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High expectation as Premier Masualle delivers his 2017 SOPA

Feb 17, 2017
High expectation as Premier Masualle delivers his 2017 SOPA

There is high expectation ahead of Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masualle's, 2017 State of the Province Address (SOPA), which he will deliver at the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature in Bhisho.

His SOPA comes just after it emerged that the unemployment rate in the province rose from 28.2% in the third quarter of 2016, to 28.4% in the fourth quarter (Oct-Dec 2016), according to the quarterly labour force statistics released by Statistics South Africa on Tuesday.

The Eastern Cape 2016 matric results also showed that the province remained at the bottom of the class and faces challenges in education delivery.

On Monday, the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR) in the Eastern Cape said it was gearing itself for the possibility of the fall armyworm (FAW) which was detected in some parts of the country. The previous outbreak of the armyworms was the African Armyworm in 2013 which saw the province losing maize in the following districts; Alfred Nzo (442ha), Amathole (1233ha), Chris Hani (722.5ha), Joe Gqabi (95ha) and O.R Tambo (8124ha). There has not been armyworm reports yet in the province.

However, a persistant drought has hurt many farmers.

Still, there are oppotunities in automotive and renewable energy that the province can utilise.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape said on Wednesday that the Premier must use SOPA to put the province on the high road.

"The key game changers that will fundamentally and materially improve the lives of people include education, the economy, the state of local government, healthcare, our roads network and good governance," described DA Leader in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature, Bobby Stevenson.

"Education is in crisis, with the province achieving the lowest pass rate of 59%. 

"The Eastern Cape has the highest illiteracy rate among the youth of  16-35 years of all the provinces. 

"What are you going to do differently this year, Premier Masualle, to ensure our young people leave school with the necessary skills to get jobs?  We need to have a rescue plan for the lost generation."

Stevenson said that a second game-changer is the whole question of the economy. 

"The unemployment rate continues to rise, and people's hopes for a better future continue to fall.  The provincial government needs to create the right climate to attract investment, and I look forward to how you are going to do this. 

"Another potential game-changer is improving the state of local governance in this province.  Corruption, maladministration and cadre deployment are wrecking balls.  How are you going to change this?" he asked. 

"Healthcare needs to improve.  Our clinics and hospitals need to be resourced with the right equipment and attitudes."

Stevenson also said that the huge backlog in road maintenance in our province needs to be addressed so our economy can grow. 

"We need to create a climate in the Eastern Cape that is conducive to attracting investment.  Only the private sector can create jobs.  We need a province of entrepreneurs.  The government must play its role in eradicating corruption, fixing the infrastructure, improving safety, delivering services and governing well," he described.

"We all deserve a province that works, where opportunity is rising, and hope for the future is created."

The Eastern Cape State of the Province Address will be broadcast live on channel 408 on DSTV from 10H00 till 13H00 and on community radio stations as well as Umhlobo Wenene and TruFM.