North West prioritises service delivery

The North West province will this year prioritise service delivery and create much-needed jobs after the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that battered the economy.

“This is the year of service delivery, the biggest ever government delivery programme which will be the primary activity and dominant focus of all work of government over the next 12 months,” Premier Bushy Kaobitsa Maape said on Friday.

Maape made the pronouncements while delivering the province’s 2023 State of the Province Address (SOPA).

“We are moving into our neighbourhoods, our streets and roads, which are critical points of contact for service delivery as our permanent homes for the next 12 months,” he stressed.

In addition, the provincial government will work with municipalities to provide basic services to communities.

Through the Accelerated Service Delivery Plan, municipalities are clearing illegal dumping sites, constructing new high mast lights repairing existing ones, repairing damaged roads and addressing water and sewer woes.

In the meantime, a Steering Committee jointly established with the Department of Water and Sanitation is urgently attending to the province’s water and sanitation challenges.

“We are retaining the provincial war room on water which is part of the accelerated rapid service delivery approach we announced in 2022. We are introducing a mobile app to enable members of the public to participate in fast-tracking the reporting of instances where basic services are interrupted or unavailable.”

Economy

He told Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) that signs of economic recovery were visible. However, he admitted that the scale of challenges is “so big and will take longer to be felt”.

According to Maape, the province achieved the highest average annual growth rate of 8.1% in 2021 mainly due to the recovery from the COVID-19-induced economic decline.

However, he raised concerns about the North West’s unemployment rate, which is sitting at 39%, with the country’s official jobless rate standing at 32.9%.

“These shocking numbers clearly demonstrate that more effort on job creation is needed.”

The Premier believes that the signs of recovery throughout sectors of the economy are a testament to the resilience of many of the corporations and entrepreneurs who have kept the wheels of the economy turning.

Maape also recognised companies such as the Sedibelo Pilanesberg Platinum Mine, Harmony Gold, African Rainbow Energy and the Supreme Chicken that are revitalising the economy and creating jobs.

Infrastructure

He also announced that Infrastructure South Africa (ISA) through the Presidency has set aside R13 billion for the maintenance and upgrading of 39 road projects in the province during the 2023/2024 financial year.

This, according to the Premier, is in addition to the R1.3 billion for road upgrading and maintenance in the current financial year.

He said the bulk of the funds will be earmarked specifically for rural road projects, which will in turn create jobs.

He told the legislature that the province will upgrade Nelson Mandela Drive in Mahikeng at a cost of R50 million and revamp the road from Phelindaba to Pecanwood, which serves huge tourists traffic from Gauteng to Hartbeespoort Dam at a cost of more than R600 million.

Contractors have already been appointed for the road that leads to Sun City and Pilanesberg National Park for a tune of R61 million.

“We are spending an amount of R149 million on upgrading the road between Haartebeesfontein and Ottosdal,” he said, adding that the Department of Public Works will start work on the Lichtenburg to Koster road, and a portion of the road connecting Koster and Derby to Magaliesberg.

The province is also addressing the flood-damaged roads in the province. Other projects that are being embarked upon include the Smart City Development, Bojanala Special Economic Zone, agri-processing and agro-hubs, water and bulk water supply, health and sizeable urban precinct developments, renewable energy and solar production and broadband connectivity.

Schools

In fulfilling the obligation to meet the adequate nutrition levels of the most vulnerable, the province has selected schools that will be amongst the first 300 in poor and economically marginalised communities where breakfast will be introduced.

The province will also roll out sanitary dignity towels to 120 000 learners in quintile 1 to 3 schools for R17.7 million.

North West is also finalising the process for the new scholar transport tender in line with the budget to ensure that no deserving child is left without transport to school.

Health

As part of expediting service delivery in the health sector, the Premier announced that 97 new ambulances have been procured.

In addition, the provincewill also complete and commission the new Sekhing Community Health Centre during 2023 and that the Ventersdorp and De La Rey Bulk Pharmacy projects will be completed before the end of the 2023/2024 financial year.

The Rapulana and Deelpan Park home clinics have also been operationalised.

A further 44 health clinics will be renovated for R51 million through a contract development programme.

“Government will continue to prioritise collaboration with mining houses, correctional services and private health facilities, to ensure broad-based access to healthcare,” he said.

Source: South African Government News Agency