As expected, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi has not offered our residents any real solutions to improve their well-being. Once again, the Premier has given us pipe dreams instead of proper solutions to the constant service delivery issues faced by residents on a daily basis.
As expected, the economic corridors were at the top of the Premier’s list. According to the Premier, each of the corridors has attracted investors and created jobs. However, the reality on the ground is that many of the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) are not operating properly.
Furthermore,he promised that small businesses would not struggle to access the internet; however, we tend to question this as the Gauteng Broadband Network (GBN) has not yet been fully rolled out across the province. Many residents still struggle to access the internet.
There is no solution to the ongoing load-shedding; instead, finding a solution has been kicked back to the municipalities, who are already unable to provide basic services such as refuse removal and a reliable supply of water and electricity. We are once again told us about solar farms.
Instead of ensuring that all our residents are given dignified housing, emphasis is instead placed on the upgrading of Townships, Informal Settlements, and Hostels (TISH). The Premier has also failed to name which hostels have been upgraded. Yet the Democratic Alliance (DA) has visited many informal settlements and hostels that have not had any upgrades and where our residents continue to live in squalor. Furthermore, the provincial government is constantly failing to meet the target of releasing land parcels to eradicate informal settlements.
If the rollout of the hundreds of crime wardens was so successful, why is there a need for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF)? This clearly means that this strategy is not working and that the only solution is to ensure that all police stations are adequately equipped with all the resources they need to prevent and fight crime.
We are told that there are drones and helicopters that have been procured for this province. However, we do not know what impact this has had on reducing crime in the province.
Gender-based violence (GBV) remains a problem in this province. We will be closely monitoring whether the 31 vehicles that have been given to the South African Police Service (SAPS) will help in the fight against the scourge of GBV. In addition , the Premier did not mention anything about ensuring that Victim Empowerment Centres (VEC) are equipped with all necessary resources as we know that not all are functioning properly.
Again, we have heard about panic buttons that can be downloaded on a smart phone; however, no details have been given as to what will happen when there is load-shedding and cellphone towers are affected. Furthermore, we do not know whether this has been tested and will actually work as outlined by the Premier.
There are over 2.5 million unemployed people in the province, and the training of 40 000 unemployed youth from the township as artisans is a step in the right direction. However, the jobs that they will be given are not sustainable jobs and wouldn’t solve the bigger problem of unemployment in the province. The Nasi Ispana programme is not a solution to creating sustainable jobs.
Inspiring investor confidence is key to creating more job opportunities in this province. In order for this to happen, corruption must be clamped down on, and the lifestyle audits that have been conducted on all the MECs and high-ranking government officials must be made public.
Public transport, particularly the use of trains, is the most cost-effective way to get to and from work. However, not much has been said about how public transport will be improved to make it more user-friendly. The goal post for scrapping e-tolls has once again been shifted. While the province intends to repurpose the gantries, Gauteng residents will have to wait until March for this plan to be implemented and e-tolls scrapped once and for all.
The Premier has admitted that some municipalities are failing to provide basic services to our residents, yet there is no tangible solution in place. As much as the provincial government will be stepping in to collect refuse where the municipality is unable to and Rand Water will step in to supply water, this is only putting a band-aid on the problem. This is not a lasting solution. The only solution is to ensure that municipalities appoint officials who are fit for purpose and can do the job properly.
The implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI) remains a concern. More so because our hospitals do not have the necessary resources to run a hospital or clinic properly. This is why we are calling for the devolution of power.
A government led by the Democratic Alliance (DA) will prioritise making all lifestyle audits public, clamping down on crime by ensuring that all police stations have adequate resources, and that Community Policing Forums (CPFs) are able to effectively support our police officers.
Our residents need real solutions now. Solutions that not only look good on paper but that can be practically implemented once we take office after the next general elections. The DA has a plan to rescue Gauteng and give our residents the basic services they deserve.