EFF and AmaPanyaza square up during Lesufi’s Gauteng Sopa 2024

South Africa - Johannesburg - 19 February 2024 - Premier of of Gauteng Panyaza Lesufi inspect a parade during the State of the Province Address (Sopa)Nasrec expo center. Picture: Itumeleng English/ Independent Newspapers

South Africa - Johannesburg - 19 February 2024 - Premier of of Gauteng Panyaza Lesufi inspect a parade during the State of the Province Address (Sopa)Nasrec expo center. Picture: Itumeleng English/ Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 19, 2024

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Water bottles were seen flying in Nasrec as members of the EFF squared up with Premier Lesufi's crime prevention wardens - known as AmaPanyaza - during the Gauteng leg of the State of the Province Address.

The Nasi Ispani recipients and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members clashed just moments before Lesufi could deliver his final Sopa during the current administration at the Nasrec Expo Centre on Monday night.

Matters came to a head when the EFF’s Gauteng deputy chairperson and MPL, Phillip Makwala, rose on a point of order and questioned why the AmaPanyaza were at the Sopa instead of fighting crime in their communities.

The question caused the AmaPanyaza to respond with fury from the public gallery as they threw bottles and reacted angrily to the question.

Gauteng Speaker Ntombi Mekgwe asked Makwala to sit down, but before he did, the angry crowd of Nasi iSpani beneficiaries responded to the EFF, while other Nasi iSpani directed their anger towards the EFF shouting “EFF must go”.

The EFF said those disrupting proceedings were ANC rent-a-crowd people, not members of the public.

The Nasi iSpani recipients present included the crime prevention wardens, green army, teacher education assistants and building inspector assistants that were among the 90,000 young people employed by the Gauteng government in the past year.

This caused proceedings to be disrupted for about 10 minutes before Lesufi was allowed to deliver his speech.

Meanwhile, Lesufi said they had refurbished over 3,000 spaza shops across the Gauteng townships and established a digital township business register database with over 20,000 township businesses already captured.

He said this was part of reclaiming township spaza shops and economy.

He mentioned that the rental stock in the townships continued to grow and proper channels should be in place to ensure economic growth.

“Over 4 million people rent backrooms which provide much-needed additional income to township households, and our government is on the ground to support the growth of this economic sector,” he said.

Lesufi added that to date, 126 landlords have been supported with building loans resulting in 847 backyard units and the completion of 60 commercial units.

The premier vowed to deal with the load-shedding crisis in the province.

According to Lesufi, a five-point strategy was adopted to respond to this crisis: eliminating all illegal power connections, installing smart meters in every home and business, improving revenue collection, cleaning the indigent register, and replacing all damaged transformers.

He also said they would be adding 100 megawatts of electricity to the grid to mitigate the impact of load shedding.

Recently, Lesufi visited the Solar Gas Turbines projects implemented by the Johannesburg City Power as part of the Gauteng Energy Response Plan.

He said they would be available by April 1 to keep the lights on.

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EFFANCPanyaza Lesufi