Newly installed Gauteng Premier, Panyaza Lesufi, has vowed to prioritise education as a catalytic driver of the province’s economic development.
The outgoing Gauteng Education MEC laid out his plan for the province in his inaugural speech following his election at the Legislature on Thursday.
His appointment was initiated by the resignation of David Makhura on Tuesday.
On Monday, Makhura tendered his resignation as both Premier and Member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to Speaker Ntombi Mekgwe, effective from Thursday. The proceedings were presided by Deputy Judge President of the North Gauteng High Court, Judge Aubrey Ledwaba.
Lesufi contested the position with Gauteng Democratic Alliance chairperson, Solly Msimanga. With 38 votes, Lesufi pipped Msimanga (22) to the post. The EFF did not participate in the vote.
Addressing the Legislature for the first time as Premier, Lesufi said his appointment was nothing to celebrate, “but a reminder that you must serve with integrity, humility and dignity”.
He said: “As long as our townships are still the way they are, our freedom has not arrived. As long as we still have informal settlements, we have not accomplished our tasks.
“As long as we still have dirty and smelly hostels, we have not achieved our goals.
“As long as our people in rural areas are struggling to get water, then our mission for a better free South Africa must continue”.
Until such realities were eliminated, he said the province should double efforts of achieving economic growth.
He called on Members of the Legislature (MPLs) to always forever remain sensitive to the imperatives of the Constitution and to “conduct ourselves with probity and always act in the best interest of the people of this province”.
Lesufi said: “I refuse to accept that all of us came here to elect one person to be the premier of our province. What we have done was the election of 16 million people of Gauteng to be the premier, not me.
"It takes all of us to pick ourselves up. Our citizens are confronted with many challenges, but you must remain firm to defend, shield, but most importantly, serve them”.
His election, he said, was an opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the vote of confidence bestowed on Gauteng MPLs to lead the province.
“I want to take this opportunity to affirm one thing that I'm just a last servant that must conclude the last part of our administration that was led by our dynamic former Premier, David Makhura,” he said.
Paying tribute to the outgoing premier, Lesufi hailed Makhura for successfully leading the province as premier for the past eight years, describing him as “one of the humblest servants” and a “hard act to follow”.
“Growing Gauteng Together remains a blueprint that we must continue to implement, even beyond the era of comrade David Makhura. This blueprint was not a David Makhura blueprint; it was our blueprint and we are proud to take it forward,” said the Premier.
"It is a blueprint that wants a growing province. It's a blueprint that wants a Gauteng that should be better by 2030. One that wants to encourage growth in terms of the economy, jobs and infrastructure. It is one that encourages a skills revolution in education and health.
“One that calls for integrated human settlement and land release. It is one that calls for safety, social cohesion and food security. One that calls for a capable, ethical and developmental leadership. It also calls for a better Africa and the world and the need to have a sustainable development for future generations.”
The incoming executive, he said, would continue to implement the plan. – SAnews.gov.za