North West on Executive Council meeting held on 23 October 2019

Statement by North West Premier, Prof Tebogo Job Mokgoro, on the outcomes of the North West Executive Council Meeting held on Wednesday

Ladies and gentlemen of the media,

Good morning.

The North West Provincial Executive Council, normally referred to as EXCO, held its normal scheduled meeting yesterday in Mahikeng and we have called you here to communicate the outcomes of that meeting.

Please note that EXCO is chaired by myself as Premier and is composed of all Members of the Executive Council (MECs).

First and foremost, I would like to pass our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the eight young people who tragically lost their lives due to an accident this past Saturday at Rietpan in the Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality; after the truck in which they were travelling collided into a tree.

A memorial service for them is underway at this moment in Zeerust and the MECs for Education and Social Development as well as other members of EXCO are representing the Provincial Government.

On behalf of EXCO, allow me to pass our well wishes to all the matriculants who began writing their National Senior Certificate examinations yesterday and we believe that with all the good work that has been put into preparing them for exams by the Department, they will make us proud by ensuring that we remain among the top three best performing provinces in the country.

As the North West, we are ready to have smooth, incident-free and credible National Senior Certificate examinations.

You will remember that during the State of the Province Address in June this year, I announced the reconfiguration of some provincial government departments; the functions for Environment and Conservation as well as Tourism were merged with the Department of Economic Development while Traditional Affairs was merged with the Department of Cooperative Governance.

The Department of Tourism ceased to exist while we created a stand-alone Department of Human Settlement – that has been without a substantive Head of Department since the reconfiguration was put into place.

I am pleased to announce that I have confirmed the appointment of the Head of the Department of Tourism, Advocate Neo Sephuti, as the new Head of the Department of Human Settlement, with immediate effect.

EXCO has also noted the violent protests that continues to take place unabated in Bloemhof from the beginning of this week and it is for that reason that the Department of Education has put in contingency plans and made arrangements for Grade 12 learners from that area to be taken to a secure location to enable them to write their National Senior Certificate examinations without them being affected by those protests.

We call on the residents of Bloemhof to allow the law to take its course, no matter how aggrieved they are; and for the courts to decide on the innocence or guilt of the accused. The North West Provincial Government cannot be interfering in matters and processes that are before courts of law.

Governance Cluster

EXCO had previously resolved to invoke Section 139 (1)(c) at the Mamusa Local Municipality; which had already been under administration following the Section 139 (1)(b) intervention there, as things were not getting any better and instead the situation of the municipality was worsening.

We therefore, through the MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, recommended that the National Council of Provinces grant us the authority to invoke Section 139 (1)(c) which the NCOP agreed with and we further received concurrence from the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs that we should dissolve the council of the Mamusa Local Municipality.

As per the legal requirements, we have also informed the North West Provincial Legislature of the decision and the processes followed in reaching the decision.

Therefore, legally from today, the council of the Mamusa Local Municipality has ceased to exist and we will be announcing the appointment of an Administrator to take care of that municipality until a new council is elected.

We have in the recent past witnessed violent public protests by communities across the province, especially in the areas of Ventersdorp and villages in the Moses Kotane Local Municipality; which include Ramokokastad, wherein communities were demanding better services as well as provision of low-cost houses.

We have since moved and have appointed contractors to build a total of 1 855 housing units in Moses Kotane and they are divided as follows;

300 housing units in Phela Village

300 housing units divided amongst the villages of Masekoloane, Ngweding and Mogodishane

300 housing units divided amongst the villages of Maretlwane and Sesobe

300 housing units divided amongst the villages of Mopyane, Motlhabe and Kameelboom

300 housing units for Tlokweng village

300 housing units divided amongst the villages of Ntswana-le-Metsing, Ledig and Bapong; and

55 housing units for Ramokokastad

The contractors have been introduced to the Moses Kotane Local Municipality, obtained Geotech reports, and have drafted their plans for approval by the Department of Human Settlements and the municipality.

They will only be able to enrol their projects with the NHBRC as soon as their plans are approved.

We have also appointed a contractor and introduced them to the JB Marks Local Municipality and the community for land surveying and finalization of engineering designs for 800 sites in Tshing Extension 9, Ventersdorp.

In addition, a service provider has just been appointed for a further 2 547 sites in Tshing Extension 10 in Ventersdorp for land surveying and finalization of engineering designs.

We therefore remain committed to our human settlement infrastructure programme to improve the lives of the previously disadvantaged by ensuring that they have a roof over their heads.

Economic and Infrastructure Cluster

We are hard at work as a Provincial Government to improve our provincial roads infrastructure network so as to ensure that we have world class roads that can be a contributing factor to the growth of the Province’s economy.

Of the 31 Provincial Roads Maintenance projects worth R270 million, 26 of those were completed in the first quarter of this financial year and the remaining five of those 31 are in process of being completed in due course.

We will be handing over the completed roads in weeks to come.

In addition, we are currently seized with 49 projects across the province worth R240 million; which are varying stages of implementation but we are satisfied with the progress registered so far.

We have recently appointed contractors to undertake our 12 CAPEX Provincial Roads Infrastructure projects at a combined cost of R900 million and we are going to be meeting with the newly appointed contractors who will then be establishing sites; wherein we will conduct the ceremonial sod turning.

Our Expanded Public Works Programme is proceeding very well but we strongly believe more can be done in this space.

Therefore, EXCO has decided that we need to create more EPWP work opportunities in the Agriculture and Culture Sectors which include the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as well as the Department of Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation through their funded mandates that includes Land Care, Comprehensive Agriculture Support and Arts and Culture projects.

We have so far created 6 084 EPWP work opportunities for women, 4 749 for youth and 77 work opportunities for people with disabilities in Provincial Government Departments across all sectors for the first quarter of this financial year while we have managed to crated 1 383 EPWP work opportunities for women, 1 166 for youth and 18 EPWP work opportunities for people with disabilities in municipalities across the province.

Furthermore, we have received a report that the Department of Public Works and Roads, which is the custodian of all the government department’s office accommodation, has ensured that the Provincial Government does not owe any municipality rates and taxes we are up to date with our payments and we shall continue to do that.

On the Agriculture and Rural Development front, we have since aacquired the Skeerpoort farm near Hartebeespoort in Madibeng for the Khutso Naketsi Communal Property Association for R462 million and will be funded with another R87 million for post settlement for them to own 70% on the business operation; and the remaining 30% will be allocated their partner.

The farm is one of the largest vegetable farms in the country and currently employs 622 people as a result of the transaction but in addition, it will continue to play a key in our role to maintain and sustain food security in the North West and for the country.

Furthermore, as part of our ongoing efforts to create an enabling environment for our farming and rural community, we are constructing a 15 kilometre tarred surface road; which is a six kilometre stretch from Mareetsane village to Barberspan and another nine kilometres from Kopela village, passing through Maloka and Rakgwedi village to the tune of R79 million and it is at implementation stage.

We have also established the Springbokpan Feedmill and they are in partnership with Henwill Chickens; and the project is valued at R66 million and we believe that it will create the necessary jobs while producing 5 000 milling tons per month of maize.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is going on a public tender for the Makweleng Farmer Production Support Unit in Bojanala at an estimated cost of R27 million. estimated cost of 27million.

We are at the procurement stage to revitalise the Taung Farmer Production Support Unit, which will cost us R3,5 million while the renovation of the Jericho Farmer Production Support Unit is at the tender award stage and it is valued at R1 million.

EXCO also noted the national bid adjudication process is finalising the appointment of a contractor for the upgrading of the Letlamoreng Dam which will include the construction of a multipurpose centre to the value of R25 million.

We have also funded the acquisition of the Noneng Ranch for the Gaesegwe Communal Proprety Association of the Barolong Ba Ratlou ba ga Phoi under the leadership of Kgosi Kgakgamatso Phoi – at a value of R23 million to fund 300 cattle, 15 bulls and mechanization on the ranch.

We are also implementing Land Development Support (LDS) to 26 of the 41 identified farms in the North West to the tune of R240m and this support includes fencing, cattle handling facilities, houses for farmers and workers, storage sheds, cattle, production inputs and mechanization; with the aim of graduating them to commercial level. 80 % of these farms are in the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District.

Social Cluster

EXCO has also endorsed the conversion of 1294 temporary educators in the North West to permanent employees of the Provincial Department of Education for this financial year in line with the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) Collective Agreement No. 4 of 2018.

This is the second batch of temporary educators to be converted into permanent employees.

The next batch of temporary educators who are less than a thousand in number will be absorbed as permanent in the next financial year but that will not affect the departmental budget allocation.

With regards to the Fundza Lushaka Bursary Scheme; which is the only 100% bursary by this government to learners wishing to take up qualifications in teaching, recruitment has been completed but EXCO has decided that the Department of Education will have to put in place a tracking mechanism to ensure that, upon completion of their degrees, the bursary holders are mobilized back to the classrooms of the North West to teach.

It has been realized that most of them do not come out the tertiary education system to teach after completing their studies but rather proceed with post-graduate studies in other fields of study and not fulfill their obligation to their undergraduate bursary.

In addition, due to the various skills needs in the teaching and learning environment such as the shortage of adequately skilled Setswana educators, as an example, the Department of Education will embark on a Programme to identify those skills needs and award the Fundza Lushaka bursaries based on those needs.

EXCO has also endorsed the payment of rural incentives to educators, with the aim of attracting and keeping quality educators in rural schools so as to encourage quality teaching and learning in rural schools.

The North West Province will be hosting the national World Aids Day event which will be led by the Honourable Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Rre David Mabuza on December 1, 2019 at the James Motlatsi Stadium in Orkney in the City of Matlosana Local Municipality and it will coincide with the re-establishment of the Provincial Council on Aids.

There will be various build up activities throughout the month of November across the province and we shall make the details available in due course.

Source: Government of South Africa