Period ahead to be characterised by decisive action – Dukwana

Free State faces challenges due to subjective and objective failures of the provincial government, said premier Mxolisi Dukwana in his State of the Province Address on Tuesday.

Speaking at the University of Free State in Bloemfontein, Dukwana said some of the challenges are historic by nature and emanate from colonial and apartheid past.

“To address this, we call on our people to become agents of change and to put their energies at the disposal of communities,” Dukwana said.

“We urge them to support our efforts to combat corruption, malfeasance and maladministration. Today marks the beginning of the end of such an era.

“The period ahead will be characterised by courage and decisive action to set the Free State on a new path of development.”

Dukwana was sworn in as Free State’s new premier last week after his predecessor, Sisi Ntombela, was recalled by Luthuli House, ANC headquarters in Johannesburg.

“This will involve a focused recruitment of capable public servants to transform our ideals into pragmatic actions. In the next 14 months, we shall take decisive action to make Free State a province of choice.”

He said his administration’s single biggest task is to ensure that people live in quality houses, and for children to play and learn in safe environments.

This while focusing on healthcare that provides quality services.

“This marks the final year of this executive council’s administration in government. This year will therefore not be the same. We need a renewed sense of drive and purpose.

“We need to focus on things that unite us and not [those which] divide us, and to realise our strengths and endless possibilities. The past few years have challenged the Free State on multiple levels.

“We have developed 11 economic sector master plans and we are now reviewing the Free State growth and development strategy.

“This will deepen our initiatives to create an enabling environment for inclusive growth, investment attraction, economic transformation and job creation,” he said.

He added that his administration will also review the current state of public entities and reposition them to be proactive and responsive to investment and development needs of the Free State economy.

He said: “The revitalisation of our industrial parks is another key enabler of provincial economic growth. Our priority areas remain Botshabelo, Phuthaditjhaba and Thaba Nchu.

“This programme is catalytic to unlock job creation, as 3 986 people are now employed in these industrial parks. The Maluti-a-Phofung special economic zone continues to offer multiple investment opportunities.

“The special economic zone has a pipeline of 12 investors worth over R2-billion.

“Over the next few months, we anticipate to conclude new agreements with private sector investments in the cement and concrete, textile and dry-powder food manufacturing sectors.”

The premier said these three investments will add 437 jobs to the 127 people already employed at the special economic zone.

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