MeerKAT. Picture: SKA website.
“Uberising” the ambulance system, building more houses, creating jobs, mineral beneficiation, technological advancement and improving farming and agriculture are key features in Northern Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul’s plans to turn around the poverty-stricken rural province.
Saul said the province had huge potential and he planned to leverage it, to grow its economy and create jobs.
“Because of our sun and wind, we are looking at increasing investment in solar and wind energy – a potential to create decent and sustainable jobs.
“When looking at mining: chrome, diamond, zinc, iron ore and manganese, it is encouraging that in the Northern Cape, mining is set to continue for the next 100 years. 80% of the country’s reserves of manganese are here.
“The question is how to exploit the minerals to the benefit of all in the province.
“We need to move away from the primary extraction of raw materials towards beneficiation, making it possible to export finished products from here.
“A value add by mining will be to create secondary industries that would generate more jobs.”
Saul said his government was in discussion with mining houses whose operations were based in the Northern Cape to share ideas.
“We have had a commitment in multibillion-rand investments in the building of smelters and plants,” said Saul.
Agriculture is the third biggest employer, and Saul said agro processing was “the way to go”.
“We produce big and the best potatoes in the country but do not have a single factory that produces Simba chips,” Saul said.
He said he was encouraged by the R300 million injection from national government to help farmers hit by drought.
Faced with challenges on the health front, with public hospitals processing patient files manually, Saul said his government was committed to modernising service delivery by introducing digitalisation and technological advancements.
“We want to ‘Uberise’ our ambulances by introducing an app that will make it possible for people to get help on time.
“With a mere 2,700 low-cost houses having been built by government over the past 25 years, I am happy with the collaboration and intervention promised by [Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation] Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to prioritise the Northern Cape,” he said.
Saul said the giant square kilometre array in the Karoo would be a catalyst to create jobs – especially for the 43% jobless youth – and government has pumped R3.2 billion into the MeerKAT telescope project, expected to create 8,000 jobs.
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