‘A much improved province’

2009-02-18 00:00

KwaZulu-Natal’s outgoing Premier S’bu Ndebele admitted yesterday that fraud and corruption are among the serious challenges facing government.

Delivering his last state-of-the-province address at the Royal Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg, Ndebele said that since 2004, a number of officials and members of the public have been arrested and convicted of offences relating to fraud and corruption.

In an attempt to fight corruption, Ndebele said, the Provincial Anti-Corruption Forum, made up of government, police, justice and civil society groups, was formed.

“We have introduced anti-corruption hotlines and moved to improve accountability by conducting unannounced visits to various workstations of government departments,” said Ndebele. “But corruption continues to be a corrosive cancer that must be fought vigorously by both government and civil society.”

Ndebele dedicated the bulk of his speech to outlining the achievements made by the ANC-led provincial government after taking over control of the province from the IFP in 2004.

Ndebele said that KwaZulu-Natal experienced its longest period of peace while he was premier.

He said that the people of KZN had voted before, but it was for the first time that their vote gave them so much. Under the ANC government, said Ndebele, the province has seen the biggest investment in infrastructure programmes in its history, including the R2,2 billion towards the Moses Mabhida Stadium for 2010 and the R6,8 billion for the Dube Tradeport and King Shaka International Airport and the construction of 2010 World Cup training facilities in five district municipalities.

“The investments amount to R21,6 billion — an amount totally unknown in this province before. This is in addition to various private sector investments in our major economic centres such as Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Richards Bay,” said Ndebele.

He said that during his tenure, the provincial government has addressed the issue of gender balance: there are four women and six men in the Executive Council.

In the past five years, he said, the province has renewed its heritage. He said that the government embarked on projects to commemorate the likes of the Bhambatha uprising, bringing home the remains of Moses Mabhida and the inception of Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha.

Ndebele said that the department of education has built 19 schools and provided access to water to more than 1,8 million people. He said that more than 1,9 million people and more than 1,5 million people have access to sanitation services and electricity respectively.

Ndebele said that the ANC government has laid a solid foundation for a democratic and prosperous province.


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