Tomorrow, Gauteng residents will once again hear a list of promises by Premier Panyaza Lesufi as he delivers his very first State of the Province Address (SOPA).
When Premier Lesufi took office last year, he made a list of promises on how he intends to get Gauteng working again.
Here are some of the key promises he made last year:
- The speeding up of payment of invoices to service providers
- To introduce new schools of specialisation
- Capacitate and refurbish hospitals
- Allocate R500 million for the creation and operation of spaza shops by South Africans
- To establish South Africa’s first provincial state bank
- To change the face of the province’s five hostels
- To scrap e-Tolls
During his SOPA tomorrow, we expect Premier Lesufi to outline exactly how many of the promises he made have been fulfilled and what tangible difference this has made to the lives of our residents.
Our service providers, particularly those who do business with the Department of Health, do not receive payment for their services on time. This means that our hospitals will have essential services withheld because service providers are not paid on time.
In terms of upgrading Township Informal Settlements and Hostels (TISH), we need to see the entire province prioritised, not just a certain section. Furthermore, more support needs to be given to our municipalities that are in dire straits.
A clear financial plan must be put forward when it comes to putting up new infrastructure, we cannot just talk about upgrading hospitals and building new schools when there is no budget for it.
Our roads are not in tip-top condition. Yet last year, Premier Lesufi promised that there would not be a Gautrain expansion but rather spending on townships. In addition, he also promised that e-Tolls would be scrapped. However, we need to know where the money for the scrapping of e-Tolls will come from. Will Gauteng residents be made to pay for this? Will money be taken from other departments to pay for the debt?
Furthermore, we expect Premier Lesufi to announce that the Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation will no longer spend massive amounts of money on insignificant events. Instead, the money should be used to maintain and upgrade our provincial heritage sites. More focus should be on turning our libraries into well-functioning institutions that embrace new technological innovations. In addition, they should also evaluate how infrastructure projects are rolled out.
Our hospitals have an enormous backlog of surgeries, with some patients waiting for as long as five years. The Tembisa hospital is facing immense pressure because there is no hospital in Kempton Park. Our residents need to know what progress has been made in finding a suitable site for a new hospital in Kempton Park and by when this will be completed.
A new provincial state bank is supposed to be established, but again we lack an explanation of where this money will come from and what will happen to entities like the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller, which are mandated to assist our small businesses in the province.
Loadshedding is crippling our province and has a ripple effect on our supply of water. Our residents deserve to know what plans are being put in place to secure extra electricity from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and if there have been any talks with the national government to establish an inter-governmental task team to look into this and the water crisis.
We no longer want empty promises but want our residents to know that service delivery will improve and that the SOPA is not just a box-ticking exercise.
Cadre deployment needs to end. Corruption must be rooted out.
The time for politicking is over, and service delivery needs to happen now.
Our residents deserve a government that they can trust.