COSATU North West expectations on the first 6th administration SOPA

The Congress of South African Trade Unions in the North West have noted that the Premier of the North West Province Professor Tebogo Job Mokgoro  will be delivering his first state of the province address of the 6th administration  in the legislature on the 28 June 2019

COSATU has noted that the people of this province have been inspired by the manifesto of the ruling party the ANC and that is why they have voted them back into power. In this regard, we expect that SOPA will mainly be based on the priorities of the ANC manifesto and therefore SOPA would outline how the manifesto would be translated into the government program. We also call on the 6th administration to do things differently; better and faster.

In our statement congratulating the new EXCO, we indicated that we expect the 6th administration to address the following three things with immediate effect:

1.   To grow the economy of the province in the manner that it will create jobs and improve the livelihood of the people of this province

2.   To provide quality service in the manner that it will address the challenges of access to clean drinking water; twenty-four-hour access to fully resourced health service and reliable supply of energy

3.   To revitalise the infrastructure of the province in the way that they will address the backlog of the roads in the province as a whole

In this regard, we want to outline the three above and we expect the SOPA to touch on them.

1.   Economy

We have noted that the 5th administration had adopted the five concretes to drive the province with ACT being the main economic driver while other activities have been reduced to tributaries to ACT. It is our conviction that the provincial growth plan does not address the challenges facing the province.

SOPA must pronounce a process which the 6th administration will undergo to review the provincial development plan and must be an inclusive process in which all stakeholders will be given an opportunity to participate and this must consider all the factors in the province.

Labour in particular COSATU must be given the same respect that is given to business in making meaningful inputs on issues of development

1.1.      Mining

The province remains to be one of the provinces in the country which still have a lot of reserves of mineral deposits , amongst all the regions. Despite this, the province is still amongst the poorest provinces in the county.

The province has failed to create sufficient jobs for the citizens, in this regard, there is a high level of poverty and unemployment in the province. This then leads to an exodus of people of this province to other province looking for the jobs.

SOPA must outline plans on how the province is going to utilise mining as part of growing the economy and creating jobs. This must amongst others include the plans to make sure that the mining companies adhere to their social labour plan and to also make sure that the mining communities must benefit from the mines within their community. This does not mean guaranteed employment of the people living in the mining is at the expense of the whole citizenry but preferential treatment to the mining communities.

1.2.      Manufacturing

Despite the abundance of the available raw materials in the province; the North West province is still amongst the bottom three provinces which have a low number of people employed in the manufacturing sector. This means that we produce the raw material and transport them somewhere for them to be processed and in the process, we are taking away jobs from our province to other provinces and other countries.

SOPA must outline what programs will the administration put in place in order to stimulate beneficiation of the products of this province and we believe this will require the revitalization of the manufacturing capacity of this province and this will in the process create jobs and alleviate poverty and unemployment    

1.3.      Agriculture

The province remains one of the few provinces which are central to the agricultural activities of the country. The North West is amongst the three provinces which produce grain crops and is the number one province in the production of beef, despite all of this there is no beneficiation process of all the agricultural products in the province.

The ownership of the means of production in the agricultural sector is still skewed to the advantage of the white minority in the province. 

In this regard, we would like the SOPA to outline the process in which the administration will do to make sure that there is beneficiation of agricultural products in the province. This amongst others must include the process of creating beef value chain industries in the Ruth Segomotsi Mompati district as it is the area where most of the beef comes from.

SOPA must also outline the process which will be put in place to drive transformation with regard to the ownership of the means of production in the agricultural sector. 

1.4.      Culture and tourism

The province hosts two of the country’s largest game reserves. This in itself serves as an advantage for the province to excel in the tourism industry, but there is a challenge that one of the game reserves is not accessible to local tourist.

The province is predominantly occupied by Batswana and this regard the predominant culture in the province is the Setswana culture.

SOPA must outline how the administration will revitalise tourism to make the province a preferred destination. It must also outline how the administration will make Madikwe game reserve accessible to local tourists.

SOPA must also outline the programs which they are going to put in place to preserve the cultures which are in the province. This amongst others must include the process to return the full broadcast of Motsweding FM back to the province.

2.   Provision of basic services

2.1.      Health

There has been an unprecedented collapse in the public service system with health being the most vulnerable department. The challenges which were brought by the 5th administration have nearly collapsed the health system of the province. There has been an acute shortage of medications in the number of areas in the province. There have also been the restructuring of the health system which integrated some health facilities in the province and this has led to people in some villages having to travel to neighbouring villages to get health service. We are aware that health is one of the basic rights in the constitution and we believe that these actions of the 5th administration were a violation of these rights.

SOPA must outline the process which the people of this province will have access to quality health services at all times and address the following:

1.   Fast-tracking the absorption of health professionals post community service.

2.   Speeding up the process of recruitment for all categories.

3.   Ensuring adequate resources within the health facilities.

4.   Strengthening security systems within the health facilities.

5.   Increasing ambulances and its accessibility.

6.   Prioritizing nursing education.

7.   Facilitating renovations of health care facilities.

8.   Increasing access by reopening 24 hours facilities.

9.   Dealing with corruption, fraud and greed.

2.2.      Education

While we acknowledge that the province has been doing well being in the top three for the past four years we believe that there is still work to be done in this sector.

We, therefore, expect SOPA to outline the following: 

·         Address the issue of safety of education workers and public servants in general including lobbying more resources from the private sector to assist in that regard.

·         Address sanitation in rural and township schools and bring an end to inhumane ablution facilities which continue to erode the dignity of teachers and women in particular.

·         Allocation of more resources for the universalization of the Early Childhood Development sector

·         Relocation of learner transport to the Department of Education for efficiency purposes.

·         The revitalisation of school sports and allocation of more funds to allow mass participation of learners in different sporting activities

·         Allocation of more resources to infrastructure development within the province to deal away with mud schools, pit latrines, making sure that schools have libraries, laboratories, NSNP kitchens, GR Classes and sporting facilities.

·         Incorporating the 4IR in our schools including proper training of teachers to acclimatise with the 21st-century technological developments.

·         Consideration of reopening of at least one college of education in the Province for the purpose of continues Teacher Development and Training.

·         Address the casualization of Education workers particularly with regard to permanent appointment of temporary educators, a decent stipend for NSNP Volunteers, the appointment of administrative staff particularly in previously disadvantaged schools.

·         Addressing the community protests around service delivery but ultimately targeting schools including vandalism of schools

·         Fast-tracking the provision of sanitary towels to Girl learners as a way to bringing back their dignity.

·         Address the issue white only schools in the province

·         Working with the department of higher of education on introduction some faculties at the North West universities to provide the necessary skills which are required to grow the economy and address shortage on other skills and these faculties include engineering and medicine   

2.3.      Water and sanitation

South Africa is amongst the dry counties in the world and in the continent but we believe that the available water resource in the province is sufficient to provide all citizens with clean drinking water all the time. We have noted that in the past water has been used as part of the program of siphoning the money from the municipalities through the tinkering system and in some area water supply was deliberately interrupted to make sure that the tanking program continues.

There are communities who had not had a reliable supply of water for the past 25 years and this amongst others include Moretele, Ramotshere Moilwa, Ditsobotla, Moses Kotane just to mention a few.

Water the same as health is a basic right and failure for the state to provide it is a violation of this right.

We have seen a number of service delivery protests in the province where communities are demanding water.

SOPA must outline how the administration will ensure that all the communities have uninterrupted piped water on a 24-hour basis 

3.   Roll out of infrastructure

The province has a backlog on the rollout of infrastructure in particular with the roads. This has been at the centre of most of the service delivery protests in particular in the rural areas and this has also affected other service like education.

We also welcome the intervention by the national department in making sure that the toll fees at the Swartruggens toll gate are not increased for the past seven years but we believe this is not enough as the toll fee is still high 

SOPA must outline the programs to roll out a radical infrastructure delivery for the province. SOPA must also pronounce on the intention of the toll gate and the construction of the alternative road if the toll gate stays.

4.   Social cohesion

4.1.      Racism

Despite racism been declared a crime against humanity there are still elements of racism in the number of communities in the province. These we believe has been perpetuated by the continued belief that white privilege still exists and that those who have money can buy their freedom.

SOPA must outline how the administration will combat the scourge of racism all over the province.

4.2.      Crime and corruption  

Government departments have been manipulated and captured to pursue the interests of certain groupings to the detriment of the broader society

SOPA must outline the process of fighting crime and rooting out the scourge of corruption in both private and public entities. there must efforts made to protect the farm workers and farm dwellers against the atrocities meted on them by the white farmers.

For more information feel free to contact the Provincial Secretary of COSATU North West Kopano Konopi at 082 339 5836