COSATU North West State of the Province Address Expectations

On Friday, 24 February 2023, the Premier of the North West, Bushy Kaobitsa Maape will deliver the State of the Province Address.  We note his inputs at the SONA debate on 15 February 2023 and hope that they will translate into his SOPA to address the realities of the province.

We also acknowledge the State of the Nation Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa and welcome several commitments made in his speech.  It is our belief that the SONA is the overarching plan of government for the year ahead and therefore SOPAs will imitate the advances of the SONA albeit confining itself to the State of the Province Address.

As COSATU in the province, we expect detailed progress made on the pronouncements and interventions tabled by the premier in his 2022 speech. Workers and the people of the North West province are living under strenuous conditions as a result of load shedding. This is worsened by the lackluster state of service delivery in our province, from provincial to local government level.

In 2020 we listed three items that needed urgent attention by the 6th administration in its first SOPA. These were all unpacked in the statement as follows:

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

2.    To provide quality service which 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 that is focused on the backlog of the roads in the province.

This administration has not addressed these concerns or made adequate efforts. Instead the situation has worsened in the province.

Electricity Disaster

The challenges and hardships brought by the electricity crisis, particularly on the workers and working-class communities of our province are evident. Government’s plan as outlined in the SONA including the roll-out of power panels for businesses and households is welcomed.  As much as we support the move, we also expect the provincial government to prioritise schools to ensure that learning and teaching takes place uninterrupted.

The energy supply challenges have further exposed the infrastructure inequality gap in the basic education sector and this calls for a dispensation of no-fee and low-income schools to facilitate access to alternative energy supply resources instead of relying on the norms and standards budgets for this purpose.


According to Statistics South Africa, the current expanded unemployment figure of the province is recorded at 46.6%.  The Quarterly Labour Focus Survey goes on to show that an additional 59 000 people lost their jobs across all sectors of the provincial economy.  These figures are further exacerbated by challenges of energy supply, corruption, poor management, and conservative provincial economic outlook to mention a few.  Provincial government departments do not spend their allocations with the Department of Public Works and Roads which has led to a collapse of infrastructure and increased dilapidation, hence the state of our roads.

In his 2022 SOPA, the premier committed to convene a Provincial Jobs Summit in May of the same year, which never materialized. We expect the Premier to provide progress in relation to the Provincial Jobs Summit as this will go a long way in addressing the jobs bloodbath in the province.  We further expect an update on the provincial government’s plan to insource currently outsourced public services including those provided by the Expanded Public Works Programme, Community Health Workers, Community Development Workers, workers employed through School Governing Bodies, etc.

The provincial government should invest in human resource and the continuous professional development of its staff, including institutionalizing the establishment and the functioning of the Provincial Teacher Development institute. Vacant posts in the provincial governments must be filled.

Crime and Corruption

Crime in our province has reached escalating highs and not only does it require urgent interventions to be brought down, it must be drastically and decisively dealt with to ensure that we our communities are safe. This pandemic has spilled over into our basic education sector in particular schools.  Today, our schools, which are meant to be safe places where learning and teaching are supposed to take place, have become places that endanger the lives of both educators and learners including support staff.  Crime is not the only challenge faced by schools but also the scourge of Gender-Based Violence. The onus lies with the Premier to give assertive direction in the government’s plans to deal with this pandemic.  We want to see an intensified relationship between the police and education.

We call on the North West Department of Education to join forces with one of our Affiliates – the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union in its campaign of ‘I am A School Fan’.  This campaign acknowledges that schools are a microcosm of society hence the violence taking place in our communities being relived in our schools.  The Department should work with formations such as the Moral Regeneration Movement to unleash a programme that takes our schools back to our morals as Africans and as a people.

The Premier must announce government’s plan to fight corruption in both public and private sectors.  This corruption takes place in many forms such as through outsourced services.  We cannot hide behind the BBBEE policy when in reality we know that outsourced services serve the interest of a few including leaders across party political organisations.  We want government to address the infrastructure disparities in our province including gaps between township and rural schools against former Model C schools.  Special attention must also be given to Special schools within the province.  To that effect, we call on government to build a school for autistic learners.

Scholar Transport

What was meant to provide relief to learners and communities, has become a source of corruption in the province. Scholar transport is now being turned into a get rich quick scheme for politicians and officials of the Department of Transport and Community Safety instead of ensuring that our children travel and arrive at schools in time for learning and teaching to be later ferried back home safely.

Collective Bargaining

We call on the provincial government to respect collective bargaining through provincial chambers.  Each provincial government department led by the Office of the Premier must ensure that they participate in their relevant chambers, respect and implement decisions of those chambers.

Issued by COSATU North West

Kopano Konopi(North West Provincial Secretary)
Contact: 082 339 5836