Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s state of the province address (Sopa) on Monday morning revealed a vision for a Gauteng which proves that President Cyril Ramaphosa is not the only leader with big dreams.
Makhura described a “vision for Gauteng,” which he said formed part of a plan titled “Growing Gauteng Together: Our Roadmap to 2030”, which will be finalised by August.
The premier envisions a Gauteng almost entirely devoid of social ills.
He spelt out a list of his wishes for the province. This would be a Gauteng where “no one goes to bed hungry”, “the economy reflects the full diversity of our population and harnesses the full potential of all the people”, “everyone has a job and earns a living wage”, and “businesses, big and small, thrive and prosper”.
In addition, in Makhura’s proposed Gauteng of the future, “every household has access to basic shelter, a piece of land and a decent income”, as well as “quality healthcare”.
“Everyone, young and old, has access to the kind of education that unleashes their full potential” and “all residents have access to basic services and quality infrastructure”.
In addition, Makhura wants to provide a province where “everyone feels safe and can walk the streets at any time”, “women enjoy their rights, free from all forms of patriarchy”, and “the environment is protected and cared for”.
The wish list continues to envision a Gauteng where “all human settlements promote social cohesion and integration”, “citizens take initiatives to improve their own lives” supported by the state, “there is affordable and reliable high-speed internet connectivity” and “efficient, reliable, safe and affordable public transport”, the “government functions as one, to serve the people in a seamlessly integrated city region”, and “science, technology and innovation support the expansion of frontiers of human fulfilment, freedom and environmental sustainability”.
Makhura concluded his ambitious vision with a hope for a Gauteng devoid of racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, or corruption.
Along with this vision of a perfect Gauteng, Makhura did also offer timelines and concrete plans.
These included using the R60 billion infrastructure budget to “improve access to water, sanitation, electricity, housing and roads in deprived areas, including completing the urban renewal project”, as well as to “facilitate the creation of 100,000 jobs in the construction sector”, “empower 50 emerging black firms as contractors and sub-contractors, including women and youth-owned businesses”.
Makhura also plans to “revitalise regional economies, decaying CBDs, old towns and old townships, support the township economy and SMMEs in general” and increase “private sector investment”.
The premier also said his government would “bring affordable, reliable integrated public transport closer to residential and industrial nodes and improve the provincial road network” and “roll out high-speed broadband access to deprived areas and ensure last mile connectivity”.
The premier said he wanted a full, detailed plan released within 100 days on how he would allocate his budget and to announce a fully developed five-year job-creation plan within 200 days.
Makhura’s speech follows President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent state of the nation address (Sona), which was slammed by opposition parties for what they considered overly ambitious dreams, including the construction of a high-tech smart city and a high-speed bullet train that would link rural and urban areas.
Leader of the official opposition the Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane, said these plans, if achieved, “will only be available to a few of our children”.
Julius Malema, leader of the second biggest opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, said the harsh realities of South Africa’s situation meant the president did not have the luxury of dreaming.
“The days of dreaming are over. He must be woken up by South Africans because now we need a president who is awake, not a dreaming president,” he said.