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Free State government tells a good story

Free State government tells a good storyThe Free State provincial government descended on Zamdela Township, near Sasolburg today to outline government’s service delivery achievements and plans to address outstanding budgetary and capacity constraints slowing progress in other areas during a breakfast debate hosted by TNA and the SABC.

Free State MEC for cooperative governance, traditional affairs and human settlements, Olly Mlamleli, MEC for education, Tate Makgoe, director general, Kopung Ralikontsane and Metsimaholo Local Municipality executive mayor, Brutus Mahlaku, answered service delivery related questions from ordinary citizens at the townships’ multipurpose hall.

Mlamleli addressed concerns regarding the slow pace of housing delivery to mostly civil servants who do not qualify for RDP houses and are also not eligible to qualify for bank housing loans. The MEC said the provincial government is working with the Free State Development Corporation (FDC) to develop a funding vehicle for financing housing in this market.

“We know there are people who do not qualify for free government sponsored RDP houses, and at the same time they do not qualify for loans with banks, we are talking to the FDC to find a permanent solution in this regard,” said Mlamleli.

Mlamleli said the department has procured mobile trucks, which are equipped with the department’s RDP waiting list, to process applications for houses and allocate houses to people in the waiting list living in rural and far fling areas of the province where the department does not have offices.

Makgoe is adamant that his department will achieve a 90 percent matric pass rate in the 2014 Grade 12 examinations. The province topped the country with matric results last year achieving a whopping 87.4 percent pass rate.

“We are eyeing 90 percent pass rate this year, we had a quantum leap of mathematics pass percentage last year with 355 distinctions in mathematics from this province, and a 53 percent pass in the subject.

 “If these students can pass like this in mathematics, there is no reason why they can’t do the same with all other subjects they get tested on,” said Makgoe

Ralikontsane said the provincial government will invest millions of rands in revamping Free State’s ageing water, electricity and sanitation infrastructure in order to improve the delivery of basic services such as water, electricity and sanitation.

“We are working on consolidating all grants so that we are able to make an impact on such major projects such as infrastructure development and maintenance. Right now you have all these grants for every department, we intend to stop that, put them all together as was the intention when we came up with the Operation Hlasela integrated service delivery model,” said Ralikontsane.

Mahlaku said to demonstrate its commitment to youth empowerment and development, Metsimaholo Local Municipality has appointed youth development officers to address youth challenges in all communities within its jurisdiction.

“As is the case now, we have issued 110 bursaries to youth from this municipality to further their studies at various institutions of higher learning across the country,” said Mahlaku.

He said the municipality has set aside R350-million to, among other things, give Zamdela township an infrastructure facelift and a further R65-million for the massive electrification project of the neighbouring township of Amelia by 2015.

The briefing was chaired by SABC 2 news anchor Peter Ndoro.