Gauteng Premier David Makhura under pressure as DA plots to oust him amid high crime, unemployment

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Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
  • The DA will on Monday submit a motion of no confidence in Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
  • The opposition party cites soaring crime and unemployment rates in the province as motivation for its motion.
  • Makhura's office said the move was motivated by a desperate attempt to try and divert attention from the DA's haemorrhaging of black leaders, the latest being Makashule Gana.

Amid rampant crime and soaring unemployment, Gauteng Premier David Makhura is set to face even more pressure as the DA seeks to oust him from office.

According to DA provincial leader Solly Msimanga, the party on Monday submitted a motion of no confidence in Makhura.

Msimanga cited, among other things, soaring crime and unemployment rates in the province under Makhura's leadership as the DA's motivation to have Makhura removed from office.

"After nearly eight years of Makhura being the province's leader, one must ask, is the province getting any better? Is there hope? Are we headed in the right direction? The answer, if you ask any resident, is a resounding no," said Msimanga.

READ | Gauteng Premier David Makhura survives another motion of no confidence

He added that crime was at an all-time high, with statistics for January 2022 to March 2022 showing 1 403 murders, 2 936 hijackings, and 2 267 cases of sexual offences.

"Now I don't know how anyone in government can sit there comfortably saying we are heading in the right direction. This government has never taken the people of Gauteng seriously. They have only budgeted to buy 50 new vehicles in this financial year for the whole of Gauteng, a shocking figure given that Gauteng is so desperately in need of visible policing," he said.

The premier's office disputed the DA's motivation, arguing that the official opposition was seeking a diversion after losing yet another black leader in Makashule Gana, who resigned last week.

"The planned tabling of the motion of no confidence by the DA in the Gauteng provincial legislature is clear desperation for relevance and an attempt to remove the spotlight on the instability in their party," read a statement from Makhura's office.

According to Makhura's office, the provincial government spent "considerable time and effort" over the last eight years on introducing reforms aimed at institutionalising integrity and an ethical culture.

"Some of the reforms made to date include the establishment of the Open Tender System in 2014, the appointment of the civil society-led Gauteng Ethics Advisory Council chaired by Dr Terence Nombembe in 2017, the establishment of the Integrity Management Unit (IMU) in the Premier's Office, as well as the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) in 2018," the statement read.

According to the premier's office, the memorandum allows the office of the premier to refer serious allegations relating to the affairs of any institution in the provincial government to the SIU for investigation.

Makhura's office claimed, however, that during the Covid-19 pandemic these efforts to root out wrongdoing "were disregarded, which opened the emergency procurement regulations to abuse and corruption in personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement and infrastructure projects".

Despite this setback, Makhura's office said it "remains committed to the fight against corruption and ensuring that all those who steal from the public purse face the full might of the law".

Msimanga argued that Makhura's administration had done little, with most of the initiatives turning out to be "gimmicks".

"Little has been done to make sure that we arrest the poverty that we have in Gauteng. Poverty and desperation are the foundation from which criminal activities are born. We have seen now that people who are desperate to earn a living end up undertaking illegal activities. Makhura should have worked towards addressing this. Instead, he has been at the forefront of coming up with gimmicks year in, year out during his State of the Province Address," said Msimanga.

"Currently, there are about 2.6 million unemployed Gauteng residents. Most... are young people. This is why we are saying we are desperate to remove this government and ensure that we put in place one that really works for the people," he added.

READ | Gauteng Premier Makhura calls for 'armed branches of the state' to 'deal with zama zamas'

Of the 73 seats in the Gauteng legislature, the ANC has 37, the DA has 20 and the EFF 11.

For the no-confidence motion to succeed, Msimanga said his party was in the process of talking to other parties.

He conceded that ultimately the DA would have to depend on some ANC members "voting in line with their conscience and not along party lines".

"We are in conversation with other political leaders and parties in the legislature as we are aware of the numbers game. We are, however, emboldened by the ANC's own internal divisions, hence we believe the motion will be a success," said Msimanga.

Last year, Makhura survived an attempt by the DA – aided by the EFF and the FF Plus – to unseat him.

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