I’d like to begin by quoting from John Lennon’s song, “Imagine”
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
On Monday the Premier dared us to imagine a future state of our province.
He was honest enough to admit to a few “challenges”. The ANC doesn’t admit to problems, only challenges. They certainly don’t admit to any failures.
But, the Premier told a good story of our province’s future. I truly hope that he succeeds in delivering this future. Indeed, we should all hope for this.
It is easier to tell a good story of a future we can imagine and hope for. It is harder to tell a good story of a present reality.
A newspaper described the Premier’s words as “bold”. That is certainly true.
Because the Premier staked his reputation on billions of rands of infrastructure that must be built by municipalities and PRASA and others. But he has no control over their success or failure. He has stated with certainty that private investors will commit billions and bring jobs. But investors are driven by confidence. And confidence is born of sound and consistent policies and good governance. These are largely in the hands or President Zuma. Whether you consider our president broken or not, he is not inspiring confidence. This too, is beyond the Premier’s control.
But what is within the Premier’s control?
Roads? Yes, certainly. Mr Premier you’ve told us about corridors, how about telling us about improving the roads; roads that will get our citizens in Merafong to and from those places where you said jobs would be created in the West Rand.
Moreover, do you want to put R8bn into our economy? Then forget about shifting the burden of ETolls from one lot of citizens to another. Scrap them entirely. Then all road users would save the extraordinary cost of collections and all this money will be invested back into our economy by consumers. R8bn worth of jobs would be created. Imagine that!
I applaud the Premier’s focus on the economy, the economy and the economy. I applaud his recognition that the bulk of new jobs will come from high-tech industries. But this requires a skilled and educated workforce. Mr Premier, this is within your control. You need to go beyond paperless classrooms and show how you will get educators and principals to get a bigger cohort of Grade 1s to actually write matric. Get them to improve on the university pass mark and the pass rates in maths, science and accounting.
Mr Premier, your R32bn infrastructure budget is no more and no less what than has been budgeted each year for the past 5 years. It is nothing new. In fact, due to inflation, you are spending less in real terms than you have before. It is “business as usual”. With respect, the provincial government cannot be about “business as usual”; it has to be about “radical change”.
Mr Premier, get your MEC for Economic Development to finally give value for the R1bn budget he spends and then we will see real jobs.
Finally, your promises regarding corruption will not be convincing until you actually deal radically with those guilty or even tainted. You need to ensure that officials or politicians feel the consequences, no matter how well connected they are.
Deliver on those things the province actually does then we won’t have to imagine. The good story will be a reality.
I thank you.
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