Programme Director, Mr Sibusiso Mpanza, Administrator in the Office of the Premier,
The Judge President of the North West Division of the High Court, Judge Monica Leeuw and all members of the judiciary present this morning,
The Speaker of the North West Provincial Legislature, Hon Susanna Dantjie,
The Deputy Speaker of the North West Provincial Legislature, Hon Viola Motsumi,
The Chief Whip of the Majority Party in the North West Provincial Legislature, Hon Paul Sebegoe,
Leader of the main opposition party in the North West Provincial Legislature, Hon Papiki Babuile,
Members of the outgoing Provincial Executive Council,
Former Premiers of the North West Province, Members of the North West Provincial Legislature,
Members of the National Assembly present,
Our permanent delegates to the National Council of Provinces,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
The leadership of the governing African National Congress and the its Alliance partners,
Dikgosi tsa rona tse di tlotlegang,
Members of the Academia,
The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service, Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane and her entire management team,
All Senior Government officials,
Baeng botlhe ba ba ka kwano ba tlotlo,
Members of the media,
The people of the North West Province,
Fellow South Africans,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I stand before all of you, this morning, with the utmost humility to have been elected to serve the people of the North West in this position of authority and responsibility; as Premier of this Province into the 6th Administration.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am here to serve the people and I would like to commit before all of you, that having pledged my allegiance to the Constitution of the Republic, I am ready to serve; nothing more, nothing less.
The dawn of the 6th Administration of this democratically elected government of the people, exactly a quarter of a century since we triumphed over apartheid as a nation, happens at a period when our people still hunger for quality services from their own government and a better life that we promised them in 1994.
Judge President, I have traversed the length and breadth of this beautiful yet predominantly rural province since assuming the position of Premier of the North West on June 22 last year, eleven month before the end of the 5th democratically elected government; following never-seen-before community upheavals that we largely influenced by our people’s dissatisfaction in the manner in which this government was going about delivering the much needed services to them.
Throughout the last eleven months, and more intensely in the last four months, in both my capacities as Premier and a deployee of the governing African National Congress, while traversing across towns, townships and villages of the North West; the one main thing our people continue to lament is how distant their government – at provincial and local government level – has become, leading to poor or the complete collapse of basic services.
It is high time we roll up our sleeves as elected public representatives, supported by a capable and committed public service, and work towards improving the lives of our people; the same people who demand that we become one with them and not be distant from them.
The better life we promised our people in 1994 and subsequent years cannot be postponed; that is why we made the clarion call to Grow South Africa to all our people and they responded by extending our mandate by another five years.
Honourable Speaker and all Members of the North West Provincial Legislature, we dare not take that mandate for granted.
Ladies and gentlemen, the state of our municipalities leave much to be desired and I wish to reiterate that, for us to deliver quality basic services, it is going to be near impossible to do that with dysfunctional municipalities – it is a fact we need grapple with head-on or else, the dream of a better life will just remain that, a dream.
Compatriots, it is therefore going to be very important that ailing municipalities in the province become a key focus so that we are able to oil the service delivery machinery for the betterment of the lives of the majority of our people; who continue to live in squalor and poverty.
A functional local government makes life much more bearable for citizens for they will basic sanitation, provision of adequate clean drinking water, refuse collection, maintenance of municipal roads and other related infrastructure.
We must therefore move with lightning speed as the Executive on that score and the Legislature should also play its oversight role over us – so as to hold us accountable on these commitments, should we fail to deliver.
In addition, I wish to highlight that our province has recorded some of the highest incidences of public protests in the last eleven months but strangely enough about those is that there was a shift from urban and semi-urban areas to much more concentration of protests in rural areas.
From villages in the Ganyesa to villages in Taung and Bojanala, the common thread among all these people in rural areas is the provision of adequate, clean drinking water and improved rural roads infrastructure that would be able to link them to major urban centres and make them more economically active and viable as communities.
Programme Director, we have also witnessed violent protests in areas where communities had raised dissatisfaction with the manner in which traditional authorities were alleged to have mismanaged financial affairs and we had to intervene as the Provincial Government to bring calm and stability to those areas.
One of those areas were we successfully intervened is Ramokokastadt in the Moses Kotane Local Municipality where we witnessed the disruption of schooling and provision of health services for the better part of the 2018 as well as the torching and destruction of public and private properties.
Because we are a government that listens to the pleas of our electorate, we consulted with all the relevant role players and stakeholders, and today I can confidently say that there is relative calm and stability in the community of Ramokokastadt – if we can learn to listen to the needs of our people and not be detached from our communities, ladies and gentlemen, we will go a long in collaboratively resolving most of the service delivery related problems currently prevalent in our communities across the province.
Judge President, during the period when we were campaigning in anticipation of the recently concluded 2019 National and Provincial Elections, we came across communities that had little or no provision of adequate, clean drinking water such as we found in Vryburg and neighbouring towns – the sad part about this matter was that it was no fault of government but because a certain clique of individuals who deliberately sabotaged water supply so that they and their cohorts can benefit out of the alternative water tankering system that would necessarily be activated in instances of water shortage.
With these, they will be siphoning millions of Rands in this well-orchestrated scheme while antagonising the community of Vryburg and others to lay the blame on government’s door step.
Let me put it on record that those days are over and we are going to deal decisively with all those that will be found wanting in this regard.
Ladies and gentlemen, there has been a trust deficit between this ANC-led government and the people; however, the outcomes of the National and Provincial elections have demonstrated that we have reduced that trust deficit – especially if you look at the voting patterns in some the hotspots in the North West; wherein the governing party did particularly well.
This means that we need to do more to win back that trust of our people, who have, through the ballot, renewed their mandate and faith in us to change their lives for the better.
With all said, the 5th Administration under my leadership was inundated with memoranda from various communities throughout the Province soliciting interventions with respect to service delivery and governance challenges in both provincial and local government; in respect to their localities.
Since the time I assumed office, more than 100 public protests have been recorded in the Province to date and the common issues raised pertains water and sanitation, roads, provision of housing, provision of health care and services, rising unemployment, provision of electricity, gangsterism, drugs, stock theft, fraud and corruption.
We acknowledge that the lack of integrated approach and cohesion to address these issues adequately breeds a fertile ground for service delivery protests.
Therefore, in response to these service delivery challenges, we have established a Provincial War Room to ensure that these challenges are adequately addressed.
As a caring and responsive government, and in order to restore the confidence of the people in their own government, we have made progress in addressing several issues across the municipalities.
We have received an allocation of approximately R309 million in conditional grants from the Department of Water and Sanitation to provide water services in the needy areas.
Honourable Speaker, contractors are currently on site in different municipalities across the province involved with sitting of water, drilling new boreholes, refurbishing existing and vandalised boreholes as well as increasing water storage capacity.
Communities that will benefit from this development initiative are in the Madibeng, Rustenburg and Moses Kotane Local Municipalities in the Bojanala Platinum District, all the five local municipalities in Ngaka Modiri Molema District as well as the Mamusa and Greater Taung Local Municipalities in Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District.
In response to the plight of youth unemployment in Itsoseng in the Ditsobotla Local Municipality, this government has set aside an amount of R2,2 million to reactivate the EPWP community-based brick making project aimed at reducing poverty through job creation for the local youth.
A total of 42 people are currently employed on a temporary basis and the number will finally increase to a maximum of 60 people who will be employed in June 2019 to manufacture bricks for a minimum period of 24 months once the brick making plant is fully operational.
We are also proud to announce that in Ventersdorp, following a protracted period of unrest and community protest regarding economic and infrastructure development in the area, the N14 Development Project has been launched and will benefit the community through job creation and provision of basic services.
We are also delighted to announce that working in collaboration with affected municipalities and different stakeholders the province is gradually experiencing improvements in the cleanliness of the towns and their surroundings as well as decline in community protests.
We appeal to all stakeholders to continue with these efforts of ensuring that our villages, townships and towns including our yards are kept neat and tidy at all times.
Our people have also amongst others complained about the poor quality of our roads.
To this end government has made commitment to address these challenges in places such as Shaleng, Austrey, Mmadinonyane and the many other places across the province as and when resources become available.
Community needs always exceed the resources that we have.
However, as government we commit to continue to work with communities to address issues raised in the memoranda to ensure that services are broadened and accessed by all.
These responses and interventions should not stop with the 5th Administration but because the work of government does not stop with elections but it is continuous.
Furthermore, we are open to the investment in the North West.
We committed to the people a few months back, during the State of the Province Address that we will be hosting a Provincial Investment Conference, which was held in March in the Bojanala Platinum District; where we showcased Platinum Valley Special Economic Zone opportunities and attract investments to create the much needed skills and jobs.
As part of our continuing efforts to bolster industrialisation; through the North West Development Corporation, we are steaming ahead with the implementation of the Platinum Valley Special Economic Zones Programme, so as to create a new mining supply that speaks to capital equipment manufacturing, renewable energy, agro-processing zone and general manufacturing in the Mogwase Industrial Area.
This remains our contribution as the North West Province’s Investment book to the economic stimulus as declared by the President.
The primary aim of this project is to attract Foreign Direct Investment valued at R4-billion with a potential to create 6045 new but sustainable jobs over a 5 year period and the North West Development Corporation has been identified as the implementing agent to drive this project going forward.
To this end, through the North West Development Corporation, we have made great strides in advancing the agenda and mandate of economic development, job creation and empowerment within the North West Province.
We, however, call on all who are interested in growing the economy of this province and stimulating job creation and growth, to come and partner with this Administration to make a lasting difference in the lives of our people.
It remains our goal and driving passion to be at the forefront of economic acceleration and growth resulting in more job creation, sustainability, innovation and prosperity for all.
I will like to reiterate that we will not tolerate any room or space for corruption, looting of state resources or mismanagement thereof; we are keeping a keen eye in developments related to on-going investigations into allegations of corruption and theft in the Provincial Government as well as those dockets that have already found their way to the National Director of Public Prosecutions for a decision.
This incoming Administration therefore commits itself to clean governance and quality service delivery.
It is therefore important to mention that as the Premier of this Province in the 6th Administration, the incoming Members of the Executive Council will have to be men and women who are able to move at neck breaking speed to accelerate the necessary delivery of services to our people.
We should never view appointment to the Executive Council as a privilege or a means to self-enrichment but a calling to serve those that have cast their votes and entrusted us with the responsibility to provide them with a better life.
The incoming Executive Council should never be air-conditioned offices based one that is not in touch with the masses we serve and should hit the ground running into addressing the needs of the communities to which we account as represented by Members of the Provincial Legislature.
In conclusion, Honourable Speaker, I will be announcing the composition of the North West Provincial Executive Council before the end of this week; following the necessary consultation with the governing African National Congress and its Alliance Structures.
Ke a leboga.