Hon Speaker of the Provincial Legislature,
Hon Members of the Executive Council,
Hon Deputy Ministers Present
Hon Members of the Provincial Legislature,
Leaders of Political Parties Represented in this House,
Our Esteemed Traditional Leaders,
Your Worship Executive Mayors and Mayors of our Municipalities,
Speakers of our Councils,
Heads of Our Security Agencies,
The Director General Dr Lydia Sebego and Heads of Provincial Departments
Leadership of Chapter Nine Institutions
Chairpersons and Chief Executive Officers of State-Owned Enterprises,
Leaders of Labour Movements, Civil Society, Faith Based-Organisations and Business,
The South African Local Government Association Chairperson,
Comrades and Friends,
People of the North West
Ladies and gentlemen,
Hon Speaker we take this opportunity on behalf of the people of Bokone-Bophirima to wish Happy belated Birthday to Mme Rebecca Kotane who turned 104 on the 12th February 2016. We thank God for her continued presence in our midst and pray that she be blessed with good health to see many more birthdays.
Hon Speaker, the year 2016, is the Year of Advancing People's Power.
As we launch the programme of action for Government in 2016, we are reminded that the foundation of this democratic dispensation was built and shaped by ordinary masses of our people, who continue to stand guard in defence of the freedom we won in 1994.
In declaring this the year of advancing people's power, we therefore affirm the legitimacy and authority of the democratic state; for it is based on the will of the people.
Those of us who have a unique opportunity to be delegated to be of service to the people, take courage from centuries of exemplary struggles and heroism of our people against colonialism and apartheid.
The esteemed and privileged positions of leadership we hold, bear testimony to the triumph of our national liberation struggle against 342 years of apartheid colonialism.
As much as we declare that we have made commendable strides in overcoming the challenges of 342 years of apartheid colonialism, we do so fully aware that its negative and destructive consequences continue to define the lives of the majority of our people, who are blacks in general and Africans in particular.
Over the last 21 years, Government has made strides to build a united, non-racial, no-sexist, democratic and prosperous society.
Hon Members, we take this opportunity to applaud Africans in particular and blacks in general who have embraced the new dispensation despite being the worst victims of our racist and oppressive colonial past.
These are patriots who prioritised the project of nation building despite having endured the pain of oppression over so many decades.
We thank the African National Congress for the smooth transition from apartheid to democracy, and for pursuing reconciliation and nation building.
We recognise the sincerity of the majority of white South Africans who have accepted the hand of friendship, peace and reconciliation from blacks in general and Africans in particular.
We call on all South Africans to hold hands and walk side by side, united in our diversity to achieve the objectives of building a better society.
Hon Speaker, our country has moved decisively over the last 21 years from being the skunk of the world to be a shining model of democracy anchored on constitutionalism and the rule of law.
The progress we have registered has not been without weaknesses; mistakes were committed, mistakes acknowledged and corrected.
These are painful but necessary lessons. Some of the mistakes may have been fatal, but what is important is to draw lessons of value from our pre and post 1994 past and use such lessons to move our Province forward.
On the occasion of the official handover of the National Development Plan, during the Joint Sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces on 12th August 2012, President Jacob Zuma summed the importance of the NDP as follows;
Regardless of our political differences, we broadly agree on the need to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa.
We may disagree on methods, but the end result is not difficult to agree on. The National Development Plan describes that final destination that we are all moving towards.
As other people would say we must always be careful not to confuse the end with the means to achieve such an end.
Hon Members, allow me to take this opportunity on behalf of the people of Bokone-Bophirima to thank President Jacob Zuma for his visionary leadership for championing the National Development Plan. Bokone-Bophirima Provincial Government fully supports the NDP and there is no turning back on it.
Since assuming office 21 months ago, the fifth administration has sought to implement the NDP through the RRR (rebranding, repositioning and renewal) approach, anchored on a new approach of the five (5) concretes:
ACT (Agriculture, Culture and Tourism);
VTSD (Villages, Townships and Small Dorpies;
RHR (Reconciliation, Healing and Renewal);
Setsokotsane (comprehensive and integrated service delivery campaign)
Saamwerk-Saamtrek (call for unity of purpose above race divisions).
Hon Speaker, the project to Rebrand, Reposition and Renew Bokone-Bophirima is intended to deal with our inheritance and timidity to deal with and resolve the following challenges over the years:
Unaffordable inherited accruals of R938 million in 2013/14 increasing to R1.4 billion in 2014/15 as a consequence;
Thin critical scarce skills base in the Province;
Crime: Murder, Rape, Assault, Robbery aggravating, Burglary, Theft out of motor vehicle;
Growing culture of real and perceived corruption;
Pockets of Instability across in some municipalities and some public institutions including what happened at the North West University this week. We condemn this violence and appeal to all role players to put the interest of the students and the institution above their narrow political interests;
Justifiable and unjustifiable Impatience among some sections of society on service delivery
Legacy of poor road infrastructure;
Water and Sanitation Challenges;
Poor work ethic generally in society and some public servants;
Cumulative Unauthorized Expenditure of R1.1 billion; Irregular;
Fruitless and Wasteful Expenditure of R10,78 billion without consequences over the 20 year period
Poor adherence to payment of suppliers within regulated 30 days;
Poor human relations and pockets of racism;
Low levels of investor confidence;
Low levels and poor community participation in Government programmes; Instances of arrogance by some of us public representatives and public servants.
The list is not exhaustive.
Much as we acknowledge and own up to the weaknesses articulated above, much progress has been registered in the last 21 months of this administration. We are also aware and have drawn important lessons from mistakes and miscalculations that may have been committed as we sought to implement these good intentions. Our resolve is informed by the important principle - that every dark cloud has a silver lining - We see opportunities in these challenges. This resilience is inspired by the words of former President Nelson Mandela
Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.
Bokone-Bophirima is rising again and will go higher and higher. It will do anything necessary to take its rightful place among the Provinces of South Africa.
Hon Speaker, let me share with our people our plan and some of Government achievements and highlights of the last year since the 2015 State of the Province Address:
R300 million is set aside over the 2016 MTEF for providing hundred (100) primary schools with smart-board to enhance learning and teaching of mathematics during 2016/17 financial year;
In the year 2014/15 we rolled out tablets and an e-learning solution to 70 schools and trained 3 738 educators on Basic, Intermediate and Advanced ICT skills and how to integrate ICT in delivering the curriculum;
Sanitation in (6) Six schools have been completed, forty six (46) school have Consultants appointed whilst twenty eight (28) schools have Contractors on site;
8 Community and Nutrition Development Centres (CNDCs) to mitigate against Food and Nutrition Insecurity were established, 1 600 beneficiaries are currently receiving cooked meals from the centres;
Guidelines to link the War on Poverty Programme (WoP) with the Setsokotsane Programme to fast track poverty eradication interventions were developed and implemented;
Worked with the collective of SALGA, national Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Treasury to improve interventions and performance of Municipalities in Government's Poverty Eradication Programmes.
Between April-December 2015 and September-December 2015 both Pilanesburg and Mahikeng Airports passenger numbers increased to 6642 from a zero base. The plan is to increase the number of flights and introduce new routes between 2016-19 focusing also on SADC, Africa and Brics countries with special focus on China and India.
The Province is currently in the final stages of calling upon investors for the construction and management of the new Traffic College on a BOT Model (Build, Operate and Transfer);
EXCO has approved the implementation of the plan to build Mahikeng Airport into an international Cargo Hub will be realised in 2016 with the signing of an investment agreement of $100million (about R 1,5billion) as part of VTSD.
Out of a total of 8 649 EPWP beneficiaries, 3 144 opted for participation in the cooperatives scheme;
Profiling of EPWP beneficiaries progressed as follows:-
18 000 beneficiaries were employed and briefed on the Exit
16, 281 profiled;
6, 249 interested in Cooperatives;
2, 497 interested in further education and training;
7, 535 interested in continued employment as public servants. A difficult challenge indeed but not insurmountable