Pretoria: The Northern Cape government has reiterated its commitment to promoting transparency and accountability in how it handles its finances.
“As the Northern Cape provincial administration, we remain committed to promoting transparency and accountability in financial management, which is in line with national government’s priority of having a responsive, accountable, effective and efficient government system,” said Premier Sylvia Lucas.
Delivering her State of the Province Address at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre in Kimberly today, Lucas said the province would be guided by the National Development Plan in its future plans.
In the past five years, Premier Lucas said they have been able to stabilise the finances of government under difficult conditions without compromising service delivery.
All these efforts, she said, were in line with the provincial government’s Clean Audit Strategy, which is fundamentally aimed at ensuring improved audit outcomes are attained without fail.
“I am heartened and humbled by the achievements during the period under review. It is with pride that I congratulate the Department of Social Development and the ZF Mgcawu District municipality for attaining clean audits for the 2012/13 financial year,” said Premier Lucas.
The province has, for the first time in many years, received no disclaimer of opinion for provincial departments.
The premier said this showed that the province was moving in the right direction in terms of good governance and accountability.
“As part of our cooperative governance responsibility, the province will continue to strengthen intergovernmental relations through the Operation Clean Audit campaign by supporting those municipalities that have received disclaimers of opinion for the past five years,” she said.
Mining and the economy
The province is a substantial contributor to South Africa’s total mineral wealth. Mining and quarrying remain the biggest economic sector, contributing 26.5% to the provincial Gross Domestic Product (GDP), followed by general government services at 13.5% and finance, real estate and business services.
The Northern Cape contributes R33 billion to the national GDP. With the enormous mining expansions in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District, it is expected that mining will continue to be the biggest economic sector in the province.
Mining and agriculture are the main contributors to provincial production and employment.
“The last five years have seen unprecedented growth and development in the manganese and iron ore belt of our province with multibillion rand investments being made; yet, inequality, poverty, unemployment and disease in the surrounding communities persist.
“It has become our government’s priority to hold all the mining companies conducting business in our province to demonstrate a greater commitment towards contributing to skilling and employing a greater number of people from the communities in which they conduct business.
“The Northern Cape is endowed with abundant mineral resources and as such must benefit the entire population of the province,” Premier Lucas said.
Last month, the provincial government signed a mining procurement charter with the provincial mining association, which is envisaged to radically alter the manner in which mining houses procure goods and services in the province.
Access to raw materials, affordable energy, and upgraded infrastructure, the premier said, were further compelling factors to attract investment to the province.
Key investments entail the Square Kilometre Array, the Gamagara Mining Corridor and the renewable energy sector.