State of the Province Address
Gauteng Premier David Makhura used the State of the Province Address to not only take stock of the progress that the province has made, but to also announce bold plans that aim to grow the economy and create jobs in the province.
“Gauteng contributes 42 percent to national employment and has the highest labour absorption rate.
“During the past twelve months of the fifth administration, 191 000 jobs were added to the formal Gauteng economy, while the informal sector created 150 000 new jobs,” said Premier Makhura during his State of the Province Address.
He added that 220 642 job opportunities had been created through the EPWP since 2014.
Developing the township economy
The Premier said significant progress is being made in empowering township-based enterprises, cooperatives and SMMEs.
“We will demonstrate that the township economy is becoming a beehive of activity with regard to innovation, entrepreneurship, empowerment and decent employment.”
A total of R1.8 billion has been spent on buying goods and services from township enterprises. In addition municipalities are spending R1.6 billion of their procurement budgets on township enterprises.
“The number of township enterprises benefiting from the initiative has increased from 400 to 1 805 township enterprises that are now benefitting from procurement spend.”
A further 5 321 SMMEs have been registered onto the procurement database.
The Gauteng government is also renovating and revitalising township hubs and industrial parks.
Improving public transport
Efforts to improve the province’s transport system into a modern, integrated, safe, reliable and affordable system are bearing fruit. The Premier announced that the City of Johannesburg’s Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system was progressing well. “The expansion of the third phase of the BRT to Alexandra, Sandton, Midrand, Ivory Park and Randburg is progressing well.”
In the City of Tshwane the A Re Yeng is now operational in the CBD of Tshwane and is being rolled out to Mamelodi, Atteridgeville, Soshanguve, Garankuwa and Mabopane.
“In Ekurhuleni, the construction of 3.6 km of dedicated lanes and stations has been completed. The first phase of Ekurhuleni’s BRT system, Harambee, from Tembisa to Isando, is under way and will be operational in July this year,” he said.
The Gautrain has contributed R20 billion to the economy of the Gauteng City Region. During its construction 122 000 jobs were created and 600 more jobs during its operation.
In response to the growing demand for Gautrain services, 48 new trains will be added to the fleet, at a cost of R 3.5 billion, underwritten by the Development Bank of Southern Africa. This investment will create more than 9 000 jobs.
Boosting local manufacturing, creating jobs
The Premier said since 2009, 474 new locomotives have been manufactured by Transnet in Koedoespoort, Tshwane.
“In the past financial year 169 Metrorail trains were refurbished in Tshwane, Joburg and Ekurhuleni.”
A total of 2 433 minibus taxis were assembled in Springs in Ekurhuleni, since 2012. In addition, 608 busses for BRTs, Metrorail and Gautrain are being assembled in the West Rand and Ekurhuleni.
The new Gautrain rolling stock will be manufactured locally.
The Vereeniging Fresh Produce Market is currently being refurbished, upgraded and modernised.
The Premier said education is the greatest investment any nation can ever make.
Currently the province supports 1.1 million learners who attend no-fee schools and 1.3 million learners receive a meal daily.
“A total of 82 936 learners who live more than 5km from the nearest schools, are being transported to ensure un-interrupted schooling,” added Premier Makhura.
The province has also registered more than 2 000 Early Childhood Development centres.
“In 2014, the provincial government launched the Classroom of the Future. In 2015 we only had seven schools connected to e-learning platform.”
The number has increased to 1 861 Grade 12 classrooms, 3 098 Grade 11 classrooms and 42 schools connected to the e-learning system.
The province has also committed to increasing the number of special schools in the townships.
“To date eight special schools have been built. A further 18 schools will be opened this year.”
Empowering the youth
Tshepo 500 000, launched in 2014, is changing the lives of many young people with training, entrepreneurship development, mentorship and job placements for youth and unemployed graduates.
In the past 13 months, more than 158 000 young people have been recruited to participate in the various programmes of Tshepo 500 000. A total of 37 446 young people who were trained.
More than 19 000 aspiring entrepreneurs have been trained, 535 of whom are now registered entrepreneurs and 79 have fully operational businesses.