KZN losing waistline battle

2013-03-01 00:00

THE battle of the waistline is being lost in KwaZulu-Natal.

In his state of the province address yesterday, Premier Zweli Mkhize expressed disappointment that the obesity levels in KZN continued to rise in excess of the 2015 target of 3,6%.

“We need to double our efforts to implement our province-wide integrated healthy lifestyle campaign to reduce the impact of the non- communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases,” Mkhize told MPLs.

On the National Health Insurance, he said KZN’s three pilot sites in Amajuba, Umzinyathi and Umgungundlovu, had shown that this was the way towards universal access to health.

Funds have been set aside to buy equipment and to contract the services of general practitioners.

“We are determined to ensure the full roll-out of the NHI in which ill-health, not personal wealth, determines the health care you receive,” he said.

Mkhize said HIV and Aids were also showing signs of retreat.

The number of Aids-related deaths was declining, while HIV prevalence in KwaZulu-Natal had stabilised from 39,5% to 37,4%.

Outlining initiatives to be undertaken this year, Mkhize said a citizen satisfaction survey would be conducted in the province, to identify focus areas for implementing the National Development Plan.

Other initiatives included:

• A small business development agency to be formed to help SMMEs and cooperatives;

• The passing of a law within six months to force government departments to buy certain goods from SMMEs;

• A rural development summit to be convened in two months;

• An investigation into a poverty package to support communities in poverty; and

• A youth academy to be launched in two weeks’ time to train youths in artisans’ skills.

An agreement has been reached with two investors, who would invest over R3,5 billion in the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone as it concluded its infrastructure development programme, he said.

The Economic Development Department has appointed a special team to assist with the establishment of special economic zones in KZN.

IFP provincial leader Blessed Gwala welcomed the continued public investment into large infrastructure projects, but warned that their success would be measured by the number of jobs they helped to create.

DA leader Sizwe Mchunu said Mkhize had glossed over areas that posed a threat to progress within the province, and that Mkhize’s tenure as premier was “marked by the announcement of a myriad grand plans and not much action”.

The ACDP and ANC welcomed Mkhize’s address, with the latter saying he had painted an encouraging picture of the state of service delivery in the province.

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