Life expectancy in Gauteng improved

The life expectancy of people living in Gauteng has improved, premier Nomvula Mokonyane said on Monday.

"Gauteng residents today are healthier and live longer than ever before," she said in her state-of-the-province speech, prepared for delivery.

"As a result more access to health care has been achieved and the burden of disease effectively tackled."

She said child mortality and HIV/Aids-related deaths had decreased dramatically.

Service providers were being paid on time after budget reforms were implemented, accruals had declined and debt recovery was more effective, she said.

"We increased the timeous payment of service providers from 30% in 2009 to 90% 2013, helping to save many of our emerging entrepreneurs from financial ruin and build stronger relationship with service providers."

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Health budget adjusted

In the 2013/14 financial year, the infrastructure budget for health was adjusted to R1.5 billion."And since 2009 we have cumulatively spent close to R8.5 billion on health infrastructure," she said. Mokonyane said Natalspruit and Jabulani/Zola hospitals were at a commissioning stage.

The new Zola Hospital was expected to be opened in April and the Natalspruit Hospital in July. Various other hospitals in the province would be refurbished.

"A total of 34 projects are targeted for refurbishment and rehabilitation, with an estimated budget of R477 million over a three-year period." The premier said the roll-out of anti-retroviral treatment had contributed to the increase in life expectancy.

What else improved?

Transport infrastructure remained the key driver for inclusive growth and social integration in Gauteng, Mokonyane said. The roll-out of the Bus Rapid Transport System had made strides towards implementing a transport network in the province.

Mokonyane used the opportunity to thank users who had registered for the e-tag.

"We also wish to thank over one million people who have registered for the e-tolls and bought their e-tags. It's the right thing to do," she said.

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If e-toll billing glitches continued, her office would make representations to the national transport department on behalf of Gauteng residents, she said.

The Gautrain and expansion of OR Tambo International Airport contributed towards the transport system, the tourism sector and economic activity.

Mokonyane said Gauteng had demonstrated a consistent upswing in matric results and an increased number in overall post-matric qualification.

Education rates

There were 1.7 million pupils in the 2070 schools across the province. In Soweto, the matric pass rate increased from 59% in 2009 to 83% in 2013. "The 2013 Grade 12 results  the best ever – further attest to the success of our interventions," she said.

"We are particularly proud of the performance by no-fee schools, with a pass rate of 81.4%. A total of about 36 000 learners achieved distinctions and Bachelor passes."

She said the number of schools performing below 60% in matric was reduced from 234 in 2009 to 43 in 2013.

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Many bursaries awarded

A total of R460 million in bursaries was awarded to more than 12 000 pupils. Since 2009, 141 new schools were built in the province.

Mokonyane said the province was dedicated to creating jobs for thousands of young people.

With the Gauteng Youth Employment Strategy about 102 000 jobs had been created since 2009, she said.

Speaking about the recent service delivery protests in the province, Mokonyane said it had cost the province R65 million.

To eradicate the bucket toilet system, the provincial government had a R60 million budget in place, she said.

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