2019 STATE OF THE PROVINCE ADDRESS MESSAGES.
“After a period of doubt and uncertainty, we have arrived at a moment of hope and renewal. The 2019 elections provide an opportunity to restore our democratic institutions and to return our country to a path of transformation, growth and development”. The New Dawn reminds us that foremost in our minds should be the urgency to plant the seeds of optimism in our people. As the ANC leadership in government, our everyday actions should nourish their souls and our words should inspire their desires. We have entered into a new social contract with our people. A contract for better life for all” Her Excellency, The Hon. Premier. Sefora Ntombela delivering the first SOPA in the 6th administration
ON SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION
Education is the pathway to our desired growth and development destination in the Free State.
We treasure the value of education in improving the quality of life of our people in the province. Quality education furthers social and economic development. It lifts people out of poverty, unlocks potential, end ignorance and nurtures democracy. A lot has been done to improve access to quality education.
On the provision of education infrastructure, this financial year, we will officially open the following schools:
- Thembalihle Primary School, Vrede
- Silindokuhle Primary School, Warden
- GM Polori Primary School, Hoopstad
- Malebogo Primary School, Hertzogville
- Rehopotswe Primary School, Bethlehem
- Ruang-Tsebo Primary School, Clocolan
- Thuto Ke Thebe Primary School, Bloemfontein
- Grassland Primary School, Bloemfontein
- Grassland Secondary School, Bloemfontein
- Thlolo Primary School, Botshabelo
- Mooifontein Primary School, Zastron
To Date, we have built thirty-seven (37) school hostels in our province. The new boys’ hostel at Steynsrus High School was completed in 2018/19. Construction of the following four new hostels will commence during the 2019/20 financial year:
- Leboneng Special School in Welkom
- Boitumelong Special School in Thaba Nchu
- Breda Primary Farm School in Fouriesburg
- New Special School in Trompsburg
In The New Financial Year, we will build the following schools:
- A Special School in Trompsburg
- Sello Primary School in Viljoenskroon
- Vogelfontein Primary School in Bethlehem
- Katlego Mpumelelo Primary School in Sasolburg
- Tsehetso Primary School in Bothavile
- Parys Primary School in Parys
- Tsebo Ulwazi Secondary School in Frankfort
- Refeng Thabo Secondary School Hall in Tweeling
Previously, we promised to absorb temporary Educators in our schooling system. This has been achieved. Since February 2018, we have employed seven hundred and sixteen (716) temporary Educators into permanent positions. Distribution of these appointed Educators is as follows:
177 in Thabo Mofutsanyana, 176 in Mangaung, 161) in Lejweleputswa, 144 in Fezile Dabi, 61 in Xhariep
Of All Our Schools, nine hundred and seventy-three (973) have a School Nutrition Programme benefitting five hundred and eighty-six thousand, two hundred and forty-seven learners. Benefits of the Nutrition Programme include improvements in learner attendance and learning. It also serves as a mechanism to fight hunger.
Harvesting the fruits of our investment in education. For 2016 and 2017, the Free State province achieved position one in the National Senior Certificate Examinations. In 2018, we achieved the second position with the pass rate of 87.5 percent. This is an improvement of 1.4 percent from the 86.1 percent pass rate that the province achieved in 2017. Our Fezile Dabi district achieved a pass rate of 92.3 percent. This district maintained its position as the best performing district in the country for the second time running.
Inspired by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement to implement the Framework for Skills for a Changing World meant to prepare our children to respond to emerging technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence. We will extend our current programme of using technology to teach our learners to more schools to better prepare them for the 4th Industrial Revolution.
We Opened a new state of the art Sechaba Mahobe Library in Botshabelo, which boasts a reading area, computer room, games room and a toys library for children. In the past financial year, our package to improve the quality of education entailed rolling-out a reading and writing initiative to one hundred and eighty (180) libraries
Twenty-Four (24) Mzansi Libraries Online will be equipped with computers, tablets and Wi-Fi to assist unemployed youth to find job opportunities.
Bursaries provide an opportunity, particularly to the youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, to have equal access to higher education. We will continue to provide bursaries to deserving students. As we continue to open the doors of learning for all, we will increase our higher education funding subsidy. This is a lifetime opportunity that gives them the chance to change their life circumstances.
Between 2009 and 2018, 9,976 young people benefited from our bursary scheme. Of these, 782 completed their studies and are employed. 2,723 have completed their studies and are yet to find employment.
We Also Have 921 students currently studying in countries such as China, Germany, India, Cuba, Portugal, Belarus, Bulgaria, Russia and Turkey. Many of these young people are studying medicine, engineering, agriculture and other fields of study that are crucial for the development of the Free State.
In The Last Financial Year, we provided support to 50, 242 children at R15 per child per day for two hundred and sixty-four. We realised that this amount is not enough and therefore in the new financial year, we will increase this amount to R17.
Like Elsewhere in the country, the Free State will begin with the process to transfer the administration of the Early Childhood Development centres to the Department of Education as per President Ramaphosa’s recent announcement.
This Year, we will open a Substance Abuse Treatment Centre in Botshabelo. This will be a state-run facility to provide treatment and rehabilitation to those who abuse and are dependent on substances. We are committed to rid our streets of all kinds of drugs.
We are convinced that taverns that operate close to our schools and churches contribute to societal ills amongst young people. No taverns will be allowed to operate near our schools and churches. We will work closely with municipalities and law enforcement agencies to ensure that this happens.
Considering our high burden of disease, we need to recruit four hundred and 57 more doctors and 1,710 more nurses. We will fill vacancies with doctors and nurses that are now in training in various institutions.
We Will Also Officially open the following hospitals that have been upgraded; Fezi Ngubentombi Hospital in Sasolburg and Mafube Hospital in Frankfort. Furthermore, major improvements will be done at Parys Hospital and Moroka Hospital. Similar major improvements will be done in various clinics acroos the province. Dinaane Clinic in Thaba Nchu Rheederpark Clinic in Welkom, Intabazwe Clinic in Harrismith ,Rouxville Clinic in Rouxville and Riebeeckstad Clinic in Welkom are amongst clinics to be upgraded.
We Have Adopted the triple 90 Strategy to be attained by 2020. With this Strategy, we want to ensure that 90 percent of people living with HIV know their status. Ninety percent of those who know their status are initiated on Ante-retroviral medication. Another 90 percent of those on Ante-retrovirals should be virologically suppressed.
We Are Proud of the declining elimination of Mother to Child Transmission rate, which dropped from 1.3 percent in 2014/15 to 1.1 percent in the second quarter of 2018/19.
The Frequency of antenatal visits by pregnant women before twenty weeks has improved from 58.6 percent in 2014/15 to 65 percent in 2018/19. The antenatal care visits rose from four to five, thereby improving the quality of health care provided to pregnant mothers.
Deaths Rate in children under 1 year has decreased from 14.4 to 10.9 per 1 000 live births in the 2014/15 financial year and in the 2018/19 financial year, respectively. In the same period, mortality due to acute malnutrition has fallen from 12.2 percent to 7.4 percent.
Plans To Improve the provision of our Emergency Medical Services are in place. This financial year we will build a Trauma Centre in Villiers to take care of N3 road accident casualties. In addition we will ensure the appointment of more staff and distribution of ambulances to towns where they are not available.
In Addition to the 86 available ambulances, last year we procured an additional 60 ambulances which will be distributed across all regions. 14 will be in Mangaung, 7 Xhariep 13 Fezile Dabi , 10 Lejweleputswa and 16 in Thabo Mofutsanyana.
Free State hosted the twenty-first edition of the Mangaung African Cultural Festival (MACUFE) under the theme, “Kaofela Re Moo.” This is one of the biggest festivals on the African continent, if not globally. It connects us with each other, help us embrace our diversity and provide memories that last a lifetime. The Economic Impact Study undertaken by the University of the Free State shows that MACUFE generates almost 91 million rands for the local economy and attracts about eighteen thousand visitors into the province.
Since 2009, we have built 57, 954 RDP houses in the province. We also built 1,037 community residential units, and 1,003 social housing units.
Two (2) Informal Settlements in Fezile Dabi, another two in Thabo Mofutsanyana and one in Lejweleputswa have been upgraded with top structures. Another fourteen informal settlements have been upgraded with internal services. This financial year we will deliver 600 Community Residential Units and one 1,999 Social Housing units
Of the planned 12,834, service sites, 1,890 sites have been completed. We further plan to deliver four 4,605 housing units.
We set to register 18, 758 Title Deeds. Four thousand, 4,775 Title Deeds have been registered and issued to our people in our ongoing programme. Fundamentally, the processes of township establishment in Sasolburg and Estoire in Mangaung are ongoing. These initiatives have the potential of creating over 7,308 housing units, respectively.
Four thousand, two hundred and nineteen sites with infrastructure will in the next coming three years be made available in Xhariep. Another six hundred and thirtyfour sites in Thabo Mofutsanyana, two thousand two hundred and sixty in Fezile Dabi and one thousand three hundred and twenty-three in Lejweleputswa will also be made available. One thousand four hundred sites have been earmarked for Mangaung.
Through our Expanded Public Works Programme, for the 2018/19 financial year, we created 18, 897 jobs.
Through our Community Development Programme, we created 682 job opportunities for young people and three hundred and ninety-six for women.
In the financial year 2019/20 we will create 52, 000 job opportunities. Of these, 28, 600twenty will benefit women. Another 28, 600, will benefit the youth and onethousand and forty will benefit people living with disability.
We completed the construction and maintenance of the following roads and centre during 2018/19 financial year; R700 road between Hoopstad and Bultfontein, R707 road between Senekal and Marquard, R26 road between Bethlehem and Reitz, R727 road between Bothaville and Kroonstad, R702 road between Dewetsdorp and Wepener and Trompsburg Transport Centre.
In the current financial year, the following ten projects will be implemented in various towns as part of our revitalisation of our townships: Cornelia Access Road, Thaba Nchu Public Transport Route, Zastron Access Road, Jacobsdal Transport Route, Memel Access Road, QwaQwa Route 4, Upgrading of Harrismith Internal Route and Grass Cutting and Road Signs. It is expected that more than 5600 jobs will be created through these projects.
The following roads will be build in this financial year; Villiers – Cornelia Road, Reitz – Tweeling – Frankfort Road, Kroonstad – Viljoeskroon Road, Winburg- Marquard Road, Ventersburg – Senekal Road and Jacobsdal Trans Route. These road construction projects are expected to yield 5,000 jobs.
48 percent of Blacks and 52 percent of Whites are benefiting from our commercial property portfolio. On average, this means that over nine million rands is paid to Black landlords in rentals on a monthly basis.
In 2018, one thousand, 407 unemployed youth benefitted from our skills development initiatives. In addition, 1827 unemployed graduates were beneficiaries of this programme. Of these, 782 are enrolled in learnership programmes. Furthermore, we pledge to place 3,137 young people in different programmes to prepare them for life in the work place.
2250 youth will be placed in graduate internship programmes. Skills programmes in welding, building, construction and mixed farming for 1500 youth have started. Ten (10) enterprises have been trained in Sao Paulo in Brazil in automotive vehicle maintenance and metal mechanics.
The Department of Trade and Industry has upgraded both the Botshabelo and QwaQwa Industrial Parks, which were launched in 2017/18 and 2018/19, respectively. The second phase of revitalisation has been approved and will start in March 2019 in Botshabelo. The application for Phuthaditjhaba second phase and Thaba Nchu first phase have been submitted to The Department of Trade and Industry.
Overall, eight thousand, seven hundred and forty-four jobs have been created in Phuthaditjhaba Industrial Park as part of the revitalisation process.The biggest employer at Phuthaditjhaba Industrial Park is SA Clothing. It employs 1300 and 90 percent of these are women. Sasko Pioneer Foods employs two hundred and twenty people comprised of women and youth. Bibi Cash and Carry employs eight hundred people and 90 percent are women.
On the other hand, with one hundred and forty-four factories, the Botshabelo Industrial Park employs 8725 full-time and 800 part-time workers. The biggest employer is Supreme Poultry with 1100 employees followed by Cherry Moss Trade with 402 employees. Caldeira Asset Trust Group has 354 employees.
Tourism remains an important sector of our economy. In the period between April and June last year, we recorded 330, 609 arrivals in the province with four hundred and ninety-two million amount spent. Fundamentally, we will increase our market share of the province as the preferred tourism destination.
We will continue to upgrade our resorts and reserves. Alternative investment strategies will be explored to upgrade some of our resorts such as Jim Fouche and Fika Patso.
Growing South Africa together will require growing our agricultural sector. For us, agriculture remains one of our key economic drivers. To maximise its benefits, the Provincial Government will implement an Agricultural Master Plan, which identify many commodities meant to stimulate desired growth.
Since the future belongs to the youth, we want to see them contribute to the agricultural future growth of the province. Skills development is our first step towards this goal. 142 young people obtained their diplomas at Glen Agricultural College. Agricultural skills development was provided to 6,416 recipients from developing farming communities.
We offered 175 unemployed graduates with the opportunity to study abroad. Nineteen obtained their Masters qualifications. While 6 have been placed for permanent employment in the Provincial Government, another thirteen are part of the 2-year Unemployed Graduates Placement Programme.
The national Department of Agriculture has allocated over ten million rands to the Free State to appoint hundred and twenty unemployed graduates for work experience in agricultural enterprises for two years. Fifty-one farms will take part in this programme.
This year we will establish a goat farming project that will provide training for young entrepreneurs in this field. An export market has already been identified. Last year, we committed to commercialise black farmers with a target of 250 black commercial farmers by the end of 2021/22.
The operations of the Vrede Integrated Dairy Project have now been vested with the Provincial Government. We will work closely with all role players to ensure that farming operations on this farm become sustainable and that the community of Vrede fully take part in this project.
PEACE AND SECURITY.
We have an obligation to ensure that all people in South Africa are and feel safe. This responsibility includes the fight against corruption and state capture in the province. This declaration is no coincidence. Security is a public good.
The province has about eleven thousand police officials. In an effort to enhance policing, 329 new members were received in December 2018. A further 181 new recruits will be admitted to the Police College.
In strengthening service delivery, 167 new vehicles were received between January 2019 and February 2019. Another 167 will be delivered before the end of the financial year. These vehicles will be distributed to various police stations in the province.
Governance and Transformation
Our governance objectives are about building a capable and developmental state in accordance with the goals of the National Development Plan. This means building a public service that is capable, stable, effective, integrated, accountable and responsive to the needs of our people.
We are pleased that the President has announced that government will do away with the requirement of work experience for entry positions in government. This will ease the burden on youth who join the public service.
We are assisting municipalities to comply with the municipal performance management system. Minimum competency requirements on filling of senior management positions in compliance with the necessary legislations will strictly be effected. We can only do better if we have able and qualified people.
We are concerned about the instability in Maluti-a-Phofung. We are hopeful that the current political impasse will be resolved. We are also concerned about sustainable provision of water and electricity in this area. We are working with the team that Minister Mkhize has put together to resolve these challenges.
Traditional leaders will in terms of Section 81 of the Municipal Structures Act take part in the processes of Municipal Councils of Mangaung, Maluti-a-Phofung and Phumelela. All the necessary support will be provided as they execute this role. We will establish local Houses of Traditional Leaders in Thabo Mofutsanyana and Mangaung. This year, the conferment of powers to the Barolong boo Seleka Council to perform functions of a Local House will take place.
We have established Risk Management and Internal Audit committees in government departments and entities to identify weaknesses and minimise risks. We want to insist that all spheres of government must ensure that all legitimate and verified invoices are paid within thirty days. This is the only way that we can sustain Small and Medium Enterprises.
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