Makhura talks tough on crime

Criminal syndicates and dodgy businesses in Gauteng will soon have no place to function as law enforcement agencies will clamp down on their operations.

This was the warning issued by Gauteng premier David Makhura in his state of the province address yesterday in Alberton.

"Township entrepreneurs complain about illegally operating businesses that sell toxic adulterated food stuff and counterfeit goods and further allege that money obtained through drugs and other illicit dealings is being laundered through some of the businesses," Makhura said.

"Many say they're punished by authorities instead of being supported to thrive. The people of Gauteng. we will not allow global criminal syndicates to take over townships and displace genuine businesses. We are determined to close any illegally operating business in our province."

Last September, Makhura and other provincial leaders conducted spot checks on spaza shops following a spate of attacks and looting of businesses owned by foreign nationals in Soweto, Germiston, the Joburg CBD and other areas the previous month.

Turning to what his administration has achieved, he said he received unqualified audits for two years in a row. "Gauteng is the only province that got 100% unqualified audit outcomes in the 2017/2018 financial year, this we achieved only in the past four years."

To curb corruption, the premier has asked the Ethics Council to review any business that his government had done with the controversial facilities management company, Bosasa, because the allegations coming out of the Zondo inquiry into state capture are "too serious to ignore".

Makhura said Gauteng's population had grown from 7.8-million in 1996 to 14.7-million, while its economy grew from R290bn to R1.5-trillion in 2017. "This makes Gauteng the most populous province in our country. Essentially, one in every four South Africans lives in Gauteng. The number of people employed in the Gauteng economy has also doubled - from 2.6-million in 1996 to 5.163-million in 2018," he said.

On e-tolls, he said the ANC-led provincial government was committed to dumping the controversial system.

"While the user-pay principle is not in question, there is a clear recognition that urban tolling increases the cost of living and is therefore unsustainable," said Makhura, adding government teams were "hard at work" to find a solution.

DA premier candidate Solly Msimanga said: "I just listened to what I thought was Déjà vu I didn't hear anything concrete, it was a goodbye speech of absolutely nothing. we didn't hear the real state of the province," said Msimanga.

EFF provincial chairperson Mandisa Mashego said Makhura had flip flopped on
e-tolls. "He indicated that they are not opposed to the user pay principle, but says its economically unsustainable . that's just a sign of sheer dishonesty," she said.

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