Johannesburg - Premier Nomvula Mokonyane carried some great news when opening the provincial legislature on Monday morning - upgraded, broader, untolled roads for Gauteng motorists.
With a R10 billion budget, the N12 and the N14 will be widened to ease congestion as motorists avoiding the M1 and N1 during peak hours use the two roads as alternative.
She said Sanral would spend R5bn upgrading the N12 between Springs and Carletonville and the same amount broadening the N14 from Krugersdorp to Diepsloot.
Other road upgrades include Beyers Naudé and Malibongwe drives, while the bus rapid transit will be rolled out in the West Rand.
Mokonyane also pledged to spend R60 million to end the bucket system, while almost R200m will buy land to reduce the number of shacks in the province.
She said the Chinese government had invested R50bn to develop Heartlands in Midrand.
Mokonyane said the ANC’s 20-year rule in Gauteng had brought many changes, including providing women with title deeds.
“Having travelled this journey over 20 years together with our people, notwithstanding the challenges we face, we can boldly say: ‘Gauteng is a better place to live in,’ and, therefore, we have a good story to tell, and it needs to be told,” Mokonyane said.
She confirmed her government would spent R1bn on a new suburb for the Bekkersdal community living on dolomitic land.
She said her government had, since 2009, spent R339m buying land and creating new settlements in the province, saying that land had yielded 64 920 housing opportunities.
“In the 2013/14 financial year, the department will conclude the purchase of eight parcels of land for R181m, measuring 911 88 hectares,” she said.
She said the R181m would be used to formalise the 405 informal settlements in Gauteng – 180 in Joburg, 158 in Tshwane and 119 in Ekurhuleni.
She also said the Gauteng government had decided to convert the apartheid-designed single-sex dormitories, commonly called hostels, into family rental units.
“It is pleasing to report that phases 1 and 2 in most of these hostels have been completed, but no allocation of beneficiaries has occurred due to non-co-operation to pay a minimum rental by intended beneficiaries,” Mokonyane said.
She said rent was essential for the upkeep and the promotion of a decent quality of life.
“We therefore call on all the beneficiaries to these projects to co-operate and commit to the payment of required monthly rentals.
“Those who are unable or unwilling to pay rent must present themselves for application to be included in the housing demand data base,” Mokonyane said.
She said her government had also introduced 120 new ambulances.