78 000 jobs a year for Mpuma, says Mabuza

Johannesburg - Mpumalanga aims to create 78 000 jobs a year, Premier David Mabuza said on Friday.

"Fundamentally, over the next five years, we will target economic growth that is above 5% per annum and such economic growth will be expected to create approximately 390 000 additional and sustainable work opportunities by 2019," he said in a state of the province address prepared for delivery at the legislature.

"This means that a total of 78 000 work opportunities must be created per annum."

This could be achieved by intensifying existing programmes in key economic sectors.

"We will continue to prioritise agriculture and forestry, mining, manufacturing, tourism and information, and communications technology."

The provincial government planned to address issues of service delivery and increase investment in hospitals, clinics, education, logistics, and economic infrastructure.

The government also wanted to increase youth internships and learnerships, and help develop small businesses through partnerships with private businesses.

Priorities were constructing dams to increase bulk water supply and support agriculture, investing in irrigation infrastructure, and addressing bulk water and sanitation infrastructure, particularly to deal with overflowing sewer systems, Mabuza said.

The province also aimed to improve the road infrastructure network, particularly in areas with a high volume of trucks, and improve and expand the road network in towns that had recently shown rapid growth - Mbombela, Emalahleni, Ermelo, Middleburg, Mashishing, and Secunda.

The Moloto Rail Corridor Development would also be a project of importance, Mabuza said.

While the government had set aside a budget of R18.5 billion for the next five years to support the infrastructure build programme, it was inadequate to fund all the planned projects.

"We will be talking to private sector and foreign investors, encouraging them to join us in these initiatives aimed at growing the provincial economy and creating sustainable and decent jobs for our people," he said.

The government wanted to accelerate implementation of projects it planned to co-ordinate with Sasol, BHP Billiton, Eskom, and SAB, and other companies.

The National Development Plan would remain the province's guideline to ensure progression.

"[The province] will also be steered by our Mpumalanga Vision 2030 strategic implementation framework, which provides a provincial expression of the key priorities, objectives, and targets enumerated in the NDP; and we will further be informed and guided by the Mpumalanga economic growth and development path whose primary goal is to place our economy on a sustainable growth trajectory."

Mabuza said his government wanted to benefit the people and its main focus would be on job creation, improving the quality of education, and increasing life expectancy and the quality of life for the people of the province.

"We are your loyal servants who have your best interests at heart. We have demonstrated this role in the past and commit to do so going forward," he said.

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