cluster, the development of viable tourism offerings and logistics. We must also re-affirm the role of SMMEs and cooperatives as critical game-changers in our effort to expand the productive capacity of our economy,” said Premier Mathabatha. The Deputy President echoed the Premier’s sentiments, telling the summit to deliver on the promise of a better life for the citizens of the province, whose experience had largely been defined by social exclusion, underdevelopment, unemployment, inequality and poverty. “This is a summit whose outcomes must demonstrate the quality and depth of the leadership from across society. It must unequivocally demonstrate that we are committed to selfless service to our people. It must prove that we remain passionate and committed to free our people from the clutches of indignity, poverty and want. It must prove to the world that when South Africans unite and roll up their sleeves and work together, they are capable of moving their country forward,” said Deputy President Ramaphosa. The Limpopo provincial government, according to Provincial Treasury MEC Tooley, adopted its provincial master plan – the Limpopo Development Plan (LDP) – in 2015. He said the plan demonstrates high level alignment with the NDP and the 14 government outcomes for ensuring that the national priorities are realised, particularly the reduction of inequality, elimination of poverty and improving the lives of our people. MEC Tooley said the LDP is intended to make meaningful contribution to the attainment of the current NDP and national MTSF 2015-2019 priorities. He said the LDP further provides a blueprint for the strategic plans of each provincial government department, as well as the Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) and sector plans of district and local municipalities. He said there were key strategies expressed in the LDP of which the 2017/18 budget seeks to address: “Government continues to fight persisting challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty. Limpopo is a predominantly rural province, a condition that makes it difficult to address the actual realities faced by its communities on a daily basis. These relate to the provision of basic services and creation of a conducive environment for economic growth and development. Funding has been made available for the stimulation of economic growth through the provision of infrastructure, supporting cooperatives, Small Medium and Micro Enterprises and the promotion of agro-processing industries with an emphasis on Special Economic Zones.” Premier Mathabatha broke it down further – “Our province is not immune from these challenges. We must therefore accelerate the envisaged industrialisation to our identified economic regions given their huge potential for growth. Some of these areas include, but are not limited to Polokwane, Lephalale, Tubatse, Tzaneen and the Makhado-Musina corridor – these are priorities in terms of integrated human settlements and economic development.” “We can confirm that there are already a significant number of economic projects and infrastructure investments that are being implemented in some of these economic regions. They include the Presidential Strategic Infrastructure Programme targeting both Waterberg and Sekhukhune District Municipalities, and the envisaged Special Economic Zones earmarked for implementation in both Greater Tubatse and Musina Local Municipalities.” MEC Tooley said rural development is one of the key focuses of the LDP Vision 2030. “This vision manifests itself through service delivery programmes aimed at growing the economy, food security, job
creation, and poverty alleviation. This budget cycle will continue to provide support to needy farmers through direct and indirect farmer support programmes like technical, financial and infrastructure.” MEC Tooley said other challenges facing rural development are as a result of climate change due to global warming. The province has experienced excessively dry weather conditions, storms and heavy rains in selected areas which left rural communities vulnerable. “In this regard, government remains focused to respond and intervene accordingly through drought relief and disaster management programmes,” he said. Deputy President Ramaphosa concluded by calling for strong collaboration: “To grow our economy and develop our people, we need new roads, railway tracks, broadband networks, port facilities, dams, power stations, colleges and clinics. We need them on a significant scale and without delay. This framework sets out the key principles to ensure that private sector participation in infrastructure projects yields socio-economic benefits, delivers value for money and allocates risk appropriately. This represents significant progress in our efforts to more effectively harness the country’s resources to meet our economic and development needs.” He said this approach to private sector participation is part of a broader overhaul of the landscape in which state owned enterprises operate. “Cabinet approved a range of measures to ensure SOEs are more effectively governed, use their resources more prudently and are better able to fulfil their economic and developmental mandates. At the centre of these reforms is a new government shareholder policy that will make for better coordination, accountability and strategic purpose.” He said the provincial government must continue to do its part to strengthen integration and implementation. “We also need to examine the province’s growth drivers, such as mineral resources and energy, which can be positioned to attain inclusive, sustainable economic development.” Deputy President Ramaphosa said the implementation of the industrial policy is paramount as it promotes labour absorbing sectors. Premier Mathabatha responded: “Deputy President, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the Cabinet for positively considering our application for Musina to become a Special Economic Zone. It will go a long way towards developing the economy of the country in that part of the province. We would also like to implore you, Deputy President, to once again persuade the Cabinet to also consider Tubatse as an SEZ. Tubatse municipality has the economic potential to become the platinum production hub of this country. “It is also worth mentioning that the Limpopo Development Plan appreciates the fact that for us to realise our developmental objectives, we need to craft strategic partnerships between government, the private sector and institutions of learning. This we must all work on as a matter of urgency.” He said in the same vein, they needed to strengthen an active collaboration with business and labour to revive investment growth, provide greater policy certainty and improve labour relations. “What we need most right now is faster, inclusive, job-creating growth. I have no doubt, whatsoever, that we all want to see Limpopo on a higher trajectory of economic growth and development. The task before us here today, is to do exactly that. We need to work together to realize the full potential of our economy, and with broad-based participation we can build a firm foundation for a stable and prosperous province”.
To be continued on page 40