Stan Mathabatha’s last Sopa praises ANC

The premier centred his speech on the ANC-led government’s achievements since he joined the provincial administration in 2013.

Outgoing Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha, yesterday delivered his last State of the Province Address (Sopa) before moving on to national politics.

The 67-year-old premier centred his speech on the ANC-led government’s achievements since he joined the provincial administration in 2013.

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Many, including the official opposition, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), and the third biggest political party in the province, the Democratic Alliance (DA), accused him of blowing his own trumpet than reporting back on the successes and shortfalls of the promises he had made to the public in his last Sopa in 2019.

Mathabatha said before April 1994, less than 30% of rural households had access to electricity and that at least 94.6% of rural households now had access.

He said it was pleasing that Limpopo has 476 clinics and 216 healthcare centres, saying 45% of them were operating 24 hours a day. “In 2010, we reached 80% of access to water, reaching more communities and improving public health outcomes,” he said.

“However, because of various countervailing factors, we have experienced a decline to 69.1%. We are worried about this and we are hard at work with authorities to improve the situation.”

The premier further said access to sanitation improved to 63.1%, from 26.9% in 2002, and up from a far lower baseline in 1994. “Our tarred road network has significantly expanded since April 1994. At present, our target is to surface 13 800 kilometres from gravel to tar.

“Our efforts are now visible in improved matric results. We have improved from a 38% pass rate in 1996 to 79.5% in 2024.

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“As we speak, Limpopo’s contribution to national economic output over the past three decades has also improved. In 1996, Limpopo contributed 5.3% to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Despite global economic and pandemic crises, our contribution to the national GDP reached 7.3% by 2023.

“This reflects the strategic efforts undertaken by the province to harness its vast natural resources, develop critical sectors, and attract investment”

Mathabatha said in 2013, five Limpopo departments were under national administration. Over the past decade, Mathabatha said his administration has worked tirelessly to bring stability and sound administration.

“Through collective effort and unwavering commitment, we have seen remarkable improvements in audit outcomes and overall provincial performance.

“Since 2013, the provincial government has made significant progress towards building a capable, ethical and developmental state.”

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