Premier of Limpopo Stanley Mathabatha delivered his last State of the Province Address [SOPA] at Jack Botes Hall in Polokwane on Thursday. The Premier is serving his last term in office and will not be back in office after the national and provincial elections to be held in May.

ALSO READ: Limpopo Police release third-quarter crime statistics

The SOPA was attended by members of the Executive Council. Members of Parliament, Members of the Judiciary, Executive Mayors, Local Mayors and many other guests.

Mathabatha spent the better part of his speech highlighting the progress made in addressing the legacy of colonialism and apartheid. He also acknowledged that there is still a lot of work to be done, including strengthening programmes to address youth unemployment.

PREMIER STANLEY MATHABATHA DELIVERS HIS LAST STATE OF THE PROVINCE ADDRESS

“As I stand before you today, on this significant occasion of delivering my last annual State of the Province Address, I am filled with a profound sense of gratitude and reflection. It has been an honour to serve as the Limpopo Premier since 2013, leading our fifth and sixth administrations through their journeys of transformation and renewal,” he said.

Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha delivered his last State of the Province Address
Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha delivers his last SOPA

“When we achieved our April 1994 democratic breakthrough, less than 30 per cent of rural households had access to electricity. Today, we have electrified at least 94.6 per cent of rural households in Limpopo. Marking a significant improvement in access to electricity.

“People in rural areas overwhelmingly dependent on firewood to cook, using three-leg pots. There was deforestation, impacting trees and other plants, an important source of oxygen supply for human life, and a key resource of environmental conservation. Forests have risen in various areas that were affected, thanks to our massive household electrification programme,” he said.  

ALSO READ: Limpopo government refutes reports of underspending

“In healthcare, it is pleasing that we currently have 476 clinics in Limpopo. Two hundred and sixteen of our healthcare centres, that is 45 per cent, operate 24 hours a day.

In 2010, we reached 80 per cent of access to water, reaching more communities and improving public health outcomes. However, because of various countervailing factors, we have experienced a decline to 69.1 per cent. We are worried about this, and we are hard at work with authorities in the water provision space to improve the situation.”

Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha delivered his last State of the Province Address
Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha signing the national anthem 

“It is important to note that we have improved access to sanitation, to 63.1 per cent, up from 26.9 per cent in 2002, and up from a far lower baseline in 1994.

“Our tarred road network has significantly expanded since April 1994. It is now covering rural areas that were neglected before. Through this progress, we have enhanced connectivity and improved transportation efficiency, facilitating economic development in Limpopo. At present, our target is to surface 13,800 kilometres from gravel to tar.”

ALSO READ: Limpopo learner dies after complaining about stomach cramps

“We have worked very hard in education. Our efforts are now visible in improved matric results. We have improved from a 38 per cent matric pass rate in 1996. At 79.5 per cent in 2024, our matric pass rate now approximates our 80 per cent target.”

“From just over 911 thousand households in 1996, we have increased to over 1.8 million households in 2022. This substantial growth in households highlights Limpopo’s growing population. We have now reached over 6 million people, according to the latest census.”