Gauteng’s abandoned infrastructure projects contribute to poor service delivery and unemployment

Gauteng is littered with incomplete and abandoned infrastructure projects, costing millions of rands and providing no benefit to the people of the province. These projects are a monument to the dysfunctionality and inefficiency of Gauteng’s Department of Infrastructure Development.

Some of the abandoned projects include:

• Mayibuye Primary School in Midrand, which was supposed to be completed in 2019 but is still unfinished;
• Kwadedangendlale Secondary School in Soweto was supposed to be completed in 2019. It is alleged that the contractor was not paid by the department;
• Kopanong Hospital in Vereeniging, which was supposed to have 300 ICU beds added in response to the Covid-19 pandemic but is still incomplete;
• Kagiso Extension 6 library, which was supposed to be completed in 2019, is now a shell of a building. An oversight visit in August 2023 confirmed that it is still a skeleton structure with no roof, electrical wiring, or glass in the windows;• Construction on the Khutsong South clinic began in 2016 and was supposed to be completed in 2018. However, the project was abandoned in 2020 due to financial difficulties faced by the contractor;
• Nancefield Primary School, located in Eldorado Park, was built in 1957 and was originally an asbestos school. In 2019, the Gauteng Department of Education announced that the school would be demolished and rebuilt. However, the project was abandoned in 2021 due to non-performance by the contractor.

The reasons for the abandonment of these projects vary, but they all point to the same problem: the Department of Infrastructure Development is dysfunctional and lacks the necessary skill and expertise. The department has been plagued by an inability to complete projects within budget and time constraints.

The people of Gauteng deserve better. They deserve a government that is competent and efficient that delivers on its promises. Infrastructure projects play a pivotal role in creating employment opportunities. Failed infrastructure projects lead to diminished service delivery and impacts negatively on the economy. This is noteworthy because in Gauteng there are over 2.6 million unemployed people.

Unemployment rate continues to soar, yet the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport fails to meet job creation targets

With at least 2 515 000 unemployed Gauteng residents it is very disappointing that the provincial department of Roads and Transport has once again failed to meet its target of creating 1 453 jobs as part of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

Given the current economic situation, and the rise in the cost of basic goods and services, programmes like the EPWP play a crucial role in clamping down on unemployment in this province.

According to the first quarterly report for the 2022/2023 financial year, the department only managed to employ 879 people as part of the EPWP programme.

EPWP programmes equip our unemployed residents with much-needed skills that will enable them to seek gainful employment.

There is a lack of political will from this department to ensure that all targets set for the financial year are met.

The Western Cape DA-led government has managed to create 3253 work opportunities in the Department of Public Works and Roads as part of its target for the 2021/2022 fourth quarter. The initial target set was 2452.

The only way in which this current situation can be changed is if our residents come out in their numbers in 2024 and vote the ANC-led government out of power.

The DA will continue to put pressure on this department to start meeting its targets as a matter of urgency. Furthermore, the department should liaise with their counterparts in the Western Cape to ascertain what measures are put in place to ensure the targets set to create work opportunities for our unemployed residents are met.

Our residents deserve a government that is committed to ensuring that job opportunities are created on an ongoing basis and that they have access to skills development programmes that will help them to either become entrepreneurs or find long-term employment in the future.

2 515 000 Gauteng residents remain unemployed as Makhura’s job creation plans stumble

The slight decrease in the unemployment rate in Gauteng may be an indication that markets are stabilising in the wake of a pandemic-induced economic shutdown.

However, it does very little to inspire the 2 515 000 unemployed residents that might believe the government is doing everything in their power to create an environment conducive to more job opportunities.

Currently, there are also 657 000 discouraged job seekers in the province.

This was revealed this week when Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) released the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the second quarter of 2022.

The high unemployment rate is very concerning as this means that the interventions that Premier Makhura claims are in place to address the unemployment rate are not having an impact on the ground. The Gauteng Township Economic Development Act was promulgated back in March. According to its provisions, municipalities have six months to pass the by-laws required to fully implement the Act. It is also unclear how far the provincial government has come with the establishment of the Fund provided for in the Act, which is meant to support township businesses with start-up capital.

The DA supported the Act because as a piece of legislation, it contains all the building blocks needed. However, as is often the case with the government, the implementation lags far behind. What is required is a “whole of society” approach. The government needs to see businesses, big and small, as partners, not beneficiaries. Every member of society, whether in a township or not, must be seen as a potential customer, with spending power.

Premier Makhura’s cabinet appears unable to make the ideological and policy shift towards maximum personal and economic freedom that engages all of society.

Just the ICT sector alone has shown signs over the last two years that with the correct training and skills development our unemployed residents, particularly the youth would be able to use technology to start their own businesses. The ICT disruption brought about by the pandemic means there are many opportunities out there for our unemployed residents to mine.

The DA is ready and willing to forge a new path and collaborate with anyone who shares our values on economic freedom. We believe that it can be done, and we are making strides where we govern.

In the meantime, we will continue to put pressure on the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) to have our motion of no confidence in Premier Makhura put on the agenda for debate as soon as possible.

46 years later, the plight of the young continues to fall on deaf ears

Madam Speaker,

Last week Thursday marked the 46th anniversary of the “June 16 Uprising” in which hundreds of young South Africans in Soweto paid the ultimate price at the hands of the Apartheid police when they stood up for freedom.

46 years later, young people still fighting to have themselves heard – to be afforded their right to access and equality.

46 years later, the plight of the young continues to fall on deaf ears.

Unemployment for those between the ages of 15 – 25 years of age is a staggering 63%. What kind of message does this send to our youth?

Would these odds of getting ahead inspire you? I think not.

To quote the author, Anthony Horowitz:

“Childhood, after all, is the first precious coin that poverty steals from a child.”

It is little wonder we see substance abuse among this same demographic skyrocketing.

In the first three months of this year, Madam Speaker, 45 young people were killed in this province – an 80% increase for the same period a year ago.

What kind of society do we live in where the young are killed with such wanton destruction of life?

How can we face ourselves when this is the world we have bequeathed to our young?

This is not the society that those who marched and died fought for.

It is time that this government stopped attempting to paper over the gaping crevasses before we have an entire generation lost to ANC ineptitude.

I thank you.

Sedibeng fresh produce market has the potential to create over 4000 jobs if properly managed

Despite falling into disrepair, the Sedibeng fresh produce market has the potential of ensuring that Gauteng residents are given an extra boost in food security.

During a recent oversight visit to the market with the Gauteng Portfolio Committee on Finance, I had the opportunity to see the first-hand difference this market can make to the economy of this province when it is fully restored.

The Gauteng Infrastructure Finance Agency (GIFA) is responsible for taking government projects from initiation to the financial close stages and we are confident that this agency can make a success of the Sedibeng fresh produce market.

While we are yet to see the value GIFA has added to projects, this project might be the one where they can finally prove that they have a place in building new infrastructure and attracting private investors to fund and participate in projects in Gauteng.

This project can be regarded as low hanging fruit, but it is the perfect opportunity for GIFA to win back the trust of the DA and the residents of Gauteng.

If GIFA is successful, then this market, which was once the goose that laid the golden egg, but had no money for regular maintenance and upgrades, can be restored to its former glory.

This also means that farmers who drive to the Johannesburg fresh produce market but have their farms located closer to the Sedibeng area will no longer have to drive a long distance, which in turn means that the price of their goods may now be a bit lower.

In addition, it means that the embattled Emfuleni Local Municipality can potentially earn 8% per annum from the concessionaire.

Furthermore, more than 4000 jobs can potentially be created which will assist in reducing the unemployment rate in our province.

While we support this project which is being run by GIFA, we will be closely monitoring the progress made. Projects like the Kopanong precinct and the Jewellery Hub which have not fully gotten off the ground, despite being in the works for years, have led us to question whether GIFA should still be in existence.

This Sedibeng fresh produce market project is an opportunity for this entity to restore our faith in it. Should it not be making progress on the project as it should, we will ask through the committee that all the officials involved be held to account.

2 658 000 Gauteng residents are unemployed, yet few job creation targets are met

It comes as no surprise that there has been an increase in the unemployment rate in Gauteng.

According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) that was released for the first quarter of 2022, the unemployment rate in the province currently stands at 36.7%.

Currently, there are 2 658 000 unemployed Gauteng residents, while there are 680 000 discouraged work seekers in the province.

This increase in the unemployment rate is extremely concerning, given Premier David Makhura’s claims that his administration is committed to ensuring that employment opportunities are created through various programmes led by the government.

However, the quarterly reports paint a different picture regarding the job creation targets and, in many instances, these targets are not met.

These job creation targets and skills development programmes play an integral part in ensuring that there is a conducive environment for the private sector to invest in the economy.

It is high time that Premier Makhura, and his executives should ensure that all job creation and skills development targets set each year are met.

This is critical for our unemployed residents who are not able to access tertiary institutions due to a lack of finances.

The DA will continue to put pressure on the Premier Makhura-led administration to meet all its job creation targets. We also demand that where these targets are not met, the political head and officials responsible for these programmes are held to account.

2.6 million people are unemployed in Gauteng, while the government rests on its laurels

2 612 000 residents of Gauteng are unemployed and a further 848 000 have given up hope of finding a job. This brings the unemployment rate to a staggering 36,6%.

This is a clear indication that our people are suffering and are struggling to put food on the table.

This information was revealed in the fourth quarter Labour Force Survey for 2021 that was released earlier this week.

This is very concerning as it is evident that not enough is being done by the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) to ensure that sufficient employment opportunities are created for our unemployed residents in the province.

To address the inequality in our society, we need a government that has the political will to ensure that the private sector is prepared to invest in our economy so that more job opportunities can be created. Under the leadership of Premier David Makhura, it is clear that this political will does not exist and our economy will continue to decline.

Recently it came to light that the Gauteng Department of Economic Development failed to meet its ICT job creation target which was set at 20 000 for the third quarter of the 2021/2022 financial year.

It is opportunities like these that help to alleviate unemployment, particularly amongst our youth who are in desperate need of jobs.

The GPG must ensure that the correct environment for the private sector to invest in the economy is created by ensuring that skills training and development takes place.

It cannot be that we have a situation where our unemployed residents particularly the youth are crying out for employment and skills development opportunities that are blatantly being ignored by the GPG.

The DA is demanding that all government departments especially the Department of Economic Development starts meeting its job creation and skills development training targets set for the year.

I will also be raising these concerns through the Portfolio of Economic Development Committee at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

Gauteng’s unemployment rate worsens while Makhura’s Tshepo 1 Million fails to deliver

The Gauteng unemployment rate is skyrocketing yet only the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in the province has been reporting on the Tshepo 1 Million programme in its quarterly financial reports.

For the second quarter of the 2021/22 financial year, this department failed to meet the target set under this programme which is meant to provide employment opportunities for our youth in the province.

A target of creating 750 employment opportunities was set by the department but only 442 opportunities were created.

The fact that this is the only department other than the Office of the Premier that reports on targets set for the Tshepo 1 Million programme is a clear indication that Premier David Makhura’s government in the province is not serious about creating a conducive environment for the private sector to invest in our economy.

Furthermore, according to the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey published by Statistics South Africa, Gauteng’s unemployment rate is at 37 percent and has been increasing compared to the previous quarters. In the first quarter it was at 33.7 percent, second quarter it was 35.4 percent and now it is 37 percent.

This is extremely worrying considering that Gauteng is the economic hub of the country with abundant resources that can assist in growing the country’s economy and creating employment opportunities.

This shows that Makhura’s administration has failed to create employment opportunities for this province and whatever promises he will make in this regard during his State of the Province Address will remain unfulfilled.

Training our youth and providing our unemployed residents with skills needed to help them seek out employment opportunities that will lead to long-term employment is critical if we want our province’s economy to grow.

The Covid-19 pandemic can no longer be used as an excuse for Gauteng departments not meeting their job creation targets, as this is our new normal.

It is time that we start to embrace our challenges and find innovative ways to ensure that our unemployed residents are given an opportunity to access learnerships, internships and skill upliftment programmes.

The government’s job is not to give our unemployed residents jobs, but rather to create the correct environment through training programmes like the Tshepo 1 Million programme that will enable all our unemployed residents to become employable.

The DA will continue to demand that all departments report on the Tshepo 1 Million programme as this is supposed to be a key driver of employment opportunities in our province. Our people are in desperate need of employment and tired of empty promises that will never materialise.

Little economic relief for unemployed residents while cost of financial misconduct in Gauteng Govt at R4.6m during 2020/21 financial year

While residents continue suffering the consequences of forced unemployment due to the national government’s failed Covid-19 lockdown, It comes as no surprise that the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) has had a high number of disciplinary hearings due to financial misconduct. 56 cases of financial misconduct, at a cost of R4 627 440-52, were reported during the 2020/21 financial year, as revealed in the State of Public Service in Gauteng report that was presented to the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

Departments listed are:

• COGTA- 5
• Community Safety- 1
• Education- 4
• e-Government- 1
• Health- 42
• Office of the Premier- 2
• Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation- 1

The Democratic Alliance ascribes this re-occurrence of financial misconduct purely to the lack of effective consequence management and has been warning departments year after year during discussions of annual reports that the situation will worsen as long as consequence management is only words on paper without any action. A long list of applicable legislation exists to assist in the curbing of financial misconduct but again as long as the political will is missing, no progress will be recorded.

What is even more concerning is that no criminal action has been taken against any of the officials found guilty of financial misconduct.

According to the report, 56% of the officials found guilty were given a final written warning, while 16% were dismissed and the other 16% were given both a final written warning and summarily dismissed.

The 2020/21 financial year has recorded the highest value not recovered by departments since the 2016/17 financial year, totalling R3,019 879.44.

This money was flushed down the drain, while some of these officials remains in public service where they can continue to defraud the State and waste taxpayers’ money.

To add further added insult to injury we have noted that the department of Infrastructure Development appointed consultants to assist with investigations into allegations of financial misconduct. This means that more money is now being spent on consultants, with less funds available to improve the lives of residents.

The costs for employees currently suspended with pay due to pending disciplinary cases for the 2021/22 financial year are as follows:

• Community Safety- R174 156,50
• Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation- R1 959 522,52
• Social Development- R25 451,80
• Roads and Transport- R1 632 280,47
• Education – R2 153 956,41 with one employee on suspension for 683 days thus far

The only way in which officials can be deterred from such behaviour is if consequence management takes place which will prevent them from working in the public service again and if their names are added to a registry of public servants found guilty of financial misconduct. Even when people resign, this does not mean the disciplinary action now needs to fall away – consequences must still follow. In addition to this, their pension fund payments can be attached and is one of several options available to effectively recover the bulk of the money lost due to financial misconduct.

Financial misconduct is serious and should be dealt with in an appropriate manner as this is the only way in which corruption can be rooted out and that our taxpayers’ money is spent in the correct and most cost-effective manner that will ensure service delivery for all, and it is the only way that will put us on a path towards sustainable and inclusive development.

R123 million spent on disinfecting government facilities while unemployed residents still wait for relief

While Gauteng residents continue to suffer the indignity of unemployment with little to no relief from government, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is concerned that government is unnecessarily spending R123 million on disinfecting and defogging various government facilities in the province. This is while residents continue to go without jobs, where this money could have been spent on job creating infrastructure projects.

This was revealed during a recent Infrastructure Portfolio Committee meeting where it was stated that R232,5 million was spent on emergency Covid-19 mitigation, which included the R123 million disinfection cost.

It is suspicious that under the cover of the emergency regulations, any funds are spent on defogging, which has been shown to add no value in the fight against the virus. This expenditure is over and above the R2,1 billion spent by the Health Department to build infrastructure to deal with the pandemic and the R431 million that was spent for disinfection of schools, for which there is a forensic investigation still be made public.

Despite this orgy of spending by government, the threat of the pandemic has not significantly reduced the overall risk to the citizens of Gauteng. Job losses and the loss of lives continue unabated, which calls into question the value produced by the spending of these eye-watering amounts of money.

In a time of hardship and suffering, one would expect government to spend every Rand of public funds on improving the quality of life of South Africans, but this government has let us down.

It is high time that our taxpayers’ money is spent responsibly. Politicians who exhibit disrespect for public money by overseeing wastage and inefficiency in order to achieve a political goal, and possibly to enrich themselves, should not be kept in office.

Where the DA governs, we ensure that our taxpayers’ money is spent wisely for the benefit of our people. The Western Cape Government has been transparent in timeously making public reports relating to Covid-19 expenditure.

The DA will leave no stone unturned in our quest to get clear answers from government officials that misuse taxpayer’s money. We have submitted written questions to MEC Tasneem Motara on how exactly this money was spent.

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