Gauteng province is improving people's lives - premier

03 December 2018 - 12:04
By David Makhura
Gauteng premier David Makhura.
Image: Moeletsi Mabe Gauteng premier David Makhura.

The ANC-led provincial government has a good story to tell as we approach the historic milestone of 25 years of our nascent democracy.

Since our ascendancy into power in 1994, we have been working hard to dismantle the heinous apartheid system geared towards building a country that truly belongs to all as envisaged in the Freedom Charter.

Our "good story to tell" is evidenced by the quality of life of our people, as a result of the progressive programmes being advanced by the ANC government to improve the lives of our people.

When the fifth administration took office in 2014, we adopted the 10-pillar programme for radical Transformation, Modernisation and Reindustrialisation (TMR).

Several ground-breaking reforms and initiatives were introduced as part of TMR to improve the quality of life of Gauteng residents.

According to the 2017/18 Gauteng City Region Observatory Quality of Life Survey, access to basic services is much higher and more inclusive than it was in 1994.

Formal dwelling is at 81%; piped water at 91%; electricity at 92%; sanitation at 91% and refuse removal at 83%. These basic services were ranging between 50% and 65% in 1994.

Since 1994, Gauteng government has built 1.2-million government-subsidised houses, providing more than 3-million people with decent shelter. The survey shows that home-ownership among poor people is very high due to the impact of our human settlement programme.

However, the housing backlog remains high at more than 1-million. The programme to transform hostels into family units and integrate hostel dwellers into new human settlements has not progressed well.

The size of the public education system has also doubled - from 1.2-million learners in 1994 to 2.4-million learners today. In the past four years, we increased access to early childhood development more than four times from 83000 children to 483000 children. We have also invested significant resources in expanding access to education by learners with special needs.

Since 1994, we have built 335 new schools, refurbished more than 10000 classrooms, converted 1800 classrooms into ICT-enabled classrooms, built 1500 computer labs and 83 new libraries across Gauteng.

We provide 1.1-million learners with meals daily. Over the past four years, we have also provided 1.2-million girl learners with dignity packs and 500000 learners from poor households with school uniforms. The number of people employed in the Gauteng economy has also doubled - from 2.6-million in 1996 to 5.1-million this year. We created 420000 net new jobs since 2014.

The cumulative developmental impact of all the investments being made in education, health, housing and basic services can be seen in the sustained improvement in the human development index and quality of life index.

Our public health system service is currently three times the number of people it serviced in 1994, from 7-million people to 20 million a year. 

We have invested time and energy working with the private sector and industry leaders to unlock the employment, empowerment and export potential of various sectors of the provincial economy, including the revitalisation of the township economy and tackling unemployment.

Prior to 2014, the provincial government was only supporting 800 township enterprises through buying goods and services worth R600m. This has changed. The government now spends 23% of its budget for goods and services on procurement from 4500 township businesses to the value of R21bn.

The Political Report we tabled on Friday demonstrates that despite the challenges of migration and rapid urbanisation, the quality of life and quality of governance in Gauteng is on a consistently upward curve.

Makhura is Gauteng premier