Occasion of the State of the Province Debate

Response by the Honourable Premier Ms Hazel Jenkins on the occasion of the State of the Province Debate, 24 February 2010

I am once more honoured and privileged to participate in my second State of the Province Debate within nine months after our inauguration as the fourth democratic government of the Northern Cape under the leadership of President Jacob Zuma.

Honourable Speaker, it is said that time and space are significant determinants in history as they define the actuality of any period. It tells us about the challenges and opportunities of any period and the possibilities permitted by such period.
In so saying, we owe it greatly to the generation of President Nelson Mandela who showed great determination and humility in a long and arduous struggle for the liberation of our country.

When we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the unbanning of the Liberation Movement, we celebrate the lives of many ordinary, living and resting South Africans, unsung heroes and heroines who contributed to the struggle for liberation. Many of those living continue to play a meaningful role in the reconstruction and development of our country.
The honourable role they played is embodied in the Constitution and in the policies of the ruling party which is best exemplified by the unanimity about what this period meant in history, twenty years ago and still today.
There is continuity, certainty and direction, for today we live on more than hope as we realize dreams that we could have never shared such as the hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and our province being an integral part of the festivities such as the hosting of the Uruguayan National Team, hosting the Fifty days Count Down Campaign, which as a spin off, we will realize an increase in visits by tourists and the development of infrastructure with massive capital investments.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the actual content of the State of the Province Address was put before the citizens of this province on 18 February 2010. This is so even if it meant we refocused our work so that we achieve the main priorities we have set for ourselves for the next five years.

The reaction of the opposition parties, especially COPE and DA, to the state of the Province Address (SOPA) comes as no surprise at all as it yet again displays their apparent ignorance and total lack of understanding of what government is all about.

And yet again, they failed dismally in raising questions of the practicalities of the plans of my Executive for the year ahead and instead the rhetoric and the clichéd jargon around issues of service delivery clearly shows a hostile and unprincipled opposition in self destructive disarray.

In our endeavor to keep our provincial politics at a mature, decent and principled level I will certainly not be tempted to dignify the oppositions ranting and raving with a response. They have independently chosen to press the self-destruct button as many of their members now can see that the tunnel that they have been led into ends in a non negotiable cul de sac. The glorious sunshine they once enjoyed is a lengthy distance behind.
Steeped in the noble values enshrined in our Constitution, we are acutely mindful of the daily hardships of the people of the Northern Cape.
While adhering to the timeless values of Ubuntu and patriotism, my Executive together with the ruling Party will forge ahead with its singular and all embracing goal of a thriving province at peace with itself.
We must emphasize Honorable Wyngaard , our plans are not for nine months but five years with clear objectives announced by government for each year. (On this note Honourable Wyngaard your assertion that the Premier was absent from office for ten months is both absurd and is the product of a hallucinatory mind!)

We said the priorities are the following for those members who seem not to have familiarized themselves about the priorities of the government: Lest some in this chamber declare that they now suffer from political amnesia these imperatives are:
? Decent work and sustainable livelihoods
? Health
? Education
? Rural Development
? Land Reform and
? The war against crime and corruption

We are always at the disposal of all, including the opposition to remind them of the policy choices people made when they voted this government into power. Indeed the issue of lifelong learning is not meant to be an end in itself as we at least expect members to be avid readers of government policy.
Honourable Speaker, we continue to desire leadership of substance and credibility that does not seek to stand in this important house to invent fictional stories and rumors as indicated yesterday by the Honorable John Block.
Indeed yesterday’s debate represented the poverty of policy views and choices on the part of the opposition. It is common cause that each and every President of the ruling party has always sought to communicate the policies of the ANC. Yesterday the Honorable Mompati spent a lengthy period simply emphasizing the policy choices of the ANC as they were represented by our hero Isithwalandwe President Nelson Mandela.
The Honorable Mompati had a grand opportunity of enriching this debate with the express aim of advancing and accelerating service delivery to the masses of our people. But, regrettably, he made a mockery of our democratic system and its institutions. To expect a Party that has an abysmal track record to conduct itself otherwise would be something blatantly unreasonable. The product of dishonesty cannot act otherwise in its political conduct.
Beyond this both COPE and the DA justified the usage of their time in this House with lengthy rhetoric and clichés that left us no wiser than we are already.
The Honorable Mompati further took the opportunity to remind this august house about the importance of participatory democracy. It would not be a mistake to take the opportunity to inform you that singularly, the Ruling Party’s policies are the products of participatory democracy beyond the confines of the ANC. We have found platforms of participatory democracy more enriching and less poor in ideas and policy choices than some of the parties represented here. Notwithstanding this, I reaffirm the commitment of the Executive to work with the opposition parties.
Honourable Speaker, I found it odd that the Honorable Mompati sought to chastise us for reflecting on the work we are doing in respect of national plans- plans that amongst others relate to the five priorities of government.
Upon reflection we regard this as a plus as it represents an improvement with regard to seamless planning and execution around the national and provincial sphere of government, here in the Northern Cape. This is what we meant nine months ago when we said government will improve its overall planning, implementation and monitoring mechanisms.
Honorable Speaker, our President recently signed the declaration of the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change. We signed this declaration because of our genuine consideration for the environment, sustaining the earth and reversing many years of human degradation for the benefit of mankind for generations ahead.
I wish to bring it to the attention of the House regarding the proposal by both COPE and the DA that we need to construct a dam along the Orange River so as to conserve water. I wish to caution that such knee-jerk policy positions may have a long term effect on the environment if they are not researched. A dam cannot be build without much research and impact analysis.
Depending on where this is built it may impact on tourism downstream and in fact affect sites such as waterfalls and distort the eco-system. What may even be worst affected are communities and farmers living downstream. We need much more sound and researched ideas on which to build the economy of the Northern Cape.
Honorable Speaker, I believe that the proposals that we have tabled are sound as we have committed to creating sixty thousand jobs and engaging in a massive township revitalization project through infrastructure investment. We said that the infrastructure of public institutions will be renewed and developed. We have provided the details and further said the Executive, as a collective, will provide further details during their budget votes.
Failing to understand the concept of time and space that I referred to, Honorable Members, the opposition chose to distort the period at which the current government assumed office. The limitation of their ideas, if not covered by rhetoric and clichés, was a distortion of facts. In that short period, in the midst of a recession unseen and unheard of in decades we were able to create jobs across different sectors.
According to the Stats SA statistics provided by Honorable John Block, he correctly indicates that this government has been able to create jobs , amongst others, in farming and including a vulnerable sector such as in general households thus indicating we have been able to cushion families against the ravages of the recession. He also indicated that the economy has shown signs of improvement , jobs created stood at 35000, employment was enhanced by 13.7%, unemployment decreased by 5% to 24.9% from 29.9%.In essence, agriculture created10 000 jobs, construction 8 000 and private household jobs increased by 3000.
Honourable Speaker, we continue to extend an olive branch to the opposition and sincerely believe that as government and the ANC we have the duty to lead all South Africans, including the opposition. As the true Congress of the People the African National Congress with original politics, original ideas, original names, and original leaders such as Mandela, Tambo and Pixley Ka Seme have a genuine respect to the South African people who deserve genuine and substantive leadership. We did not go to court to seek legitimacy.
Honourable Speaker, I would be failing in my duty as Premier if I did not admit that during the last nine months I have been in office major challenges continue to exist in the areas of housing, health, crime, education and job creation.
Contrary to what some people would remark with juvenile impatience and innocence, we have announced clear strategies that would usher in a process to provide results. Let me reiterate that, in terms of education we intend to upgrade schools and improve sports facilities in schools, amongst others.
Today, working with different stakeholders who understand the maxim that “Working together we can do more”, we are launching the “Effective Quality of Learning and Teaching Campaign.” in bringing about a better quality of learner, irrespective of grade. We are certain that this and other comprehensive measures we are taking will drastically turn the tide in education.
We have made clear pronouncements on the establishment of a University in the Northern Cape. The period of hope is long over and the realization of our aspirations is now becoming a reality as expressed in our democratic Constitution adopted in 1996.
With regard to HIV and AIDS we will be making ARV’s accessible province wide. Furthermore, we announced that in partnership with the German Government and DBSA, we allocated about thirty million rands to upgrade clinics so that they provide quality services with regard to HIV and AIDS.

As I outlined in the State of the Province Address, housing backlogs are currently being addressed and more housing projects are in the pipeline.
Honorable Dirk Stubbe would ordinarily be expected to understand the dynamic chain of continuity, progress and the initiation of new endeavors, but chooses to act as one not knowledgeable to differentiate between announcements on progress from last year to the many new endeavors we are embarking upon. He surprisingly reduces everything in the SOPA to repetition as it is about restating the emphasis on our priorities.
As the Ruling Party we are rather dismayed at the unforgiving manner in which the opposition has tended to treat even its own supporters. They have been glaringly absent at key events where they could have represented the aspirations of their members, in particular the Economic Summit. Hence yesterday they asked about the resolutions of the economic summit that were well publicized by the press including the public broadcaster.
A conscious re-reading of the State of the Province Address will ensure sound and substantive debate, as this will unveil to the reader clear projects intended to create jobs and impart skills to our people.
Bold measures are in place to combat crime and corruption and as you may well know, the governance arrangements of two trusts which fall under the auspices of the Premier, are being looked at currently to put it very, very mildly.

The fact that the opposition collectively also fail to recognize the achievements that we have made in a period of mere nine months does not change that fact.
Honourable Speaker, these successes, achievements and good news stories of the province are as follows:
Our Province, after much hard work and persuasion, was chosen by British Fighter Pilot Andy Green, to attempt breaking the World land speed record with a car that is capable of achieving 1600 Kilometers per hour. After a global search it was concluded as we indicated that Haksteen in the Kalahari was the most conducive venue.
The Northern Cape through the efforts of this government working with national is positioning itself as the solar energy Capital of the World. Feasibility studies for a solar energy plant are in progress.
The Department of Nature Conservation will launch a green tourism initiative to lessen the impact of Global warming in the province. One Million will be allocated for a waste recycling plant in Warrenton and Barkly West.

Seven Million Rand has been allocated towards a street cleaning Project in John Taole Gaetsewe District.

World TB Day 2010 will mark the launch of the National Kick TB Campaign in line with the FIFA World Cup. It will also mark our scaling up of the co-treatment of TB and HIV.

Five Nature Reserves will be upgraded in due course in preparation for tourists during the World Cup and beyond.

And lest I forget, without blowing my own trumpet, our tireless hard work has paid off in that we have secured the Uruguayan National Soccer Team to set base camp in Kimberley. The Fifty Day Count down to the World Cup will also be hosted in the Northern Cape, our province.

Honourable Speaker,the Executive Council collective is determined to ensure that the pledge we have made to create a better life for our people is realized. It is high time that all realize that working together we can do more; we need to rise above the political grandstanding that impacts on the lives of the ordinary people of our province.
We will continue to provide leadership and guidance to resolve the challenges experienced by municipalities. We do not approach municipalities with preconceived ideas and high handed manner proposed yesterday in this house. We do not approach them with a one size fits all solution. We see municipalities as partners in the ongoing efforts to improve service delivery.
We call on all our people to work with government to ensure poverty the greatest enemy of our people is attacked on all fronts. I believe that in spite of those refusing to accept the olive branch I extended last year we will succeed. And succeed we certainly will!

I thank you

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