Government hard at work – President Zuma

President Jacob Zuma says government will not rest while there are people who go to bed hungry, feel unsafe, and have no electricity and water and other basic services.

Delivering his annual address to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) sitting in East London on Friday, President Zuma said progress is being made in many areas.

He highlighted some of government's achievements in delivering services to the people since the dawn of democracy. These include the delivering of over 4.3 million houses and subsidies, providing water, electricity and decent schools.

"We are happy to announce that Eastern Cape Province has contributed close to 600 000 housing units since 1994, providing shelter to more than two million people in the province.

"Since the beginning of the current financial year, which is April 2016, we have successfully delivered more than 1 500 houses and services to the people of various communities in the Buffalo City Metro at a cost of about R125 million.

"The government is also hard at work fast-tracking the issuing of title deeds to the beneficiaries of our government subsidised houses," said President Zuma.

Construction of dams

The President said that access to water remains a critical priority, not only now during the crippling drought, but generally as an essential service for people.

"We expect to see the beginning of the construction of the Mzimvubu Dam. The detailed design work for this ground-breaking mega-project is already nearing completion. The highly anticipated new Foxwood Dam in Adelaide and the Zalu Dam near Lusikisiki are also advancing well and are now in the planning stages.

"The construction of the Xhora Dam is 57% complete, while the Mbashe Dam is also on schedule. Other newly completed dams in this province are the Ludeke Dam at Bizana, which is now 100% complete and Mdwaka Dam which is 100% complete."

Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI)

He also highlighted that the Eastern Cape has amongst the best schools and universities, and the province is now the leading beneficiary of Government's school infrastructure programme under the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI).

The objective of ASIDI is to build decent modern schools with water, sanitation and electricity. It is also to replace schools constructed from inappropriate materials such as mud, plankie or asbestos structures with proper structures.

To date, a total of 217 replacement state-of-the-art schools have been built and handed over to the communities, nationally. In the Eastern Cape alone, government has to date built 126 new state-of-the-art schools.

Since 2014, government has provided electricity to 180 schools, sanitation to 167 schools and water to another 248 schools.

The President said government is aware of the perennial problems of shortages of vital resources, such as learning and teaching support materials, school furniture and teachers.

He said the Basic Education Department has assured him that it has completed a comprehensive needs assessment for all schools in the Eastern Cape Province.

"Together, with the provincial authorities, they are in the process of addressing the identified needs. All hands are on deck to address the reported problems as they arise," the President said.

Fight against extreme poverty

Government is currently supporting 17 million South Africans especially vulnerable children, older persons and people with disabilities, through social grants.

He said 139 cooperatives in the Eastern Cape have been contracted to provide Social Relief of Distress packages or food parcels at a value of R6 million.

In 2013, Cabinet approved the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security, together with the Household Food and Nutrition Security Strategy.

In line with this policy, Food Distribution Centres were established, with food being bought from local producers and suppliers. To date over 200 distribution centres have been established nationally and are operating at a budget of R100 million.

In the Eastern Cape, a total of 25 centres were established, and six of them are in Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, located in Embongweni, KwaZakhele, Dimbaza, Abbasford and two in East London.

Source: South African Government News Agency.

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