Investing in the youth of the Free State, improving the state of health and education system are among some of the key priorities for the Free State Premier, Sisi Ntombela. Ntombela said more efforts are going to be taken by the provincial government to ensure that the youth in the province participate in the country’s economy.
Addressing the multitudes gathered at the University of the Free State’s South Campus, where she delivered the State of the Province Address (Sopa), Ntombela said they have noted the plight faced by the youth in the province amidst the current difficult economic times and rising unemployment rates.
She said the provincial government is going to open more than 10 schools across the province before the end of the financial year and is certain more schools will be built this year in efforts to improve the quality of education. Ntombela announced that during the construction of the schools local contractors will be appointed and will ensure that young people are afforded those job opportunities.
She has further outlined that the state of healthcare system in the province is one area that needs to be addressed and they will be procuring more ambulances and clinics across the province before the end of the year. Coupled to this, a number of hospitals and clinics will be refurbished before the end of the year.
The DA’s Free State leader, Patricia Kopane, a month ago, lambasted the provincial government over shortage of medical personnel at many hospitals in the province, particularly in the Mangaung District. During her announced oversight visit she found many of the hospital in poor conditions, lacking staff, resources, and in some cases medication. Ntombela, during her much anticipated speech, announced that calls to improve the state of health in the province have been heard and they will soon appoint 457 more doctors and 1 710 more nurses.
She said 15 more ambulances and 20 mobile clinics will also be bought and distributed to rural areas after the 60 that were bought late last year. She highlighted that young people will be highly considered for vacant positions in the province, and called to nursing graduates with placement issues to approach the department.
Ntombela has reiterated the need to eradicate poverty and create employment by further urging young people to partake in agricultural programmes in the province.
She announced that the province aims to create about 52 000 job opportunities and is certain a number of them will come from the agricultural sector.
She said the province is committing itself to lend a helping hand and support upcoming farmers from all walks of the province. Following the mass meeting she had with farmers last week in Bultfontein, Ntombela announced that she aims to make the Free State the province that empowers its farmers, ensures food security and help the youth to become active in the agricultural sector.
She made use of the platform to further call on all young people in the province to engage the government on projects they might have and local municipalities on how they could partake in the different projects ran by the government. -Katleho Morapela