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For more than 104 years the African National Congress (ANC) has remained true to its tradition of being a Parliament of all the People of South Africa and a trusted custodian of their genuine aspirations.
As we head to the polls in August, the ANC pledges that in the next five years we will work even harder, together with communities, to build strong, democratic, transparent and accountable local government.
The ANC will continue to work with the people to radically transform, modernize and reindustrialize Gauteng.
In Gauteng we are building activist municipalities that are caring and responsive as we seek to deepen and expand the gains we have made thus far in delivering services effectively and efficiently.
We are promoting inclusive local economic growth, job creation, transformation and empowerment.
As part of strengthening participatory democracy, the ANC through Ntirhisano, which means working together with you the people, has been galvanizing communities to help solve problems and rapidly responding to their issues. This is what we mean we talk about an activist government.
Ntirhisano is a community outreach programme which has seen us at local and provincial government engaging with communities. So far we have visited more than 50 communities across the province. We have done so because we want to change the way government works with communities.
Largely thanks to Ntirhisano we have seen the number of protests linked to service delivery in our province going down.
The ANC reaffirms the right of all to peaceful protest. However, violence should be condemned. Destruction of property, especially schools, clinics, crèches and centers of service delivery is counter-productive and criminal.
We will act harshly in this regard because we are building all these facilities as part of investing in the future, of our children.
As the ANC over the past fifteen years built a strong activist and participatory government. Working with you the people, we have established institutions of participatory democracy, with the aim to ensure that communities are part of decision- making in government as a whole.
We are proud that, once more, working with our communities we have been able to nominate the best among us to become ANC councilors. This forms part of our commitment to ensure those we deploy in local government are capacitated with the requisite technical skills to execute the people’s mandate.
We will also ensure regular monitoring and evaluation so that our public representatives serve our people well.
We can say without any fear of contradiction that our people’s lives are far better today than they were before 1994 – the Gauteng of today and our Cities are much better places than before 1994.
The ANC working with you, over the last two decades of democratic local government, has significantly improved on the delivery of basic services, such as electricity, water and sanitation, refuse removal, cleaning of towns and our streets.
Currently in Gauteng 90.9% of households have access to sanitation, 83.8% have access to electricity, 89.1% to refuse removal.
While these figures compare favorably to those in many parts of our country, we will not rest until we reach the goal of universal access to electricity, sanitation and refuse removal.
Over the years we have been hard at work in building Gauteng as a globally competitive city Region that is economically and socially inclusive.
As a result of the good work the ANC is doing, more than 250 000 people on average per year migrate to our cities. These people see our cities as places of hope, places of vast opportunities.
To achieve our vision of a Gauteng City Region, working together with you and with local government we are currently implementing a programme of Transformation, Modernization and Reindustrialization; the TMR.
Through the TMR, we seek to consolidate Gauteng’s position as the economic engine of South Africa, contributing 35% to total GDP; 40% to national employment; 42% to total industrial output; 63% to national exports, a leading subnational destination for Foreign Direct Investment into Africa and a home to 45% of SMMEs in the country.
Our cities, especially our Metros are the drivers not only of the provincial economy but also of the national economy. The City of Johannesburg contributes 15% to national GDP, Tshwane 9% and Ekurhuleni 7%.
As the ANC over the past years we have ensured that our municipalities are financial viable and sustainable.
Our cities are well run. They have significantly improved their financial management, and built capacity and capability to collect revenue and directed revenue towards service delivery and infrastructure development.
This resulted in many of our municipalities receiving unqualified and clean audits.
On Wednesday the 1st of June, the Auditor General confirmed that Gauteng municipalities are among the best run in the country. They have strong internal controls and continue to improve on their financial management.
We also note that Moody’s is the second international rating agency to give a thumbs-up to the City of Johannesburg’s finances and standing as a competitive investment destination, this after Fitch did the same early this year.
Where there are weaknesses, we will continue to work hard to bring improvements.
We have also strengthened and improved transparency in the system of government in particular on procuring services.
We have built a clean and accountable local government.
Going forward we will implement the open tender system across all of our municipalities. We are serious about fighting corruption and building a clean and efficient local government.
We reiterate that crime, corruption and maladministration have no place in Gauteng.
From the years of resistance through to the democratic transition, our people have pinned their hopes on this giant movement, the African National Congress.
The ANC does not take this support for granted. We will always humble ourselves before the people.
Where we have difficulties and challenges, we will know we are accountable to the people, to listen to them, and take guidance from them.
We know that come 3 August, our people will go out in their numbers and ensure a resounding victory for the African National Congress (ANC).
Let no one who qualifies to vote, remain at home that day.
BY PAUL MASHATILE