Modern, Growing, Successful Province

Inaugural address

Inaugural address of the Honourable Premier, Ms Hazel Gertrude Jenkins Northern Cape Provincial Legislature, Kimberley
11 May 2009

Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Provincial Legislature
Members of the Provincial Legislature
Judge President of the Northern Cape and Members of the Judiciary
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners
Members of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces
Mayors, speakers and councillors
Traditional leaders
Leaders of political parties
Religious and faith based leaders
Representatives of organised business
Representatives of organised labour
Government officials
Distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen

I stand before this august house profoundly humbled and honoured by the sense of history of this event and the enormity of the honour that has been bestowed upon me, yet mindful of the magnitude of the task in front of us.


I bring to it a conscious desire and determination to execute my responsibilities to the best of my ability and to act in the best interests of all the people of the Northern Cape Province. I come to the Office of Premier with a clear sense of my obligation to the people of the Northern Cape.

Only with the help of the Almighty God can I carry this weight of trust and hope that is placed on my shoulders. I will not betray this trust as I will keep hope alive.

I accept the responsibility to serve the people of the Northern Cape and our country; together with the members of this Fourth Democratic Legislature. We understand the expectations that our people have and we pledge our commitment to serve them and work with them to create a better life for all.

I also stand before you with great humility after being elected into the highest office of government in the Northern Cape Province. The faith and confidence displayed by the people of the Northern Cape in both the African National Congress and myself is indeed heart-warming and is appreciatively acknowledged.

Ladies and gentleman, the majority of the people of this Province gave a clear mandate to this government for the attainment of their aspirations. Our collective responsibility therefore, as the Provincial Government, is to strive to achieve all the goals we have set ourselves in order to enhance the quality of life of all the people in our vast Province.

We thank the outgoing Premier Ms. Dipuo Peters and her Executive for their sterling performance. They worked very hard to ensure that today we can speak with optimism that, notwithstanding the negative global economic environment, the foundation is firm for us to step into the new horizon.

I also wish to congratulate the newly elected members of the Provincial Legislature and in doing so we are reminded that each and every one of us has to be mindful of the trust and confidence the people of the Northern Cape have thrust upon us as a leadership collective. We are therefore obliged to advocate and defend their interests by way of the powers and privileges of this august House.

I am hopeful that through our dedication and sheer hard work, underpinned by the goodwill that is prevalent in this House, a new era in terms of the functioning of the Provincial Legislature will be heralded.

This therefore means that in fostering and deepening democratic processes on a province - wide basis, we will increase our accessibility to the public, thus strengthening meaningful dialogue in advancing the interests of our Province.

The aspirations of our people were overtly demonstrated on the 22nd of April 2009 when they voted in their millions to ensure that the vision of a democratic and a prosperous South Africa lives on.

As we assume this responsibility of governance as the Ruling Party, we believe that together we can do more, and importantly our priorities relate directly to improving the conditions of the poor, create a shared prosperity and strengthening our state institutions and departments in order to enhance service delivery.

I trust that with the continued support of this House, we will live up to the expectations of the electorate in enhancing the capacity and quality of service that our Provincial Government will render.

Tangible effort must and will be accorded to promoting social justice, fundamental human rights, gender equality and the values of human dignity, equality and freedom, thereby further enhancing parliamentary democracy in this province.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in truth, we cannot confidently say we have succeeded as we would like to have succeeded if we, as a leadership collective, do not extend opportunity and care, dignity and hope to all the people in our beautiful Province.

This is a fundamental test of our social goals and our political will. It will be a crucial but valid test of our self-knowledge, of how well we know of and understand the circumstances our people find themselves in, of how well we know and understand our history, and also how well we acknowledge and recognize the fact that as complex and bureaucratic systems of governance might seem to be to the ordinary person, the onus is upon all of us to seize this moment so that we intensify our efforts in building a just and caring society.

Personally, I envisage a Northern Cape Province emerging from its apparent slumber - modernizing and becoming ever more confident of its future in our beloved and unique system of constitutional democracy.

Honourable Speaker, we have a clear and achievable plan over the next five years to further improve the quality of life of our people. Our programme focuses on employment creation in a growing economy, health, education, rural development and land reform as well as fighting crime. This plan will only produce the desired results if all South Africans get involved in implementing it.

In the words of ANC President Jacob Zuma, the ANC Government will have no reason to fail South Africa on its promise. "The millions of South African voters made us, their public representatives, the custodians of their hopes and dreams. We dare not fail them."

In accordance with the vision of the Ruling Party, I foresee that in our joint endeavour, we will witness provincial renewal in various aspects of provincial life which will include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Housing
  • Poverty Eradication
  • Health Care
  • Education
  • Job Creation
  • Public Safety

Honourable Speaker, there comes a time when critical choices will have to be made. As leader and principal of the Northern Cape Provincial Government and with the support of each and every member of this House as well as the Ruling Party, we owe it to our people to strive for peace and prosperity as opposed to strife and hunger, reconciliation as opposed to holding petty grudges, nation building as opposed to the promotion of sectional interests, and the contentment of the people we serve as opposed to doubt and despair.

Ladies and Gentlemen, since the inception of constitutional democracy in 1994 we, as a province, have progressed to a level where we are at peace with ourselves and are on an irreversible path towards staking our claim in the wider South African sunshine.

This occasion also enjoins this House to pay tribute to the generation of leaders who have placed this province on the path to achieve its aspirations. I speak here of our Honourable former Premiers and struggle stalwarts such as Comrade Manne Dipico, Comrade Dipuo Peters, Molehe Mampe, Ma Seperepere, Marcus Mbete, and many others.

In following the footsteps of this generation of leaders, we must today undertake a solemn pledge to carry their proud legacy forward and never to betray their faith and trust in us to continuously build on the foundation that they have laid.

In reinforcing the partnership we have made with the noble people of the Northern Cape, we shall, as a united and principled government, endeavour to achieve new advances in the eradication of poverty, the creation of jobs, and
to responsibly exploit the natural resources this province has to offer in the form of agriculture, mining, tourism and much, much more.

We must also during this time of the global economic downturn explore creative ways to continue to stimulate our economy, create unique opportunities and attract investment to the Province.

To this end we must maximize our agricultural production, strengthen our tourist appeal, improve our hospitality sector, further explore our mineral-rich landscape and creatively diversify and increase our manufacturing capacity.

It is now opportune for us as a province, to take advantage of our country's integration into the global economy, to enhance our economic output so that the degradation of poverty becomes a thing of the past for the majority of our communities.

I stand before you, ladies and gentlemen, convinced that against the background of an ever improving provincial economy together with the creation of opportunities we will gradually, but resolutely overcome the HIV and AIDS pandemic, the despondence of the youth and violence against women and children.

This House today re-affirms its commitment to propelling our province further in the fight against racism, sexism and intolerance in all its manifestations.

We have just only recently emerged from National and Provincial elections, and as in any democratic election anywhere in the world, the electoral processes have their own peculiar dynamics - some inherent, and some that surface in response to particular sets of circumstances.

Be that as it may with the elections being an event of the past, I am confident that the members of this House are fully aware, that as elected public representatives, we have a collective onus to advance the interests of our people. In so doing, I am of the view that I will receive the support of all political parties in improving the condition in which most of our people live.

At a personal level and I am sure that this House will concur with me; the hallmark of a caring government is the extent to which it places the interests of its people first. Therefore the quality of service we render, as the Provincial Government of the Northern Cape, must be benchmarked within the context of how we, collectively, respect and uphold the dignity of our people.

In encouraging and maintaining the basic dignity of all inhabitants of this vast province, we must:

Mobilise our people in active support of Government's programmes;
Re-ignite our people's passion in and for themselves, by for example, delegating developmental responsibilities to them;
Uproot from our society the scourge of corruption which robs the poor of that which is legitimately theirs;
Begin work in earnest to address the many challenges faced by our communities while we remain inspired by the significant progress we have made thus far as a united nation.
We enter our next term of office confident that working together we can and will overcome the challenges that lie ahead. Collectively our political vision has to be so far-reaching that we see way beyond our current situation. The vast majority of the people of our Province expect us to move with much more speed in pursuit of our all-embracing pursuit of a better life for all. They do so convinced that, as government, we will continue to serve their interests faithfully, honestly and to the best of our abilities. In this regard we can all learn from the well documented life experiences of South Africa's greatest gift to the world in the form of that icon of all struggle icons: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who, in leading our country to freedom, made personal sacrifices - even after his release from prison.

Indeed, many of the difficulties we encounter will require maximum unity between and among us as deployees or representatives of the various political parties. Unity of purpose and intent will allow us to employ our collective wisdom in navigating our Provincial Government through stormy waters for the benefit of our people.

In our role as both servants and leaders, we must draw courage from the fact that as a province, the Northern Cape has made tremendous strides in improving the quality of life of our people.

Working together we have reached many milestones, weathered many storms and overcome countless challenges. In our attempt to find the most appropriate responses to the many challenges facing our Province, I extend a hand of principled co-operation and friendship to the parties that constitute the Northern Cape Legislature. I am reluctant to use the term "opposition" in describing the smaller parties for I am sure they will not oppose the Ruling Party's developmental agenda, but will seek to add value thereto in a multitude of ways. We shall and will not allow our differences to obstruct or stifle the important advances we have made thus far in pursuit of a better quality of life for all the people of the Northern Cape.

In my maiden State of the Province address on 12 June 2009, I will further elaborate on the strategies that will be implemented by this government to overcome the many socio-economic challenges that continue to confront us as a province.

My personal vision of this government's relationship with the other parties in the Provincial Legislature is encapsulated by the following words by Barbara Jordan, the first African- American woman elected to the US House of Representatives from the Deep South:

"A nation is formed by the willingness of each of us to share in the responsibility for upholding the common good. A government is invigorated when each of us is willing to participate in shaping the future of this nation"

In my capacity as Premier of the Northern Cape Province, I wish to reiterate the reconciliatory overtures of President Jacob Zuma at his official inauguration on 9 May 2009 when he described the current period as a moment of renewal and opportunity to rediscover that which binds us together" Therefore as the Provincial Government of the Northern Cape we are duty bound to play our role to forge national unity which should be a priority for all sectors of our society.

Allow me once to thank the electorate for going out and voting and placing their confidence and trust in the ANC and myself. A word of gratitude goes to my family for their guidance and support and I count on your continued support as I tackle this enormous task.

Thank you

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