Newsmaker – David Makhura on tolls, hot spots and the big D

2014-05-25 15:00

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New Gauteng Premier David Makhura says one of his administration’s most urgent orders of business will be to return to communities to deal with the problems they raised during the election campaign.

Makhura?–?whose ANC government was elected with a slim majority of just more than 53% in the province?–?said the hallmark of the new administration should be how it addressed concerns around service delivery.

“The next thing will be to jack up the administration and hold public servants accountable for delivering the results,” he said.

It has been suggested the ANC lost support in Gauteng because of unhappiness over issues like e-tolling on the province’s freeways.

But Makhura has denied e-tolls had any impact.

He said the ANC would assess the issues that caused the party to drop from its 64% mandate in 2009 when it convenes its provincial lekgotla to consider how to translate its election manifesto into government policy.

Huge expectations have been placed on Makhura’s shoulders in South Africa’s economic heartland.

He is highly regarded among his colleagues for his pragmatism and his eye for the bigger picture.

But his appointment this week was not without hitches. Two ANC sources confirmed the party’s national executive committee had initially appointed Ntombi Mekgwe as premier.

This was later changed after the ANC in Gauteng held discussions with its mother body.

A source close to the matter said President Jacob Zuma had intervened to change the premier post and it was felt that Makhura’s support would be needed in 2019, when the next general elections come around.

Gauteng provincial executive committee member and Ekurhuleni Mayor Mondli Gungubele said on Thursday what had emerged in the party’s draft report on the elections was that some ANC voters had moved to Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters.

He decried what he characterised as a tendency to confuse the party with the state.

“Sometimes we come across believing that the ANC’s power is original, suggesting that it was not earned over time. That’s the attitude of being blinded when it is being eroded over time,” Gungubele said.

He said the party was slowly losing power in the province and that it had to come to grips with the results of the election.

“This is an indication of a gradual loss of power. It means we are becoming less politically representative?...?the only way we can save this province is when we come to terms with that truth,” said Gungubele.

While the ANC ponders the next step on e-tolls, Makhura has promised to use the expansion of public transport to create new business hubs around them and to discourage citizens from using their cars to commute.

Makhura pledged to make the creation of decent jobs a priority, saying government needed to use its procurement budget to stimulate job creation. He said the creation of decent jobs and an inclusive economy needed to be driven by entrepreneurship.

“My concept of economic inclusion is not free shares and board positions. It’s about creating jobs and understanding how the economy works. Black people can’t wait to be given dividends in an economy they are not running,” he said.

Makhura named his provincial cabinet on Friday.

The DA’s Jack Bloom criticised his decision to replace Hope Papo with Qedani Mahlangu in the health portfolio.

But Makhura said the composition of his cabinet was based on the imperatives of his government and that Mahlangu had performed well in her previous portfolio.

“I am confident that everyone in the cabinet has passed the test?...?No one is in this team because they have been done a favour. We had to say: ‘What are they bringing to the table?’” he said.

The province’s former premier, Nomvula Mokonyane, sent a letter to the ANC saying she would not take up her legislature post in Gauteng.

She is widely expected to be appointed to Zuma’s new Cabinet when it is announced today.

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