FULL SPEECH: Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle delivers his 2017 State of the Province
Amid pomp and fanfare, Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masualle delivered his 2017 State of the Province Address (SOPA) at the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature in Bhisho on Friday.
In his 2017 SOPA, the Premier said that since 2014, the Eastern Cape has been implementing seven broad strategic priorities that include Better Access to quality Education; Promotion of better health care for its citizens; Stimulating rural development; Economy transformation to create jobs; Strengthened good governance; Intensified fight against crime and Intergrated human settlements.
Premier Masualle said that the Eastern Cape Provincial Government will intensify the implementation of the three year education transformation plan.
The plan has already proven to work with the class of 2016 showing a positive improvement of 2,5 percent increase for the matric pass rate. Though this is a good sign, more work still needs to be done.
"Our effort in improving early childhood development is beginning to yield results as more children have been enrolled at ECD centres throughout the Province. As we speak, ECD coverage in the Province has improved to reach 98% of public schools," the Premier said.
"At the beginning of 2016, we tabled a three year education transformation plan, which focuses among other things on increasing the number of functional schools, the rationalization and realignment of small and unviable schools, fully capacitated and functional districts and head offices, social partners mobilised and rallied around the change agenda, as well as increasing the supply of appropriately trained educators."
He said that the Eastern Cape has managed to reduce the rate of prevalence of HIV for people aged between 15 and 49 years, from 10.4% in 2014 to 7 7% by 2016. This through enhanced distribution of ARVs.
The Premier said that the province has reduced the maternal mortality rate from 156 maternal deaths per 100 000 births at the
beginning of the term, down to 135.2 in 2016, whilst the infant and child mortality rates for children under five have been reduced to 12.8 per 100 000 children in 2016.
"We have also managed to reduce the rate of prevalence of HIV/Aids for people between 15 and 49 years of age from 10.4% in 2014 to 7.7% by 2016. This was mainly achieved through enhanced ARV distribution, as well as through the pregnant mothers’ programme," he added.
"Partnerships with NGOs, as well as the strengthened role of the Eastern Cape Aids Council have also contributed to this improvement. With respect to TB management, 1 424 752 clients 5 years and older were screened in facilities for TB symptoms by mid-year 2016. In the same period, TB Treatment success rate stood at 83.6 per cent."
Premier Masualle said that due to signing 61 new investors, the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), which is located just outside Port Elizabeth, has created 18 366 jobs thus far, of which 7 174 are operational jobs and 11 192 are construction jobs.
He said that the Eastern Cape Province has partnered with the CSIR on the evaluation of alternative technologies to be utilised in maintenance of rural roads. The initiative will be implemented in the 2017/18 financial year.
The Premier said that four newly established RED hubs have begun primary production of maize and sorghum crops, yielding over 3000 tonnes. The agricultural sector has stimulated 386 permanent and 137 temporary jobs through the Jobs Stimulus Fund.
To read the full State of the Province Speech delivered by Premier Phumulo Masualle, click HERE.
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