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The maiden State of the Province Address SOPA by KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala was overshadowed by opposition parties walking out of the chamber in protest of non-members being allowed on the house floor. Members of the Democratic Alliance DA and the Economic Freedom Fighters EFF left the chamber in protest of former President Jacob Zurna's presence. The parties said that house rules were disregarded and that no consultation with the chief whips took place to allow for the presence of non-members. Once the order was restored, the Premier continued. The sixth administration begins its term during a particularly challenging time in our history. Officially, South Africa has 6 2 million unemployed people between the ages of 15 and 64. The expanded unemployment rate which includes discouraged work seekers is even higher at 38 percent." said Ziakalala. KZN's official unemployment rate is 25.1 percent and the expanded unemployment rate is 42.4 percent. The middle class is struggling to make ends meet. People are defaulting on repayments on their home loans, personal loans, credit cards, and even on school or university fees for their children. The unbearable cost of living is even felt more severely by the working class and the rural poor." He said that there was a rise in the number of 'stunted" children, teenage pregnancy and a high level of drug abuse and alcohol. The theme for the SOPA was "Breaking the Gamy Restraints for a United, Healthy, Safe and Prosperous KwaZulu Natal" in the hope of turning things around for the province. While the National Development Plan remained the chartered course in reducing the scourges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality, the government appears a long way away from reaching its 2030 goals, with only 11 years remaining in which to do so. The recent report by the Auditor General depicts a terrible state of local government that is in decline, and where public officials are simply not implementing the advice. To counter this regression, we have mandated the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to conduct an assessment on the status of all 54 municipalities. Working with the office of the Auditor General, we undertake to support these municipalities in order to improve the municipal audit outcomes moving forward, he said without delving too deeply as to just how bad the state of KZN Municipalities really is touching on the water crisis. Zikalala said that the government had resolved to embark on a provincially coordinated approach to address the problem. "We have assembled a technical team constituted by experts which will work with all districts Ni identifying and examining water challenges in each district. Based on scientific findings, we will embark on appropriate interventions per district" He said that the next term would focus on the reduction of serious crimes against vulnerable groups. This would be driven by publicity campaigns to address crimes against women and children. Strengthened by the rollout of the crimes against women and children strategy as well as the anti-rape strategy, However. Zikalala failed to mention the fact that these strategies and campaigns are already in place but its success is questionable, given the number of cases still being reported daily. These programmes must conscientious boy children on gender-based violence and also campaign against the granting of bail, and support the imposition of stricter bail conditions and harsher sentences for crimes against women and children. “The involvement of our communities in the push back against crime cannot be over emphasised Communities need to appreciate that they have a right to object against the inconsiderate distribution of alcohol in the proximity of schools and places of worship,” he said. Zikalala expressed commitment towards ensuring Universal Health Coverage UHC as envisaged in the National Health Insurance NHI which will focus on the refurbishing and upgrading of a number of healthcare facilities. While the government insists that NHI is on track, on paper, and in reality, this appears far from the truth. State hospitals have been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons of late, with a lack of proper care and service remaining the number one complaint. in line with the National Development Plan 2030. The province has issued the first 'technical matric certificate' in 2018 with 11 new subjects which are likely to channel high school graduates towards critical technical fields like engineering. Construction, electronics and produce more artisans. We will closely monitor the performance of learners in the new subjects namely, specialisation's in civil, electrical and mechanical technology, technical mathematics and sciences, and sign language. The province has set a target of 80 percent or more pass percentage for 2019, he said. "Added to this. The Department of Education will establish three focus schools which include the Agricultural School of Excellence. The Maritime School and the Autism School,' he said. The Premier revealed that coding and robotics would be introduced to 50 primary schools, 55 multigrade schools, and eight special and full-service schools at Grade 7 next year and Grade 9 in 2022. To curb the high levels of unemployment, infrastructure development will be used as a way to assist local municipalities to create much-needed jobs, according to Zikalala "The province is budgeting to spend R12.250 billion in 2018/9 and R13.264 billion in 2019/20 on various infrastructure projects, In particular. We want to use the infrastructure budget to ensure that we empower emerging entrepreneurs.” KZN will welcome the construction of 200 kilometres of new gravel road to connect rural communities and can expect five pedestrian bridges to be built together with seven vehicle bridges. Rehabilitation of some 2.5million square metres of major roads which reached their lifespan will receive attention. At the beginning of this year. we launched the KZN Provincial Youth Business Development fund which was capitalised by R50 million from the Premier's office and R20 million from EDTEA Following the opening of applications early this year, the beneficiaries will be announced by the end of August. We also commit to adding another R50 million to the fund for the current financial year. The strategic infrastructure projects that will be implemented during this term will include: speaking on fraud and corruption at local government levels. Zikalala said practical measures to uproot all forms of fraud and corruption such as tender rigging, price fixing, fronting, nepotism, bribery and abuse of all state institutions for personal gain and to advantage friends and relatives will be implemented. Some of these measures include protecting chief financial officers, supply chain management, audit officials and identified officials from abuse and threats: reviewing financial delegations in order to limit the amounts of money that officials can approve; setting up a panel to review all big contracts; and instituting measures to end the abuse of Sections 32 and 36 of the Public Finance Management Act PFMA. The Premier made no particular mention of the Amajuba District or plans to bring in any new development to the area.
Created at 2019/07/15 11:01 AM by Mediclinic
Last modified at 2019/07/15 11:01 AM by Mediclinic