By Koketso Mamabolo
The double blow of a pandemic accompanied by civil unrest has left many provinces in the depleted.
In his State of the Province Address, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala began by paying tribute to the Zulu King and Queen Regent, who both passed away in 2021. Notwithstanding the challenges faced by his administration, Honourable Zikalala was optimistic about a route to recovery. He quoted lines from American poet Winona Montgomery Gilliland’s “Tears for My Country”:
Our vision is dimmed; we are tired
And long for ease.
We neglect our vital spark—
That burning love for freedom which once lit
Our blackest nights—and now we fumble,
Confused and fearful, hearing our foundations crumble.
The Premier’s address detailed his administration’s plans for 2022, and reflected on the year that has passed. The push for efficiency underpins this year’s priorities. Basic amenities, public safety and the creation of jobs are some of the areas the Provincial Government will focus on. Hon. Zikalala was the bearer of good news on the housing and job creation front.
During his address, the Premier announced wonderful news on the investment front. Trade Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) has drawn in investments of R5.3-billion, with a potential for 8554 jobs to be created. An export strategy has been developed and implemented to offer businesses with access to the African market through the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The 6th Administration
Hon. Zikalala’s administration has eight priorities as outlined at the beginning of their term and highlighted once again in the Premier’s address:
- Provision of basic services
- Job creation
- Growing the economy
- Growing SMMEs and cooperatives
- Education and skills development
- Human settlements and sustainable livelihoods
- Build a peaceful province
- Build a caring and incorruptible government
“Ours is a vision based on the aspirations of the Freedom Charter, the Reconstruction and Development Plan (RDP), the National Development Plan Vision 2030, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and our own Provincial Growth and Development Strategy,” said the Premier.
Hon. Zikalala ended off his speech with another quote from a poet, this time it was the Nigerian poet and novelist Ben Okri:
“The fact of possessing imagination means that everything can be redreamed. Each reality can have its alternative possibilities. Human beings are blessed with the necessity of transformation.”
Residents of the province have the power to realise the KZN of their dreams, says the Premier. “Turn in the direction of the future that beckons so that we may all grow and prosper.”
Investments announced in the province
- R6-billion investment
- 16 000 jobs
Toyota South Africa
- R2.6-billion investment
- R1.5-billion investment
- R1-billion expansion
Blythesdale Coastal Resort
- R800-million investment
- 2000 jobs
- R500-million investment
- 420 jobs
Webhelp Call Centre
- 2000 jobs