Gauteng Premier David Makhura. Photo Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency/ANA
Ekurhuleni - As he approaches the end of his first term at the helm of South Africa’s economic hub, Gauteng Premier David Makhura has expressed confidence that he has fulfilled the promises he made when he first took over the administration of the province.

Speaking exclusively to Independent Media, Makhura said despite the ambitions by opposition parties to dislodge the ANC ahead of the upcoming general elections, he believes his administration deserved to be given another mandate as it lived up to its electoral promises.

“I think we have built positive partnerships in the bigger Gauteng economy between provincial government and industry leaders, sector by sector, and this partnership can only get momentum in the next five years, but it needs governance that works.

“To sustain and upscale these interventions, we need a government that functions effectively,” he said.

Makhura will on Monday deliver his last State of the Province Address in Ekurhuleni before the May elections.

He said the ANC-led administration had a duty to demonstrate that it cleans up whenever there is a mess and build a governance model that is intolerant of corruption, incompetence and arrogant officials.

Makhura said his key priority was to ensure the importance of auditing the management of the finances of the administration, including reviewing the Auditor-General’s reports of administration before him.

“I looked at reports, investigations, officials and officials who needed to be disciplined.

“I also looked at the track record and whether there was improvement in terms of government performance on financial management.

“Under our administration, we have drastically improved audit outcomes. When we came in during 2014, 56% of provincial government departments were achieving clean audits. Now we are at 65%.”

He said the remaining 35% were all unqualified audits. In 2018 his administration was the only province without any disclaimer.

But there were also other problems, even outside the departments. The ANC provincial chairperson said social distance of the government was one of the problems before he took over. He described the Life Esidimeni tragedy as the lowest point in his much-praised provincial executive council.

“The tragedy is the lowest point in our administration.

“The only way to understand Life Esidimeni is to understand that it could have only happened because of big-headedness, arrogance and refusal to engage those who were affected.

“People were disappointed that the tragedy happened under the administration that was doing so much to demonstrate that the ANC can run a clean, effective and efficient government without messing up.”

Makhura said he had broken new ground by introducing the integrity management unit, the forensic investigative unit and the civil society- led panel. These were interventions in the effort to rid his government of malfeasance and lack of responsiveness.

Sunday Independent