Gauteng has entered a period on renewal - Premier

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pretoria - The Gauteng Provincial Government has entered a period of renewal, says Premier Nomvula Mokonyane.

Briefing the media on her plans for the province, Ms Mokonyane said in the coming months there would be certain policy shifts and emphasis would be placed in areas where there was a need to fundamentally transform the lives of people.

She said a focus would be placed on communities "which have seemed to be on the periphery of development such as informal settlements".

Job creation, education, health, the fight against corruption and crime and rural development were also identified as key focus areas for the provincial government in the upcoming five years.

Ms Mokonyane said she also hoped to clean up Gauteng's image - taking it from what some call a "gangster's paradise" to one that residents can be proud of.

The first step in doing this is to sort out corruption in all spheres of the provincial government.

"We will step up measures in the fight against corruption within government. This will include measures to review the tender system, to ensure that members of the Executive Council in business, public servants and elected representatives do not abuse the state for corrupt practices," she told the media.

Ms Mokonyane said she would adopt a no-nonsense attitude towards under-performing MECs and other top provincial officials. In this regard, a planning department has been set up which will report directly to her office.

This powerful body is expected to oversee long-term planning and organisation and will be headed by former Transport MEC Ignatius Jacobs.

Ms Mokonyane said the Department of Health had been combined with the Department of Social Development, headed by Dorothy Qedani Mahlangu.

The department will focus on reducing long queues to ensure that the people of the province receive quality health care as well as bring critical health services closer to communities by building more clinics in townships and previously under-serviced areas.

The Premier said she wanted a public health system where everybody could walk in with confidence and receive the treatment they needed.

"Every ward and every bed in every clinic in Gauteng must have standards that will make people, like me and you, not shy away from going in."

She indicated that the province has begun the process of recruiting more young people into nursing adding that they will also continue to pump a significant amount of money into this sector.

Ms Mokonyane is the first woman to occupy the position of Premier in the province