81% of Limpopo residents now have access to electricity

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Polokwane - More than 81 percent of the people living in Limpopo now have access to electricity, according to province's 15 Year Review Report released on Wednesday.

"The provincial 15 Year Review Report indicates that 81.2 percent of the people of Limpopo have access to electricity, exceeding the national average," acting Premier of Limpopo, Cassel Mathale said.

The reports further indicated that 83.6 percent of households have access to tap water.

The report is a result of the provincial government's appointment of a team of external experts to assess and evaluate its work over the past 15 years. The report was finalised and adopted by the Executive Council Lekgotla in February.

Limpopo was declared the best performing province in terms of provision of housing in the country last year, when the provincial Department of Local Government and Housing won the Govan Mbeki Award as well as an amount of R3 million.

Mr Mathale said a focused investment in human capital has been another focus of the provincial government over the period under review.

In 2007, the provincial government departments spent R85 million compared to R6.4 million spent by the private sector in bursaries for students in tertiary institutions.

The acting Premier who is also the MEC for Roads and Transport said the provincial government has significantly reduced its classroom backlog from 35 000 in 1994/95 financial year to about 1000 in the 2007/8 financial year.

Limpopo continues to be the best performing province in the area of Maths and Science since the curriculum content in Further Education and Training colleges (FETs) was restructured and developed.

"This puts Limpopo in a better position to produce the required skills for the growth and development of its economy," said Mr Mathale.

Another noticeable milestone achievement was in the enrolment of people at Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) centres.

The report showed that Limpopo registered significant progress in its efforts to attain its policy objective of universal access to primary health care.

To date, 114 new clinics have been built at the cost of R154 million, while 196 clinics were upgraded at the cost of R337 million.

With the aggressive implementation of the Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Care, Treatment and Management Programme saw the HIV and AIDS prevalence rate in the province decreasing from 23.5 percent to 18.5 percent over the past four years.

While the province's economy continues to grow at an annual average growth rate of 42.2 percent, the report noted as a challenge regarding the insufficient labour absorption capacity of the growing economy.

"Although the unemployment rate has been reduced from 35.6 percent to 32.4 percent over the past four years, more decent and sustainable jobs still need to be created," he said.

The reports also noted a significant improvement in terms of income levels of may households through social security net such as pension, foster care and child support grants.

Mr Mathale said they need to move swiftly to develop provincial economic stimulus packages to respond to the current global economic meltdown.