‘Eastern Cape is making progress’ – Mabuyane 

By Anita Dangazele

Premier Oscar Mabuyane’s State of the Province Address (SOPA) got off to a rough start on Thursday as rowdy EFF members got into fistfights and chairs flew across the room.

The red berets stormed onto the stage as Mabuyane rose to the podium but were quickly thrown out of the sitting at the Abbotsford Christian Centre in East London by protocol officers. 

The EFF had vowed that Mabuyane would not deliver the sixth administration’s last SOPA without interruptions.

Mabuyane opened his address by highlighting that his government’s commitment to investing in scholar transport, school nutrition and the early delivery of learning materials were the driving forces behind the gradual increase in the province’s matric pass rate.

The class of 2023 obtained an 81,4% pass rate – the best result since the dawn of democracy.

“We can now safely say our education ecosystem is starting to function like a well-oiled machine,” Mabuyane said.

Touching on school infrastructure, he said his government has built close to 100 schools that are fully equipped with modern-day ablution facilities.

The Eastern Cape education department has revealed, however, that 427 schools in the province are still using pit toilets.

Mabuyane said the province has seen a decline in new HIV infections during his tenure, adding that 95% of those who were on treatment had their viral loads suppressed.

On human settlements, he said his government had built 24,000 houses over the last five years.

Mabuyane said that his government had deployed an additional 3,500 police officers to ensure people’s safety and security.

However, crime continues to soar, with rapes and murders taking centre stage.

“Our economy is not growing at the rate that we would like, leading to high unemployment rates. [The] majority of our people who are old enough to work are unemployed,” Mabuyane said.

Earlier in the morning, hundreds of students from different tertiary institutions around East London went to the venue to express their frustration with youth unemployment.

The premier’s address comes two days after statistics released on Tuesday showed that the province had the highest unemployment rate in the country, with the youth accounting for 60% of its unemployment figure.

Mabuyane ended his speech on a high note, saying: ”We’re making seamless progress in the Eastern Cape we want.”

Pictured above: Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane delivers his SOPA at the Abbotsford Christian Centre in East London.

Image source: EC premier’s office


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