However, once establishing and agreeing on the challenges facing Gauteng, the challenges must be viewed within the entire country’s framework, to ensure prosperity for the entire nation, says Premier of Gauteng Mbhazima Shilowa.
Even though Gauteng, which has an estimated population of eight-million, is the powerhouse of South Africa’s economy, almost a quarter of the province’s population lives in informal settlements.
In addition, more than half a million households still obtain water from natural sources, and almost 8% of the province’s population has no education at all.
This is why the Gauteng provincial government has allocated R17-billion over the next three years for comprehensive infrastructure development.
The provincial government’s growth and development strategy aims to create a better life through long-term sustainable growth of the provincial economy.
In turn, this will support the national government’s objectives to halve poverty and unemployment over the next ten years but, to do so, long-term sustainable-development solutions must be implemented, emphasises Shilowa.
He makes reference to the seven key areas necessary for infrastructure delivery and development.
These are the eradication of informal settlements, the eradication of backlogs within reasonable timeframes and the upgrading of existing infrastructure, the provision of free basic services, the provision of an effective transport system, enhan-cing the capacity of local authorities to deliver services and implement programmes, restructuring of local government services and institutional structures and, most importantly, reducing unemployment and poverty through job creation However, it is crucial that each of Gauteng’s 15 municipalities incorporate and integrate these key areas into their work.
It is also necessary that the key areas be integrated beyond the ambits of these municipalities, maintains Shilowa.
In addition, public institutions, such as the rail parastatal, Spoornet, and telecoms giant Telkom must also look into the infrastructure development plan.
Once government has established the most efficient and economical way of planning, developing, integrating and pooling resources together for the infrastructure plan, it will be able to move forward, says Shilowa.
While some issues raised may pertain to municipalities, others pertain to regional and national government.
Therefore, responsibility cannot only be allocated to one sphere of government.
To ensure that sustainable solutions are created, it is imperative that the strengths and weaknesses of Gauteng are identified.