State of the Province Address (SOPA) by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Mrs Sylvia Lucas
The Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature;
Members of the Executive Council;
Members of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces;
Members of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature;
Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
Chairperson of the Karas Region, Mr Jan Scholtz
Our Esteemed Judge Williams and Members of the Judiciary;
Heads of State Security Services;
Chairperson of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), Mayors and Leaders in our system of Local Government;
Our Honoured Traditional Leaders and Veterans of our Liberation Struggle;
Heads of State institutions supporting our constitutional democracy;
The Director General, Heads of Department and Leaders of the Public Service;
Goodwill Ambassadors of the Northern Cape Province;
Fellow citizens of the Northern Cape;
Ladies and gentlemen
We are presenting the State of the Province address in a year in which we celebrate 20 years of our Constitution which is hailed as one of the best in the world. We are reminded of Madiba's most poignant quote during the signing-in of the Constitution, when this paragon of virtue and compassion declared and I quote We give life to our nation's prayer for freedom regained and a continent reborn.
This year in August we will also be commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Women's March against the inhumane and unjust pass laws. The clarion call of those brave women was premised on the powerful slogan Wathint'abafazi Wathint'imbokodo which still resonates today.
In the midst of the 20 000 strong group of women who had marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria was Kimberley born Frances Goitsemang Baard, an African National Congress stalwart and once National Treasurer of the ANC Women's League, who dedicated her entire life to the struggle for the total emancipation of our people against colonial disposition and apartheid subjugation.
Further to this we will also be commemorating 40 years of the June 16 uprisings. We honour the Class of 1976 who selflessly and uncompromisingly fought against Apartheid's brutal and unjust laws.
The youth will be a focal point in our implementation of the 9 point plan which will be mainstreamed into all our programmes and initiatives:
I would like to specifically highlight the following initiatives:
The Provincial government has recently completed a profile of Young People in the Northern Cape and the Northern Cape Youth Development Strategy is underway which is aimed at responding comprehensively and meaningfully to the challenges facing young people. As part of advancing young people we are providing apprenticeship, learnerships as well as bursaries. More and more of our young people in the Northern Cape have access to TVET colleges and universities. To his end we can report that in the previous financial year we spent over R54 million and we envisage to spend over R69.5 million in this current financial year.
We would also like to focus our energy on building and fostering social cohesion in the Province and in engaging communities to address racism in our country. For this reason we will also be engaging various stakeholders in the NGO's, labour, religious, business and farming sectors in order to ensure that we deal with this scourge of racism. It starts with each one of us to seriously look inside ourselves and realise that there is only one race and that is the human race.
We are sincere in our intention to give effect to the non-racial society envisaged by the African National Congress. We will do so remembering the words of Tata Mandela who reminded us that No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
Our government is committed to expedite the radical transformation of our economy in order to enhance the participation of the masses of our people in the mainstream of the economy. We remain committed to uphold the provisions of the National Development Plan which is our long term Vision for addressing these challenges. One of the key approaches to the implementation of the NDP is through the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF). The MTSF has two key themes namely, Radical Economic Transformation and Innovative Service Delivery.
The government programmes pertaining to radical economic transformation must be about doing things differently and effectively to ensure tangible delivery of services to our people.
The principal Objectives of radical economic transformation are to:
Accelerate economic growth in an inclusive and sustainable path;
Achieve much higher levels of employment creation and decent work opportunities;
Reduce inequality substantially; and
Ensure meaningful black participation in ownership, control and management of the economy.
It is an accepted fact that the fault-line underpinning the economic structural challenges has perpetuated unemployment and inequality twenty years after the transition to democracy. What is of particular concern is the high levels of youth unemployment. The fault-line band which foundationally directs the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment has its roots deeply entrenched within the confines of the Apartheid regime.
Ladies and gentlemen
The majority of South Africans were systematically and structurally marginalised. This occurred in two ways, namely spatially, where segregation was engineered to force people to reside far from economic centres and institutionally where the deprivation of people were amongst others denied formal qualifications and access to financial and other market institutions. It is worth noting that it was in this time that the mining value chain lay at the heart of the economy while manufacturing and the services sectors remained relatively underdeveloped.
The Northern Cape is already addressing spatial inequality through the implementation of Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, which came into operation the 1st of July 2015. The Province, in collaboration with the National Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, is supporting municipalities to ensure that all our municipalities are SPLUMA ready. We cannot undo a lifetime of deliberate and unjust planning overnight but we have made great progress and will continue to work towards the realisation of this commitment.
We will focus on the institutionalisation of long-term planning, integration and coordination capacity within the state to drive consolidated industrialisation and infrastructure development programmes for inclusive growth and job creation, more so amongst the Youth. For they are leaders of tomorrow and we will leave a solid foundation for them to build upon and drive the economy for the benefit of our province and country.
Ladies and Gentlemen
President Jacob Zuma, in the ANC's January 8th Statement reaffirmed the government's commitment to radical economic transformation when he said: The country requires an activist, interventionist and capable State that takes decisive action to effect radical economic transformation. It is our assertion that the country needs a private sector that acts in the national interest and contributes to the attainment of the national goals of eradicating poverty, unemployment and inequality.
The planning processes carried out by all government entities will have a vital role to play in bringing the National Development Plan to life. It is therefore important to improve the quality of existing planning mechanisms. We have in place a roadmap of methodology, thinking, integrated planning, resource allocation and monitoring and evaluation.
As you know the world is grappling with the aftermath of global economic crisis and South Africa is not insulated against the impact of that crisis.
We are, however, mindful of the Province's heavy reliance on mining and agriculture is especially susceptible to global financial turmoil's. Our province is right in the middle of the storm and we are confronted with the mining industry that is hard hit by a decline in commodity prices and agricultural sector that is confronted by a severe drought. As a result of this a large number of jobs are under threat. We will work with organised labour and the mining sector in our Province to minimise job losses by looking at alternatives rather than retrenchments.
In this respect, the Government is currently implementing strategies and programmes to mitigate the worst economic impacts of the minerals price crash and drought. Approximately 2000 smallholder farmers across the province are benefitting from drought relief of R23 million and we are expecting additional funding to the tune of R19 million from the national department of Rural Development and Land Reform. We must not be deterred from laying the groundwork for a better tomorrow. Food security remains one of the key priorities of this administration and we will continue to do whatever is required to ensure that our fields and that we produce quality and quantity.
Ladies and gentlemen
In terms of employment creation the construction, utilities and transport sector were the most notable employment creating sectors with growth rates of 42.0%, 41.6% and 40.6% percent respectively. These increases can be attributable to the burgeoning energy sector in the province and the construction of the Sol Plaatje University. The provincial community service sector continues to be a critical agent of employment with almost a third of those actively employed.
This year we will focus our energies on...