Provincial plan: talk less, do more
Oscar Lubabalo Mabuyane addressed his first State of the Province by stating that together with the executive, mayors and government officials that they will talk less, do more and open lines of communication with the people. A five-year provincial plan will direct the pursuit of key priorities to build the Eastern Cape. The priorities are as follows.
Stimulation of the economy
The MEC for Finance announced an investment of R1 billion to stimulate the economy. Sixteen projects will benefit from the R336.9 million allocated for this financial year. Targeted areas are manufacturing, agricultural production and processing, oceans economy; skills development and youth employment, tourism, the creative arts; township and rural economic development.
The manufacturing sector and the auto industry continue to keep people employed and government seeks inclusiveness that opens opportunities for black suppliers throughout the value chain; from the provision of raw materials to the dealer network.
The designation of the Wild Coast SEZ, an agro-processing hub of the province is at an advanced stage. There will upgrades of the infrastructure of Industrial Parks, at Komani, Vulindlela, Fort Jackson, Somerset East, Butterworth and Dimbaza, to create jobs in the small towns that were once vibrant economic hubs.
Agriculture is a gateway out of poverty and unemployment, so the focus will be on stimulating the commercialisation of livestock, to enhance job creation in the value chain of meat production, milk production, wool production and processing and leather production. The end game is to graduate small scale farmers to commercial farmers.
Research on the development of Cannabis will maximise benefits for a province that is endowed with a crop that can be ploughed and processed to make medicinal products.
“We want to ensure that the production of Cannabis is characterised by facilitation with traditional leaders, communities, current producers and business people. The Rural Agro-Industrial Initiative (RAFI) has been approved as part of the 16 Projects of the Provincial Stimulus Package with 50 000 hectares of land identified to be planted within the next five years.
Mabuyane said that we must secure every square inch of our land, particularly in rural areas, peri-urban and farm settlements for economic development and human settlements.
In September, the province will launch the Oceans Economy Master Plan to improve the working conditions of local fishermen and graduate them from subsistence fishing to commercial fishing. Their support package will include provision of small fishing boats and facilitating reforms in the process of acquiring fishing licences.
Public Works and Infrastructure will development small harbours in Port St Johns, Cape St. Francis and Port Alfred to create jobs in these coastal hubs.
Through skills development and youth employment the aim is to reduce unemployment by half in 2030. The province will establish a Jobs stimulus package and ensure that all vacant funded posts, across all departments are filled without delay. “We will initiate and mainstream the implementation of the National Youth Service programme in our province and provide training and skills development to no less than 1000 young people per District over the next two years,” promised Mabuyane.
A new initiative, Isiqalo Youth Fund has been allocated R150 million to promote youth entrepreneurship in productive sectors such as Manufacturing, ICT, Tourism, Maritime, Agro-Industry, Sustainable Energy, and the Creative Arts.
The province will focus on the roll-out out of the broadband project by building a provincial data centre to leverage on the undersea fiber cable landing in East London. An intense roll out of E-learning through the use of WIFI connection in schools will increase learner and teacher interaction. Talks are advanced about establishing three special schools for children with special needs such as autism, at Nelson Mandela Metro, Buffalo City Metro and at King Sabata Dalindyebo local municipality.
Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi approved the establishment of a second Medical and a Vet school by the end of the year in Nelson Mandela University and University of Fort Hare to respond to the issue of shortage of Doctors in the province.
An oncology unit was earlier opened at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital, Mthatha.
12 young lives have been lost in illegal initiation schools this season. The premier has appointed a Provincial Coordinator for monitoring programmes throughout the year.
Spatial integration, human settlements we will build integrated communities where there is no exclusive residence for blacks and whites with all the necessary amenities including schools, clinics and sporting facilities. There will be provision of housing for former liberation struggle veterans.