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Getting people to work is the mantra of the provincial government, which is echoing the president’s chant. Education and housing also featured strongly in the state of the province address.
THIS is the year of job creation. President Zuma made the call in his state of the nation address last week, and Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane echoed his words yesterday.

 

Premier Nomvula MokonyanePremier Nomvula Mokonyane is promising thousands of jobs for the joblessShe was making her third state of the province speech in the provincial legislature, on 21 February. Zuma spoke to the nation from parliament on 10 February.
 

Mokonyane reiterated Zuma’s call for different spheres of government to make 2011 a year of job creation.

“In line with our current five-year mandate, the year 2011 is the year of job creation, through visible delivery, effective implementation of our plans as well as being solution-orientated.”

She explained that for the province to succeed in creating employment for its residents, there needed to be short-, medium- and long-term plans put in place.

As part of its long-term solution, the province had a 2055 vision plan that sought to mobilise the growth and development of Gauteng to “new and greater heights”. It sought to create a liveable, equitable, accessible, sustainable, prosperous and competitive province.

This would be achieved through long-term infrastructure planning and provision, the creation of sustainable, well-located and compact human settlements, and addressing the apartheid city structure.

 

Pomp and ceremonyThe Gauteng Legislature opened amidst pomp and ceremony“In improving the efficiency of the economy and capacity to create jobs, we will pay attention to the freight logistics sector. We will establish three freight logistics hubs in Rosslyn, the West Rand and the OR Tambo International Airport.”
 

Education
She also talked about the quality of education in Gauteng, saying the province had made interventions to improve the quality of learning and teaching in schools.

“For the first time in the history of Gauteng, we are proud to occupy the number one spot in the country.”

The province achieved a 6,8 percent increase in the matric pass rate, which escalated from 71,8 percent in 2009 to 78,6 percent in 2010, despite the public sector strike that disrupted schools for a month.

The government intended on maintaining and improving the standard of education in Gauteng. The provincial educational department had programmes that targeted learners in grades 10 to 12, with the focus on geography, history and business studies. The goal was an 80 percent pass rate by 2014.

Access to early childhood development facilities had been improved. At present, there were over 400 such sites and teaching facilities across Gauteng.

“A total of 442 Grade R classrooms were delivered to sites across Gauteng in 2010. It is through investment at this level that we can begin to prepare and produce dynamic matriculants in the future.”

 

LufherengLufhereng is a mixed housing development in SowetoIn addition, to ensure that learners performed well and were able to concentrate for longer, the province’s School Nutrition Programme for all no-fee public schools was on track.
 

More than 7 000 primary and secondary schools benefited from this programme in 2010. Since the quality of education not only included reading and writing, but also the development of the learners’ physical wellbeing, the Gauteng department of education also supported the national government’s call to take back sports to schools.

Wednesday afternoons would be used for extramural activities at public schools, with the focus on sports. “We will further, through the departments of education and sports, arts, culture and recreation, launch a Gauteng schools sports tournament.”

Housing
Another burning issue the premier spoke about was housing. In the current financial year, the province, in partnership with local governments, delivered over 42 500 houses.

In partnership with the private sector and local government, it was involved in 14 mixed housing projects, all of which were in different stages of development. They included:

Cosmo City, in northern Joburg, which accommodated communities from Zandspruit and other informal settlements and consisted of RDP and subsidised houses;
Lufhereng, west of Dobsonville in southwestern Joburg, which housed people who were relocated from Doornkop, Protea South and Soweto; and
Legae phase two, which accommodated former residents of most of the informal settlements in the southern part of Joburg.
Through the Alexandra Renewal Programme, Gauteng, in partnership with the City of Joburg, invested over R2-billion in infrastructure development. The two parties concluded 18 projects, which included 7 500 houses, four schools and new roads.

 

Soweto a role modelSoweto: a role model for townships in GautengFour new schools would be built during 2011 but would only start operating in the beginning of the 2012 school year. There were more plans to build 13 new schools and renovate 30 schools in the 2012/13 financial year.
 

Other projects included the ongoing rehabilitation of the Jukskei River and establishing recreational parks in the city.

Soweto
The premier also commended Joburg for a job well done on the development of Soweto. She said the province had drawn up a master plan for Tembisa, in Ekhuruleni, and would be getting the know-how from Joburg.

Mokonyane concluded her speech by urging the people of Gauteng to join hands with the government to define the future of the province.

“Ours is a common and bright destiny. It is up to us to seize this moment and define the Gauteng that our children will live in. Engage with our vision, shape it and let it reflect your aspirations.”

Among the dignitaries who attended the official opening of legislature was Joburg Executive Mayor Amos Masondo and the City’s mayoral committee members.

Billing
Masondo said he was pleased with the premier’s state of the province “because it covered a variety of issues that are also important to the City of Joburg”.

 

Joburg billing problemsSome Joburg residents are complaining about receiving incorrect bills“We are also happy that the premier brought up the City’s current billing challenges and promised to join Joburg in finding a solution to the problem.”
 

A number of residents in Johannesburg have complained about receiving incorrect water and electricity bills.

Last year, the City rolled out Phakama, a new R580-million information technology system with several aims: to supply a single-service utility for managing the revenue value chain; to be responsible for overall revenue and customer services; to operate a single database; and to give the City a single IT system sufficiently robust to run its integrated and complex operations.

There have, however, been some hiccups the City is ironing out.

Joburg sends out over a million accounts monthly, in addition to monitoring over 10 000 properties that change hands every three months, while delivering services such as water, waste removal, sewer and sanitation, and electricity to its residents.

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