Speech by the Gauteng MEC for Finance, Jacob Mamabolo, during the State of the Nation Address debate

13 February 2024

Thank you Madam Speaker, Hon Chair, Hon House Chairs,
Your Excellency, President and Deputy President
Chief Whip
Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Premiers and MECs
All Honorable Members
People of our country, People of Gauteng


Hon members

I am deeply honored and privileged to stand before you, representing the Honorable Premier of Gauteng, Mr Panyaza Lesufi, to participate in this very important debate on the State of the Nation Address as delivered by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Honorable Members, in welco ming the State of the Nation Address, allow me to reaffirm our overarching strategic thrust and vision that guides our work in Gauteng Province, well-known as Growing Gauteng Together 2030, with elevated priorities which includes a focus on Townships, Informal Settlements and Hostels, otherwise known as TISH areas.

Let me upfront state that, Mr. President, it is very clear, and this beyond any shadow of doubt that you delivered one of the most overwhelmingly and resounding SONA underpinned by strategic leadership, and certainly you were frank and honest to the people.

We therefore commend and congratulate you on a welldelivered SONA, Mr President.

Honorable Members, allow me now to share with you some of the remarkable and commendable progress, and work we are doing in the province in line with the commitments made in SONA.

With regards to the initiatives aimed at boosting economic growth and job creation, we commend the Government for its commitment to enhancing investments, as illustrated by the successful hosting of a series of investment conferences as outlined in SONA.

These conferences resulted in an impressive R1.5 trillion in new investment commitments being raised across five South Africa Investment Conferences, with over R500 billion already injected into the economy.

As the economic hub of the country, we appreciate the privilege of Gauteng being selected as the primary host for these conferences, further cementing the province’s position as the preferred destination for investment. We also commend your leadership for hosting a successful BRICS Summit which took place in our province.

Indeed, Gauteng is open for investment and business.


Honorable Members, with Gauteng as the inland hub of freight, logistics and warehousing, we welcome one of the most reassuring statement well-articulated in SONA, stating as follows:

“To deal with severe inefficiencies in our freight logistics system, we are taking action to improve our ports and rail network and restore them to world-class standards.”

We welcome this point because as a Province with a small land mass but a point of interface connecting and linking key arterial roads that are critical to the economy, we feel the impact of inefficiencies in the rail and port infrastructure.

In addition to its negative impact to price competitiveness of our freight in global markets, we do feel its negative impact through congestion on our roads.

We therefore fully support and welcome the focus on improving ports and rail infrastructure.

This is line with the policy of the ANC to migrate from roads to rail.

This will also complement the already efficient and effective rail that we run in the Province– the Gautrain.

In addition, we also welcome Mr. President the announcement you made reaffirming the commitment to the high-speed rail link from Joburg to Durban.

This will also connect and complement the commitment with the partnership between Gauteng and Limpopo to create a speed train the two provinces.

Honorable Members, the SONA also makes the following important point about establishing the Special Economic Zone in Boegoebaai as part of appreciating the importance of Special Economic Zones.

Already In Gauteng we have two fully operational Special Economic Zones – the Tshwane Special Economic Zone and the OR Tambo Special Economic Zone and one that is partially operating – the Vaal Special Economic Zone. We are very much pleased with the economic impact that they are already making in the province.

Let me also take the opportunity to report that there are two other Special Economic Zones that we are currently working on; that is, theWest Rand Special Economic Zone, and the Lanseria Smart City.

Honorable Members, in addition, we also support through our road network, the Rosslyn Automotive City, the new smart city known as Rainbow Junction along the Apies River, and we are also rehabilitating and maintaining 41 roads in Emfuleni and also the state-of-the-art taxi rank in Vereeniging.


Honorable Members we also welcome and appreciate one of the most important point made in SONA where it correctly states that:

“As we grow the economy, we are making it more inclusive.”

In our province – we have passed the Gauteng Township Economic Development Act to broaden the economic base, particularly focusing on SMMEs and cooperatives in the townships.

It is in this regard that having passed the TEDAAct, we are now creating a provincial development Bank focused on a strategic goal of providing flexible and friendly credit lines and loan facilities to the people in the townships.

We are unapologetic when we say, the township enterprises, residents and households, are not only faced with market failure to provide proper banking and credit facilities, but they are also faced with a deliberate policy of Apartheid which still makes the current banks to treat townships as high places of risk of default, and as a result the commercial banks are hesitant put these transactions in their balance sheet.

Honorable Members, we cannot leave the townships as they are; these banks and financial institutions see townships as a threat to their profit margins and rate of return.

Unless the democratic State breaks the Apartheid-oriented barriers and lead the way into the townships, both with policy and financial capacity, townships will remain the mirror image of Colonialism of a Special Type.


Honorable Members, we also welcome the point so eloquently made by the President in SONA that: “We set out a clear plan to end load shedding, which we have been implementing with a single-minded focus through the National Energy Crisis Committee.”

Honorable Members, the Gauteng Provincial Government has elevated the problem of energy supply as a key strategic priority to a strategic level.

To this extent, we have concluded a partnership with City Power, an electricity supply entity of the City of Joburg, to make a contribution to minimize the impact of loadshedding and to install transformers to various communities in Gauteng that have not had electricity for a long time, and rollout high-mast lights in various communities, especially in informal settlements. We have set aside R1.2 billion to support this Initiative. In addition, we have already appointed six independent power producers to set up solar farms which will give 800 Megawatts into the grid.

We are also pleased that Sibanye Gold Mine has confirmed land availability for setting up these initiatives.


Honorable Members, the issue of youth unemployment and job creation in general remains one of the elevated priorities of the Gauteng Provincial Government.

This programme has found overwhelming resonance in the Province, igniting hope, inspiring people and building confidence and has finally found the right formula and approach to resolve the unemployment in our Province, particularly among the youth in our province. I am certainly sure the Premier of Gauteng will speak very eloquently about it and provide necessary details when he delivers the State of the Province Address (SOPA).


Honorable Members, one of the critical areas of remarkable progress is the finalizing of the perennial and complex problem towards scrapping of e-tolls.

As you will recall, one of the most decisive achievements that has also served to restore confidence to the people of Gauteng was the policy statement made by Honorable Minister Enoch Godongwana during the MTBPS in 2022 when he summed this matter by announcing that government will absorb the e-toll debt.

It was in this context that when delivering Gauteng Provincial Government’s MTBPS, we clearly said that a payment plan will be presented to National Government by December 2023, to settle our obligation to contribute 30%.

We said, once that is done, Premier Lesufi will make a pronouncement during the SOPA.

And we would like to invite all of you to join the Premier next week to receive the SOPA in line with the commitments we have made.

Honorable Members, we deeply appreciate and welcome the announcement made by the President with respect to progress made to strengthen the capacity of the State to fight crime when he said:

“South Africans deserve to be safe and to feel safe, to walk freely and without fear in their neighbourhoods and public spaces.”

As the provincial government this is yet another critical priority that we have elevated in the province.

We have found yet another creative and very innovative way of strengthening and reinforcing our law enforcement and crime fighting capacity by establishing the Crime PreventionWardens to support law enforcement through visibility, technology and combating crime in TISH areas.

Let me take this opportunity to thank national government, led by the President in working with the province to support and address all issues that were necessary to enable this important crime fighting capacity, which has now been fully unleashed to combat crime

I am also pleased to announce that the Crime Prevention Wardens, are supported in their operations by drones and helicopters to enhance their operational effectiveness, And already Hon Mem, statistical performance of the Crime PreventionWardens demonstrate and prove beyond any shadow of doubt that they are making remarkable progress to reduce crime levels in the province.

As we continue to extol and appreciate the remarkable work done by the Crime Prevention Wardens, we shocked and dismayed by the sudden appearance of DA leader Hon John Steenhuisen, who descended upon our province with nothing but a barrage of racist vicious attacks against innocent members of the Crime Prevention Wardens. It was in January this year.

Hon John Steenhuisen is reported to have referred to these members as drunkards, pulled from shebeens, wearing clothes from Pep-Store.

When there was popular demand that he apologise for his racist attack, he refused to apologise, and justified his racist attack by simply saying, he wears clothes from Pepstore. Hon members members, even after members of the Crime Prevention Warden clearly said they were deeply hurt by this vicious attack, Hon Steenhuisen still refused to apologise.

He showed a blatant disregard for the feelings of those targeted by his verbal assault.

I would like to take this opportunity to address Honorable Steenhuisen directly:

The Crime Prevention Wardens have committed no offense against you Hon member.

All they did was to apply for a job, and followed instructions by the provincial government. They were not part of any decision made.

This cannot serve as justification for your unwarranted spewing of toxic, racist slander.

Therefore, the honorable member should take this moment to issue an unreserved apology to the CPW, all shebeen owners, Pep Stores, and the people of this nation.

Your baseless attack not only violates the oath of office you took but also undermines the fundamental principles in our country’s constitution such as that of unity in diversity. Please apologise Hon member.

I challenge members of the DA, why are you still keeping Hon Steenhuisen as leader, when he clearly violated DA’s claims to liberal values. He has already turned DA into a relic or ghost of the past, making DA look exactly like that old Party currently lingering in the dustbin of history known as die Herstigte Nationale Party (HNP).

He is already dragging DA to the dustbin history if not already delivered.

I therefore challenge members of the DA, as you debate, to say whether you stand by this racist attack or you distance yourselves.

Silence on this matter can only be interpreted as condoning these racist remarks. Hon members, this August house is well known for being decisive against members who bring this house into disrepute. Why not Hon Steenhuisen.

I therefore put a plea on behalf of the Crime Prevention Wardens that in case Hon Steenhuisen does not apologise, parliament consider investigating this matter, otherwise this will perpetuate injustices of the past and the wounds will not heal.

We are looking forward to your decisive leadership as parliament on this matter.

I thank you.