Mid Town Madness
This past Monday morning, streets were gridlocked leading into the city centre, it took me an hour and a half to reach my workplace which usually takes 12 to 15 minutes, we owe the pleasure of this frustration to the Opening of the Gauteng legislature.
Rissik and Market streets were completely closed off for most of the working day and so was Harrison Street outside the legislature along with President Street partially closed off. I think this interruption was just as a unruly as any other taxi strike causing huge delays to people that work in the city centre and those using arterial roads and highways like the M1 heading North, the M2 coming from the east and the M1 route coming in from the South ,for however much money was wasted on the opening, I'm certain that the disruption had just as much or probably even more of a negative impact on our economy.
At the corner of President and Loveday Streets, Johannesburg there was a hub of media activity, so during my lunch break, armed with my camera I took a walk to the legislature and watched the proceeding happening inside from a SABC television news van on the outside.
The usual stuff was outlined by Gautengs Premier, Nomvula Mokonyane in her state of the province address, which in my my opinion was just an echo of Jacob Zumas State of the Nation address a few days ago, "The time for planning is over, 2010 is a year of action" She also said that unemployment had reached just over 25% in Gauteng by the End of the year, I don't believe this statistic, because it implies that just over 70% of the population in Gauteng are employed and contributing to the well being of the province, I am not an economist but my summation of this statement being incorrect is based on the following, the areas in which service delivery protests and strikes took place such as, Khutsong, Orange Farm, Khatlehong, Attridgeville, Standerton and several other areas all have high unemployment rates, these areas constitute along with others similar to it constitute more than 30% of Gauteng, which stand to contradict her statement.
Other areas covered by her address included improved health care where she addressed micro issues that are affecting the current state of our health services and making education a priority, the implementation of this should be very much easier this year because of Pravin Gordhans huge cash injection of 165 billion rands into education. Job creation was another priority where she committed the Gauteng provincial department to spend 34 Billion rands on public infrastructure development to create more jobs. ( I really dont know what this means and what plans are going to be put into place to make employment more accessible to everybody). After reading last years address here (http://www.info.gov.za/speeches/2009/09061008551001.htm), this years address does have a lot more substance and expands on the framework of 2009, it was more reassuring than Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation and was delivered with more conviction.
It is unfortunate however that the spending of these budgets are not transparent to the public and the only time we ever find out about public spending and misappropriation of funds is when the DA or other opposition parties investigate or when investigative journalism exposes greedy and corrupt officials, It is also unfortunate that the media have to police government officials and hold them accountable for poor decision making and expose rotten officials, I think if South Africa had a more balanced poll when it comes to elections, transparent governance will be made possible by a balance of power.