Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane on Monday vowed that 2010 was the year of action for the province.
“It is the year for all of us to work together to speed up service delivery. Our people cannot wait any longer,” she said in her state of the province address in Johannesburg.
Mokonyane said education was the province’s top priority. “Providing high-quality education to our people, especially children, will lay a solid foundation to secure a better future for all.
“We will intensify our secondary school intervention programme, especially to improve grade 12 performance and performance of learners in mathematics and science.”
Mokonyane said the poor matric results were a result of wide-ranging systemic problems within the education department, involving educators, school management, learners as well as wider socio-economic issues.
She said the Gauteng leadership had set itself a target of an 80% matric pass rate by 2014.
Mokonyane said a boarding school would be built in Magaliesburg so that pupils in rural and peri-urban areas would not have to travel long distances in harsh weather conditions, leaving them with little time for homework and effective learning.
She said the Gauteng government was committed to providing better healthcare services, where there would be help desks at hospitals’ entrances to direct patients to appropriate sections and for retrieval of patients’ files the day before an appointment.
Mokonyane said there would be an SMS system to remind patients of their appointments and the provincial government also set a target of 99% availability of essential drugs soon.
She said in the 2010/11 financial year, the number of community health centres with 24-hour service would be increased from 18 to 26.
“Improving the efficiency of our emergency medical services is also receiving urgent attention.”
Mokonyane said the provincial government aimed to reduce new HIV infections by 50% in 2011, as well as prevent Aids deaths by extending treatment, care and support to people living with the virus.
“We will increase access to antiretroviral therapy from 247 000 people in December 2009 to 400 000 by March 2011,” she said.
Creating job opportunities
On other issues, she said the Gauteng government was committed to curbing unemployment, fighting crime and improving basic service delivery such refuse, water and electricity.
She said to improve the backlog in driver and leaner bookings, four new driver licence testing centres were being established.
“We will introduce mobile computerised driver and learner facilities in the provincial schools to introduce driving and road usage skills to grade 11 and 12 learners and assist them in applying for learner licences.”
Mokonyane said the provincial government emphasis and focus of activities would be on outcomes.
“All our energies will be channelled towards what our people need, not what we think they need.”
The premier said the provincial government, together with private-sector partners, had set aside R5,5-billion for construction and upgrading of roads over the next five years.
“This will yield the construction and maintenance of 1 500km of provincial roads, which in turn will create job opportunities.”
Mokonyane called on the people of Gauteng to work together with the government to ensure that 2010 World Cup visitors had a pleasant stay in the province.
Just before delivering her address, Mokonyane was welcomed by members of the Gauteng legislature, who were loudly blowing their vuvuzelas — the horn traditionally used at South African soccer matches. — Sapa