Premier David Makhura’s State of the Province Address (SOPA) delivered yesterday at the University of Johannesburg’s satellite campus in Soweto was packed with promises. He also shared dreams similar to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s and he set various objectives. The FF Plus fears that he will not meet one of these objectives because he is surrounded by incompetent people who are more interested in politics than in serving the public.
At present, the most important issue is the economy. The Premier’s hands are tied in terms of certain aspects of the province’s economy because the ANC dictates policy on national level that has a detrimental effect on the
economy, like Affirmative Action and Black Economic Empowerment.
He did try to set out a plan for attracting investments to Gauteng, but he
failed to provide feasible steps for how he is going to do so. He mostly
just gave an inventory of existing businesses in Gauteng, like motor vehicle
manufacturers that made additional investments.
He, thus, does not have a plan to attract investments, particularly in the
context of national level policy moving towards expropriation of property
Premier Makhura also spoke of creating numerous special economic zones, but it will not work without offering substantial tax advantages to businesses and creating more freedom in the market by relaxing labour legislation.History has proven that. In addition, special economic zones can only be created with the approval of the Minister of Trade and Industry and once again that ties Premier Makhura’s hands when it comes to delivering on his economic promises.
A very big problem, especially for future economic development, is the poor
educational system that is failing learners. Many students leave school
unable to read, write and count properly. As a result, they find it
difficult to find a job after school because urban businesses do not easily
employ unschooled people.
Another consequence is that businesses do not readily invest in Gauteng.
That is why schools must be turned around and attention must be given to
mother-tongue education, which is the best way to give learners a healthy
foundation during the foundational phase of their scholastic training.
Without an intervention, the future indeed seems bleak. Unfortunately, the
Premier did not say anything about mother-tongue education and the FF Plus will follow up on the matter.
The FF Plus wants to compliment the Premier for his mention of rural safety. The FF Plus presented a rural safety plan to the Premier and in his speech, he undertook to consider the matter and to ensure that the problem of farm murders is addressed. It is very encouraging and the FF Plus will remind him of his undertaking so that it will be followed through.
This undertaking makes the Premier a true statesman and that is more than
what can be said of our President who has remained absolutely silent on the matter.
Only time will tell if the Premier’s plans will work or if they will be
thwarted by corruption and incompetence.
The FF Plus believes that given the poor performance in the past and the
factions and infighting within the ANC, these plans will not come to
fruition and ultimately, a coalition will have to be formed in Gauteng so as
to implement healthy policy and improve service delivery.