Gauteng Provincial budget speech full of empty promises
MEC of Finance Jacob Mamabolo briefing the media

Member of the Executive Council (MEC) of Finance Jacob Mamabolo presented the provincial budget for the 2024–25 financial year to the Gauteng Legislature, the last one of the sixth administration.

The Gauteng government has five priorities.

  • Economic recovery and reconstruction.
  • Strengthening the battle against crime, vandalism, corruption, and lawlessness.
  • Health and wellness programmes.
  • Changing the Living Conditions in Townships, Informal Settlements, and Hostels (TISH)
  • Strengthening the capacity of the state.

MEC of Finance Jacob Mamabolo said, “The provincial budget for 2024–25 amounts to R165.5 billion. It will grow to R171.5 billion in 2025/26 and R176.8 billion in 2026/27.

The five priorities will be allocated funding as follows:

Economic recovery and reconstruction 

  • Special Economic Zones: R317 million
  • Industrial parks: R62.4 million

Strengthening the battle against crime, vandalism, corruption, and lawlessness

  • Crime prevention wardens cost R955.8 million.
  • GBV: R125.8 million
  • Helicopters: R64.8 million
  • CCTV: R50 million
  • Drones: R25 million

Health and wellness programmes

  • Health information systems: R284 million
  • Mental healthcare service: R474.6 million
  • Oncology (radiation) backlog: R261 million
  • Substance abuse: R428 million

Changing the Living Conditions in Townships, Informal Settlements, and Hostels (TISH)

  • Upgrading of informal settlements: R927 million
  • Energy projects: R430.1 million
  • Hostels redevelopment: R195 million
  • Bontle Ke Botho programme: R22.8 million

Strengthening the capacity of the state

  • Brand repositioning: R116.5 million

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says “the Gauteng MEC for Finance, Jacob Mamabolo, seeks to implement all the promises made by Premier Panyaza Lesufi during the State of the Province Address. These promises are an attempt to lure voters and will not benefit or uplift the lives of Gauteng residents.”

The DA continues to cite “that the Gauteng Department of Economic Development is receiving a total of R1.7 billion to improve the township economy, industrial parks, and Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which are meant to create more job opportunities. Yet the SEZ’s and industrial parks are in a state of disrepair, which means that the budget previously allocated was not used properly.”

The MEC of Finance says the Gauteng government will spend more than R500 billion over the next three years to boost economic activity in the township.”

We spoke to Refiloe Rantekoa founder of Borotho Bakery, a young entrepreneur from Soweto who paints a sad picture for township entrepreneurs. Refiloe was able to create jobs for 25 young people in the township without the help of the government for two years until loadshedding forced them to downsize to three employees, which means 22 people lost their jobs due to the failing economy and loadshedding.

Refiloe continues to cite that of the 22 young people who lost their jobs, some of them are on drugs, and one of his former employees is in prison.

Some community leaders didn’t receive the speech well, citing that politicians are again making promises, which they are keeping. Andrew Kok, a community leader in Kliptown, says, “The Gauteng budget speech only focused on provincial and not local; the speech was full of promises, and ordinary people are tired of listening to speeches, knowing very well that they won’t see any changes.“

The community leader made an example that places like Tembisa and Alex will always get help from the government; however, a place like Kliptown, which is the oldest in Tembisa and Alex, is in the worst condition. 

Mr. Raven Byleveld, a community activist, says “the speech was more of an election campaign for people who are in the informal settlements and hostels.”

The community activist made a suggestion to the Gauteng government that before improving the living conditions of people living in informal settlements, they need to do a survey first. These are areas where the Zama Zamas live and illegal foreigners live. The survey findings will indicate who lives in those informal settlements.

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