Free State renews focus on healthcare, jobs and education

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Free State premier Ace Magashule Free State premier Ace Magashule

Bloemfontein - The Free State government has renewed its commitment to job creation and improving education and healthcare in the province.

Delivering the State of the Province Address on Thursday, Premier Ace Magashule said the provincial government was set to invest more in education as part of the broader strategy to fight poverty. To this end, 1 500 bursaries would be awarded to worthy beneficiaries by the provincial government this year.

In the past two years, schools achieving an 80 percent and higher pass rate in the province had increased from 116 in 2010 to 155 in 2011. To sustain and improve on this, Magashule said more attention and support would be given to underperforming schools.

To ensure good healthcare, Magashule said they were going to continue to screen the qualifications of all medical practitioners in the province and expand access to primary healthcare in all the province's municipalities, with the main focus being on combating HIV and Aids and decreasing maternal and child mortality. 

Six hundred fully trained community health workers in 47 wards will be employed to help achieve this.

"The maintenance of health facilities in the province will continue to receive priority attention," he said. The province plans to build new hospitals in Bloemfontein, Amelia in Sasolburg and in the rural areas of Qwaqwa and Botshabelo.

On job creation, Magashule said the provincial government was going to work with organised labour in creating jobs for the people in the province.

"The reality is that the state of the provincial economy will not improve and job creation will not be achieved if we do not take concrete and decisive action." 

In a bid to ensure that more jobs were created, Magashule said he was going to initiate an intensive campaign with employers and organised labour.

Most people who attended the Premier's address applauded his speech, saying it showed determination by the provincial government to improve their lives.

Sixty-seven year-old Alfred Modipane from Mangaung praised the Premier for paying attention to education and health.

"We want our children to be educated," he said, adding that he fully concurred with the premier on job creation.

"If government creates jobs for us, there will be less poverty."

Magashule will on Monday answer questions from members of the provincial legislature emanating from his address. - BuaNews



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