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Premier responds to Sopa debate

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Premier Stan Mathabatha during his reply to the debate on the 2017 State of the Province Address (Sopa) last Thursday chastised members of Provincial Legislature (MPLs) saying they should be leading by example rather than being the ones failing to cooperate with the Office of the Public Protector (PP) as claimed by PP Busisiwe Mkwebane in the house.
“We will ensure that all provincial departments and municipalities cooperate with investigations by the PP and implement her remedial actions without fear or favour,” Mathabatha reportedly said.
He condemned the Department of Mineral Resources, Govermnent Pension Administration Adjudicator and Department of Transport all of which were said to be cooperating with the PP, and thanked MPLs for the robustness, vibrancy and enthusiasm with which they contributed towards the debate. He remarked that their input was “truly enriching” and that he was confident that the constituents they represent would be pleased.
Economic transition
Mathabatha confronted Patrick Shikutse, Congress of the People MPL for alleging that the Sopa made no mention of the second phase of economic transition by saying that he wondered whether Shikutse understood what the second phase was all about and also whether he had paid attention to the detail when report was given about the economy on the performance of the economy of the province and plans for going forward.
Mathabatha said the 1994 democratic breakthrough marked the defeat and end of the Apartheid period. “The new enemy of the people is poverty, unemployment and inequality,” he said adding that the second phase of transition, as conceptualised by the African National Congress , is about defeating this new enemy. “It is in this context that we said we had entered a new phase in our transition that requires decisive steps to help eradicate poverty, create jobs and reduce inequality. The Limpopo Development Plan seeks to achieve all that,” he said.
He said the plan commits Government to work in partnership with the private sector, organised labour and civil society to create conditions for acceleration of economic growth and stimulation of job creation.
The main ideological thrust of the second phase of transition is a meaningful shift in the control, management and ownership patterns of the commanding heights of the economy,” he said and added that details in terms of the specific interventions made, including the plan going forward will be outlined in the budget vote of the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism to be delivered by MEC Seaparo Sekoati.
Addressing Economic Freedom Fighters MPL Rendani Munyai in particular the Premier said Government sources its statistics from Statistics South Africa (StatsSA), the “most credible institution the state relies upon for such information. I therefore do not know where the other statistics come from,” he said quoting verbatim from StatsSA’s report on job creation: “Limpopo is the second highest of six provinces that continue to create employment during the current job market conditions. During the quarter ending in December 2016 an additional 64 000 jobs were created. With the increase in employment the rate of unemployment has also reduced to 19,3% in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to 19,8% in 2015.”
Mathabatha further said that Munyai had questioned why he based his statistics on the provision of basic services on the 2015 General Household Survey instead of the 2016 survey. No survey was conducted in 2016.
In response to remarks that Government had forgotten about the youth he said it had placed 3 298 young persons in learnerships, internships and experiential training; set aside R17 million for artisan development; spent R34,5 million on air traffic controller bursaries and continued to support youth-owned businesses and cooperatives. Mathabatha said as political leaders they must be seen to be consistent in their approach and actions and all speak with the same loud voice against human rights violations irrespective of the racial profile or sub-economic status of the victim or perpetrator.
“We must work together and unite for the good of our province and her people. We must master the art to subject our personal ambitions and aspirations to the broader ambitions of people as a whole. In honour and memory of Oliver Thambo we must make Limpopo a better place to live in,” he concluded.

Story: NELIE ERASMUS
>>nelie.observer@gmail.com