“A better life” for Mpumalanga since the ’94 vote

Grocery store owner shoots at a robber
March 1, 2024
Free and fair elections remain “our guiding star”
March 1, 2024
Grocery store owner shoots at a robber
March 1, 2024
Free and fair elections remain “our guiding star”
March 1, 2024

“A better life” for Mpumalanga since the ’94 vote

In a State of the Province Address marking 30 years since the end of apartheid,
Mpumalanga Premier Refiwe Tsipane reflected on the “tremendous progress” the
province has made over the past three decades.

“When we were elected to office in 1994, our population was a mere 3.3 million people.
Today Mpumalanga is home to 5.1 million people,” said Tsipane.

The economy has also grown “in leaps and bounds” from R46 billion in 1994 to more
than R530 billion today, making it the fourth-largest provincial economy. Employment
stands at 1.25 million up from 627,000 in 1996.

While in 1996, 64% lived below the poverty line, that figure has now dropped to 49.5%
in 2022, helped by social grants for the elderly, children and disabled.

Tsipane pointed to the education system as an example of transformation. Today 98%
of children aged 7-17 attend school, up from far lower levels pre-1994. The matric pass
rate has climbed from 46% in 2019 to 72% in 2023. Poor learners now get free meals at
school and 75,000 are transported daily.

The Premier said the ANC government has “restored the dignity of the girl child” by
providing free sanitary products to 96,000 students. “In 1994 only a few households had
access to piped clean water and proper sanitation. Today, 87% of households in
Mpumalanga have access to clean water and more than 93% have access to adequate
sanitation,” she added.

Healthcare has also advanced, with the infant mortality rate dropping from 80 to 11.2
per 1000 live births. Life expectancy is now 65.8 for women and 60.7 for men. “One of
the reasons why our people are living longer and healthier is because our government
has extensive TB and HIV/AIDS treatment programmes,” Mtshweni-Tsipane explained.

Whereas pre-1994 the province had no universities, today it boasts 4 public universities
and 2 private ones. Public libraries have increased from 89 to 123.

“We are opening the doors of learning to every child who calls Mpumalanga home, as
envisaged by the Freedom Charter,” said Mtshweni-Tsipane.