Makhura has made huge strides as Gauteng premier

Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

From the onset, I think it would be proper for me to declare that I'm a great fan of Gauteng premier David Makhura despite our different political ideologies - he is a social democrat while I'm a liberal.

I was so inspired by his state of the province address in February 2015 that I went to Wits to register and read for a PhD in development economics specialising in one of Makhura's passionate topics - the reindustrialisation of the manufacturing sector.

The premier wants to reverse de-industrialisation in Gauteng so that labour-intensive jobs can be created and for his province to take leadership in beneficiation.

De-industrialisation is a trend wherein manufacturing firms within a particular geographical location fail to be sustainable, close shop, and workers lose their jobs in the process.

Reindustrialisation is a revival of the manufacturing sector, and Makhura is determined to ensure that the "Gauteng City Region" assumes leadership in Africa's manufacturing and fourth industrial revolution.

He also made a commitment to repair and deploy integrated infrastructure in the city region.

This would see infrastructure deployed by various role players integrated and "talking" to each other; for example - private and public sector security cameras, and the provincial and municipalities broadband networks can also integrate and function seamlessly.

Makhura has made some impressive strides during the past four-and-a-half years. Some progress has been made to change the spatial landscape.

One of the biggest achievements of Makhura is the development of township business and procurement of goods and services from black-owned enterprises by his administration.

When he became premier in June 2015, the province had, over five years, spent about R600mprocuring from black business.

Makhura's administration has drastically improved this to about R18bn during the past four-and-a-half years. The provincial government is working towards converting the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller into a state bank which will be biased towards the development of emerging entrepreneurs and the unbanked people who are largely black.

Makhura's achilles heel remains the infrastructure development backlog. Despite efforts to remedy this by the national, provincial, and local governments - the infrastructure gap is insurmountable.

The total infrastructure backlog in Gauteng should be hovering towards R1-trillion.

I should hasten to indicate that the provincial and local governments inherited a much bigger infrastructure backlog from the apartheid state and they have done much to reduce it.

The premier and his counterparts in local government should work together to close this funding gap. Among others, they could employ pooled funding.

I have no doubt in my mind that the voters will give the ANC the mandate to govern Gauteng without a coalition partner next year. I am in full agreement with the assessment of a highly respected elections expert, Dawie Scholtz, who concluded that the recently released poll by the Institute of Race Relations has one fundamental weakness: "So it includes a lot of low-propensity EFF support, which is why EFF is overstated and ANC understated."

It is also my prediction that Makhura will get a second term as a premier. If he wants to deliver on his ambitious priorities, he should consider implementing some of the recommendations made in this piece. 

-Dagada is the founder of GrandPoint Capital 

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