His Majesty the King, Hlanga Lomhlabathi
Honourable Members of the Provincial Executive
Honourable Members of the Legislature
Mayors and Councillors of Local Government
Amakhosi and members of Traditional Councils present
Members of the Royal Family
Heads of Departments and Public Entities
Leaders representing the Youth, Women and the Disabled
Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Ladies and gentlemen
People of KwaZulu-Natal
As I rise to address this House, I wish to express my appreciation to His Majesty for his speech he delivered yesterday and for gracing this house today. The words of wisdom and the guidance contained in your speech are once more appreciated. We want to assure you that as public representatives we will work with you. Bayede! Hlanga Lomhlabathi.
Madam Speaker, the Olduvai Gorge sometimes referred to as “Cradle of Mankind”, is a rare archaeological site which is located at the Serengeti plains at the foot of Ngorongoro nature conservation reserve in Northern Tanzania.
This spectacular site combines fossils, bones, stone tools and ancient artifacts. It is home to different species of wild animals. It stretches 47km and a stands out height estimated at 295 feet (90metres).
If you stand at the top and look at the valley below, you feel the danger from all sides but at the same time you are spellbound by the breath-taking cliff and valley below you with the sounds of different wild animals conspiring to spin your head around. This precarious balance produces an exciting contradiction of fear of danger and the desire to explore the beauty and tranquillity offered by nature.
The combination of realities and possibilities in our country and our province compare accurately with the above scenario. The reality is that we have challenges which are mainly the legacy of our ugly past but over the past 20 years we have seen progress in many aspects of our lives as South Africans. Clean water, electricity, new roads, decent houses, increase access to education and healthcare facilities provide strong evidence that we are in the new South Africa.
The National Development Plan and the Provincial Growth and Development Plan are good indicators for possibilities ahead.
Armed with our 20 years of democracy, we are fully aware of the danger of failure and we dare not. We are empowered by the new tools we have in the new valley below us, our democratic South Africa, and these being our good polices on a wide range of issues including the economy.
The ruling party led by President Jacob Zuma who is also the President of the Republic has declared the next five years and beyond as an era of radical economic transformation. In this era we will tackle unemployment in particular which will logically impact on equality and poverty.
Madam Speaker, we want to thank the people of South Africa and the people of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) in particular for demonstrating overwhelming confidence on us as the ruling party. We remain humble and loyal to the majority of our people. Together let us move with speed, ensuring a better quality of life for all in our province.
The term from 2009 to 2014 saw us making enormous progress on the basic needs of our people especially on what had been promised prior to the general elections of 2009. We highlighted our achievements in our first State of the Province Address and the inauguration speech as part of celebrating our 20 years of Freedom. I want to express my gratitude to the former Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize and all the colleagues both in the legislature and executive council.
We served our people until the last day of the term of office. We opened the Spring Groove Dam at Mpofana and MiddleDrift Dam in Nkandla to ensure access to quality water. We began constructing many roads including the road between Kranskop and Nquthu. The road linking Newlands, Clermont and Pinetown is also under construction.
Here in Pietermaritzburg we delivered the Vulindlela housing project to restore dignity to our people who were affected by political violence in the past. We renovated many hospitals such as the Edendale and Murchison as part of our efforts aimed at ensuring the provision of quality healthcare.
We have made a lot of progress in the area of peace and stability and indeed we have seen the blossoming of our diverse culture in our communities, celebrated and embraced by all.
Humanity knows no colour of your skin - thrives in religion and Ubuntu. All of these are a hallmark of being a South African. Compatriots, the provincial government in partnership with the national Department of Arts and Culture is embarking on an initiative to bring back the remains of the world renowned journalist Mr Nat Nakasa.
This will bring closure to a long outstanding matter that has remained a painful wound in the hearts of Nakasa family and of all of us as South Africans. Members of this house will be invited to this historic event. Importantly, Honourable Members, Ramadaan has dawned on our Muslim of our country once again.
The next thirty days of fasting are not only a spiritual period of abstention from food and drink but also a time of deep spiritual rejuvenation. To my Muslim brothers and sisters, I believe that the positive benefit that you derive from the holy month of Ramadaan will help us in our quest for nation building and reconciliation. As one nation, we need to celebrate our different cultures that make with pride. In September we will celebrate Heritage Month which will coincide with Umkhosi Womhlanga. There are many other cultural events including Umkhosi Woselwa which we will celebrate making KZN a nice place to live in.
Madam Speaker, our Provincial Plan of Action for the next Five years is in line with our 2030 vision which is to be “A prosperous Province, with healthy secure and skilled people, acting as a gateway to Africa and the World”.
We want to acknowledge the two critical players in our economy - the private sector both local and foreign based - and labour. Neither can succeed without the other.
We are committed to an on-going partnership with the private sector in the struggle for economic growth and wealth creation. We have in place the strategy and fora to carry this particular task and we appreciate the spirit of cooperation that we see in our province.
I wish to reiterate the commitment of this government to work with organised labour to ensure skills development and to maintain stability in both private and public sectors. This commitment is informed by the acknowledgement that the workers play a critical role as they are the ones who are in the engine rooms of our economy. Notwithstanding the fact that the KZN economy has grown in real terms as measured in terms of 2005 Rand value from R270 billion in 2010 to R347 billion in 2014, this growth has not been as bold.
The provincial economy is projected to grow at 3,0% in 2014 and around 3,5% to 4,0% in 2015. Although the tertiary sector continues to be the largest contributor to the regional economic growth, the province is better positioned to capitalise on agriculture, mineral beneficiation, manufacturing, tourism, freight and logistics, as well as the financial services sector to boost its growth level.
We are concerned about recent losses of jobs in the agricultural sector, about youth unemployment and the fact that real and meaningful black economic empowerment is slow. We understand that these conditions are posing a serious risk to our society and are further exposing our people to poverty, food insecurity, substance abuse and criminal activity.
Poverty and inequality in KZN is eradicated
Today we want to firmly declare poverty as public enemy number one. We are committing to throw our full weight behind poverty eradication. We will be intensifying support of vulnerable groups, in particular mothers and children; the disabled; communities on commercial farms and informal settlements.
We have adopted a Poverty Eradication Programme and Package. This programme will ensure that as government we work with all non-governmental partners to eradicate poverty through our Operation Sukuma Sakhe in part.
Some of the targets we have set for ourselves are to ensure that by 2020 we would have reduced the percentage of households that have gone hungry in a 12 month period from 35% to less than 25%.
We also aim to have the current School Nutrition Programme developed in the iLembe District, replicated and rolled out in all the districts in the province. This programme will feed 2,5 million children every day from local produce and will obviously also provide wonderful opportunities as a market for our agricultural sector as well as for additional job creation.
Within the first year of this term, we have to ensure that the Provincial Food Security Strategy in line with Poverty Eradication Package, which includes the Schools Nutrition Programme and Nutrition Development Centres, reaches at least 85 000 household in KZN.
Madam Speaker, it is our intention as government to half unemployment and to ensure that:
Total value of output of all sectors within the provincial economy increases from 2010 value of R267 200 million to R450 000 million in 2020 and to R750 000 million in 2030, as measured in 2005 Rand value;
Total employment within the provincial economy of KZN increases from 2,4 million in 2010, to 3,3 million in 2020 and 4,5 million in 2030. This translates to us having to create 2.1 million jobs by 2030, of which 900 000 have to be created by 2020; and;
The GDP per Capita within the provincial economy of KZN should increase from R28 110 per capita in 2010, to R39 760 in 2020 and R56 230 in 2030. This implies doubling of GDP Per Capita as a target set in the National Development Plan.
We indicated earlier on that we have entered the era of radical economic transformation. As part of radical economic transformation, government is developing new ways of doing things...