STATE OF THE PROVINCE ADDRESS DELIVERED BY EC PREMIER

Honourable Speaker, and Deputy Speaker

Judge President of the Eastern Cape

Members of the Executive Council

Members of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature

Ministers and Deputy Ministers

Members of National Parliament and delegates to the

NCOP

Executive Mayors

Leaders of Political Parties

IiKumkani ZeLizwe lakowethu

USihlalo Wendlu yeeNkosi

Leaders of Chapter 9 and 10 Institutions

USihlalo we Moral Regeneration Movement

Vice Chancellors of our Higher Education Institutions

Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps

Leaders of the Religious Fraternity, Business, Labour and Civil Society

Director General, HoDs, Municipal Managers and Chief

Executive Officers of our State-Owned Enterprises

Distinguished guests

Members of the Media

Ladies and Gentlemen

Silapha ngolu rhatya lwanamhlanje kule Ndlu yoQingqo Wiso Mthetho yePhondo sizokunika ingxelo ngobume bePhondo. Kunyaka esisuka kuwo ka2021 zibe khona izinto ezisincumisileyo, kodwa zikwakhona neziphazamise intlalo yoluntu.

There is nothing more painful to us in government than losing the lives of our citizens. We lost lives due to Covid19, accidents and to the customary male initiation, amongst others.

Bonke aba bantu bashiye ngasemva izingqala kwiintsapho zabo. Ngoko ke, kuwo onke amakhaya athe azibona ephantsi kwelifu elimnyama kunyaka ka-2021, sithi akuhlanga lungehlanga, thuthuzelekani.

Honourable Members, 2021 was not all dark and gloomy. The Matric Class of 2021 made us proud by achieving a 73% pass rate, an improvement of 4.9% from the 68.1 % we achieved in 2020. We applaud the leadership of the department, educators, parents, learners, and other stakeholders who contributed to the improvement of our education outcomes. We maintain that our Province can and we will work towards achieving an 80 % pass rate during this term of government.

Kwicandelo lezemidlalo, iinzalelwane zeli Phondo ezimbini uSiya Kolisi (uGqwashu) noLusanda Dumke (uMaSkhomo) bachongwe njengabadlali ababalaseleyo kunyaka ka2021, kumdlalo wombhoxo. Sithi huntshu kuni bantwana bomgquba, ukwanda kwaliwa ngumthakathi. Sikwafuna ukukhuthaza imbethi manqindi yeli Phondo eseze ngobuso elizweni, uAzinga Fuzile ukuba angatyhafi ziziphumo zomlo wakhewokugqibela. Umzingisi akanashwa.

Fellow citizens, our democracy is still fledging and fragile. There are some in our country who will test the resilience of our democracy from time to time. Thank you, people of the Eastern Cape, for defending our democratic gains by refusing to participate in the July 2021 unrest. Your patriotic act of courage saved critical economic infrastructure and jobs in our Province. Let us all continue to be vigilant against people who seek to reverse our democratic gains.

This year, our province is commemorating a centenary since the passing of Reverend John Knox Bokwe. He was a renowned prolific writer who contributed immensely to Xhosa religious music. We will work with his family and the John Knox Bokwe Foundation to remember him through various programmes. His life story is an inspiration and an important part of our heritage.

Madame Speaker, our agenda for the sixth term remains informed by the Eastern Cape Provincial Development Plan (EC-PDP) – Our Vision 2030. As committed in the EC-PDP, we must address the unemployment challenge which sits at 47.4%, affecting men, women, and the youth of our province. We must end the sea of poverty that we see with our own eyes, with 12.7 % of households living in poverty. We must also end the inequality that persists in our democratic order, which affects mainly Black people in all the facets of socio-economic life.

In response to this reality, we are implementing the Provincial Medium Term Strategic Framework (P-MTSF), to contribute towards addressing unemployment, poverty, and inequality. In our plan we said, to address these three challenges, we must:

•Build a capable, ethical, and developmental state

•Transform the economy and create jobs

•Invest in Education, Skills and Health

•Consolidate the social wage through reliable and quality basic services

•Integrate spatial planning, rural economy, and local government

•Build social cohesion and safe communities and lastly

•Build a better Africa and the World.

We believe that, through these seven priorities, we are building the Eastern Cape we want, by creating jobs for the jobless, reducing unemployment, enhancing food security, alleviating hunger, and building equal opportunities for all our citizens.

While we were implementing programmes to achieve these priorities, the Covid-19 pandemic hit our shores. It exposed the weaknesses in our government and the inequalities in our communities. We had to adjust our sails to navigate the worst health crisis of the 21st century. The pandemic not only claimed lives, but impacted negatively on the economy. We then developed a Provincial Economic Recovery Plan to resuscitate our economy.

Honourable Members, the people of our Province expect government and social partners to solve the unemployment challenge. In response to this expectation, we have started to collectively address the economy that is not growing at an acceptable rate. In this regard we are building an enabling infrastructure as a catalyst to grow the economy and create jobs.

I now report on the progress made in the implementation of Infrastructure Projects across the Province. Roads infrastructure is the wheels of the economy, and it also plays the important role of connecting our people to social services and economic centres.

A few years ago, the Province decided to partner with SANRAL in the construction and maintenance of our strategic roads. In the past year, 8 major road infrastructure projects, worth R3.1 billion, have been completed. These are:

•R72 Port Alfred to Fish River

•R72 Bhirha River to Openshaw

•N2 Makanda to Fish River (Phase 2)

•N2 Tetyana to Sithebe Komkhulu

•R67 Whittlesea to Black Kei River

•R61 Majola Tea to Tombo

•R61 Libode to Mngazi Mouth

•R75 Jansenville to R63 Intersection to Somerset East

Your government is currently implementing 18 other major road infrastructure projects worth R7 billion in our province. These roads include:

•N2 Msikaba Bridge in OR Tambo District,

•N2 Nqadu to Mbokotwana and Dan’s Lodge to Tsolo junction in OR Tambo District

•R63 Fort Beaufort to Alice in Amathole District

•N2 Green River (Bulembu) to Buffalo River

(eQonce)

•Black Kei River to Komani in Chris Hani District

•R58 Lady Grey to Barkley East in Joe Gqabi

District

•R61 Baziya to Mthatha Airport in the OR Tambo

District, and

• N2 Breidbach & Belstone Interchange in the Buffalo City Metro

Small towns like Middelburg, Steynsburg, Molteno, Dordrecht, Indwe and Nqanqarhu (Maclear) are benefiting from the rehabilitation works that are currently undertaken on the R56. Over R1.5 billion has been invested in the rehabilitation of this route. Despite the negative effects of the COVID 19 pandemic, over 4 500 job opportunities have been created. Of these, 2 020 benefitted youth and 1 076 women. A total of R228 million was spent on wages and salaries.

Work packages worth more than R5.5 billion were allocated to 696 black owned contractors, with R120 million spent on those within CIDB Grades 1 – 4.

Sesiqalisile ukulungiselela ukwakha ezinye iindlela ezilishumi elinethoba eziquka leyo iza kunciphisa ingxinano yezithuthi kwidolophu yaseGcuwa naseDutywa. Sinethemba ukuba olu phuculo lweendlela luza kuba negalelo elibonakayo kukhuseleko ezindleleni zethu nasekunciphiseni ixesha elichithwa ngabaqhubi ezindleleni kwiPhondo Lethu.

The R1.6 billion Mtentu Bridge project, in Mbizana, was delayed after contractors left the site, citing violent protests. We also acknowledge that in some instances there were weaknesses in public participation and social facilitation processes. We are looking into strategies to improve in this area because the voice of the people is critical in development. However, I am pleased to note that the announcement of a new contractor for this project is imminent.

In the construction of the Msikaba Bridge that is currently underway in OR Tambo District, 522 local people are employed on site, all coming from the 4 surrounding administrative areas of Lambasi, Mgezwa, Nkunzimbini and Njombela on the South and KwaThahle and Khanyayo on the North.

Siyaqhubeka nokuphucula iindlela zeli Phondo. Akusekudala siwugqibe umsebenzi wokwakha ezi ndlela zilandelayo: ukusuka kwisibhedlele iNtlaza ukuya eHluleka, N2 ukuya esibhedlele iSiphethu, ukusuka kuGatyana ukuya eDwesa nokusuka eSterkspruit ukuya esibhedlele uMlamli.

Reseal and rehabilitation projects are being implemented on various sections of our provincial roads, including Maluti to Matatiele, Makanda to Port Alfred, Butterworth to Centane and Magusheni to Flagstaff. Meanwhile, preparations are underway for the implementation of phase 3 of R61 Magusheni to Mzamba, Coghlan to Clarkebury Phase 1 and Ntlaza to Hluleka Phase 2.

We re-gravelled 3 554 km and bladed 62 708 km. Road Maintenance was however adversely affected by various factors like COVID-19 and community protests, resulting in constrained progress. The re-gravelling and blading are just not enough because during rainy season gravel roads are washed away. It is now time to ramp up paving because it is both durable and labour intensive. We welcome the announcement by the President that national government will work with us to use labour intensive methods to construct or upgrade rural roads. This will augment similar initiatives that the Province has started, for example, Machubeni Road, Qumbu to Tsilitwa and Healdtown to Ngumbela Oval.

We have another challenge in our province, that of lowlying bridges which are easily damaged by water in rainy season. We will take advantage of the upscaled Welisizwe Rural Bridges Programme as announced by the President last week.

Honourable members, the Wild Coast Industrial Park is no longer a dream, it is a reality. Fencing at the Wild Coast Industrial Park site is 95 % complete. This project has benefited eight SMMEs and created jobs for local people.

The next phase is the implementation of bulk infrastructure, which includes sanitation, water, and electricity. The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition has invested R49.5 million for installation of bulk infrastructure and the project will be completed in November 2022.

We have already signed an investment pipeline of R1,4 billion with 4 investors committing to locate in the Wild Coast Industrial Park. These entail investments in the following sectors: vegetable cultivation and processing; beverage manufacturing and cold storage; poultry processing and starch manufacturing.

Honourable Members, the private sector contribution on our economy has mitigated the negative impact of Covid19. The private sector has truly embraced our call to work together to build the Eastern Cape we want.

In the Buffalo City Metro, sixteen new investors have injected a combined R3.3 billion to our economy and are linked to the Mercedes Benz South Africa’s (MBSA) new C-Class project (W206). These investors have pledged to create 2 078 new jobs in the next two years. We have no doubt they will fulfil their commitment, because they have already created 751 new jobs within EL IDZ.

As a platform that is anchored on the auto sector, the EL IDZ is looking at deepening local content by localising the 2nd and 3rd tier car components that are not currently in South Africa. That is a bold futuristic outlook that we need for our manufacturing sector and as a shareholder we will support the EL IDZ to realise this strategic objective.

In the past year we have received two new investments from the OEMs. Isuzu invested R1,2 billion effectively rescuing half of the jobs that would have been lost when General Motors de-invested in South Africa. Ford Motor Company on the other hand, has committed to invest R600 million in their plant in Gqeberha for modernizing and growing their local operations.

The presence of these OEMs has contributed to the growth of tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 automotive supplier network which stands at 118, providing over 55,000 jobs in the Province.

The Coega SEZ has recently been chosen by Hive Hydrogen SA as the location of a Green Hydrogen project which will be fully operational by 2026. The project entails the construction of about R69.6 billion green ammonia plant with its own dedicated green power supply. This is a game changer project for our province and the country as it will boost the Coega SEZ’s value proposition platform for sustainable investments.

The Coega SEZ is seized with two more projects that will contribute a combined 824 new operational jobs to the economy. One of these investors is Seraphim Solar Cell Manufacturing company that is investing R362 million into our province to increase the local content of its solar value chain. The second investor is African Port Logistics and Infrastructure, that is investing R300 million in the agroprocessing value chain. These are real investments that will benefit the people of our province.

Madame Speaker, I can confirm that Transnet has budgeted R5,6 billion in the medium-term to sustain and expand investments. The East London Port has been allocated R1 billion to establish boat building and ship repair facilities as well as a Maritime Training College as part of Operation Phakisa Projects.

Following the commitment to migrate fuel tanks and the manganese exports from the Port of Port Elizabeth to the Port of Ngqura, Transnet has appointed COEGA as the implementing agent for the R3,4 billion new Ngqura Manganese Export Terminal.

The Cookhouse – Blaney branch line is now in operation and connects to the Agri Port Terminal at the East London Port, reducing the costs of logistics by moving goods from road to rail.

Last year, Aspen invested R3,3 billion in their Gqeberha Plant to produce vaccines for Africa. This investment has created 1 775 jobs in our province, of which 52% benefitted women. We also welcomed an R80 million investment by Siemens in a 100-bed modular hospital in Cecilia Makiwane Hospital.

Honourable Members, energy security is critical for our socio-economic transformation. Our country’s energy challenges have stifled growth as disruptions in electricity supply affect industries and threaten jobs as well as lives in critical services such as health care. Our province is playing an active role in offering sustainable solutions to the country’s energy challenges.

We are a suitable environment for the energy mix that our country is pursuing, and we have the capacity to host wind farms, solar farms, gas fired power plants and roof-top solar systems. We tick all the boxes and investors must look in our direction to locate their green energy projects.

The construction of four wind farms that were awarded to our province has been completed and are now operational: two are in the Blue Crane Municipality, one in the Kouga Municipality, and one in the Ngqushwa Municipality. They have added 433 Megawatts of capacity to the national grid. In addition to these, two more wind farms were recently awarded to our province; one is in the Chris Hani District Municipality and the other in the Sarah Baartman District Municipality. These wind farms will add an extra 224 Megawatts to the national grid with an estimated investment value of R4.6 billion. One thousand three hundred jobs will be created from this investment.

Our Province has been earmarked for two investments projects on Liquified Natural Gas, located in the Coega SEZ. The two projects, Karpowership and Mulilo Total Coega have a combined capacity of 650 Megawatts which will ensure energy security for investors in the Coega precinct. This development affirms Coega as the designated Gas Hub of South Africa and SMMEs in our province should be ready to benefit from this development.

During the State of the Nation Address, the President announced that requests for proposals for 3,000 MW of gas power and 500 MW of battery storage will be released later this year. Our Special Economic Zones are gearing up for these two initiatives.

Like energy, water is a precious resource that contributes immensely to the socio-economic development of a nation. We welcome the President’s pronouncement that the closing date for the first of the two-stage procurement on the Mzimvubu Water Project, is expected to be later this month, while the announcement of a successful bidder is expected in September 2022.

We are constantly following up on this project through our intergovernmental relations platforms.

One of the commitments we made at the beginning of this term was to improve office accommodation and bring services closer to the people. In this regard, we invested R439 million to build three government office parks in Alfred Nzo, Joe Gqabi and Chris Hani. We named the office parks after three late citizens of our Province Mr

Thobile Bam, Mr Themba Kojana and Mr Bathandwa Ndondo, respectively, who were selfless and dedicated to the upliftment of our people. The Office Parks are now offering multiple government services to our communities and are saving our people time and money. SMMEs and local people were prioritised for business opportunities and jobs in these construction projects. A contractor is currently on site at emaXesibeni Office Park while the Mqanduli Office Complex site will soon be handed over.

Honourable Members, the performance of the agricultural sector is one of those that have sustained our economy during this tough Covid-19 period, with exports increasing and imports declining.

In support of this sector, we invested R417.4 million in 107 agricultural initiatives in various value chains across the province. These include production in grain, red meat, citrus fruit, macadamia, poultry and cannabis. We also invested R160.5 million to support small holder farmers with infrastructure for livestock, horticulture, and grain production.

Our province is an exporter of agricultural commodities to international markets. Today, lemons produced from our province were shipped to China at the Durban Port. While we celebrate this milestone, we want the produce from our farmers to be shipped from our ports and we are engaging Transnet regarding improvements at the EL Port.

There is progress in the revitalisation of irrigation schemes. All the 8 irrigation schemes in the province were supported with funding in various aspects including infrastructure refurbishment (at Zanyokhwe, Igqange leMpumalanga, Masibazise); cropping (at Bilatye, Ncorha, Qamata); and livestock (at Keiskammahoek, Shiloh).

Sixhase amakhaya angaphezu kwe48 000 ngeembewu, izithole, izichumiso nezixhobo zokulima. Sikhuthaza iiNkosi zezwe lakowethu nabantu bakuthi bavuselele ulimo kwiindawo abakuzo ukuqubisana nendlala. SinguRhulumente sikhuthaza amalinge ezolimo afana neliya likaWiphold kuCentane, Dalasile Agri Park eNgcobo, Ukhanyo Farmer Development in Mthatha.

Cannabis is emerging as a potential sector for growth in the country. The streamlining of the regulatory processes towards enabling the Cannabis and Hemp sector will accelerate our efforts to build the Cannabis industry. Going forward, we will strengthen this work with the appointment of an advisory panel drawing in experts from the sector.

Honourable Speaker, we are starting to see the results of our intervention in the Magwa- Majola Tea Estate. We have sustained 1 558 jobs in the impoverished communities. Bulk sales generated R18.5 million for the estate and re-inforced our commitment to commercialise and diversify production at the estate to ensure selfsustenance.

Our ocean has abundant marine resources that should help us grow our economy and create jobs. We are implementing the Oceans Economy Master Plan and already 73 co-operatives of small-scale fisheries have been awarded 15-year long licenses by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and Environment. The licences will ensure participation of rural communities in the oceans economy through legal trading.

In line with our pronouncement in last year’s State of the Province Address, we have invested R206 million for the construction of phase 1 of the Aquaculture Development Zone which is underway in Coega, creating approximately 500 construction and 900 operational jobs.

Madame Speaker, SMMEs play an important role in job creation and in the economy. Through the Local Economic Development Framework, we continue to enhance SMME development. From the beginning of this term until end December 2021, the Provincial Departments spent a total of R42,3 billion, of which R24,3 billion (58%) was spent on Eastern Cape based suppliers.

In the current financial year, Provincial Departments had cumulatively spent R10,9 billion as at the end of the 3rd quarter. Out of this amount R6,1 billion (56%) was spent on Eastern Cape based suppliers. The percentage local spending for the current financial year has increased from 47% in Quarter 1 to 64% in Quarter 3.

Honourable Members, SMMEs, especially those that are owned by designated groups, are supported by government as part of our work of growing and transforming our economy to serve the people. The

Department of Small Business Development’s Shared Economic Infrastructure Facility is investing R34.7 million to support various projects in our province. These are: KwaNtozonke Product Market in King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality, the Chris Hani Co-operative Development Centre in Chris Hani District. In addition to this, R1,9 million has been allocated for 141 informal and micro businesses in the Amathole and Joe Gqabi District

Municipalities.

Honourable Speaker, in this term we have created 90 000 jobs, mainly through our three public entities, EL IDZ, Coega and ECDC. Designated groups continue to benefit from the Expanded Public Works Programme, with 349 500 participating in this term. We expect this number to grow as we constantly intervene to address unemployment and poverty.

The NTT Group has invested R35 million in Mthatha, to open a fully-fledged VW and Audi dealership. This will alleviate the struggles that motorists endure in that region to buy and service cars. The new investment will create 40 jobs for the people of OR Tambo District.

We appreciate investment by entrepreneurs into our economy, such as Mr Mava Mkukwana who has created 400 direct jobs through his business investments in the retail sector. He is building a service station at Fort Jackson that will have a pharmacy, and a variety of fastfood outlets.

By injecting a lifeline of R24.2 million, we rescued 38 companies that were distressed because of the Covid-19. This saved 1 178 jobs across the Province. This was in addition to the Covid-19 UIF Temporary Employment Relief Scheme (TERS) which paid R3,2 billion to 13 793 employers and 255 588 employees.

Madame Speaker, as part of reviving the township and rural economy, we have initiated a programme to support community-owned stores. This initiative is designed to ensure that communities, especially women, are shareholders for the common good of the community. This will also ensure that we stimulate economic activity in our communities.

To mitigate the effect of COVID-19 on small businesses, 1 279 SMMEs in rural areas and in townships were supported thereby saving jobs.

Madame Speaker, in response to the perennial challenge of youth unemployment, we are implementing three key strategies, namely, labour-intensive high-impact government projects, youth entrepreneurship as well as Work Integrated Learning.

More than 278 000 young people have benefitted from various youth development initiatives implemented across the Province. We invested R1, 7 billion in youth development through efforts, such as: Skills Development, Training, Bursaries, Internships and Learnerships; financial and non-financial support to youth owned SMMEs; Work opportunities as well as student debt relief intervention. The latter benefitted needy students in our universities.

As committed last year, in partnership with the Liquid Intelligent Telecons South Africa, we have established an ICT Academy in Mthatha. This year the institution has increased its intake to 100 from 73, last year.

Madam Speaker, our province attracted R363 million from Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) in the fields of Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services, Public Sector, Mining Qualifications Authority, Banking, Chemical, Local Government, Wholesale and Retail, Education Training and Development and the Insurance SETAs. This investment benefitted more than 7 520 young people in our province. In this regard, we want to appreciate their valuable contributions to skills development.

We are making strides in affirming youth owned businesses. We have increased beneficiation of youth owned SMMEs from 5%, in 2019/20 to 18.3% by mid2021/22. We are determined to continue increasing these thresholds until we reach the 30% target set in the National Youth Policy.

We are collaborating with the Department of Employment and Labour to train young people in Digital Technology and Solar Energy, under an initiative called Youth Digital eXponential (YDx) Project. Funded by the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the project is implemented through the

South African Digital Content Organisation, and 500 young people from across the Province are already participating in it.

The revitalisation of our state-owned industrial parks remains one of our top priorities. Construction work is continuing in all the targeted industrial parks. At least 379 jobs were created and 71 local SMMEs are benefitting from this program. To this effect, we have completed the 1st phase upgrades at Dimbaza Industrial Park and we will continue with Phase 2 in the new year. In all other parks construction work is underway. Taking into account the work that has been done, we are making strides to attract investors to the industrial parks.

Honourable Speaker, we identified tourism as a sector that could jumpstart our economic recovery. International travel bans at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, forced us to focus on domestic tourism. This has proven to be a master stroke.

According to SA Tourism there were 3.7 million domestic arrivals in our Province in 2021, contributing R7.1 billion direct spend in our provincial economy. We appreciate the tourists for choosing our Province as their destination of choice.

We are on course to complete infrastructure upgrades at some of our tourism sites and these include:

•Interpretation Centre at Baviaanskloof, our only World Heritage site in EC, which was funded by National Department of Tourism to a tune of R42m is complete and to be launched in March 2022. This will further position the EC as destination attraction linking this with hiking trail funded by NDT for about R9m funded.

•The Cape Morgan’s chalets/dining facilities funded to the tune of R45 million by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, (DFFE). This project will be completed in April 2022, improving our coastal offerings.

•The newly revamped Silaka Nature reserve in Port St Johns is receiving positive reviews from tourists since it opened in December. This facility has been revamped to a tune of R11m by the DFFE and is completed.

The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) will continue to capitalise on the province’s potential and attract a greater market share of domestic tourists to the Province. Some of the strategies being employed, include tracking and profiling tourists needs and their perception about the EC. This valuable tool will sharpen marketing investment across the sector.

Our top 15 iconic tourist destinations have been digitised and are available on the virtual platforms, where potential tourists could virtually tour them. To spoil the tourists with choice these virtual tours are being increased to 27 as we speak. We look forward to welcoming visitors during the Easter holidays.

Madame Speaker, the development of the African Coastal Smart City is gaining momentum, following the President’s

Roadshow on the Eastern Seaboard towards the end of 2021. This initiative is going to serve as a game changer and a catalyst for further development and investment attraction throughout the Wild Coast. There are already investors who have expressed an interest in the area. To facilitate implementation on the Eastern Cape side of the programme, we have appointed Coega to package our projects.

Honourable Speaker, we are working to ensure that our province is not left behind in the auctioning of the high frequency communication spectrum. The Eastern Cape will transition from analogue to digital broadcasting next month. Amongst other benefits, viewers will enjoy improved picture quality on their television sets.

Madame Speaker, the Grade 12 results for the class of 2021 are an outcome of a successful implementation of the Education Transformation Plan in our Province. The fact that 17 000 more learners passed in 2021, than in

2020 is a cause for celebration.

Similarly, that bachelor passes increased by 4.1 % from 30 % in 2020 to 34.1 % in 2021, is also a good reason to rejoice. We reduced the number of districts performing below 70% drastically from 9 to 3. We wish all the matriculants well in their future endeavours.

Malungu abekekileyo, siyandisile inkqubo yokuhanjiswa kokutya ezikolweni, ngokuthi songeze isidlo sakusasa. Esi sidlo sixhanyulwa ngabantwana abayi 173 358, abasuka kwawona makhaya ahlelekileyo. Xa sisithi singurhulumente onenkathalo, asithethi mampunge.

We continue to rollout school infrastructure in the rural districts of the Province to level the education playing field. A R50 million state of the art science centre, named after Mama Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu, has been built in Cofimvaba. The centre will enhance the teaching of maths, science and technology and further widen career choices of learners. The ASIDI programme allocated 298 schools to the Province and to date 168 schools (56%) have been completed.

In the 2021 school year 23 schools were completed and these include Mfesane SSS- in Nelson Mandela Metro, Mbuqe Extension in OR Tambo, Themba Mzizi in Alfred Nzo, Bhongweni Primary School in Sara Baartman. These schools comprise 156 classrooms, libraries, laboratories, electricity, water and sanitation.

The Eastern Cape is one of two provinces in which an innovative social infrastructure delivery mechanism will be piloted. In this regard, we have packaged 77 Schools which are ready to be built once the R6,6 billion is made available by National Treasury.

The Provincial Government continues to provide scholar transport to more than 103 000 learners a year. The programme is not without its challenges, such as budgetary constraints and the delayed payment of service providers. Having resolved the funding challenges, legitimate claims will be processed.

Honourable Members, the Covid-19 fourth wave has not been severe in our Province. We attribute this to two main factors: the adherence of our people to Covid-19 protocols and the uptake of the vaccine. We want to applaud the 1.8 million people of our Province who took their Covid-19 jabs. They have contributed to the reduction in the spread of the virus. We urge the age group between 12 to 49 years to come forward to get their jabs so we can reach herd immunity. The vaccines are safe and have protected many of our people against severe illnesses in the 4th wave.

Honourable Speaker, with the establishment of the second medical school at the Nelson Mandela University, our efforts to build capacity in the health sector received a boost. This school has admitted its first intake of students. We have also established two cerebral palsy centres at Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital and Cecilia Makiwane Hospital.

Honourable Members, will remember that we invested R590 million to rehabilitate health facilities as part of the Covid-19 response plan. We have completed 77 of the 85 projects and this gave us 2 209 Covid-19 isolation beds. This is a legacy that will benefit our communities beyond Covid-19. As part of our health infrastructure improvement we are renovating Siphethu Hospital.

We also appreciate the private sector contribution to our health care service. These include a private general centre offering access to private paying patients eQonce, the East London Eye Day Hospital, and the full-fledged Royal Buffalo City Specialist Hospital in East London.

In addition to these, two other private health care facilities have been established in Gqeberha with a combined investment of more than R700 million, creating about 500 permanent jobs and close to 300 construction jobs.

Somlomo, intlupheko yinto esifuna ukuyisiphula neengcambu kweli phondo lethu. Through the SASSA social grants, R29 billion per annum is invested in the provincial economy, supporting 3 million people per month. In addition, more than 6 000 needy people, who do not qualify for social grants, benefitted through the social relief of distress.

In an effort to restore family units, 33 300 families participated in parenting programmes to enhance strong relationships between children, their parents, and the entire family. More than 1 300 family members from all eight Districts and Metros were reunited with their families.

The Non-Profit Organisations are critical partners in supporting government on the implementation of social upliftment programmes. To this end, R121 million has been allocated to 6 600 Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs).

We are also assisting Ex-Mine Workers in our Province to access their benefits from Mining Provident Funds. So far, 13639 claimants have been compensated for occupational diseases.

Somlomo, sikholelwa ukuba ukuze sikwazi ukuphelisa intswelangqesho,intlupheko,ukungalingani kwanokuvuselela uqoqosho lwethu, kufuneka sibe norhulumente onesiseko esiluqilima.

I want to assure the people of our Province that we are making progress in building a capable state that is fit-forpurpose to address the challenges facing us.

One major step that we have taken in ensuring the administrative leadership stability in the Province is to fill all thirteen posts of Heads of Departments. Six of these posts are filled by women. Malibongwe!!! To build capacity in the administration, 3 336 vacant posts were filled and 6 370 young people were appointed as Interns.

We have initiated lifestyle audits prioritising Members of the Executive Council and Heads of Departments. For the first time in the history our democracy, we removed the cloud of secrecy on procurement, by disclosing- on a quarterly basis- the names of companies that were awarded bids.

Our government is committed in quelling the perception that we are a haven for corruption. In this regard, we are considering recommendations emanating from forensic and investigative reports by state institutions, including the findings of the Commission on State Capture and the Special Investigations Unit.

In cases where actions are recommended, we will not hesitate to act against those implicated, both in the public and private sectors. We call upon the law enforcement agencies and the justice system to act without fear or favour and with greater speed in bringing the perpetrators to book.

Sayiphelisa into yabasebenzi abashishina norhulumente, kuba banemivuzo abayirhola qho ngenyanga. We strive to restore credibility and sound ethics in our procurement system. We urge Eastern Cape citizens to report acts of soliciting bribes and acts of corruption.

In this environment of tight fiscal constraints, it became necessary for us to find creative ways of augmenting our resources. Our revenue collection has improved and so far we have collected R3.8 billion towards our term target of R4.5 billion.

As a caring government, we have instituted dedicated measures to assist our former employees and their beneficiaries to access their long-outstanding benefits from the Government Employment Pension Fund. In partnership with the Government Pension Administration Agency, we have since traced nearly half of these beneficiaries and 245 of them have been paid already. To ensure that we do not subject our people to this pain again Departments are already implementing measures to ensure timely processing of employee exit benefits.

Improving audit outcomes is another target of our administration and we see light at the end of the tunnel. There has been an improvement in the 2020/21 provincial audit outcomes of departments compared to the previous financial year. Two more departments, COGTA and DSRAC, have attained clean audit outcomes, adding to Provincial Treasury and Community Safety – thereby increasing the number of departments with clean audit outcomes to four.

It is also worth mentioning that seven Public Entities out of eleven sustained their unqualified audit opinion with no findings. We are already implementing measures to increase the number of institutions attaining clean audit outcomes.

On education and health, we have red flags that we need to respond to, as they lead to perennial budget shortages. The financial instability in the two departments leads to poor quality education and health services, non-payment of service providers and budget cuts in other government departments.

In response, we have developed integrated turn-around strategies for both departments. For Health, our focus is on financial sustainability, amongst other areas. This, we will do by optimising budgets, reducing losses, increasing revenue collection, managing cost drivers, doing more with less, leveraging ICT and ensuring effective finance and supply chain management. To reduce medico legal litigation costs, we want to stop the outflow of lump sum payments, by effectively managing current cases and strengthening administration systems to prevent recurrence.

On Education, we are eliminating CoE inefficiencies, improving corporate governance, automating leave management and streamlining business processes. We are also resourcing learning and teaching for improved learner attainment.

The ongoing provincial government intervention in the Department of Health will be extended to include the Department of Education. To ensure the desired effect the OTP will strengthen coordination of these interventions.

Somlomo, siphuma kunyulo lorhulumente wasemakhaya apho imibutho ibizithengise khona, icacisa ukuba iza kuluqhubela phambili njani uphuhliso loluntu. Following the conclusion of the elections, new councillors were sworn in, and Troikas elected. We hope they will uphold the principle of putting people first.

We congratulate the newly elected leadership of SALGA. We look forward to working with SALGA in the province to improve the performance of our municipalities on service delivery and financial management.

The dedicated support we provide to municipalities on financial management is yielding positive results. In the 2019/20 outcomes we saw a movement of 4 municipalities from a disclaimer to a qualified audit outcome and 2 municipalities obtaining a clean audit. We anticipate further improvement in the 2020/21 municipal audit outcomes.

As a province that has huge developmental challenges, particularly in the local government sphere, we embraced the District Development Model, (DDM), which calls on the three spheres of government, including non-government actors, to plan, budget and execute developmental projects together. Towards this, we completed and submitted eight DDM One Plans to Department of Cooperative Governance. It is now time to implement these plans. The DDM will also be used as a lever for successful implementation of our province’s catalytic projects. The Office of the Premier will strengthen coordination of all stakeholders to ensure the meaningful contribution to local development.

We will work with the new leadership in municipalities to achieve the following:

•Development of a provincial green economy strategy to mitigate the climate change effects, to keep local spaces clean and to ensure sustainable development

•Improvement of land use for development

•Engagement of traditional leaders

•Strengthening and enforcement of by-laws

•Building the capacity of municipalities to enhance their response to disasters

•Reduction of debt owed to municipalities through

“pay for services campaign”

The provincial government has been providing support to municipalities so that they can attract investors whilst improving the quality of services rendered to communities. Part of this support is the Small Towns Revitalisation programme which focuses on improving water, sanitation, electrification, and roads infrastructure. We have attained our target of implementing the programme in the initial ten (10) small towns. Through this programme 7 218 jobs were created and 207 SMMEs benefited from contracts. We expect municipalities to maintain the infrastructure provided in these small towns.

An amount of R433 million is allocated in 2021/22 MTEF to expand the programme with an addition of fourteen projects in eight more municipalities.

Honourable Members, housing delivery is a basic human right enshrined in and our Constitution. In the current term, we have restored the dignity of thousands of destitute families through the housing units we have built. These have mainly benefitted the most vulnerable in our province, including 12 475 women, 3 341 young people and 109 persons with disabilities.

However, many of our people have not yet enjoyed this basic human right and are living in informal settlements. In order to meet our term targets, we have put in place mechanisms to address weaknesses in planning, project management and beneficiary administration in the Department of Human Settlements.

Somlomo, ulwaphulo mthetho ngomnye umceli mngeni esiqubisana nawo kweli phondo lethu. Ukugetyengwa kosapho lwakwaGeorge kuTsolo lulele, kunye nokubulawa ngolunya kukaNosicelo Mtebeni kudandalazisa elubala ubunzima bomthwalo esijongene nawo.

Our response to the pandemic of GBV and Femicide will be enhanced with the establishment of the provincial DNA Laboratory. This facility is at construction stage. In 2022 the focus will be on resourcing the laboratory in order to be fully operational by February 2023. This investment will go a long way in reducing backlogs in GBVF cases.

We are worried about the long time it takes to prosecute and to finalise GBVF cases. The convictions also do not seem to serve as an effective deterrent as sexual offenses have continued to be on the increase. Ngako oko sisazibongoza iinkokheli zomthonyama, iinkokheli zoPolitiko, iinkokheli zakwaLizwi, iinkokheli zokuhlala kunye namadoda jikelele ukuba athabathe uxanduva ukulwa lo mkhuba. Siyabulela kubantu bafana nooTat ‘uPetros Majola abathe gqolo ukukhalimela uhlukumezo lwamananina nabantwana. Sihlaba ikhwelo kuwe onke amadoda eli Phondo ukuba azeke mzekweni.

Madame Speaker, we strongly condemn the emerging incidents of organised killings in our communities. We appreciate the announcement by the National Minister of Police to establish a specialized investigation unit to speed up investigations into the Gqeberha murders, which appear to be organised crime. This is in addition to the newly established Chatty Police Station which opened three weeks ago.

Seven more police stations will be opened in the near future: two in the next financial year, namely, Huku Police Station kwaBhaca and Moyeni Police Station eNgqushwa. The Majola, Mdeni, Ntamonde, Tabase, Tafalehashe Police Stations will be opened from 2024 to 2026.

Honourable Members, in building a better Africa and the World we have interacted with several countries and multilateral institutions.

We are establishing a new cooperation with the Secretariat of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area and building relations with regions in the African continent.

The German government will continue to assist us to grow and improve the performance of the agricultural sector.

We urge the Eastern Cape businesses to leverage opportunities that will accrue out of these diplomatic and economic relations.

Honourable members, the Province of the Eastern Cape prides itself as the Home of the Legends. In appreciating the role played by our forebears in bringing us where we are, we have renamed a number of our government facilities and places after these legends, for example:

•The Bhisho State House is now Lillian Diedericks

House, (Bhisho), Lilian Diedericks Municipal Building.

•In the Nelson Mandela Metro the Brister House has been renamed after Mama Lilian Diedericks

•Dawid Stuurman Airport and King Phalo Airport.

Honourable Speaker, we all have the responsibility of contributing to the building of a prosperous Eastern Cape, the one we all want.

Sihlaba ikhwelo kubo bonke abemi beli phondo, ukuba baphakame balime umhlaba, bafuye imfuyo ukugxotha ikati eziko.

Sikwahlab’ikhwelo kuluntu lonke ekulweni nobundlobongela, ukusetyenziswa kweziyobisi, nolwaphulo mthetho olugqugqisayo kwiPhondo lethu. Let us stand together to fight lawlessness and rampant crime in our Province: it is in our hands!!!

Somlomo obekekileyo, liyinene elithi xa sibambisene, simxhelo mnye senza lukhulu. The work we have done in pursuing our priorities would not have been possible without the involvement of critical stakeholders in our Province.

The multi-stakeholder collaboration in the implementation of the Provincial Covid-19 Response Plan has considerably contributed in mitigating the effects of the pandemic. The Provincial Government takes this opportunity to thank all our partners who continue to walk with us throughout this difficult journey. Through our collaborative efforts, we saved a lot of lives.

Sibamba ngazibini mawethu ngentsebenziswano. We extend a word of gratitude to all health care workers and frontline workers who have been at the coalface of fighting the pandemic.

Bantu, base Mpumpa Kapa, kukho intetho ethi: “Uhambo lweemayile eziliwaka luqala ngenyathelo elinye” (a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step). Iinjongo zale ntetho besiyenza apha namhlanje ibikukunibonisa amanyathelo esiwathathileyo kumsebenzi wokwakha eli phondo lethu, libe liphondo elinekamva eliqaqambileyo. Yes, there are challenges, but they are not insurmountable. We are motivated by the desire to see you, the people of our province, living a better life.

Kulithamsanqa kuthi ukuba zizicaka zenu kulo msebenzi enisithume wona wokuphucula ubomi benu. Hlalani nisazi ukuba iingqondo zethu zixakeke kukuphucula intlalo nobomi benu mihla yonke, hayi ukuphuhlisa iziqu zethu.

Sisebenzisene kakuhle kakhulu ekulweni intsholongwane yeCovid-19, nangona siphulekene nabantu abaninzi.

Kuphinde kwafika ixesha lwenkqubo yokubalwa kwabanatu. Siyabulela kubantu bePhondo lethu esele bebaliwe, ngokubonakalisa umdla nokuthabatha kwabo inxaxheba kolu balo lweCensus 2022. Siyabakhuthaza abo bangekabalwa ukuba basabele kweli phulo kuba kaloku ubungakanani besabelo-mali sethu buxhomekeke kumanani achanekileyo abemi beli Phondo. Yiyo ke loo nto simemelela kubo bonke abantu ukuba baphakame baqinisekise ukuba babaliwe.

Masiqhubeke sibambisane nakwezinye iinkqubo zikaRhulumente.

Continue to walk with us on our journey of building the Eastern Cape we want. Step by step, year by year we make this province better for the benefit of all our people.

Ndiyabulela!

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