Senzo Mchunu outlines plans to eradicate poverty

2014-06-26 16:52

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu today announced plans to eradicate poverty in the province.

Delivering his state of the province speech, Mchunu said he was concerned about job losses in the agricultural sector, youth unemployment and the slowness of black economic empowerment.

“We understand that these conditions are posing a serious risk to our society and are further exposing our people to poverty, food insecurity, substance abuse and criminal activity,” he said.

“Today we want to firmly declare poverty as public enemy number one.”

He said the provincial government would throw its full weight behind poverty eradication. Mchunu said the government had adopted a poverty eradication programme and package.

“This programme will ensure that as government, we work with all nongovernmental partners to eradicate poverty through our Operation Sukuma Sakhe in part,” he said.

Mchunu said that the government planned to reduce the percentage of households going hungry in a 12-month period from 35% to less than 25% by 2020.

The school nutrition programme developed in the iLembe district would be replicated and introduced in all districts in the province, he said.

“This programme will feed 2.5 million children every day from local produce and will obviously also provide wonderful opportunities as a market for our agricultural sector, as well as for additional job creation.”

Within the first year of this term, the government would have to ensure that the provincial food security strategy, in line with the poverty eradication package, the schools nutrition programme and nutrition development centres, reached at least 85 000 households in the province.

Mchunu vowed to also halve unemployment and grow the economy. He identified sectors that he believed would be best in helping the government achieve its objectives.

The sectors included, among others, agriculture, manufacturing, maritime, transport and logistics, renewable energy and tourism.

He said the government wanted to increase employment in the agricultural sector from 110 000 jobs to 200 000 over the next five years.

“We want to facilitate at least 1 000 new farmer entrants and to bring 1 million hectares of unproductive land back into commercial agricultural production,” he said.

In order to meet the targets during the first year, the government had already signed two memoranda of understanding with private sector agricultural investors on the introduction of a programme to establish joint venture commercial agricultural operational entities with emerging farmers, Mchunu said.

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