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Five key takeaways from KZN Premier Dube-Ncube’s Sopa

KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube delivers the KwaZulu Natal State Of The Province Address at the Oval Cricket Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on 28 February 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart)

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube says her province’s economy is finally on the mend after the double shocks of devastating floods and the ferocious July 2021 riots.

Delivering her 2024 State of the Province Address (Sopa) on Wednesday, 28 February, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube commended provincial government officials for working tirelessly to respond to devastating floods and the July 2021 riots, as well as other challenges.

Unlike other provinces, KwaZulu-Natal has a two-tier opening of the provincial legislature. Zulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini opened the legislature on Tuesday and the premier delivered the Sopa a day later.

Both events are highlights of the political calendar in KZN, with dignitaries, diplomats and former premiers in attendance this year.

The ruling ANC praised Dube-Ncube for an insightful speech, but opposition parties poked holes in her address, saying she didn’t go far enough in addressing the province’s myriad challenges, including high levels of unemployment and poverty, ever-escalating high levels of crime, especially violent crime, and dysfunctional municipalities. Others said she had not yet fulfilled the promises that she had made in previous addresses.

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King of the Zulu Nation King Misuzulu kaZwelithini with KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube at the KwaZulu-Natal State Of The Province Address at the Oval Cricket Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on 28 February 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart)

Read more in Daily Maverick: KZN provincial battlefield will present a major challenge to ANC’s continued grip on power

Dube-Ncube said: “Having almost been brought to its knees by the floods, the civil unrest and global economic challenges, today our economy is back on its feet, gradually addressing the damage, which is estimated to be in the region [of] R33-billion.

“We are strengthening our support for the businesses by ensuring that enterprises that do business with government are paid on time. We have launched Operation Pay on Time, a province-wide [effort] that assists with resolving payment queries from suppliers that do business with government.”

The premier added that her government was also fighting fraud and corruption, warning that civil servants who demanded bribes in return for government services would face the wrath of the law.

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Chris Pappas, mayor of uMngeni Municipality and DA KZN premier candidate. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart)

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Mayor of eThekwini Mxolisi Kaunda (left) and Mayor of Msunduzi Mzimkhulu Thebolla. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart)

“In 2023, the consequence management officer (CMO) was appointed … and the Consequence Management Committee is up and running,” she said.

Dube-Ncube said the government had improved the ease of doing business in the province, a move that would allow investors and young entrepreneurs to thrive.

“We accelerated business permits and licence approval for priority catalytic projects in order to stimulate growth and development of the province and the commitment by the government to the rapid provision of bulk services, including planning approvals,” she said.

Five key takeaways from KwaZulu-Natal’s Sopa

1. Support for amakhosi

Dube-Ncube said traditional leaders played a critical role in the province, particularly in partnering with the government to bring peace and stability and to promote development.

“The government of KZN respects and values the institution of traditional leadership. In order to give effect to the proper recognition that ubukhosi (royalty) deserves, we have transformed the legislative framework from the old KwaZulu Amakhosi and Iziphakanyiswa Act of 1990, which was based in draconian and colonial Bantu Administration of 1927, to the passing of the National Traditional Leadership Governance Framework Act in 2003 followed [by] our provisional act on Traditional Leadership and Governance of 2005.

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KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Siboniso Duma with KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube.

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EFF members at the KwaZulu-Natal State Of The Province Address. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart)

“The aim of the legislative transformation was to rectify a lot of wrongs, including giving back to royal families the right to choose the heirs and to introduce gender into the composition of the traditional councils,” she said.

2. Digital economy

Dube-Ncube said her government was alive to the challenges and opportunities offered by digital transformation and information and communication technologies.

“Among these milestones, we are implementing the provincial Digital Transformation Strategy. We are increasingly adopting a paperless government with services set to use less physical documentation to a total elimination altogether. Schools (in KZN) are converted into skills development centres by setting up digital skills labs in each district.”

3. Black industrialists

The KZN premier said her government was embarking on several programmes to grow and transform the economy, including support for black industrialists.

“The purpose of [the] black industrialist policy is to support black-owned manufacturers through state resources to develop and grow the manufacturing base. In KZN, 35 black industrialists have been supported by the Department of Trade Industry and Competition (DTIC) for grant funding and they will create approximately 4,000 jobs. The target is to support 10 new black industrialists in the coming financial year.”

4. Fighting crime and GBV

KwaZulu-Natal has one of the highest crime rates in the country. Dube-Ncube said the scourge required all social partners to work together to bring crime statistics down, particularly violent crimes such as murder and gender-based violence. She said the province was turning the corner in its war against criminals and gangs.

“According to the latest SAPS statistics, great improvements have been recorded for crimes which are dependent on policy action for detection, with an increase of 9.6% or 2,419 cases. This is a ray of hope as our province has stabilised violence in areas such as uMsinga, hostels such as KwaMashu and Glebelands hostels. Add to this, taxi-related violence in Folweni, Chesterville, Pinetown, Mpumalanga Township and KwaDabeka has stabilised.”

5. Cross-border crime

In the past few years, KZN has been affected by escalating incidents of cross-border crime, particularly in the north bordering Mozambique and, to a lesser extent, Eswatini.

“We are pursuing diplomatic channels to ensure that properties (especially vehicles) of South Africans stuck in sister countries illegally are returned to their rightful owners. In this regard, we met with the Mozambican High Commissioner to South Africa to discuss this matter. We have installed Jersey barriers at exit points to make it difficult for stolen vehicles to cross into Mozambique.

“We are working closely with SAPS’s KZN Stabilising Team to address issues of criminality in and around Manguzi area. As a result of these interventions, several highly sought criminals have been arrested and [are] now facing justice,” Dube-Ncube said. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • William Dryden says:

    I don’t know what she is smoking but it must be pretty strong to come up with such drivel. As for supporting 35 industrialists (with Taxpayers money) they would have to employ 114 people each to create the 4,000 jobs she said they would create.

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