Columns 5.8.2013 08:30 am

Gauteng: Smart place, dumb state

FILE PICTURE: Democratic Alliance Gauteng caucus leader Jack Bloom. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

FILE PICTURE: Democratic Alliance Gauteng caucus leader Jack Bloom. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Gauteng is a smart province with a not-so-smart provincial government.

While there has been much improvement since 1994, this is mostly due to the inherent dynamism of the province’s people. So much more could be achieved with a provincial government that ensured real delivery in key areas. The ANC provincial government is incapable of building a hospital or a school within budget or on time.

Typically, the cost will more than double and it will be years overdue.

The Jabulani hospital in Soweto was meant to cost only R336 million, but has so far cost more than R900 million and is still not open for patients. But absolutely no one has been made accountable for this and no wasted money whatsoever has been recovered in this long-running fiasco. R3 billion has been spent on the Gauteng Online project to bring computers to schools, but little has been achieved with this huge sum of money.

It is shocking that 20% of Gauteng residents surveyed in 2011 had to skip a meal in the past 12 months because of lack of money, up from 17% in 2009. Almost one in five (19%) of Gauteng households live in informal housing. And more than 2 million people live in shacks without basic services. Basic security is the first obligation of government, but according to the Gauteng City Region Observatory, only 30% feel safe walking at night. and an astounding 84% of Gauteng residents say that corruption is the main threat to our democracy.

Since Nomvula Mokonyane took over as premier in April 2009, unemployment has increased by 500 000 people. There are now more than 1.8 million people in this province who don’t have jobs. Young people were promised 100 000 jobs last year under the Youth Employability programme, but only 16 jobs were actually created, according to official figures. Six township enterprise hubs were promised, but this has now been slashed to only three – and these are not yet operational.

The ANC provincial government wastes huge amounts of money. According to Auditor-General reports for 2011/12, Gauteng provincial government departments incurred a total of R1.03 billion unauthorised expenditure. There was also R4.1 billion irregular expenditure and R365 million fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

Backing e-tolls was a huge blunder by the provincial government. Former premier Mbhazima Shilowa transferred the provincial R21 highway to national government with a mere two-page memorandum and with minimal public consultation.

Voters don’t need to tolerate this type of thing any longer. They can change it all by voting the Democratic Alliance into power in the next elections.

Jack Bloom is leader of the Democratic Alliance in the Gauteng legislature.

 

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