Gauteng premier David Makhura delivered the state of the province address this week, with a strong focus on a improving the lives of all
Gauteng is the absolute pacesetter in government performance. Premier David Makhura said this on Monday in his state of the province address (SOPA) for 2016 at the Saul Tsotetsi Sports Complex in Sebokeng township.
Makhura said a clean and efficient bureaucracy driven by a high-performance culture was needed for a developing state.
“There is proof that we are changing the way government works with our Ntirhisano programme. The ability of public servants to deliver on their plans and commitments is critical in any thriving democracy because it improves public confidence.”
Makhura said that with its open tender system and the promotion of integrity, Gauteng was creating an environment for clean government that would make progress in the future.
“Gauteng will become free of corruption in our lifetime. It is important to ensure that public resources are used to benefit all people. The state must never be hijacked by a few individuals or groups for their own selfish gain.”
Even in the midst of a difficult and vulnerable global and domestic economic environment, Makhura said, Gauteng’s economy had enormous potential to create more jobs and grow in an inclusive manner.
“We remain the industrial centre of the country and the Southern African Development Community and we are taking major steps to bring infrastructure development, innovation, investment, regional integration, inclusion, institutions and industrialisation in line with the National Development Plan and the Transformation, Modernisation and Reindustrialisation programme.
“As the pioneers of township-economy renewal, we are making meaningful progress to empower townshipbased enterprises, cooperatives and SMMEs. We will demonstrate that the township economy will become a beehive of activity with regard to innovation, entrepreneurship, empowerment and decent job creation.”
Gauteng is also the leader in the modernisation of the public service, with the introduction of technology in education, health, social security and general community services.”
Makhura said he had made a commitment in his first SOPA in 2014 that his administration would change the way in which government worked.
“Before the introduction of the Ntirhisano community outreach programme, Gauteng was overrun by violent protests in communities on a daily basis due to growing dissatisfaction with how government does things. Regardless of how well government tried to provide services, it was clear that there was a loss of confidence between communities and government officials.
“In essence, the problem was not just about service delivery, but about the way development and service delivery was done. Through a proactive and participatory approach to solving problems, we are restoring the levels of public confidence on the ground.”
Makhura said that due to the Ntirhisano programme, according to a web-based data and intelligence service, service-delivery protests decreased from 21% to 15% over the past 12 months, the most dramatic decline in a decade and a half.
“This is evidence that we are listening to the people of Gauteng and are responding to your concerns.”
Makhura said he would in future continue to spend more time on the ground with MECs and executive mayors to solve problems in communities, to unblock the delivery of infrastructure projects and make the province’s economy work for everyone.
“We are governing with a greater sense of urgency, integrity and transparency.”
Makhura said his administration was particularly encouraged by the fact that 19 provincial departments and agencies received clean audits for the 2014/15 financial year.
“To show that we mean business, I have already made a decision to change the leadership of G-Fleet (the Gauteng fleet management company) due to repeated negative audit results. Similar action is awaiting departments and agencies that continue to show poor performances.”
Most of the Gauteng departments also spent 99% of their infrastructure budgets last year.
“We are making it hot for departments that do not pay service providers on time.
“Ten of the 14 departments comply 90% with paying providers within 30 days.
“The digitisation of invoicing introduced new efficiencies in our system of government and helps us to pay suppliers on time.”
To prevent fraud and corruption, Makhura’s administration will implement an integrity management framework, and decisive disciplinary action is being taken against those found guilty of financial misconduct.
“I truly believe we can use our purchasing policies to achieve genuine black economic empowerment in all sectors without bribery and corruption. Let’s empower black people and businesses unashamedly, transparently and ethically.”
Makhura explained his administration’s work on how his government wanted to transform, modernise and reindustrialise the economy of Gauteng, which was still the economic powerhouse of South Africa, contributing 35% to the national economy. He said Gauteng currently had 5 million workers. About 191 000 new jobs were created in the formal sector over the past 12 months, and 150 000 were in the informal sector.
However, Makhura admitted that rapid urbanisation brought with it huge challenges because as many as 200 000 new people moved to Gauteng every year.
This contributed to the fact that there were currently 2.2 million people unemployed in Gauteng.
According to Makhura, his administration therefore needed to intervene economically to:
Change the ownership patterns of the mainstream economy by creating black industrialists;
Change the current industrial structure of the mining sector by processing mining resources locally;
Develop new, modern, innovation-driven industries in the sectors of technology, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and the green and blue economy, and develop Gauteng’s skills for this purpose;
Change income distribution to improve equality levels and raise living standards;
Transform the apartheid economy and residential areas to integrate economic opportunities, transport corridors and residential areas;
Increase the SMME sector and renew the township economy;
Strengthen the capacity of the state to drive economic development and enhance the competitiveness of strategic economic sectors through active industrial policy;
Make significant investments in infrastructure as the key stimulator for inclusive growth and economic development; and
Build transformative partnerships between the private and public sectors to address the development challenges in the National Development Plan’s Vision 2030.
Makhura also announced that Gauteng had formulated a new economic plan to reposition the province strategically.
An economic indaba would be held in April with business, organised labour and civil society to finalise public consultation on the plan before its official launch in May.
FASHION Members of the Gauteng
Provincial Legislature at the Saul Tsotetsi
Sports Complex in Sebokeng,
where Premier David
Makhura delivered his state of the province address