Pretoria: Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha says South Africans have many reasons to celebrate the country’s twenty years of freedom and democracy.
On 27 April, South Africa will be marking 20 years of freedom and democracy.
Delivering his first State of the Province Address at the provincial legislature on Thursday, Mathabatha said the legacy of apartheid has a footprint in education, healthcare, agriculture, sport, social security and welfare.
“This year, we celebrate twenty years of freedom and democracy in our country…After many centuries of oppression and exploitation we are now equal citizens in the land of our birth,” he said.
Mathabatha said poverty is the single greatest burden of South Africa’s people, and is the direct result of the apartheid system.
He said poverty affects millions of people, the majority of whom live in the rural areas and are women.
“I am deliberately highlighting the devastating and complicated web of the legacy we inherited in 1994, so that we can appreciate the difficulty of the road travelled thus far, and the challenges that lie ahead,” he said.
Reversing the legacy of apartheid in education
Mathabatha said South Africa has made significant inroads in reversing the legacy of apartheid education system.
“In this regard, we have introduced a number of legislative and policy interventions that meaningfully opened the doors of learning and culture,” he said.
The South African Schools Act and the Employment of Educators Act are part of the progressive legislative frameworks that government introduced to improve the quality of learning and teaching.
He said over 96 percent of learners in the province are benefiting from the No-Fee School Policy, adding that the policy intervention has seen the majority of children from poor family backgrounds enjoying their right to education.
“No less than ninety-six percent of learners in quintile 1, 2 and 3, and special schools are beneficiaries of the National School Nutrition Program (NSNP), commonly known as school feeding scheme,” he said.
According to the Premier, this has gone a long way in encouraging school attendance and improving performance.
The government also introduced the Scholar Transport Programme with a view to ensuring easy and safer access to schools.
“To date about 19 162 learners are benefiting from this program. The plan for 2014/15 is to put 20 500 learners on this programme,” he said.
Mathabatha said the province has contributed to the reduction of illiteracy in adults by enabling them access to further learning and employment opportunities through Adult Education and Training programme.
“It is encouraging to note that for the period under review, an average of 35 500 learners per annum go through this programme,” he said.