I also acknowledge our guests in the Auditorium and in the City Hall.
The election of President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, on the 15th of February 2018, heralds the new dawn of hope, renewal and change for South Africa.
The President very appropriately described this historic moment during his inaugural State of the Nation Address on the 16th of February 2018:
“We should honour Madiba by putting behind us the era of discord, disunity and disillusionment. We should put behind us the era of diminishing trust in public institutions and weakened confidence in leaders. We should put all the negativity that has dogged our country behind us because a new dawn is upon us. It is a new dawn that is inspired by our collective memory of Nelson Mandela and the changes that are unfolding. As we rid our minds of all negativity, we should reaffirm our belief that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. For, though we are a diverse people, we are one nation”
Fellow South Africans, I sincerely believe President Cyril Ramaphosa is the kind of leader that South Africa needs at this moment, given the nature of the challenges our country faces. Let us all support him across party-political affiliation and ideological divide.
We in Gauteng are deeply humbled and highly encouraged that much of what the President outlined in his State of the Nation Address constitutes the core of our programme for radical Transformation, Modernisation and Re-industrialisation.
Emboldened by President Ramaphosa’s call for renewal and change, we shall act with greater determination to increase momentum on the following programmes:
- Addressing the problem of youth unemployment through Tshepo 1 Million, in partnership with the private sector and the youth;
- Strengthening the partnership with the private sector, labour and civil society to unlock inclusive growth, greater levels of employment and empowerment as well as structural transformation and reindustrialisation of the Gauteng economy;
- Increasing support for the revitalization of the township economy;
- Harnessing the opportunities provided by the advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution, by modernising key sectors of the economy and the state;
- Speeding up the delivery of new infrastructure and pay attention to the maintenance of existing infrastructure across the Gauteng City Region;
- Upholding ethical leadership and integrity by intensifying the fight against corruption, collusion and maladministration, working in partnership with civil society;
- Reconnecting with communities and unlocking their energies, for them to become the primary drivers of renewal and change;
- Lastly, changing the culture of the public service so that we treat citizens with dignity and serve the people with compassion and professionalism.
As a province that played no small role in bringing about this era of change and renewal, Gauteng has a responsibility to conceptually, practically and programmatically unpack the full meaning of the new dawn. It cannot be business as usual.
We must first acknowledge that we are emerging from a period of pain, adversity and despair. It has been a difficult and trying time for citizens, businesses and even those of us who have been afforded the opportunity and responsibility to serve the people in government.
As a father and a family man living in Gauteng, I know that life has been tough for parents who have the responsibility of putting bread on the table for their families and raising their children.
The price of food, electricity and transport has been sky-rocketing, placing enormous stress on family finances.
This has increased the incidence of urban poverty and food insecurity in our province. Our approach to dealing with poverty has to change. It cannot be business as usual. It is necessary to look at VAT zero-rating of more foodstuffs and basic necessities.
Despite the fact that our economy created a massive 300 000 jobs between 2014 and 2016, and another 400 000 jobs between 2010 and 2014, momentum has slowed down owing to tough macro-economic conditions especially the downgrade of South Africa in 2017.
There are clear signs already, that a new dawn is upon us, thus instilling renewed confidence in South Africa’s economy. All key players in the economy including labour, business and consumers are willing to work together under the leadership of President Ramaphosa to get South Africa working so that we can get our economy to work for all our people.
The new dawn should usher in the total renewal of the public service and fundamental change in the way citizens experience governance, including strengthening accountability and integrity of public officials and public servants so that we can avoid fatal disasters such as the Life Esidimeni tragedy.
The new dawn is about drawing inspiration from the life of Nelson Mandela who had an amazing ability to turn adversity into opportunity; war into peace; enemies into friends; despair into hope; tragedy into a force for positive change.
In his book; A Time For New Dreams, Ben Okri, the distinguished African scholar and writer, says the following about learning from adversity and difficult times:
“The Aeneid reminds us that great civilisations can be built on great failures. It also reminds us that adversity is not the end of a story but where there is courage and vision, the beginning of a new one, a greater one than before. Difficult times do one of two things to us: they either break us or they force us to go back to the primal ground of our being. Adversity wakes us up. It reminds us not of who we think we are in our vanity, but of who we are in our simplicity.…. it is in difficult times that the great times ahead are dreamt and built, brick by brick, with maturity and the hope that comes from wise action.”
The new dawn must inspire us to recoil from despair and wake up from the nightmare of a bleak future so that we can rebuild the South Africa of our dreams. We had stopped dreaming about a better future due to living through a nightmare of seeing parts of our democratic state being captured in broad daylight in pursuit of greed and rabid private interest.
The new dawn must inspire us to “rehabilitate our wounded dreams, and reclaim and nourish the song of the quality of our vibrant being”, as the National Poet Laureate, Professor Keorapetse Kgositsile would have said.
The new dawn must also inspire the young people of our province to dream big and aspire to live in a province, a country and a world where there is equality, economic freedom, prosperity for all social and environmental justice.
The youth must follow the wise counsel of President Nelson Mandela that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” They should know that there is no shortcut to self-development and self-empowerment. Education is an act of love.
Through education young people will be empowered to play a meaningful role in society and pursue their dreams, regardless of the circumstances of their birth.
As part of preparing our children for a better future, the Gauteng Provincial Government has achieved 95% universal access to Grade R.
Providing all children with early childhood development opportunities is part of the South African dream espoused in our National Development Plan.
With regard to basic education, Gauteng runs the second largest public education system after Kwa-Zulu Natal, with enrolment having grown from 1.3 million in 1994 to 2.3 million in 2018.
Gauteng has also consistently been among the best performing provinces on basic education. Our throughput rate is above 70%. In the 2017 Grade 12 results, Gauteng came second after Free State, while seven of our districts were in the top 10 nationally.
The most significant improvement in our basic education system is evident in the turnaround of township schools and the overall performance of learners from townships, especially in gateway subjects such as Mathematics, Science, Technology, Economics and Accounting.
Madame Speaker, Gauteng is the only province that offers all the 11 official languages and 7 international languages. This is consistent with the cosmopolitan and diverse character of our province, which we embrace with both hands. Gauteng is truly the home for all.
As part of preparing our children for the future, in particular for the digital industrial revolution, Gauteng is the leader in the deployment of digital technology for learning and teaching.
The deployment of digital technology has significantly raised the level of interest and has improved digital skills among learners in our public education system.
In 2017, our province was awarded a Gold prize for artisan skills development by the National Skills Authority, with KwaZulu-Natal in second place. This was in recognition of the effort we are putting in vocational training which responds to the needs of the economy. Our schools of specialisation represent a major intervention.
Over the past five years, Gauteng government has spent R1 billion on bursaries which have benefitted more than 20 000 graduates. We will continue to invest more resources in the training and development of young people in Gauteng, the province of dreamers.
We welcome the introduction of free higher education for students from working class and poor family backgrounds. This is truly the dawn of a new era for many parents and young people who have been denied access to higher education simply on the basis of the circumstances of their birth.
Several generations of students fought pitched battles in pursuit of this dream of fee-free further and higher education.
Now the ball is in the court of the students themselves, who must work hard to complete their studies so that they do not betray the struggles and sacrifices made over many decades.
As I have said before, youth unemployment is the most acute and primary economic problem of our time. Economics shall fall if it fails to answer the question of how we resolve youth unemployment. Politics will have no future relevance if youth are left out.
In Gauteng, there are close to 2 million young people who are neither in employment, in education nor in training. Some of them are on the verge of losing hope, while others have drifted to crime and other social ills such as drug and substance abuse.
In response to the problem of drug and substance abuse, we launched Ke Moja campaign which has now reached more than 1 million young people, encouraging them to live clean and drug-free lives.
Gauteng is also taking the lead in addressing youth unemployment and youth development. It is for this reason that we introduced this large scale and massive programme, Tshepo 1 Million, as an intervention to open opportunities with regard to demand-led skills development, job placement and entrepreneurship for the youth of Gauteng.
This ground-breaking partnership between the Gauteng Provincial Government, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator and more than 40 major private sector corporations is a living example of a social compact.
Since 2015, nearly 460 000 young people have benefitted from the Tshepo 500 000 flagship programme. This programme has now been upgraded and rebooted into Tshepo 1 Million so that we can change the lives of many more young people in our province and give them hope.
The call made by President Ramaphosa to place the unemployed youth in paid internships in companies across the economy, will inject momentum to the work we are already doing on Tshepo 1 Million. We can get more companies to lend a hand and give our youth a chance.
As part of addressing structural youth unemployment, we are aligning education and training to meet the needs of the new economy.
We have a partnership with technology companies to train large numbers of young people in digital skills so that they can take advantage of employment and entrepreneurial opportunities in the digital economy.
The 4th Industrial Revolution is upon us. It is fundamentally transforming the way we live, work and relate to one another. It offers enormous opportunities and some challenges, and we need to be prepared for it.
The World Economic Forum estimates that 65% of children entering primary school will find themselves in occupations that do not exist today.
It is estimated that over 35% of current jobs in South Africa and Gauteng in particular, will change and others will disappear completely.
The economy is transitioning to knowledge intensive industries, with the average ICT intensity of jobs in South Africa having increased by 20% over the past decade.
As part of getting ready for the fourth industrial revolution, the Gauteng Provincial Government has invested public money in the creation of broadband infrastructure towards the goal of 100% broadband connectivity in Gauteng by 2020. To date, we have connected over 1 500 kilometres of network fibre, with 1 066 access sites, connecting schools, health facilities, libraries and community centres.
Through eKasiLabs Innovation Centres, we are supporting entrepreneurs and youth with their innovations and fast-tracking the establishment of sustainable and innovative businesses in townships.
Honourable Members, during my many visits to firms as part of Ntirhisano, I met black entrepreneurs who own companies that are involved in cutting edge innovation and globally competitive advanced manufacturing activities.
For instance, Teddy Daka runs ANSYS which is a black-owned cyber security company that is among the major new players in the global cyber security industry. We as South Africa are not paying enough attention to cyber security whereas other countries are very keen to deploy ANSYS capabilities to solve their problems.
I also visited TUB, a Black women-owned software company run by two women: Ms Thuthu Khumalo and Ms Nana Sabelo. This company has developed advanced defense information technology systems for some of South East Asia’s economic tigers. This is a young but very promising business in the digital economy. It trains and employs mainly young people. Women are certainly taking a lead in the digital economy.
In December last year, I also visited a South African black-owned technology company, DARTCOM, which manufactures fibre optics in Watloo near Mamelodi. This is another amazing story of the 4th industrial revolution and digital economy unfolding in our province, involving an entrepreneur from the township of Mamelodi; Mr Khudusela Pitje.
Amongst others, Khudusela also runs a renewable energy business in Atteridgeville, another new sector of the economy of the future. He is part of that special crop of entrepreneurs that are bringing new industries of the future into the township economy. We are delighted that Mr Pitje has committed to training and placing 1000 young people in his businesses this year. He is truly lending a hand to open pathways for our youth.
Teddy, Thuthu, Nana and Khudusela are here with us today to say: please send me as we prepare our country for the fourth industrial revolution.
I also acknowledge my Special Guests of Honour – my dream team of young innovators and future inventors from the Sci-Bono clubhouse, a member of the MIT-based Clubhouse Network representing Grade 10 & 11 learners in inner-city and township schools – Sifiso Nkabinde, Carlos Kanyemba, Favor Okwara, Perfect Zikhali, Ayanda Shongwe and Sandile Ndlovu.
These young dreamers inspire me greatly. They are already involved in the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence and are involved in learning and applying coding language, software engineering and the development of applications that are used in the advanced manufacturing of machines. They are my heroes! They are the future!
I would like to congratulate the South African-born Elon Musk, who recently launched the first of nearly 12 000 ‘Starlink’ satellites that could bring super-fast internet access to the world. Elon is very proud of his link with our country, our province and our capital city, Tshwane. Elon, please lend a hand in linking our economy to some of the world’s best innovation ecosystems so that we are not left behind.
As the Gauteng government, we have already had engagements with cutting edge innovators based at the Silicon Valley in San Francisco, USA, as part of enhancing our innovation ecosystem.
Accordingly, we have enlisted the support of the Ghanaian-born African American, Dr Thomas Mensah – who is a world–acclaimed inventor who pioneered the deployment of fibre optics technology in information and communication systems, giving rise to the current digital revolution. Dr Mensah will help us to take The Gauteng Innovation Hub to the next level.
We are also working with our own technology entrepreneur and businessman, Dr Andile Ngcaba, who is mentoring young innovators and incubating technology start-up companies at the Silicon Valley. This year, we will send twenty tech-preneurs to Sillicon Valley.
Let us have the courage to dream big again and act with compassion.
Madame Speaker, I dream of a provincial economy where the needs, aspirations and energies of the majority of our people constitute the creative force for change and transformative economic growth.
If Gauteng is the hub of South Africa’s economy, the townships are the heartbeat of Gauteng. I dream of the townships being spaces where there is a vibrant culture and dynamic local economies underpinned by state-of-the-art infrastructure.
We are acting together with township communities and investors to turn them into havens of sustainable socio-economic development and empowerment.
The people in the townships need real jobs and thriving businesses where they live. They need state-of-the-art schools, libraries, clinics, hospitals, roads and other social amenities right in the townships. They need reliable, efficient and affordable public transport.
For township residents, the new dawn must represent a major facelift in the infrastructure as well as the look and feel of their townships, as part of our renewal and revitalisation programme.
The Gauteng Provincial Government and municipalities have been the leader in the country in the revitalisation of the township economies.
Between 2014 and 2017 public procurement spend on township enterprises has increased from R600 million to R17 billion.
The number of township enterprises doing business with our government has increased from 642 in 2014 to 4 182 in 2017. We have also helped formalise many township enterprises.
The introduction of the Township Economy Awards has stimulated huge interest amongst township businesses which compete to showcase their services and products. The awards have contributed to the growth of township businesses through financial support as well as access to markets.
Our work, as the champion of the township economy, has given rise to a serious wave of entrepreneurial activity in the townships, especially among the youth.
Accordingly, the 2017 Ventureburn Tech Startup Survey shows that 44% of tech start-ups list Gauteng as their home, as compared to only 26% in 2015. The survey also indicates that 53% of start-ups owned by Black young entrepreneurs are Gauteng-based while most of the Western Cape startups are owned by older white entrepreneurs.
Funding and access to markets are two most critical barriers facing Black start-ups and township enterprises. The initiative on the township stock exchange is in its final stages in partnership with the private sector. We have also completed a feasibility study on the establishment of a provincial state bank which will enable us to mobilise funding for SMMEs, township enterprises, women and youth businesses as well as for infrastructure development.
Another major problem facing township businesses is the mushrooming of unregulated businesses owned by foreign nationals. This is a matter we must address boldly and decisively to enforce by-laws and trading regulations. Many township entrepreneurs are being squeezed out of businesses by this unlawfully operating foreigner-owned businesses. This year, I will inspectors in visiting townships and inner-cities to conduct inspections and shutdown these illegally operating businesses.
The partnership we have with more than 40 corporates is opening new vistas of opportunities for township based businesses to participate in corporate supply chains, thus helping to transform these township enterprises into more sustainable businesses, without having to rely solely on government contracts.
We continue to invest in the development of cooperatives. To date, Gauteng has 14 registered co-operative banking institutions serving over 16 000 member-owners, with over R100 million in savings and R150 million in assets.
We are working with these institutions to ensure that they become future financial providers to township enterprises.
In partnership with the Italian co-operative movement, we are facilitating the formation of consumer co-operatives in the wholesale and retail sector. These cooperatives will mobilise the collective buying power of 250 000 township households to purchase affordable goods at stores they own and control.
Women-led cooperatives, the majority of whom are in the townships, are producing dignity packs and school uniforms and have created more than 30 000 job opportunities.
Madame Speaker, we remain consistent with our procurement strategy which must help drive re-industrialisation and the development of black industrialists.
Our province is determined to champion the use of public procurement budgets to stimulate local production. For example, the billions we spend on designated sectors like furniture must be used to procure goods sourced from local productive enterprises.
The majority of our departments are not yet complying with local content requirements. We will ensure that capacity is developed within government to procure goods that are produced or manufactured in this province.
Honourable Members, the social compact is underway in Gauteng. We have been working with private sector partners to unlock the potential of other sectors of the economy. For instance, we have agreed with the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector on creating 30 000 jobs in the call-centres and business support services by 2019. In 2017 alone, this sector has already created 6 000 new jobs.
We have also set up joint Action Labs focusing on industries such as capital equipment and machinery, ICT, automotives, mining, food and beverages, agriculture and agro-processing.
Madame Speaker, despite the progress we have made in the past four years, the Gauteng economy continues to face enormous challenges.
Low levels of growth are impacting negatively on the ability of our economy to create a sufficient number of jobs to drastically reduce unemployment.
We need to create 5 400 jobs per day to eliminate unemployment. To halve unemployment we need to create 2 700 jobs per day.
The new dawn heralds better prospects for our economy as both investor and consumer confidence rises. It will also boost South African exports, especially to the rest of the African continent.
We in Gauteng have intensified our work regarding trade and investment activities on the African continent.
Madame Speaker, there is no doubt that our work is bearing fruit. In 2016 alone, we attracted 75 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects into our provincial economy, worth R36 billion. These projects have created 9 354 jobs in our economy.
Over three years (2014-2016), our province attracted more than 200 FDI projects worth R69 billion, which created 19 000 jobs.
Gauteng is the leader with regard to intra-Africa trade. As of 2017, Gauteng companies had 169 projects worth R356 billion across our continent. Intra-Africa trade generated a total of 46 732 jobs in the Gauteng economy.
One of the major drivers of Foreign Direct Investment and sustainable economic growth is the quality of infrastructure.
Sustained investment in world class infrastructure stimulates growth, employment, spatial transformation and social integration by connecting communities and linking producers to markets.
Since 2014, together with the private sector, we have invested more than R40 billion in building and maintaining infrastructure such as building and upgrading schools, early childhood development centres, recreational facilities, libraries, clinics, hospitals, houses, roads and public transport, broadband, township industrial parks and agri-hubs.
According to the Quality of Life Survey released by the Gauteng City Region Observatory in 2016, the quality of infrastructure in Gauteng has received the highest rating in the citizen’s satisfaction survey.
Our infrastructure investment projects have also contributed in creating and maintaining close to 100 000 jobs and in growing businesses, especially those owned by black people, women, youth and people with disabilities.
The economy and the quality of infrastructure are not the only issues of concern to our people.
The quality of public services are also important.
Honourable Members, the Life Esidimeni tragedy has exposed deep institutional problems within our public health system and public service in general. It cannot be business as usual.
Serious governance failures have compromised the quality of care of millions of people who depend on our public health system, especially the poor and most vulnerable sections of society such as those who use mental health services.
The people of Gauteng, I would like to reiterate that the death of 144 Life Esidimeni mental health patients is a tragedy that has left deep wounds and pain in the collective memory of our democratic nation. It is something that should have never happened and should never happen again.
The Gauteng Provincial Government had budgeted enough money for mental health care services. I would like to reiterate that the transfer of mental health care patients to ill-equipped and unlawfully operating NGOs was never approved by myself or the Gauteng Executive Council.
However, as the head of government in the province I have taken full responsibility and accountability for this tragic loss of life of our fellow citizens. I cannot pass the buck. I am the Premier of this province. The buck stops with me. I take responsibility for anything that goes wrong in the administration I lead. I must face the people and fix the problem.
I dip my head in shame and once more apologise that this happened under my watch and I am totally committed to take corrective and remedial action to ensure that this never happens again.
I have made a public commitment that I will work tirelessly with the families to ensure that those who are criminally liable, as determined by the relevant law enforcement agencies, are prosecuted so that the cause of justice is served.
We keenly await the outcomes of the Alternative Dispute Resolution process led by retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.
I am absolutely determined to speedily implement the outcomes of the ADR process in order to ensure redress, justice and closure for the affected families. After consultation with the Family Committee, I will appoint an independent Curator who will ensure that all the decisions of Retired Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke are implemented.
How a nation cares for the most vulnerable in society is a defining feature of the values of that nation. In April, this year, I will appoint a panel of experts and civil society representatives who will review our work in caring for the most vulnerable in society – people with mental illness, the elderly, people with disabilities and children.
Another defining feature of a caring nation is how it looks after its military veterans and the men and women who put their lives on the line for their country.
Last year, we established the Military Veterans Desk in the Office of the Premier which is working with the Department of Military Veterans and municipalities to address the plight of our military veterans. Substantial progress is being made to address their housing, educational, health and public transport needs.
Urgent steps are being taken to turn around the performance of the Gauteng Department of Health.
The Minister of Health and myself have jointly appointed an intervention team of public health experts and managers to support the Health MEC, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa, in turning around the performance of the Gauteng Department of Health by attending to all the deep structural and financial problems. We are confident this intervention will succeed.
The Life Esidimeni tragedy has brought to the fore that there are some of our public health workers and public officials who treat patients and citizens with disrespect and disdain. This is totally unacceptable and is not representative of the tens of thousands of health care professionals and workers who are compassionate and dedicated to public service excellence.
Gauteng province runs the biggest health system in Southern Africa which caters for over twenty million visits per annum. It has several centres of excellence which should be appreciated and strengthened even as we work to turn around the overall performance of the health system.
In the recent period, there have been more reported incidents of racism, xenophobia and gender based violence. The fact that our province also has the highest levels of inequality undermines social cohesion and nation building.
As the Gauteng Provincial Government, we will continue to roll out programmes that promote social cohesion and nation building.
The Gauteng Annual Social Cohesion Carnival continues to grow. In 2017, the carnival was attended by a cultural mosaic of 35 000 people representing different communities and national groups who celebrated our national heritage together and showcased our rich cultural diversity. The Carnival is the best standard on how we should celebrate all our national days.
Madame Speaker, the cultural and creative industries contribute to social cohesion, nation building and economic development. Almost 40% of all cultural and creative workers in South Africa are in Gauteng. The industry contributes R30 billion to the Gauteng economy.
Our province continues to host some of the finest cultural events including the Joy of Jazz, Moretele Jazz Heroes Concert, Go West Festival and the Delicious Food Festival, the Afropunk Festival and #FillUpFNBStadium by Casper Nyovest. Collectively, these events created almost 25 000 jobs, mainly benefitting young people.
The cultural and creative industries also constitute an area which offers huge economic opportunities for many young people who are creative, talented and entrepreneurial. It is in this sector of our economy where many of our youth from townships and villages have overcome poverty and disadvantage and realised their dreams.
It is also in this sector that many young people are harnessing opportunities of the 4th Industrial Revolution, especially new media platforms to unleash their creativity and talents.
Honourable Members, let us celebrate the phenomenal success of Purple and Black Panther as world class productions that tell stories of Africans and Black people. This is important to counter racial stereotypes.
I will convene the cultural and creative industries Indaba in June this year to develop a roadmap on how to take this important sector of our economy to the next level. Gauteng must be the creative pulse of our nation.
Gauteng is the home of champions. We are the home of competitive sport. We are the home of the great Orlando Pirates (Mabhakaniya), the spectacular Kaizer Chiefs (Amakhosi), the flamboyant Mamelodi Sundowns (Abafana be style), Wits University (the Clever Boys), Supersport United (Matsatsantsa a Pitori) and not to forget Moroka Swallows (Up the Birds), Jomo Cosmos (Ezenkosi). We love football with passion.
We are also the home of the Blue Bulls (My bloed is blou!), the Golden Lions and Die Valke. We also love rugby with passion.
Sport is a great unifier and nation builder. In 2017, we introduced the Premier’s Social Cohesion Games which drew tremendous support from soccer and rugby legends who participated in tournaments in different townships in Gauteng.
We also had the inaugural Tambo-Soncini solidarity games which celebrate international solidarity between the people of Italy and the people of South Africa. These will be annual games that bring South African and Italian youth together to showcase their talent.
I would like to thank the South African Rugby Union, the HIP Alliance and the African Diaspora for enlisting the participation of our legends who are contributing enormously to social cohesion and nation building in our province. This is another example of an emerging social compact.
I want to challenge other sporting legends-golfers, cricketers, boxers, cyclists, bikers, netballers and marathon runners to come to the fore and lend a hand in building a movement for social cohesion in our province.
To paraphrase J.F Kennedy, the critical question for you in this new dawn is to not ask what the country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.
Honourable Members, we reiterate our commitment to prudent management of public resources and ethical leadership both of which are essential to inspire greater public confidence.
I am happy to report that Gauteng has been experiencing sustained improvement in audit outcomes.
The recent Auditor General’s Report gave two-thirds of our departments and entities clean audits, coming second after the Western Cape. This is a tremendous achievement as we continue in our quest to achieve 100% clean audits.
The main area of concern for me remains wasteful and irregular expenditure as well as delays in disciplinary processes and criminal prosecution of those suspected of involvement in corruption. This is a matter that will receive greater attention in 2018.
According to the recent report by the National Department of Health, Gauteng is the number one province on the national core standards on the ideal clinic, followed by Kwa-Zulu Natal. Out of 372 clinics, 281 (71%) have achieved the ideal clinic status – that means, they open on time, have good infrastructure, adequate supplies of medicines, clean and staffed by health professionals that practice Batho Pele principles. These clinics are ready for the roll out of the National Health Insurance.
Madame Speaker, we are the only province that has championed and introduced the Open Tender System as part of our crusade against corruption and maladministration. This year we will introduce a Bill on the Open Tender System in the legislature.
As part of our efforts to institutionalise clean governance, build a culture of integrity and fight corruption, I have appointed a civil society-led Ethics and Anti-corruption Advisory Council as our own watchdog on clean governance.
This Ethics Advisory Council is already hard at work to help us crack-down on corruption wherever it manifests itself. Please lend a hand in the fight against corruption.
I have also met with the Special Investigation Unit to ensure that all outstanding cases involving officials in the Gauteng government are speedily concluded so that where necessary, criminal prosecutions can ensue.
It is unacceptable that many forensic investigations are instituted by departments, but there are no consequences on the part of wrong doers.
As a province, we have been outspoken and consistent in the fight against corruption.
I want to lead a province that is underpinned by high standards of service delivery, accountability, integrity and ethics.
To this end, I am meeting all senior-managers across the Gauteng Provincial Government – from director level to Head of Department on 28th February. This meeting will mainly discuss with them the renewal of the public service in the aftermath of the Life Esidimeni tragedy, including signing a pledge to recommit ourselves to Batho Pele principles and values.
The citizens are getting a raw deal from public servants and public officials. We need a new and fresh approach to enforce accountability and delivery. Passing the buck or blame shifting is not acceptable.
I will also initiate lifestyle audit for members of the Executive Council and Heads of Departments. We want to send a strong message that we are committed to probity, transparency and accountability in the conduct of public affairs. I call on all Members of this Legislature to join me in volunteering to subject ourselves to lifestyle audits.
Madame Speaker, crime is one of the perilous problems of our time. I am saddened that we are not yet winning the war against crime because the high rate of crime destroys the dreams of our people who yearn to live in safe and secure communities.
Over the past year, we have worked much better with the leadership of the South African Police Service, community policing forums and other law enforcement agencies in directing resources and the collective energy of communities towards areas which contribute to high crime rate.
Together we have set targets for station, cluster and provincial commanders to reduce crime by 50% in the 40 high priority police stations and 12 clusters.
Working with national government and municipalities, we have added an additional 1 266 police personnel and 859 high performance vehicles to improve police response and visibility. We have also re-introduced the specialised police units to focus on priority crimes such as gender-based violence, trio crimes (which includes car-jackings, house and business robberies), drugs and farm murders. Our police officers are highly motivated by this intervention. They are well equipped to reach any place fast.
Madame Speaker, I want to thank Honourable Van Staden and Honourable Dr Pieter Groenewald of the Freedom Front Plus for meeting with me and Community Safety MEC on the 16th of November last year to discuss how they can contribute to crime fighting in our beautiful province.
Honourable Van Staden has come to the fore to say to the people of Gauteng and their government to say: stuur my asseblief!
I challenge all other parties to join us.
Honourable Members, we have also launched a campaign that draws the attention of the nation on the plight of young women and girl children.
Through this campaign, we are galvanizing a multi-disciplinary response to the multiple and complex challenges facing girl children and young women. We will act together to tackle high levels of violence and femicide against young women, increased rate of new HIV infections amongst young women, high pregnancy rate and school drop-outs among girl learners, stigmatization, attacks and killing of members of the LGBTQI community.
Patriarchy and unequal gender relations are at the heart of the problems facing young women and girl children in our society.
Our response must be comprehensive, multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary to combat crimes against women and girl children.
A key focus of this response is the empowerment of young women and girls through education and creating economic opportunities in order to enhance their economic independence and reduce their vulnerability.
We have also introduced a programme which focuses on equipping young mothers with the necessary skills that will transition them from depending on child support grants to sustainable economic opportunities. Since 2014 30 000 young mothers have been empowered to live independent and sustainable livelihoods.
In addition, we must ensure that the girl child stays in school. For this reason, we have provided 1.1 million girl learners with dignity packs and sanitary towels over the past three years. We have up-scaled this programme in partnership with civil society and the private sector to reach an additional 1 million girls over the next 12 months.
Our response will also include ensuring greater coordination between the criminal justice system, civil society and other stakeholders. To this effect, I have appointed a Special Cabinet Committee that is coordinating our response. We call on communities to lend a hand and join the fight against crime.
Our programmes on women empowerment are comprehensive and integrated to address social, economic, political and institutional impediments to gender equality.
Currently the Gauteng Provincial Government spends 23% of the goods and services budget on women owned businesses. We would like to achieve a target of 30% by 2019.
Over the past three years, 108 000 women have also benefitted from employment opportunities in our public employment programmes, and 2 600 women have benefitted from business opportunities in the infrastructure, hospitality, tourism, cultural and creative industries.
Women are also the primary beneficiaries of housing delivery, social security, health, and educational programmes of our government. For instance, this year 54% of our bursary allocation has gone to female students.
As we celebrate the centenary of Mama Albertina Sisulu, we shall continue to place the struggle for gender equality and women’s emancipation at the centre of our programme for Transformation, Modernisation and Reindustrialisation.
Madam Speaker, the central tenet of our vision for Gauteng is to build a province with integrated, safe, liveable, green, sustainable, economically viable and culturally vibrant communities.
Since 1994, Gauteng has delivered more than 1.2 million RDP houses, which constitutes 30% of the national houses stock.
Over the past three years, we have delivered 60 430 housing units and 28 000 serviced sites.
However, the high rate of urban migration has led to the dire situation that that the housing backlog still remains at 540 000. In order to deal decisively with the backlog and transform spatial patterns, we introduced a new approach of post-apartheid cities and mega human settlements.
A total of thirty-one new mega settlements projects have been approved for all the five development corridors of City Region. These projects will yield more than 700 000 housing opportunities over a five year period.
To date, we have launched seven new mega human settlement projects in Ekurhuleni (Leeuwpoort, Daggafontein and John Dube), West Rand (Motrose and Elijah Barayi), Johannesburg (Riversands View) and Tshwane (Rama City). This will be followed by Vaal River City and Lanseria City development projects whose planning is quite advanced.
The mega human settlements and post-apartheid cities have already attracted private and public sector investment of more than R100 billion which will also contribute to Gauteng’s provincial economy.
We are also paying attention to completing legacy projects that are spread throughout the province. These are smaller projects which come with problems that have been there for over a decade.
Our country needs a fresh approach to the resolution of the land question which has been at the heart of the struggle against colonial conquest and racial oppression. We welcome the resolution of the governing party’s 54th National Conference on the expropriation of land without compensation.
As an urban province, the land question is particularly pressing when we seek to overcome apartheid spatial and economic injustice through integrated and sustainable human settlements, security of land tenure, support of urban agriculture production and food security, industrial development, and township economy revitalisation.
We are going to work with municipalities, national government departments, state owned enterprises to release land in state hands for productive use. There is also significant land that is lying fallow, underutilised or abandoned by absentee land lords, which will be expropriated and allocated to our people for their own advancement.
During our interaction with communities through Ntirhisano, the people have been making calls to us to make land available to them so they can build their own houses and embark on productive economic activity.
We also need land in well located areas such as key economic centres which must be expropriated in the public interest, in order to build new integrated human settlements and post-apartheid cities.
The land question requires us to work together as political parties, civil society and business to redress the historical injustice visited upon our people.
One of the unacceptable practices in the provincial government departments and municipalities is the underspending on allocated infrastructure budgets, the terrible consequence of which is to forfeit the money back to the National Treasury. This is a grave injustice for which there shall be consequences. Honourable Members, our work to usher in a modern, integrated, reliable, safe and affordable public transport system is progressing well.
We are working together to roll out the BRT system, expand the Gautrain, and integrate the taxi industry into the mainstream of a modernised transport system which will be operated under a single transport authority.
Honourable Members, we all know that the e-tolls have added to the cost of living for many motorists and public transport users in Gauteng.
The new dawn must also bring a solution to the protracted and unresolved problem of e-tolls. It is loud and clear for all to see that e-tolls have not worked.
Accordingly, I will engage President Ramaphosa in order to find a new and more equitable funding model to support the continued expansion of Gauteng’s road network and public transport system. Please send me!
Madam Speaker, climate change is a reality. It is amongst the dominant trends that trouble our world today, together with rapid urbanisation and fast-paced technological change.
Risks posed by climate change need a comprehensive global and local response. We have to change our lifestyles in order to protect our planet and its finite resources as part implementing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
In this regard, the most urgent and pressing challenge for the Gauteng City Region is to guarantee the security of supply of both water and energy. A recent study by the Gauteng City Region Observatory suggests that we are more vulnerable as the economic engine of South Africa.
Urgent action is required if we are to avoid the crisis that has befallen the Western Cape. We have no luxury of waiting and shifting the blame later. We have to act now.
In this regard, next month I plan to meet with all the Mayors and water experts to discuss our comprehensive plan as the Gauteng City Region.
We call upon communities, government and businesses to use water sparingly. In this regard, we need to harness new technologies to address a range of issues such as, water treatment, waste water management and sanitation, rainwater harvesting and aging infrastructure which leads to huge water losses.
With regard to energy security, clean and renewable energy solutions are the only way forward. There can be no turning back. Our provincial government and municipalities have to push forward with far greater determination in implementing our jointly agreed energy projects for the Gauteng City Region.
Madame Speaker, the Gauteng provincial government and its cities were honoured to be elected Co-President of Metropolis, World Association of major metropolitan regions and cities, at the 12th World Congress in Montreal.
Our participation in the Metropolis will help us to benchmark our performance among the best of our peers in the world with regard to managing urbanisation, building inclusive economies and liveable cities, promoting social cohesion and implementing the seventeen sustainable development goals of the United Nations.
In August this year, we will host a meeting of the Board of the Metropolis which will be attended by more than 130 governors and mayors from major cities, metropolitan areas and city regions across the world. The meeting will give our province the opportunities to add its voice on we address global issues facing our time such as climate change; rapid urbanisation; rapid technological change; improving access to quality education and health as well as tackling growing inequality and poverty.
Gauteng make take a lead again on many of these global and continental issues.
Gauteng must also assert itself more strongly on issues affecting the people of our province.
Honourable Members, I hold a strong view that, often times, we have allowed a situation in which Gauteng gets a raw deal. For instance, the size of our provincial Legislature has remained fixed at seventy-three seats, whilst Kwa-Zulu Natal stands at eighty seats.
This is so despite the fact that Gauteng’s population has experienced the largest population growth in the country since the 2011 census. Even with the equitable share, we have not received our fair share. We are yet to receive our fair share.
Honourable Members, let us all stand up for the people of Gauteng.
I would like to call on all Mayors in our province to work together with us to represent the interests of the people of province, regardless of the political party in charge. There are mayors who find it very difficult to work outside the prism of partisanship.
If we are to deliver a better life and enable all Gauteng residents to live their dreams, let us pursue a common public interest for the people of our province. We must stop being prisoners of our own party political affiliations. Gauteng needs mature leaders who can work together without worrying about the next elections.
Madame Speaker, let me return to Ben Okri. In his poem, A New Dream of Politics he says:
“They say there is only one way for politics.
That it looks with hard eyes at the hard world
And shapes it with a ruler’s edge,
Measuring what is possible against
Acclaim, support, and votes.
They say that there is only one way to dream
For the people, to give them not what they need
But food for their fears.
We measure the deeds of politicians
By their time in power.
But in ancient times they had another way.
They measured greatness by the gold
Of contentment, by the enduring arts,
Laughter at the hearths…
But we live in times that have lost
This tough art of dreaming
The best for its people
Or so we are told by cynics
And doomsayers who see the end
Of time in blood-red moons
We dream of a new politics
That will renew the world
Under their weary suspicious gaze.
There’s always a new way,
A better way that’s not been tried before.”
The new dawn requires not only to dream again or rehabilitate our wounded dreams. It also calls for new dreams that imagine a civilisation beyond the present – a new civilisation that is premised on equity and social justice and puts the primacy of human well-being above anything else. The new dawn also calls for a new dream of politics in which public officials uphold a high standard of accountability, integrity, ethics and show respect citizens. This is the politics I choose over other politics.
In conclusion, I would like to call on you to lend a hand in working for a province and country of our dreams. I thank all the dreamers, young and old, who refuse to succumb to despair and adversity. Let us be the province of hope, renewal and change.
I thank the people of Gauteng for giving me the opportunity to serve. You are the people hire and fire politicians. We serve at your pleasure!
I would like to thank my wife Mpho, my children and my entire family for giving me support as I strive to serve people of Gauteng with honour and distinction.
I also thank Team Gauteng City Region, MECs and Executive Mayors, for their commitment, collaboration and loyal service to the people of our City Region.
I would like to thank the Director General, HOD’s, my Special Advisors and all the staff in the Office of the Premier for their hard work and support.
I would also like to thank members of this legislature for their robust feedback and constructive criticism so that we can constantly improve the work we do to meet the needs and expectations of the citizens.
Lastly, I hereby convey my deepest gratitude to the Health Ombuds, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, the retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, all families affected by the Life Esidimeni tragedy and civil society groups. With deep pain, you have walked this difficult path with us as we seek to right the wrongs and find redress, justice and closure for the affected families. I thank you for holding us accountable and answerable. Let us walk this last mile together.
God Bless Africa! I Salute You All!