SPEECH BY HELEN ZILLE, PREMIER OF THE WESTERN CAPE, STATE OF THE PROVINCE ADDRESS, WESTERN CAPE PROVINCIAL LEGISLATURE, February 21 2014
The Honourable Speaker
Honourable members of the Provincial Cabinet
The Honourable Mayor of Cape town
The Honourable leader of the Opposition
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Honourable leaders of political parties
Honourable members of the Provincial Legislature
Director General of the Western Cape
Heads of Provincial Departments
Leaders of Local government
Colleagues and friends and
Most important: all citizens of the Western Cape
Welcome to everyone here today. Namkelekile nonke apha namhlanje. ‘n Hartlike warm welkom aan almal hier vandag.
Twenty years ago, on the occasion of his inauguration as State President, Nelson Mandela stood on the Grand Parade and undertook to create a "better life of opportunity, freedom and prosperity" for all South Africans.
He said: "This needs unity of purpose. It needs action. It requires us all to work together".
And so, as we prepare to celebrate twenty years of democracy, we must ask ourselves: are we translating Madiba's vision of opportunity into action? Are we working together to fulfil the promises he made at the dawn of our democracy?
Our vision in the Western Cape Government is the same as those spoken on the Grand Parade 20 years ago. We call it the "open, opportunity society for all". This is a society in which everyone has the chance and the means to use opportunities in life, and where everyone takes responsibility for using those opportunities.
This is also the society envisaged in our Constitution.
And it is the vision which the citizens of the Western Cape have given us the mandate to fulfil over the last five years, in partnership with them, with civil society, with business and with other institutions and spheres of government.
No government can, by itself, guarantee a better life. Progress is the product of partnerships. That is why, in this province, we say, "Better Together".
I believe that together over the last five years, we in the Western Cape have made progress in realising our vision of an open, opportunity society for all.
We have shifted resources and energy into creating opportunities for growth and jobs without compromising, and indeed while enhancing, the state's ability to deliver better outcomes in health, education and social development. We have also refocused our efforts to promote social inclusion with a more pragmatic and less ideological approach.
I believe that this is the Western Cape story. And it really is a good story to tell. It is a story of real, sustainable jobs being created through investment, because there is confidence in the future. It is a story of our commitment to get rid of the corruption that was rife in this government when we came into office in 2009. And most important of all, it is a story of expanding opportunities to the poorest citizens so that they may have a chance to live a life they value.
Mr Speaker, as we near the end of this fourth democratically elected Provincial Parliament's term, allow me to report back to the citizens of the Western Cape on what our government has achieved over the past five years.
But before I begin, I would first like to welcome two of my special guests in the House today, Mr Colin Deiner, Chief Director for Western Cape Disaster Management and Fire Brigade Services and Jacqui Pandaram, Director of Operations: Western Cape Disaster Management. MrSchalk Willem Carstens, Director of Disaster Risk Reduction, could unfortunately, not be here today but is part of this management team.
I would like to pay tribute to them and the rest of their team for the work they do in dealing with the large number of floods and fires that regularly hit our province.
The exceptional work you do, often under the most trying of circumstances, saves lives and frequently reduces damage and the subsequent heavy losses to our economy and individual households. I would like to thank all of you for the critical role you play in our province.
Vyf jaar gelede het ek voor hierdie Parlement gestaan en onderneem om my bes te doen om 'n Premier vir almal te wees. Ek het ooksommige van die reuse-uitdagings uitgelig wat ons as 'n nuutverkose regering in die gesig gestaar het, asook wat ons planne was omhierdie uitdagings aan te pak.
(Five years ago, I stood in front of this Parliament and undertook to do my best to be a Premier for all the people. I also outlined some of the enormous challenges we faced as a newly elected government and what our plans were to tackle these.)
Most importantly, I stated that our government had resolved to align everything we do to our overriding objective of combating poverty and promoting opportunities for all, through policies that encourage sustained economic growth; that attract, develop and retain skills and capital; and that drive infrastructure development.
All of these factors create the environment needed for job creation and our government believes that one of the best indicators of opportunity is whether people are able to access jobs.
We also believe that entrepreneurship is a crucial vehicle for creating jobs, increasing economic growth and driving innovation. Over half of all formal employment in the country is provided by small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
That is why we have prioritised providing support to SMEs so that they are able to start up, survive, stabilise and expand.
We have supported the establishment of twenty access points across the province through our partnership with the Small Enterprise Development Agency; the Business Place operating in Philippi, Cape Town CBD and Khayelitsha; and the West Coast Business Development Centre, which collectively have assisted over 22 000 SMEs with business development, procurement support and access to finance.
Our Enterprise Development Fund, which is a partnership between the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the National Empowerment Fund, has committed to just under R20 million in loan funding to small black-owned businesses over the last two financial years. 52% of these businesses have been female owned.
Ons verskeie ondersteuningsintervensies het ongeveer 11 400 werksgeleenthede gefasiliteer en volgehou as gevolg van die stigting enuitbreiding van sowat 3000 Klein en Medium Sake-ondernemings oor die afgelope drie jaar.
(Our various support interventions have facilitated and sustained around 11 400 jobs as a result of the establishment and expansion of around 3000 SMEs over the last three years.)
However, one of the biggest hindrances to the growth of entrepreneurs is the many regulatory obstacles to doing business in South Africa. It is estimated that the annual cost of red tape to SMEs is R80 billion, money that could have been used to create jobs. Red tape is also cited as the reason why early-stage entrepreneurial activity has decreased in the country. Provinces are, unfortunately, not constitutionally empowered to change most of the laws and regulations that result in red tape. But we can help people navigate through them with minimal delays.
We established our Red Tape Reduction unit in 2011, to assist SMEs to get through these bottlenecks. It was the first unit of its kind in government. Since the launch of the unit's hotline less than three years ago, more than 2,200 queries have been received and 87% of these have been successfully resolved.
The unit has also developed a set of Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) guidelines and an implementation framework that will be rolled out across the provincial government during the 2014/2015 financial year. These guidelines will ensure any new legislation or policies introduced by departments have been checked in order to ensure that they do not increase the regulatory obstacles to doing business in the province. Existing legislation and policies will also be reviewed.
We all know that corruption kills investment, destroys growth and jobs, and makes poor people poorer. That is why we have focused on making sure there is no place for it in our government.
Our Business Interest of Employees Act, which was passed in 2010, has forbidden state employees and their families from doing business with our administration. We are the only government in the country to have passed this type of legislation.
We have also invested in building the capacity of our forensic investigations unit (FIU). Between April 2010 and December 2013 the unit closed over 600 cases including tackling a huge backlog inherited from the former administration.
Bedrog, korrupsie en ander ongerymdhede is in meer as 230 van hierdie gevalle bevestig en ongeveer 120 hiervan is by die Suid-AfrikaansePolisiediens aangemeld. Dissiplinêre stappe is geneem teen amptenare wat by hierdie sake betrokke was en dit het tot 43 afdankings gelei.Ons Forensiese Ondersoekeenheid is ook deur die Staatsdienskommissie erkenning gegee as 'n voorbeeld van beste praktyk in die land.
(Fraud, corruption and other irregularities were confirmed in more than 230 of these matters, and around 120 were registered with the South African Police Services (SAPS). Disciplinary action has been taken against officials implicated in these cases resulting in 43 dismissals. The Public Service Commission has also recognised our FIU as an example of best practice in the country.)
Our commitment to developing a corruption-free, efficient public sector has resulted in over R2-billion worth of foreign direct investment (FDI) flowing into the province over the last four years. This is despite a decrease in global FDI.
Many sectors have benefitted from this inflow including the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector. There are currently just over 40,000 people employed in the industry, which is worth an estimated R8 billion. 70% of those employed are between the ages of 18 and 35 and only have a matric. By next year the job numbers are expected to grow to 52,245 and by 2016 to over 65,300.
While South Africa has struggled to recover from the global economic downturn, a number of areas in the province have started seeing the benefits of our various interventions.
One of these areas is Atlantis just outside Cape Town, which has been hit by high levels of poverty and unemployment for many years. New investors have moved into the area recently, while existing companies have expanded and begun leading in technology.
Die invloei van nuwe beleggings is deels te danke aan die Stad Kaapstad en die Wes-Kaapse Regering se gesamentlike plan om Atlantis die hart van groen-ekonomie vervaardiging in die provinsie te maak.
(The inflow of new investment is partly a result of the City of Cape Town and Western Cape Government's plan to make Atlantis the heart of green economy manufacturing in the province.)
Two years ago, the City of Cape Town proactively identified portions of land at competitive rates in Atlantis for manufacturers producing products and services related to the green economy.
Both the provincial government and the City of Cape Town also worked together to reduce the burden of red tape by obtaining environmental clearance for industrial activities on the land. This has significantly sped up the process of establishing manufacturing facilities in the area.
I am excited to announce that GRI Renewable Industries, the wind industrial division of international company Corporation Gestamp has revealed that it will be opening a wind tower manufacturing facility in Atlantis this year. It will be fully operational by the second half of 2014 and will create around 200 direct local jobs. The total project investment will be around R333 million. There are also discussions underway attract a wind turbine blade manufacturer to Atlantis. It is clear our work to reduce bottlenecks over the last two years is starting to pay off.
These two factories are also over and above the six renewable energy factories that have opened up in the province over the last two years, including AEG, SMA, Jinko, SunPower, Enertronica and ReneSola resulting in an investment of R200 million and 400 jobs.
Another major investment in the area was the opening of the R350 million Hisense factory last June, which is projected to create over 1000 local jobs over the next three years. The factory currently employs 450 people - 150 more than it initially projected. It has also already established itself as a leader in technology on the continent, manufacturing the first UHD TV in Africa.
Hisense oorweeg dit ook om 'n tweede-fase belegging in die Wes-Kaap te maak en om 'n Navorsing-en-Ontwikkelingsentrum in dieprovinsie te vestig.
Die sukses van die Hisense-ooreenkoms het daartoe gelei dat ander Sjinese maatskappye aktiewe belangstelling daarin toon om diegeleenthede te benut wat deur die Wes-Kaap gebied word vir beleggings in nie-kommiditeitshulpbronne.
(Hisense is also considering a second phase investment into the Western Cape and establishing a Research and Development centre in the province.
The success of the Hisense deal has resulted in other Chinese companies showing active interest in using the opportunities offered by the Western Cape for non-commodity resource investments.)
Finally, Atlantis Foundries has also become one of the top performing plants in the country. It employs 1,170 people mostly from Atlantis and surrounding communities. All modern freightliner trucks in America use Atlantis Foundries engine blocks, which are the most modern and technically sophisticated engines available overseas. Last year, the foundry surpassed its sister plant in Germany when it comes to quality.
All of these investments have created thousands of jobs in the area and have put Atlantis on the path to becoming one of the leading green and manufacturing hubs in the country.
Another major development up the West Coast is the Saldanha Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) which was officially launched last October and, which has the potential to become one of the most important levers for jobs and economic growth in the province. A recent feasibility study completed by the UCT Graduate School of Business has estimated that the development will have created 2 600 direct jobs by the end of its first year.
Over the past few months several lease agreements have already been signed with international and South African oil and gas companies. One of the largest oil rigs to be serviced in the province, the Sedco 700, also recently docked at the Saldanha Bay port for service repairs along with another three major oil rigs creating around 8000 jobs during their stay.
The growth in Atlantis and Saldanha are important examples of how land and infrastructure can be used to unlock and create wealth and attract investment by the private sector.
In many of these projects, we have worked constructively and well with the relevant national government departments, as the constitution requires. However, other national government departments, have, either for reasons of inefficiency or deliberate blocking, prevented the development of key infrastructure projects that are essential to generate growth and jobs.
Our province's twelve small fishing harbours can play a crucial role in supporting fishing communities and providing them with access to other economic opportunities. Up to now the national department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has been managing these harbours and allowed them fall into disrepair. A report commissioned by the national government in 2005 made a number of recommendations to address their dysfunctionality but not much has changed nearly a decade later.
However, the constitutional mandate for harbours actually lies with local government. We have therefore been engaging with the national government for over a year to try and unlock the socio-economic potential of these harbours but they have continuously blocked our efforts, to prevent the partnership that proper management requires, to the detriment of fishing communities.
Secondly, our government has committed to connecting the Western Cape to affordable, high speed broadband and we have set clear targets for the roll-out of our broadband project. However, when we advertised for companies to tender for the design, provision and management of the broadband network in 2012, we were told by the South African Information Technology Agency (SITA) that we were contravening the SITA Act, and that the tender had to be awarded by them. We were required to cancel our procurement process and requested SITA to manage the tender for a broadband network service on our behalf.
Mr Speaker, we are still waiting for this process to be finalised, which has significantly delayed our broadband project and threatened the delivery targets we have set. We are currently seeking legal advice on the constitutionality of the SITA Act. And just this past week, it has emerged that another province may have been allowed, by the relevant Minister, to circumvent this constraining legislation, while we were forced to comply. I have written to the Minister seeking clarity as a matter of urgency.
This is not the first time major projects in this Province have been blocked by the national government. The construction of two urgently needed schools in Grabouw was delayed for a number of years because the national department of Public Works failed to transfer land to us. And of course, as we know, those delays resulted in dire circumstances for the communities concerned.
I have decided that in future, when faced with this type of stonewalling from national departments, we will move far faster in invoking the constitutional mechanisms to declare an intergovernmental dispute.
Mnr die Speaker, ons besef dat ons regering 'n deurslaggewende rol te speel het om burgers van geleenthede te voorsien, om hullevaardighede te ontwikkel. Om die vaardigheidspyplyn te versterk is integraal tot die versnelling van ekonomiese groei en werkskepping.
Ons het byna R1.7 miljard aan vaardigheids-ontwikkelingsprogramme oor die afgelope vyf jaar bestee en opleidingsgeleenthede aan 98 327mense voorsien.
(Mr Speaker, we recognise that our government has a crucial role to play in providing opportunities to citizens to develop their skills. Strengthening the skills pipeline is key to boosting economic growth and job creation.
We have spent nearly R1.7 billion on skills development programmes over the last five years and provided training opportunities to 98 327 people.)
I am delighted that a few of the young people who have benefitted from our skills programmes were able to join us today.
Imaan Kathrada and Zikhona Sangotsha are two of the 4065 young people who have been placed in work opportunities under our Work and Skills programme since it started in 2009. Both of them are among the 60% of this programme's graduates who have been offered permanent placements once they finish their training.
Imaan is 22 and works as a Human Resource Manager at Stretch Experiential Marketing based in Woodstock. She was writing her matric exams when she heard about the Work and Skills programme and applied. She participated in the programme in 2009 and got a job as at a music rehearsal studio and then at her current firm through the contacts she made during her training year. Within two months of working at the company, she had used her responsibility with such diligence, that she was appointed as head of their human resource department. She says she is lucky to have her dreams come true and attributes it the opportunity she got in the Work and Skills programme.
Zikhona lives in Gugulethu and currently works for Precision Press in Bellville. She matriculated from Isilimela Comprehensive School in 2008 but struggled to find permanent work after graduating. She submitted her CV to the provincial Department of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism in the hope of finding work. The department offered her an apprenticeship under the Work and Skills programme and she was placed at Precision Press. She was offered a permanent position as an operator at the factory after completing her apprenticeship and has recently also begun assisting with the training at the company.
The Premier's Advancement of Youth (PAY) project has already provided 1,476 matriculants on- the- job training in government departments for a year. Just over 750 will also take part in the programme in 2014/2015.
21 year old Mogammad Amierr Peterson took part in the programme in 2012 after his mother saw a newspaper advert encouraging young people to apply. He was offered a job after completing his internship in the Department of the Premier and plans to study further. He says he has had a great experience so far and is grateful for the opportunities that have been provided to him by the PAY project.
Finally, Abongile Feni, also completed her PAY internship in 2012. She found out about the PAY programme through her high school and applied to work in the provincial Department of Agriculture. She was awarded a full bursary by the department to study a B. Agric. atElsenburg College after finishing her internship and is in her second year of studies. She plans to work for the department once she has completed her degree.
These four young people are examples of what can be achieved if you have a government committed to building pipelines of opportunity, and citizens who actively seize these opportunities to improve their lives.
Mr Speaker, this is a great example of Madiba's vision of opportunity being translated into action.
Our government is committed to providing even more skills development opportunities to young people living in the province. We are currently working on a "GAP year" project where young graduates will be paid to provide tutoring to learners at our after school MOD centres in order to improve education outcomes. I plan to make a more detailed announcement on this soon.
Last year, I explained how the Economic Development Partnership (EDP) was a great example of our "Better Together" approach.
The EDP has continued with its important work over the past year including identifying potential areas of greater collaboration between the province and the City of Cape Town's economic programmes.
Om vennootskappe binne die landbousektor te bou, deur samesprekings met plaaswerkers, georganiseerde arbeid en boere te voer, vormsteeds deel van die Ekonomiese Ontwikkelingsvennootskap se werk. Die Ontwikkelingsvennootskap het ook die "Toekoms van Landbou en die Landelike Ekonomie"-proses gelei (they led the Future of Agriculture and the Rural Economy / FARE process), wat uitgeloop het op 'nomvattende verslag en stel aanbevelings vir al drie regeringsfere.
(Building partnerships within the farming sector through engagements with farm workers, organised labour, farmers also continues to form part of its work. The EDP also led the Future of Agriculture and the Rural Economy (FARE) process, which has resulted in a comprehensive report and set of recommendations for all three spheres of government.)
In order to maximise trade and tourism and attract investment into the province, we have developed a new International Relations Strategy. Key regions have been identified in the strategy, for collaboration and partnerships in the future. These areas are Africa, the BRIC countries and our existing partners in the Regional Leaders Forum.
Increasing market access for our province's export products is a key priority and a special focus area for the Department of Agriculture. It is estimated that just a 5% increase in agricultural exports from the Western Cape could create 23 000 job opportunities in the province.
Die departement het ‘n aantal intervensies ingestel om boere by te staan om blootstelling in die oorsese market te verkry. Een van diepositiewe uitkomste was 'n 32%-toename in die uitvoer van Suid-Afrikaanse wyne tussen 2009 en 2012.
Die Wes-Kaapse Regering is verbind tot die ontwikkeling en ondersteuning van kleinskaal-boere en bemagtigingsprojekte in landbou, en dieverbetering van die lewens van plaaswerkers in hierdie provinsie.
(The department has introduced a number of interventions to assist farmers to gain exposure in overseas markets. One of the positive outcomes has been a 32% positive export growth of South African wines between 2009 and 2012.
The Western Cape Government is committed to developing and supporting agricultural empowerment projects and small-scale farmers and improving the lives of farm workers in the province)
Creating opportunities in the rural economy is critical if we want to break the cycle of poverty in these areas and build social cohesion.
Since 2010, the department has pioneered a unique commodity approach to support empowerment projects under its Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP). Strategic partnerships have been forged with commodity organisations in the fruit, dairy, grain, viticulture (wine and table grapes), sheep and wool, meat, aquaculture, poultry and vegetable farming sectors.
The scale of support provided under this programme is illustrated by the money spent and projects supported during the 2012/2013 financial year. Around R84.3 million was allocated to 82 projects across the farming sectors benefitting 5452 beneficiaries
For the 2014/15 financial year, Just over R55 million has been allocated to fund a range of empowerment projects and to provide training and market access support to smallholder farmers.
The commodity approach has made it possible for the department to capitalise on the expertise of the agriculture industry and provide mentoring support for black farmers to develop their commercial enterprises.
Mnr die Speaker, ons departement se aandeelgelykheid-skemas (share equity schemes) bly verder steeds van die suksesvolstegrondhervormingsprojekte in die land.
In antwoord op die stakings wat aan die einde van 2012 in landelike gebiede in die provinsie uitgebreek het, het die departement ook 'n 12-punt plan ontwikkel om die onderliggende oorsake wat tot die gewelddadige onluste aanleiding gegee het, aan te spreek.
(Mr Speaker, our department's share equity schemes also remain the most successful land reform projects in the country.
In response to the strikes that broke out at the end of 2012 in rural areas in the province, the department also developed a 12 point plan to address the underlying causes that led to the violent unrest. )
Some of the main interventions under this plan include the launch of a helpline dedicated to farm worker issues, funding mechanisation training courses for farm workers on how to use farm machinery; youth empowerment programmes in rural areas including providing internships, study bursaries and accredited learnership training to unemployed youth; investment in sport opportunities for farm workers; facilitating engagement sessions between farmers and farm workers and conducting a province wide farm worker survey in order to better understand the needs of the farm worker community.
Our government budgeted R17 million for farm worker development projects during the 2013/14 financial year.
A survey of farm workers in the Overstrand and Theewaterskloof municipal areas has already been completed and is moving to other municipalities. One of the main issues raised by farm workers so far is the fact that they do not qualify for free basic services when living on farms.
ESKOM traditionally supplies electricity to the farmer, who does not qualify for the free service, with tariff charges varying from farm to farm.
So I am pleased to announce today that we hope to rollout a major pilot project, in partnership with ESKOM, in the Hex River Valley next year to provide a reliable electrical connection to each farm worker household in the area so that they benefit from Free Basic Electricity.
We have chosen the Hex River Valley area for the pilot project because it comprises 170 farms with approximately 2000 farm worker households, which means a large number of families will benefit from the project, and we will be able to test it at scale.
A business plan for the project has been developed by a task team consisting of the provincial Departments of Local Government and Agriculture and ESKOM. The plan envisages the project to start in February 2015 if the necessary R12.5 million funding required for the pilot is secured from the national departments of Energy, Treasury and Rural Development and Land Affairs. If the pilot is successful the provision of Free Basic Electricity will be rolled out to farm worker households across the province, a first in the country.
Die Wes-Kaapse Regering is verheug daaroor om die koördineerder en fasiliteerder van hierdie opwindende proefprojek te wees, wat, indiensuksesvol, aan duisende arm plaaswerkers in die provinsie groot verligting sal bring. Dit sal ook 'n puik voorbeeld wees van hoe tweeregeringsinstellings saamwerk om burgers van geleenthede te voorsien.
(The Western Cape Government is thrilled to be the co-ordinator and facilitator of this exciting pilot project, which, if successful, will provide major relief to thousands of poor farm worker households in the province.)
As I have already mentioned, everything we have done over the last five years has been focused on growing the economy, creating jobs and alleviating poverty in the province. But we recognise that as long as deep inequalities in education still exist, we will never redress the economic injustices of apartheid. Providing quality education is the most important ladder of opportunity a government can provide to young people.
Mr Speaker, four years ago we released our strategic plan for education up to 2019. This plan has served as the blueprint for the sustained and systemic approach we have followed to improve academic performance in language and mathematics, the National Senior Certificate (NSC), as well as to reduce the number of underperforming schools in the province.
We have not deviated from this plan, or the targets we set ourselves in 2009, and we have continued to spend the bulk of our education budget, over 80%, on the poorest 60% of our learners.
Some of our achievements in helping schools in the poorest quintiles include:
- Increasing the amount allocated to our school feeding scheme by more than 100% from R112 million in 2009 to R260 million in 2013/2014 and expanding the programme to schools in Quintiles 4 and 5. Last year we also introduced a breakfast meal for learners in addition to the lunch meal they receive each day;
- We have also expanded our no-fee schools programme, which already covers all public schools in Quintiles 1 to 3, to additional schools in Quintiles 4 and 5.
- 216 schools in these quintiles applied for no-fee status and the Western Cape Education department has allocated R46 million in 2014/15 to cover the costs;
- The Western Cape Government also pays the highest amount of money, when compared to other provinces, to schools who qualify for fee exemptions - an amount of over R90 million over the past three years.
Ons het ook ‘n vordering begin sien as gevolg van ons verskeie intervensies en die 2013 NSS-uitslae was geen uitsondering nie.
Ons het 'n rekord-aantal van 40 558 kandidate gehad wat die matriek-eksamens geslaag het, wat die hoë mikpunt van 40 000 wat ons vyfjaar gelede gestel het, oortref het. Dit is ook die hoogste aantal matrikulante wat nog ooit in die provinsie geslaag het.
(We have also started seeing some progress as a result of our many interventions and the 2013 NSC results were no different.
We had a record number of 40 558 candidates passing the matric examinations, exceeding our stretch target of 40 000 passes that we set five years ago. This was also the highest number of passes ever achieved in the province.)
We have also continued to improve the retention rate of learners at schools from 36.9% in 2009 to 52.1% in 2013. While we still have a way to go this improvement is encouraging as it means many more learners are making it through the schooling system, which improves their career prospects.
The Western Cape also had the highest number of learners qualifying for Bachelor Degree studies in the country, with 3158 more learners qualifying than in 2012 and 5153 more learners than in 2009.
We have also continued to see a climb in the number of learners passing maths and science in the province. In 2013, 12 216 candidates passedmaths compared to 11 311 in 2012 and in physical science the number of passes increased from 7995 to 8333. We have also reduced the number of underperforming schools from 85 in 2009 to 23 in 2013.
More importantly, the results of our poorer schools in Quintiles 1, 2 and 3, have improved significantly over the past few years:
- The number of NSC passes in Quintiles 1 to 3 schools has increased by 3354 learners since 2009;
- The number of learners achieving Bachelor passes in poorer communities has more than DOUBLED since 2009 from 1432 passes to 3219 passes in 2013;
- The number of underperforming schools in Quintiles 1 to 3 has also decreased by 66% from 50 schools in 2009 to 17 in 2013.
Dit beteken dat meer en meer kinders wat in arm gemeenskappe in die provinsie woon, met vaardighede toegerus word wat hulle benodigom sukses te behaal en hul lewensstandaard te verbeter.
(This means more and more children living in poor communities in the province are being equipped with the skills they need to succeed in gaining further opportunities to improve their quality of life.)
We are the only province that conducts rigorous competency testing for our matric markers and we are therefore confident that our results are credible and accurately reflect the ongoing improvements within our education system.
Improving language and mathematics levels in all grades remains a core focus of our government. The Western Cape department of education has been conducting systemic, internationally bench-marked language and mathematic testing for all learners in Grades 3, 6 and 9 in order to determine the levels of learners' abilities so we can identify and target weaknesses and improve outcomes. We are the only province to have conducted such testing.
These tests are of international standard, independently administered, tested and marked by outside service providers, and learners must get 50% to pass. The results show that while our good public schools are world class, we still have a lot of work to do, to ensure that our weakest schools are providing internationally benchmarked education.
Last year, a total of 245 285 learners from 1 422 Public Ordinary schools were tested, as well as, 6 133 learners from 98 Independent schools.
We are pleased that while, the pass rates are not acceptable, there has been an improvement in the mathematics results in all three grades.
Our concern, however, is the Language results. All three grades saw a slip in their pass rates on the international benchmarks.
Mr Speaker, these tests are not an exercise in self-congratulation by our government. That is why they are of an extremely high standard, far higher, than the annual national assessment (ANA) testing administered by the national government. So you cannot compare our systemic test results with the ANA results in the rest of the country.
Holding our learners to a much higher standard is also the reason we insist that our matric markers be tested and why we have the highest number of learners qualifying for Bachelor Degrees in the country.
Finally, our education budget continues to face the pressure of ever increasing enrolment numbers each year. Since 2010, inward migration has resulted in over 130 000 additional new enrolments within our education system, 80% of these enrolments were from the Eastern Cape. This year alone, the department enrolled 21 631 learners from the province.
The Western Cape Government is committed to providing all learners entering our province, who are seeking better opportunities, with access to quality education. However, this does have major financial and planning implications, particularly when many of these learners arrive unexpectedly at the beginning of a school year, and often a few days or weeks into the school term.
We have estimated that the migration of learners from the Eastern Cape over the last five years has cost an additional R1.2 billion. Yet, this money has not been diverted from the Eastern Cape education budget, even though they now service 100 000 fewer learners. We need to start questioning why this money is not being re-allocated to the provinces that are actually providing for these learners' education.
Mr Speaker, citizens cannot take advantage of their opportunities if they are not healthy.
Ons besef dat intervensies om die siektelas te verlig en om seker te maak dat ons kinders gesond grootword, ook sal help om 'n sterkerekonomie te bewerkstellig en armoede te bekamp. Ons glo dat 'n regering wat omgee ‘n verantwoordelikheid het om te verseker dattoeganklike, bekostigbare, hoë-kwaliteit gesondheidssorg aan elke burger in die provinsie beskikbaar is.
(We recognise that interventions to reduce the burden of disease and to ensure that our children grow up healthy will help to create a stronger economy and reduce poverty. We also believe that a caring government is responsible for ensuring that accessible, affordable, high quality health care is available to every citizen living in the province.)
80% of patients receiving treatment at Western Cape hospitals receive free services or pay a nominal fee.
A key focus of all our health policies and programmes is improving wellness through behavioural change. One of the main drivers of the serious service pressures on our health system is the quadruple burden of disease consisting of HIV and TB; chronic diseases and mental health; injuries, and woman and child health.
Over 80% of our budget is spent on health conditions resulting from alcohol and drug abuse, risky sexual behaviour, unhealthy lifestyles and lack of exercise. In other words, our budget is being drained by preventable health problems, while many unpreventable conditions do not get the treatment they deserve.
It is critical that citizens start taking responsibility for their health and wellbeing so that we can reduce the major pressure on our health system, which is already under severe strain due to a 28.8% increase in the province's population over the last ten years.
Yesterday, Minister Botha briefed the media on the pressures currently facing our health system including the dramatic rise in patient numbers visiting our medical facilities. He reiterated that our government is committed to treating all new patients needing medical care but that we would also be seeking legal advice on how to challenge the formula that National Treasury applies when allocating provincial budgets, which does not take into account the real-time inflow of people into affected provinces.
Some of the high level priority areas include strengthening partnerships with the private sector, revitalising infrastructure and improving patient experience at our health facilities.
We have made progress in many of these areas since 2009.
For example, we have spent R2.7 billion on health infrastructure over the last four years, which has resulted in our government delivering a number of medical facilities including 17 clinics, 12 ambulance stations or disaster management centres, 8 district hospitals including Khayelitsha and Mitchell's Plain hospitals, 13 regional and specialised hospital projects, 21 central hospital projects, 5 pathology labs and the Western Cape Nursing College.
Our complaints hotline has also been a huge success. During 1 August 2012 until 31 January 2014, 1096 complaints were logged of which 795 or 72.5% were resolved.
Ons het ook 'n aantal innovasies bekendgestel ten opsigte van die bou van vennootskappe en uitbreiding van gesondheidsorg-geleenthede in die provinsie.
(We have also introduced a number of innovations when it comes to building partnerships and expanding healthcare opportunities in the province.)
First, the departments of health and education have provided R24 million to fund five state-of-the-art mobile units visiting schools, mostly in poor and rural areas to screen and treat Grade R and Grade 1 learners for conditions that require medical and dental care. These screening tests will assist us in identifying any disabilities or health challenges at an early stage so that these can be treated and do not affect learners' school performance.
The mobile units will start visiting schools in the next few months. We have also appealed to the private sector to partner with us to expand the reach of this important service.
We have also outsourced the packaging and distribution of patient medication parcels to a service provider. Currently an average of 215 000 medicine parcels are distributed each month to 1,400 alternative sites across the province, which means these patients do not have to travel to a clinic or hospitals and wait in long queues to fetch their medication.
This has reduced the waiting times at clinics and lightened the workload of pharmacies at community health centres. Hierdie is die eersteinisiatief van sy soort in die land.
Ons het ook vordering gemaak in 'n aantal areas wat gesondheiduitkomste betref oor die afgelope vyf jaar. Ons het, byvoorbeeld, steeds diehoogste TB-genesingsyfer in die land, naamlik 81.7%. Verder het ons die aantal baba-sterftes sedert 2010/2011 geleidelik laat afneem en onshet ook die hoogste lewensverwagtingskoerse vir beide mans en vrouens in die land.
(This is the first initiative of its kind in the country. We have also made progress in a number of health outcome areas over the last five years. For example, we continue to have the highest TB cure rate in the country at 81.7%. We have also steadily decreased the number of infant deaths since 2010/2011 and we have the highest life expectancy rate for both males and females in the country.)
The Western Cape also has the lowest mother-to-child HIV transmission rate and an Institute of Race Relations study also found that the province had the highest condom distribution rate in the country. We have distributed almost 114-million male condoms between April 2012 and March 2013.
The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) also released the key findings of its 2012 household survey last year, which found that the Western Cape had the lowest HIV prevalence rate in the country.
Mr Speaker, substance abuse not only increases the burden of disease in the province, but it also compromises education outcomes, destroys families and fuels violent crime, all of which threaten economic growth and job creation.
Substance abuse robs people of opportunity. It also threatens social cohesion.
That is why as soon as we assumed office five years ago we identified the critical need for a comprehensive strategy to combat substance abuse in the province. We launched this plan a year later and have been systematically implementing it ever since.
Some of our key interventions to date include:
- Increasing our expenditure from R42 million in 2009 to R87 million this year;
- Mainstreaming substance abuse education in the Life Orientation teaching material in schools;
- Substantially increasing our drug rehabilitation centres from 8 in 2009 to 28 in 2014;
- Introducing early intervention and short-term counselling programmes at Social Development offices in Athlone, Gugulethu, Wynberg and Mitchell's Plain; and
- Om 'n groot aantal Nie-regeringsorganisasies te befonds sodat behandelingsdienste aan duisende pasiënte gelewer kan word.(Funding a large number of NGOs to provide treatment services to thousands of patients.)
However, we also recognise that prevention is better than cure, which is why one of the main focuses of the substance abuse strategy is introducing interventions that deter young people from risky behaviour.
Our MOD centre programme provides learners a safe, fun place to play sport and participate in cultural activities every day after school thereby keeping them off the streets and away from gangs, drugs and alcohol.
We have continued to expand this programme and there has been a major increase in enrolment figures. Currently, 48,894 learners are registered at the 181 MOD centres based at schools across the province, which is an increase of 34,894 learners over the past year. The department of social development also supplies meals at 101 of these centres in the afternoons, which is over and above the Western Cape department of Education's feeding scheme during school hours. It plans to expand this service to all MOD centres during the new financial year.
I am also excited to announce that, together with the City, we opened the country's first youth café in Rocklands in January. The café is free to young people and provides training in entrepreneurship and business strategy. Young people are provided with virtual credit to spend on resources including refreshments and using the computers and laptops at the facility. They earn credits thereafter by either presenting acts of community service to the café staff or by attending training sessions at the café.
Sedert die kafee amptelik 'n maand gelede oopgemaak het, het meer as 400 mense geregistreer om toegang tot die program te kry. Onsbeplan ook om nog jeugkafees in Nyanga Junction, Atlantis, Vredendal, Bredasdorp en Oudtshoorn oop te maak. Dit sal egter aansienlikefinansiële hulpbronne en vennootskappe met die privaatsektor verg.
(Since it officially opened a month ago, over 400 people have registered to access the programme. We are also planning to open more youth cafes in Nyanga Junction, Atlantis, Vredendal, Bredasdorp and Oudtshoorn. However, this will require a significant amount of financial resources and partnering with the private sector.)
NGOs also play a crucial role in all our poverty alleviation programmes and promoting social cohesion, which is why we provide funding to around 2,115 NGOs across the province each year. The Financial and Fiscal Commission has found that our Department of Social Development spends a bigger portion of its budget (68%) on transfer payments to NGOs than any other province in this country.
But key to any successful strategy aimed at tackling substance abuse and its related social ills, including gangsterism and violent crime, is a strong criminal justice system.
The Western Cape Government has no powers when it comes to investigating crimes and securing convictions in a court of law. This is a national competence.
Our role is confined to oversight where we can monitor and assess the police and make recommendations to police management on systemic problems and failings.
When we draw attention to systemic problems, we do so because it is the role given to us by Section 206 of the Constitution. We want the people of the Western Cape to receive better policing and to ensure that police officers on the ground are given the resources and training they need in order to deliver this service.
We have introduced a number of interventions to improve policing in the province over the last five years.
After receiving a request from a group of civil society organisations in Khayelitsha, prompted by a spate of vigilante killings, I established a Commission of Inquiry into allegations of police inefficiency in the area in August 2012.
Unfortunately, despite widespread support from the Khayelitsha community for the Commission, it was delayed for over a year due to legal proceedings instituted by the National Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa who tried to block it.
The matter eventually landed up in the Constitutional Court, after Minister Mthethwa's application to the Western Cape High Court was dismissed.
The judgment made the following key finding:
"The Premier is obliged to take reasonable steps to shield the residents of Khayelitsha from the unrelenting invasion of their fundamental rights because of continued police inefficiency in combating crime and the breakdown of relations between the police and the community."
The Commission begun public hearings last month and I look forward to receiving its recommendations once it has concluded its work.
Mr Speaker, the Constitutional Court ruling was a victory for provincial oversight and also paves the way for implementation of our new Community Safety Act as Minister Mthethwa's court challenge mirrors those that have already been overturned by the Constitutional Court.
Last October, I signed the proclamations to put a number of operational sections in the Act into effect. A Safety Advisory Council is currently being established and is envisaged to be up and running by the end of May. The primary task of the Council will be to advise on the regulations required to operationalise the Act.
We also aim to establish a Western Cape Police Ombudsman who will be empowered to investigate reports of police corruption, abuse of power, or service delivery failures by August.
Other provisions of the Act, including Neighbourhood Watch accreditation and strengthening Community Police Forum structures, will be fully implemented during the 2014/2015 financial year.
We have also continued with our Expanded Partnership Programme aimed at strengthening the role of the Community Police Forums and the important role they play in their communities. The forums are being remunerated to visit police stations on a regular basis and supply the Department of Community Safety with accurate, verifiable information. Currently 88% of Community Police Forums have signed up to be part of the programme.
Ons het ook byna die befondsing verdubbel wat ons beskikbaar maak vir programme om veiligheid in arm gemeenskappe te bevorder, van R41 miljoen in 2010/2011 tot R80 miljoen in 2014/2015.
(We have also nearly doubled the funding we provide for safety promotion programmes in poor communities from R41 million in 2010/2011 to R80 million in 2014/2015.)
These programmes include the Youth Work Programme that places youth-at-risk in short term work opportunities with various partners including Central City Improvement Districts, NGOs, municipalities and government departments during which they are paid a stipend. So far 430 youths have participated in this programme at a cost of R9.1 million.
We have also been pioneering the Youth and Religion safety initiative over the past few years that allows religious and faith-based organisations, through funding from the Community Safety department, to run their own youth safety programmes in their communities over the school holiday period. Since December 2012, 17 000 youth have participated in these programmes, keeping them off the streets.
Mr Speaker, we have repeatedly sought to work co-operatively with the police because that is what the Constitution requires and we believe it offers us the best chance of bringing down crime in the province. We have warmly congratulated the SAPS for their recent success in securing convictions against high profile gangsters. While our co-operation on the ground continues to improve, it is unfortunate that our efforts have been constantly blocked by the SAPS national leadership and the national government.
Parliamentary questions have revealed that the Western Cape has the highest number of understaffed police stations and largest personnel shortage out of the nine provinces. At the same time there has been a massive drop in the number of police reservists deployed due to the national government placing a moratorium on the recruitment of reservists.
This has placed major strain on the police officers in our province who are unable to carry out their duties effectively. Testimony provided by station commanders at the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry have highlighted the challenges they face because of under-resourcing, especially with respect to modern technology.
Minister of Community Safety Dan Plato has raised our concerns over personnel shortages on a number of occasions with Minister Mthethwa through our "Policing Needs and Priorities" reports and at MINMEC meetings. The national Minister has, however, failed to respond to our requests or requirements.
We have also repeatedly lobbied the National Minister and President Jacob Zuma to reinstate specialised gang units in the Western Cape.
Ons glo dat die herinstelling van hierdie eenheid krities is as ons, ons gemeenskappe van bendes, en die geweldsmisdaad en dwelmplaagwat daarmee gepaardgaan, wil verlos. Die Nasionale Ontwikkelingsplan het ook 'n beroep gedoen op die herinstelling van hierdie eenhede.
(We believe the re-establishment of this unit is critical if we want to rid our communities of gangs and the violent crime and scourge of drugs associated with them. The National Development Plan has also called for the reinstatement of these units.)
Gang violence has once again surged in recent weeks with many innocent bystanders being caught in the gang crossfire and schooling in certain hotspot areas being disrupted, including Manenberg. I am therefore calling on President Zuma and Minister Mthethwa to take the action that is needed to properly resource policing in these areas, so that crimes are investigated and convictions secured.
The small number of Metro Police cannot be expected to take over the function of SAPS.
Road safety, however, is a law enforcement area where provincial and local governments do have powers and functions. I am pleased to announce that our administration has made major progress in reducing road fatalities over the last five years. There were 1,739 road deaths In the year before we came into office, and 1,216 during 2013 - an overall decrease of 30.1%.
This reduction is a result of a number of innovations we have introduced including having the only 24/7 traffic service in the country that conducts weekend alcohol blitzes across the City and the province; initiatives focusing on long distance public transport such as regular safety checks and a fatigue management programme; implementing average speed over distance camera enforcement technology on the province's deadliest stretches of our roads.
Road safety is also an area where partnerships are critical to progress. Reducing deaths on our roads is heavily dependent on whether citizens take responsibility for their own safety.
Mr Speaker, I have left the most complex delivery area of all until last. Our government recognises that building integrated and sustainable human settlements in the province is critical to building social cohesion and eradicating poverty.
That is why 93% of human settlements budget is spent on housing programmes aimed at people earning less than R3500 per month.
We have also focused on delivering a range of housing opportunities in a way that is most fair considering our limited resources and the increasing demand of a rapidly growing population in the province. It is important to remind ourselves that this province grew, demographically, by almost 46% over 17 years, and most of the new residents are desperately poor.
Since 2009, we have delivered 119,674 housing opportunities over 16 programs, creating 37,130 jobs, and using the services of around 147 broad-based BEE contractors.
Successful provincial department of human settlement projects include a gap housing project in Harmony Village, social housing projects inElsies River and Scottsdene, the Drommedaris social housing project in Brooklyn, the Asazani project in Mosselbay, the Luxolo People's Housing Project in Browns Farm, and the Siyaphumelela People's Housing Process Project in Makhaza.
We have also focused on providing beneficiaries with security of tenure by radically improving the rate at which title deeds are transferred to recipients of new housing projects. Between 2009 and 2014, the department issued 88,263 title deeds, which has drastically reduced the backlog we inherited from the previous administration.
We have also driven a number of interventions aimed at strengthening project planning pipelines in municipalities and the policies governing the beneficiary selection process.
Regional Directors have been appointed by the department for each of the five districts in the province and the City of Cape Town who provide direct support to municipalities and are supported by professional resource teams. Five year project pipelines have also been developed for every municipality.
The department has also developed the electronic Western Cape Housing Demand Database, which municipalities can use to record and manage their housing demand data. This system drastically minimises opportunities for corruption during the allocation process.
Our government has adopted a framework of norms and standards for municipalities to select beneficiaries from housing waiting lists for subsidy projects. This has greatly enhanced the fairness and transparency of the allocation process.
Die Departement van Menslike Nedersettings het ook daarop gefokus om die behuisingsbehoeftes van plaaswerkers met die munisipalebeplanningsprosesse te integreer. Hulle het 'n duidelike stel riglyne vir munisipaliteite ontwikkel om te verseker dat plaaswerkers op huldatabasisse vir behuisingsaanvraag geregistreer is en voorgestel dat 'n kwota vir ouer plaaswerkers by die munisipale seleksie-beleideingesluit word.
(The Department of Human Settlements has also focused on integrating farm worker housing needs into municipal planning processes. It has developed a clear set of guidelines for municipalities to ensure that farm workers are registered on their demand housing databases and suggests that a quota should be included in municipal selection policies for older farm workers.)
All of these innovations have contributed towards improving the delivery of housing opportunities in the most optimal and fair way.
However, recently the ANC has started playing political football with housing. They have repeatedly claimed that when they were in government in the province "they built 16,000 houses per year; while the DA has only been able to build 10,000 houses per year."
We were sceptical of the ANC's delivery claims and therefore asked the Forensic Investigation Unit in the Department of the Premier to do an audit on the source of this data, namely the 2008/2009 annual report produced by the then department of local government and housing under the former ANC administration.
The annual report claims that the ANC completed 15,717 houses during 2008/2009 but the FIU discovered that this claim cannot be verified. For a start, the ANC's thumb-suck figure includes programmes that had nothing to do with building and delivering housing units. And it also shows that the ANC simply shifted the deadline, and counted units that had not been completed by the end of the financial year. They got away with it because at that stage the Auditor General was not verifying these claimed statistics by actually counting the finalised housing total by the cut-off date.
But despite this, the Auditor General noted in the 2008/2009 audit that "the evidence provided to support the performance as reported in the draft annual report was in a number of instances materially inconsistent with the reported performance information."
That is AG speak for: You were talking nonsense. If we are to compare apples with apples and, if we add all our subsidised programmes to the housing delivery figure, our record far out-strips anything the ANC is able to claim. In short, their claim to have built 16,000 houses each year is without foundation. I would use stronger terms than this, but it would probably be un-Parliamentary, Mr Speaker.
While the ANC distorts facts and figures to back their service delivery claims, we will carry on delivering basic services and housing opportunities to communities across the province.
There are many more programmes and plans that have been implemented by our government, which I could mention today. But I have spoken for too long already.
Mr Speaker, while we acknowledge that we still have a long way to go to realise fully our vision of creating an Open, Opportunity Society for all in the province, I believe that in the Western Cape we are making progress in realising the dream we all shared in 1994.
It only remains for me to thank the citizens of the Western Cape for voting our government into power in 2009 and for giving us the opportunity to fulfil our mandate and deliver on the promises we made to you. I would like to thank a remarkable team of people, both in the provincial cabinet, as well as the professional administration, led by the Director General, for showing what "better together" means in practice.
Let's continue making the Western Cape "Better Together!"
Issued by the Office of the Western Cape Premier, February 21 2014
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