Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza delivered the State of the Province Address at Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature. Mabuza outlined the achievements of the previous year as well as the future plans for 2018.
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 following trending issues including resignation of the former President Jacob Zuma, Newly appointed President Cyril Ramaphosa and the passing of jazz legend Hugh Masekela and various issues.
During his address Mabuza, highlighted the resignation of the former President Jacob Zuma, “As the storm settles, we thank our immediate past President Jacob Zuma, for his service to our country. We salute him for his courage and patriotic spirit that prevailed on him to respond in the positive manner that he did, for stepping down and allowing for a peaceful transfer of power, he has contributed in deepening democratic practices in our country and made South Africa a beacon of hope and democracy.”
Mabuza continued and expressed “I stand here today in front of you and the whole world to see, proclaiming that Unity of purpose is possible and can be achieved, to His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, we congratulate you on your election as the 5th president of the democratic South Africa. Your message to the nation and the world was loud and clear. We as the people of Mpumalanga, are ready to step forward and be of service to our country.”
“ In honour of the great Bra Hugh Masekela, whose heritage is from Mpumalanga, Nathi-ke, sithi Thuma Thina!As the people of Mpumalanga, our genetic make-up is grounded on Unity and Struggle.” Mabuza said
The current economic times are tough, the future outlook of our county is promising, Over the last decade, our economy declined from 5% GDP growth to 1%, whilst unemployment rose from 20% to 27%. This rise in unemployment, has been coupled with rising costs of food and electricity. As of Q4 of 2017, the official unemployment rate for Mpumalanga is standing at 28.9%. This picture calls for unity and struggle. we must confront, fight and defeat.
We must find solutions to resolve this challenge so that every child of Mpumalanga can have a place under the sun. We must do so to ensure that every child can have a decent meal and go to school to realize his or her own potential.
The high rate of unemployment, further highlights the relationship between low levels of education and inadequate skills, with poor prospects for employability.
It is precisely for this reason that we have prioritised skills development as a pillar for our development. Therefore our fight against unemployment especially among the youth cannot be divorced from a comprehensive programme on education and skills development. Not with standing this harsh reality, statistics show that the programmes adopted and pursued by this government in the fight against poverty, are bearing fruits.
In its 2017 report, Statistics South Africa demonstrates that the percentage of the provincial population below the lower bound poverty line of R647 per person per month, decreased from 46.1% in 2011 to 42.6% in 2015. This is a positive development for our Province.
We are the only province in the country to register a decrease, whereas the national rate increased from 36.4% in 2011, to 40.0% in 2015.The economic reality we are faced with, is that unemployment and poverty has in recent past been compounded by low levels of investment in the South African economy.
We say without shame, that we are at the disposal of our nation to serve and be of use in making our country a great place where the dreams and aspirations of all our people are fulfilled and realised.
The expansion of Exxaro coal operations in the Belfast area signifies a great deal of confidence that Mpumalanga is the key destination for investment. South Limited announced in November 2017, an investment of R4.3 billion into Mpumalanga which will extend the life of its Klipspruit Colliery by approximately 20 years.
The Provincial economy registered a net job creation of 87,000, this was driven mainly by the jobs in trade (35,000), agriculture (17,000), private households (14,000), and mining (11,000).The critical sectors of our provincial economy is agriculture which remains an important life blood for Mpumalanga. A total of 305 smallholder farmers have benefited from the Government Nutrition Programme.