Speech by Premier Nomvula Mokonyane during the State of the Province Address in Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication, Kliptown
9 Jun 2009
Speaker and Deputy Speaker
Members of the Executive Council
Leaders of political parties
Honourable members of the Gauteng Legislature and Members of Parliament
Executive Mayors and other leaders in local government
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners
Heads of Departments
CEO's and Managers of Gauteng state agencies
The Provincial Commissioner of Police
Friends and comrades
Beloved citizens of Gauteng
Ladies and gentlemen
Over the past 15 years the African National Congress-led government has laid strong foundation on which we will continue to build. We have accumulated a vast wealth of experience on issues of government and meeting people’s needs.
This experience, born of the struggle to serve our people with dignity, places us in a better position to navigate the pitfalls that comes with governing challenges. We are fully conscious of the fact that there are more other things that we still have to learn.
In the run up to the 2009 elections, we applied the lessons learnt by conducting vigorous and comprehensive interactive campaigns. These campaigns took the form of izimbizo, sectoral meetings and door-to-door visits to give our people an opportunity to exercise their right, the right to participate in matters of governance.
In our quest to promote participatory democracy, we visited townships, informal settlements, cities and farms, virtually criss-crossing the width and breadth of our province and actively listening to what people want and expect from government.
Such interactions have become the hallmark of the ANC-led government. They have become one of the defining characters of this government. We are determined to continue with this style of governance.
In the process of interaction, the people of Gauteng raised important matters that they want the government to address and prioritise. You told us that you want the government to prioritise the creation of decent jobs, fighting poverty, crime and corruption, improved access to basic services in hospitals, better schools and quality education, clean running water, electricity, better municipal services such as removal of refuse, general maintenance of roads – no pot holes and cutting of grass in all public spaces.
Accordingly, we went back and started to prioritise all those things that you have asked us to consider. Based on the issues you raised and prioritised, we identified five critical focus areas that call for urgent attention. These five critical focus areas formed the basis of the ANC Manifesto for the 2009 general elections.
As the movement of the people, we approached the elections on the strength of your voice, the ANC Manifesto. It is now almost two months since the people of South Africa expressed unequivocally their preferred choice of government on 22 April 2009. In these elections, the African National Congress (ANC), once again, demonstrated that its strong ties with the masses of our people are unbreakable.
No amount of deceit, intricate web of manufactured lies, glaring manipulation of the means of communication and hollow promises could sway or weaken the long established bond between the freedom-loving people of South Africa and their liberation movement, the ANC.
It is now history that the ANC won the general elections with overwhelming majority both in Gauteng and National.Victory was decisive. Thank you South Africa, thank you Gauteng. We are touched and humbled by your continued expression of trust and confidence in the ANC-led government.
Consequently, the Gauteng Executive Council has officially adopted the ANC Manifesto as the policy framework that will guide our work for the next five years.
People of Gauteng, nikhulumile, sinizwile!
Madame Speaker, today, the opening of the legislature takes place at a site that has rich symbolic meaning for many of us. It is a place where the visionary document, the Freedom Charter, which in many ways shaped the outlook and spirit of our constitution, was crafted by South Africans from all walks of life. We chose this site in order to renew our commitment to take government close to where the people live. We also chose this place as a gesture that depicts our determination to bring change in the manner in which we do things in government. This is a sign of things to come. It is a moment of renewal. We are establishing a new tradition.
Above all, we decided to use this venue because of its close association with the stalwarts and icons of our struggle, the late Comrade uTata Walter Sisulu and the rock-solid leader, uMama Albertinah Sisulu. Hence the renaming of the site, as Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication, in honour of his sterling leadership qualities.
Speaking about this site, Madame Speaker, will not be complete without saluting one of the living great leaders, the struggle heroine, the matriarch of the ANC, uMama Albertinah Sisulu. She is one of the mothers who sacrificed the pleasures and joys of life so that our generation can in live peacefully as equals in a prosperous South Africa.
She took many of us under her wing and taught us the importance of caring for one another. In spite of all the humiliation and hardship she was subjected to by the racist regime she never stops wearing a knowing, warm smile that reflects hope and resilience.
Throughout her hardships she took care of many children as if they were hers. She has never allowed other people to go to bed without food. Let us learn from people like her and ensure that we become selfless in our endeavour to build a caring society.
Furthermore, this occasion happens during a very significant time in the history of our country. It is the time when we remember the heroic stand that the youth of Soweto and South Africa in general took against the de-humanizing system of apartheid. Let us commemorate this time in a manner that befits the gallant revolutionaries of 16 June. Let us commemorate Youth Month by promoting social cohesion, unity, national pride and hard work.
Much can be learnt by the present generation of youth from the selflessness and sense of responsibility displayed by the 1976 youth detachment. Let the present youth become part of the advanced detachment in tackling issues related to moral regeneration, self reliance, service delivery and economic development.
However, young people must be empowered by way of investment in their education and training through such programs as mentoring and skills transfer. This will enable youth to participate fully in matters of governance and development, nation building and social cohesion in general. Working hand in hand with National Youth Development Agency (NADC) we will prioritise youth development issues. Our agenda for renewal will not see the light of day if young people and their aspirations are not at the centre of this program.
In addition, this year we are also commemorating the 65th Anniversary of the ANC Youth League; the 30th anniversary of the Congress of the South African Student (COSAS); and the 30th anniversary of the illegal execution of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu. All these anniversaries are a sharp reminder of the centrality of youth in shaping the course of history as well as being the catalyst for social change and development.
On 18 July 2009, the first president of democratic South Africa, former President Nelson Mandela will turn 91. His life and conduct has become the light of hope for many in the world.
An international campaign called Mandela Day has been initiated to honour our icon. It will be celebrated on 18 July each year and will give people in South Africa and all over the world the opportunity to do something good to help others.
As the President stated we are called upon to spend at least 67 minutes of our time wherever we are on this day doing something useful within our communities, especially among the less fortunate. Support Mandela Day and encourage the world to join us in this wonderful campaign.
Ladies and gentlemen, one of the things that this country and its people are known for is our love for sport. We are known and respected all over the world for being the best in various sport codes. Recently, the Blue Bulls made us all proud by winning the prestigious Super14 Rugby Tournament. We have also gained a reputation for being the best hosting nation. We successfully hosted the Indian Premier League.We are currently hosting the British and Irish Lions Tour and we are confident that the Springboks will do well.
On 14 June 2009, Gauteng will officially host the opening of the FIFA Confederations Cup. Once again, we have been presented with the opportunity to display to the world that indeed South Africans are warm and welcoming people. It is a chance of a lifetime; we must all throw our lot behind this prestigious tournament.
We wish our national soccer team, Bafana Bafana all the best. We urge the people of Gauteng to go out in numbers to support our team. Our preparedness to stage this event is beyond any doubt. The roads, transport, stadia, hotels and Bed and Breakfast facilities have been improved to acceptable international standards.
In essence, this points to the confidence that the international community has in our capacity to excel in hosting events of such magnitude.
Madame Speaker, as we enter the new era of governance, the period of renewal, the period of hope, the period of accelerated change, and the period of heightened service delivery, we shall be guided in all our acts by the mandate given to us by the people.
As we embark on our renewal programme in the next five years, the creation of decent work and sustainable livelihoods must be at the centre of our work.This becomes even more critical in the context of recession, which is compounding the challenges of poverty, hunger and unemployment and making it even more difficult for our people to survive.
Our response to the recession will focus on the following key areas:
* Cushioning the impact on the poorest families through social support measures, including poverty relief
* Boosting public job creation interventions through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP)
* Investing in infrastructure, skills development and other measures to sustain job creation and economic activity. These interventions will help address job creation and broader economic challenges in the short term while positioning the province for growth and the creation of decent work in the medium to long-term.
* The renewal of public service, including reorganisation to eliminate duplication, improve efficiency and save costs.The public service must do more with less.
* Working in cooperation with business and labour to save jobs and stimulate economic activity.
Today we are making a commitment to the people of Gauteng that this government will do things differently. We promise our people that we will always act in their best interest in the execution of our duties. We shall therefore direct our energies to spending government time and money on real delivery issues not intentions. We are going to be very strict on issues of value for money and demand high standards of performance from anyone who does business with government.
In line with the need for prudent expenditurewe will focus more on cutting the cost of doing business and prevent any wasteful expenditure. We are going to review our engagement with the service providers such as consultants, developers and many others. We demand better service and nothing less.
It is our understanding as government that we have no permanent marriage with service providers but a relationship based on performance and mutual trust. Those that only see government as the milking cow and lower their standards when it comes to doing work for government have no place in this administration. For a long time the government has been taken for a ride by greedy service providers who care less about the welfare of our people. The buck stops here and now.
We want to partner with service providers who understand that their role is to assist in building a lasting legacy through the provision of quality service.
Project management will now be the sole responsibility of the government employees especially if we are serious about cutting costs and accelerating service delivery. Government officials must begin to take their responsibilities seriously. The over-reliance on consultants or middlemen by government will be reviewed in an attempt to promote the full utilisation of internal capacity.
Madame Speaker, this also goes for the continued usage of labour brokers in public institutions such as hospitals. Currently, we have an abnormal situation in which most of the professional nurses and pharmacists are answerable to labour brokers because they have been placed by them in employment instead of government.
We are going to reign in over such anomalies in our institutions. By doing this, we will bring an end to abuse and exploitation of this category of workers thus improving service delivery.
Furthermore, we have realised that the success of this government also depends on a highly committed civil service. Our people related to us horrible stories about the attitude of our workers, the civil servants. They told us how our elderly people are neglected and abuse at pension pay points. They told us how they are undermined andmade to wait hours in long queues by civil servants who value their tea time more than service.
They spend time talking on phones with friends instead of doing what they are being paid for provision of quality service to our people. The level of rudeness and arrogance displayed by some of our civil servants towards the public has reached unacceptable proportions. We must bring an end to this scourge. The role of civil servants must take on another dimension and all must pledge to serve the people with dignity, respect and passion.
A new work culture must prevail. We are determined to do things differently. Hard work, efficiency, speed and quality service will be the order of the day.
In this moment of renewal, civil servants must remain and work closely with communities irrespective of their seniority; they must understand and appreciate what an ordinary person expects from them.
Acts of corruption, negligence and maladministration will be dealt with severely.If you steal linen in our public hospitals you must be punished for that act. If police officers and court officials lose case dockets, they will have to lose their jobs too. We cannot afford to have a justice system that is compromised by rogue elements.
Most importantly, Madam Speaker, the way in which we fund our priorities is going to change. We are going to redirect the allocation of funds from non-core functions especially those at the head offices of various departments to focus more on service delivery on site. We are developing a public service that is responsive, sensitive and committed.
We have heard many heart-breaking stories experienced by small and medium size businesses when dealing with the Gauteng Shared Service Centre (GSSC), which is one of our agencies. We have been told how even our own government officials get frustrated by the operations of GSSC. It is a reasonable expectation that GSSC must function efficiently and pay suppliers on time. We cannot again afford to have suppliers complaining about late payments irrespective of where the delay emanates from (i.e. from GSSC or line departments). The fact of the matter is that suppliers have rendered a service and have to be paid within 30 days as prescribed by our own PFMA. The employees of our agencies must begin to understand that by failing to pay emerging businesses in time, they become accomplices in crime to undermine and stall economic growth and development.
This government must not be responsible for the downfall of emerging entrepreneurs because of our own inefficiencies. Let us ensure that officials do what they are paid for and stop blaming systems, this has gone too far and must be addressed now.
It is for this reason that we will embark on an assessment of the impact of all government agencies on service delivery across the spheres of government in Gauteng. As government, if we value our reputation and image, this matter must be attended to as a soon as possible.We cannot afford to tread ahead as if everything is normal when we have institutions that are unable to assist government to deliver on its mandate.
No more embarrassing stories!
Madame Speaker, there is no doubt in our minds that there is a pressing need for a change of mindset within the civil service.
However, government cannot change the civil servants mindset all by itself without the active involvement of the Labour Unions. While we are mindful of their mandate, unions should not only be active when defending their members’ rights but they must assist in inculcating a productive work ethic.
As part of building a shared vision and understanding, constructive engagement with Labour and other civil society bodies will take place so that we achieve maximum co-operation and high levels of productivity.
While we expect the unions to co-operate, we must on the other hand as government provide the necessary resources for public service workers and create the enabling conditions so that workers can perform to their full capacity.
Madame Speaker, in this term of government we also want focus on and strengthen local government structures as they are at the coal face of service delivery. We need to build strong confidence and levels of trust between local communities and their ward councilors. We are going to strengthen the ward committees so that they begin to play a meaningful role in the life of their communities.
In this regard, we are going to review our communication machinery and ensure that people at local level have access to credible information. We are also going to empower our Local Councilors such that they are able to respond to issue raised by community members.
What we envisage happening in this sphere of government is a change that will turn our local government into activist local government which can lead local development. It should become local government that is not overtaken by communities but the one that understands the pulse of the people.
To further strengthen local government, we are going to review the lines of reporting and accountability of the Community Development Workers (CDWs). In the pat few years we witnessed the disruption of services and the destruction of infrastructure in Khutsong. Their case for re-incorporation, as acknowledged by government, was understandable. We have incorporated Khutsong into Gauteng province. It is now time for all of us, particularly the community members of Khutsong, to work towards the rebuilding, healing and reconciliation of their community. We must now make Khutsong a beautiful township to stay in.
Comrade Speaker, the tide is changing. As it builds up, it requires that we all change the way we have been operating.
In order to achieve this change, we have identified seven key strategic priorities that will drive our programs for the next five years. These are as follows:
* Creating decent work and building a growing, inclusive economy
* Promoting quality education and skills development
* Better health care for all
* Stimulating rural development and food security
* Intensifying the fight against crime and corruption
* Building cohesive and sustainable communities
* Strengthening the developmental state and good governance
Madame Speaker, the global economic downturn and the shift in economic structure has led to the increase in the number of the structurally unemployed. Shortage of skills that are necessary to fuel economic expansion remains a challenge. Accessibility to quality health care service remains elusive for many of our people.
However, this crisis presents us with an opportunity to invest more in job creating social infrastructure projects, in skills development and to stimulate new job creating sectors of the economy.The work that we have started to beautify our townships and cities, the elimination of alien plants, planting of indigenous trees, rehabilitations of parks and rivers will help to create new employment opportunities. Above all, our approach to infrastructure development will be based on labour intensive method that will create decent jobs.
In order, to promote inclusive economic growth and decent work we will inject massive public investment in infrastructure.We will focus on building transport and community facilities such as clinics, schools, community centres and public transport routes. This programme will create jobs, develop skills and support our efforts to improve the quality of education and health care.
Working with other spheres of government, we will develop and implement an integrated plan to expand, manage and maintain the infrastructure. Through pulling our resources, we will seek to mobilise greater levels of private investment in public infrastructure to benefit the province and the country as a whole and create more work opportunities.
We will continue to improve Gauteng’s transport system to give our communities better access to economic activity and leisure. We also want to work with other role players to revive rail infrastructure to stimulate agriculture and other economic activity and improve access to markets in outlying areas in the province such as Sedibeng and the West Rand.
Taxis remain an integral part of public transport in our province.We will continue to work with this sector to ensure that commuters and all our people receive decent service which is safe, clean, affordable and reliable.We will work with them as we set up a seamless public transport network and single ticketing system across trains, buses, taxis in the next few years.
We will also expand the number of Drivers’ Licence Testing Stations, reducing the backlogs and rooting out maladministration and corruption.
Gauteng will ensure that it effectively contributes to Phase Two of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) announced by the president.We will expand the programme to bring larger numbers of unemployed people into productive work and ensure that they receive accredited training whilst earning an income.The focus will be on areas such as home-based care and community health services, construction, maintenance and environmental protection projects.
We will also work with national government to bring social grant recipients, particularly young mothers who benefit from the child support grant, into the EPWP.They will be able to benefit from skills development and life skills training including awareness on family planning.This will help them to become productive and independent members of society.
Madam Speaker, we have begun to ask ourselves why the government should be paying child support when the fathers of these children are earning money. We will therefore be working with the relevant government agencies to ensure that fathers do not shift their responsibilities for child maintenance to government.
Madame Speaker, every day almost two million children attend schools in Gauteng. They gather to learn and acquire skills needed for growth and economic development.Our collective hope for our children should be the driving force behind everything that we do in education.
A strong public education system is at the heart of the government’s mandate and is the foundation of our province’s future prosperity.
In order to improve our school system, we will do the following:
* Transform schools into centres of excellence and national pride for the future
* support schools through infrastructure, school safety programmes and social support
* Develop a social compact with all stakeholders to ensure quality learning and teaching
* Support skills development for decent work.
If we want to become a proud and self-reliant nation which is able to compete globally, we need to build strong early childhood development foundation. This will be achieved through improved access to Grade R and improved literacy and numeracy.
Our schools must be sites that demonstrate the kind of future we want to build. Without effective schools we will not succeed in building a successful, inclusive and prosperous province.Our schools must therefore reflect the future of the province and the country we seek to build.Schools must become sites of national pride; sites of excellence and above all, sites of effective learning and teaching.
Given that our future depends on our schools, their success must become the collective responsibility of all role-players – government, parents, communities, business, trade unions, civics, faith-based organisations and so on.We will work with all these stakeholders to develop a shared understanding of the learning and teaching outcomes we desire. Thuto lore, ga e golelwe!
All of these must work together to nurture and build effective schools. Our schools must help learners develop into highly skilled, knowledgeable and caring citizens who will contribute to growing our economy and building a cohesive and sustainable society.
As the President declared “We reiterate our non-negotiable. Teachers should be in schools, in class, on time, teaching with non neglect of duty and no abuse of pupils. The children should be in class, on time, learning, be respectful of their teachers and each other and do their homework”.
The President has spoken and we will deal decisively and severely with teachers found guilty of these offences. Equally so, the labour unions must refrain from the activities that disrupt schooling. Any kind of behaviour which brings schooling into disrepute cannot be tolerated. We therefore appeal to the Unions to desist from engaging on such acts and support the call made by the President.
We expect that all principals manage their schools effectively and ensure that learning and teaching takes place in every class every day. In this regard we welcome the announcement by the President that formal training will be a pre- condition for promoting teachers to become heads of departments and principals.
We are going to pay special attention to improving school infrastructure and making sure that the school environment is conducive to learning.All our schools, including those in rural areas, must have basic services.
We must bring to an end the era of broken windows, toilets not working, dirty and poorly maintained schools.Every school and every community must have the capacity to take responsibility for this.Working with the private sector, we must improve facilities so that learners have access to decent libraries and laboratories.Gauteng Online must be on line so that all our learners, including those from the poorest backgrounds, have access to the internet for learning purposes.
We will also interact with national government around improving Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) and the critical Further Education and Training (FET) sector. The focus will be on the promotion of access to education and skills development for out of school and unemployed youth.
We will prioritise President’s call for our children to be taught to pay allegiance to the Constitution and national symbols and to know what it means to be South African citizens. The promotion of sport and recreation shall be part of all our learning experience.
Our key goal is to improve the access of poor South Africans to quality education, by ensuring that we increase the number of schools that are no-fee schools as part of the progressive introduction of free and compulsory education for the poor until they enter tertiary level. We will in the current financial year focus on extending school nutrition to deserving high schools.In addition, we will continue to provide bursaries to deserving learners and contribute towards the review of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to facilitate the progressive introduction of free education for the poor at undergraduate level.
We are going back to basics and in Gauteng we are determined to have our schools as centres of excellence.
Quality health care is a cornerstone of our strategy to provide a better life for all. In the coming five years, we will focus on improving the standard of health care to prevent our people from getting sick from avoidable diseases.
Furthermore, we will develop a turnaround strategy to revitalize clinics and hospitals, reduce long queues and improve the availability of essential drugs and medical equipment. We will have to redirect resources away from the Head Office to service delivery points. It cannot be correct that we spend money on luxuries and personal comforts of senior officials while we have a shortage of nurses, pharmacists and doctors. Resources will be made available in hospitals and clinics if we are to succeed in building a province in which people are healthy, skilled and productive.
We will work with health professionals and their representative bodies to build a caring service in which people are treated with respect and dignity. We will change the culture and ethos of service delivery in the public health sector.
Madame Speaker, our HIV and AIDS programme continues to give hope to many of our people who require treatment. We intend to reduce the rate of new infections by 50% by 2011. We will continue to encourage all our people, including the youth, to test for HIV, know their status, and lead healthy lives.
In addition, life skills programme, including peer education initiatives will be implemented in schools and community organizations, targeting youth in and out of school. We will strengthen the management and leadership of the health system to deal more effectively with inefficiencies, negative staff attitudes and build public confidencein the public health sector.
We acknowledge that more can still be done to increase access to quality health care facilities. We support the introduction of the national Health Insurance Scheme and we will engage with various interest groups to ensure that this becomes and effective and workable programme.
Madame Speaker, in order to ensure access to quality heath care, we have taken a decision to re-open Kempton Park Hospital and this will offer high quality and yet affordable service to all medically insured. Basically, the Folateng model will be replicated at a bigger scale.
Furthermore, we will implement a turnaround strategy in many of our health institutions, starting with Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital as the benchmark for good practice.
To further contribute to the building of cohesive, sustainable and caring communities, we will expand community infrastructure such as Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres, old age homes and rehabilitation centres in our communities.
We will provide services to the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society, including the elderly, children, people living with HIV and AIDS and people in distress.
In the course of our door-to-door work we found that too many of our elderly people suffer from neglect and even abuse.They have spent their lives building our economy and our communities and have been providing for and looking after others. It is our duty as a society to ensure that they are protected and cared for.In the next five years we will therefore prioritise care for the elderly, including ensuring more equitable access to old age homes among all racial groups.
We remain committed to the implementation of the Bana Pele programme to provide basic services to the poorest children. And we will work with other spheres of government and civil society to see to it that the poorest households in Gauteng are supported to maintain a minimum quality of life and access opportunities which can help them escape the poverty trap.
In line with the establishment of the Planning Commission, there is a need to get the basics right with respect to the utilisation of resources for planning. There should be a renewed focus on spatial, physical layout and urban design that is participatory and responsive to social and economic needs of communities.
We are going to strengthen the capacity of the province to undertake short, medium and long term planning. This will assist provincial and local government and all state entities to better plan, prioritize and co-ordinate their service delivery programmes.
Such planning should serve as a clear guide for the stakeholder inputs required to develop a particular settlement over a period of time.
Our work in Urban Renewal Projects will continue and focus will be on implementation of prioritized infrastructure projects. The Alexandra Renewal Project will focus on acquiring land to build more houses. The Bekkersdal Renewal Project will focus on relocating people that are in dolomatic land to the new township. In Evaton our plans will be directed towards the provision of social infrastructure with more emphasis on engineering, bulk infrastructure (water and sanitation) and roads and transport.
The emphasis is now on attracting additional private sector investment for economic development that has high impact and visibility.
The 20 prioritised township programme remains on course. Our target is to ensure that by 2014 all these townships have proper infrastructure. We have agreed that all the municipalities will contribute resources for infrastructure development and maintenance. This will be done in a strict and properly co-ordinated fashion. The growth, development and maintenance of these townships are not only the responsibility of the provincial government but of all the spheres of government.
We are now vigorously going to deal with the legacy of apartheid spatial planning, economic and social exclusion through the review of all legislation dealing with development planning, with a particular focus on spatial and land-use planning.
We will continue to implement the Breaking New Ground Strategy (BNG) in all the regions of the province to change the face of Gauteng for the better.At the heart of this initiative, is moving beyond the provision of basic shelter towards achieving the broader vision of sustainable human settlements and building cities of community development and service delivery.
To achieve this, we will finalise a framework for Sustainable Human Settlements guided by the Provincial Spatial Development Perspective.
Together with various private sector companies we will continue implementing Mixed-Housing Developments, with flagship projects for each region of Gauteng.
These mixed developments will further ensure the deracialisation and integration of communities and promote social cohesion.
Madame Speaker, linked to this approach, we are moving ahead with the enforcement of the Inclusionary Housing Policy, which will help ensure that private developments cater for the lower end of the market.
We will continue to pay special attention to the continued formalisation and eradication of identified informal settlements in Gauteng and work towards their eradication by 2014, in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
We will support municipalities in their efforts to enforce bylaws to prevent land invasions and the mushrooming of informal settlements.
The eradication of the bucket system in all identified areas is completed. The focus is on implementation of the sanitation strategy to meet the 2010 target. The implementation of the Sedibeng Sewer Treatment Works project will be accelerated to address water treatment challenges such as spillages that have been prevalent in the region.
We are assisting municipalities to become sustainable and viable entities. A number of initiatives have been put in place in this regard particularly in recovering the municipal debt, improving revenue generation and municipal cash flow. The Operation Clean Audit project is being rolled out towards ensuring that all municipalities have clean audits by 2010.
In line with our commitment to promote even development in Gauteng and ensure that all our people have access to public services and economic opportunities, we will in the next five years pay special attention to rural and agricultural development and food security.
Our Gauteng Rural Development Strategy will address the need for better social and economic infrastructure. It will promote co-operatives and small enterprises and support job creating economic sectors such as agriculture, light manufacturing, crafts, tourism and services sectors. We will also outline a more comprehensive response to farm evictions and rural safety issues.
In maximising the potential of the agricultural sector to create jobs, we will involve more of our people in agri-business and provide support to farmers through our agricultural hubs.We will ensure the effective utilisation of high potential agricultural land in our province and support the creation of decent work through supporting the agro-processing and biotechnology sectors.To further promote our agricultural sector, we will join hands with the farming community and other stakeholders to revive an Agricultural Expo for Gauteng.
The people have instructed us, through the electoral mandate, to do whatever is necessary to ensure that no-one goes hungry.To give effect to this commitment in Gauteng, we will implement an integrated food security programme and provide emergency food relief to the destitute and those in need.
We will pay special attention to expanding food production and distribution and we willsupport communities and households to run their own food gardens.We will increase the number of extension officers employed in the province to provide support and advice to farmers and communities.As part of our commitment to promote sustainable development in the province and ensure the effective management of our natural resources, we will step up community campaigns on the cleaning and greening of Gauteng.
We will review the Gauteng Sustainable Development Strategy and further explore the utilisation of alternative technologies and alternative energy sources in Gauteng, including renewable energy.
To promote the sustainability of our agricultural sector and food security, we will develop an agriculture climate change response strategy.The protection of the province’s biodiversity will remain an imperative and we will focus on ensuring effective and sustainable waste management in the province.
We would like to see a situation where all our people are involved in protecting our environment and our natural resources for future generations. The reduction of violent crime in Gauteng remains a key priority of the provincial government. In particular, as government we are concerned with addressing the high levels of residential and business robberies in our province.In order to deal with crime effectively in the next five years, we will embark on a process to determine provincial policing priorities in consultation with our communities.
We will work to strengthen the co-operation between the South African Police Services (SAPS), the Metro Police from various municipalities and other law enforcement agencies and deal with crime in an integrated and multi-disciplinary manner.
In consultation with Department of Justice and Constitutional Development we are going to explore possibilities of establishing Municipal courts in order to deal with petty crimes within our cities and townships.
Madame Speaker, we are committed to create conducive conditions to strengthen social crime prevention strategies as well as improve co-ordination of the criminal justice system.
The culture of intolerance to crime should be groomed and nurtured amongst all our communities. It is the responsibility of each and every Gauteng resident to know their neighbourhood. As part of our responsibility as good citizens we also need to make sure that we do not buy stolen goods or turn a blind eye to criminal activity in our midst.
To make police more accountable and measure whether they are meeting identified targets in line with provincial policing priorities, we will seek to ensure that the Provincial Police Commissioner accounts to both the executive as well as the Gauteng Legislature on police performance.
The criminal justice system will be evaluated with the view to ensuring that those that have transgressed the law get punished and that we remove any miscarriage of justice. The adage that justice delayed is justice denied holds true. Our criminal justice system should recognise the role of civil society as an integral part of its processes and thereby acknowledge the importance of lay assessors, friends of the court and Community Policing Forums (CPFs).
Madame Speaker, our criminal justice system should make deliberate efforts to protect the children and juveniles who have transgressed the law by ensuring that they are not sent into jails that house hard-core criminals. We must continue to enhance their rehabilitation.
Fraud and corruption are eating into the moral fibre of our society. This government commits itself to dealing with this scourge swiftly and effectively. Fraud and corruption in procurement systems, tendering processes and contract management will attract maximum penalties.We look forward to the support of trade unions in our efforts to root out corruption in both the public and private sector.
The Gauteng government will establish a dedicated hotline that will integrate the existing ones to bring about operational effectiveness.
Madam Speaker, the Gauteng government will continue to support police personnel who work tirelessly to ensure a safe and secure environment for our communities. There will be no mercy for those criminals who maim or kill the members of our law enforcement agencies. The police have the right to defend themselves.
In support of the police, we will increase material support to the recently initiated Rapid Response Team. With about 100 vehicles currently, we envisage increasing the number substantially and expanding the number of CCTV cameras which support the work of this unit.
Madame Speaker, we will continue to support Crime Line and other private anti-crime initiatives. We have observed that the quality of information from the public is starting to improve and this is a good sign that as a nation we are becoming intolerant of crime and criminals.
Since the campaign started in June 2007, the police have been able to arrest hundreds of suspects and recovered millions of rands worth of stolen goods, drugs and counterfeit property. As part of our commitment to crime prevention we shall, within the next three months, convene a meeting with all the private security companies in Gauteng.We will share with them our renewal agenda and discuss how we can work together to decisively defeat the scourge of crime in our province.
In ensuring that we implement the mandate of the people in the next five years, the Office of the Premier will work closely with the National Ministry in the Presidency responsible for Monitoring and Evaluation in order to ensure that there is compliance by all departments including municipalities.
Through effective monitoring and evaluation system we will ensure that we deliver quality services to our people and not just pay lip service. With the support of political parties inside and outside the legislature, community organisations, faith communities, trade unions and the private sector we will be able to reach the goals we are setting for ourselves for the next five years – 2009 to 2014.
In the next coming weeks as part of the Budget Votes process, Members of the Provincial Executive Council will provide more details about their respective programmes of action.
Madame Speaker, in conclusion, we have now presented our priorities and commitments for the next five years,it will be proper that we are judged on the basis of our performance in achieving these commitments.
The opposition parties must do their work to keep us on our toes but they must not attempt to hijack our programs or even attempt to sway us away from our mandate so that we end up doing what they think we should be doing.
We have been given a mandate by the overwhelming majority, and it is our responsibility to implement and stick by that mandate. It is in this context that the opposition must play their role.
As the ruling Party we will encourage the opposition to constructively engage and work with us closely so that we grow and develop our country’s economy for generations to come.
I have no doubt that through this five year programme we will change the face of Gauteng for the better.Above, all we have confidence that working together as the people of Gauteng we can and we will do more.
I thank you
Issued by: Office of the Premier, Gauteng Provincial Government
9 June 2009
Source: Gauteng Provincial Government (http://www.gautengonline.gov.za/web/guest/home)
Issued by: Gauteng Provincial Government
9 Jun 2009
[ Top ]