Limpopo government sets aside R3.5 billion to fight coronavirus

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Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha plans to tackle unemployment through industrialisation and special economic projects. Mathabatha outlined this and other plans to boost service delivery for the province during his State of the Province Address at the Lebowakgomo Legislative Chamber outside Polokwane.

Mathabatha’s address also focused on efforts to vaccinate health workers as well as plans to address water shortages.

Hi main focus, however, was on efforts to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the province’s citizens. He says the province has set aside R3.5 billion to add on their programmes aimed at fighting the pandemic in the health and education sectors.

There will also be extra efforts to help develop small and medium-sized businesses, particularly in the farming and tourism sectors.

With a provincial unemployment rate that’s currently at 27.3 %, Mathabatha says they want to change the script.

“The measures we outlined are centred around a vision to industrialise our province, through amongst others manufacturing development, agricultural expansion and agro-processing, mining expansion and minerals beneficiation, and revitalisation of tourism,” he says.

Vaccine rollout

Mathabatha adds that the vaccine rollout in Limpopo has so far reached more than 4 000 health workers.

“We aim to vaccinate around 44 500 healthcare and related services workers during the first phase. This includes workers from non-governmental organisations that provide healthcare-related services.

Last week we had a successful launch of Phase One of our COVID-19 vaccine rollout campaign. All indications are that our rollout of the first phase is a resounding success. So far, we have vaccinated over 4 000 healthcare workers.”

Premier Mathabatha outlines Limpopo’s plans: 

‘Full of deception’

The Economic Freedom Fighters’ Cedric Seshoka has, however, critised the address, saying it was full of deception.

“The premier has been selling a pipe dream to the people since he came in the province.  If you check the speech he gave us, in the last financial year, he spoke a lot about catalyst projects, and today he has come in here,  thrown most of them out, and came with the new ones,” Seshika says.

The Democratic Alliance’s Jacques Smaller was also not impressed, stating that the speech was cut and pasted from previous addresses.

“A lot of those programmes are rollover programmes from previous years. Some of them are built from the Department of Water and Sanitation and Sanral, which are national competencies, so not a lot of style from the province, with 3.1 million people unemployed, seeking employment opportunities, you would have wanted him to say what are the big investment role players that are coming in, bringing in job opportunities.”

Mathabatha also focused on bulk water projects, earmarked for areas including Giyani, Polokwane, and Sekhukhune.