Festive Greetings from the Free State Premier.

The year 2017 marked 100 years since the birth of our late struggle hero, Oliver Reginald (O.R) Tambo. It was a historic year which saw the Free State Provincial Government continue to gallantly serve our communities through Operation Hlasela, our distinctive service delivery mechanism which has changed the lives of our people for the better.

The holiday season is upon us. It is a time for family, friends, and festivities, but most importantly, it is a time to reflect and take stock of the work we undertook to improve the lives of our people through quality health services, provision of decent human settlements, quality education, and fighting crime. The province remains the safest in the country, as revealed in the crime statistics released in October 2017. This year, our government provided beautiful homes and gave our people security through title deeds. We operationalized the state-of-the-art Albert Nzula District Hospital to alleviate the healthcare needs of the people of Xhariep, and two 24-hour clinics were opened in Mangaung and Metsimaholo, respectively. We sent aspirant learners overseas to further their studies in hopes of addressing the scarce skills shortage not only in the province, but the country as a whole. To this end, our continued efforts have put the total number of learners studying abroad at 1437. These are just highlights amongst countless service delivery achievements.

The year 2017 befittingly culminated in a first of its kind Free State Service Delivery EXPO, which took place on December 6-8, 2017 in Mangaung. As part of honouring the legacy of O.R Tambo, we showcased the gains of service delivery in the province, dating back from 2009 to 2017.

Indeed the Free State has a good story to tell, and in 2018, we shall continue to build a caring society with a focus on radical economic transformation to challenge the persistent ills of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

On behalf of the people of the Free State, I wish you all a restful holiday season. For those who will be travelling, remember to obey the speed limits and rules of the road.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

E.S Magashule,

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