Gauteng Premier David Makhura delivered the State of the Province Address, highlighting issues such as Esidimeni, education and infrastructure.Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha

Johannesburg – More than R42 billion has been set aside in Gauteng to build schools, healthcare centres and other major infrastructure projects to boost the local economy.

This was R12bn more compared to the past three years.

This was announced by Premier David Makhura when he delivered his State of the Province Address at the Greenhills Stadium in Randfontein on Monday.

According to Makhura, the cash injection into infrastructure projects would further assist local communities to put bread on their tables.

He said the government experienced economic spin-offs when it budgeted R30bn in infrastructure between 2013 and last year.

“Evidence emerging from a commissioned study conducted by KPMG regarding public infrastructure investment has found that:

1) 92 000 direct jobs were added into the Gauteng economy through infrastructure spend.

2) Infrastructure spend raised R15bn to support household incomes.

3) On average, every R1 spent on infrastructure adds 92c to the Gauteng economy.

4) Infrastructure spend increased government revenue by R6bn.

5) Infrastructure spend resulted in additional economic activity worth R26bn.

According to Makhura, if the infrastructure investments were not implemented at all levels of government, the national economy could have been in recession, with serious consequences for families and businesses alike.

He said the bulk of the projects, especially in construction, would favour historically disadvantaged individuals and black-owned firms.

Makhura was, however, quick to warn these black businesses about procuring expert services from white-owned companies.

“The principal challenge is that most of the HDI groups tend to rely on sourcing capacity such as materials, skills and finance from established white businesses or importers, thus transferring the empowerment away from themselves."

“As we roll out the R42bn infrastructure budget over the next three years, we need to ensure that there is a decisive shift to true empowerment of black firms so that they become more sustainable and more transformative, so that they can contribute to industrialisation and local manufacturing initiatives,” he said.

Makhura said the plan would succeed with the support of all municipalities, including the three metros of Joburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni.

“Let us work together regardless of which party runs which government, to roll out infrastructure projects that are beneficial to all our citizens. These projects include public transport, broadband and free wifi, water and sanitation, mega human settlements and new industrial nodes."

“We are working closely with executive mayor Solly Msimanga to ensure Tshwane plays its rightful role as the capital city, and we must jointly promote the growth of the automotive industry, aerospace and defence, agro-processing and agribusiness, innovation, research and development. Together we must ensure Rosslyn Auto City, Hammanskraal BPO and Centurion Aerospace are implemented."

“We are also working well with executive mayor Mzwandile Masina to ensure that the Aerotropolis is implemented as quickly as possible so we can revitalise the manufacturing capacity of Ekurhuleni."

“We are in agreement with executive mayor Herman Mashaba that the renewal of the Joburg inner city has to be undertaken urgently in partnership with the province, the city and the private sector.”

He said his government was also working with other municipalities to boost their regional economies and build new mega human settlements and post-apartheid cities.

“The people of our province expect a great deal of political maturity and co-operation from their provincial and municipal governors. We certainly embrace the fact that our province is governed by different political parties at provincial and local level. However, we must not allow diversity of parties to hinder rapid implementation of programmes and projects which objectively benefit the Gauteng residents."

Makhura said his infrastructure plans would not be realised if they did not have land to implement them.

“Among the interventions we are planning is to ensure there is sufficient land available for social and economic development in order to effect radical economic and spatial transformation of our urban landscape. We will implement constitutional measures such as expropriation of land so we can locate new developments not in the periphery but in the urban core of our province. Gone are the days when blacks must be settled far from economic opportunities and social amenities.”

Makhura also said he had appointed the Premier Economic Advisory Panel, to be led by former MEC for finance Jabu Moleketi and various other experts, to help him to achieve his plans.

Political Bureau