Debate on the Premier’s State of the Province Address

Feb 22, 2024 | Press Releases

Honourable Madam Speaker Ntombi Mekgwe

Honourable Madam Deputy Speaker Nomvuyo Mhlakaza-Manamela

Honourable Premier Panyaza Lesufi

Honourable Members of the Gauteng Executive Council

Honourable Members

The Citizens of Gauteng

Madam Speaker, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) denounces the violent theatrics and chaos displayed before this House during the State of the Province Address (SOPA) on Monday evening. One would have never imagined that after three (3) decades of democracy, we would witness things like the throwing of bottles, hurling of insults, and the threats of violence, between invited guests and House Members during a sitting of the Legislature. Such displays of political immaturity and intolerance are a shameful indictment on the state of our democracy, and we strongly condemn it.

Madam Speaker, the Honorable Premier Lesufi started off his address by reminiscing about the first democratic SOPA delivered in 1994. He reminded us that there was no Gauteng Legislature, and neither were there any Gauteng government departments and many of the economic and social transformation achievements to speak off, back then. Indeed, when the first the SOPA debate was held in 1994, it was debating a different state of province from what we have today. Back then, it was a province full of hope and prospects of success marking the start of a new democracy.

The imagination of many South Africans in 1994 did not anticipate that 30 years on, our nation would be infamously known for having one of the highest levels unemployment, inequality, sexual violence and worsening levels of corruption in the world. Yet that is exactly where we are today.

Madam Speaker, today it is apparent just how much the ANC has really dropped the ball through its consistent looting and misgovernance failures in the last 30 years. It is the ANC’s governance failures that have resulted in Gauteng being accountable for over 27% of the national overall crime statistics for the fourth quarter of the 2022/2023 financial year.

It was barely 24 hours after the Premier’s Address, where he boasted about the success of the Crime Prevention Wardens/ Amapanyaza and part of ensuring “that no corner of our CBDs will go unpoliced”, that we heard of news reports where innocent motorists were being subjected to a robbery by suspected armed illegal miners in one of the Johannesburg’s busiest highways in broad daylight. Such incidents are a daily reality for the citizens of Gauteng, where crime is extremely out of control.

Therefore, the IFP, welcomes the plans proposed to combat the brazen criminals lurking around in every corner of this province. In particular, the use of technology including CCTVs, e-panic buttons, surveillance drones, and the increasing of Crime Prevention Wardens from 7 000 to 12 000 to help with crime prevention is commendable. Such efforts assist not only in crime prevention, but they also alleviate the burden of unemployment and poverty within our communities. Therefore, the IFP urges that these measures of crime prevention be rolled out as early as possible.

In one of Premier Lesufi’s commitments last year, he stated emphatically that under his leadership, this government will work to ensure that it is inclusive. He committed to allocating more resources towards the improvement of living conditions in ALL townships, informal settlements, and hostel communities. However, this year, it seems the Premier has had sudden change of heart as he only acknowledged the revamping of only six (6) provincial hostels and further stated that the rest of the hostel communities must look for help from their municipalities in the province. Ironically, the Premier also admitted that some of these municipalities are cash-strapped and unable to deliver on their functions.

In fact, the Premier went so far as to commit that the Gauteng Provincial Government will take over some the municipal functions (such as refuse collection and water provision) in the failing municipalities. Yet this intervention will not extend to the upliftment of hostel communities, except for the 6 provincial hostels. Lokho kwenza sizibuze futhi singabaze ukuthi ngempela lohulumeni uzimisele ngokushintsha isimo senhlalakahle yemiphakathi yasemahostela. In this regard, the IFP reiterates it calls for this government to do justice on ALL hostel residents. Just as it is with all citizens of this province, the hostel residents, are also equally deserving of a dignified life with access to basic services.

Madam Speaker, among other highlights of this year’s SOPA the IFP also noted and welcomed the following:

  • We commend the increase of 96 300 jobs, with 31 300 jobs added in the last 90 days. Such gainful employment is a potent tool in breaking the cycles of poverty.
  • The commitments of R22-billion of private sector investments in the Gauteng economy, which followed the hosting of the fifth (5th) South African Investment Conference in April 2023.
  • The commitment to identify and train 40 000 young people to be trained as artisans in TVET Colleges, as the IFP we believe that prioritizing the skills capacity and employment opportunities for our young citizens is a crucial step towards bolstering our local workforce.

Madam Speaker, in conclusion, this year’s SOPA much like the previous year’s one was not short on plans and promises. But the people of Gauteng are tired of hearing elaborate plans and promises that are never actioned or get half-actioned. Fortunately for them this year’s general election will be the perfect opportunity to voice their dissatisfaction through their vote. Come the 29th of May 2024, the people of Gauteng will vote for the change they want to see. And with that I say: the stronger the IFP, the better is their future.

I thank you.

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