ANC Gauteng Legislature
Address by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane on the occasion of the Opening of the Gauteng Legislature

Address by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane on the occasion of the Opening of the Gauteng Legislature

25 February 2013, Johannesburg

Madam Speaker
Members of the Executive Council
Executive Mayors
Chief-Whip of the Majority Party
Deputy Speaker
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Honourable Members of the Provincial Legislature
Councillors
Honourable Leaders of Political Parties
Distinguished guests
The residents of Gauteng

Thank you for affording me the opportunity to present the 2013 State of the Province Address that reflects the journey we have travelled together thus far and which charts the road ahead.

In just over a year, we shall celebrate two decades of democracy in South Africa. It will indeed be a significant milestone in our history.

In his 1994 Presidential inaugural address, former President Nelson Mandela, the stalwart of our struggle declared:

"Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud. Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity`s belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all."

As we approach the 20 year anniversary of democracy we rededicate ourselves to the noble goals of building a united, a just, a non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa.

This year marks the centenary of the passing of the Land Act, which turned our people into pariahs in their country. It was an act of dispossession, whose effects remain with us to this day.

We therefore fully support the measures to address these challenges as announced by President Jacob Zuma in his 2013 State of the Nation Address earlier this month.

The Gauteng province is home to 12.3 million people, becoming the province with the largest population that accounts for 24% of the national population in South Africa.

Only 56% of people who were counted in Gauteng were born in the province which is an indication that the province is a destination with attractive opportunities.

Gauteng accounts for approximately 35% of the national economy, still higher than both the second and third placed contributors, KwaZulu-Natal (15.7%) and Western Cape (14.2%), combined.

In the midst of Gauteng`s 12 million people lives a young woman whose name is Thandiswa. She was born on 27 April 1994 at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, on a day that millions voted for the first time in their lives. She is one of South Africa`s first "born frees"; a generation born in the era of democracy and freedom.

Thandiswa lives with her hardworking parents and younger school-going siblings in Soweto; one amongst the many sprawling townships in the City of Johannesburg.

Fortunately, Thandiswa`s generation does not live in shacks that have no basic services. The 2011 Census findings show that 80% of Gauteng`s residents now live in formal housing, compared to the 74% in 2001. About 98% of households in Gauteng have access to running water compared to SA national figure that stands at 91%.

Gauteng`s` 96% of households now have a flush toilet that is connected to a water-borne sewerage system, a septic tank or an improved pit latrine. The number of Gauteng people that have access to electricity increased from 78% to 87% between 1996 and 2011.

According to the SA Institute of Race Relations 2012 report, Gauteng has the best score in drinking-water-quality-index of 98% and the highest number of government-subsidised houses built since 1994,.

Despite the adverse global economic conditions, unemployment in Gauteng has decreased from 28.2% in the first quarter of 2011 to 23.7% in the fourth quarter of 2012 financial year.

The 2011 Census findings also show that 46.5% of Gauteng residents have access to internet with almost 18% accessing it via smart phones.

At 18 years of age, Thandiswa is one of the techno-savy people who access the internet on their cell phone.

Thandiswa is a shining example of one that has benefited enormously from the significant improvements in education in Gauteng. In January she celebrated her matric results, and improved the 3.7% number of people that had no formal education in 1996 to 9.7% in 2011. We observed that the gap in the pass rate between fee and no-fee schools has reduced dramatically to only a 10% difference in 2012.

Today, Thandiswa can walk streets that are tarred, lined with public street lights and has access to improved public amenities such as parks, sports and recreational facilities. Travelling from home, her mother has the option of using a Rea Vaya Bus, connect to the Gautrain and hop into a taxi to reach her chosen destination in the shortest of times. This was once a far-fetched dream nineteen years ago.

Madam Speaker,

Allow me to once again take the opportunity to congratulate the Grade 12 learners of 2012 on their excellent results. As a result of the sustained efforts by learners, teachers, parents, communities the education department and the provincial government as a whole, we took the top spot in the country, by producing 83,9% overall pass rate in Matric. Of these, 36% of learners obtained a Bachelors pass and 33,9% a Diploma pass that enables them to access FET and or University Tertiary Education.

Many of the 2012 matriculants are the first generation to be born at the dawn of our democracy in 1994 and are well on the road to success.

One of these is Zanele Mahlangu, who was born in Tembisa and attended Tembisa Secondary School. She obtained eight (8) distinctions in matric, including a 100% pass in Mathematics. She is now studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Pretoria. Like many others who have emerged from our public schools, she has a bright future ahead of her. We are pleased to have Zanele`s mother Ms. Esther Mahlangu with us in the legislature today. Congratulations to Zanele and her family.

Zanele`s performance illustrates the depth of the transformation in our education system. Today learners from township schools, no fee schools and poorer communities; as well as learners from schools where we have conducted intervention programmes, are increasingly counted among the best.

Gauteng`s achievements in education thus go beyond matric results. According to national government monitoring reports, Gauteng has made strides in key areas such as accountability for performance, communications and a clear literacy strategy, which is one of the best in the country. The province has strong districts, and effective planning and monitoring. Good progress has been made in forging partnerships with key stakeholders, including parents and trade unions.

To ensure that top performers are able to pursue higher education opportunities, we provide the top three Grade 12 learners in all no-fee schools with bursaries. Since 2010 we have provided over 5000 such, with 2300 bursaries in 2012/13 alone.

Interventions to improve educational performance must start with Early Childhood Development and be sustained across the education system. Access to ECD has improved considerably, with 42, 7% of those below four years of age registered at different centres. In 2013/14 we will further expand the number of learners in Grade R to 120 000 and train close to 2000 Grade R Practitioners.

To optimise the learning and teaching environment, we will continue to use over 4000 homework assistants and sport assistants to work with learners in under-performing schools. Improved school safety will be sustained, through partnerships with law enforcement agencies and the use of 4500 patrollers.

To ensure that no learner has to learn on an empty stomach, we will continue to provide free nutrition to over 1 million learners in no fee schools including secondary schools and provide free school uniforms to the poorest learners when they start school.

Madam Speaker and Residents of Gauteng;

Youth unemployment remains one of our most critical and urgent challenges. One of the ways in which we are addressing this is through effective skills development coupled with workplace experience, placement in sustainable jobs and the promotion of youth entrepreneurship. We have assisted over 5000 young people through arranging internships in the public and private sector, including in critical skills areas such as ICT and artisan programmes.

In the year ahead, working in collaboration with business and SETAs, we will ensure that a further 6500 young people are placed in learnerships, internships and workplace to gain experiential learning.

Our skills for industry programme will result in the training of 2255 artisans and technicians up to 2016 in the automotive, ICT and other sectors. We will work closely with the national Department of Higher Education to ensure that our young people and industries take advantage of the massive opportunities offered through the repositioning of FETs in our province, linked to the automobile sector in Tshwane and the manufacturing sector in Ekurhuleni.

Madame Speaker;

At the beginning of our term of office in 2009, the state of our public health institutions was unsatisfactory. This was a result of a combination of factors, including the outsourcing of management functions that resulted in poor management of human and financial resources. We were also plagued by instances of maladministration, corruption and a blatant disregard for authority and rules that govern our public health institutions.

To address these, we brought high-level expertise, re-established effective leadership in the Department of Health and initiated a comprehensive turnaround strategy. We focussed on restoring effective controls and systems and improving efficiencies, capacity and management in key areas.

Particular attention was paid to the four central hospitals namely; the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, Dr George Mukhari Hospital and Steve Biko Academic Hospital.

We will continue turning the corner and yield tangible progress for better health care services.

Infrastructure maintenance and provisioning of electro-mechanical equipment which is integral to the effective functioning of our hospitals, has visibly improved.

On my recent visit to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, I observed significant improvements. Medical and ICU wards have been refurbished and new lifts, chillers and boilers have been installed. To ensure that theatres and other crucial functions are not affected by power outages, new generators are in place and permanent onsite maintenance officials have been appointed.

The long queues at the pharmacy have been addressed through interventions such as the distribution of chronic medicines at clinics closer to where patients live. The pharmacy hours have been extended to accommodate patients who need medicines outside of normal office hours.

Other improvements as a result of the implementation of the Health Turnaround Strategy include the availability of essential medicines at facilities from 40% to 78%. In the year ahead we aim to increase this to 98%.

The re-engineering of the Medical Supply Depot is underway and in 2013/14 we plan to commence the construction of a new Gauteng Medical Supply Depot.

A further priority for 2013/14 will be the repositioning of Emergency Medical Services in the province to improve response times and the quality of service. We will add 100 new ambulances to the Gauteng ambulance fleet and 20 specialised Obstetric ambulances will be added to respond to obstetric emergencies.

The Natalspruit and Zola Hospitals are close to completion, while the Zola Gateway Clinic has been completed. The new 250-bed Mamelodi district hospital and the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic hospital, Radiology, OPD Pharmacy and other specialised units are complete and commissioned while the Germiston hospital was completed in 2012 and renamed after our struggle heroine; Mama Bertha Gxowa.

In 2011/12, close to 204,000 babies were born in our public health facilities in Gauteng. We have significantly reduced the percentage of babies who die from preventable diseases, particularly as a result of our immunisation and HIV and Aids programmes.

As part of our commitment to continue the fight against HIV, Aids and TB, we have reached over 4 million people through HIV Counselling and Testing initiatives since 2011. Of the estimated 1.2 million Gauteng residents who are HIV positive, close to 900,000 now have access to anti-retroviral therapy through the public health system; an exponential increase compared to just 75,000 on ART in 2006.

As part of our efforts to take quality health care closer to where people live, we have since 2012 introduced 41 primary health care outreach teams. Specialist Teams with specialist health professionals including Obstetricians, Paediatricians and Family medicine specialists are operating in five health Districts. We now have 26 Community Health Centres with 24-hour access and 100 clinics with extended hours, an improvement on just 82 clinics with extended hours in 2010.

We are proud of our achievements in strengthening healthy lifestyles at grassroots level. Last year alone we established 70 walking clubs and had over 1300 other activities at schools, clinics, créches and local neighbourhoods across the province.

Madam Speaker,

Our public health system in Gauteng is well on its way to recovery and has pockets of excellence that we should celebrate and further enhance.

To illustrate this, please allow me to share with you an important breakthrough at Steve Biko Academic Hospital.

Last month, twins namely Recall and Recant Sibuyi, who were joined together at birth, were successfully separated at the hospital. The twins had been transferred to Steve Biko from Mpumalanga on the day of their birth in February 2012. The operation to separate them was performed by a team including Paediatric Surgeons Dr Ernst Muller, Dr I van Heerden and Dr Marisa de Villiers; Plastic Surgeon Prof Piet Coetzee, Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr R Goller as well as Registrars. I am also pleased to be informed that the twins are ready to be discharged any day now and will be able to go home to Mpumalanga.

Although further procedures are planned, the prognosis is that they are expected to live normal lives in future. Gauteng is the home for all.

We want to thank and congratulate the team from Steve Biko Academic Hospital for their pioneering work. We are extremely proud of these health professionals as well as the many other workers in our health facilities, the nurses, porters, cleaners and security guards who remain dedicated and selfless in the provisioning of quality public health care.

Madame Speaker;

Under the leadership of the provincial Police Commissioner, Mzwandile Petros, and the heads of the three Metropolitan Police Departments in Gauteng; Chris Ngcobo in Johannesburg, Hlula Msimang in Ekurhuleni and Khazamula Steven Ngobeni in Tshwane - the men and women of our law enforcement agencies in the province have executed their duties with diligence despite the continued onslaught of organised crime syndicates and the scourge of corruption. We can now show that we have reduced crime in our province and that we have made Gauteng a safer place in which to live.

Overall serious crime decreased by 8.1%, murder decreased by 11% and attempted murder which decreased by 16.3%. Trio crimes saw an overall decrease of 12.9% in the province.

The eradication of Violence Against Women and Children is a central pillar of our social crime prevention efforts in the province.

The issue of sexual offences and gender-based violence, which we are fighting against on a daily basis, has risen to the fore in the media and public discourse. Following the horrific rape and killing of Anene Booysens which shocked the nation, the recent killing of a young woman Reeva Steenkamp by Oscar Pistorius has thrust South Africa into an unfortunate global spotlight. We know of the brutal gang rape of a 17-year old by 15 men in Khutsong on Friday.

In as much as we have clear policies and strategies in place to address this scourge, based on an analysis of the causes and solutions, it is clear there is not a simple explanation to what is happening. Abuse occurs in different circumstances, even in conditions of opulence. As a society we need to pause and reflect on what has gone wrong in our society. We invite men and women to engage on this matter so that we can find a sustainable societal intervention programme to make Gauteng and our country a safer place for girl children and women.

The solution to sexual offences does not lie in the successful arrest, prosecution and incarceration of offenders only, but in more comprehensive, socially embedded solutions. Sexual offences are fundamentally a social problem.

We know there are many good men out there. We call on them to provide leadership in their communities. As we prepare to celebrate Human Rights Month in March, we call on civil society to join hands with us in social dialogue and active partnership. Let us involve young and old, black and white, rich and poor, disabled and abled, in the process of solving this societal evil.

Rape is wrong. It can never be justified. We therefore remain determined to further intensify our efforts, through the criminal justice system, to improve detection and conviction rates of perpetrators of sexual offences as a deterrent, leading to incarceration and rehabilitation. Key interventions in this regard include;

  • improving forensic capacity through the training and recruitment of forensic social workers, forensics officers and forensic pathologists;
  • providing support and training to the family violence, child abuse and sexual offences units;
  • providing family justice support for victims and their families, including in preparing for cases; and
  • strengthening the management and use of sexual offences register.

Victim support will be strengthened through the existing 200 Victim Empowerment Centres including psycho-social and medico-legal support services and the establishment of further green doors across the province to reach 32 by the end of 2013/14. Regional Victim Empowerment Centres will be established and strengthened. The Ikayalethemba Centre continues to provide a sanctuary to women and assists them in escaping the cycle of violence through accessing economic opportunities.

We will expand efforts to support those who seek to change the behaviour of those men who resort to violence against women and children. This includes the Men as Safety Promoters Groups, which have reached thousands of men. It is our intention that each of these men will in turn reach hundreds of other men across the province and build the movement of men as safety promoters.

One example of the inroads being made is Mr Kenneth Honwani, the head of the Men As Safety Partners group in Olivenhoutbosch, who has given permission for us to share his story of personal transformation.

"I used to drink a lot. This problem started at high school. I was extremely violent... with my mother, my younger sister... in fact even anybody on the street. I never accepted any kind of provocation. I used to gamble, carry weapons and every week, drink alcohol. Things were especially bad after I lost my father.

Now, I am completely changed. Most men in the group were violent when we started. We learnt to sit down, read documents, be disciplined and implement what we have learnt. I have changed a lot. I am able to deal with problems and manage myself, manage my life."

The proliferation of drug abuse in our society has reached unacceptable levels and crimes associated with substance abuse have increased. Where the police have made breakthroughs to arrest those involved in drug manufacturing and distribution, it is often due to community participation in the fight against drugs. We call on all Gauteng residents to play their part in assisting the police and ensuring the perpetrators are brought to book.

Alcohol and substance abuse searches in schools will be stepped up and we will continue to implement programmes aimed at stopping young people from falling prey to drug abuse. We will lobby the Criminal Justice System to classify drugs such as Nyaope as illegal. Working with municipalities, we will clamp down on areas which are known for the distribution of drugs and strengthen bylaw enforcement to prevent the use of abandoned buildings by drug dealers and drug users.

Community mobilisation remains a central component of our efforts to build a safer province. We will in the near future re-launch the Take Charge Campaign combining community activism in anti-crime initiatives and strengthening the Know Your Neighbourhood initiative and sector policing.

Honourable Members;

During the 2012/13 financial year, we created over 22 000 direct permanent jobs, 44 000 direct temporary jobs and 151 000 work opportunities through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). The number of funded vacancies filled by Gauteng provincial sector departments increased from 3346 in December 2012 to 5421 by the end of January 2013.

In 2013/14 we intend to create 196000 EPWP work opportunities at both provincial and municipal levels. In addition, 51000 temporary and permanent jobs will be created.

In pursuit of our Youth Employment Strategy, we have revised the target of creating six Township Enterprise Hubs. The 2013 focus is on refinement of the operating model, starting with the automotive related aspects of these hubs and the other focus areas will be on ICT, services and light manufacturing.

The Youth Entrepreneurial Programme is now run as an internal programme by the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) using the database of youth already registered from the former programme. This database includes 12000 formal applications, 9000 of which met the qualifying criteria and 1100 participants who are at different phases of the training programme.

Furthermore, we have intensified our efforts to increase the participation of designated groups in the economy through creation of and support of cooperatives and SMMEs. Gauteng Enterprise Propeller will intensify its support mechanisms for coops and SMMEs to ensure their survival and greater involvement in the economy. We will ensure that the incubation programmes continue until sustainable levels are achieved.

The success of our efforts to develop youth entrepreneurs is reflected in the extent to which we have supported dynamic young people with entrepreneurial minds. This is illustrated by Apple Nexus, an internet and computing service business started by two young people, Thuto Mosholi and Gilbert Khosa, from Vanderbjilpark in Sedibeng. They opened their first shop in 2006 and with support from GEP, they acquired additional equipment and skills. Their business has grown exponentially. They now have six branches that employ more people and franchised two branches to former employees.

We are also making progress in strengthening Gauteng as a business and leisure tourism destination. Projections show that by increasing the length of stay in the province by 1 night we can potentially create 24000 new jobs. This will be achieved through improved marketing efforts through the Visitor Centre at OR Tambo International Airport and the Johannesburg Visitor Information Centre at Sandton Square.

Furthermore, we have undertaken the following initiatives to promote tourism and tourism infrastructure in our province:

  • City Sightseeing, a global company, has launched its red open top tourist buses in Johannesburg earlier this month;
  • The hotel at Maropeng will be expanded for conferencing and leisure purposes;
  • Dinokeng Game Reserve will be expanded by an additional 40 000 hectares; and
  • The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory will be built as an anchor attraction at Constitution Hill.

In making Gauteng the preferred destination for investors, we will in the coming month be launching the Gauteng Investment Centre (GIC) to ensure facilitation of the business start-up process, from the initial application to the start of business operations.

We have also developed Export Development Programmes for Gauteng companies who are looking at exporting their products in other regional markets with a strategic focus on Africa.

In his 2012 State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma, announced a multi-trillion rand infrastructure spend over the next fourteen years, which will generate massive job creation.

One of the key national initiatives is the development of Ethekwini-Free State-Gauteng freight and logistics corridor. This initiative, which is known as the Strategic Infrastructure Project 2 (SIP2), seeks to improve the movement of goods. It is a unique public-public-public partnership that includes Transnet, SANRAL, the City of Johannesburg and the Gauteng Provincial Government.

The first phase of the City Deep/Kaserne terminal expansion and roads upgrade is underway at the continent`s largest and busiest container terminal.

Detailed planning work, including feasibility studies and the development of master plans, are underway for the Tambo Springs Inland Port, the Vaal Logistics Hub and West Rand Freight and Logistics Hub.

Work on the development of the Aerotropolis centred at OR Tambo International Airport seeks to leverage public and private sector investment at the airport and surrounding areas. The OR Tambo Airport which is Africa`s busiest airport, is a fitting location as Gauteng, South Africa and the Africa`s first Aerotropolis. We have appointed Mr Jack van der Merwe, who successfully oversaw the development of the innovative Gautrain, to lead this initiative.

In supporting industrial development in this precinct, approval has been granted for the creation of an Industrial Development Zone (IDZ). As we continue to develop the Aerotropolis, I am happy to announce that in April 2013, the City of Ekurhuleni will be hosting the Airport Cities World Conference and Exhibition (ACE) 2013 at which best practices will be discussed and expertise shared by international participants.

The Gauteng Provincial Government has secured approval from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for the creation of a "Smart City" Special Economic Zone in NASREC.

Our public transport programme seeks to address operations and infrastructure to achieve an integrated, safe, reliable and environmentally sustainable multi-modal and multi-nodal public transport system.

The infrastructural development interventions constitute intermodal public transport such as park and rides, kiss and ride and waiting areas as well as non-motorised transport walk ways and cycle lanes. Four intermodal facilities are being developed at Roodepoort, Vereeniging and Germiston stations. The engineering studies and concept designs have been completed with construction targeted to commence in the new financial year. These are all being done in partnership with PRASA and the respective municipalities.

We are also working closely with our municipalities to see the continued expansion of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Johannesburg and the launch in Tshwane. Planning is being undertaken in the City of Ekurhuleni to introduce a BRT system as well. We will seek to ensure local production of the new BRT systems.

The province will be making major investments in road infrastructure in the coming financial year:

  • Reconstruction and upgrading of the R55 (Voortrekker Road) to a dual carriageway road between Olievenhoutbosch and Pretoria West;
  • Rehabilitation of the remaining section between Main Road and Maunde Street in Atteridgeville;
  • Reconstruction and upgrading of William Nicol Drive (K46) between Fourways and Diepsloot;
  • Reconstruction and improvement of the remaining section of the Old Pretoria to Cullinan road between the Chris Hani Flats and Cullinan; and
  • Construction of the K60 (between Megawatt Park and the N1) and from Rivonia Road extension to Main Road (PWV9).

In our endeavour to revive industrialisation in the province and the development of SMME development opportunities, we have partnered with Century Property Development Company to establish an industrial park in the Diepsloot area. The project is estimated to be worth about R1.6 billion and will create about 15000 jobs upon completion. Through this partnership, about R370million has been raised from the Jobs Fund, and the construction of Phase 1 of an SMME incubation hub is expected to commence in the next few months.

We remain committed to supporting and collaborating with strategic partners in the automotive industry. Hence we are continuing with the investment support programmes with Ford and Nissan. The respective investment support programmes, between the two companies have leveraged over R5.5bn investment in the economy. Both companies support over 15000 direct jobs and this will increase over the next 3 years.

We have raised R127 million from the Jobs Fund and managed to protect around 2500 jobs by Nissan winning the contract to produce the pickup truck for domestic and export markets.

PRASA has shared with us its short term plans as well as its investment programme to meet the growing demand for quality rail services in Gauteng.

The rolling stock fleet recapitalisation and refurbishment programme is a 20-year-R123bn initiative aimed at delivering new, modern coaches. Gauteng will be allocated a total of 2484 of these coaches, which will be more than 45% of the new coaches to be built in South Africa. We expect that rolling stock factories such as Union Carriage and Wagons (UCW) in Nigel and Transnet Rail Engineering in Koedoespoort will continue to play a significant role in the production, assembling and supply of critical components for the new trains.

Refurbishment of the current fleet will continue to meet customer expectations. For Gauteng alone, 243 coaches will be refurbished to the tune of R537million in this financial year. A further 268 coaches are planned for refurbishment in 2013/14 to the tune of R645 million.

The agency has commenced with its more than R3.8bn programme over five years to modernise its signalling system that are key to train safety, speed and frequency.

A total investment of R13bn has been committed as part of capital programme for Gauteng for the next 3 years. This includes redevelopment of Mabopane and Park stations, the modernisation of 50 stations on core corridors and joint projects with Gauteng Province and municipalities for fully integrated intermodal facilities at 5 stations.

An expansion project valued at over R400m has commenced in Mamelodi, which includes the doubling of the tracks from Eerste-Fabrieke Station, the rebuilding of two stations at Pienaarspoort and Mamelodi, and the building of a new station at Greenview, in order to increase the rail capacity and accessibility for the people of greater Mamelodi and Pienaarspoort areas.

Eskom will spend R74billion over a period of five years to ensure security of supply to Gauteng and to support strategic infrastructure projects. A total amount of R64.8bn will be dedicated to bulk transmission projects and R9.2 billion to distribution projects.

Pursuant to Gauteng`s drive to build a knowledge-based economy through R&D and innovation, a number of projects and programmes have been developed. The Climate Change Innovation Centre based at the Innovation Hub in Tshwane has been established in partnership with the World Bank to assist businesses in developing business ideas that assist in the mitigation of climate change.

Broadband networks and access to high-speed internet have become an important determinant of country competitiveness, and as access to broadband continues to increase globally, it has become important to have access to this new digital economy. The Gauteng Broadband Network Link is the Gauteng initiative to fulfil this broadband requirement.

Honourable Members,

Our interventions in agriculture have demonstrated the sector`s exciting potential for inclusive growth and more broad-based economic empowerment, resulting in increased production, job creation and the development of new entrepreneurs.

Through the Maize Triangle flagship project, we have supported 150 farmers in the Greater Tshwane, Sedibeng and the West Rand with production inputs. Emerging farmers in these regions have planted more than 1500 ha of maize since November 2011.

We have supported 120 cooperatives and over 400 farmers with production inputs such as seeds, seedlings and fertilisers and 285 members of different cooperatives in the province have been trained.

Through the West Rand Agricultural College and related training, we have enhanced skills and production levels, providing training to over 1000 mostly small-holder farmers on technical and business aspects of agriculture.

The Dreamlands Piggery Farm Project in Sedibeng, that started in 2004 by Ms Anna Phosa, is just one of many success stories. What started as a small holding with chickens and vegetables for household use became a leading pork supplier in the province. This was thanks to Phosa`s drive and government`s support in helping her with piglets, feed, the establishment of an abattoir and training. Ms Phosa, who was voted Gauteng Female Farmer of the Year in 2006, employs 20 people and sells over 100 pigs per week to a major retail chain and other markets.

We are especially proud of black women and young people who have established thriving cooperatives and agri-business ventures.

The Bantu Bonke agricultural cooperative that involves 20 mostly young people in Midvaal, has developed a successful hydroponics farm with land and other assistance from government. The project has 18 tunnels, a packaging house, cold room and other facilities and sells vegetables to fresh produce markets and retail shops.

The Mamochechere Farming Cooperative is another success story. Florah Shilaloke and her team raised enough to buy a 22 hectare farm in Bronkhorstspruit after receiving a financial boost from government. The cooperative today has 9000 chickens and the capacity to produce 1.8 million eggs a month, supplying retailers. Mrs Shilaloke is looking to expand even further and has set her sights on exporting to SADC countries.

Our food gardens in the province continue to help put food on the table for many families, with over 20000 household food gardens, over 200 school food gardens and 340 community food gardens in the poorest areas. In 2013/14 we are targeting an additional 12 000household food gardens.

As part of our commitment to establish Agri-Parks, we have established the Dinokeng Flower Agri-park in Tshwane. The development of two vegetable Agri-parks has commenced in Tarlton in Mogale City and Wattville in Ekurhuleni and will be completed in 2013/14.

We are developing agro-processing infrastructure projects in Emfuleni and Winterveld.

While Gauteng is highly urbanised, with just 3% rural areas, we have focused on an integrated approach to rural development, including infrastructure such as roads and human settlements, improving access to basic services, public services such as education, health, policing and stimulating economic opportunities.

Good progress has been made on the construction of a new boarding school in Magaliesburg, which is expected to be completed by August this year. The construction of the Fochville Boarding School will commence in 2013/14. These will make a difference in the lives of young people who currently live far from school.

Working with rural communities and farmers, we have developed Rural Safety Plans in three rural areas and have worked closely with police to address the unacceptably high levels of crime in Muldersdrift. We will deploy patrollers in the area and improve the enforcement of bylaws. We are developing safety programmes in additional 22 rural areas and working with police to improve visible policing. In 2013/14 we will have a total of 82 patrol cars in rural areas. With support from local communities, these interventions will contribute to improving rural safety.

Madame Speaker,

Gauteng has the highest number of government-subsidised houses built since 1994 and has shown overall increases in the percentage of formal housing compared to informal housing. Access to basic services is significantly higher when compared with previous years and most other provinces.

We would like to draw your attention to Granny Letia Mthimkhulu who was born in 1903 and is now 110 years old. She received her RDP house in Tshepiso, Sharpeville in 2011 at the age of 108. This shows that we are dealing with the legacy of the past and ensuring access for a wide range of beneficiaries.

We will work with our municipalities to unblock major private sector developments that will anchor our approach to integrated planning. We are working with our municipalities in supporting the Waterfall City and the Savanna City developments as well as in addressing the constraints faced by the proposed Heartlands Development in Modderfontein.

In building sustainable human settlements, the availability of bulk infrastructure is critical. The GPG, along with the national Department of Water Affairs and our municipalities are jointly involved in the development of the Sedibeng Regional Sanitation Scheme. This initiative has been elevated to a Strategic Infrastructure Project (SIP) that will be project managed by Rand Water.

In addressing the high concentration of informal settlements in Gauteng, we earmarked several informal settlements for upgrade in 2009. To this end, we have acquired almost 45 land parcels for upgrade. In the 2013/14 financial year, we will allocate approximately R240 million towards the acquisition of 15 properties which are well-located for low income and affordable housing.

We can confidently demonstrate that our human settlements policy is living up to its objectives. We now have residential areas that are non-racial, with mixed income groups and within their vicinity all residents have access to amenities like schools, clinics, shopping complexes and créches. In Chief Mogale in Kagiso township, Thandiswa`s grandparents have as their neighbours Mr and Mrs Griesel, who have moved from Krugersdorp town to live in Kagiso.

Lady Selbourne is a reminder of our apartheid past, when its Black residents were forcibly removed under the notorious Group Areas Act. Coloured people were moved to Eersterus and Derdepoort, Indians to Laudium and Africans to Ga-Rankuwa, Mamelodi, Mabopane and Atteridgeville.

Today, we want to re-claim Lady Selbourne`s non-racial history by developing 5000 units over a number of years, commencing in 2013/14. It will eventually stand as a triumph of human rights in our country. We are especially pleased that the gulf between class, race and culture is being bridged in places like Chief Mogale, Lady Selbourne and many other mixed housing projects in our province.

We are on course with the implementation of our urban renewal projects. Through the Winterveldt Urban Renewal Project which commenced in 2010/11, we will complete close to 1000 houses and over 3000 stands by the end of the current financial year, with a further 1000 stands and 1500 houses scheduled for completion in 2013/14.

The Tembisa Urban Renewal Master Plan was finalised in 2011/12, and since then we have delivered 1800 new houses and serviced 200 sites. The project will also include the construction of 3 new schools (1 secondary and 2 primary schools); the fencing of 10 schools; the refurbishment of 23 schools over 3 years; construction of a psychiatric ward and a blood-bank at Tembisa Hospital. In addition, extensive road construction and social amenities such as parks are also earmarked.

Since the commencement of the Alexandra Renewal Programme some years ago, we have seen significant changes in the area, which include:

  • De-densification of Alexandra through the development of Bramfischerville in SOWETO and Diepsloot;
  • Development of Pan Africa Mall;
  • Gordon Primary School;
  • Close to 4000 housing units in K206 (Ext 9 and Ext 10);
  • Construction of 8 cluster homes;
  • Development of the M2 hostel phase 2;
  • Refurbishment of the Alex San Kopano Library; and
  • Improved road infrastructure, including the Florence Mophosho Bridge and road and the upgrading of 4 intersections along Vincent Tshabalala Road and Far East Bank.

In the last financial year we stated that inner city development will be one of our priorities so that new economic life can be injected in the three identified cities, namely Vereeniging, Germiston and Krugersdorp.

In all three cities the projects were initiated in the 2011/12 financial year and planning finalised in the current year. During the 2013/14 financial year, we plan to implement projects with partners in line with approved business plans.

In Germiston the joint implementation of social housing projects in Delville Ext 9 and South Germiston is already underway. As we move forward in the new financial year, we plan to speed up delivery of services and numerous projects.

Honourable Members,

While we have come a long way in healing the divisions of the past, we have not yet fully achieved our Constitution`s vision of a non-racial and non-sexist society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights. As the Freedom Charter put it, "a society in which all are equal participants in the creation of a shared future, regardless of race, class, gender, disability, country of origin, age, belief, or any other distinguishing factor".

Therefore, in order to build social cohesion and a common national identity, we will extend platforms and public spaces for citizen participation and expression, and promote major sports, arts and cultural activities.

We have many high-profile major events organised by government and the private sector, such as the Gauteng Sports Awards, the Gauteng Challenge, rugby matches at Orlando Stadium, the Soweto Marathon, the 94,7 Cycle Challenge, the annual Gauteng Carnival, the indigenous games, the Joburg Art Fair, the Johannesburg Fashion Show, Puisano Music Festival and Joy of Jazz and Go-West Festival.

We will develop a province-wide calendar of major events which will help position the province as the Home of Champions and a destination of choice for tourism. This will in turn contribute to job creation and other economic opportunities.

We will partner with a range of communities in supporting diverse cultural expressions, including Diwali; a Festival of Lights and various traditional festivities.

School sport activities have contributed to building social cohesion and social solidarity. Competitions in school leagues culminated in the Gauteng School Games in 2012. Team Gauteng was selected for participation in the National Schools Games Championship in December 2012. We will continue to upgrade sports facilities in partnership with municipalities. In 2013/14 we will focus on the reconstruction of the Bob van Reenen Sports Stadium in Mogale City (finally).

The Women`s Monument at the Lillian Ngoyi Square in Tshwane has been initiated as a living monument for women`s development and an iconic structure to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the contributions made by the heroines of the South African liberation struggle. The construction of the monument will commence in 2013/14.

Following the launch of the OR Tambo Monument in partnership with Ekurhuleni, the narrative centre is expected to be completed this year.

Following the renaming of the R21 near the OR Tambo International Airport after another of our liberation icons, Albertina Sisulu, the intention is to extend the renaming of the East-West axis to Commissioner Street in Johannesburg. The proposal has been tabled before the Gauteng Geographical Names Committee and is under discussion whilst further consultations are pursued. The provincial government and the City of Johannesburg are working together to finalise the process in 2013/14.

Madam Speaker,

We have made important inroads in improving the lives of women, people with disabilities and young people in our province. This has been achieved through the deliberate integration and monitoring of the needs of these targeted groups within our key provincial programmes.

The education of our young women has enjoyed top priority. Our girl learners continue to shine in the matric results. We are particularly pleased at the improved performance by female learners in maths and science. As part of the support offered to advance the development of our girl learners, we will provide 200000 dignity packs to those in need. This enhances the dignity of our girls and helps reduce absenteeism among girl learners.

Within health, we have seen significant improvements in maternal health and a strong focus on women`s reproductive health rights. In the year ahead we will pay further attention to the reduction of unwanted teenage pregnancies, which often have a negative impact on the development of our young women.

There are many success stories which demonstrate the gains we are making in advancing women`s economic empowerment.

Ms. Agnes Ndlhangamandla started the Khupukani Bakery and Confectionary in Daveyton with four other women. What started out as a stokvel and a micro-enterprise in a shack, is now a fully-fledged business with modern equipment and expanded production in a new building owned by women. This was made possible with support from Gauteng Enterprise Propeller and specialized training they received.

Another example is Ms. Nicholine Tubane from Soweto, who runs her own store in the Johannesburg fashion district, selling shoes, handbags and accessories. She received funding from GEP to get the business going. She not only employs other people in her shop but also sources her products from other SMMEs, including a handcrafter from Soweto, Ms. Mbonisi Zikala, and Ms. Ntsekeng Sout, a milliner from Soweto.

The company that successfully and speedily installed lifts at Chris Hani Baragwanath is owned by a woman, Mpumi Nkabinde, of Sigma Lifts. She installed the lifts in just 19 days, far out-performing the industry standard of between 6 weeks and 3 months.

The construction company that is building the Magaliesburg Boarding School is run by a woman, Lesedi Mohuba, who is the CEO of Moreteng Construction.

While we have performed well in achieving our preferential procurement targets in relation to previously disadvantaged individuals and youth, we need to do a lot more to empower enterprises owned by women and people with disabilities.

Our Accelerated Artisan Training Programme targeted the recruitment of 500 artisans to intensify scarce skills development. One young beneficiary of the programme explained how it has improved his prospects:

"Personally, it has helped me a lot. At first I was struggling at home and couldn`t do much for my younger brothers. Now things are different. One of my younger brothers is an Eskom employee after I took him to school with the little money that I earned from this project. My life has changed for the better regardless of the challenges that I faced. It has given me exposure and has also helped me financially".

In 2012/13 we trained over 9000 young people and supported over 1500 youth SMMEs and cooperatives. This will be further expanded in 2013/14.

These young entrepreneurs are the drivers of the Gauteng economy of the future.

People with Disabilities continue to benefit from a range of public services in education, health care, skills development, business development and preferential procurement.

In 2013/14 we will allocate a further 1000 housing opportunities to people with disabilities. To improve the uptake levels, we call on people with disabilities and their organisations to present themselves to government to apply for these housing opportunities.

People with disabilities have also benefited from our farmer support programmes. Ms Sindi Sabela, who is disabled, is the General Manager of Ikhwezi Farms, a 20 acre market garden growing cabbage and tomatoes in Cullinan. Having started farming in 2008, Ms Sabela helped her colleagues and her local community to profit from supplying markets, schools and hotels with vegetables. Ikhwezi currently sells to a major retail chain, local stores and a nearby hotel.

The public service continues to lead the way in relation to employment equity. I am proud to say that 42% of our senior management are now women; an increase of 3% last year. While Gauteng has proportionately fewer women than men, we are leading other provinces on gender equity.

The employment of people with disabilities at senior management levels has also improved, but remains at low levels. In the year ahead we will take proactive steps to work with universities, organisations of people with disabilities and other key stakeholders to improve performance in this regard.

Madame Speaker, Honourable Members,

Our success and commitment to serve our people is dependent on the following:

  • Exercising effective leadership and ensuring the necessary capacity at leadership level
  • Entrenching accountability for performance by both political principals and public servants at all levels and
  • Improving the strategic and technical capacity of government in the province.

We are increasingly positioning the provincial government as an employer of choice and attracting skilled young professionals into the public service. As part of our initiative to build our technical capacity, we have recruited 160 new technical staff into the Department of Infrastructure Development, including engineers and artisans to help revolutionise our socio-economic and public infrastructure delivery in the province. One young engineer who is already making a difference is Paradzi Moneka, who is the resident engineer at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

The Gauteng Planning Commission, which is tasked with city-region wide spatial and development planning, has young graduates who are planners, like Taariq Ismail, Nomasonto Radebe and Aasif Mangera, and Geographical Information System interns, like Kedibone Mofokeng and Tshenzhemo Nemutudi, whose expertise will help determine Gauteng`s future urban form.

Working with local government, we will further strengthen channels of direct interaction, participation and delivery at a community level through stepping up the dissemination of information and through Izimbizo. As part of Gauteng`s integrated service delivery model, we are redefining the roles of government`s "foot soldiers" in our communities; the Community Development Workers, Community Health Workers and others who interact daily with Gauteng residents to help solve their problems and access services. They will support the Ward Councillors, who are elected representatives and who are at the rock-face of serving our communities.

The Gauteng Premier`s Hotline which marked its first anniversary this month has become a vital channel to ensure that government is responsive to citizens` needs. In its first year of operation, the Hotline attended to 121,000 calls and achieved a resounding case resolution rate of 98%. The average call answering rate was 10 seconds and responding to more than 70% of escalations to departments and municipalities within 3 working days. To further improve on its impact, we have put together a rapid response team to follow up cases directly with Departments and Municipalities.

In building effective government, we have introduced the outcomes-based approach to planning, budgeting and performance management, driven by the Office of the Premier as the provincial governance nerve centre. Through stronger performance monitoring and evaluation we have been able to quickly identify areas of under-performance, take corrective action and improve accountability for performance. This has also helped with consequence management for senior managers and those responsible for delivery.

In response to growing litigation against the provincial government, we have put in place a litigation management plan. This includes more effective case management, the speedier settlement of cases involving legitimate claims and the more vigorous defence of state interests in response to spurious or opportunistic claims.

In the fight against corruption, we have moved to tighten management controls in key areas. This has helped to more effectively identify and act against incidents of corruption such as collusion with private sector suppliers, fraudulent overtime claims and the illegal sale of land. We have improved the resolution of cases reported through the National Anti-Corruption Hotline and have enforced compliance with regulations relating to the disclosure of financial information by senior managers.

Of the 150 fraud and corruption cases which I referred to in my State of the Province Address last year, 70 have been investigated and resolved, while further investigations are continuing in relation to the other 80 cases. In the year ahead, we will improve our investigative capacity to more speedily address reported cases and ensure that the culprits suffer the consequences of their actions.

Honourable Members

In plotting our long term future, we are currently involved in a number of initiatives that will enable us to navigate the road ahead.

Our Gauteng Vision 2055, to be launched later this year, takes into account the National Development Plan`s insights and integrates its core ideas into our plan. It also reflects the social, economic and spatial reality of the GCR by taking advantage of its potential and addressing its specific challenges.

Work will commence on the Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan for Gauteng that will encompass all infrastructure projects by both government and the private sector. This will sit alongside the 25-year Integrated Transport Master Plan, which is currently being developed.

The GPG is involved in the effort to develop an Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF), which is led by the national Department of Cooperative Governance. This will respond to the imperatives of urbanisation across the country and the need for government to actively manage this process.

We are initiating the development of a Planning House, which will be a facility that will enable all stakeholders to visualise the future development of our province.

Madam Speaker, Honourable Members and Residents of Gauteng

We have travelled a long journey to get to where South Africa is today. Before 1994, separate development was the order of the day. The masses of our people were forcefully confined in underdeveloped reserves for cheap labour. They had no prospects of ever living side by side as equals with their fellow South Africans in the better developed leafy suburbs of our beloved country. However, the resilience and determination of our people to triumph over the brutal and evil system of repression and racial segregation transformed South Africa into a much better country than it was two decades ago. We were spurred by the mandate given to us by our forefathers who gallantly fought epic battles of resistance against colonial rulers so that South Africa could be a sovereign state with a common national identity. This remains a journey to the fulfilment of our mandate.

Today, the provision of basic services is a right that all our people enjoy. Clean running water, electricity supply, waste removal and sanitation are provided to all our people irrespective of class or race.

We are building a society where no child can be deprived of education because the parents cannot afford. We are creating a caring society where no poor child can attend class on an empty stomach.

Primary Health Care is freely accessible to everyone and the number of health centres that operate 24 hours a day has increased. We have provided shelter to multitudes of people by delivering more than 90 000 houses within a short space of time. We have given our people a sense of pride and dignity by issuing them with title deeds for the properties they occupy.

Poverty and malnutrition is being attacked from all fronts. Employment opportunities are created and social grants provided to many poor households who would not have had a meal without this assistance.

The infrastructure development and the intermodal transport network we are delivering is turning Gauteng into a modern City Region that can hold its own amongst the best of the world. Without any doubt we have started and we will continue to transform our society for the better.

This is the story of our long journey reflecting on what we have done to ensure that Thandiswa and her parents can live a better life in a secure and developed province. Let us not forget the good that democracy has brought. Notwithstanding the fact that things have not been easy in the last 20 years of democratic rule, Gauteng remains a beacon of hope for many and a better Gauteng is in the making.

When we came into office we stated categorically that "Kuyasheshwa" and this is demonstrated by the pace at which we have delivered in education, health, housing and other areas of our outcomes. This is borne out by the findings of Census 2011 including the Institute of Race Relations Report. In the light of these improvements, Thandiswa`s future is guaranteed to be a brighter and a promising one.

The Gauteng we envisage through Gauteng Vision 2055 will give expression to the cosmopolitan life of Thandiswa`s generation.

Madam Speaker, Honourable Members

Our Gauteng Vision 2055 is expressed as follows:

"A liveable, equitable, prosperous and united city region, established through the combined efforts of a developmental state, an engaged civil society and an active citizenry - together targeting the objectives of equitable growth, sustainable development and infrastructure, social inclusivity and cohesion, and the necessary condition of good governance."

What does this mean for Thandiswa?

If we project to the year 2055, Thandiswa will be a middle-aged woman heading towards retirement. She remembers poverty, inequality and unemployment as vague and distant memories and her children have been told about the hardships of the past. She also remembers that the government played a major role in providing free basic services, social security and public employment to deal with those challenges. Today, she is not dependent on the state for her twilight years.

Thandiswa`s education put her on a sound career footing. She was able to enjoy a successful and productive career through her own diligence as well as an education system that endowed her with the skills as a high-end knowledge worker.

She is proud to live in a city-region that is not only Africa`s unrivalled economic dynamo, but one of the world`s leading economies. It acts as a gateway for goods and services to the country`s hinterland as well as much of Sub-Saharan Africa. It is a smart city-region in the broadest sense. It values entrepreneurship based on new ideas, research and innovation. Everyone has access to a broadband network. Business uses it to improve its competitiveness; residents access the internet for educational, informational and recreational purposes; and government uses it to improve the quality of public services.

Thandiswa has enjoyed good health, thanks to the roll out of the National Health Insurance (NHI) system, and her own personal lifestyle choices. She can look forward to a long and relatively disease-free life during her time as a senior citizen.

Thandiswa and her family enjoy the security of an almost crime and violence-free environment. The comprehensive steps taken by government over the early years of the twenty-first century to deal decisively with violent crime and abuse have borne fruit.

The days of suburbs and townships are long gone. Although Thandiswa`s parents were the beneficiaries of an RDP house, she and her family now live in a comfortable, well-located apartment. The Gauteng City Region is a well-integrated place where most residents have easy access to employment, educational, recreational and public services. She can now enjoy moving around in buses, trains and bicycles that are easily accessible, safe, convenient and efficient. is Thandiswa. A single ticket allows her to move around the far reaches of the city-region. Cars are no longer fashionable and bicycles are the preferred mode for short distance travelling.

Thandiswa enjoys walking in the parks that are close to her home. These are part of a major, interconnected green lung along with watercourses with clear, running water.

Thandiswa, her family and friends are all active members of society. They have a good sense of civic duty and social solidarity. They are keen to participate in many institutions of civil society and enjoy vigorous interaction with their elected representatives and institutions of governance.

It means that Thandiswa lives in the kind of society that we envisaged in the Freedom Charter in 1955 and the Constitution of South Africa.

Madame Speaker, Honourable Members,

This is the dream that we want to realise through Vision 2055. I therefore invite the people of Gauteng to join us in realising this dream of a better Gauteng. The journey has begun.

Dankie
Ngiyabonga.