By Simphiwe Masilela

Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza delivered his second State of the Province Address on 26 February 2016 at Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature. The Premier delivered his address ahead of the local government elections where he is expected to focus on the provincial economy and service delivery.

Mabuza outline the achievements of the previous year as well as the future plans for 2016.As a norm, issues such as education, health and plans for job creation are always at the top of the agenda. During his address he acknowledged the trending issue of mine workers who are still trapped at Lilly Mine, and the mass retrenchment of workers from Highveld Steel.

“ It would be remiss of me not to draw our attention to these two events in particular as they simultaneously highlight, the deep dependence that our people have on our economy, our industries and he jobs that they secure in order to ensure the safety , health and well-being of themselves and their extended families.

Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of the Lilly Mine disaster, You are not alone, you remain in our prayers .As a provincial government, we will continue to provide the necessary support to the affected families as we all come to terms with this horrific tragedy. We must of course, also thank those who have been involved in rescue operations to help the trapped miners.” Said Mabuza.

The province faced challenges and constraints that were imposed by the difficult economic environment, there is some progress made,there were 165 506 more people employed in Mpumalanga at the end of the fourth quarter 2015 than at the end of the fourth quarter 2011,The unemployment rate dropped from 27.4 per cent to 25.7 per cent.

Mabuza articulated that “In 2011, Mpumalanga’s pass rate was 5.4 percentage points below national average and by 2015 it was 7.9 percentage points better or higher than the national NSC pass rate and More than 85% of our citizens now have access to basic services such as water, electricity and sanitation.”

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members have been kicked out of the Mpumalanga provincial legislature after attempting to interrupt the State-of-the-Province Address which Premier David Mabuza was currently delivering, the speaker of the house asked the EFF members to leave the chamber.