It is tempting to describe Gauteng Premier David Makhura as “Cyril Lite”, so much did he sound like President Cyril Ramaphosa in delivering the state of the province address yesterday.
Makhura echoed his boss at national level when promising a “new dawn” for the province and its citizens.
His speech was notable for the fact that, unlike many other ANC office bearers, he did not duck and dive when it came to accountability. Not only did he admit responsibility – as premier – for the Life Esidimeni tragedy, but he committed to appointing a curator to watch over the process of implementing recommendations from the arbitration process to ensure such an abuse of vulnerable people never happens again.
Makhura must also have got many citizens nodding in approval when he announced that lifestyle audits for politicians and senior civil servants would be implemented, starting with one on himself. Keeping a watch on those who spend our hard-earned taxpayers’ money is the first step along the road to eliminating corruption and enrichment – the greed which has seen our country captured by a venal network.
Another commitment which will have endeared him to people in Gauteng was his pledge to take up the issue of e-tolls with Ramaphosa. Makhura has always been, apparently at least, opposed to e-tolls and he made his belief clear yesterday that e-tolls have not worked and that alternatives should be found to pay for our improved highways.
There were also encouraging commitments to improving education, supporting small businesses and boosting innovations.
Critically, Makhura said his government would fight the abuse of women and work towards improving the lot of women, and especially mothers, in the economy.
Whether Makhura will deliver is something everyone will watch – but, for now, let’s just share his belief.