The North West provincial government has set aside over R460 million for housing projects in the mining area of Marikana.
Delivering his State of the Province Address, in Mafikeng, on Friday, North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo said for the next three years his administration will pay attention to the troubled mining area.
"As part of our contribution to development in the mining areas, we have set aside R462 million for housing projects in the Bojanala District in the Rustenburg Municipality, specifically in Marikana," said the Premier.
He said through the partnership with mining house Lonmin and the Rustenburg Local Municipality, the provincial government will build 2 000 housing units over a period of three years with initial phase of 192 Breaking New Ground (BNG) houses and 252 community residential units.
"The project, which will start with immediate effect, is called Marikana Ext 2 Integrated Development," said Premier Mahumapelo.
The provincial government has also bought land in Marikana for human settlement. "We have also purchased 400 hectare portions of land from private owners in Marikana at a cost of R47 million purely for human settlements purposes."
He added that government needed to work together with the community in order to succeed in developing the area.
"We are conscious of the fact that we will not succeed in this regard if we do not work together with all affected communities of Bipod-Ba-Morale."
According to Premier Mahumapelo, the Sunway Village Integrated Development Project, in Madibeng, is already under construction and is expected to be completed by the end of the current financial year.
"This project targets the nearby informal settlements of Popo Molefe, Ten Room, Rietfontein, and Cosmos."
All the housing projects will be required to meet a minimum of 30% involvement of youth and women companies throughout the construction phases.
Premier Mahumapelo's announcements come after President Jacob Zuma announced in his State of the Nation Address that government will pay attention to the development of mining towns.
As an apex priority, education infrastructure will also get special attention from government. "We have set aside R292.925 million for the construction of 26 new schools.
"Over R75 million of this budget will go towards classroom additions and renovations of existing schools."
More than R16 million has been allocated for water provision for 21 schools and 54 schools for fencing, as well as R53 million will be allocated to three special schools.
Bophelong Special School, MM Sebitloane Special School and Rekgonne Bipod Special School (new school and hostel) will all share the R53 million.
Jobs for the youth
In an effort to address the challenge of youth unemployment in the province, Premier Mahumapelo says his administration will create over 7 000 job opportunities.
"A total of 7 407 jobs opportunities will be created through infrastructure development, green economy and social economy during the financial year 2014/15."
He added that later this year, government will launch a Provincial Youth Skills Development Centre in the Kenneth Kaunda District, which will train 1 000 young people immediately in various trades and link them to opportunities of jobs in the market.
In order to boast road safety in province, the provincial government intends to increase visibility and intensify the enforcement operations to reduce fatalities on all major roads across the province.
He said the province will recruit 600 traffic officers, 120 road safety officers and 150 examiners of driver and vehicle licences by 2019.
"We are in a process of establishing a traffic college to increase the number of traffic officers and examiners in improving the quality law enforcement in the province," said Premier Mahumapelo.
The college is expected to offer traffic officers' diploma, examiners of vehicles, examiners of driving licenses and inspector of driving licence testing centre courses.