SA: New dawn to bring hope for Gauteng residents

Motivated by the “new dawn” of hope, renewal and change in South African politics, Gauteng Premier David Makhura says the province is determined to better the lives of people living in the province.

Premier Makhura, who delivered his State of the Province address on Monday at the Gauteng Legislature, used his address to first welcome the appointment of the new President Cyril Ramaphosa whom he described as the “kind of leader that South Africa needs at this moment” given the nature of the challenges the country faces.

“Let us all support him across party-political affiliation and ideological divide.”

The Premier said Gauteng is deeply humbled and highly encouraged that much of what the President outlined in his State of the Nation Address as it constitutes the core of the province’s programme for Radical Transformation, Modernisation and Re-industrialisation, which the province has adopted.

Addressing youth unemployment through partnerships

Emboldened by President Ramaphosa’s call for renewal and change, Premier Makhura said his administration will act with greater determination to increase momentum on addressing the problem of youth unemployment through Tshepo 1 Million, in partnership with the private sector and the youth.

The province will be strengthening the partnership with the private sector, labour and civil society to unlock inclusive growth, greater levels of employment and empowerment, as well as structural transformation and reindustrialisation of the Gauteng economy; increasing support for the revitalization of the township economy and harness the opportunities provided by the advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution, by modernising key sectors of the economy and the state.

Infrastructure, fight against corruption, partnerships

According to Premier Makhura, the province will also be speeding up the delivery of new infrastructure and pay attention to the maintenance of existing infrastructure across the region; be upholding ethical leadership and integrity by intensifying the fight against corruption, collusion and maladministration, working in partnership with civil society.

Reconnecting with communities and unlocking their energies, for them to become the primary drivers of renewal and change, as well as changing the culture of the public service so that it treats citizens with dignity and serve the people with compassion and professionalism, will also be priorities.

Dream big

“The new dawn should usher in the total renewal of the public service and fundamental change in the way citizens experience governance, including strengthening accountability and integrity of public officials and public servants so that we can avoid fatal disasters such as the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

“The new dawn is about drawing inspiration from the life of Nelson Mandela who had an amazing ability to turn adversity into opportunity; war into peace; enemies into friends; despair into hope; tragedy into a force for positive change,” said Premier Makhura.

The new dawn, according to Premier Makhura, aims to “rehabilitate our wounded dreams,” and also inspire the young people of Gauteng to dream big and aspire to live in a province, a country and a world where there is equality, economic freedom, prosperity for all social and environmental justice.

‘Ke Moja’ campaign

Despite education opportunities, the Premier acknowledges that Gauteng has almost two million unemployed youth who are sitting at home “neither in employment, in education nor in training”.

“Some of them are on the verge of losing hope, while others have drifted to crime and other social ills such as drug and substance abuse,” he said.

To respond to this, Premier Makhura said the province has launched the ‘Ke Moja’ campaign which has reached more than one million young people encouraging them to live clean and drug-free lives.

Tshepo 1 Million

Gauteng is also taking the lead in addressing youth unemployment and youth development through the introduction of the large-scale and massive programme, Tshepo 1 Million, which is an intervention to open opportunities with regard to demand-led skills development, job placement and entrepreneurship for the youth of Gauteng.

This ground-breaking partnership between the Gauteng Provincial Government, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator and more than 40 major private sector corporations is a living example of a social compact, the Premier said.

Since 2015, nearly 460 000 young people have benefitted from the Tshepo 500 000 flagship programme.

“This programme has now been upgraded and rebooted into Tshepo 1 Million so that we can change the lives of many more young people in our province and give them hope.”

As part of addressing structural youth unemployment, the province is aligning education and training to meet the needs of the new economy.

4th Industrial Revolution

The 4th Industrial Revolution is upon us, Premier Makhura said the province will be taking advantage of the digital economy to create employment opportunities.

He said the focus on tech and digital skills had already been started from a basic education level, where he said the province was the leader in digital skills training nationally.

“We have a partnership with technology companies to train large numbers of young people in digital skills so that they can take advantage of employment and entrepreneurial opportunities in the digital economy.”

The World Economic Forum estimates that 65% of children entering primary school will find themselves in occupations that do not exist today.

It is estimated that over 35% of current jobs in South Africa and Gauteng in particular, will change and others will disappear completely.

The economy is transitioning to knowledge-intensive industries, with the average ICT intensity of jobs in South Africa increasing by 20% over the past decade.

As part of getting ready for the fourth industrial revolution, the Premier said the provincial government has invested public money in the creation of broadband infrastructure towards the goal of 100% broadband connectivity in Gauteng by 2020.

To date, over 1 500 kilometres of network fibre has been connected, with 1 066 access sites, connecting schools, health facilities, libraries and community centres.

He also announced plans to improve the effectiveness of the Gauteng Innovation Hub, through collaborations with technology entrepreneurs who would mentor young tech entrepreneurs.