Friday, February 21, 2014

Helen Zille delivers State of the Province Address

Yuzriq Meyer & Yonda Basela
21 February 2014

Today Western Cape Premier Helen Zille delivered the 2014 State of the Province Address.

The Premier opened her speech by quoting Madiba’s words of a better life and posed the questions “Are we translating Madiba’s vision of opportunity into action? Are we working together to fulfil the promises he made at the dawn of democracy”?

Premier Helen Zille went above and beyond to tackle all the issues that the Western Cape is facing as well as her plan of action for 2014. Zille also highlighted some issues in the Western Cape that she has already tackled and how she has made much progress.

Of the many topics Premier Helen Zille addressed in her State of the Province Address, she focused on very important issues such as health, education, poverty, corruption and gang violence within the Western Cape.

She said that everything they have done over the last five years has been focused on growing the economy, creating jobs and alleviating poverty in the Province. But they recognise that as long as deep inequalities in education still exist, they will never redress the economic injustices of apartheid. Proving quality education is the most important ladder of opportunity a government can provide to young people.

In her speech she confirmed that the Western Cape has the highest number of learners qualifying for Bachelor Degree studies in the country, with 3 158 more learners qualifying than in 2012 and 5 153 more learners than in 2009.

But more importantly the results of poorer schools have improved significantly over the past few years.

Then with regards to health she said that “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 environment is responsible for ensuring that accessible, affordable, high quality health care is available to every citizen living in the province”

She added that many of their health policies and programmes are improving through wellness through behavioural change. And 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.

Because health is a high level of priority in the Western Cape, it was stated that that R2.7 Billion has been spent on health infrastructure over the last four years, which has resulted in the government delivering a number of medical facilities including 17 clinics, 12 ambulance  stations or disaster management centres, 8 district hospitals including Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain’s hospitals, 13 Regional and specialised hospital projects, 21 central hospital projects, 5 pathology labs and the Western Cape Nursing College.

The Premier reiterated that all of the issues in the Western Cape are of top priority and that they are doing their best to ensure a better together and better province.

Premier Helen Zille went on to speaking about gang violence and how they repeatedly sought to work co – operatively with the police because that is what the constitution requires and they believe it offers them the best chance bringing down crime in the province. They have warmly congratulated the SAPS for their recent success in securing convictions against high profile gangsters. While, their cooperation on the ground continues to improve, it is fortunate that their efforts have been constantly blocked by the SAPS national leadership and national government.

She said that gang violence has surged in recent weeks with many innocent bystanders being caught in the gang crossfire and schooling in certain hotspots area being disrupted, including Manenberg. She is therefore calling on President Zuma and Minister Mthetwa to take the action that is needed to properly resource policing in these areas, so that crimes are investigated and convictions secured.

Premier Helen Zille then went on to saying that she had left the most complex delivery area of all until last. Their government recognises that building integrated and sustainable human settlements in the province is critical to building social cohesion and eradicating poverty.

Because the province has a high number of poverty, Premier Helen Zille, will use 93 % of human settlements budget on housing progrsammes aimed at people earning less than R 3 500 per month.



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