State of the Province Address delivered by the Premier of Limpopo Province Mr Chupu Mathabatha to the Fourth Limpopo Provincial Legislature, Lebowakgomo

20 February 2014

Honourable Speaker, Ntate Elias Nong;
Honourable Deputy Speaker, Mme Joy Matshoge;
Honourable members of the legislature and the NCOP;
Honourable Members of Parliament;
Honourable Members of the Executive Council;
Executive Mayors and Mayors of our local municipalities;
Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
Provincial Commissioner of the Police;
Acting Director General and heads of Departments;
The leadership of the African National Congress;
Leaders of Opposition Parties;
Chairperson of Limpopo House of Traditional Leaders;
Our esteemed Majesties and Royal Highnesses;
Former MPs and MPLs;
Stalwarts and veterans of our liberation struggle;
Heads of our Chapter Nine and Chapter Ten institutions;
Leaders of religious formations;
Leaders of organized business and labour;
Youth, Women, Community Leaders and media representatives;
Distinguished guests;
Comrades and compatriots;
Ladies and gentlemen:

This year we celebrate twenty years of freedom and democracy in our country. All South Africans must have reasons to celebrate the successful conclusion of our second decade of freedom and democratic rule.

Blacks in general and the African majority in particular must celebrate because our hard won freedom has restored back to us our humanity. After many centuries of oppression and exploitation we are now equal citizens in the land of our birth.

Our white compatriots celebrate because in our freedom they too found freedom. They are no longer citizens of the pariah state that condemned them to live in a twilight zone at the periphery of the family of humanity.

There is no more race of masters and a nation of boys and girls wallowing in an abyss of hopelessness.

In the true letter and spirit of the Freedom Charter, today South Africa belongs to all who live in it, Black and White.

Fellow South Africans, at last we are all truly free to forge our common destiny together, inspired by a common sense of patriotism.

Honourable members;

In Limpopo we sing with boundless joy as we celebrate our modest contribution to the building of a new and democratic South Africa. We have successfully reversed the horrific legacy of Bantustans, Homelands and all other artificial divisions that apartheid system imposed on us. The aberrations that separated Pedis, Vendas and Shangaans from one another are no more.

In fact, we look to the future full of hope and confidence, because we stand tall on the shoulders of giants like Mark Shope, Alpheus Malivha, Lillian Ngoyi, Mapitsi Priscilla Mokaba, Kgoshigadi Madinoge, Peter Nchabeleng, Tjantji Kabini and many others of their generation who sacrificed their lives in order to liberate us from the bondage of apartheid.

Today is indeed better than yesterday, and surely, tomorrow will be better than today.

In our forward march to the second phase of this transition, we will seek guidance and draw inspiration from the stalwarts of our movement and veterans of our struggle who are still amongst us. General Ike Maphoto, Mme Lydia Komape, Tatana George Mashamba, vho Rashaka Ratshitanga, Mme Joyce Mashamba, Ntate Mothupi “Poo” Pharephare, and many others of your generation, your wise words of counsel keep us going in a quest to make Limpopo a better home for all.

Honourable Speaker;

Today we deliver this State of the Province Address, very soon after laying to rest the mortal remains of one of the greatest sons of Africa, Isithwalandwe/Seaparankwe Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

Mandela, affectionately known as Madiba, the first President of the democratic Republic of South Africa, and a towering father of our rainbow nation, was an African leader of note and a unique global icon.

He played a pivotal role in rescuing our country from a slippery slide into the blood bath of a full blown civil war. He indeed was central, not only during the taxing times of our liberation struggle, but also in shaping our shared destiny. Nelson Mandela was an epitome of the values that underpins our constitutional democracy. It is for this reason that our hearts could barely contain the news of his passing on.

We are, however, comforted by the knowledge that there is no grave that is big enough to swallow this architect of our democracy, and a giant of our liberation struggle. For as long as we live, Nelson Mandela will never die.

We join his movement, the African National Congress in the call to, “re-double our efforts to realise his vision....for a better life for all our people”.

Still fresh in our memories also, is the untimely departure of Mme Mapitsi Mokaba. On the sad occasion of the memorial service to remember and celebrate her life, we said that MmaMokaba; ‘…was a relentless revolutionary who prized freedom of her people above everything else’.

May their Souls rest in peace!

Honourable members;

Today we are here to give a detailed account of our five manifesto priorities, and overall performance of government over the past twenty years.

Honourable speaker;

We have inherited a country characterized by many social and economic problems, which are a direct result of apartheid’s socio-economic design. These problems include, but not limited to lack of housing, lack of jobs, gutter education system, a poor healthcare system and a failing economy.

Honourable members would agree with me that the legacy of apartheid had entrenched itself in all areas of human interaction. It has a footprint in our education system, healthcare system, trade and commerce, agriculture, sport, social security and welfare, extending as far as social relations.

The Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) accurately captured the extent of the problem by asserting that, Poverty is the single greatest burden of South Africa's people, and is the direct result of the apartheid system and the grossly skewed nature of business and industrial development which accompanied it. Poverty affects millions of people, the majority of whom live in the rural areas and are women”

I am deliberately highlighting the devastating and complicated web of the legacy we inherited in 1994, so that we can appreciate the difficulty of the road travelled thus far, and the challenges that lie ahead.

I am also confident that this eminent house will appreciate the great milestones we have covered in the past twenty years in our drive to end the devastating legacy of apartheid colonialism.

Opening the doors of learning and culture

Honourable speaker;

The government appreciates the fact that education can play a significant role in reversing the ugly legacy that I have already alluded to. The all-important role that education can and should be allowed to play in moving our society forward has been summarized by former President Nelson Mandela when he said:“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of a farm worker can become the President of a great nation”

Indeed honourable speaker, without education we will simply fail in our endeavour to move Limpopo forward.

It is for this reason, therefore, that as government we have invested heavily, both in terms of expanding access to education and also in the improvement of the quality of education in our schools.

There is no doubt, whatsoever in our minds, that we have made significant inroads in reversing the legacy of apartheid education system. In this regard we have introduced a number of legislative and policy interventions that meaningfully opened the doors of learning and culture.

The South African Schools Act and the Employment of Educators Act are part of the progressive legislative frameworks that government introduced to improve the quality of learning and teaching.

Honourable Speaker;

In an effort to improve the quality of curriculum content, we have restructured and developed curriculum from the National Curriculum Statements (Grade R - 12) to Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS).

We are proud to report that over ninety six percent of learners in our province are benefiting from the No-Fee School Policy. There is no doubt, that this policy intervention has seen the  majority of children from poor family backgrounds enjoying their right to education.

No less than ninety-six percent of learners in quintile 1, 2 and 3, and special schools are beneficiaries of the National School Nutrition Program (NSNP), commonly known as school feeding scheme. This has gone a long way in encouraging school attendance and improving performance.

The government also introduced the Scholar Transport Programme with a view to ensuring easy and safer access to schools. To date about 19 162 learners are benefiting from this program. The plan for 2014/15 is to put 20 500 learners on this programme.

Honourable Speaker;

Although Early Childhood Development Programme has begun to take shape and effect, the conditions of service of workers and infrastructure remain a challenge. In this regard, we will commit additional resources to support Early Childhood Development programme.

It is also worth mentioning that as the Province we have contributed to the reduction of illiteracy in adults by enabling them access to further learning and employment opportunities through Adult Education and Training programme. Accordingly, it is encouraging to note that for the period under review, an average of 35 500 learners per annum go through this programme.

Honourable Speaker;

The distribution of Learner Teacher Support Material has, over the past two years or so, been a challenge in our province. We are however, proud to report that this is now a thing of the past. By the time schools re-opened in January this year we had distributed Learner Teacher Support Materials to all the schools in the province.

I want to emphatically stress that no one, and no one, in this province, will ever again be allowed to trample on the basic rights of our children to education.

Honourable members;

The past five years saw Limpopo making a remarkable improvement in the performance of Grade 12 results. We have gradually increased our Grade 12 results from 48.9% in 2009 to 71.8% in 2013. It is also worth mentioning that this pass rate improved not only quantitatively but also qualitatively.

We would therefore like to take this opportunity to once more thank past and present education MECs, learners, educators, parents, officials of the department of education, SGBs and teacher Unions for their tireless efforts and collective work in making Limpopo shine.

In this regard we have invited our 2013 grade 12 top leaner, Ntsundeni Richiewell Ndou from Tshivhase Secondary School in Vhembe. My son, you have made us proud as a province. We are confident that the class of 2014 will emulate your good example.

In the same vein, I would like to reiterate the target that we have set for ourselves this year. We will accept no less than 80% Grade 12 pass rate.

Honourable members;

It is with great sense of sadness that amidst these unprecedented achievements in the education fraternity, we have lost a young life of Michael Komape who fell in a pit toilet at school.

May his soul rest in peace!

This is obviously an indictment on our part. We have since made a commitment to set aside resources for additional sanitation facilities in all our schools.

Honourable Speaker;

In an effort to inculcate the spirit of learning and research, we have constructed libraries in the communities of Molepo, Musina-Nancefield, Mutale, Bakgoma, Vlakfontein, Shiluvane, Rapotokwane, Saselamani, Shongoane and Ga-Phaahla. These libraries are housing over 17 500 books for our children to read and study.

To bridge the digital divide, especially for children in the rural areas, we have also ensured that 68 of our libraries have internet connectivity.

Honourable members;

It is our firm belief that, building relations across colour and race is the bedrock of nation building and social cohesion.

It is in this context that next month we are hosting the Annual Mapungubwe Arts Festival to celebrate 20 years of freedom and democracy.

Occasions such as this, are meant for all our people, Black and White. You are, therefore, invited to join us in celebrating this so glorious a human achievement on which the sun shall never set, as former President Nelson Mandela once said.

Universal access to primary health care

Honourable Speaker;

A healthy population is a necessary pre-condition for the realization of the objectives we have set for ourselves. When people are sick and unhealthy productivity takes a knock and so does service delivery. This government has accordingly pledged to ensure a comprehensive health service that promotes good health, prevents illness, provide care and rehabilitative services to the ill and people with disabilities.

Our health care approach is premised on the understanding of the World Health Organization that health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.

This ANC government has put in place a turn-around strategy which is aimed at addressing issues relating to long queues, shortage of medicines and health professionals. Our people are now enjoying the benefits of health as enshrined in the Bill of Rights.  We are not naïve. We know that there are still more hurdles to overcome to ensure a sustainable healthcare system.

Honourable speaker and esteemed members of the house, the specific tasks in the area of health which we undertook to achieve in 2009 included: halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and TB, reducing maternal and child mortality, reducing high levels of non-communicable diseases and addressing management challenges in our healthcare facilities.

Honourable Speaker;

The government has heard the cry of our people regarding the shortage of doctors in our hospitals. In addressing this, we called a special Executive Council last year and set aside R20 million to finance potential young people to study medicine in Cuba. As we speak 110 student doctors left the country for Cuba to undergo training. These young minds will, on completion, augment those who are already studying in the different Universities in the country.

Honourable Speaker;

The HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to be a great cause of concern to this government.  Our unwavering effort and the continued support we enjoy from all stakeholders in the fight against this epidemic have begun to bear fruits.

In the past five years alone, Limpopo saw an increase in the number of patients on Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) from 26 650 in 2009 to almost 50 000 during this financial year. This is attributed to, amongst others: an increase in the number of ART service points, improved counseling services, effective awareness campaigns and the lowering of cd4 count threshold.

Once more, we call on our people to heed the government message of Abstinence, Faithfulness and usage of Condoms because one life lost is one too many.

Honourable Speaker;

Our commitment to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor is unwavering. In this regard we have set ourselves to ensure the successful implementation of the National Health Insurance scheme in our province.

Honourable members;

In the recent past we have witnessed an increase in maternal and child mortality in the province. However, research has it that majority of these cases are preventable. It is in this context that we call on pregnant women to visit Ante-natal clinic during early stages of their pregnancy and mothers to take their children for vaccinations at regular intervals.

We further invite you to join government in its efforts to fight this social ill that continues to rear its ugly head in our public life.

Economic Development and job creation

Honourable Speaker;

The economic growth and development of our province is anchored around three major competitive advantages that are mining, agriculture and tourism.

In 1997 we developed a provincial Growth and Development Strategy as a framework to guide us in unlocking the potential of these economic competitive advantages.

We are in the process of reviewing and aligning our Strategy to the National Development Plan with a view to put Limpopo on a higher trajectory of economic development.

Limpopo is rich in mineral deposits such as platinum, chrome, coal, and diamond. Mining has been a major contributor to both provincial and national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The challenge however has been insufficient labour absorption capacity of this sector. Lack of infrastructure, especially water, rail and roads is a major impediment in the development of this sector to full potential. The sector is not doing well in both its secondary and tertiary economy, particularly beneficiation of its products.

It is in this context that we call on the captains of this industry to work together with government in order to turn mining around in the province. Investment in skills development and infrastructure delivery requires our collective effort for mining to add value to the development of the economy of the province. To this end, we want to see mining houses adopting programmes in FET Colleges or adopting the colleges themselves.

Honourable Speaker and honourable members;

The other challenge in the mining sector relates to the implementation of the Mining Charter. We have seen this finding expression through the persistent conflict between mining houses and communities, especially over Social Labour Plan and Corporate Social Investment obligations.

The state that owns these minerals on behalf of our people, gives the mining houses the license to mine these minerals not only to the exclusive benefit of mining houses, but also for empowerment of our communities.

Mining houses must appreciate their responsibility to invest in improving the living conditions of communities around mining areas. It is not an act of charity but an obligation on the part of mining houses to empower our communities.  In a long run it will prove to have been a worthy investment.

To this end, it is clear that there is a need for a Provincial Mining Summit to deal with critical issues alluded to.

Honourable Speaker;

Limpopo is largely an agricultural province. The province produces 76% of the country’s mangos, 65% of its papaya, 36% of tea, 25% of its citrus, banana and litchis, 60% of avocados and 70% of its tomatoes. We are the second largest producer of potatoes in the country, accounting for 19% of South Africa’s total production.

Agricultural sector has however declined in terms of its contribution to the economy by 3%. This has also affected the labour absorption capacity of the sector, hence the retrenchments and the decrease in the employment rate that we have seen in the recent past.

This decline is mainly attributed to such factors as the slow pace of land restitution and redistribution. Nevertheless, we find solace in the decision of the ANC government to review the ‘willing-buyer-willing-seller’ approach to land reform.  We also call on our people to take advantage of the extension of land claim deadline.

Honourable Speaker;

The scenic beauty of our province has made us to identify tourism as one of the strategic economic growth drivers. This scenery is anchored around our wealth of inheritance of the Kruger National Park in Mopani, Mapungubwe World Heritage Site in Vhembe, Makapan’s valley in Waterberg and other tourism offerings like private game reserves and provincial government nature reserves.

Our province has shown an increase of 35% in international tourism since 2004 and a steady growth in domestic tourism in the previous year. We have also recorded the highest growth in 2011 with 3.3 million tourist arrivals.

Honourable members;

It is also worth mentioning that the tourism development product has improved since 2004. This is attributed to private sector and government investment in tourism infrastructure to the tune of R1.6 billion. To date this investment has resulted in no less than 23 000 sustainable jobs created in the sector.

Honourable Speaker;

In relation to road infrastructure, the province has inherited a total road network of approximately 21 000 kilometers from the previous administrations. Of these inherited road infrastructure, only 5 715 kilometers were tarred. Currently the total tarred road network of the province is 7 315 kilometers.

The government has over the past five years focused more on the rehabilitation and maintenance of aging road infrastructure, especially those that connects the major economic towns of the province.  

In an endevour to resuscitate the two agencies, Road Agency Limpopo and Gateway Airport Authority Limited, we have appointed a new board for GAAL. During the course of this month a new board for RAL shall be appointed.

Currently, we have commissioned a study to review the institutional models of these two agencies.

Honourable Speaker;

The latest Labour Force Survey of StatsSA shows that the official unemployment rate in Limpopo is at 16.9%, representing a 2.2% decrease compared to 19.1% of the corresponding period in 2012.

This is the lowest unemployment rate in the country. This 2.2% decrease in unemployment is attributed to government’s roll-out of massive infrastructure.

Amongst many infrastructure programmes that have contributed to the reduction in unemployment are those in Lephalale and other growth points in the province. Similarly, the ongoing programmes to expand the productive capacity in the mining sector have made an impact. The increasing absorption of labour in the retail sector has equally made a dent.

Honourable members;

We have identified Musina and Tubatse as Special Economic Zones to advance government strategic objectives of the industrialization, regional development and job creation.

Work is intensifying in these economic zones. The focus in Tubatse is on platinum group metals, with emphasis on hydrogen fuel cells, whereas Musina is focusing on cross-border trade, agro-processing and mining beneficiation.

Our plan is that these Special Economic Zones must be officially designated this year.

Honourable Speaker;

The EPWP is one of Government’s strategic initiatives aimed at addressing challenges of poverty, unemployment and shortage of skills.

Through this programme we have created 591 494 job opportunities. In this regard, I am pleased to mention that of these opportunities created, 49% went to youth and 60% to women. We have exceeded the national demographic target of 40% and 55% respectively.

We are looking forward to the commencement of phase 3 of the EPWP with great anticipation. The challenges and lessons learnt in the implementation of the first two phases of the program will provide us with necessary guidance to do things much better this time around.

Local government and access to basic services

Honourable Speaker;

Local government, as the third sphere of government is the strategic centre of gravity in terms of delivery of basic services. In the last 20 years, we were able to establish a non racial and democratic local government.

We have therefore developed the Local Government Turnaround Strategy (LGTAS) as a strategic guide to support and enhance capacity at local government level. This Strategy was designed to capacitate ailing municipalities by sharpening the understanding of the problems and challenges in the local government sphere. It is also intended to build capacity of both municipal employees and councilors.

Our government is aware of the challenges facing local government in critical positions like Municipal Managers, Chief Financial Officers and Technicians with competent and requisite skills. This partly accounts for the persistent negative audit outcomes that our municipalities receives year in, year out.

This, therefore, calls for us as government to take a firm stand to ensure that only those with the requisite skills are considered for appointment. This we have to do to be in line with the recent amendments of the Municipal Systems Act.

Strategies have been developed by Provincial Treasury and CoGHSTA in assisting municipalities to address these challenges, especially Municipal Infrastructure Grant that has continued to regress in spending over a period.

Honourable Speaker;

The community survey by Statistics South Africa shows that we are making significant inroads in improving the quality of life of our people. The provision of basic services such as water, electricity, housing and sanitation is on an upward spiral.

We have increased the number of people with access to water from 78% in 2001 to 86% in 2011. In the same vein, we have increased the provision of electricity to our people from 62.9% in 2001 to 87.3% in 2011. The majority of the beneficially are the historically marginalised, especially those in the far-flung villages of our province.

Honourable Speaker;

Water infrastructure is the backbone of our economy. In this context we have invested lot of resources in the construction, upgrading and rehabilitation of water sources.

De Hoop Dam in Sekhukhune District is almost complete and the bulk distribution pipelines are in various stages of implementation. To be exact, construction of this dam will be completed by the end of next month. This R13.3 Billion worth of project will help supply the people of Limpopo with water and contribute meaningfully to the development of the economy of our province.

The Mokolo Crocodile Water Augmentation Project in Lephalale is expected to be completed in September 2014. This R2.138 Billion worth of project will provide raw bulk water to massive development in Lephalale and surrounding areas.

The Nandoni Dam in Vhembe District has since been completed, and is on the verge of benefitting not only much-needed drinking water to our communities, but also the development of the economy.

Honourable Speaker;

The ESKOM investment of no less than R120 billion into the world’s  biggest dry-cooled power station in Lephalale, will go a long way in addressing our electricity challenges.

We are also proud to announce that before the end of June 2014, one of the four units will be starting to generate electricity. There is no doubt that, once completed, the Medupi Power Station will adequately respond towards the electricity needs of our economy.

It is worth mentioning that this project has managed to create no less than 22 000 indirect jobs for our people.

Honourable members;

Although sanitation and refuse removal are below 50%, we have begun to see remarkable signs of improvement in the provision of these services. The provision of sanitation services have increased from 26% in 2001 to 37.9% in 2011. On the other hand, refuse removal services have increased from 15.6% in 2001 to 21.8% in 2011.

We must therefore expedite the provision of water and electricity to the few remaining households. On the other hand, we must commit more resources to accelerate our pace in the provision of sanitation and refuse removal services.

Honourable Speaker;

The majority of the people of Limpopo, who never had a roof over their heads, now have decent shelter. Given our capacity and commitment to increase spending on this and other critical services, homelessness in Limpopo should be a thing of the past.

Since 1994, we have built over 250 000 houses for poor families, benefiting about 1 million people. In addition to this, we transferred over 12 000 housing units through Enhanced Extended Discount Benefit Scheme (EEDBS).

These are the houses for which our people were denied ownership  and placed under a 99 year lease during the apartheid era. We have now given them ownership of these houses for free. 

Rural development and Agrarian reform

Honourable Speaker;

For us to realize the objective of sustainable economic growth, food security and job creation we need a deliberate and focused investment in agriculture.

In contributing towards the goal to eradicate hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity by 2015, the government has implemented various food security interventions for the benefit of subsistence farmers and poor households in the form of infrastructure development and production inputs.

Since 2009, a total of 104 micro enterprises were funded for infrastructure development at a cost of about R50 million, whilst a total of 648 food insecure households were assisted with seeds, point of lay hens and poultry feed.

The Letšema conditional grant provided assistance to projects belonging to emerging farmers in the form of procurement of production inputs to increase agricultural production, income, job creation and food security. A total of 1776 emerging farmers projects were assisted with seedlings, ferterlisers, animal production stock, animal feeds and medication at a total cost of R116.4 million over the past twenty years.

Through the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) grant, we managed to ensure agricultural support to emerging, subsistence and commercial farmers.

To date a total of R614 million has been spent to assist 500 projects and 9 453 beneficiaries since 2009 with new farmers also having been introduced to the mainstream of the economy.

The government through the Department of Agriculture has also established a Food Park in the Capricorn District as a pilot. The food Park initiative benefits food insecure, poor and vulnerable residents of Limpopo. To date sixty (60) NGOs in the Capricorn District are distributing food items to the destitute and vulnerable members of society. Speaking as we do, over six thousands residents have already benefitted from the Food Park establishment.

In order to ensure that our emerging farmers are exposed to the modern ways of communication in agriculture we have introduced e-agriculture. This project is aimed at improving emerging farmers' access to information and the market place through the use of ICT.

Honourable Speaker;

I also wish to take this opportunity to make a clarion call to the people of Limpopo, particularly those in the rural areas; that it is time we go back to subsistent farming. A re boeleng mashemong. A hi vuyeleni masinwini. Kha ri humele masimuni.

Most rural communities are blessed with abundance of land. Each household has sufficient piece of land to produce enough food for the whole family. We should not be spending our last cents travelling hundreds of kilometers to town merely to buy vegetables and other food stuffs which we can produce ourselves.

It is time we planted what we eat and indeed ate what we planted. Our over reliance on commercial farmers and supermarkets for basic food stuff is making us poor unnecessarily.

The Executive Council has resolved that Limpopo Agricultural Development Corporation (LADC) is returned to the Department of Agriculture with immediate effect. This decision will ensure that the business of agriculture is retained with the people who know it best.

Fighting crime and corruption

Honourable Speaker;

Crime and corruption frustrate society’s ability to operate fairly and efficiently, let alone the state’s ability to deliver on its developmental mandate. As such political will is essential to combat this scourge. In addition to political will, crime and corruption have to be fought on three fronts that are deterrence, prevention and education.

Deterrence helps people to understand that they are likely to be caught and punished. Prevention is about systems that make it hard for people to engage in corrupt activities. The social dimension of corruption need to be tackled by focusing on values through education

Once more, honourable members, we are making a call that let us make it our primary mission to root out corruption wherever it manifests itself.

In the same vein, you are invited to join us in our endeavor and renewed efforts to defeat crass materialism, consumerism and other social ills that threaten the moral fiber of our society.

Those found on the wrong side of the law must be made to pay for their misdeeds. We want to stress that this ANC government cannot allow people to use state resources for personal enrichment.  This is the taxpayer’s money. It is meant for nothing else but the improvement of the conditions of living of our people.

We can say without fear of contradiction that we have taken our gloves off and we are punching hard against corruption.    To that effect 300 civil servants, including high ranking officials, have either been charged or face corruption related charges. Some are appearing before Disciplinary Hearings while others are appearing before the courts of law.

This acts of corruption in government are not committed by officials alone, business community must equally take the blame, for every act of corruption there is a corrupter and a corruptee. We are therefore calling on the business community to stop luring our officials into these acts of corruption.

It is only when we are united in the fight against this scourge of corruption that it can be defeated.

Our communities equally have a role to play in our renewed effort to fight crime and corruption. Our people must participate in already established street committee forums, safer schools campaigns and Community Policing Forums.

Honourable Speaker;

The government is concerned about the continuing crimes against farming communities. These crimes threaten food security and rural economies; above all this is a violation of our people’s right to a safe and peaceful environment.

The government is committed to act and act more decisively to protect this valuable sector of our community which contributes so much to the economy of our province. 

To this end, government has come up with multi-faceted approach. This approach includes the police, crime intelligent community, the defense force and the farming community itself.

It is our belief that if these multi-stakeholder engagements are used to fruition, this challenge shall soon be a thing of the past.

Honourable Speaker;

We are pleased to announce that since the establishment of the President and Premier’s Hotlines in 2009, the province has received over 4970 service delivery cases. As we speak, all these service delivery cases have been resolved. To that effect, our province has been declared the best performer in resolving service delivery cases.

Members of the community who have benefitted from this initiative have and continue to commend our government for a speedy resolution of their problems. We are happy to announce that some of them have joined us in this august house. Amongst them are  Mr Kort-man Msiza, Mr David Mudau and Ms Betty Sani, and I would like to request them to rise.

Honourable Speaker;

In December 2011 the national cabinet took a decision to put 5 departments in Limpopo under section 100 (1) (b) of the constitution. This was aimed at restoring the province to a sound financial footing, ensuring the building of sustainable capacity in government, upgrading the systems, and more importantly ensure full compliance with all legislation including the Public Finance Management Act.

At the time the province was had an overdraft of R1.7 Billion and at some point public servants were not going to receive their salaries. We are proud to report to this house that the situation has been turned around and we have improved to a positive cash position of R4.4 Billion as of the end of January this year.

We owe it to the selfless and tireless efforts of Section 100 Administrators that today our systems such as contract management, internal audit, BAS, Finest and Supply Chain Management have improved and we are in a position to run on our own come 2014/15 financial year.

In this regard we would like to sincerely thank President Jacob Zuma and his cabinet for salvaging Limpopo from a next to collapse of corporate governance. As we speak, the moral in the public service is high, there is no longer negative reporting about acts of corruption associated with our government, and more importantly there is no doubt that we have won the support and confidence of the people of Limpopo.

I also wish to also thank the law enforcement agencies, SARS, the Hawks, SIU, SAPS, Auditor General and others for their patience in assisting and arresting the situation. Worth mentioning is also the role played by the NCOP and committees of this legislature in monitoring the implementation section 100 administration. The value you have added is indeed acknowledged

The dark cloud of corruption and impunity has indeed given way to the blue skies of sound financial administration and solvency.  We can boldly say Limpopo is back where it is supposed to be. We have indeed reclaimed the glory days of Limpopo. Le ge o ka e buwela leopeng magokobu a go bona

Special programs

Honourable Speaker;

In an effort to streamline youth development, the government has established the National Youth Development Agency in 2009 following the amalgamation of the National Youth Commission and Umsobomvu Youth Fund.

The Agency has opened a provincial office in Polokwane where young people are able to access youth empowerment services.

For our part as the provincial government, we have established a Youth Directorate in my office. The office is responsible for coordinating youth issues in all departments in the province.

Honourable Speaker;

The youth of this province are faced with a number of challenges which include unemployment, poverty, and lack of skills, drug and substance abuse.

The government is committed to continue with the efforts to place youth development at the centre of our programme.

Accordingly, our government has set aside R20 million to roll out a massive skills development programme targeting the youth. This programme relates to the provision of both financial and non-financial support to young entrepreneurs. The government is also exploring ways of supporting youth co-operatives.

Honourable Speaker;

I am proud to report to this house that since 2009 a total of 1 400 young people have been trained as artisans under the National Youth Service Program. In the same breath, all our provincial departments have, over the entire term of this administration been rolling out learnership and internship for young graduates, this as a way of giving them the necessary work experience.

Honourable Speaker;

The government has maintained a 2% employment of people with disabilities at Senior Management level in all departments.

In order to address the challenge of lack of capacity to mainstream disability in departments, we trained 88 officials in disability management which includes sign language and sign language interpreting, orientation and mobility.  All departments and municipalities are expected to roll out a similar training program as we go forward.

Honourable Speaker;

The government has developed a Gender Equity Strategy which enables it to implement the gender equity programmes. This Strategy will enable the Province to monitor gender equity programmes in all sectors.

All departments are expected to meet 50% representation of females at Senior Management level.  During the 2013-14 financial years, the province achieved 41, 1% (184 out of 484) representation of females at Senior Management level.  This is an improvement from 40% in the previous financial year.

Traditional leadership

Chapter 12 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa enjoins the democratic government to support and work with the institution of traditional leadership.

To that effect we promulgated the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act that saw the establishment of the Houses of Traditional Leaders at all levels of governance.

There is no doubt that this has created a unique platform for Traditional Leaders to freely engage on matters of societal interest and advise government accordingly.

Honourable Speaker;

The process of refurbishment and construction of new traditional authority offices is continuing as planned. We have appointed staff in all traditional authority offices and this has greatly helped improve the administration of traditional communities.

We are also continuing to pursue the task of establishing Traditional Councils in all traditional communities as required by the Act, and we hope to do this over the next Medium Term Expenditure Framework period, MTEF.

At national level there are also engagements taking place with various formations of Traditional Leaders on the improvement of their benefits. These benefits include medical aid, housing, vehicles, travelling allowances and many such related amenities, commonly referred as tools of trade.

I must also commend traditional leaders that despite the diversity in customs and practices, they have done exceptionally well in confronting sensitive and difficult issues given the lack of standards and norms on traditional matters.

A typical example to this will be how you continue to successfully manage and govern the practice of initiation schools, even when there are obvious cultural differences in approach from the various tribes, let alone some of the current legislative limitations.

Honourable Speaker;

In respect of the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims established by Limpopo provincial government in 2012, we have completed 72 of the 522 cases received. 27 of the completed cases have since been finalized. I am in the process of convening a meeting with the Commissioners to brief me on their findings in order to make a determination.

Traditional Leaders also have the role to play in the economy and we work together with them to improve conditions of living of our people.

Honourable Speaker;

In the recent past we have experienced isolated incidents of service delivery protests. Although we respect the right of our people to protest, we believe they should conduct themselves within the confines of the law.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the violent nature of these protests. The destruction of property and disrespect for human life shall not be tolerated by this government.

An effective, efficient and development orientated public service

Honourable Speaker;

The government must and will continue to invest in public sector human capital development. Public servants must regularly have their skills enhanced so as to be able to serve our people better. No one should be denied a reasonable opportunity to enhance his or her skills to serve our people.

Equally, those that are entrusted with state resources to make them perform better have a duty and responsibility to ensure that those state resources are taken care of.

Esteemed members, there is a need to not only have qualified people in public service, but to have them doing the job they are qualified to do. The days of having nurses working as supply chain officers must come to an end. I am saying this because when we misplace people, we are unavoidably eroding the efficiency and competence of the public service.

The idea is to produce and retain a model public servant who is imbued with the ethos of Batho Pele, and not what former President Mbeki described as, the public servants who see themselves as pen-pushers and guardians of rubber stamps, thieves intent on self-enrichment, bureaucrats who think they have a right to ignore the vision of Batho Pele, who come to work as late as possible, work as little as possible and knock off as early as possible”.

As public servants you should appreciate your imperative task and mandate to ensure that a child who is born and raised at De-Vrede in Ga-Kibi has similar chance of accessing education as a child born in Sterpark in Polokwane.

You are called upon to ensure that a child in Madombidzha is able to access affordable yet qualitative healthcare as a child in Thohoyandou.

Our people in Ga-Mashishimale look upon you to ensure that they have an uninterrupted access to clean drinking water as their counterparts in Tzaneen. 

Public participation program

Honourable Speaker;

In an effort to bring government closer to the people, we are continuing to interact with communities through Exco Outreach Programmes.

We have specifically tailored our Outreach programme in such a way that it is the people themselves who do the talking while government listens.

We have learnt a lot through these interactions and have intervened in most. In fact, some of the most innovative suggestions relating to the improvement of service delivery have been sourced through this Outreach programme.

Late last year, during our Outreach programme at Mafefe and Mohlalaotoane, we identified three indigent families without decent shelter and we immediately built them houses.

As we speak the families of Punch Phasha and Frans Phasha in Mafefe and the child-headed Matlala family in Mohlalaotoane now have a roof over their heads.

Honourable members;

In the recent past we have been fortunate to be one of the three provinces in the country to host the 2014 edition of the African National Championships (CHAN) Tournament. We congratulate the City of Polokwane for the successful hosting of this event. I wish to extend the same to the Polokwane City Football Club who gained promotion to the elite Premier Soccer League last year, and we are looking forward to them staying there for good. We also hope that Black Leopards will return to the elite League sooner.

Tribute to the eminent sons and daughters of Limpopo Honourable Speaker and esteemed members of the house;

I am honoured to seize this moment to extend special congratulations to some eminent sons and daughters of our province, whose different works and achievement, continue to make us proud.

I invite this esteemed house to join me in congratulating

  1. Ms Winnie Mashaba, for winning the best gospel artist of the year award at the 6th  Crown Gospel Awards
  2. Worship House, for winning the best album and
  3. Takie Ndou, for winning the best new comer at same awards ceremony held in Durban recently.
  4. Mr. Ntsundeni Richwell Ndou who is our 2013 Grade 12 top performer and
  5. Florence Masebe for her sterling performance in the first Venda movie “Elelwani” that opened in cinemas at the beginning of this month. She scooped the Best Actress award at the African Movie Academy in Nigeria last year.

In the same breath, I would like to formally congratulate Kgoshi Setlamorago Thobejane on his election as the President of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa. Ngwato a’ Bauba, Serokolo se sennyane se ikoketša ka monkgo.

We congratulate these sons and daughters of our province on these accomplishments. We are confident that their success will inspire many others in our province to expand their horizon and reach for the sky.

Conclusion

Honorouble Speaker;

As I bring my address to a close, I would like to specifically thank the following for having made my work easier: the MECs, the Acting Director General of the province Dr Pheme, Section 100 (1) (b) Administrators, the staff in the Office of the Premier, and more importantly my family, my wife in particular.

Honorable Speaker;

Lastly, on the 07th of May, South Africans will be going out in their numbers to elect a government of their choice. Obviously, political parties in this house and outside will be canvassing support to represent their constituencies in this house.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you good luck in your effort to renew and seek new mandate to serve the people of Limpopo. We call on you to help make this 5th nation-wide democratic election to be peaceful and credible.

Honourable Speaker;

There is no doubt that today is better than yesterday, and omorrow shall, surely be better than today.

Let us all leave here with a renewed sense of commitment to make Limpopo a better place to live in.

Let the drums and the ululations deafen our ears as we celebrate 20 years of our freedom and democracy!

I thank you.

Inkomu,
Ndaa,
Baie Dankie,
Pula!