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" Nature knows no pause in progress and development, and attaches her curse on all inaction. "

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

State of the Province Address (SOPA )2012 Press Article

MEDIA RELEASE

DATE:                        20 February 2012
TO:                             All Media
ATTENTION:            News Editors / Reporters

EASTERN CAPE NGO COALITION ON SOPA 2012

Director of the Eastern Cape NGO Coalition (ECNGOC), Ms. Rooks Moodley, has welcomed the 2012 State of the Province Address (SOPA) saying it provides the province with a bold and detailed statement of clear intent.

“SOPA 2012 provides the province with a bold and detailed statement of clear intent.  It highlights significant achievements, and sets the compass for forging accelerated action in the Eastern Cape. The ECNGOC calls upon all sectors of Government, Non-Government, Civil Society , Business and every citizen of the Province to be part of 2012 a Year of Action, in WALKING  TOGETHER TO INFLUENCE CHANGE. In the words of John F. Kennedy paraphrased: ‘Don’t ask what your Province can do for you?  What can you do for your Province?’ ”said Ms. Moodley.
The following are particularly noteworthy:

1.    Creation of decent work and a growing economy: In the EC, levels of unemployment decreased from 29,9 % to 27,1%, and during 2011 365,000 people were employed. Out of the target of 94,504 job opportunities, a total of 110,472 jobs have been created to date. The East London IDZ has secured private investors to the tune of R4,063 bn.

2.    Building social and economic infrastructure: The EC is committed to building a dam using the Umzimvubu River. Other water infrastructure include seawater desalination in Port Elizabeth, the Port of Ngqura as a continental transhipment hub and the East London Harbour investment of R2,3 bn.

3.    Rural development, land, agrarian reform and food security: The establishment of a Rural Development Agency by 1 April 2012. The revitalisation of irrigation schemes. To this end, 978 hectares have been planted which will provide 205 temporary jobs and 75 permanent jobs. Agricultural infrastructure is expected to create 1,264 job opportunities during 2012/2013.

4.    Strengthening education and building a skills and human resources base: In 2010 a Turnaround Plan for education was instituted. An implementation team of Ministers and MEC’s is currently overseeing the implementation of 6 identified priorities. On 8 February 2012, an agreement was signed with COSATU-affiliated public sector unions towards a common agenda.  Key education support such as transport and school nutrition has stabilised education. Scholar transport has been transferred to the Department of Transport, and in the current year 56,461 learners are being transported to 614 schools throughout the Province.

5.    Improving the health profile: A turnaround plan in the Department of Health has been implemented.  This initiative is focused on curbing rampant fraud and corruption in the Province. The recent audit report by the Auditor-General indicates that efforts in turning around the situation are yielding the necessary results. Bursaries have been awarded, and there are now 304 qualified graduates, of which 155 are medically trained and 11 nursing trained graduates.

6.    Fight against crime and corruption: This fight continues and is being intensified on all fronts. There has been a downward trend in crime over the past 10 years.  The Department of Health has been selected as a pilot site for the project to fight fraud and corruption, through the Multi Agency Working Group under the leadership of the National Treasury.

7.    Building a developmental state: Emphasis is being placed on action because without the culture of execution plans will remain hollow. The Province is intensifying its efforts to transform the culture of entitlement to output and people oriented culture. One of the key elements of public sector transformation is the achievement of employment equity. There is a concern that at Senior Management Level males constitutes 69% while females constitute only 31%. The Department of Social Development must be congratulated on achieving the 50,5% threshold for women in senior management positions. R32,9 million in programmes to support various interventions as part of the Local Government Turnaround Strategy.

8.    Building cohesive and sustainable communities: The need to lay the basis for a responsible citizenship that is intolerant of substance abuse and corruption and the desire to build conscientious citizenry.  We are reminded of the words by the first president of the African National Congress, Rev. John Langalibalele Dube, in his acceptance speech: “We have been distinguished by the world as a race of born gentlemen – a truly glorious title, ... and by the gentleness of our manners ..., and by the nobility of our character shall we break down the adamantine wall of colour prejudice and force even our enemies to be admirers and friends.”  It is this society we seek to build – a society that does not take kindly to being witness to the condemnation of one other person in poverty and a society which is offended by the incidence of child headed families.  As part of promoting social cohesion, a number of heritage projects in the EC will be preserved.

This process was further enhanced by the Stakeholder Engagement Session hosted by the Office of the Premier today (20th Feb) at the ICC, East London providing an opportunity for stakeholders to engage with the SOPA 2012. Indeed 2012 is “ A YEAR OF ACTION. “

In the words of Mahatma Gandhi , “ BE THE CHANGE THAT YOU WANT TO SEE. “

Ends.

ISSUED BY:         Rooks Moodley

Director: ECNGOC

Cell: 073 909 4711

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