In Monday’s State of the Province Address (SoPA), Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi revealed his ambitious plans to ensure that gross and malignant corruption is reduced and that overall safety and security in the province improves.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Tuesday that the Premier and his predecessor had previously made bold promises that had yet to be fulfilled.
This year Lesufi punted the rollout of e-panic buttons for residents and the building of new schools.
However, the DA has hit back against his promises as a ”lofty dream” that does not inspire confidence and said it would monitor the implementation Lesufi’s plans.
Official Leader of the Opposition in Gauteng and Member of the Provincial Legislature Solly Msimanga said under Lesufi, the online school placement system that Lesufi introduced as an MEC was still not operating well.
Promises to introduce high-tech systems for face and car recognition have been noted and met with doubts over whether these would be successfully implemented.
The DA contended that broadband connectivity needed more attention in Lesufi’s SoPA and added that residents deserved timelines on when they would be put on to the Gauteng Broadband Network.
Loadshedding continues to be a debilitating reality for homes and businesses in the province, and the economy continues to suffer because of this. The DA welcomed the Premier’s plans to allocate R1.2-billion to solve the crisis.
Meanwhile, the development of the township economy was also highlighted, however, Msimanga believes the development of this economy is being curtailed by bureaucratic procedures.
“…when we look at our quarterly reports, the spending on our township economy is often not achieved. Instead, there should be a focus on cutting the red tape that inhibits the growth of township businesses. We must allow our small businesses to flourish without going to bigger companies to get a tiny piece of the pie,” he said.
Alarm was raised at the failure of the Premier to address the inefficiency associated with the allocation of funds to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and nonprofit organisations (NPOs) and their oversight, the DA said.
Msimanga recalled “being inundated with complaints that NGOs and NPOs are not receiving the money they need to run their daily operations timeously”.
The DA will submit questions to the Premier on the matter, along with questions relating to the end of e-tolls and red tape around small business.
The DA is also skeptical about the formation of a provincial State-owned bank.
“ Another State entity creates more opportunities for cadre deployment than economic development,” Msimanga said.
Given the increase in gender-based violence in Gauteng, the DA welcomed the announcement of a special fund that had been provisioned to tackle this problem.
“Our residents deserve a government that not only puts promises down on paper but follows through on them. We need this province to be restored to its former glory,” Msimanga said.
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