On Tuesday, 25 February the Premier of Gauteng David Makhura delivered his annual and highly anticipated State of the Province Address. From the onset the speech sounded similar to what had been promised in previous years. “This year’s State of the Province Address is more than a speech. Today we are unveiling a Plan of Action to galvanise the energy and creativity of all sectors of the population to take specific action towards realization of the Gauteng of our dreams”, he said.
The Premier touched on the government’s plan to grow Gauteng together with its dwellers by providing equal opportunities for everyone across the racial and ethnic spectrum. With the current political storm caused by former Apartheid president FW De Klerk’s utterances about apartheid not being a crime against humanity Makhura spoke about the country facing ‘major social and economic challenges that arise from the stubborn colonial and apartheid legacy as well as the faltering project of national democratic transformation.’
Poverty in townships has been rife since the dawn of democracy and the governing party has promised over the years to invest and plough money in the township economy in order to create more jobs for locals. Makhura touched on the matter once again by promising to step up economic empowerment programmes over the next five years.
They plan to do so by, “Spending R4 billion per annum in buying goods and services from 2000 township enterprises. Supporting 50 emerging black farmers and 20 black agro-processors to help them turn their businesses into full-scale commercial agri-food enterprises and creating 250 000 sustainable and decent jobs for young people.”
The water crisis could not be escaped, however, with Makhura stressing that the usage is too high and unsustainable. He stated that lately residents use 300 litres of water per day which is way above the world average of 173 litres of water per person per day. The national average is 235 litres per person per day. Urgent steps to drastically reduce water demand and losses are currently in place.
In ending his speech the Premier talked about building integrated human settlements and new cities.