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State of the Province address delivered by Gauteng Premier, Honourable David Makhura at Saul Tsotetsi Sports Complex in Sebokeng Township, Sedibeng District Municipality, 22 February 2016

Madame Speaker and Deputy Speaker; Members of the Executive Council; Honourable Members of the Provincial Legislature and NCOP Delegates; Leaders of Political Parties represented in the Legislature; Judge President Dunstan Mlambo and Esteemed Members of the Judiciary; Chairperson of SALGA Gauteng, Executive Mayors,

Speakers and Councillors; Distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps; Stalwarts and Veterans of the Liberation Struggle; Leaders of Faith-Based Organisations; Captains of Industry and Commerce and Trade Union Leaders; Representatives of Women, Youth, Arts, Sports and Cultural Organisations; Acting Provincial Commissioner of the SA Police Service and all Heads of Law Enforcement Agencies; Director General and Heads of Departments of our provincial government; The people of Gauteng; Dumelang!

Today, the first sitting of our Provincial Legislature this year, takes place in Sedibeng, the Southern Corridor of the Gauteng City Region. 

During Ntirhisano Community Outreach programme in the Vaal in October 2015, I made a promise that we will bring the 2016 State of the Province Address to Sedibeng district.

A promise made is a promise kept.

It is therefore fitting and proper that we first pay the incalculable debt of gratitude to the people of the Vaal for their sterling and irrefutable contribution to the struggle for a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

I welcome in this sitting the survivors and families of the victims of Sharpeville, Sebokeng and Boipatong massacres. I also welcome in our midst, the leaders of the Vaal Civic Association, the fighting people’s organisation that spearheaded and championed the community struggles of the people of the Vaal.

We remember and honour those who died and many who suffered as a result of these massacres. Their struggles and sacrifices were not in vain.

We salute them!

Many of you, the people of the Vaal were detained, tortured and maimed by the apartheid security forces. Today we honour your seminal role and acknowledge the untold suffering and selfless sacrifices you made in the struggle for freedom, justice, democracy and progress in our land.

From the Defiance Campaign of the 1950s to the Anti-Pass Campaign of 1960, you occupied the centre stage of mass mobilization and resistance against apartheid. During the student uprisings of the 1970s, the rent boycotts and the community struggles of the 1980s, you remained principled and uncompromising. In the early 1990s, you bore the brunt of the apartheid regime’s violence and mass murders that preceded our transition to democracy. In the past two decades, of our freedom and democracy, you have continued to work hard in building a national democratic society.

The people of the Vaal have always been the mid-wives of peace, democracy and progress in our country. The Peace Treaty that ended the Anglo-Boer War was signed here in the Vaal in May 1902. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa was signed into law and adopted here in the Vaal in 1996.

The first fully fledged post-apartheid city, the Vaal River City, is being built right here in Sedibeng on the banks of the great Vaal River. This is a real post-apartheid city that will integrate Sharpeville township into a new central business district where people will work, live and play.

As we mark the twentieth anniversary of our Constitution, let us always remember that it is the commitment we have made in the Preamble of the Constitution that we shall “recognise the injustices of our past, honour those who suffered for justice and freedom; respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights”.

Accordingly, I would like to congratulate the Sedibeng District Municipality for awarding the Freedom of the District to the three remaining Rivonia Trialists: Andrew Mlangeni, Ahmed Kathrada and Dennis Goldberg.

We thank the stalwarts and veterans of our liberation struggle for dedicating their lives to the service of the people of South Africa. We salute you for continuing to be the moral compass and conscience of our nation. Through force of example, you teach us the vital lessons of leadership: humility, loyalty and service of the people.

You teach us to put our country and our people first at all times. You speak out and call us to order when we, as leaders, do wrong things that bring our country into disrepute. You gently but firmly show us the way when we lose our way. You light our hearts and lift our spirits when our mood is low and when we lose hope.

Once more we salute you!

People of Gauteng, in honouring those who sacrificed for freedom and democracy and gave us a constitution of which we are deeply proud, I hereby make a clarion call that we must unite against racism and xenophobia. Let us fight against racism wherever and whenever it manifests itself.

Those who call black people baboons are as wrong as those who threaten to drive white students out of university campuses. There must be no room for racists in the South Africa of our dreams.

Let us unite to build a non-racial society where every citizen has the means to realise their dreams.

Let us dismantle all the structural impediments that make it difficult for our people to live in peace and harmony, by pushing ahead with radical social and economic transformation.

As the most cosmopolitan and Afropolitan province, Gauteng CAN and MUST take a lead in building a society that reaffirms our common humanity and common national identity.

I would like to announce that I will appoint a group of eminent persons who will work with various civil society initiatives to open honest and constructive conversations on how we can build a society free from racism and xenophobia.

As the leadership of this great province, we are neither superstars nor celebrities. We are simple and humble servants of the people. Our primary task is to serve YOU the people, in line with prescripts set out in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, the supreme law of our land.

To us, nothing is such a permanent reminder of our apartheid and colonial past than the persistent racial exclusion of blacks from the mainstream of our economy.

Nothing is more urgent than giving hope to our youth through quality education, decent employment and sustainable entrepreneurship opportunities.

Nothing is more troubling than the atrocious acts of gender-based violence perpetrated against millions of women and girl children.

Nothing is more offensive than acts of incompetence and corruption that feed the racial stereotype that all black people are either inherently incompetent or corrupt.

Nothing undermines the cosmopolitan and Afropolitan character of our province more than the resurgence of racism and fermentation of xenophobia.

Nothing keeps us awake at night more than the knowledge that many Gauteng residents are gripped by the fear of crime. Nothing angers us more than the senseless killing of police and traffic officers, who are the protectors of our citizens and upholders of our law.

Madame Speaker, we cannot bemoan the economic and social problems plaguing our province. It is within our power to change our conditions and build a common South African identity based on equality, liberty and fraternity in our lifetime.

We will restore hope and build unity among the people of Gauteng.

Over the past twenty-one years, the ANC-led government has done a lot to improve the quality of life of millions of our people. We are fully aware that we still have a long way to go and we shall not rest until all South Africans enjoy the full fruits of our freedom and democracy regardless of race, ethnicity, class, gender, religion or origin.

In the past twenty-one months, the ANC led fifth administration has been implementing a bold programme of transformation, modernisation and
re-industrialisation (TMR).

In this State of the Province Address, I will give a report-back on the progress we are making and the challenges we are facing in accelerating the implementation of our programme.

Honourable members, the government I have the honour to lead believes in evidenced-based governance and policy-making. Today, we provide evidence that our province is increasingly assuming its rightful place as a pace setter in many areas of government performance.

A clean and competent bureaucracy driven by a high performance culture is necessary in a developmental state. There is evidence that through Ntirhisano, we are changing the way government works. The ability of public officials to deliver on their plans and commitments is crucial in any thriving democracy because it enhances public confidence.

Through the open tender system and the promotion of integrity, we are creating an environment where clean governance will thrive. Gauteng will become a corruption-free province in our lifetime. It is important to ensure that public resources are directed to benefit all people. The State must never be captured by a few individuals or groups for their own selfish gain.

Even in the midst of a difficult and volatile global and domestic economic environment, Gauteng’s economy has enormous potential to create more jobs and grow in an inclusive manner.

We remain the industrial hub of our country and the SADC region and we are taking bold steps in driving infrastructure development, innovation, investment, regional integration, inclusion, institution-building and industrialisation, in line with the NDP and TMR.

As the pioneers of the township economy revitalization, we are making significant progress in empowering township-based enterprises, cooperatives and SMMEs. We will demonstrate that the township economy is becoming a beehive of activity with regard to innovation, entrepreneurship, empowerment and decent employment.

Madame Speaker, we are taking a lead in the modernisation of public services through the introduction of ICT in education, healthcare, community safety and general citizen services. During my Inaugural State of the Province Address delivered in Thokoza Township in June 2014, I made a commitment that we will change the way government works.

Before the launch of the Ntirhisano community outreach programme, Gauteng was engulfed by violent community protests on a daily basis. Evidently, there was a growing dissatisfaction with the way government interacts with communities. Regardless of how well government was trying to deliver, it was loud and clear that there was a trust deficit between communities and government officials.

Essentially, the problem was not only about service delivery but also about the way development and delivery was being undertaken. The launch of Ntirhisano has turned around the mood in communities in an unprecedented manner. Through a proactive and participatory approach to problem-solving, we are restoring levels of trust and public confidence on the ground.

Honourable members, Ntirhisano is as much about improving the pace of service delivery as it is about breaking the mould of bureaucratic inertia in the state. It is about working together with communities in solving problems and making government officials and service providers more accountable.

Ntirhisano has already received independent acknowledgement from the Municipal IQ Monitor, which reports that service delivery protests in Gauteng have decreased from 21% to 15% in the past 12 months, the most dramatic decline in the past decade and a half.

The 2015 Municipal IQ Report has the following to say about our province:

“It is evident that Gauteng, although still the most conflict-ridden province in 2015, the level of violent protests has decreased in the province relative to the past ten and half years...with this kind of experience, the outcomes of Gauteng Premier David Makhura's war room - to address grievances of protesting communities before they spiral into violence - deserves keen attention, especially with the preliminary signs that levels of violent protest may be receding."

People of Gauteng, this is testimony that we listen and act about your concerns, so that together we can grow. Whilst we are encouraged by these developments, we will not be complacent.

Team Gauteng – the MECs; Executive Mayors; and myself – will continue to spend more time out there on the ground solving problems with communities, unblocking delivery of infrastructure projects and getting our economy to work for all of you. We are governing with a greater sense of urgency, integrity and transparency.

People of Gauteng, we know that you are intolerant of government failure and bureaucratic incompetence. We know that you want a government that honours its commitments. In this province, failure is not an option. Incompetence is not permissible and corruption is not acceptable.

We are particularly encouraged that nineteen of our departments and agencies, including the Office of the Premier, achieved clean audits in the 2014/15 financial year. Only one department and one agency got unsatisfactory audit outcomes.

Although the Department of Health did not receive an unqualified audit, there is significant improvement in its finances and service delivery. I am very confident that this department will join the list of clean audits during our term of office. The leadership of the department has been placed on very strict performance terms to fix our public healthcare system.

To demonstrate that we mean business, I have already taken a decision to change the leadership of G-Fleet (our fleet management company), for repeatedly obtaining negative audit outcomes – from adverse to a disclaimer in two consecutive years.

Similar action will be taken where departments and agencies show serial poor performance. There shall be consequences for poor performance and unethical conduct.

We mean business.

It is important to also report that last year, most of our departments spent 99% of their infrastructure budgets. This is commendable, given the history of underspending on infrastructure in this province.

We are also cracking the whip on departments who are not paying service providers on time. Ten out of fourteen departments achieved 90% compliance with the payment of service providers within 30 days. The digitisation of invoicing has introduced new efficiencies in our governance system and is helping us to pay service providers on time.

However, I remain deeply concerned that some of the departments with big budgets still pay less than 70% of their invoices within 30 days - Education, Health, Human Settlements and Infrastructure Development.

The MECs of these departments have assured me that there will be a turnaround in their performance in the next financial year. They know that a commitment made, must be a commitment honoured. We cannot be a government that destroys black businesses and SMMEs through non-payment or late payment of invoices!

Madame Speaker, we are implementing an integrity management framework to deter fraud and corruption. We have been taking decisive disciplinary action against people found guilty of financial misconduct.

The open tender system is one of the most important innovations of this ANC-led Fifth Administration in Gauteng. We are leading the country in ensuring that procurement decisions are taken above aboard. Our new approach has attracted considerable public attention and widespread review, including by the National Treasury and other provinces. We are now extending this transparent system of appointing service providers to all departments, especially those with big budgets.

We commend the City of Ekurhuleni for pioneering the introduction of the open tender system in local government.

I truly believe we can use procurement policy to achieve genuine black economic empowerment in all sectors without bribery and corruption. We must get rid of the perception that any black person who gets a tender has bribed their way into the corridors of power.

Let us empower black people - contractors and construction companies; law firms, accounting and audit firms; engineering and consulting firms; emerging farmers and manufacturers of food products; industrialists and entrepreneurs – unashamedly, transparently and ethically.

I believe we can.

Honourable members, let me also report that several departments in our province have received recognition from national government as top performers among their peers. This is an indication that we are becoming a centre of excellence and innovation in the public sector.

The Department of Infrastructure Development received the highest number of awards at the 2015 EPWP excellence awards – six awards, followed by KZN with three awards. The HRD Unit of this department was awarded the 2015 Best Institutional HRD Unit in the country.

The Department of Roads and Transport’s Motor Vehicle Registration Unit has won the first prize at the Centre for Public Service Innovation for its Revenue Information Management System. The Provincial Treasury won third prize at the 2015 Centre for Public Service Innovation Awards for introducing an online payroll certification application, eliminating delays as well as ghost workers. There are other centres of excellence to which we will later refer in this State of the Province Address.

Madam Speaker, let me now report on our work on the important question of the economy.

I will outline the work we are doing to transform, modernise and re-industrialise our province as part of navigating the difficulties in the global and national economy.

Professor Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in Economics had this to say about the current state of the global economy:
“The year 2015 was a hard one all around. Brazil fell into recession. China’s economy experienced its first serious bumps after almost four decades of break neck growth. The Eurozone managed to avoid a meltdown over Greece, but its near stagnation has continued, contributing to what surely will be viewed as the lost decade. For the United States, 2015 was supposed to be the year that finally closed the book on the Great Recession that began back in 2008, instead the US recovery has been middling”.

During his 2016 State of the Nation Address delivered on 11th February, President Jacob Zuma, outlined the challenges facing our economy, given the global and domestic circumstances. He called upon us to work together in developing a common narrative and further said:

“We cannot change the global economic conditions, but we can do a lot to change the local conditions. Let us work together to turn the situation around. It can be done.”

Madame Speaker, we in the Gauteng City Region are already working together to transform, modernize, and re-industrialize our provincial economy for the common good of all our people.

We are conscious of the fact that, by virtue of our strategic position in the national and SADC economy, our province is best placed in championing an inclusive and growing economy.

Working together with our cities, the private sector and trade unions, we can do much more to stimulate growth and trigger a new wave of smart and green re-industrialization.

Despite the tough global and national economic conditions, Gauteng has maintained its position as the economic powerhouse of South Africa, contributing 35% to the South African economy in 2015, as compared to 33% in 1997.

Honourable Members, as a result of our interventions, Gauteng continues to be the leading destination for foreign direct investment in Africa.

According to the recently released Ernst & Young 2016 Africa Attractiveness Survey, R30 billion of FDI projects have come into the Gauteng economy in 2014 and 2015.

Our economy has consistently been growing above the national average, at 4.2% between 2003 and 2013. In 2013 our growth rate was the highest in the country at 2.6%. However, our growth has slowed down dramatically in 2015 as a result of the current economic conditions.

With regard to employment, Gauteng contributes 42% to national employment and has the highest labour absorption rate. In 1996, there were 2.5 million people employed in the Gauteng economy. And twenty years later, there are 5 million people employed in Gauteng.

More interestingly, during the past twelve months of the fifth administration, 191 000 jobs have been added to the formal Gauteng economy, while the informal sector has created 150 000 new jobs. These facts are contained in the September 2015 Quarterly Labour Force survey.

This means we have doubled the number of people employed in the provincial economy over the two decades of the ANC-led government! In addition, we have also created 220 642 job opportunities through the EPWP since 2014.

This has helped to put bread on the table for many poor households. We are the province that has made the most gains in employment in the past twelve months as well as in the past two decades.

However, our province faces huge challenges arising from rapid urbanization. Between 2011 and 2016, one million people moved into Gauteng. In other words, an average of 200 000 people move into our province every year, with needs for jobs, housing, health, education and other life-supporting infrastructure.

Despite the impressive achievement in the number of new jobs created, we still have 2.2 million people unemployed in our province. Similarly, despite the fact we have provided close to one million housing opportunities in the past two decades, the housing backlog remains stubborn.

This means we need to dramatically increase the number of jobs created and houses delivered on annual basis, if we are to make a dent on unemployment and the housing backlog.

To cope with rapid urbanisation, persistent unemployment, poverty and inequality, we have to work doubly hard and do things differently in Gauteng with regard to the economy, infrastructure development and service delivery.

Consequently, our economic interventions should seek to achieve the following:

  • Change ownership patterns to bring black people into the economic mainstream and create black industrialists;
  • Change the current industrial structure of our economy to privilege manufacturing through the processing of rich mineral resources and other raw materials locally;
  • Develop new modern, innovation-driven industries in the areas of high-tech, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, the green economy and blue economy;
  • Invest hugely in skills development to change the skills profile of the citizenry in line with the new strategic sectors identified;
  • Change income distribution to enhance equity and raise the living standards of all our people ;
  • Transform the apartheid spatial economy and human settlement patterns to integrate economic opportunities, transport corridors and human settlements;
  • Grow the SMME sector as a key driver of growth and revitalise and mainstream the township economy;
  • Strengthen the capacity of the state to direct economic development and enhance the competitiveness of strategic economic sectors through active industrial policy;
  • Ensure significant investment in infrastructure as the key stimulator for inclusive growth and economic development;
  • Build transformative partnerships between the private and public sector in addressing the developmental challenges outlined in the National Development Plan Vision 2030.

The TMR programme is our comprehensive policy response to the unique conditions and structural challenges facing our economy.

Madame Speaker, the appropriateness of the TMR as our provincial development plan and the specific policy choices we have made have recently been independently validated by important research work done by different institutions.

The McKinsey Global Institute Report titled “South Africa’s Big Five Bold Priorities for Inclusive Growth”, has identified key sectors that have serious potential to create employment and most of them are located in the Gauteng economy.

The Brookings Institute and JPMorgan Chase report titled, “South Africa’s Global Gateway: Profiling the Gauteng City Region’s International Competitiveness and Connections”, identifies the competitive strength of our provincial economy and further confirms the work we are doing to improve infrastructure, innovation, trade and talent.

The work we have done with academics from Wits University, University of Johannesburg and University of Pretoria regarding industrial policy, re-industrialization and innovation has enabled us to identify the true potential of every sector in our economy.

I am happy to report that we have now formulated a new Provincial Economic Plan that focuses on positioning our province strategically in relation to the SADC region, African continent, BRICS countries and major economies in the world which are compatible with our own economy.

Our Provincial Economic Plan gives concrete effect to the Nine Point Plan announced by President Zuma in his 2015 State of the Nation Address, but takes into account the unique features of our provincial economy.

In April this year, we will convene an Economic Indaba with business, labour and civil society to finalise the public consultations on the Provincial Economic Plan before its public launch in May.

We have now identified the following sectors and subsectors which will be the key drivers of employment, transformation, modernization and reindustrialization:

  • The services sector is a key driver of huge employment, empowerment and expansion into the continent. Most of the jobs in our provincial economy are being generated from the services industries.

In particular, we will pay attention to finance, trade and retail, business and professional services, tourism and hospitality, transport and communication, construction and real estate as well as business process outsourcing.

  • Manufacturing and its sub-sectors will continue to receive our full attention as part of our re-industrialisation drive. We will focus on those manufacturing sub-sectors and industries which have huge employment, empowerment and export potential in our economy.

The automotive industry, mining capital equipment manufacturing, petro chemical products, rubber and plastic products, electronics, ICT components, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, furniture manufacturing will be priority areas of work.

  • Mining - although Gauteng is no longer a mining province, we are the locomotive of mining services and the manufacturing of mining equipment. We are investing in industrial infrastructure for mineral beneficiation to upscale and increase capacity for the processing of minerals already taking place in our economy.
  • With regard to agriculture and food production, we will focus mainly on agro-processing as our key area of our competitiveness. Small scale farming and urban food production will be promoted in corridors where there is potential such as Sedibeng and West Rand.
  • We will also pay special attention to the non-traditional sectors such as creative and cultural industries as well as the green economy and smart industries which also provide enormous opportunities for employment and empowerment.
  • We will also ensure that our infrastructure investment initiatives deliver on employment and empowerment opportunities.

Together with municipalities, we will provide additional incentives through effective land use and build industrial infrastructure for specific clusters of sectors and industries located in different development corridors of our City Region.

Honourable members, we have already been taking steps to improve the ease of doing business and cut red tape. Amongst others, the Gauteng Investment Centre, our one stop shop, has been very successful in easing the burden of regulatory compliance for investors.

Members of our Legislature’s Economic Development Portfolio Committee who visited the Investment Centre last year, had very positive things to say about the helpfulness and professionalism of the staff at the centre.

We are making progress in drastically reducing the time taken by municipalities and provincial government in approving development applications, a matter of great concern to businesses in our province.

I would like to report that we have reduced the time taken for the approval of the environmental impact assessment from 18-24 months down to three months. We are confident we will reach our target of approving all EAIs within 30 days. We are addressing other regulatory hurdles that are within our scope of influence.

We will be paying very close attention to the performance of key sectors in each of our five development corridors and to support all the firms and industries that contribute to employment and empowerment. We will take Ntirhisano into the economy to work with captains of industry and leaders of organised labour to enhance productivity and the competitiveness of our economy. We will also promote industrial clusters for firms and businesses that are involved in complimentary activities.

We are determined to ensure that the Gauteng economy grows in an inclusive, labour absorbing and ecologically sustainable manner. We are committed to ensuring that black people play an active role in the productive sector of the economy, not only as importers of foreign manufactured goods, but also as industrialists and local manufacturers.

Madame Speaker, we will use innovation, research and development to promote smart and green industrialisation.

In December last year, we visited the Gauteng Innovation Hub in Tshwane. We interacted with some very interesting people who are doing amazing work of turning ideas and concepts into real start-ups and sustainable businesses.

Many of these innovators are black and white young South Africans who have given me so much hope about the future of our country. The success of the Innovation Hub and its contribution to the development of new businesses and new smart industries must be celebrated.

The Hub has trained over 75 township entrepreneurs through Start-up Weekends and Bootcamps run in conjunction with eKasi Labs Innovation Centres in some of our big townships. Ekasi Labs focus on supporting entrepreneurs and youth with their innovations and fast track the establishment of sustainable and innovative businesses. These centres are catalysing innovation among young township entrepreneurs in our province.

This year, the Innovation Hub will expand its Start-up Weekends and Bootcamps to train at least 100 entrepreneurs in all our five development corridors including youth from suburbs.

Due to popular demand, we are expanding the infrastructure of the Innovation Hub in Tshwane. We are excited that National Treasury has approved our request to source private sector funding for the expansion of the Hub. Construction will commence in the next financial year. The University of Pretoria is a key partner in the expansion of the Hub and its integration into the entire innovation zone that includes the CSIR and the City of Tshwane.

In Johannesburg, the Innovation Hub will collaborate with Wits University on the development of the Tshimologong Precinct with the aim of supporting unemployed IT and digital media graduates, as well as township youth in game development and digital innovations. The City of Joburg is a key partner in this innovation precinct.

We will continue to strengthen partnership with all Gauteng universities – Unisa, Wits, UJ, UP, VUT, TUT and Sefako Makgatho - in our endeavour to collectively drive a progressive development agenda.

Madame Speaker, let me turn my attention to the township economy, a subject very close to my heart.

As part of our drive for radical economic transformation, we have firmly placed the township economy revitalisation on the national agenda. We have put a policy in place and set aside resources. We have made a clarion call to action and township entrepreneurs have responded overwhelmingly.

In the first full year of the implementation of our Township Economy Revitalisation Strategy, the provincial government has spent R1.8 billion procuring goods and services from township enterprises.

In addition municipalities are spending R1.6 billion of their procurement budgets on township enterprises.

We have already reached the 12% target we set for the 2015/16 financial year and are certainly gaining momentum towards spending at least 30% of our procurement budget on township enterprises by 2019.

Honourable members, you may not be aware that before the adoption of the Township Economy Revitalsation Strategy only 400 township enterprises were benefiting from our procurement spend.

As of January this year, 1 805 township enterprises are now benefitting from our procurement spend. This is more than four times than the amount in the previous years. We have registered 5 321 SMMEs on our procurement data base. We want these enterprises to be sustainable, grow employment, and be involved in manufacturing and export.

We are pleased to further report that the following township hubs and industrial parks are undergoing renovation in line with the commitment we made in the 2015 SOPA: Orlando, Saulsville, Khutsong, Hammanskraal, Mabopane, Alexandra and Ennerdale. We will complete this work next month.

We are intervening to support township entrepreneurs in the automotive sector. Already, our Emergency Medical Services Vehicles Repair Hub in Winterveldt is repairing, servicing and maintaining our ambulances using township mechanics.

The Katlehong, Soweto and Kagiso township industrial hubs will be accredited and open for business before the end of the 2016/17 financial year.

In the West Rand, 577 township enterprises are being supported by provincial government.

Here in Sedibeng, we have supported more than 250 township enterprises that benefit from our procurement spend in the current financial year. This region has some of the most dynamic township enterprises involved in local manufacturing, particularly metal fabrication and agro processing.

Honourable Members the Township Economy Revitalisation is not a fairy-tale. As we said before, it is becoming a game changer.

We have honoured our commitment to revitalise the township economy. Behind the figures and numbers we have mentioned, there are real people and real enterprises. I am happy that some of township entrepreneurs have taken time away from their busy schedules, to be here with us today.

  • Nthabiseng Likotsi, who together with others formed a co-operative bank (YWBN), established for providing financial services to its 245 members in the construction sector. Her life and those of her fellow co-operators has changed for the better.
  • Thokozani Sikhwinyane from Ekurhuleni, who, together with a group of young entrepreneurs founded Imbali Paints. This is a worker co-operative which manufactures lead-free paint for residential and commercial use.
  • Boitumelo Rampeng, who manages the Garankuwa Eco-furniture co-operative supported by the Department of Environment and the City of Tshwane, which manufactures school desks and other furniture, using invasive alien plants.
  • Eaglet Tsebe and Phindile Masuku, who founded the Kgora community bakery in Soshanguve, which bakes and supplies fresh bread to residents and spaza-shop daily in Tshwane.

I had the honour to visit Kgora and taste their bread and it’s mouth-watering.

  • Tshepo Rampatla, who established Reiteretse Car Wash co-operative which operates in Mamelodi and also services Tshwane Metro Police fleet. I also had the honour to launch the car wash and participate in washing a car of a senior citizen.
  • Duncan Motsoahae is involved in Plastics Manufacturing in the City of Johannesburg.

And right here in Sedibeng, we have Mrs Msibi from A Re Apareng Co-operatives and Lerothodi Kabai from Rainbow Water and Projects.
Madame Speaker, these are real businesses run by real entrepreneurs, creating real jobs.

A commitment made is a commitment honoured!

Let me now give a progress report on the infrastructure plans that we announced in 2015.

We indicated that the provincial government would spend R30 billion, while municipalities would spend R94 billion over the MTEF on infrastructure. Our focus is on energy, broadband, public transport, water and sanitation infrastructure.

In July last year we held a successful inaugural Gauteng Infrastructure Investment Conference to mobilise support and develop a common approach on the infrastructure requirements of the Gauteng City Region. We received overwhelming support from key stakeholders on our infrastructure plans.

With regard to energy security, we are working closely with the City of Johannesburg and the City of Tshwane to ensure that they finalise the due processes of appointing private sector partners who will renovate and upgrade the Kelvin, Pretoria West and Rooiwaal Power Stations. The two cities will soon announce details on this matter. This intervention will increase energy capacity by 1200 MW in our City Region.

We have received National Treasury approval to implement our renewable energy projects of installing solar panels on the roof tops of all government buildings. The project of tri-generation plants in our hospitals will also be a Public Private Partnership. These projects will be ready for implementation in the next financial year.

Madame Speaker, as we said before, public transport is a catalyst in growing the economy and it contributes to the wellbeing of the people. It also has a huge impact on the spatial economy and the morphology of our city region.

Our goal remains that of building a modern public transport system that is integrated, safe reliable, affordable and intermodal.

Significant progress is being made in the expansion of the Bus Rapid Transit Systems, in the metropolitan municipalities.

In the City of Johannesburg, the expansion of the third phase of the BRT to Alexandra, Sandton, Midrand, Ivory Park and Randburg is progressing well.

A Re Yeng is now operational in the CBD of Tshwane and it is being rolled out to Mamelodi, Atteridgeville, Soshanguve, Garankuwa and Mabopane.

In Ekurhuleni, the construction of 3.6 km of dedicated lanes and
stations has been completed. The first phase of Ekurhuleni’s BRT system, Harambee, from Tembisa to Isando, is under way and will be operational in July this year.

All these BRTs will have a positive impact in the quality of the public transport experience for the people of the Gauteng City Region.

People of Gauteng, the taxi industry transports more than 65% of commuters. It contributes to our economy, by creating employment and providing sustainable livelihoods.

Over the past twelve months, we held extensive engagements with the Taxi Industry on our public transport plans and the place of the industry in our modern public transport system.

We are also aware that many taxi operators are either operating on routes that are saturated or are applying for taxi operating licenses for these routes that are not profitable. This is a recipe for disaster and is one of the reasons behind the taxi violence.

We will work with the industry to address this challenge.

Honourable Members, the Gautrain is one of the most positive public transport stories in post-apartheid South Africa, in ecological, social and economic terms. The Gautrain has so far contributed R20 billion to the economy of the Gauteng City Region. During its construction 122 000 jobs were created and 600 more jobs during its operation.

With over 50 million passenger trips transporting 1.4 million passengers per month, Gautrain is radically transforming public transport experience in our country and especially in Gauteng. More people now rely on the Gautrain as a convenient means of transport.

In response to the growing demand for Gautrain services, we are adding 48 new trains to the fleet, at a cost of R 3.5 billion, underwritten by the Development Bank of Southern Africa. This investment will create more than 9 000 jobs.

The next phase of the expansion of the Gautrain whose planning we are currently finalizing will radically transform the spatial configuration of major parts of City Region. It will help us connect the western, northern, southern corridors to the central corridor.

Madame Speaker, in all our interventions in improving public transport, we will put the interests of the commuters first.

Public transport is also a key driver of industrialisation and re-industrialisation of the Gauteng City Region.

For example, since 2009, 474 new locomotives have been manufactured by Transnet in Koedoespoort, Tshwane. In the last financial year alone 169 Metrorail trains have been refurbished in Tshwane, Joburg and Ekurhuleni. A total of 2 433 minibus taxis were assembled in Springs in Ekurhuleni, since 2012. In addition, 608 busses for BRTs, Metrorail and Gautrain are being assembled in the West Rand and Ekurhuleni.

Madame Speaker, our intention is that the new Gautrain rolling stock be manufactured locally. We are serious about boosting local manufacturing capacity and creating sustainable jobs in our economy.

With regard to road infrastructure, we are spending R 7.2 billion to upgrade and expand all major roads that connect and integrate the different development corridors and key economic nodes of our province over the next three years.

In Johannesburg, (the Central Corridor), we are upgrading, William Nicol from PWV5 (Jukskei bridge) to N14 in Diepsloot, which forms a very important link between the N14 in the North and the N1 in the South.

The N14 from Diepsloot to the Hendrik Potgieter intersection will link Tshwane, Johannesburg and West Rand communities in a transformative manner.

Here in Sedibeng, (the Southern Corridor) we are upgrading the R82 Old Vereeniging/Johannesburg Road from a single to a dual carriageway from Walkerville to De Deur. The road will provide access to existing and future developments around Walkerville, Eikenhoff and De Deur.

We will also upgrade Evaton Road, from Adams to Selbourne. We are building a new interchange on the R42 Barrage Road that will connect the new Vaal River City and Sharpeville.

In Ekurhuleni (the Eastern Corridor), we are upgrading Heidelberg Road from Leondale Forsdick Road to Barry Marias Road from a single carriageway to a dual carriageway. The project will improve accessibility for future developments in the Vosloorus, Leondale and Southern Ekurhuleni areas.

All these roads will not be tolled.

As you will recall, we reviewed the impact of e-tolls on the people of our province and this led to a new dispensation that is currently being implemented, with significant concessions.

In many meetings I have addressed since the announcement of the new dispensation, I have heard many motorists who say that they are not paying e-tolls due to affordability, rather than being part of a campaign of civil disobedience. Affordability is the issue, not civil defiance.

Through the appointment of the Advisory Panel and the new dispensation, we have tried our best to address the negative impact of the e-tolls.

Madame Speaker, the vision of a smart province and the modernisation of the economy and the public service is taking shape. Broadband connectivity is growing faster covering all parts of the City Region.

Through our partnerships with the municipalities and the private sector we will reach our goal of 100% connectivity by 2019.

The provincial government has connected ten core network sites and 368 local sites that are fully operational, out of a target of 400 for 2015/16.

In addition, the City of Tshwane has connected 700 free Wi-Fi hotspots, Johannesburg 408 free Wi-Fi hotspots and Ekurhuleni 408 free Wi-Fi hotspots.

We commend the City of Tshwane for reaching one million users and winning the Best Connectivity Solution for Africa Award at the 2015 AfricaCom awards.

We say well done to the Capital City of our Republic!

In order to ensure integration, coordination and coherence across the Gauteng City Region, we recently established the Department of e-Government which will drive our modernisation agenda.

I would like to reiterate our commitment to ensure that the local manufacturing of ICT products, components and the development of new applications should take place in our City Region.

Our goal is to build ICT hubs and science and technology parks in all our development corridors.

Since 1994 we have been responding to the challenge of housing occasioned by apartheid policies that have displaced our people away from centres of development.

In response, since 1994 we have delivered 900 000 housing opportunities to provide decent shelter for our people.

Despite the rate of our delivery and interventions many of our people still do not have access to shelter because of rapid in-migration. Every year, more than 200 000 people move to Gauteng to seek better socio-economic opportunities.

Madame Speaker, in the 2015 SOPA, we announced mega human settlements and new post-apartheid cities that are being undertaken across the City Region by public and private sector institutions and developers.

Once more, the evidence that Gauteng is a construction site is indisputable.

The cranes are up and construction is underway at Savannah City, Sandton City, Steyn City, Waterfall City, Tshwane West Capital, and Africa Gateway in Centurion.

We are pleased to announce that initial work regarding the development of the new Lanseria Airport City and Vaal River City has started. However, delays in the rollout of bulk infrastructure have slowed down the momentum. We will work with the municipalities to unblock these delays.

As we have pointed out earlier, the ANC-led government has done tremendously well in providing housing opportunities to more than 938 000 people in the past twenty years in Gauteng.

The rationale for introducing mega human settlements is to respond the reality that building a few houses in outlying areas will not address the spiralling housing backlog.

We need to deliver significantly larger numbers through high density human settlements that are integrated into economic nodes and bring economic nodes closer to existing human settlements.

This requires better capacity in our human settlements departments of the province and municipalities and partnerships with the private sector.

In the current financial year we have delivered close to 20,000 stands and housing units in the five corridors and issued 7743 title deeds.

Owing to institutional and capacity constraints, our performance on housing delivery is not impressive. We have intervened to improve drastically the administrative and technical capacity of the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements so that it can drive the programme of mega human settlements and post-apartheid cities effectively and effect decisive spatial transformation.

I am very confident that the appointment of MEC Paul Mashatile in this portfolio will go a long way in improving coordination with municipalities and fast-tracking the delivery of mega human settlements and post-apartheid cities, which will also include student accommodation.

We have done well in setting out the vision for human settlements.

Let the cranes go up everywhere in the province.

Let the construction work intensify.

Let the handing over of completed houses and renovated hostels be speeded up.

Madame Speaker, I would like to provide an update on some of the important developments in our flagship projects in the five development corridors.

In the Northern Corridor, which accounts for 40% of our national vehicle production, BMW has invested R6 billion to expand its work on the BMW X series.

In addition there is an increase in the levels of production at the Nissan plant in Rosslyn.

Iveco will also produce trucks and busses in the same area.

We are undertaking a feasibility study to build the ‘Automotive City’ as a post-apartheid city in Tshwane.

The Automotive City will further strengthen the Northern Corridor as an investment destination of choice for the automotive sector, especially for further export into the SADC region.

In addition, the construction of the Business Process Outsourcing Park in Hammanskraal will commence in the coming weeks.

In Johannesburg, the Corridors of Freedom project - to effect spatial transformation – is going very well. In terms of this project infrastructure upgrades along the Empire/Perth Corridor as well as along Louis Botha are already underway.

The provincial government’s Kopanong Precinct is back on track.

It will contribute to the revitalisation of the Johannesburg central business district which will receive a major boost when Kopanong Precinct begins operation during the next financial year.

The project has received approval form National Treasury as a
Public - private partnership.

The catalytic projects that will boost the development of the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis, received overwhelming support from the private sector.

In addition there are huge investments in the development of big factories and warehouses along the R21. These investments will strengthen the strategic position of Ekurhuleni as a manufacturing, logistics and transport hub.

We will continue to support the work of attracting investors into the economy of our manufacturing hub. We welcome initiatives to build the International Trade Centre in Rhodesfield at an estimated value of R50 billion; the Aviation Simulation and Training Centre estimated at R2 billion and the Green Reef development estimated at R50 billion.

Madame Speaker, to us the recent discovery of Homo Naledi not only points to the unique and significant role that Africa plays in the origins and development of human kind but is also a game changer.

We congratulate Professor Lee Berger and his team of paleo-scientists from Wits University for this major scientific discovery.

Homo Naledi has massive positive implications for tourism in the City Region and in particular the Cradle of Mankind, Maropeng.

The number of visitors to Maropeng more than tripled to 150 000 in the month that Homo Naledi was on display.

We are now going to fully exploit the tourism potential of Maropeng to promote tourism in the Western corridor.

Accordingly, over the next three years, we will expand infrastructure around Maropeng, including ensuring improved access to the site through public transport.

Here in Sedibeng, we are supporting the agricultural development, and specifically small-scale farmers, the Vereeniging Fresh Produce Market is currently being refurbished, upgraded and modernised.

On completion, this facility will improve economic efficiency by providing the crucial link between farmers, agro- processors and consumers.

In last year’s State of the Province Address, we made a commitment to target 32 black farmers for support in planting barley to be supplied to the Heineken factory, we have now profiled the 32 farmers.

We have also started with the barley cultivar trials in partnership with the private sector.

In addition, the provincial government has also decided to intervene and provide drought relief for emerging and subsistence farmers who have suffered severe losses as a result of the drought.

Madame Speaker, I want to reassert that education remains the backbone of radical socio-economic transformation and that a nation that neglects education, neglects its future.

Education is the most decisive instrument of national and self-cultivation. It is the greatest investment any nation can ever make. It is our number one priority as the ANC led government.

Honourable Members we run a huge and successful basic education system that caters for 2, 2 million learners. A total of 77% of the learners that started grade 1 in 2004 in our public schools reached matric in 2015. This represents the highest through-put in the country.

Gauteng has consistently been among the top three performing provinces over the past ten years in matric results. Between 2012 and 2015, Gauteng outperformed the rest of the provinces and produced more than 38 000 bachelor passes in 2015. What is particularly unique is the dramatic improvements in the performance of learners from township schools.

Madame Speaker, in 2009, fee paying schools led the way with an average pass rate of 84.2%, while no-fee schools achieved an average pass rate of 60.1%. This gap has narrowed significantly and currently stands at 13.3%, down from 24.1% in 2009.

Our township youth are on the move and are breaking racial and class barriers.

We support 1.1 million learners in the no-fee schools and 1.3 million learners receive a meal daily.

A total of 82 936 learners who live more than 5 km from the nearest schools, are being transported to ensure un-interrupted schooling.

In line with our commitment of improving early childhood development, we have reached over 87 000 children through 1 330 funded Early Childhood Development Centres (ECD). We have also registered more than 2 000 ECD centres, to regularise them.

We have significantly increased the enrolment of Grade R learners from 65 000 in 2009 to close to 113 000 in 2014. We will enrol 200 000 Grade R learners by 2019.

In 2014, we introduced the Classroom of the Future and in 2015 we only had seven schools connected to our e-learning platform. We now have 1 861 Grade 12 classrooms, 3 098 Grade 11 classrooms and 42 schools connected to the e-learning system.

Madame Speaker, I had the privilege to visit Protea Glen Secondary School in July last year and Chief Albert Luthuli Primary School in January this year to witness how ICT has totally transformed both the learning experience of our children as well as the teaching experience of our teachers.

During those visits I met Ms Gugulethu Gumede and Ms Thelma Mngwevu who are teachers, and Nomkhosi Gumede and Dorah Kilima who are learners.

They told me that they arrive at school very early and stay much longer after school due to the increased level of interest generated by self-learning through the tablets we are providing.

In 2016/17 we will expand this to other classes and schools.

In order to provide opportunities to township learners with special educational needs, we are increasing the number of special schools in the townships. We have built eight special schools which are currently functional and will open a further eighteen schools this year.

We are also establishing Schools of Specialisation to strengthen our skills base especially in critical areas such commerce and entrepreneurship; Maths Science and Technology; and other scares skills.

In the coming months we will launch a School of Specialisation in Emndeni, Soweto. We are working towards establishing a school of specialisation in each of the five corridors.

I would like to report that this ANC-led government is spending more than R560 million on bursaries, learnerships and internships in order to equip our youth with the necessary skills and work experience.

This will increase to R1 billion over the next two years.

In addition, Gauteng municipalities are spending close to R30 million to contribute to the education of children from poor households.

These provincial and municipal contributions are over and above the more than R10 billion that our national government is spending to assist higher education students from poor households.

We are serious about the education and training of our youth.
In December 2014, we launched a bold initiative to give hope to young people through a partnership programme called Tshepo 500 000.

The objective of this game changing initiative is to provide skills training, entrepreneurship development, mentorship and job placements for youth and unemployed graduates.

Young people are one of the focal priorities of this ANC-led fifth administration.

In the past thirteen months, we have recruited more than 158 000 young people to participate in the various programmes of Tshepo 500 000. We have facilitated the placement of 37 446 young people who were trained through our skills development partnership. These are real people who today have real jobs and are now able to support their families.

I wish to express my deepest gratitude to all the companies that are working with us to give hope to young people.

We have also trained more than 19 000 aspiring entrepreneurs, 535 of whom are now registered entrepreneurs and 79 have fully operational businesses.

Madame Speaker, the success of our Tshepo 500 000 programme can best be told by some of the young people who are here with us today.

Obakeng Morapedi, a young aspiring entrepreneur in software development and Amogelang Sebegoe from Phahama Waste Management Enterprise, are here with us today as beneficiaries of Tshepo 500 000.

Today, they have proudly been given a hand up, not a hand out.

We want many more young people to know that they too can come out of unemployment and destructive activities such as drugs to live meaningful lives.

Apart from the provincial flagship programme, municipalities are involved in their own initiatives that are aimed at giving young people in the province hope.

The biggest municipal initiative is the ground-breaking partnership between the City of Joburg and Harambee (the youth employment accelerator) which is targeting more than 200 000 young people in the City by the end of this year.

We will work with Harambee and other youth employment initiatives so that we can make a much greater impact on the more than 1 million young people who are unemployed in our province. This can be done!

From my interaction with many business leaders during the CEO Sleep Out in Sandton in July 2015, I know that many of them are burning with desire to partner with government in giving our youth hope. We are following up with all Gauteng-based companies and business chambers.

As we prepare for the 40th anniversary of the June 1976 Student Uprisings, let us rally together to make this the hour of hope for youth.

We call upon students, that whilst we must advance the agenda of transformation within higher education and improve access, they must also focus on their education and ensure that no time is lost in the academic year.

We also call upon parents and civil society to work with institutions of higher learning to ensure that there is stability and that our higher learning institutions are functional.

Madame Speaker, healthcare is the lifeblood of a productive nation. Last year, we set ourselves the target that by 2019, we will have 200 out of 375 of our clinics meeting the ideal clinic norms and standards.

Ideal clinics must open on time, be clean, be staffed by health professionals that practice the values of Batho Pele, do not close until the last patient has been attended to and have reasonable waiting times.

We are confident that by 2019 all our clinics will be among the top performers in meeting the norms and standards due to the progress being made in turning around our public health system.

Also in line with our commitment in last year’s SOPA, we have now established a total of 449 Ward-Based Outreach Teams across Gauteng, far above the target of 400.

These teams are conducting door-to-door work and community outreach campaigns on health awareness and healthy lifestyles.

We are on track with the modernisation of our public health services. The digitisation of patient files is currently underway and will be completed in all public hospitals in Gauteng by 2019. The e-health initiative is already improving efficiencies and drastically reducing waiting times.

In 2015 we reported significant successes in reducing TB incidence. We achieved a treatment cure rate of 85.1%. In 2016, our TB treatment success rate has marginally improved to 85, 7%.

Madame Speaker, we are concerned that while the rate of HIV related deaths has decreased substantially, the rate of new infections remains stubbornly high. We launched the social mobilisation campaign known as PASOP to encourage responsible behaviour and to reduce new HIV infections.

Through PASOP which stands for Prevent Avoid Stop Overcome and Protect, we reached an estimated 5 million people across the province.

In line with the NDP’s call to have an AIDS-free generation by 2030, we are investing R 3 billion towards implementing education, clinical services and social initiatives that will help us turn the tide against HIV.

Madame Speaker, our municipalities are also playing a critical role in the provision of primary healthcare services to communities. The role of the metros is deeply appreciated in providing quality public healthcare and most of their clinics are now going digital, with many benefits accruing to patients on the ground.

In response to the growing demands on our health system, we are investing in infrastructure development in our hospitals including acquiring of state of the art equipment.

In this regard we congratulate Leratong provincial hospital for winning the award in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology one–stop-shop project at the Public Service Innovation Awards in 2015.

In partnership with the government of the People’s Republic of China, last year, we unveiled a new technology machine that enables remote and instant treatment of fibroids without surgery at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

This has helped many women who had child bearing difficulties. Margaret Mlangeni had this to say about her experience:

“This disease made my life difficult and I have never had children in my life. I hope God will now bless me with children as He has blessed me with this machine.”

The Wits Cardiology unit at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital boasts the highest number of cardiologists in the country.

These are some of the capabilities and centres of excellence that we have in our public health system.

Madame Speaker, while Gauteng’s poverty headcount decreased by more than half from 10, 5% in 2001 to 4, 8% in 2011, we continue to face significant levels of urban poverty, particularly in our townships and informal settlements.

Since 2014, the number of people on social grants in Gauteng has increased from 2.2 million to 2.4 million.

In the face of poverty, inequality and unemployment, the grants make a big difference in the lives of many people in a province where the cost of living is very high and even those employed can hardly cope with the rising cost of housing, food, transport, energy and education.

Accordingly, creating sustainable and decent employment through a growing and inclusive economy is key in reducing the number of people on grants. Our flagship programme to move people, especially young women, out of welfare into employment is beginning to yield positive results. Since 2014, we have moved 4 444 people, mainly young women, into productive and sustainable economic activities.

We are expanding this programme with the aim of reaching over 11,000 people by the end of our term of office.

The impact of our “welfare to work” initiative is aptly demonstrated by the words of Ms Doreen Mokoena (22 years old), who is here with us today, who wrote to us:

“Welfare to work has helped improve my life in making me an independent person. It has taught me to save for important things in life and also helped me to complete my studies. Skills that I have obtained during the programme include communication, administration and problem solving skills. I was in the programme for seven months then I got a permanent job at Net Wealth Analytics as an administrator.”

Madame Speaker, we have also created sustainable livelihoods for the urban poor by empowering 487 social cooperatives that have more than 3 000 members, most of whom are women. These women are involved in food gardening and community-based urban agriculture to help fight poverty and hunger. They also produce school uniforms to support children in public schools and provide dignity packs to more than 4 000 of the poorest households, especially in Sedibeng and the West Rand.

In the next three years, we will increase our support and facilitate the growth of more social cooperatives.

In order to intensify the war on urban poverty and hunger, the provincial government and municipalities have provided food relief to 66 000 households with 227 000 beneficiaries through referrals from the five food banks established in the Ekurhuleni, Sedibeng, Tshwane, West Rand and Johannesburg Regions.

We are also providing food parcels to 145 000 people and 39 000 beneficiaries receive daily meals at drop-in centres.

Over the MTEF, we will intensify the War on Poverty with interventions aimed at over 500 000 of the poorest households in Gauteng. All these interventions provide some relief to the 22.9% of the poorest households in our province. In response to household poverty, we will implement a single window that provides a basket of services and social assistance in a coordinated way.

People of Gauteng, during the 2014 SOPA, we made a commitment to develop a comprehensive response to scourge of drug abuse. Substance abuse is one of the major social ills plaguing the youth in our communities. Drugs are destroying our youth and robbing us of the energy and talent we so dearly need in our nation.

The “Ke Moja” campaign against substance abuse, reached over 1.1 million young people over the past twelve months. We have also expanded mobile substance abuse services and other innovative new programmes to deal with this problem.

Crime prevention interventions are being stepped up to deal with the manufacturers and suppliers of drugs.

There are successes in this regard, these include the establishment of the Drug Task Team, the arrest of 10 602 suspects and the closing down of 28 drug laboratories.

We cannot lose the war against drugs.

We cannot allow our youth to be destroyed.

I hereby make a special call to religious leaders to take a lead in the fight against social ills such as substance abuse.

Let us work together to save our youth.

Madame Speaker, the safety and security of our people remains paramount.

In the 2014 and 2015, we made a commitment on building safer communities in the Gauteng City Region.

The recent Victims of Crime Survey found that Gauteng had the highest percentage of households which felt that violent crime had decreased in their areas of residence between 2011 and 2014.

However, crime remains one of the major sources of worry among many of our residents. This is one area where very little progress has been registered over the past year, owing largely to factors beyond the control of the provincial government.

It is a matter of public knowledge that I have previously raised concerns about in-fighting and instability in the leadership of the police.

I am deeply troubled by the number of police officers who have been murdered by criminals. We must make it clear that police killers shall be hunted and put behind bars.

I would like to report that we have been working hard to ensure that we strengthen the focus of our law enforcement agencies on priority crimes that face Gauteng.

The Civilian Secretariat has been appointed to strengthen civilian oversight over the police.

We are working closely with the Minister of Police and the Acting National Commissioner to ensure that a new Provincial Commissioner is appointed soon. This will boost the morale of the hard working policemen and women who are serving our people loyally, while placing their own lives at great risk.

We will also take full advantage of the existence of three metro police departments as force multipliers that will work with SAPS to concentrate their joint efforts on fighting crime and making Gauteng safe.

Madame Speaker we will continue to conduct un-announced visits to police stations, as these have been bearing fruits.

We are committed to build safe and secure communities through strengthening relations between communities and the police. In this regard, we will support the Memeza Community Police Alarm system developed by Ms Rirhundzu Munisi.

This innovation was developed at the Innovation Hub in order to find solutions to some of our community policing challenges. It is currently being piloted in Diepsloot where it has made a big difference.

Madame Speaker, we have been battling with the problem of illicit mining.

This crime affects many communities in Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg and West Rand who live along the gold mining belt.

Many of our communities live in fear of marauding armed gangs that work under the belly of the earth and come out to commit violent crimes.

Improving overall police performance, visibility and re-establishing specialised policing units to focus on the problem of drugs, gender based violence, illicit mining, taxi violence and other priority crimes, will go a long way in making Gauteng safe.

Madame Speaker we are committed to building safer communities and we will do everything to ensure that the Gauteng City is safer!

Madame Speaker, Gauteng is the home of champions and the epicentre of competitive sport on the continent.

It is here that sporting dreams are made and fulfilled.

The provincial government is planning to seriously engage the sporting fraternity to cement relations through a shared vision and common programme. This will help to unlock and enhance the potential of sport in our economy as an important contributor to the reindustrialisation of our province.

In addition, we are paying attention to school sport.

School sport is important in developing and nurturing sporting talent among our youth. In supporting school sport, we have provided sporting equipment and sporting attire to 450 schools in our province. We are aware that the need is bigger.

We will work with sporting bodies and the private sector to increase the support we are providing for the development of schools sport. Currently Gauteng is the best performing province in school sports in the country and has won the Old Mutual Prestige Cup for three consecutive years.

I commend our players for representing the Gauteng City Region well in the South African Schools Sport Games.

I also congratulate Troyeville Primary, Waterkloof Secondary and the winners of the special school category, Isiphosethu Special School for winning the Gauteng School Sport Awards for 2015.

To strengthen social cohesion, we will create platforms where people from diverse backgrounds and localities can interact and compete in different sporting codes.

We will continue to support major sporting events in our province, these include: Gauteng Marathon; Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day; Soweto Marathon; Under 17 Future Champions; Gauteng Champions Parade; the 1 Cup Game; Wheelchair tennis South Africa; Soccerex Africa Forum; as well as the South African, Joburg and Tshwane Open.

I would like to congratulate Municipalities for installing gym parks in the townships. This has made keeping fit fashionable. It has also helped reduce the burden of diseases.

In addition to sport, Arts and Culture also play a major role in contributing towards nation building and social cohesion.

The Gauteng Carnival which brings together different sectors of society to celebrate our cultural diversity, continues to grow. Just last year it attracted more than 30 000 participants and spectators. We estimate that more 3000 jobs were created prior to and during the Gauteng carnival last year.

Going forward we will expand the Carnival.

Gauteng is also the home of the creative industries.

It is here where creative juices of our dancers, film makers, poets, musicians, designers, publishers, painters and sculptures flow in abundance. It also here where we can create opportunities for the creatives to flourish and become economically empowered.

According to the Gauteng Creative Mapping project, by Wits University produced in 2007, it is estimated that directly and indirectly, the creative industries contribute R33.3 billion to the Gauteng economy and employs over 182 000 people.

It for this reason that the creative and cultural industries will be one of the sectors we will focus on both to promote social cohesion as well as inclusive economic growth.

In 2014 and 2015 we made a commitment to preserve and promote our rich cultural heritage. This includes developing a Gauteng liberation heritage route to preserve sites of struggle and promote the tangible and intangible heritage.

Working with national government and the City of Tshwane, in 2015 we launched the National Heritage Monument (NHM).

The establishment of the NHM serves as a living memory of the South African Liberation Struggle. This monumental heritage site will contribute to the overall objective of building a national democratic society that is non-racial, non-sexist, united and prosperous.

Since 2014 we have honoured some of our struggle stalwarts including Mama Bertha Gxowa whom we honoured with a life-size statue and have declared the graves of David Bopape, Sam Ntuli, Dolly Rathebe and Selope Thema as provincial heritage sites. More work will be done to honour other unsung heroes and heroines.

Through Ntirhisano, we have interacted with and listened to the concerns of senior citizens in our province.

Many of them complained about neglect or abuse by family members, lack of programmes and facilities to promote aging with dignity, the cost of public transport.

We would like to reassure our senior citizens that Gauteng province is their home and we will do everything in our power to support and protect them.

One of the exciting programmes we will support is the participation of the elderly in sport and recreation.

Last year, I personally had an exciting moment with senior citizens at a gym in Soweto. I found most of our elderly people exceptionally fit for their age. Some of them participate regularly in fun walks, aerobics and soccer. We congratulate the Johannesburg team of elderly women who beat the famous Limpopo team, Bakgekolo Bakgekolo.

This is a team that went to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

We need to create more opportunities for the elderly to participate in sport and recreation, because this is good for their well-being.

Madame Speaker, this year marks the 60th anniversary of the 1956 women’s march against the pass laws and oppression of women.

The emancipation of women remains a critical task that must be tackled with consistency and urgency. We will unveil the women’s monument in Tshwane during the women’s month in August.

The women’s monument will be an eternal and living tribute of the contribution and role of women in the struggle for freedom and democracy and towards development.

We have exceeded the 30% target with regards to the empowerment of women through our procurement policy and we are well on our way to reach 50% by 2020. Currently 400 enterprises owned and run by women benefit from our procurement spend.

Our programmes for radical transformation, modernisation and reindustrialisation such as the township revitalisation, Tshepo Five Hundred, welfare, women cooperatives are among the key programmes that are aimed at women development.

We will also continue to ensure that women play a leading role in decision making structures especially in the public sector. Wathinta Abafazi! Wathintha imbokodo!

Madame Speaker, in 2013 Gauteng had the poorest performance with regard to employment targets for people with disabilities, achieving only 0.7%. This has improved, in October 2015, Gauteng is now the best performing province, achieving 1.6% employment equity out of the target of 2%. We are well on our way to surpass the 2% target during the term of this administration.

In addition we have already surpassed the 30% target of allocating houses to people with disabilities and are now at 38%.

We agree with the rallying call made at the 2015 Disability Rights Month that nothing about us without us.

Madame Speaker, in 2014 we said we will take active measures to ensure that military veterans are mainstreamed into existing socioeconomic and governance programmes.

We have developed and adopted a Programme of Action on Military Veterans in line with the passing of the Military Veterans Act, 18 of 2011 in Parliament.

According to the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) about 5390 military veterans live in Gauteng.

We will ensure that we include military veterans in our programme for transformation, modernisation and reindustrialisation.

We are also working with the military veterans to ensure that they participate in the mainstream economy, including ensuring that they benefit from our township revitalisation programmes. We will this year ensure military veterans benefit from our human settlements projects in line with the set standards.

Madame Speaker, this year we will hold local government elections. We are proud of the work that many of our municipalities have been doing since 2011 to deliver services to our people, build infrastructure and drive the reindustrialisation of our local economies.

Local government is the most important sphere which is closest to the people.

We congratulate our municipalities for achieving clean audits and other national and international awards.

As already pointed out, the City Tshwane has won an award on its outstanding work on the roll out of free wi-fi in the city and for being South Africa’s 2015 Earth Hour capital.

The City of Johannesburg has won the C40 Cities Award for its leadership in tackling climate change through its green bond initiative.

The City of Ekurhuleni has received the blue drop water status for the quality of its drinking water. Ekurhuleni, Sedibeng District, Mogale City and Midvaal have made us proud for achieving clean audits.

Madame Speaker, last year we made a commitment to clean and green our cities and towns.

We have now re-launched Bontle ke Botho campaign, to mobilise communities to take care of their environment and to participate in efforts to beautify their streets, cities and towns as well as to derive work and other economic opportunities from recycling waste.

Apart from the environmental benefits, the waste economy has enormous potential to create employment and generate entrepreneurial opportunities for thousands of the unemployed in our communities.

The people of Gauteng, before I conclude my speech, I would like to outline lessons we have learnt in the past twenty one months of the fifth administration.

It is possible to restore public confidence and a common narrative if we as government honour our commitments and implement agreed plans.

We know that our people are tired of excuses and empty promises.

The commitments we make must be the commitments we honour.

It is also possible to build productive and mutually beneficial partnerships with various sectors of society to tackle specific social and economic challenges.

Preliminary indications are that our call for partnerships with the private sector on infrastructure projects has received lots of concrete support from investors and business people who now investing in our major infrastructure initiatives.

We can successfully resolve the structural problems of our economy if we work together in a systematic and coordinated manner.

We can solve the problem of youth unemployment and drug abuse if we build the right partnerships that give hope to our youth.

I would like to call upon all of you to join us to work for a better Gauteng for all.

Given these lessons, we have decided to take Ntirhisano conversations and the suburbs so that we can also deal with specifically problems and challenges facing the middle strata and youth in the suburbs.

We need to mobilise all the people of our province to come together and make sure that this province is truly a home for all – black and white, rich and poor, men and women, young and old.

Let me conclude by thanking a number of thank all those who continue to dream and work hard to ensure that we build a society where all people can live meaningful lives, in peace and harmony.

I would to thank my family, particularly my wife Mpho and the children, for understanding my difficult choice of a life of service to the people and for their unwavering support.

I would to thank Team Gauteng City Region, MECs and Executive Mayors, for their commitment, collaboration and loyal service to the people of our City Region.

I would like to thank the Director General, my Special Advisors and all the staff in the Office of the Premier for their hard work and support.

I would like to thank members of this legislature for holding us accountable.

We are not perfect. We value your guidance and criticism.

Please work with us to place our province at the cutting edge of clean governance, social transformation and economic inclusive growth.

I do believe that, with the unity of purpose, we can mobilise all the people of our province to come together and build Gauteng into a true home for all.

I truly believe we can.

I thank you.