Strides to a better life

2016-01-27 06:00
ACE MAGASHULE, Premier of the Free State and ANC provincial chairperson.

ACE MAGASHULE, Premier of the Free State and ANC provincial chairperson.

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JUST before the 2009 elections, the Free State provincial government started developing a comprehensive programme to, among others things, fast-track service delivery and deepen the objectives of fighting poverty, inequality and unemployment.

We then developed Operation Hlasela to attack poverty, unemployment and inequality through the acceleration of education, health, social and basic services.

We understood very well that the ANC had, as the basic tenet of its struggle, the National Democratic Revolution.

The ANC, in its strategy and tactics, reaffirmed its commitment to advancing the National Democratic Revolution, with the ultimate goal to “liberate the African people, in particular, and blacks, in general, from political and economic bondage”.

The 53rd national conference held in 2012 in Mangaung further emphasised that the second phase of the transition should mark a decisive break with unemployment, exploitation, inequality and poverty with an obvious bias towards the working class and the poor.

Operation Hlasela seeks to mobilise social partners, civil society and business to collaborate with government to eliminate duplication and wastage, eradicate poverty, tackle underdevelopment and stimulate our economy to radically improve the lives of our people.

Since its implementation, Operation Hlasela has made strides in the pursuance of a better life for our people.

OPERATION HLASELA

Education

In the six years between 2009 and 2015, the Free State matric pass rate increased by 14%, from 69,4% to 81,1%. In 2013, the Free State achieved the highest matric pass rate – 87,4%. In 2009, there were only 129 bursaries funded by the provincial government. In 2013, merely four years later, there were more than 7 500 students benefiting from our bursary scheme.

Our budget for bursaries increased from R5,4 million in 2009 to about R510 million in 2015. There are currently 212 medical students studying in Cuba, and 37 studying medicine, civil engineering and internatio-nal trade in Turkey. We are also supporting 277 students in China.

About 450 students will, in the next couple of weeks or more, go to further their studies in Russia, Bulgaria, Germany and the autonomous regional government of Madeira in Portugal.

Health

Under the prevention of mother-to-child transmission project, Nevirapine uptake among babies born to HIV-positive mothers is at 100%, and mother-to-child transmission of HIV declined from 2,96% to 0,09% in the first quarter of 2014-’15. We have increased the provincial average life expectancy at birth for males from 43,1 in 2001 to 53,7 in 2011, and for females from 46,5 to 54,7 in the same period.

Agriculture

The People’s Republic of China donated about R45 million to the Free State for the construction of a demonstration fish hatchery and training centre, which is in operation. China has sent three professors and one technician for technological cooperation. To date, 30 officials and 135 farmers have received training on fish production.

Housing

We have delivered various housing arrangements for our people. Housing packages include, but are not limited to, rental housing, community and social residential units, RDP houses and houses for military veterans.

Crime

  • Between 2009 and 2015, total sexual crimes in the province declined by 9%. In the same period, assault with intent to inflict grievious bodily harm declined by 15%. Magashule is the Free State premier and ANC provincial chairperson.

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