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Read full speech: Masualle delivers 2018 Eastern Cape State of the Province Address

By Afikile Lugunya - Feb 23, 2018
Read full speech: Masualle delivers 2018 Eastern Cape State of the Province Address

Eastern Cape Premier, Phumullo Masualle, on Friday delivered the much-awaited Eastern Cape State of the Province Address (SOPA) at the Provincial Legislature in Bisho.

The SOPA comes amid rumours that Masualle and several other members of his cabinet might soon be recalled in a reshuffle of African National Congress (ANC) deployees at Bhisho.

At the start of his address, Masualle paid his respects to the five policemen and a retired soldier, who were killed early on Wednesday following an attack at the Engcobo police station.

A police manhunt is still underway for the suspects.

In his speech, Premier Masualle highlighted the importance of growing the economy of Eastern Cape, which remains one of the country’s poorest provinces and with a high unemployment rate as well as huge infrastructure backlogs.

Masualle said that the level of unemployment in the province – especially among the youth, was too high, therefore the Eastern Cape Provincial Government will implement various programmes aimed at creating thousands of job opportunities in the coming year.

“Accordingly, today I stand here to call upon all of us to roll our sleeves one more time and ensure that, as one, with every sinew of strength in us, we must work together to pull our people out of a morass of life characterized by poverty, strife and hopelessness,” he said.

The Premier said that the election of President Cyril Ramaphosa had brought renewed hope to the nation and the province.

“We are confident that through his leadership, our country is destined to achieve even greater heights. Already, his message in the State of the Nation Address has rekindled the true South African spirit and awakened a sense of hope in the land,” he said.

Msualle said that similarly the province’s GDP-R growth rate was constrained and only forecasted to grow by up to 1.7% by 2019.

“Compounding the situation is the fact that the provincial budget baseline has been reduced by 2% over the MTEF while demands have increased,” the Premier said.

He had some good news for local businesses – especially SMMEs; “Going forward, as part of ensuring the sustainability of our SMMEs, we will continue to monitor the adherence to the 30-day payment period to service providers by departments, public entities and municipalities.

“We fully embrace the intention of National Treasury to enforce compliance and consequent management in this regard in line with section 76 of the PFMA.

“The identification of opportunities for off-take agreements will also be prioritised to ensure that our target of sourcing 50% of goods and services locally is achieved.”

The Premier said that the re-engineering of Primary Health Care, which is one of the corner stones of the National Health Insurance (NHI), remains our key driver to achieve universal health coverage.

“Through this programme, a total of 400,000 households will be visited by Ward Based Outreach Teams to assess the health status of individuals in these households.”

He also, highly emphasised the importance of early childhood development, adding that there was a growth of approximately 31 learners, who registered in 2018.

Masualle said that they are aiming to improve the quality of education in the province as it is commonly known for its poorest pass rates in South Africa.

To ensure that children stay in school, more schools in the province will be no-fee-paying schools and government will also provide sanitary pads for girls, to keep them in school.

Read Premier Masualle’s entire SOPA speech here.