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Gauteng has fulfilled its mandate of building a more prosperous society, premier Nomvula Mokonyane said on Friday.
“The three years in office have been used dutifully to fulfil the mandate given to us by the people of Gauteng,” she said in the provincial legislature on Gauteng's political report on progress since 2009.
Gauteng had been tasked in the last elections to build a more prosperous and inclusive society, she said. But the impact of the global recession on growth rates, employment levels, private investment and trade could hinder the government's objectives.
The decline in public revenue, inadequate customer responsiveness, and growing concern over accountability, performance, and service delivery levels also presented obstacles.
Poor financial control was a matter of concern when she took office.
Previously, policy and strategy had been prioritised over pragmatic implementation. In addition, her administration had to contend with severe budgetary constraints and make hard choices.
The province had sought to achieve several outcomes.
These included the creation of decent work and economic growth, the promotion of education and skills development, and better health for all.
It had sought to stimulate rural development and food security, fight crime and corruption, build cohesive communities and strengthen good governance.
Over the past three years, the province had had to deal with increasing demand for housing and health care as more people entered Gauteng.
Unemployment levels had increased as the economy slumped.
“Regardless of the constraints imposed by limited and overstretched resources, we have managed to pull through our journey in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles,” said Mokonyane.
The government had registered reasonable progress, she said.
The Quality of Life survey, conducted every two years in the province, found that 92 percent of Gauteng residents had water piped into their dwelling, or onto the site of their dwelling. This had far-reaching implications for health, safety, and dignity.
“In a province growing at nearly three percent a year, to have caught up with the backlog in this way is remarkable,” she said.
Almost 17,000 residents took part in the survey, undertaken by provincial and local government and the universities of Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand.
In total, 80 percent of residents lived in brick or concrete houses on their own plot. Around 12 percent lived in dwellings which were below RDP standards.
Density levels would become a concern for Gauteng, as it was the smallest region but with the largest population. Medium-density suburban living would be promoted. A fifth of Gauteng residents still had to share their sanitation facilities with other households.
The premier said a turnaround strategy for the health department was starting to bear fruit.
The government was continuing to improve payments to service providers.
Engagements with medical supplies depots had resulted in an increase and consistent supply of essential medicines.
The turnaround would continue in order to improve financial and supply chain management. The rate of Aids deaths in the province had dropped from 38.5 percent in 2009 to 35 percent in 2011.
Over 500,000 people were registered for antiretroviral treatment, at 310 facilities.
Turning to crime, the premier said safety and security in the province had improved.
“In 2009, almost half of respondents told us that crime was the main problem facing their community.”
This had dropped to 35 percent in the latest survey.
However, drugs and alcohol problems were becoming more prominent.
Residents of all races, ages and sexes agreed corruption was the biggest threat facing South Africa.
Dissatisfaction with national government had reached 37 percent.
Forty-four percent of respondents were dissatisfied with provincial government, and 48 percent with local government.
“We have to work hard to win back popular faith in politicians,” Mokonyane said. - Sapa