new mandate from the people of this country to continue with the implementation of its policies and programmes that have brought about significant change in the lives of our people since 1994.

The 2014 manifesto of the Ruling Party has mandated this administration to accelerate job creation and provide more economic opportunities, particularly to those who are still stuck on the lowest rung of the developmental ladder.

Our people demanded from the Governing Party that it opens the doors of learning for all and improves the quality of education – a critical priority if we are to effectively prepare our people for the needs of the modern economy.

The electorate further called upon this administration to improve access to health care for all South Africans regardless of their social or economic condition.

They further demanded that we pay attention to the plight of our people living in the rural areas.  Fighting crime and corruption was also added to the basket of priorities that this administration would be expected to address during its term of office.

As we enter the second phase of our transition from apartheid to a national democratic society, we have to embark on radical socio economic transformation to push back the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

Honourable Speaker, Honourable Members,

The Freedom Charter declared: “The People shall share in the country’s wealth”

The Northern Cape economy is historically based on the primary sectors of agriculture and mining. We did not escape the consequences of the global economic recession and our economic growth remains severely subdued.

For this term of Government the Province will centre its focus around enterprise development, economic empowerment, trade and investment promotion, sector development as well as tourism and industry development in order to set it on a growth path and create more jobs.

There should be an improved partnership between the National Strategic Infrastructure Project champions and Provincial and Local Government in the Province in order to expedite the implementation of Strategic Infrastructure projects (SIP’s) in the Province.

We will particularly focus on the following (SIP)-led projects: Sol Plaatje University, Square Kilometre Array (Carnarvon), Solar and the related renewable energy sectors.

The Province is however excited by developments in the renewable energy sphere and is in the process of becoming the energy hub in the country.

We have an abundance of renewable energy sources in the Province and we are best suited and strategically poised for a number of solar and wind renewable energy projects. Added to this, we are also venturing in the field of shale gas. These will scale up our efforts in the production of renewable energy and curbing the effects of climate change, but most importantly it will assist us in addressing the green economy value chain to create employment, alleviate poverty and to generally improve the quality of life for our people.

The Province will create a structure to coordinate all investors and also to localise maximum manufacturing and assembly of structural and technological inputs.

In this regard we will fast track the commissioning of feasibility studies that look into the viability and development of the Port Nolloth Harbour and how to the integrate the Upington Cargo Hub, De Aar Warehouse, and the revitalization of the De Aar rail line into a freight corridor.

In advancing our vision in a tangible sense, we will work diligently at improving the number of investors as well as the value of investments into the Province in targeted sectors such as renewable energy, science and technology, advanced manufacturing, higher education, mining and minerals, shale gas exploration and extraction.

Mr Speaker, With the Northern Cape hosting the bulk of the physical infrastructure related to the Square Kilometre Array project, it is of high priority for the province, our country and indeed our Mother Continent to ensure that the project is successfully completed. The SKA is a major project which is located in our province and has the potential to attract investment opportunities and create job opportunities for our local people.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am also pleased to report that our drive to diversify the provincial economy through initiatives in the fields of renewable energy; agro-processing and aquaculture, amongst others, is very encouraging.

To this end, the Operating Unit of Eskom in the Province has spent three hundred and eighteen million rand last year alone to respond to the growth and development in the Mining Sector.

Benefits include, amongst others, 1 885 electrification connections at a total investment of Twenty Six Million Rand.  A further 2 338 connections are planned for this year. Plans for the future are also in place to respond to and address infrastructure projects, co-generation and load growth in the province.

As the Provincial Government, we believe that the partnerships that we have already set in motion with the private sector and the mining houses will go a long way in contributing positively towards economic growth and job creation in the Province.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the struggle against poverty and inequality cannot be won without forging a close relationship with Business- both big and small- the labour movement and civil society at large.

Moreover, Mr Speaker, we will fully support National Government’s Industrial Policy Action Plan to prevent industrial decline and promote the diversification of our county’s manufacturing sector.

The mining industry in the Northern Cape is seen by the Provincial Government as a pivotal sector to transform our economy, create jobs and halve poverty and inequality by 2030.

In recent times the mining sector has come under close scrutiny with various communities in the Province raising legitimate concerns that mining houses were doing very little to improve the lives of communities in areas in which the mines are located. Therefore, it is expected that mines, within both a historical and socio-economic perspective, leave a lasting but positive legacy for the communities where they source their vast profits and wealth. Moreover, as mines are in partnership with government, skills and procurement must be anchored domestically.

Secondly, as outlined by President Zuma in his State of the Nation Address last week, Government will play its part in the implementation of the landmark Framework Agreement for a Sustainable Mining Industry entered into by Labour, Business and Government under the leadership of the President himself. Simply put, government means business!

Likewise, under the aegis of the Office of the Premier, we will shortly establish a Provincial Business Working Group, to lend tangible impetus to our developmental agenda.  I am certain that the Captains of Industry in the Northern Cape will support this watershed initiative.

Our express aim is to regularly engage with business to unlock private sector investment, build investor confidence and to build mutual trust and cooperation between our respective sectors.

We are also pleased that an Inter- Ministerial Committee on the revitalisation of Distressed Mining Towns has been established under the chairmanship of the Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr Jeff Radebe.

To further improve the living conditions of mine workers, the Provincial Government, together with National Government, is monitoring the compliance of mining companies with Mining Charter targets relating to enhancing the living conditions of workers.

We are currently working together with the mining houses that have operations in the Province focusing mainly on Human Capital Development; Infrastructure Development; Rural Development; and increasing production and beneficiation.

Support to Cooperatives and SMMEs

Cooperatives as a form of collective ownership, together with SMME’s, will play a critical role in enhancing the participation of our people in the mainstream economy by stimulating economic development, reducing poverty and improving livelihoods.

The utilisation of cooperatives will be extended to supply identified goods and services to other public institutions, including provincial departments, municipalities, hospitals and Early Childhood Development Centres.

Honourable Speaker;

We have since 2004 run the successful Expanded Public Works Programme which provides work opportunities and training for the unemployed.  We will therefore continue to provide these job opportunities as we are building on the success of the past decade.

The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) is one of Government’s strategic initiatives aimed at addressing challenges of poverty, unemployment and shortage of skills. Performance against targets set for the NC indicates that Provincial Departments have achieved 90% of the target (by the end of year 4 (2009/10 – 2012/13) thus creating 65,424 work opportunities against a 4 year target of 72,450 work opportunities. In this regard, we are looking forward to the commencement of the next phase of the EPWP with great anticipation. The challenges and lessons learnt in the implementation of the first two phases of the program will provide us with the necessary guidance to do things much better this time around.

In support of youth development, we will upscale the Environmental Youth Services Programme in the areas of working with waste, working on wetlands, working for water and working on fire.

In addition, the ward-based Community Works Programme will be expanded to provide more work opportunities for the unemployed.

Honourable Speaker, tourism is also a key economic driver in the Province. In this regard government has embarked on a range of initiatives to increase our share of the tourism industry.

In the tourism sector, we have continued to support a number of initiatives to harness the tourism potential of the Province such as SKA Science Visitors Centre in Carnarvon in order to market the province as an Extreme Destination to differentiate it from the rest of the South African market; Collaboration with the Bloodhound SSC Engineering Adventure Team to finalise a date for the Land Speed Record  event in Mier Municipality,  and to increase spending on tourism infrastructure investment, in particular municipal resorts, to increase access for local tourists to affordable tourism facilities.

Honourable Speaker,

The Freedom Charter also declared: “The land shall be shared among those who work it”

For us to realise the objective of sustainable economic growth, food security and job creation we need a deliberate and focused investment in agriculture.

In line with President Zuma’s undertaking to create a million jobs nationally by 2030 in the agricultural sector, we have identified agriculture as a key job driver.

To this end, we will provide comprehensive support to smallholder farmers by speeding up land reform and providing technical, infrastructural and financial support.

Support will also be provided to communities in the areas of food production and subsistence farming to promote food security in accordance with the Fetsa Tlala food production programme.

In contributing towards the goal to eradicate hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity by 2015, the government has implemented various food security interventions for the benefit of subsistence farmers and poor households in the form of infrastructure development and production inputs.

The implementation of both the Rural Development and Anti-Poverty Strategies has been piloted in identified sites across the Province. Moving forward, as a response to the ever rising food prices, the Province has prioritized food security programmes in the targeted sites.

Honourable Speaker, Ladies and Gentlemen

The Freedom Charter further declared “The Doors of learning and of culture shall be opened”

Education remains the cornerstone of our future and is therefore correctly labelled as an apex priority. To build on the gains we have made thus far, we will do all within our power to promote early childhood development and implementation of Grade R classes across the Province, deliver professional management and relevant teacher support programmes, thereby improving the quality of teaching and learning.

The province’s growth and development depends crucially on human capital and institutional capacity. Education and training is the fundamental platform from which people can continuously build and improve their lives. As President Jacob Zuma has noted, and I quote: “The gradual improvement in matric results each year since 2009 is a cause for national pride and celebration. The achievement of our 2013 matric class has made our nation stand proud. All our learners carry our hopes for a better and brighter future.”

Honourable Speaker, the Provincial Government is deeply concerned with the entire schooling situation in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District. We however remain resolute and will continue in our effort to bring normality to the area and ensure that the constitutional right of every child to be educated is upheld by all means. Surely, we have no other option and we will continue to engage with all stakeholders in the region to find a practical and lasting solution.

Together we must continue to fight drug and substance abuse in our schools and this is also prioritized together with scholar transport and child health.  With regard to the building of Sol Plaatje University, the construction of the campus will commence by 1 September 2014. I am deeply pleased to announce that work has commenced and this will be intensified over the coming months.

We expect that the Sol Plaatje University will have a profound impact, ensuring that skills, knowledge and talent are retained in this province.

Honourable Members,

“There shall be houses, security and comfort”

On the Sustainable Human Settlements front, our ANC-led government committed itself to building sustainable human settlements to improve the quality of life of all the people in the Northern Cape.

The majority of the people of the Northern Cape, who never had a roof over their heads, now have decent shelter. Given our capacity and commitment to increase spending on this and other critical services, homelessness in the Northern Cape should shortly be a thing of the past.

Government, with its limited resources, constantly finds innovative means to deliver quality houses with the available budget at hand. One such project is the Ouboks Housing Project in Colesberg.

This project will be implemented in phases which will see 1848 houses being completed over the contract period comprising 5 phases. A budget of approximately one hundred and eighty six million rand has been allocated for the project. The first 200 houses have been completed and we have handed these over to the proud owners two months ago.

We plan to deliver 2221 planned sites, and service 2948 sites with civil engineering services, and build 1735 houses in the current financial year.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Governing Party continues to redress colonial and apartheid spatial planning and development through the delivery of socially, economically and spatially integrated human settlements.

Honourable Speaker,

We fully recognize the economic importance of good road infrastructure in the province. Over the past 20 years we have transformed the landscape of this province through the construction, rehabilitation and upgrading of existing roads. We have particularly paid attention to rural access roads with the view to enhance accessibility.

Development needs to be supported by a good road infrastructure and for this 2014/15 MTEF period; the Province will invest R2.5 billion on road infrastructure development. The focus has shifted from roads construction to the maintenance of roads in order to preserve the assets that we have.

Some of the high impact, labour intensive projects that that we are undertaking for the 2014/15 financial year are as follows:

  • Building of Hondeklip Bay Road
  • Maintenance and resealing of   Colesberg to Phillpolis Road
  • Building of road from Hotazel to Tsineng
  • Construction of Joe Morolong, Wyk 10 to Laxey and N14 to Bothitong in partnership with Sishen Iron Ore Community Trust (SIOC).

Honourable Speaker and Members, healthy citizens are the lifeblood of any productive, developing society. Healthy citizens are the engines that drive our nation forward towards the better life that we envisage for all.

Acknowledging this, we have set ourselves the goal of “a long and healthy life for all South Africans”, and we continue to invest a large proportion of our resources to make sure that we do deliver quality healthcare to all the people of our province. Progress has been made in expanding primary health care to remote and under-serviced areas of our Province, especially rural areas.

Clinics and Community Health Facilities have been built to improve the accessibility and quality of health care that citizens receive.

We will ensure Universal Health Coverage (UHC) – to be achieved through the National Health Insurance Scheme with the Pixley Ka Seme district being the pilot district for NHI in the Northern Cape.

The current priorities for health infrastructure are as follows:

The implementation of the Hospital Revitalisation Programme with the plan to complete the Mental Health Hospital and achieve an 80% completion of the new De Aar Hospital;

The implementation of Infrastructure Grants for the Province with the completion of Ka Gung and Heuningvlei Clinics as well as completion of Williston and Port Nolloth Community Health Centres; and
The implementation of the Capital Infrastructure Maintenance Programme which will result in  the upgrade of Sutherland and Fraserburg Community Health Centres as well as the Galeshewe Day Hospital

Ladies and Gentlemen, the new Dr Harry Surtie Hospital in Upington is the only Regional Hospital in the Province that services the western half of the Province. As such it is receiving referrals from District Hospitals located in Springbok, Calvinia and Kakamas, as well as some referrals from Postmasburg. Kimberley Hospital is both the tertiary hospital for the whole province, as well as providing regional hospital services to the eastern half of the province.

Honourable Speaker, the HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to be a great cause of concern to this government. Our unwavering efforts and the continued support we enjoy from all stakeholders in the fight against this epidemic have begun to bear fruit.

In the past five years alone, the Provincial Government has catered for at least 80% of eligible patients on antiretroviral treatment (ART).

Once more, we call on our people to heed the government message of Abstinence, Faithfulness and usage of Condoms because one life lost is one too many.

In order to improve on it Human Resources specifically in the scarce and critical skills the Province will, over the next five years, be providing bursaries for the following categories:

  • 100 Medical Doctors
  • 500 Auxiliary Nurses
  • 600 Professional Nurses
  • 25 Social Workers
  • 50 Radiographers
  • 80 Pharmacists
  • 50 Clinical Associates
  • 100 Paramedics
  • 250 Paramedics (Intermediate Life Support)

It is encouraging to note that the first intake of 200 Auxiliary and 60 Professional nurses will occur in August 2014.

Honourable Speaker;

“All shall be equal before the law”

As the government, we will continue to intensify our fight against crime and corruption.

Crime and corruption frustrates society’s ability to operate optimally and efficiently, let alone the state’s ability to deliver on its developmental mandate. As such, political will is essential to combat this scourge. Once more, Honourable Members, we are making a call that let us make it our primary mission to root out corruption wherever it manifests itself.

Honourable Speaker;

The province hosted a very successful national June 16 event which was addressed by the Honourable Deputy President of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, to honour the heroes who defined a new era in the history of the struggle; those young people who demonstrated to the apartheid government their complete rejection of racial segration and inequality.

The youth of this province are faced with a number of challenges which include unemployment, poverty, lack of skills, drug and substance abuse.

We will continue to invest in education and skills development as this is the key to economic growth and development.

We are prioritising scarce skills such as engineering, electricians, plumbers, doctors, teachers and many other professionals to build the province’s economy. Honourable Speaker, another of the outstanding characteristics of this term of the Northern Cape government has been our commitment to empower the youth through the provision of full-time bursaries, learnerships and internships. We call upon the private sector to join hands with government to support our skills development initiatives such in the form of Bursaries, Internships, and Learnerships.

The government is committed to continue with efforts to place youth development at the centre of our programme.

In giving effect to a resolution adopted by the Executive Council for the establishment of the Northern Cape Inter-Departmental Youth Development Forum, we are pleased to announce that the inaugural sitting of the Forum will be held next month.

The establishment of the Youth Development Forum was informed by our collective understanding that Youth development is an integral aspect of addressing the challenges of the Northern Cape.  The development of young people must therefore be aligned to addressing the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and in the case of our youth, underdevelopment.

Women Empowerment

We will continue to pay attention to the empowerment of women in the socio- economic and political spheres of society. We will take forward the advances we have made in promoting women’s empowerment and development. We will further ensure that we strengthen women cooperatives to stimulate economic development.

Honourable Members,

There have been significant improvements in access to sports, arts and culture programmes through construction of arts centres across the province. We have successfully accomplished the following:

Increased the platform and created audiences for performing artists; and
Built libraries and provided library material to contribute to quality education

Allow me to congratulate the recent recipients of the Order of the Baobab, which is awarded to South African citizens for distinguished service in the fields of business and the economy, science, medicine and technological innovation and community service.

Ms Katrina Esau and the late San leader, Oom Dawid Kruiper, were honoured in this category for preserving the endangered culture and language of the San people. The late Abraham September, a pioneer of an irrigation scheme along the Orange River in Upington in the 19th century was also conferred with this prestigious honour.

Namens die Provinsie wil ek nie net ons gelukwense aan die familie en nasate van die ontvangers van hierdie toekenning uitspreek nie, maar wil ek ook weereens namens die Provinsie die onderneming gee dat hul bydrae en nalatenskap nooit tevergeefs sal wees nie.

The development of sports to promote greater social cohesion will focus on school sport as the basis for sport development, as well as high performance programmes. Development of clubs will be supported through delivery of equipment, training programmes and logistical support. Sports focus and focal schools are also high on the agenda to ensure optimal development in a competitive, yet supportive environment.

We therefore call on all roleplayers and stakeholders to assist government in developing an integrated approach in order that the Northern Cape is appropriately represented in all sporting codes, including participation in the Premier Soccer League.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is “World Cup” time with the entire world caught in a soccer frenzy. I am sure that you will support me in extending our best wishes to the teams from our Mother Continent to progress to the finals of this prestigious tournament.

Honourable Speaker and Members, we seek to build a prosperous society living sustainably with the environment to conserve and protect the natural environment for the benefit, enjoyment and welfare of present and future generations by integrating sustainable utilization with socio-economic development.  We will lend support to municipalities to improve waste management throughout the province.

Honourable Speaker,

The war on poverty (Balelapa) programme remains the overarching programme of government to ensure that we extricate poor households out of extreme poverty. The sustained support programme per family will continue over the next five years to assist households to be self- sustainable.

The implementation of the individual development plan per household will be informed by the following strategies:

Addressing the social needs of households through a package of social work interventions;
Engaging households with sustainable income opportunities; and
Graduating households out of poverty through achieving a basic standard of living.

Honourable Speaker and Members, local government is where most of our people have direct and frequent contact with government. They are frontline institutions that enable citizen interaction with government services. We believe that good governance is at the heart of a developmental state that has a responsibility to transform society for the better. It is our firm belief that it is critical in raising the trust and confidence of the people and in advancing government’s ability to deliver basic services such as electricity, water and sanitation.

We have committed ourselves since 2009 to make local government everybody’s business. In our ongoing evaluation of municipal performance we will continue to inspect financial management at municipalities together with their ability to implement projects and the manner in which they work within the framework of legislative processes.

With regard to service delivery, there have been many successes in many municipalities while there are challenges in others.

The provincial government will ensure that qualified and competent persons are recruited and appointed into senior positions in municipalities.

We are taking steps to implement a set of initiatives to improve financial management practices with the sole objective of mobilizing both human and financial resources to achieve better municipal audit outcomes. There must be serious consequences for transgressions and poor performance;

Work is underway to eradicate the bucket system throughout the Northern Cape. To restore the dignity of our people, the provincial government has therefore unequivocally resolved to implement a Bucket Eradication Programme that will see all buckets removed by March 2015. We are pleased to report that we are well on course to achieve this before the target date. An amount of R 145 Million has been allocated to this Programme and I can report that we are well on our way to meet our targets and mandate.

Through the Executive Council Outreach programme and interactions with communities at local government level, progress has been made in deepening community participation and engagement. Engagements with communities on key development programmes has created better understanding in communities about the programmes that government is delivering.

We firmly believe that we have begun to turn local government around and change people’s experience of services and governance.

President Zuma remarked in his State of the Nation Address that our experience of local government must be a pleasant one, and it must be always such.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the National Development Plan highlights the need to strengthen the ability of local government to fulfil its developmental role. It further emphasizes that Municipal Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) need to be used more strategically to focus attention on critical priorities in the NDP that relate to the mandate of local government such as spatial planning, infrastructure and basic services.

Although our municipalities are struggling financially, there are examples of those municipalities that are performing exceptionally well despite harsh financial and economic conditions. Such examples are ZF Mcgawu and Frances Baard District Municipalities, Sol Plaatje, Umsobomvu, //Khara Hais, Kareeberg, Richtersveld, and Gamagara Local Municipalities.

In our pursuit and mandate to support and monitor our Municipalities to develop a responsive, accountable, effective and efficient Local Government, we have seconded officials from the Department of Co-Operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs to act in vacant senior positions at certain Municipalities.

Honourable Speaker;

The community survey by Statistics South Africa shows that we are making significant inroads in improving the quality of life of our people. The provision of basic services such as water, electricity, housing and sanitation is on an upward spiral.

Water is central to the development of the Northern Cape Province.  As such government will continue to ensure public and private sector investment in water infrastructure in order to address the water and sanitation backlogs, improve the basic service levels and at the same time ensuring the unlocking of economic opportunities.

With the available funding several bulk water and waste water schemes were completed recently most notably the Colesberg Bulk Water Pipeline and water treatment works, the Hopetown water treatment works, Niekerkshoop bulk water scheme and Kathu waste water treatment works.

Bulk water schemes of note that is currently under construction include the Namakwa Bulk Water Supply Scheme which will ensure sustainable water supply to Springbok and surrounding towns, and the Heuningvlei Bulk Water Supply Scheme in JTG which will not only improve access to water supply in several rural villages for domestic use, but also water for stock watering purposes.

The feasibility studies for the construction of the multiple-use Vaal Gamagara Bulk Water Supply Scheme will be concluded this year.  The planned scheme will play a pivotal role in securing a reliable water supply to the iron ore and manganese mines forming part of SIPs 3 and 5 as well as water supply to the domestic sector especially in the John Taolo Gaetsewe DM which is one of the priority DMs in South Africa.

Feasibility studies for the extension of the Kalahari East Pipeline are also at an advanced stage and implementation of the scheme will contribute to improved livelihoods for residents of several villages in the Kalahari whilst also stimulating the tourism and livestock farming industry in the area.

The province has experienced improved levels of access to potable water. We are pleased to report that 93, 6% households in the province have access to water inside their dwellings or in their yards, more than 79% of households have access to basic sanitation; 82% of households in the province have access to electricity and in excess of 63 000 houses have been built and more than 17 600 sites have been serviced.

In delivering my address during Youth Month, it is important to note that we launched a project in Lindelani here in Galeshewe, where 100 young people have been trained in various facets of the construction industry.

As a result, we now have young people building houses for the aged and infirm. This initiative, Ladies and Gentlemen, should surely be applauded.

I am pleased to acknowledge the presence of the first two recipients of these houses built by these young hard-working people, namely Ma Maruping and Ma Giyose, who at the ripe age of 81 witnessed the Deputy President of South Africa, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, laying the foundation of her house on Youth Day. This is part of our good story. The story only gets better: Ma Maruping adds her own chapter and I quote, “This Government has been a blessing to my family, we have lived in a shack for twelve years and now we have a house with running water and electricity and we are safe, My eldest son is studying at the University with the assistance of a Government-funded bursary, and my other child is in Cuba studying Medicine- again through Government funding.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have outlined a framework that hopefully gives a clear indication of where we seek to take the Northern Cape in the next five years. We can proudly say that the Ruling Party secured a landslide victory at the polls and that our legitimacy is not in question whatsoever.

Our profound gratitude and appreciation are extended to the majority of the people of the Northern Cape for your overwhelming support of this ANC-led government.

We are therefore totally mindful of our mandate and we will vigorously implement the Ruling Party’s clear developmental programme, instead of embracing victimhood and engaging in endless blame games. In fully understanding our leadership role as the Executive Council, we have now provided a broad vision to all sectors of Northern Cape society around which the Province can rally. We will certainly NOT fail the people of our Home Province.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I conclude on the firm premise that the Northern Cape is a Province at work, busy remaking itself and shaping its future as a sustainable, liveable and resilient Province- a Province that cares for its people and its future.  As can be gauged from my Address, it is clearly apparent that we have initiated bold steps towards a comprehensive transformation of our Province.

We have good reason to celebrate our own achievements over the past 20 years. We have reached a critical stage in our development. We have done the planning. We have drafted the strategies. We have put the structures in place. We are now implementing.

We are indeed a Province at work and surely we will have a better story to tell when we meet again.

Let me conclude by reiterating the statement made by the thousands of our People who adopted the Freedom Charter in 1955 “ These Freedoms we will fight for, side by side, through our lives, until we have won our liberty”.

God Bless the Northern Cape Province!

God bless South Africa!

I thank you.

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