State of Province Address

Address by the former Premier
Date: 12 February 2009

I believe in the saying that - Those who joyfully leave everything in God's hands will eventually see God's hand in everything.

This is fittingly captured in the book of Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

This is a commitment by the Almighty to unlock the doors of imagination, to give us vision, and the strength to turn our dreams into reality, with the assurance that He will lead the way!

So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.

All we need do is to believe because "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Mark 9:23.

On April 1994, we dreamed of a South Africa that is united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous. We dreamt of a better life for all, we believed, and indeed, we continue to be blessed with our dreams being made possible!

We all have been given the opportunity to be part of the creation of something new, of directing and pioneering the emergence of a new and better country, of helping ourselves and helping others out of the despair of yesterday, into the bright future of tomorrow!

And this we all do, proud in our convictions, and believing like the English writer Flora Edwards, that "In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us."
Madam Speaker,

Gathered here in the precincts of our seat of governance today is a micro-cosm of the people of the Northern Cape, all of us assembled solemnly to observe one of the cornerstones of our young democracy. The Annual Address by the Premier to the Provincial Legislature not only marks the official opening of the legislative assembly of the Northern Cape, but occasions an opportunity to the government of the province, and indeed the ruling party, to report on our progress towards the shared ideals of a better life for all.

This we have done since the advent of our young democracy, firm in our conviction that democracy in this country is being strengthened and consolidated continuously, consistently, and in pursuit of the noble ideals of our forebears.
The year 2009 marks the fifteenth year since the democratic breakthrough of 1994, and fifteen years of true and progressive people's government.

The 20th anniversary of the release of several Rivonia trialists, including Elias Motsoaledi, Wilton Mkwayi, Raymond Mhlaba, Andrew Mlangeni, Achmed Kathrada and Walter Sisulu will be commemorated this year, together with the 40th Anniversary of the historic and watershed Morogoro Conference of our proud movement, the African National Congress, and 20 years since the adoption of the Harare declaration.

As we look back into our troubled past, we remain fully aware of the fact that this freedom, enjoyed today by millions, was bought with the blood of many a man, a women, and indeed, children. In recognition of this past, we will commemorate 30 years since the fateful day of the execution of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu, that gallant and brave young lion who did not waver in the face of death, but through his just convictions, his heroism and his blood, nourished the tree of freedom, allowing current generations of young people to enjoy the fruits of this long and hard won struggle.

We will also celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the formation of the Congress of South African Students, and a proud 65 years since the formation of that colossal leader of the progressive youth of our country, the African National Congress Youth League.

These milestones in the history of our country continue to remind us of the difficult path once travelled, and the individual and collective resolve and heroism of our proud peoples. We pay tribute to the patriots who pioneered these historic milestones, and re-assure our people that their struggles were not in vain, we will not disappoint them!
Madam Speaker, as we have done for the last five years, we wish to acknowledge the contributions of the people of the Northern Cape, those citizens who, despite the ongoing challenges they face, are able to rise up and be an inspiration to their fellow compatriots.

I speak here of a young Charl Bouwer from Kimberley, who formed part of the 2008 South African Paralympics Team, and showed the world what he can achieve by winning the Gold Medal in the 400m Men's Freestyle competition, breaking the world record in the process.

I speak of Brandon Gertz from Longlands, who has persevered in chasing his dream of supporting himself and those close to him, displaying the tenacity and steadfastness needed in entrepreneurs. Brandon approached us at an Executive Council outreach programme to share his dream of expanding his small enterprise, and he has not ceased engaging many a possible funder, nor has he given up on his dream. Today, I am proud to say that his tenacity was fruitful, the Basha Development Trust has granted Brandon a grant of R 35 000.00 towards equipment for his welding enterprise.

Comrades, Ladies and Gentlemen, I speak here today of the dream of a young man from Victoria West, Ricardo McKenzie, who realised that he and he alone will be the architect of his own future, and today, after hard work and struggle, is the co-owner of Karoo Delights, a biltong and related products manufacturing enterprise. Karoo Delights today have contracts with Shoprite, Makro and 1Time Airlines, and is steadily growing into model for entrepreneurship.

I will continue, and speak of Itumeleng Mmusi, a young man from Kuruman, who, despite his physical challenges, has found it his responsibility and task to voluntarily assist those around him, acting as a facilitator to ensure access for people with disabilities to education, skills training and economic opportunities. Itumeleng has build linkages for his peers with amongst others the SA Human Rights Commission and the Department of Labour, and is a recipient of the Premier's Youth Award in the Community Youth Service category.

I want to acknowledge Anrie Venter, owner and manager of Rissipit, an enterprise focussing on interior design and catering, who has with sheer determination and enthusiasm captured the attention of the Mme Re Ka Thusa Trust, and was assisted with both grant and loan funding to expand her existing business.

Madam Speaker, allow me to continue and speak of Ms Precilla Tose, whose company is in the business of manufacturing soya products, and was assisted by the Trust to relocate to better premises, and to assist with some operational expenditure and lease commitments. The company has grown in leaps and bounds and the potential for further development is immense, as displayed by the resolve and commitment of the founders of this initiative.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I today speak of Denise Engelbrecht whose experience in retail management has prompted her to expand horizons to venture into a partnership to open a small business in the events management field.

I wish to pay tribute to these and other patriots of the Northern Cape, who are continuing the dream, not deterred by the fall-out of the economic situation experienced in the country and world over, and not frustrated by their environment. They are saying to all of us - if I may borrow a phrase from poet Maya Angelou - Still we Rise!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Comrades,

Renowned African writer Ben Okri, write, and speaking of Africans, said that "the most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering."

Similarly, the President of the Republic, President Kgalema Motlanthe, remarked on the occasion of the State of the Nation Address, that "Above all, I stand before you with pride and confidence that the South Africa we celebrate today - worlds apart from the divisions, conflict and exclusion of a mere 15 years ago - is a product of the labours and toils of South African women and men from all walks of life."

One cannot but concur with the sentiments expressed, emboldened by the reality and evidence of a better province and country that is in the making, slowly, but surely taking shape, every corner of our country being transformed into a united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous state.

And the one thing we rely on the most is our "capacity to overcome" as a people. No one dare dispute that we are, as Okri says, "authentic", that we are creative - that we know and live the spirit of change and love, the old African tradition of Ubuntu burning in all of us.

And that we have always been, and will always be, greater than our suffering!

In the people of the Northern Cape, in people like Charl Bouwer, Brandon Gertz, Ricardo McKenzie, Itumeleng Mmusi, Anrie Venter, Denise Engelbrecht and Prescilla Tose, you will find that which President Motlanthe aptly calls: "the hope and resilience that characterise our nation"

2004 to 2009 - Five Years of Consolidation of democracy and accelerated service delivery!

 Honourable Member, Ladies and Gentlemen,

When we met in this space on 30 April 2004, we highlighted that our then new administration will continue to build on the significant advances made during the first decade of democracy.

We said many things on that occasion, but rather than rehashing those, I want to borrow from an excerpt of a speech delivered by that great son of the Peoples Republic of China, Chairman Mao Tse-tung, when, in 1945, he said:

"our point of departure is to serve the people whole-heartedly and never for a moment divorce ourselves from the masses, to proceed in all cases from the interests of the people and not from one's self-interest or from the interest of a small group, and to identify our responsibility to the people with our responsibility to the leading organs of the party."

I firmly believe that the provincial government that I have had the privilege to lead over the last five years have worked very hard to live up to the expectations of our people, and in the manner explained by Chairman Mao.

We acted according to our mandate, contained in the 2004 ANC Elections manifesto, and confirmed by the masses of this province as their programme through a resounding vote of confidence in the ruling party.

We did not depart from this mandate, we steadfastly remained committed and in all that we did, we "proceeded from the interests of the people."

When we met here nearly five years ago, and in our quest to follow the wise counsel of Chairman Mao, we committed this government to deepen work in seven areas, namely:

The reduction and eradication of poverty;
Job creation and opportunities for all;
Improving the level of skills and expertise;
Deepening health care for all;
Enhancing the capacity of local government to deliver more efficient social services;
Dealing with the abuse of women and children and neglect of the elderly;
Creating an enabling environment for greater participation of differently-abled people.
It is therefore appropriate that today we revisit these areas, measuring the progress we have recorded and frankly, honestly and objectively highlight the challenges faced in pursuance of these ends.

In short, we use this opportunity to demonstrate our conviction that indeed, we "proceeded from the interests of the people!"

Over the last five years, my government has sought to direct more resources and energy into the economy of the Northern Cape, based on the outcome of the Ten Year Review which highlighted our progressive advances insofar as social transformation is concerned, but also the challenges around growing the provincial economy.

We thus deliberately sought to ensure that all our efforts, across all departments and spheres of government operating in the province, should be aimed at economic growth and redistribution.

Our provincial economy has recorded successive years of growth, recording 3.1% in 2006, turning the tide on the negative growth rate of -1.7% recorded as recently as 2001. We have actively sought and worked to broaden the economic base and activities across all sectors such as agro-processing, tourism and manufacturing.

Statistics South Africa has recorded a provincial unemployment rate of 24.2%, down from 26.3% in 2005. Whilst the decrease in unemployment is welcomed, the challenge of both women and youth unemployment needs our careful consideration and action.
We have made advances on our ability to advocate our positions nationally, and have scored major victories with, for instance, the decision around the relocation of the State Diamond Trader to Kimberley, and the increased presence and collaboration with institutions such as the Industrial Development Corporation, the National Empowerment Fund, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and others.

Since 1994, a little more than one million hectares of land has been redistributed in the province, with over 700 000 hectares redistributed during the period 2004 to 2008 alone. The Pro-active Land Acquisition strategy is showing some increased momentum and a total of 3 623 land claims has been settled in the province to date, ensuring both access to land for some, and reparation for displacement for others who elected to receive compensation.

Our Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme has supported the development of numerous emerging farming enterprises, and has seen many millions of rands transferred to black farmers in this way.

In pursuance of shared economic prosperity, we have prioritised the development of a cooperative movement in the province over the last number of years, with 26 cooperatives involving more than 1 000 people currently in place, ranging from small scale mining to cultural tourism.

We have launched the Integrated SMME Development Strategy that seeks to provide for a coordinated response and initiatives from all stakeholders in the sector, and that has clear targets and measurable objectives. The Small Enterprise Development Agency has a presence across the province, and is a valued partner in the further development of our emerging enterprises.

Access to financial instruments for SMME's has been enhanced with the presence of the Umsobomvu Youth Fund, MAFISA and SAMAF, and our own Basha Enterprise Fund and the Mme re Ka Thusa Trust. The IDC has opened an office in the province, and the Growth and Development Fund has been effective as a catalyst for economic development, supporting a wide range of initiatives.

Our province further hosted a very successful Asian EXPO in August 2007 and we participated in various platforms to enhance networking and sharing the potential of our striking and unique province to many a possible investor.

We have prioritised our work in line with the Accelerated and Shared Growth initiative and JIPSA, and gave made advances in ensuring that government procurement is targeted at business and enterprises of the Northern Cape.

We launched the Human Resource Development Strategy for the province which seeks to ensure alignment of both priorities and initiatives in a manner that will contribute to maximum output in addressing the skills deficit challenge experienced by the province.

The work done in establishing the Northern Cape as a preferred diamond and jewellery hub is progressing well, with the Gold Chain Technology project operational.

The implementation of the Expanded Public Works Programme, although not without challenges, has seen more than 35 000 of our people engaged in some form of economic and skills development activity over the last five years. This is well ahead of the initial provincial target of 26 000 jobs created.

The Big Hole project remains an example of a successful Public Private Partnership, and has seen tangible gains and many emerging down-stream opportunities for local entrepreneurs. Visitor numbers to the Big Hole have seen a significant increase, and provincial government is investing a further R 150 million rand in the development of the Big Hole Conference Centre, tapping into a lucrative, growing industry and in an endeavour to further boost our tourism potential.

During the last five years, the province made substantial investments in various forms of infrastructure, and has leveraged a number of meaningful projects implemented by national departments. In terms of roads construction, we have amongst others completed the Kommagas-Springbok, the Mmatwane-Dibeng and the Groot Mier-Rietfontein road projects. We have invested in various access roads, and have rehabilitated and secured numerous other roads, bridges and slopes. The community of Riemvasmaak now have access to the surrounding areas and towns using an R 29 million bridge over the Orange River.

Phase one of the Douglas-Belmont Railway Line is completed and this project alone created more than 700 jobs during construction.

The state of the art new Kimberley Prison is nearing completion.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The wellbeing of our people and care for the vulnerable and destitute remains one of our key focus areas.

Between 2003 and 2007, there has been a significant decrease in the proportion of people in the lower Living Standard Measure and an increase in the size of the middle bands.

The improvement in people's lives can generally be attributed to economic growth and expanding employment, as well as the targeted government initiated poverty alleviation initiatives that include provision of basic services to indigent households, social assistance and better housing.

We have improved the average turn-around time for social grants from 21 days in 2005 to 03 days currently, and in some instances same day approvals being processed in fully resourced centres. In excess of 300 000 of our people have access to the social security net through drawing various social grants, at an expenditure rate of around R 164 million rand a year. 108 940 qualifying children are beneficiaries of the Child Support Grant, exceeding the provincial targets, and up from 51 560 in 2004.

All local municipalities provide free basic services to communities, and this has helped considerably to address not only human dignity, but also the daily plight of the thousands of poverty burdened people of our province.

The School Food Nutrition Programme is reaching in excess of 239 000 learners, of which 159 000 are in 465 primary schools and a further 80 000 in 226 secondary schools. We are the only province that has extended the feeding scheme to cover secondary schools.

The province was able to surpass the national target of 40% for No Fee Schools, with 58% of our public schools currently not charging school fees, benefitting a total of 100 244 learners.

Through the National Institute for Higher Education, access to more affordable higher education for young people of our communities is offered, with more than 2400 students currently enrolled at the Institute, with 12 courses offered.

Go supa gore thuto ga e golelwe. Lenaneo la puso la Kha Ri Gude Mass Literacy programme has already enrolled 9447 learners, and the programme is targeting a total of 124 000 illiterate people by 2014.

66 new Early Childhood Development sites have been established, and LTSM procured for Grade R classes. Forty Five schools have been supplied with either indoor or outdoor equipment.

Delivery capacity at FET College level has been significantly enhanced with the re-capitalization programme, and we are well on our way to establish these colleges as first choice institutions and centres of excellence.

3 new schools are being constructed in the John Taole Gaetsewe District, and 65 schools have been provided with an average of two security guards through the ministerial schools initiative. Further to this, 130 of the poorest schools in the John Taole Gaetsewe District have been provided with a basic resource pack, including books and materials for learners and educators, in addition to the 95 mobile classrooms and furniture delivered to these areas.

100 young people will benefit from the first intake of students into the Youth Training Programme in the Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning Industry, launched on 10 February 2009 in partnership with the Ifihlile Training Academy and coordinated by the Northern Cape Youth Commission, rising to a total of 300 beneficiaries over the duration of the programme and representing an investment of over R 39 million in our youth.

This is in addition to the multitudes of young people who have already participated in many of the skills development interventions, such as the learnership programme, and those currently enrolled in the component parts of the National Skills Fund Project of the province.

The National Youth Service programme has been expanding, reaching more numbers of young people, and covering areas such as infrastructure and Information and Communications Technology. Our province has recorded the highest number of youth participating in the Annual Global Youth Service Days programme in the country for two consecutive years, which bears testimony to the confidence that the youth has in the future of this country, and their endeavour to define their own role in it.

In terms of health priorities, we have heavily invested in ensuring that access to health care for all is ensured through extending infrastructure and services. In Barkly West, the Professor Z. K. Matthews Hospital was completed and is in operation. The Manne Dipico Hospital was taken into use in 2005, with the Abram Esau Hospital in Calvinia and the Joe Slovo Hospital in Garies operationalized in 2005 and 2007 respectively. Construction has commenced on the new Gordonia Hospital, and construction for De Aar Hospital is scheduled to start in 2010.

We have built 09 new clinics, and the hospital revitalisation programme is progressing well. We have also increased emergency health service capacity with the employment of 218 Emergency Care Practitioners, the procurement of 145 new fully equipped ambulances and 25 patient transport vehicles.

In the ongoing war against HIV and Aids and STI's, we have increased the Voluntary Counselling and Testing facilities to 174 sites, and the Anti-retroviral Treatment points are 26, of which 15 are permanent points and 11 outreach points. 31 595 patients have been assessed so far, with 8717 patients on ARV treatment, and 5646 in the preparation phase for take up into the programme. However, we must mention that the lack of qualified medical practitioners at an acceptable level remains an impediment to the successful implementation of this important programme.

We have completed the Provincial Strategic Plan for HIV and Aids in partnership with various relevant stakeholders, and our financial provision for HIV and Aids for 2008/09 alone is in the region of R 136 million.

We engaged the services of 1300 Community Home Based Care Givers, who provide a much needed and selfless service to our embattled communities.

Further to this, we have extended the implementation of the new PMTCT guidelines for dual therapy to 162 fixed facilities, 24 satellite clinics and 45 mobile clinics, with 160 primary health care nurses having undergone training in this regard.

As a result of coordinated interventions and concerted action, the Northern Cape has seen a progressive decrease in the Infant Mortality Rate from 41.8 to 33.4 in 2007, which points to a success in the improvement of child health. Immunization coverage of children under 1 year remains at over 97% in the province, with the provincial department of health implementing the World Health Organisation strategy known as Reach Every District, which is aimed at improving coverage and protecting children against vaccine preventable diseases.

As part of our ongoing bi-lateral engagement with the Cuban government, and in addition to the 31 students already benefitting, 10 new recruits has left for Havana for training in medicine, with the first two successful students completing their internal studies in July, ready for deployment to serve the people.

To further enhance the dignity of our people through housing delivery, the provincial government has completed all "blocked projects", and has also constructed in excess of 12 000 new housing units since 2004. This brings the number of houses delivered in the Northern Cape through the government subsidy scheme to well over 30 000. Work has also started on the Breaking New Ground initiatives in Loratong Park and Ou Boks in Colesberg that will demonstrate the new integrated infrastructure delivery approach as spearheaded by the Department of Housing.

314 Community Development Workers were trained and are deployed, servicing 184 municipal wards and communities. These foot-soldiers provide an important and essential link between the people and government, and have been invaluable in terms of ensuring that the most vulnerable are able to access the programme and services of government. We need to invest more energy and effort, as well as resources into this programme to maximise its potential.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture is charged with leading our endeavours to pursue and attain social cohesion in the province.

The critical nature of this responsibility and mandate is borne from our understanding that social cohesion is what holds our society together. It is that which provides the common cause for all of us sharing the ideals of one national identity through embracing our diverse heritage and that which drives our pride in this beautiful country.

Social cohesion is thus at the very core of our common destiny, our well-being as a caring society and the ideal of peaceful co-existence.

The role and place of heritage in achieving the objectives of social cohesion has been incrementally amplified over the past five years. We have started an intensive programme to reclaim our past and our neglected heritage through honouring our heroes and heroines.

To this effect we have returned and buried the remains of Kaptein Cornelius Kok and 30 of his followers, erected a memorial on the grave of Kgosi Galeshewe, erected tombstones on the graves of the deceased members of the Upington 26, similarly honoured the Colesberg 4, and created a Garden of Remembrance, inclusive of a Youth Memorial at the Legislature in honour of the immense contribution of all our fallen heroes and heroines.

We recognize that much still need to be done if we are to bring a fitting tribute and homage to the many icons of our fragmented past. We will in the near future conclude the already started process to correctly honour Sol Plaatje and we will conclude the research on Kgosi Luka Jantje so that we can return his remains to a place of peace and dignity. In consultation with various stakeholders, including Sol Plaatje Municipality, we will be renaming Transvaal Road, as well as the Tranvaal Road Police Station after Phakamile Mabija, a youth activist who met his untimely death at the very Transvaal Road Police Station during the anti-apartheid struggle.

One of our most special and dearest achievements in the field of heritage was the declaration of the Richtersveld as a World Heritage Site. This pinnacle of international recognition of the value of heritage, acknowledges the worldwide importance of Khoi San culture of which the province is the custodian.

Our sub-continent and particularly our province are increasingly being recognized as the cradle of human kind. Late last year, we proudly announced the discovery by a Canadian archaeologist, that evidence of human use of a cave as shelter dating back 1.2 million years, was made at the Wonderwerk Cave. The Northern Cape is now truly placed at the centre of the development of human culture.

Truly, our past, our heritage and our legacy say we are destined for greatness!

Nobody will dispute the central and influential role of sport in social cohesion, national pride and national unity - we simply have to point to the exploits of our national rugby team and the 2008 Beijing Paralympics team.

Our provincial teams may not have always reached the heights of the national rugby team, but we can record numerous positive efforts to grow and develop sport in the province.

We have in the past five years established both the Provincial Sport Council and Academy of Sport. These two entities have already made an impact on high performance, transformation of sport and supporting federations. Most federations have now shed the old "Griqualand West" name and now play as team Northern Cape. We urge the remaining federations - notably rugby and cricket - to come on board and shed its outdated name.

The mass participation programme has made the most significant contribution to our physical well-being and allowing us to be healthy citizens. More than 300 people are employed in this programme enabling it to have attracted more than 200 000 participants over the past five years. The recreational focus of the programme is especially aimed at keeping the youth out of crime (and out of court) and away from the many social evils that tempt them.

In support of these programmes, we have developed sport facilities at Steinkopf, Calvinia, Hopetown, Dibeng and Warrenton. We acknowledge that the process of funding sport facilities through the MIG grant has not rendered the desired output and that we must vigorously pursue the return of this funding to the relevant structures.
Madam Speaker,

I am sure this House will agree with me that the completion of the Mayibuye Centre is a particular highlight. This centre enables us to apply for and develop a performing arts centre in the province - initiatives in this regard have already started. The Mayibuye Centre is already a hive of activity with daily programmes at the conference centre, the Sport Academy using the Gym for high performance development and daily dance programmes.

We recognize the central position of libraries in a 21st century knowledge society and its role in improving education and training outputs. As such we have, in the last five years provided internet facilities to 80 libraries, delivered over 1million new books to libraries, implemented 20 mobile book boxes in the rural areas and developed 25 new toy libraries.

Madam Speaker,
We are proud to report that overall, the province is doing well in its fight against crime and abuse. Our latest released crime statistics indicate that ten of the province's 13 priority crimes have shown a significant decrease. Except for murder and aggravated robbery as indicated, we have recorded less rapes, assaults, attempted murders and common robberies.

Our commitment and seriousness about fighting substance abuse is also evident in the fact that 4% more crimes such as dealing in and possession of drugs have been recorded. This is a positive increase that can directly be related to the increase in police action assisted by community informers

Our Youth remains a critical partner and stakeholder in all our efforts to promote responsible and good citizenship and create safe communities. The Northern Cape Youth Crime Prevention Framework under the leadership of the South African Police Service is the flagship project to mobilize the youth in the province to collectively initiate and participate in endeavours to fight crime. This project has received recognition as an international best practice for excellence in Urban Safety, Crime Prevention and Youth Development amongst five South African Projects and Five International Projects during a International Youth Crime Prevention and Cities Summit in Durban from the 17 to 21 June 2008. As a result of this recognition, the Youth Framework was invited to present the concept and progress at the World Urban Forum in China from 01 to 09 November 2008.

Our efforts were also significantly boosted by increasing our traffic law enforcement fleet with 35 new vehicles of which 5 was sponsored by RTMC. We plan to increase this law enforcement fleet with another 10 new vehicles at a cost of R1, 5 million during 2009.

In as far as the police are concerned, 498 police recruits and 43 support staff have been appointed during 2008/09 bringing SAPS personnel strength to 7 082 in the province. 219 vehicles were received and distributed during 2008 and the total number of vehicles now in the province is 1 706. Dit is dus duidelik dat ons gemeenskappe geen verskoning meer hoef te aanvaar oor die beskikbaarheid van polisie voertuie nie!

Honourable Members,

Provincial Government has significantly benefited from the national re-alignment and innovation with regards to integrated and coordinated planning through instruments such as the Medium Term Strategic Framework and the National Spatial Development Perspective. This, coupled with the implementation of the Inter-Governmental Framework Act has increased coordination and joint planning across the spheres of government in the province. All 5 Districts now have Growth and Development Strategies, with the Pixley Ka Seme District GDS being hailed as an example of best practise in the country.

This process was finalised through a support programme directed from the Office of the Premier.

Hand on support to local government as per the identified broad key performance areas was sustained, with municipalities in the province recording a 68% credibility rate for their IDP's.

However, general and financial management at local government level remain a cause for concern, and needs our ongoing engagement. It is an indictment on all of us that 27 municipalities received disclaimers of opinion from the Auditor-General, and that the general financial state of municipalities remains extremely weak.

Objectively, a number of factors do hamper the effective promotion of good governance at both provincial and local spheres, and these include weak institutional and resource capacity, ineffective civic education, high poverty and low literacy levels.

We will however have to engage with the reality of the state of some of our municipalities, for instance, Magareng Municipality has been the subject of provincial government intervention for a consistent period of time. The municipality, like many others in the province, operate without a viable tax base, very little in terms of local economic development potential, and general conditions of grinding poverty. The future status of these municipalities must be discussed and resolved.

We have sustained our interaction with the masses of our people through various platforms, including the numerous Presidential Izimbizo, Executive Council Outreach programmes and Council Meets the People Fora. Overall, the Provincial Executive Council has had four outreach programmes every year.

In response to the weaknesses identified in the Ten Year Review, we have prioritised increasing our spending towards economic services in order to stimulate economic growth and development. On average, we have increased the allocation for economic services from 10.2% in 2004 to 14.2% in 2008, with education and health remaining our biggest spending areas, at 38.9% and 27.5% respectively. It must be noted that in doing so, the province has not deviated from its pro-poor policy positions, and this has not affected the delivery of social services in any way.

Dames and Here,

We have further enhanced our international engagement with outward missions to amongst others the Ghana, the Peoples Republic of China, Belgium, Namibia, Lower Normandy in France, Kasai Oriental Province in the DRC and the Middle East.

Notable amongst these are the fraternal bonds of friendship that we have sustained with the peoples of the region of Karas in Namibia, and the trade and cultural linkages that is established, benefiting people from both Karas and the Northern Cape. This is especially so in the case of the peoples of the Namakwa and Siyanda Districts who share a joint history and very strong ties with communities in the Karas Region.

2009 - Future Outlook

Madam Speaker,

We have entered this year, better understanding that globalization is a reality, and that our interconnectedness with the world an undeniable fact.

The effects of the global economic meltdown, as manifested in, amongst others, the price of oil and food, the collapse of major banks and giant multi-national companies and the general turbulent economic conditions experienced in the world currently.

Economic Cluster

Poverty, unemployment and inequality remain the most pressing challenges in our country, and rightfully occupy the central agenda of our growing and evolving developmental state. The Northern Cape Provincial Government has a responsibility to lead and guide our mixed economy, and must continue to make decisive interventions in the interest of the people. We will not shy away from this task!

The creation of decent jobs and expanded economic opportunities will be emphasised over the medium term, and all this therefore points to the need for better planning and implementation capacity at provincial and local level, and a higher degree of effectiveness with the economic interventions being rolled out. It therefore brings to bear that state intervention capacity in the economic sector needs a review and interventions across all three spheres of government, with planning and implementation capacity at local level especially receiving dedicated and special attention.

Focus will remain on implementing integrated and well coordinated employment programmes targeting women, with clear targets with regard to especially women in rural areas. We remain convinced that if you employ women, you feed families!

As was alluded to in the State of the Nation Address, we will over this coming period expand the reach and effectiveness of EPWP interventions and the National Youth Service Programme targeting unemployment and unskilled youth. In this way, community based provision of services must become a central delivery mechanism, whilst addressing the skills deficit and poverty levels. There is a need for clear monitoring and impact assessment tools to measure success in this regard, and this work will be coordinated by the Office of the Premier.

We must invest more significantly in research and innovation, and enhance services that seek to foster entrepreneurship, ensuring that they reach larger numbers of our people, with a clear bias to women and youth. To this end, initiatives such as the New Venture Youth Tourism Competition must be replicated and extended to reach more young people across the province.

We need to work with the Department of Trade and Industry to explore improved monitoring mechanisms and regulation for BEE initiatives to ensure that provincial developmental objectives are met, and the Corporate Social Investment of large companies should be used to leverage the participation of black people into the mainstream economy. We will leverage the Agri-BEE framework to ensure support from commercial agriculture to emerging agriculture in this province, and that the sector is united in pursuit of shared growth, wealth and prosperity.

There is a need for improved implementation of the comprehensive post-settlement support programme. We are anxiously awaiting the dialogue and development of the proposed large scale, integrated rural development strategy for the country, giving a voice to rural masses, whilst at the same time responding to challenges in rural areas in a coordinated and comprehensive manner.

In our view, we must apply the experiences of the ANC-led government with regard to the implementation of the Integrated Sustainable Rural Development programme, and use lessons learned to inform the broader implementation of a massified strategy.

Amongst others, a new and better strategy should focus on the development of small holdings, proper support to cooperatives and similar initiatives, with dedicated capacity to rural areas in the form of financing, extension services and business development services.

Rural infrastructure provision and development should be informed by the economic potential of the area concerned, and infrastructure should be used to leverage economic benefits.

Social Cluster

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We will continue to focus rigorously on the quality of education provision in our province in line with our commitment that Education must be prioritised as one of the most important programmes of the government at all levels for the next five years.

Central to these efforts will be the work that needs to be done to progressively increase output in terms of special interventions such as the Dinaledi Schools to improve maths and science provision at schools, coupled with a clear focus on teacher development and the provision of the necessary infrastructure and resources, especially in the most rural areas of the Northern Cape. We will be scaling up and massifying the Foundations for Learning programme, currently focussing on Grades R to 4, with emphasis on reading, writing and numeracy.

Whilst as a progressive government, we will continue to engage with the debate around free education, we shall continue committing focus on the No Fee Schools programme, as well as the QIDS UP programme focussing on redress and a focus on the poorest schools in the province, in terms of both resources and capacity for delivery. We will endeavour to declare more schools as No Fee Schools in 2009, raising the number of learners benefitting from this programme by more than 37 000 learners. In addition to this, the School Nutrition Programme will feed an additional 14 500 learners, including learners in 195 ECD sites in line with the Grade R expansion programme.

We need to measure the impact of the re-capitalization of the FET colleges, and ensure a sustained focus on "re-establishing" the FET sector as the preferred site for further development of human capital, directly linked to labour market needs and addressing the existing skills deficit.

We have to deal with some of the systemic challenges currently experienced within the education system, especially with regards to implementation of the new curriculum, and more specifically with regards to teacher training and development, and our all round capacity to deliver. There is for instance a challenge in the provision of mother-tongue education, insofar as the supply of qualified teachers in this field is concerned, and this needs our ongoing engagement.

I am sure that all of us look back with an immense sense of pride to the performance and feats of our national team at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008. The performance of our differently-abled athletes surpassed by far that of those athletes that participated in the Olympic Games. Their proud achievements give expression to our view that indeed, we are a nation with "hope and resilience!"

Therefore, Ladies and Gentlemen, special attention will be given to the implementation of White Paper 6 and ensuring that learners in public ordinary schools with special needs are catered for. Learners with special needs are learners who have been identified through a screening, identification and assessment process as having additional support needs that would require reasonable accommodation and interventions of a specialised nature. Our target is to enrol a total of 1 580 learners in Special Schools during the 2009 academic year. 500 district officials will be trained on Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support and Individualised Learning Support Programme to provide continuous support to Special Schools, and in so doing, allowing our special needs learners to excel even to greater heights.

Dealing with capacity challenges at district level within education, we will be increasing capacity to provide increased direct support at schools, and key deliverables here include filling critical posts at this level and decentralising more functions to districts to enhance and speed up delivery.

Critically, some of the challenges that warrant our ongoing attention are the participation of especially communities in SGB's, as well as achieving consistency and uniformity in our approach and understanding of the challenges of the education system.

Too much emphasis is still being placed on measuring the education system in terms of the national senior certificate results, and not the health of the entire system, and not taking into account the interrelatedness of the different component parts of the system.

Our province, given its unique character, is obviously very interested and will participate in the discussions around the need for a National Health Insurance System. We will consciously work towards the retention and capacity of health professionals and in 2009 alone will be providing bursaries for at least 285 students in medical fields ranging from Medicine to nursing.

The creation of a single and credible health information system will receive further impetus with the training of 120 unemployed youth as data capturers over the next three years.

Health challenges in rural areas, specifically with regards to infrastructure and human resources requires that we continue to invest in and build community capacity to respond to challenges in this regard, for instance, through applying the EPWP model more vigorously and expanding the Clinical Associates Programme currently being implemented to reach greater numbers of our youth.

We will continue with and expand HIV and Aids and STI campaigns and interventions, informed by the outcomes of research and behavioural indicators, and expand access to ART sites, through an increase in service points to 35, and reaching at least 18 000 registered patients. An additional 100 CHB Care Givers will be recruited in the next year alone.

Dames en Here,

Government will continue to do work to ensure that the masses of our people have access and benefit from social security initiatives that alleviate the burden of poverty shared by millions daily. In terms of this, we will continue to expand our services to the elderly and children with the registration of an additional 15 service points for the elderly, and providing funding for an additional 20 ECD centres. The Children's Act will be implemented from April 2009, significantly expanding the existing services to children across sectors.

The Springbok Secure Care Centre is to be opened soon, with the Centre in the Pixley Ka Seme District in progress, and a new Centre planned for the John Taole Gaetsewe District in the next two years. In addition to this, the Ke Moja Anti Drugs Campaign will be extended to cover 100 schools, up from the 50 currently participating in the programme.

As part of the National War on Poverty Campaign, the 500 Families Pilot project is currently in its third phase, focussing on the implementation of development programmes that will assist to lift the concerned families out of poverty.

Madam Speaker, Honourable Members,

I am proud to announce that all four swimming pools in the Sol Plaatje Municipality will be upgraded over the next 18 months to the tune of R4 million. As a result Karen Muir swimming pool will again be able to host national galas and Floors swimming pool will be one of very few undercover, heated short-course pools in the country.

These efforts are supported by the Learn to Swim programme in partnership with Northern Cape Aquatics and to date already 200 instructors are trained to ensure that the scourge of drowning in the province is arrested.

The FIFA 2010 Football World Cup presents us with the single greatest sporting spectacle and growth and development opportunity. While we may not have succeeded in our bid to be one of the host cities, we have not sat back in despair. We have developed a detailed plan and have identified four strategic priority areas to ensure that the province derive maximum benefit from the world cup.

We have already submitted our bid to serve as base camp for teams during the world cup and as a consequence the English Football Association visited the province for an inspection late last year. While we may not have the entire infrastructure in place to attract a team as big as England, we will vigorously lobby specifically targeted countries to set up their base camps in the province. A team of senior officials is directly lobbying different countries, and this work will intensify over the next few months.

Our tourism master plan is in full swing to attract tourists to the province and to ensure that our hospitality establishments are registered and graded to host the many visitors we expect.

We have also already piloted two highly successful Public Viewing Areas in the province in preparation for hosting at least one per major town in the province during both the World Cup and the Confederations Cup. It is these PVA's that will create the physical spaces for public participation during both tournaments. In addition, we are also participating in the recruitment and selection process to ensure that people of the Northern Cape participate as volunteers at the matches in Mangaung in 2009 and 2010.

A lasting and living legacy after 2010 remains one of our key priorities. To this effect we will leave no stone unturned to lobby for funding to develop our first multi-purpose sport complex, upgrade the Northern Cape Theatre and develop the standard of football in the province. The past five years have seen us host 12 PSL and professional matches as well as the hugely successful COSAFA under 20 Tournament. We are looking forward to hosting Amajita in the next few months as they prepare for the World Youth Championships later this year.

In order to grow the network and service impact of library services we will in the next few weeks open 21 new container libraries and do the sod-turning for the construction of brand new libraries in Barkly West, Richmond and Hartswater. These 3 libraries will be the first newly constructed public libraries in the province since 1994.

Justice Cluster
One of the classical great tragic playwrights of Athens in ancient Greece, Sophocles, insisted that "Nobody has a more sacred obligation to obey the law than those who make the law"

As provincial government we are aware of our responsibility in this regard, and will therefore over the coming period intensify the fight against corruption.

It can however never be the responsibility of the public sector alone to deal with the scourge of corruption. Therefore, as Premier of the Northern Cape, I appeal to the private sector and communities to assist government as willing partners in fighting corruption. Together, let us continue to build a culture of ethics and ethical conduct in conducting our business.

Let us join hands in fighting corruption and fraud without fear or favour!

The issue of crime and violence continue to work against our efforts to build national unity and social cohesion. It also seriously undermines strides made towards establishing and entrenching a culture of respect for human rights and democracy
Whilst substance abuse and lack of poor conflict resolution skills remain the major causal factors to crime in our province, it is undeniable that the issue of poverty, unemployment and unscrupulous greed can never be overlooked as factors that inevitably present crime and corruption as viable options for survival on the one hand and quick enrichment of the other.

Madam Speaker,

Whilst we are encouraged by the downward trend in contact crimes in the province, we remain greatly concerned about the levels and extent of violent crimes, particularly rape and violence against women and children. It is sad that, despite the big strides made in the liberation of our people and especially the inculcation of a culture of Human Rights, women and children are still not "free from daily harm and danger", be it in their homes, on the streets, at graveyards and in the workplace. Women and children continue to be the victims of the most brutal and heinous attacks against their person.

As 'n provinsie sal ons nooit ophou om hierdie euwels te beveg nie. Ons sal geen steen onaangeraak laat in ons strewe dat geen vrou en kind die slagoffer van geweld is in hierdie provinsie nie. Ons bly verbind om hierdie euwel met tak en wortel uit te roei, in noue samewerking met ons gemeenskappe.

To this end the JCPS Cluster, together with community-based organisations and structures have recently conducted a Rape Reduction Summit whose aim was to review the Anti Rape Strategy and 30 Point Action Plan of 2005 and to determine the framework for an integrated, yet practical multi-disciplinary approach that would improve our effectiveness in the prevention of and also our response to rape.

These law enforcement operations are supplemented by social crime prevention programmes such as the "Ke moja" anti-drug campaign led by the Department of Social Services in conjunction with the Department of Education. Another important supporting initiative is the Responsible Trading to enhance Responsible Drinking Project that is lead by the Department of Safety and Liaison in conjunction with the Provincial Liquor Traders Association, and which will be intensified over the medium term.

In the same vein, various efforts to further bring down levels of crime, violence and abuse in our province will be intensified this year. These intensified crime fighting efforts will be underpinned by law enforcement through traditional policing on the one hand, and social crime prevention on the other.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our approach requires society as a whole to work together as active partners to prevent and combat crime, and build a united front, giving practical expression to government's central crime prevention theme, namely "ACT - AGAINST CRIME TOGETHER"

In this regard every police station in the province has already developed crime prevention plans based on the said approach in consultation with all pertinent local stakeholders in respect of the two to three most serious crimes identified in a particular station precinct. Important safety and security issues of rural safety, preparations for securing the 2009 General Elections and preparations for FIFA 2009 Confederation and 2010 World Cup have also been incorporated into these station plans. An important initiative towards intensifying the crime prevention partnerships is the establishment of Street Committees throughout the province. This initiative is aimed at putting in place the building blocks for Community Safety Forums whose ultimate aim is to mobilize and strengthen the role of local government and local communities in the creation of safe and secure environments. The Street Committee Project will be launched during February as part of the annual safety and security month activities.

We can never speak about safety and not mention the issue of road safety. Road Safety is equally everybody's business and responsibility and as so often emphasized, it is something that begins with the self. Government continues to do all in its power to ensure that our roads are safe and every road user arrives alive at their destinations.

Unfortunately, our law enforcement and public education efforts alone are not enough. This we say because we believe that one accident is one road fatality too many. The fact that we have exceeded our 10% target to reduce road accidents and fatalities during both the 2008 Easter and Festive Season periods, therefore merely inspire and motivate us to do more, but will never leave us content. We will continue to improve our capacity to render our roads and communities safe.

I am glad to report Madam Speaker, that in support of our crime prevention strategies in 2009, the police vehicle preliminary budget allocated is R 41 million, while the indicative post allocations for new entry level constables is 299 new personnel, with a training budget of R 1.5 million.

Major SAPS and Justice Infrastructure projects are underway and to be completed during the New Year include, amongst others:

Five new police stations are in the planning phase, and are to be built at Boetsap, Sunrise, Keimoes, Komaggas and Mothibistad.

The construction of 2 new magistrate's courts at Galeshewe and Colesberg and one periodical court at Deben at a total cost of R 82 million are nearing completion and will be opened during 2009.

The construction of the Danielskuil Court at a cost of R5, 4 million is underway, while the planning for the Garies magistrate's court, projected to cost of R 8, 7million is being finalized.

Governance

The masses of our people in the Northern Cape are deeply aware of the nature and extent of the poverty, underdevelopment and infrastructure backlogs that have been inherited by municipalities across the province. We say this because thousands of our people live their daily lives in conditions characterised by the injustices of the past that we come from.

Despite this reality of historical neglect, real progress has been made with and through local government to improve access to basic services and sustainable development - through access to clean water, electricity connections, waste removal and new infrastructure in the form of recreational facilities, roads and transport infrastructure and local economic development.

Whilst we affirm and recognize the progress and arising opportunities, there are a number of challenges that call for collective action by all of us.

These challenges include increasing the managerial and technical capacity of municipalities through the mobilization and deployment of appropriate technical expertise, as well as financial managers.

Greater attention will have to be paid to accountability measures and the enforcement of existing provisions of local government legislation. The performance framework for municipalities, public representatives and officials who work in these institutions provides for Key Performance Areas and Indicators, which should be an enabler in improving accountability at this level.

Madam Speaker, Honourable Members, it remains our responsibility to ensure that all municipalities continuously focus on integrated planning for growth and development and improved alignment of development functions. We also have to put more energy and invest more significantly to strengthen the facilitation and coordination role of the district municipalities.

Madam Speaker,

I have today spoken about what President Motlanthe calls "our journey of hope and resilience", and what Ben Okri describes as our "capacity to overcome."

In delivering this address to this august house and gathering, I make bold to say, as I have said at the beginning of this address that this provincial government, "proceeded from the interest of the people!"

In the book of Mark 10:42-45, so Jesus called the all together to him and said, "You know that those who are considered rulers of the heathen have power over them, and the leaders have complete authority. This, however, is not the way it is among you. If one of you wants to be great, you must be the servant of the rest; and if one of you wants to be first, you must be the slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served; he came to serve and to give his life to redeem many people."

Madam Speaker

I have had the singular privilege to serve the people of the Northern Cape, as Premier of the province.

I believe that it is our collective hope for a better life for all that allowed us to be guided to do what is right for the people we serve.

To my colleagues in the Executive Council and in the administration, I want to share this quote with you:

"We need very strong ears to hear ourselves judged frankly, and because there are few who can endure frank criticism without being stung by it, those who venture to criticize us, perform a remarkable act of friendship, for to undertake to wound or offend a man for his own good is to have a healthy love for him." (Montaigne)

I am certain that when history pass judgement unto us, history will be kind in its judgement, because I believe that we acted out of love for our people.

Over all this time, we remained firm in our belief that our greatest calling is to act as servants of our people.

As I conclude, I leave you with the words of John F. Kennedy, who said, "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

Madam Speaker, I declare the Sixth sitting of the third democratic provincial legislature officially opened.

 

I thank you.

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Office of the Premier 
Private Bag X5016 
Kimberley 
8301

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