Acting Premier On The Occassion Of The Sod Turning Ceremony JTG

ADDRESS BY THE HONOURABLE ACTING PREMIER OF THE NORTHERN CAPE PROVINCE, MS GRIZELDA CJIEKELLA, ON THE OCCASSION OF THE SOD TURNING CEREMONY OF THE JOHN TAOLO GAETSEWE ROADS, ON WEDNESDAY 20 MARCH 2013

Programme Director
Honourable MEC For Public Works, Mr Dawid Rooi
Mayor’s and Councillors
The Sishen Iron Ore Community Development Trust
Community John Taolo Gaetsewe District
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

I am pleased to be here with you today to preside over the sod turning ceremony of the MR 950 (from Dithakong to Heiso – a 27 Km stretch road and the MR 947 (From Laxey to Samsokolo) – a 31 Km stretch road.

Today, marks a major milestone towards achieving the infrastructure goals as articulated in our infrastructure development plan and doing away with untarred roads.

I have no doubt in my mind that after the completion of these roads, they will bring a range of significant benefits to the communities concerned, such as contributing towards the safety of our people and freedom of movement .

We will also ensure that these projects are designed in the most cost effective manner possible and that they will leave a positive legacy for generations to come.

Programme Director, the unveiling ceremony of these roads brings to mind a promise we made to the people of this region during the recent protest action. I am happy that we are in part fulfilling that promise. The upgrade of gravel roads to tarred roads were prioritized by communities through the memorandum of demand that was presented to us.

Our government respects the right of our people to protest as enshrined in our constitution. However, it is unacceptable when people’s rights are violated by protest actions that lead to injury and death of persons, damage to property and the destruction of public infrastructure. We call on all the people of the Northern Cape Province to exercise their rights to protest in a peaceful and orderly manner in line with the confines of the law.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we need to be aware of the fact that due to the new demarcation process the Northern Cape Province inherited the backlog on roads which previously was the responsibility of the North West Province to upgrade and maintain. The provincial government, despite limited finances, is doing its best in terms of roads development.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this government is committed to delivering a superb road infrastructure, because it is the main mode of transportation in this country. We understand the regional and national economic benefits of proper road infrastructure. We will be giving priority to projects that will stimulate economic growth to our major regions and to the national economy.

Roads facilitate the free flow of goods and services. This road will not only benefit business to transport their produce and access markets, but will also benefit the community as a whole.

It is the aim of the ANC-led government to create a better life for all our citizens, in alignment with the objective of this project, I appeal to all residents to support this project as it will improve the quality of travelling for all of us and even shorten the travelling time for all vehicles.

Infrastructure plays a vital and pivotal role and could be labelled as the backbone to the economic development of a town or region.

We are glad to announce that the construction of roads will have a socio-economic impact as it will bring 100 job opportunities for the duration of the project. The new skills that the local community will acquire will be used to provide a strong foundation for self sufficient, long term prosperity that will improve the quality of life for them and for their children.

This is another initiative of government to alleviate poverty within our rural villages. Once again we are combating the scourge of the triple burden which government faces namely, poverty, unemployment and inequality.

The construction of these roads will benefit the community as it sets to:

Bring forth change in the daily functioning and operation of residents.
Open up areas with tourism and business potential.
Positively impact on the economy of the JTG area; and
Allow safer and quicker access to basic services such as clinics and police stations

Government, specifically Roads and Public Works as the custodians of all provincial roads, in close partnership with Sishen Iron Ore Community Development Trust, is ready to commence with the construction of roads.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I sincerely appreciate the contribution our development partners have made in financing this road. This project is the shining example of a Public/Private Partnership which is needed in the Northern Cape Province to assist small towns and rural areas from experiencing decay, and to take it to the next level of economic upliftment.

I reiterate to the public the remarkable results that through partnerships and working together, we can achieve more, build communities and strengthen relationships thereby delivering on the mandate of the ANC.

After the successful completion of this project, let us unite as one to look after our tarred roads:

As Children; we will be using the roads to get to our schools
As Mothers and Fathers, we will be travelling these roads to do business in town
As Taxi drivers; let us not be reckless drivers by respecting the ones that we transport both fellow road users and pedestrians.

Let’s work together to build roads, create job opportunities and alleviate poverty.

In conclusion, as we approach the Easter period, we expect more journeys as people travel to celebrate with their families. Let us be more careful on the roads so that we travel and arrive safely.

With these remarks, it is my pleasure to once more thank each and everyone of you who are involved in making these projects a reality.

I thank you

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