Accelerating transformation and social cohesion
As the premier of this province, I have publicly stated my deep regret and profuse apology for the tragic death of so many of our vulnerable citizens who were under the care of the Gauteng department of health.
As we implement the recommendations of the Health Ombud’s report, every step we take will be guided by the wishes of the families and the advice of the panel of 60 experts appointed by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.
This midterm state of the province address is about discerning the main trends and trajectory of the successes and shortcomings of the ANC-led fifth administration in Gauteng. It is fitting and proper to reflect on the work we are doing to revitalise the economy of this region and accelerate social transformation and social cohesion.
The municipalities and people of this region refuse to be left behind or left out of every development plan and progress in the transformation, modernisation and reindustrialisation of Gauteng. They are proudly part and parcel of the Gauteng City-Region.
I am pleased to report that a lot of progress is being made in this region through partnerships between the provincial government, municipalities and the private sector. Some of the specific projects include the following: . Human settlements: 6 500 houses are under construction in Westonaria Borwa, 9 000 houses in Kokosi extension 6 and 7, and 1 000 houses in Mohlakeng extension 11. The Syferfontein megaproject that will provide up to 40 000 units is finally being launched by MEC Paul Mashatile and me in June, under the auspices of the West Rand. In addition, five private sector-led mega human settlements projects will start in April.
. Roads and logistics: Upgrading of the N14 highway that links the western corridor and the northern corridor has been completed.
. Tourism: Expansion of infrastructure at the Maropeng Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site was completed to accommodate the increase in tourism numbers after the discovery of Homo naledi.
. The feasibility of a logistics hub on the N12 between Rand West and Merafong has been completed and work will begin in 2017.
. Agriculture and agroprocessing: We are supporting 178 smallholder farmers through our farmer support and development initiatives.
. Establishment of the Westonaria hydroponic Agri-park (with the latest technology in farming); the completion of the Merafong Flora Agri-park, which is now producing high-quality products, including tomatoes, cucumbers and green peppers; and investment in the Isigayo milling plant in Randfontein.
. Industrialisation and reindustrialisation: Revitalisation of industrial parks in Khutsong, Mohlakeng (with Ekasi Labs for youth startup companies) and Chamdor.
. Establishment of a bicycle manufacturing/assembling factory in Mohlakeng; and the Busmark plant in Randfontein, which manufactures and assembles buses for the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit systems in metros, employing more than 2 000 people.
Gauteng has recorded the largest net gain in new jobs created since the 2008 global financial crisis. Between 2010 and end of 2016, our provincial economy created more than 700 000 new jobs. Since the start of the fifth administration in 2014, biannual employment has reached 317 000, thus breaking the ceiling of 300 000.
In addition, we are doing work to enhance the contribution of innovation, research and development in partnership with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the University of the Witwatersrand and the Vaal University of Technology through the Gauteng Innovation Hub.
With regard to the revitalisation and mainstreaming of the township economy, the Gauteng provincial government has increased its spending on the township economy from R600 million in 2014 to R6 billion in 2016.
This represents 22% of the 30% target we have set for 2019. The number of township enterprises benefiting from public procurement policy has increased threefold from 800 in 2014 to more than 2 800 by January this year.
Some of the radical measures we are undertaking in partnership with key industry leaders include:
. Assisting and encouraging black firms and township enterprises to get involved in localisation and manufacturing initiatives.
. Setting conditions for big companies doing business with government to subcontract at least 30% of the main contract to qualifying black firms and township enterprises.
. Strengthening our supplier development programme to ensure that new and emerging black firms benefit from major contracts in the private sector in terms of skills and technology transfer.
. Supporting new alternative stock exchange initiatives to expand access to capital by historically disadvantaged groups.
. Working with industry leaders in every major sector of our economy to unlock employment and empowerment opportunities for all the citizens.
Evidence regarding public infrastructure investment has found that:
. At least 92 000 direct jobs were added into the Gauteng economy through infrastructure spend.
. Infrastructure spend raised R15 billion to support household incomes.