Address by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane on the occasion of the opening of the Gauteng Legislature
20 February 2012, Mamelodi, City of Tshwane
Members of the Executive Council
Honourable Leaders of Political Parties
Honourable Members of the Provincial Legislature
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
The people of Gauteng
It is a great pleasure and honour to address the opening of the Gauteng Legislature in Tshwane, the seat of government of the Republic of South Africa. We are here today not to protest or demonstrate against the inhumane system of apartheid which Pretoria came to symbolise. We are here to recognise the triumph of democracy over racial tyranny, national unity over separate development as well as the entrenchment of non-racialism and non-sexism as pillars of our democracy.
Tshwane, as a liberated city, is now second only to Washington DC in hosting the largest number of foreign embassies in the world.
Close to where we are sitting lie the gallows which are a grim reminder of where we come from as the nation. It is the place where lives were lost for freedom, equality and justice for all. It is in this city where many of our heroes and heroines were given paupers funerals in the false belief that their memory would be totally obliterated from the nation's consciousness. It is in Mamelodi cemetery where the sacred remains of those who died at the hands of the apartheid hangman lie, together with those of the ANC President, the late Comrade Sefako Makgatho.
Mamelodi, as the hosting ground for today's sitting, is indeed the home of brave hearts who mounted relentless campaigns against the apartheid forces. These are freedom fighters that chose to die standing, rather than on their knees begging for mercy from the oppressor. The fighters of the calibre of Solomon "Kalushi" Mahlangu, who, when faced with death never apologised or succumbed to self-pity. When presented with an opportunity to say his last words to his mother, Kalushi never asked for forgiveness; instead he asked his mother to convey the revolutionary message to the people of South Africa that:
"My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom. Tell my people that I love them. They must continue the fight."
Despite losing her loving son, Mama Martha Mahlangu, did not shed a tear or weaken. She knew this was the cross she had to bear until all the children of South Africa were free. It is women of such fortitude and strength that we must celebrate and honour - women who gave their all so that we could all live in peace and prosperity. Today, we honour and acknowledge these women by having the opening of the Gauteng Legislature in Mamelodi.
We also remember the incredible fortitude of women marching to Pretoria and many other resistance campaigns waged by the people of South Africa under the leadership of the ANC. It was the period whose mood and emotion was aptly conveyed in the music of Vuyisile Mini, which was popularized by Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba, in a very impassionate song:
The lyrics of this haunting song reflected the explosive mood and emotions of the time, which shaped and defined the course of action that led to the inevitable demise of the Verwoerdian doctrine and its offshoots. This period marked the genesis of the armed resistance and the growing militancy against all that represented racism, separate development, oppression and inequality. It is such reflections that underscore the profoundness of the Centenary of the ANC.
The founding fathers of the ANC were keenly aware that our future as South Africans is inextricably linked to that of Africa, the continent that continues to suffer from the legacy of colonialism. As a result, the African development agenda becomes secondary to that of the former colonial powers.
The continent is still afflicted by strife as a result of narrow religious, cultural and tribal differences which the ANC's founders sought to overcome. Notwithstanding this, Africa is showing signs of a waking giant. Africa's economic fortunes are on the rise, with growth of 5.7% making her one of the world's fastest growing regions. The tenets of democracy and good governance are beginning to take root, which bodes very well for development and growth.
We are addressing this House at a time when the economic situation of the world, particularly in Europe and America is not a healthy one and countries such as Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy, amongst others, are in the throes of an economic crisis which holds far-reaching implications for the world.
In the midst of such developments, opportunities for growth and expansion, such as South Africa's membership of BRICS, continue to present themselves. Opportunities that arise as a consequence of our participation in international institutions must be harnessed for the general good of the continent and the country in particular.
Gauteng has not been insulated from the adverse impact of conflict and crisis in both Africa and Europe. We have experienced an increase in the number of people that move into Gauteng from all over the world. In spite of the challenges arising from high levels of in-migration and urbanisation, we realise that this also presents strategic opportunities for the Gauteng City Region in harnessing its global linkages to improve the lives of the people of the province and, indeed, the country.
Our Midterm Review has shown that, in the face of numerous challenges, we have made good progress in implementing our electoral mandate.
Education in this province has been a major success story. We have vastly improved access to schooling - we achieved a gross enrolment ratio of 84% in primary schools and 83% in secondary schools by 2010. There has been a major improvement from 57% in 2008 to 75% in 2011 in the percentage of learners who complete schooling to matric level.
We have massively improved access to early childhood development. Over 88% of public primary schools have at least one Grade R class and we are on track to universalise Grade R by 2014.
Moreover, the quality of basic education has improved. Our matric pass rate improved from 71.8% in 2009 to 81% in 2011. Gauteng was the top-performing province in 2010 and second in 2011.
The story of Julius Mhlanga of Merafong, is one that shows what our interventions can do for the African child, if we all pull in the same direction. He is one of the many learners who beat the odds, including the disruption of schooling in the then unstable Khutsong township, after going through our programme to improve performance at senior secondary schools. He comes from a no-fee paying school and passed his matric with five distinctions in 2010. This year, he is doing second year in B Com Accounting at the University of Johannesburg. As part of ploughing back to the community, he is now assisting in one of the improvement programmes.
It is important to note that 80% of our township schools which were part of our improvement programmes have done better in their performance in the final matric examinations. These schools, traditionally poor performers, are now achieving pass rates of around 80%. These are the strides we are making in improving the quality of the education of the African child.
We have achieved better health outcomes and increased life expectancy. Maternal mortality dropped from 168 per 100 000 mothers in 2009 to 144 per 100 000 mothers in 2010. A major public health breakthrough in reducing childhood mortality was achieved through the introduction of vaccines against rotavirus diarrhoea and against pneumococcal diseases. In Gauteng we achieved maximum coverage in this regard.
AIDS deaths are down from 38.5% in 2009 to 35% in 2011, showing the effectiveness of our rollout of anti-retroviral therapy. We have over 300 facilities providing anti-retrovirals to over 500 000 people.
We have invested in health infrastructure and better services, creating centres of excellence in some of our health institutions and expanding the provision of ambulances.
We have paid special attention to our mega-hospital - Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic - one of the biggest in the world. It has 2 600 beds and is used by more than 460 000 patients each year - people who come from all over South Africa and indeed the continent. It has 3 500 nurses and 840 doctors and delivers 22 000 live babies annually.
Despite negative incidents reported in the media, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic has important centres of excellence such as the Hand Unit, the Dr Dumisani Mzamani Renal Unit and Diabetic clinic and the Gastro-Intestinal Unit - which trains doctors and nurses from all over Southern Africa. The world-class Burns Unit and the Trauma Unit are the largest in Africa, with state- of-the-art technology enabling doctors to speedily make life-saving interventions.
These achievements are made possible by the many doctors, nurses and other health professionals who work tirelessly to improve the health of our people - people like retired nurse Alicia Mathope, who is a volunteer at Chris Hani Baragwanath. Mathope heeded our call following the Nursing Summit and came out of retirement to assist in the provision of the quality healthcare in oiur province.
Ironically, Gauteng is often a victim of its own success. We experience a massive influx of so-called "health migrants" from other parts of the country and other African countries. Some come just for the day to collect medicines and see health professionals and others come to give birth or have operations. This spiralling demand places huge pressure on our health system.
The number of primary health care visits in the province increased by one million - from just over 19 million visits to 20 million visits between 2010 and 2011.
The use of our public health facilities has expanded dramatically, but the health budget has not. This situation is made worse by financial management and operational weaknesses, which necessitated interventions by the provincial government, supported by national government. On the other hand, it has been identified that with optimum management of overtime in all our institutions we may be able to save up to R20million per month.
I am pleased to report that job creation in Gauteng is on the increase. The 2011 Fourth Quarter Labour Force Survey showed that Gauteng had a 4.1% increase in employment compared to the same time last year. This amounted to an increase of 132 000 jobs. While this is not sufficient to address current unemployment levels, the upward trend is encouraging.
By the end of December 2011, the provincial government had exceeded its job creation targets, with 281 686 jobs created against a target of 229 904 jobs by the end of March 2012. Of these jobs, 5 629 were permanent jobs, 40 898 were temporary jobs and 235 159 were jobs created through EPWP.
To combat crime and create an environment in which our people feel safe and secure, we have worked alongside the South African Police Service and metro police departments in reducing virtually all priority crimes. Police statistics show that murder in Gauteng declined by 16% since 2007. Car and truck hijackings declined by 20.5% and 30% respectively; while residential and non-residential robberies dropped by 12.5% and 12.9% respectively between 2010 and 2011.
We have made strong progress in implementing 14 mixed housing developments across the province, contributing to the development of non-racial human settlements. Sixty nine informal settlements have been formalised and 12 eradicated. We also delivered over 26 000 serviced stands and close to 51 000 houses.
At the beginning of our term of office in 2009 we made a commitment to the people of Gauteng to do things differently and to always act in their interests in the execution of our duties.
We have streamlined the structure of the provincial government and its agencies to improve service delivery and eliminate duplication and wastage of resources.
We have further improved the capacity of the state by establishing the Gauteng Planning Commission and the Gauteng Advisory Council, which will play a key role in the development of a long-term vision for the province.
The recruitment of staff in critical positions has been accelerated and the provincial government's vacancy rate of 31% in 2009 has been reduced to 18% in 2011.
As part of our efforts to ensure a more caring and responsive public service, we recently launched the Gauteng Premier's Hotline, which is linked up with all municipalities, departments and agencies. Since the start of the incubation phase of the Hotline in March 2011, we responded to over 95 000 calls on service delivery matters.
Fraud and corruption by its nature undermines effective service delivery. Our work to address operational weaknesses and ensure proper controls and accountability has uncovered unscrupulous individuals from both the public and the private sectors who attempt to abuse the public service and divert public resources for their own selfish ends.
Through the diligent work of our employees and the public, we have unearthed over 150 cases of alleged fraud and corruption ranging from procurement irregularities and financial misconduct to fraud and theft of medication and food supplies. Among those facing fraud charges are nine doctors from the Leratong, Sebokeng and Pholosong hospitals.
We have recently seen a number of high profile litigation cases against the provincial government. While it is our responsibility to defend the state's interests and protect the public purse, it is also important that we are able to admit liability in cases where there is clear evidence of negligence.
We will take steps to address the causes of such negligence within the institutions where it occurred to prevent it from happening again. The relevant officials will be held accountable for their actions, including, where appropriate, disciplinary action.
We have seen continuous improvement in financial management as reflected by our audit outcomes. This year we received no disclaimers, nine unqualified audits and one clean audit. We will, in the year ahead, step up Operation Clean Audit towards the achievement of our goal of clean audits for all entities.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests
The focus for the year ahead will be primarily on accelerating delivery with a strong emphasis on concrete deliverable programmes.
We are especially excited that our Flagship Projects have moved steadily along since they were first announced. In the coming financial year, our endeavour will be focused on the accelerated implementation of these mega-projects that will serve as catalytic drivers of growth and development in Gauteng. The projects are located in different parts of the province and form an essential part of the integrated infrastructure development programme to promote job creation.
The G-link Project is central to our efforts to build the knowledge economy as a driver of development and make Gauteng a Smart Province. The project aims at achieving 95% broadband coverage in the province to narrow the digital divide, roll out e-government services and grow the economy. The work currently underway seeks to roll out network infrastructure between 2012 and 2014.
We are happy to announce that we will be partnering with the national Department of Communication and City of Johannesburg to develop a Smart City at Nasrec in Johannesburg. This is a multi-disciplinary ICT development that aims to create sustainable economic activities through the use of ICT to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of ICT.
We will establish the Climate Innovation Centre (CIC) and a Bio-Sciece Park at the Innovation Hub to help entrepreneurs to develop and commercialize green technologies that will assist disadvantaged communities.
Together with universities and the ICT sector we are developing an ICT skills development programme that will position Gauteng as South Africa's centre of ICT skills development.
The Maize Triangle is aimed at increasing food crop productivity among small holder and subsistence farmers in Gauteng in order to improve food security, reduce poverty and create jobs.
Over the past year, 21 farms received infrastructure support such as irrigation equipment, water tanks and generators. 1488ha of maize was planted with the assistance of tractor services provided to small farmers. Technical and advisory assistance has been provided by 20 extension officers and 8 mentors.
The construction of a feed milling plant has been completed in Ekandustria to supply small farmers with animal feed at reasonable prices. 15 permanent and 10 seasonal jobs have been created at the facility.
In the coming year, we will provide 130 farmers with mechanized and technical support. 10 farmers will be provided with central storage facilities. We received 72 tractors and equipment which will be distributed to the farmers within the Maize Triangle area this month.
Over the past year good progress has been made in improving water treatment works as part of the upgrading of bulk services linked to the Sedibeng Regional Sanitation Scheme. Maintenance and repairs have been undertaken at the Lieukuil, Rietspruit, Meyerton and Sebokeng water treatment plants. In the coming year we will commence with extending the Sebokeng plant to double its capacity and also grow the capacity of the Meyerton plant. National government and the province have pledged R1.4 billion and R500 million ,respectively, for this project over the next three years.
When concluded, the new sewer network will unblock development in the southern part of Gauteng and beyond. This includes new developments in areas such as Sweetwaters, Orange Farm and Sedibeng, with a potential yield of 170 000 houses.
Gauteng is positioning itself as a key Freight and Logistics Hub of our region, involving a number of related initiatives.
We have embarked on a project for the development of the Aerotropolis as a key component of the transport infrastructure network created around the OR Tambo International Airport through the partnerships led by the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Council and the Gauteng Provincial Government.
The Aerotropolis projects seeks to grow the Gauteng economy by improving the business environment linked to airports in the province through efficient supply lines and integrated socio-economic developments along this supply chain.
To promote growth and development linked to the OR Tambo International Airport, we have established a Gauteng IDZ Development Company. The first phase of the project will involve the development of a Jewellery Manufacturing Precinct, which will commence in 2012/13 financial year.
The Aerotropolis is also dependent on the establishment of the freight and logistics hubs in the following regions:
- Tambo Springs Inland port
- West Rand Logistics hub
- Rosslyn Logistics hub and
- Vaal Logistics hub
These Freight and Logistics Hubs will serve as the key planks towards the development of the Ethekwini-Gauteng Corridor announced recently by the President in the State of the Nation Address.
Whilst the project originally focused on freight and logistics, the need for a High Speed Passenger Rail Link was also mooted along the corridor, and the feasibility thereof will be investigated.
Constitutional Hill Project: The purpose of the Constitutional Hill Project is to preserve historically significant buildings from the Old Fort in manner that makes them publicly and commercially useful and catalyses the regeneration of the Braamfontein Precinct.
Restorative work on some of the buildings was completed toward the end of the last year. Discussions are underway with the relevant national departments to complete other phases of the project. These include the possibility of erecting the justice college within the precinct.
The Gauteng Provincial Government, along with our three Gauteng-based metros, serve on the President's Infrastructure Co-ordinating Committee, which will ensure that we are well placed to engage with this key initiative.
Last year saw the exciting opening of the Gautrain service between Tshwane and Johannesburg, further increasing the number of people in the province who use public transport. In response to this demand, additional capacity will be introduced from March this year.
To expand the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in the province, key BRT corridors have been identified by the Tshwane and Ekurhuleni metros and we will undertake planning on the further rollout of BRT in the coming year. Construction of the Tshwane BRT is scheduled to start in 2013.
Together with progress made on the revitalization of rail by national government, Gautrain and BRT represent additional offerings as part of an emerging intermodal, integrated public transport system in Gauteng.
We are in the process of developing a long-term transport plan that will enable us to achieve this goal.
We are currently providing bus subsidies to private operators to the tune of R1.6 billion per annum. We are however concerned that the current system of subsidies does not lend itself to equity across the province. We will be working with national government to re-determine routes so as to phase in bus services in areas that do not enjoy this benefit and will propose that Mogale City in the West Rand receives priority.
In the year ahead, we will spend over R500 million on the construction and maintenance of roads in the province. The N14 and the R25 will undergo major rehabilitation. We will upgrade the R82 (the old Vereeniging Road) linking Johannesburg and Sedibeng as well asWilliam Nicol Drive. The construction of the K154 will be undertaken, stimulating development in the rural parts of south Sedibeng.
As part of rural development, we will upgrade roads in five rural development nodes - Magaliesburg, Winterveld, Hammanskraal, Rust de Winter and Bantu Bonke. We will also surface Cayman Road, which will further enhance access to the Eye of Africa Development.
Through the S'hambaSonke road maintenance project, we will capacitate 100 new contractors and create 6 500 jobs, benefitting co-operatives and companies owned by women, youth and people with disabilities.
To improve capacity for the testing and issuing of drivers licences, we will upgrade Driver Learner Training Centres in Mabopane, Themba, Xavier and Three Rivers. A new centre in Kliptown will be opened this year. This will ensure that we are able to test over 14 500 more people per month.
We are working in close partnership with the Passenger Rail Agency of SA and municipalities in developing intermodal public transport facilities in Vereeniging, Germiston and Roodepoort. These initiatives will improve our public transport infrastructure on an intermodal basis and serve as a catalyst for the revitalisation of the CBDs of these important nodes. Planning is underway and implementation will commence in the 2012/13 financial year.
Our approach to the tolling of roads that are part of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project must be understood in the context of our overall approach to the development of an integrated public transport network. Last year, in this House, I voiced our concern at the socio-economic impact of tolling. This led to a revision of the tolling fares and concessions for public transport, especially for working people.
As the provincial government, we are conscious that a solution must be found that will balance the considerations of affordability; impact on public transport; and honouring our commitment to paying our dues. We have taken up this matter and we are working with the team convened by the Minister of Finance to find a sustainable solution to this matter.
We committed ourselves to developing Gauteng 2055, which charts our long-term vision and strategy for the Gauteng City Region. Our city region is the most populous and economically significant region in the country. A long term plan will ensure that we remain a key asset and economic driver for our country.
We had chosen 2055 as our horizon because it allows us to plan and implement change over generations and because it will mark the centenary of the adoption of the Freedom Charter.
We want to mobilise all the residents, communities and stakeholders of the Gauteng City Region to build a common vision and plan. Determining the future of the province is everybody's business.
We call on all parties represented in this House to take a keen interest in this process and co-operate with us on this exciting journey into the future.
We will develop our plan with the understanding that the National Development Plan launched by the National Planning Commission is the overarching plan for the country as a whole. We will also take account of those municipalities that have already adopted their long term plans.
We will commence an intensive and extensive consultation process. This will culminate in a major stakeholder summit in June 2012, where communities and stakeholders can have their say in shaping their own future. We expect to conclude this process by the end of the financial year.
Join us in this exciting journey into the future. Be part of shaping the future for generations to come; help keep hope alive.
Together with municipalities in Gauteng, we have developed norms and standards for basic services across the province. This will enable municipalities to move towards universal access to water, sanitation, electricity and refuse removal across the province. We are further developing a Bulk Infrastructure Plan, which would give a more accurate sense of the infrastructure requirements at local government level.
During the course of 2012/13, we will work on the future establishment of a single-tier municipality for the West Rand. This will help maximize the use of resources and create better opportunities for growth and development of the region. This will benefit the people of the West Rand and contribute to the creation of a cohesive Gauteng city-region.
Together with national government we will give institutional and financial support to the City of Tshwane to manage the merger with Metsweding.
While progress has been made in reducing crime levels in Gauteng, the levelof crime against women and children is unacceptably high. In the year ahead we will work with the police to reduce this scourge of our society. This will include taking steps to improve conviction rates, improving forensics capacity, analysis of dockets, enhancing family justice support and provide support for the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units.
To strengthen forensics capacity in the province, we have facilitated international partnerships to improve training and skills development and will pay particular attention to laboratory technicians, forensics officers and forensic pathologists.
We will continue to support victims of abuse by rolling out further green door sites and ensuring the effective functioning of support facilities such as the Ikhaya Lethemba one-stop centre, the three regional offices in Duduza, Orange Farm and Sharpeville and the 135 Victim Empowerment Centres in the province.
To improve the effectiveness and integration of the criminal justice system, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee will provide strategic direction to the Provincial Joint Operational Intelligence Structure, which is the operational arm. Through docket analysis on priority crimes and crimes against women and children, systemic issues that hamper the ability of investigators to produce trial ready dockets will be identified and addressed through the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee.
In the year ahead we will implement a comprehensive turnaround strategy to improve efficiencies in the way we deliver public health services in Gauteng and to institute measures to prevent a recurrence of the financial difficulties in health.
Corrective interventions include further cost containment measures, the elimination of wastage and a review of contractual obligations. We are improving systems to enhance revenue collection, overtime and fleet management and the recruitment of personnel.
We have established a team to systematically address weaknesses such as public health financing, as well as management, procurement and operational systems such as those relating to the supply of medicines.
We will focus on improving multi-year infrastructure planning and implementation as well as maintenance in all our facilities. We have devolved responsibilities for procurement of specialised goods and services to the sites of delivery.
We will further pursue the following matters with national government:
- A revision of the health funding model in line with the pressures on Gauteng's health system;
- More vigorous debt recovery, including the recovery of R1.4 billion owed to our Department of Health by other provinces and national government entities; and
- The management and administration of the central hospitals in Gauteng, whose functions go beyond the provincial mandate.
Preparations for the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme, including strengthening the District Health system are underway.
As a further intervention to ensure the effective functioning of the provincial health department, we will, with effect from April 2012, have dedicated MEC and HOD solely for the department of health.
We all need to take greater responsibility for our own health status and educate ourselves about how to lead healthier lifestyles, including eating fresh fruit and vegetables, exercise regularly, avoid smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption. Linked to this, we will more aggressively clamp down on drinking and driving and all forms of drug abuse.
We will increase from 16 to 25 the number of community-based health posts serviced by professional teams. The poorest communities will benefit directly from over 200 community service doctors deployed in district health services and regional hospitals. All 35 Community Health Centres and 248 clinics in Gauteng will be supported by a doctor at least once a week.
We have also made progress in increasing the number of health care professionals. Since 2009, we have produced over 6 000 nursing graduates to address critical shortages. In 2012/13 an additional 2 000 professional nurses are expected to graduate.
The extension of operating hours has improved access to public health services. The number of Community Health Centres and clinics with 24-hour services or extended hours increased from 99 in 2009 to 127by the end of last year. We will increase this by a further eight facilities in 2012/13.
Last year, close to 250 000 learners in over 1 200 public schools were screened for early identification of health problems. We will further extend this programme in the year ahead to improve learners' health, enable them to perform better and ensure the early detection and management of obstacles to learning.
We are making strides in winning the war against HIV and Aids. Access to anti-retroviral treatment increased dramatically from just over 270 000 people in 2009/10 to close to 600 000 in 2011/12. In 2012/13 we will increase this even further to reach over one million people. We will expand the number of anti-retroviral therapy sites from 337 to 403.
Whatever the gains, we cannot afford to become complacent. We will step up mass mobilization and visible campaigns focused on prevention to further reduce the number of new infections.
We again call on all Gauteng residents to make use of HIV and Aids counselling and testing services. Knowing your status will enable you to take appropriate steps to be an active and productive member of society.
Tuberculosis is the number one killer for people who are HIV positive. In the year ahead, we will further intensify door-to-door work, training, ensuring co-infected patients are placed on anti-retroviral therapy early enough and other interventions to reduce the TB defaulter rate.
Natalspruit and Zola Hospitals are currently 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. The Germiston hospital was completed in November last year and was renamed after our struggle heroine, Mama Bertha Gxowa.
In the coming financial year, we will continue with the process of planning the revitalisation of five key hospitals - Jubilee, Kalafong, Sebokeng, Dr Yusuf Dadoo and Tambo Memorial. In addition, two of our central hospitals, Dr George Mukhari and Chris Hani Baragwanath will be revitalized through a Public Private Partnership.
We hope that in the new financial year, the Department of Health will complete the plans for the new Kempton Park Hospital.
We are happy to announce that the contractor is on site to initiate the construction of the R120million Magaliesburg Boarding School. This facility will have a boarding house to accommodate 240 underprivileged children, a study hall as well as sports and social amenities. We will be embarking on a similar initiative in Fochvilleduring 2012/13 financial year.
As we strive to improve knowledge and access to ICT by our learners and other residents, we have to date equipped over 1 500 schools with computer laboratories and the remaining 603 will be completed in 2012/13 financial year.
Since 2009, we have provided bursaries covering full tuition costs and other expenses to close to 7 000 learners from no-fee schools who worked hard to get decent matric passes.
In January this year, we provided bursaries to 1 705 top learners, out of which 1200 were girls, and 50 were those with disabilty, to the tune of R100million.
We are impressed by the achievements of learners such as Abeido Shanduka from Meadowlands Secondary School, who managed to achieve a 100-percent mark in Physical Science. Shanduka is one of this year's bursary recipients.
We are on course to ensure universal access to Grade R by 2014. In the year ahead we will register a further 500 new sites and procure an additional 267 mobile classrooms to bring the total of learners in the province who have access to Grade R to 110 000.
To address the training and skills needs of the automotive sector, we will in the coming year establish a Gauteng Automotive Training Academy with support from Nissan. It is envisaged that the facility will in future be open for use by all technical universities and colleges in Gauteng. The facility will also contain a production simulator which will be used to enhance the quality of training.
To attract foreign and domestic investment to Gauteng, we have streamlined our processes and systems to ensure that investing and doing business in our province is seamless and hassle-free. Our new Gauteng Growth and Development Agency is geared towards caring out this mandate.
We will strengthen the agency's business facilitation capability and pay more attention to facilitation efforts aimed at investment incentives, business retention and expansion services. Other efforts will include assistance with upgrading of technological and productivity standards as well as subsidies, fiscal incentives for start-ups and information provision.
In positioning Gauteng as a key gateway to Africa, we will explore vigorously investment and trade opportunities in the SADC region and other parts of Africa. A concerted effort with respect to export promotion in Africa will help buttress our own economy.
The high levels of youth unemployment are a matter of deep concern. We have instituted the Gauteng Youth Employment Strategy which includes the development of Township Enterprise Hubs as an avenue for entrepreneurship and job creation. In the next financial year, construction of these Hubs will commence in the following townships:
- Sebokeng and Sharpeville in Sedibeng;
- Kagiso in the West Rand;
- Katlehong and Tembisa in Ekurhuleni; and
- Winterveldt in Tshwane.
Each of these Youth Hubs will host three clusters of work:
- Automotive Cluster, focusing on body repairs and spraying, wheel and tyre, audio and sound fitment and repairs, auto spares and general motor mechanic
- Services Cluster, which will focus on providing general services ranging from car wash, hair salons, laundry, internet cafes and related services
- Light Manufacturing Cluster, which will focus initially on furniture, cleaning chemicals, clothing, textiles and fast moving goods.
The Gauteng Youth Placement Programme targets the employment of youth aged 18-24 years and is structured as a partnership between government and the private sector. Government provides incentives to private sector placement firms to recruit, prepare and place young people into private sector jobs. The project is supported by both the Gauteng and National government with the first intake of 20 000 youth placements targeted for 2012.
The Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme is targeted to reach 125 000 current and potential youth entrepreneurs and will involve a partnership with The Star newspaper, as part of celebrating their 125th anniversary. The programme provides entrepreneurship training linked to business opportunities; facilitation of market access; financial and non-financial business development support and mentorship and coaching.
Since its launch in October 2011, the programme has attracted 95 000 responses from the youth community. The first intake of training is scheduled for March 2012 covering a total of 20 000 young people, some of whom will be placed as part of the consortia that will run the Youth Township Enterprise Hubs.
We will continue to support our youth in the rural areas through the National Rural Youth Service Corps. Gauteng will enlist a further 800 rural youth bringing the total number of youth employed through the programme to over 1 800.
In addition to targeted interventions to improve the lives of youth, we have mainstreamed the needs of women and people with disabilities in all key outcome areas.
In the year ahead, 2% of Gauteng government procurement will be earmarked for businesses owned by persons with disabilities. To improve access and influence by people with disabilities in our day-to-day work, we will ensure that all Accounting Officers assign a focal point in their office to take responsibility for the empowerment of people with disabilities,including in areas of policy.
We will expand support for learners with special educational needs and learners who experience barriers to learning within all public schools.
In promoting the economic empowerment of women, we will support women-owned companies and co-operatives through better access to government contracts and incubation.
We will sustain the strong performance of girl learners in our schools and this year, as alluded to earlier, we provided bursaries to 1200 top-performing girl learners from no-fee schools to pursue their studies at tertiary level.
Over the past year we have provided Dignity Packs to 66 000 girl learners, exceeding our target by 6000. We aim to increase our reach further in 2012 through Thusa - A Girl Child Dignity Pack - a partnership with the private sector and Kaya FM to encourage Gauteng residents to support girls in need.
Our efforts to empower women will emphasise women's reproductive health, including the prevention of teenage pregnancy and effective family planning. We will also continue with our project to mentor hundreds of young women to make a success of their lives.
In Gauteng, our successes tend to be overwhelmed by excessive needs and high expectations as well as insufficient resources. However, we can confidently state that our policy on human settlements is, indeed, yielding results. We have increased the number of settlements that are truly racially integrated and inhabited by mixed income groups with amenities like schools, clinics, shopping centres and crèches.
It gives me great comfort to report that we have now concluded the Cosmo City, Olievenhoutbosch Ext 27 and Alexandra Ext 10 projects. This is indicative of our intention to spread mixed housing projects across the whole province from Cosmo City and Lufhereng in Johannesburg, Olivenhoutbosch and Nelmapius in Tshwane, Chief Albert Luthuli in Ekurhuleni and Chief Mogale in Mogale City and Mohlakeng Extension in Randfontein.
We can now announce that in the next financial year government will provide housing for the income category between R3 500 to R15 000.This is a category that includes civil servants such as teachers, nurses, police and factory employees who in the past could not qualify for an RDP house and who could also not access bank loans. Government will now through the R1 billion Housing Fund stand surety for applicants from this category.
In the 2012/13 financial year, we plan to allocate approximately R240 million towards the acquisition of 15 well-located pockets of land for further low-income and affordable housing. In view of the high costs that are linked to the acquisition of private land, we welcome the pronouncement by the President that there is a need to review the "willing seller-willing buyer" policy.
Since the approval of the Tembisa Master Plan we have been able to deliver 1 842 houses and 200 serviced sites.
To ensure the effective coordination of this project, the Ekurhuleni Metro has secured funding from the Neighbourhood Development Partnership Grant and has appointed a service provider to develop a consolidated Urban Development Framework and will further solicit private investment in key projects.
The plan includes 54 projects focusing mainly on upgrading or developing new public infrastructure including the installation of high mast lights, rehabilitation of steel pipes, network renewals, upgrading of the water network and roads construction. As part of the greening of Tembisa and improving the landscape of the area, 20 000 trees will be planted in 2012/13.
Linked to the development of Tembisa, we have been working closely with Ekurhuleni Metro in addressing the situation of Madelakufa informal settlement. Madelakufa was illegally invaded and later declared unsuitable for residential development. As part of a relocation plan, we have to date relocated 400 families to Esselen Park Extension 3. More will be relocated as we erect more houses in both Esselen Park and Strydom Land.
In the interim, government has provided 34 water points and over 800 communal chemical toilets in Madelakufa. Refuse removal is carried out twice a week. We urge the community to co-operate and use all the services provided to them in a responsible manner.
Pending the completion of the Sedibeng water treatment plant, beneficiaries from Sweetwaters will be relocated to a portion of land known as ThulaMntwana. Services for water and sewer have been completed. In the coming financial year, the building of 1 000 units will start and beneficiaries relocated. Thirteen more portions of land have been acquired for purposes of future relocations.
In Evaton, the Mafatsane Thusong Service Centre is operational. Five roads have been constructed - Union, Evaton, Falcon, Selbourne and Adams Roads - and solar street lighting has been installed on Adams Road. The renovations for Tshepo-Themba Hall have been completed.
We have completed Phase 1 of the urban agriculture project and distributed 2 200 refuse bins as part of a waste management project which employs 80 local residents and 3 local transport SMMEs. In the coming year, work will continue following the procurement of land and the identification of further precincts for development. We are currently working with the Sedibeng district and Emfuleni municipality to upgrade the bulk sewer line within the Evaton Renewal Project precinct that will, then, allow the municipality to install proper flushing toilets. We have handed over all completed projects to the Emfuleni municipality.
We have adopted a two-pronged approach to the development of Bekkersdal. Those illegally occupying uninhabitable land will be relocated to Mohlakeng Ext 11 and other areas. A portion of land in the south of Bekkersdal has been identified for relocations and will yield 5 000 units. The layout of sewer and storm water drainage is 87% complete and housing will soon commence.
In the old township of Bekkersdal, we have completed the upgrading of the local police station. The restructuring of road intersections, paving and repairing roads and rebuilding water channels and storm water drains are being undertaken.
To alleviate poverty and ensure access to education regardless of one's circumstances, we have extended no-fee schools to over 1.1 million learners across the province. We provide nutritious meals every school day to over 1 million learners and also provide school uniforms to deserving learners and transport for those who live more than 5 kilometres from school.
Our projects to provide a social safety net to the most vulnerable members of society will be complemented by efforts to reduce dependency on the social grant system. We will facilitate the movement of at least 1 200 recipients from the Child Support Grant system by creating access to job or business opportunities.
Our poverty alleviation initiative, the Buyisa Ubuntu Sustainable Livelihoods programme, has benefitted more than 60 000 people across Gauteng in 2011. The province identifies those families in distress and provides them with groceries.We call on members of our communities and business to support this noble initiative.
Five co-operatives, predominantly owned by women and youth, received market contracts to supply fresh produce like eggs to our hospitals and other social development institutions.
Super Grand Feed Milling Plant in Bronkhorstspruit, which has been assisted with farming and milling equipment, is currently exporting animal feed to Zimbabwe, creating both permanent and seasonal jobs.
We have facilitated the empowerment of 55 farm workers to benefit from a 51 percent equity stake in the Bambanani Fruit Cooperative in Westonaria. The co-operative exports stone fruits to Spain and is one of the major suppliers to the Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market.
Thala Herbs, in Mogale City, which acquired a processing facility through this government, exports processed herbs to Mozambique and Swaziland. The project is a joint venture between a small holder farmer and commercial farmers.
In pursuant to the programme of the War On Poverty, I am pleased to announce the visit to the province by the Deputy President on the 24th February.
We are commissioning the West Rand Agricultural Training College during the next financial year. In partnership with the national government and Mogale City, we have earmarked R36 million to make this a reality.
To strengthen food security and eliminate hunger, we are targeting 45 000 households to start their own food gardens by 2014. So far we have assisted more than 25 000 families. We have established 390 school food gardens with 172 in Tshwane, 103 in the West Rand and 115 in Ekurhuleni. By 2014 we aim to reach over 600 schools. In addition, we will support 250 community food gardens. The food gardens will be established in the provincial rural nodes, and within the prioritized townships.
In 2011, we re-gravelled over 50 kilometres of rural roads in Devon, Nooitgedacht, Sokhulumi, Winterveldt and Hammanskraal.Access to rural roads are critical for movement of both goods and people, thus ensuring viable and sustainable rural communities.
The agenda of nation-building and social cohesion should not be in the purview of government alone, but should be a societal matter that finds expression in the social compacts that we form and the reaffirmation of our identity as South African citizens and Gauteng residents.
We have successfully undertaken a range of activities to contribute to nation building, inclusive citizenship and social cohesion in our province. This includes celebrations of national commemorative days such as Women's Day and Heritage Day as well as the promotion of national symbols. However, we remain concerned about the participation of all racial groups and sectors of our society.
We undertake to accelerate our struggle heritage projects. These include the now completed OR Tambo Monument, the Women's Monument in Tshwane whose site and design will be unveiled in August to coincide with the 56th anniversary of the famous 1956 women's march. The Youth Heritage Living Monuments such as Boipatong Memorial and Youth Centre, June 16 Memorial and Youth Centre in Soweto and the Kagiso Memorial Park and Sports Centre are aimed at recognizing contributions by struggle veterans and encouraging youth development in these communities.
This year we will conclude the renaming of the R21 after Albertina Sisulu, including the renaming of Commissioner Street in Johannesburg as part of R21.
In 2012/13 we have to close the chapter on the uncertainties regarding the place name Tshwane. We urge all parties concerned to make meaningful contributions in the best interests of promoting social cohesion and development.
We will in partnership with the National Heritage Council be implementing the Gauteng Chapter of the National Liberation Heritage Route Project, which aims to identify and promote sites that express key aspects of the South African liberation experience, as part of our heritage.
The project will stimulate, regenerate and sustain research into the liberation heritage of South Africa; raise and preserve global awareness of South African history of liberation struggle and its contribution to human social justice. This project not only celebrates our heritage, but is also intended to benefit local communities, taking advantage of linkages that exist between heritage and tourism.
The following sites in our province are among those that have been proposed for declaration as Liberation Heritage Sites:
Sharpeville Human Rights related sites including the Sharpeville Exhibition Centre and Memorial (Old Police Station) and Sharpeville Hall and Cemetery and theThami Mnyele Memorial Park in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni.
The Gauteng Chapter has established various committees representative of heritage experts and Military Veterans who have been tasked to oversee this process.
We will also be celebrating 100 years of the establishment of Alexandra township and Sophiatown and will be planting 100 indigenous trees in each of these areas. We must also congratulate St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Yeoville,which is also celebrating 100 years and which served as a sanctuary during our struggle years.
In order to further enhance service delivery, we introduced Frontline Service Delivery Monitoring in partnership with national government and visited over 70 public service sites such as schools, clinics, hospitals, police stations and social grant offices to assess whether they are meeting basic service standards. In the year ahead we will expand the programme further and work with Departments to correct identified weaknesses.
As we strive to promote public engagement, we will reorganize our outreach programmes to ensure effective coordination with various stakeholders. Our approach will now be sector-focused so as to enhance the quality of engagements. In March we will start interacting with the key stakeholders and service delivery staff in the health sector in order to identify and address service delivery obstacles.
Better procurement planning will be another critical area of focus. This will help ensure that we elevate current levels of affirmative procurement to reach our BBBEE targets more effectively, including being more proactive in identifying BBBEE compliant enterprises as suppliers. We will finalise a revised procurement framework in line with national government guidelines on local procurement.
For us to improve on our 30-day payment levels, we will deal with cash-flow management, including delegations of authority to service points.
We will prioritise the payment of SMMEs and ensure they are not compromised by payment to bigger companies.
Outstanding disciplinary cases have been expedited with approximately 80% of cases being resolved within a period of 90 days. The improvements in processes will result in outstanding cases being resolved within 60 days and less complex cases within 30 days.
We will pay special attention to the development of the requisite technical capacity to deliver on infrastructure, particularly in critical areas such as roads and transport as well as health and education infrastructure. This includes strengthening in-house capacity and increasing the recruitment of engineers, project managers and other technical experts. A skills audit will commence in the Departments of Infrastructure Development and Roads and Transport to assess the competency of the current staff against the Departments' needs.
We are currently in the process of improving the effectiveness of government and streamlining functions to promote efficiency, performance and accountability. We will make further announcements in this regard in due course.
Sport in our country remains a key uniting force. As part of positioning Gauteng as the home of champions, we will in 2012 launch the Gauteng Sport Challenge as a multi-code sporting festival to celebrate the province's sporting talent.
We will jointly work with Mogale City towards resolving all issues relating to the delay and non-delivery of the then-proposed Amakhosi Village. The MEC for Sports will work with the municipality in resolving all legal matters between the city and private partners for the future development of the facility into a multi-sports complex.
We remain firm in our commitment to subject ourselves to oversight processes of the legislature. We appreciate and understand the positive value added to our work by the critical role played by this House and its structures. It is through the support and guidance we enjoy from this House that we have been able to travel this distance in our journey of changing the conditions under which our people live.
In the same vein we want to assure the House that we remain committed to improving the manner in which we manage and utilize the public resources at our disposal.
We call on our public servants in the frontline of service delivery and the back offices to continue to work hard so that Gauteng can become a true place of hope that instills pride and confidence in all its residents.
Lastly, we would like to express gratitude to the people of Gauteng for exercising patience and giving support to our work. In fact, we believe that our success will always be dependent on the partnership we forge with our people.
We are a nation built of visionaries. Visionaries who laid their lives for us to enjoy the fruits of democracy. These are the visionaries who never stood on the sidelines when a call to build a new country in 1955 was made. It is in this spirit that I would like to urge the Nelson Mandela children, who were born in 1994 and who are turning 18 this year and will be casting their vote for the first time in 2014 to pick up the baton because the future is theirs. We are happy that some of them are here with us today. They will be writing matric for the first time this year.
We call on this generation to take an active interest in shaping Gauteng Vision 2055. The success of Vision 2055 is on your shoulders. Our plans today are a solid foundation for your future. 2055 is in your hands and it will be what you make of it, so said your great grand forebear Moses Kotane.