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All systems go for Gauteng SOPA

Politics
Johannesburg - It's all systems go for the 2017 opening of the Gauteng provincial legislature, which will also host Premier David Makhura as he gives his State of the Province Address on Monday.

At the event, which is to be held at the Green Hills Stadium in Randfontein, on the West Rand, Makhura was expected to outline the plans of the provincial government this year.

According to provincial government spokesperson Thabo Masebe, Makhura would address some of the burning issues in the province, including the deaths of psychiatric patients who were transferred from Life Esidimeni.

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READY: Gauteng Premier David Makhura will outline plans for the year ahead.

“The premier will be speaking on the Life Esidimeni tragedy - he can't ignore it - focusing on what went wrong and the systems the government aims to develop so that there’s early warning signs to ensure this never happens again,” Masebe said.

He added that Makhura would speak about the successes of the provincial government following the promises made last year.

They included the growing of the township economy, and the progress made through the Tshepo 50 0000 programme to equip the youth and the disabled with skills and jobs.

Makhura would also address issues of economic growth, and infrastructure development meant to stimulate growth, as well as focus on governance issues. Such issues included ensuring government systems were transparent and functional.

The DA has also weighed in on what it expects to hear from Makhura.

The DA’s provincial leader, John Moodey, said the premier needed to get tough on graft.

“The premier’s weak stance on corruption is a major stumbling block to protect public funds from the hands of those who seek to enrich themselves.

"His inability to criminally charge officials found guilty of financial misconduct in a Public Service Commission report is damning. The report indicates that of the 122 cases of financial misconduct reported, only 3% of implicated employees were charged with financial misconduct, while 97% did not face any legal ramifications,” Moodey said.

He questioned whether Makhura would outline plans for real punitive action be taken against those responsible for the Esidi- meni tragedy.

Constitutional law expert Professor Shadrack Gutto said he expected Makhura to market Gauteng as open for business but also to address the unrest that has been rocking parts of the province.

“The premier will take a few directions from the way in which provinces such as the Western Cape have presented themselves - to paint the province as important, to indicate what they’ve done to deal with unemployment, informal settlements and making them habitable, dealing with issues of water and electricity but to also project the province as the most cosmopolitan in the country,” Gutto said.

“I hope he’ll be able to highlight issues of education, health, tourism, crime and so on that are critical. I think he will also say this is the province (that’s leading from the front) by providing rapid transportation systems, although I do not think they work very well,” he added.

According to the Gauteng police’s Brigadier Mathapelo Peters, the police were ready to deploy sufficient manpower to ensure that the opening goes well.

The Joburg metro police department's Superintendent Edna Mamonyane added that the law enforcement agency would be out in full force.

The Star

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