Mathabatha says Limpopo has turned its fortunes around

Outgoing Limpopo premier Stanley Chupu Mathabatha used his last State of the Province Address at the packed Jack Botes Hall in Polokwane on Thursday to boast about the milestone achievements the provincial government has achieved under his leadership.

Taking stock of what his administration had achieved, Mathabatha, who, when he took over from his predecessor Cassel Mathale,  five departments were placed under administration by the national government due to maladministration, said that through the application of good governance, the provincial administration has turned the fortunes around.  

Mathabatha announced that Limpopo, which has been plagued by a chronic water shortage, has turned the corner.

He said the province has, since 2010, reached 80% access to water, benefiting more communities and improving public health outcomes. He nonetheless said that because of various countervailing factors, there has been a decline of 69.1%, a worrying development.

He said his administration is working in tandem with authorities on the water provision to improve the situation.

While motorists and the public transport sectors have decried the state of roads in the province, Mathabatha maintained that the road network has exponentially improved.

 “Our tarred road network has significantly expanded since April 1994. It is now covering rural areas that were neglected before. Through this progress, we have enhanced connectivity and improved transportation efficiency, facilitating economic development in Limpopo. At present, our target is to surface 13,800 kilometres from gravel to tar,” he said.  

Following the 2023 matric pass rate of 79.54%, a significant increase from 72.1% in the previous year and 66.7% in 2021, Mathabatha has lauded its education sector for improving the quality of education in the province.

“We have worked very hard in education, and our efforts are now visible in improved matric results. We have improved from a 38% matric pass rate in 1996. At 79.5%in 2024, our matric pass rate now approximates our 80% target,” he said. 

While the economy of the largely rural province is perceived to be at an all-time low, decimated by unemployment figures of epic proportions, Mathabatha said Limpopo’s contribution to national economic output over the past three decades has improved.

 “In 1996, Limpopo contributed 5.3% to the national GDP. Despite global economic and pandemic crises, our contribution to national GDP reached 7.3% by 2023,” he said.

 The ANC provincial chairperson also said Limpopo has established a firm role in food security in South Africa after 29% of households grow food within their yards.

“This is a testament to the fact that we have an active citizenry in food production. We remain determined to support our people in food production,” he said.

Mathabatha also said he was pleased to report that Limpopo has seen a growth in investments.

“Our annual investment conferences, beginning with the first in 2021, have contributed over R280-billion in investment pledges. The difference that these pledges brought about is reflected in their immediate implementation.

“These investments include mining, agriculture, agro-processing, green energy, property development, trade, catering, and accommodation. We experienced an increase in employment from 2019 to 2023. Limpopo is in the top three provinces that have shown rising employment. Although we lost 40 000 jobs in the last quarter, we created 182 000 jobs in 2023, making us the second largest province in job creation,” he said.

  Mathabatha, who noted that the provincial population is largely youth, has urged the next incoming administration to strengthen programmes that will address the challenges of youth in the jobs market, education and training.

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