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08:00am - Greetings and welcome to the KZN Provincial Government's "LIVE Blog" of the 2014 State of the Province Address. This is Mohamed Suleman live from the red carpet at the Royal Show Grounds in a cool and overcast morning in Pietermaritzburg.
08:15am - The State of the Province Address is set to officially kick-off at 09h30. Cleaning staff and other officials are busy sorting out the final touches prior to the arrival of dignitaries and guests.
08:25am - The State of the Province Address is set to be broadcast Live on 1KZNTV as well as on Community Radio Stations.
08:35am - Things are rather quite at the moment while we await the arrival of the guests.
08:45am - As usual the South African Police Service is maintaining a tight shift today with many roads in and around the vicinity of the Royal Show being closed off. If you plan on traveling on any of the routes in the vicinity of the Royal Show grounds please expect some minor traffic delays.
09:00am - The State of the Province Address usually starts with a ton of media and photographers crowding the red carpet in anticipation of the arriving dignitaries. Guests are trickling in giving the starved photographers something to fuss over.
09:10am - The State of the Nation is kicking into a higher gear now and gaining some momentum. The Millitary Brass Band is making the even rather festive as they play their way up the red carpet
09:15am - Dignitaries and guests are now arriving thick and fast and the gallery is starting to fill up rather quickly.
09:30am - MEC of Finance, Ms Ina Cronje arrives looking as elegant as ever in a knee length black and white dress closely followed by other MECs and other dignitaries.
09:45am - The red carpet has been cleared and journos and media are pushed behind the roped barriers and all guests and dignitaries safely ushered into the main gallery in anticipation of the arrival of the Honourable Premier. The address is set to get under way shortly.
10:00am - Ladies and gentlemen, the arrival of Isilo, His Majesty, King Goodwill Zwelithini is heralded by his Official Praise singer. The Brass band is now playing the National Anthem. His Majesty, dressed in millitary regalia is being saluted. we can confirm the arrival of the Honourable Premier.
10:00am - Premier Senzo Mchunu, stands with his hand on his heart as the Brass band plays the national Anthem. The anthem and official salute have been completed and the Honourable premier makes his way into the main arena with everyone present rising to their feet to welcome him. Applause and much fanfare as he enters.
10:10am - The ceremonial Legislative Mace is being carried into the main arena prior to the start of this years SoPA.
10:10am - A prayer before the start, is called by the Honourable Speaker Ms Lydia Johnson. After which, she calls on the media and photographers to come in for 5 minutes to take their pictures before the start of the SoPA.
10:15am - The Speaker now calls on The Honourable Premier to deliver his State of the Province Address.
<< State of the Province Address - Download here>>
10:17am - The Honourable Premier begins his State of the Province address by following protocol and greets the various guests and dignitaries including His Majesty, King Goodwill Zwelithini, The Members of the Legislature, MECs, traditional leaders and former Premiers of the Province.
10:25am - The Honourable Premier also specifically mentions the live broadcast on 1KZNTV and community radio stations.
10:25am - The Honourable Premier states that he is pleased to stand here today at a time when “KwaZulu-Natal is a stable, peaceful and fast developing province, indeed better than it has ever been since 1994 when the new democratic dispensation replaced the old undemocratic, apartheid-designed system in South Africa.” Echoing the sentiments of Honourable President Zuma in his State of the Nation Address this year.
10:28am - The State of the Province address naturally comes after the State of the Nation Address which was delivered by His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma. The President gave a comprehensive report to the people of South Africa, on what has been achieved in the first 20 years of our freedom, as well as what still needs to be done to move South Africa forward.
10:30am - He goes on to say that "...against this backdrop, we must be reminded of the biggest singular loss the world suffered in December last year with the passing of our beloved first President of a free and democratic South Africa, Tata Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. In his name and in the name of all those who laid down their lives for our liberation, we remain determined to uphold the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, which is the supreme law of our country, together with our priorities of non-racialism, social upliftment and cohesion, economic transformation and justice for all
10:30am - The Honourable Premier sets the theme of the 2014 State of the Province Address is – “Moving forward with speed, ensuring a better quality of life for all.” This is informed by the changes we see in our cities and towns, our townships and in our rural areas. KwaZulu-Natal has moved forward and our lives have changed for the better.
10:30am - As a province we have risen from the ashes of apartheid to be a beacon of democracy and hope for millions of people across the world. KwaZulu-Natal is indeed a much better society than it was before 1994 when we inherited a province that was morally and financially challenged.
10:35am - The Premier speaks of the investment from the Motor Industry through the recent injection of R1 billion by Toyota and the continuous investment by the Sugar Industry as evidence of the progress that can be attained through public private partnerships which are mutually beneficial.
10:35am - Acknowledging the wonderful progress we have made, we also acknowledge that we still face substantial challenges and must be objective in our assessment of exactly where we are now so the we can address root causes and accurately plot the way forward.
10:35am - "As they say, Love your Neighbour as you Love thyself. We have a more human-centred story to tell here." The good story to tell, made famous by President Zuma in his State of the Nation address, has indeed become the latest catch-phrase.
10:40am - "Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital serves as a premier government health institution in the province. We might as well remind ourselves that this state of the art hospital was built by this government of the people. This is a hallmark of our determination for progress and a world class health facility. The total expenditure for the revitalisation, rehabilitation and maintenance of all these hospitals is R2,1 billion. The Department of Health has also taken over one major hospital in distress, namely, the McCord Hospital in Durban. Negotiations are currently underway to absorb St. Mary’s and St Aidan’s hospitals while Pongola Hospital has made overtures. There is more similar work that we need to do to improve health provision in our province including in the Zululand District."
10:40am - Good News from the premier....Government is in the process of restoring the Addington Children’s Hospital to its former glory.
10:40am - “All South Africans must work together in maintaining the momentum in our fight against HIV and AIDS”
10:45am - With poverty levels still unacceptably high in our province, the dependence on the state and social grants as a safety net has been placing increased demands on state resources. This is obviously not a trend that must be sustained, however, in the face of tough global economic conditions, the weakest and the poorest must feel protected. KwaZulu-Natal has the highest number of grant beneficiaries, followed by the Eastern Cape and Limpopo respectively.
10:45am - The Provincial Executive Council is concerned about the pronouncements and activities of certain groups in the province that attack the fundamental values of non-racialism towards which our new democratic order strives. The Provincial Executive Committee has set up a special Committee on Social Cohesion, made up of respected public figures. Prof Paulus Zulu will convene the Committee which shall include Mr Vasu Gounden , Prof Cheryl Potgieter and Mr Paddy Kearney. The committee is vested with a broad mandate to research, investigate, consult and report on the nature of these threats to social cohesion and make recommendations to the Provincial Executive Council directed at managing the race and class of contradictions which exist in our transitional state. The above committee will work under the Task Team comprising of MECs TW Mchunu, Dr S Dhlomo and Mr R Pillay. They will monitor and consult all relevant stakeholders, analyse and make interventions where necessary.
The second Task team comprising MEC Mabuyakhulu and MEC Cronje, is tasked with analysing the profiles of companies which have been awarded government and/or Municipal contracts by provincial government departments during the last five years.
10:50am - The province is committed to foster tolerance and non-racialism which is required to realise the ideal expressed in our Freedom Charter: “South Africa belongs to all who live in it”.
11:00am - We must also share with you the good news that our province has been declared disease free in respect of the foot and mouth disease. This is the result of a concerted drive by the department to ensure that we are able to preserve our livestock. The commercial farmers have welcomed this good news and many can begin exporting once again.
11:10am - Under this administration, we have seen an increase in the number of passengers passing through Pietermaritzburg’s Oribi airport from 5000 in 2009 to 10 400 in 2013. This derives from the infrastructural upgrade and expansion to the tune of R40 million by government.
Other regional airports that have been upgraded are:
11:10am - the Dube Trade Port is the only facility in Africa that brings together an international airport, a cargo terminal, warehousing, offices, a retail sector, hotels, and an agricultural area. Dube Trade Port is positioned between the two biggest sea-ports in Southern Africa, and linked to the rest of Africa by road and rail. It incorporates an industrial development zone, perishables facility, inter-modal freight transfer facility and other commercial and retail opportunities as well as a cyber-zone.
11:30am - Our government is exploring the Cuban-Angolan model of training medical practitioners in our province. Our partnership with the Cuban government of sending our students for training overseas has challenges that can be eliminated. We believe that there is a need to expand facilities and training of health professionals in our province. In this regard, Cabinet is exploring a number of possibilities.
11:45am - In conclusion of his speech, Premier Senzo Mchunu says that the past 20 years have seen changes that are un-paralleled in the political life of this province and indeed in South Africa. The government has affirmed the dignity of all people, and laid a firm foundation for generations to come. We must count ourselves as truly blessed and fortunate to have lived through these momentous changes. Much work still lies ahead. But our past experience gives us hope that we will still defeat the scourge of poverty.
We now need to move with speed to deliver basic services to our people. Complacency is not an option because the consequences of that are too dire to contemplate. In this regard, government must ensure that the economy of this province continues to grow, and that, together with our partners in the private sector, we create much needed jobs.
11:45am - This is the last sitting of the current administration. "We need to set in motion processes that will enable a smooth handover to the next administration in June. On behalf of the KZN government, we wish to thank our families, our business partners and our stakeholders, particularly the people of KwaZulu-Natal for giving us an opportunity to serve them since 2004. We would also like to pay special tribute to iSilo for His support and leadership."
11:45am - The Honourable Premier ends his speech by saying
We give to the next term of administration this message - “move forward with speed, ensuring a better quality of life for all!”
11:46am - The premier recieves a standing ovation and rapturous applause as he ends his speech.
11:48am - The Honourable Speaker has called an end to the days proceedings and the dignitaries are now leaving the arena.
11:50am - What are your thoughts on this years State of the Province Address? Let us know on www.facebook.com/kznonline or Tweet us at www.twitter.com/@KZNGOV
11:50am - Ladies and gentlemen, this brings us to the end of this blog. From me, Mohamed Suleman, until next time...Goodbye!
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