Madam Speaker, in my 14 and a half years in this Legislature, not much has changed with regard to both Housing and Local Government. From Nomvula Mokonyane to Lebogang Maile, MECs have continued to treat the departments like their own personal fiefdom where they can do whatever they want, without regard for legal processes and good governance practices.
Across the years, the Premiers of the Province have turned a blind eye to their shenanigans and continued to promise “pie in the sky” solutions to the daily problems faced by the poorest residents of Gauteng.
Premier Makhura’s latest “pie in the sky” is not new, he talks about the various renewal projects across the province. He makes new promises that these disastrous projects that have sucked millions of Rands into a money pit with no return, will be completed. Regarding the Alexandra Renewal Project, how can we believe him when nothing has changed, nothing is evident on the ground and nothing has been done regarding the dispute over the court interdict? Further to that promises made last year to the residents of Alexandra during the Alex shut down, have not been realised.
Premier Makhura has also promised the delivery of ten thousand serviced stands between April and June this year. I vacillate between relief that the ANC have finally decided to implement a plan that the DA has been proposing in this Province since 2005 and disbelief that these stands will be delivered on time, on budget and result in the immediate handover of title deeds to the beneficiaries of the programme. I find it problematic that the Premier refuses to tell us where these stands will be because the land will be invaded. How does he expect members of the legislature to fulfil their legislative mandate of oversight if they don’t even know where these stands are situated? The right thing to do would be protect the land and arrest invaders. Stop allowing thugs to take charge.
Unfinished developments, rogue contractors, poor monitoring and evaluation. The list goes on. So, do what the DA would do. Be practical and rather than choosing ANC comrades, make the right choice to choose the best, most experienced contractors to do the job and incentivise them to produce a quality finished product on time and on or under budget. Only by doing this will Gauteng be able to deliver what was promised.
The Premier proudly stated he was doing more to support local government to fulfil their constitutional obligations, but that is about all he said about local government. No mention of failing municipalities like the West Rand District and Emfuleni, no mention of VBS and why nothing has happened to the perpetrators of this financial scandal where money was stolen from the community of Gauteng? In order to build trust one has to admit to mistakes, take action against wrongdoing, have properly costed plans to fix and mitigate the problems, and then deliver a quality product by implementing those plans on time and on budget with intense monitoring and evaluation taking place throughout. If you don’t do this, you have Medupi and Kusile all over again.
I am extremely disappointed that there was no mention of disaster management by the premier. We have no up-to-date comprehensive provincial risk profile that identifies and prioritises hazards enabling the development of reaction, response and mitigation plans. There is no way you can promote sustainable development without this. Provincial Disaster Management needs funding, they need to be fully staffed and capacitated to do their job. The threat posed by the coronavirus is real, but we hear nothing from our provincial government. It is a disaster in the making and I do not believe we are prepared.
The Premier had a lot to say about breaking the back of patriarchy. Mr Premier, don’t you understand that gender-based quotas show your patriarchal tendencies. Most women I know want to succeed based on their merit and not their gender. Women are as competent as men and until men accept that fact, patronising women with gender quotas will not create a change to the patriarchal mindset we, as women, experience every day.
Mr Premier, good governance is key. It means real transparency, meaningful accountability, absolute efficiency, inclusivity and truthful communication. We need to be feeding our community with realistic, practical solutions that are guaranteed to make the life of each individual better. Don’t take the community of Gauteng for fools, stop feeding them “Pie in the Sky.”