We as members of the COSATU Gauteng representing more than 800 000 members of the federation in the province of Gauteng welcomes the 19th Anniversary of the Gauteng legislature by the Honourable Premier Ms Nomvula Mokhonyane. We also wish to indicate that while our members are 800 000 they support on average about 10 members of their families who are unemployed and depending on them for support and therefore we could correctly claim that we represent more than 8 million people in the province.
The opening of the Gauteng legislature marks quantitative and qualitative progress of the people’s struggle to advance the national democratic revolution.
In our view as workers, this also presents an opportunity for the ANC-led government to account to the people of the province and the working class, in particular on what has been achieved by our ANC-led Government since it is was mandated by the working class and the poor in 2009.
We wish to confirm that workers and the working class have faith and confidence in the Premier of the Province and the ANC-led government. We appreciate the efforts of this ANC-led government to lead us and also to deliver on the fundamentals of the Freedom Charter as adopted in 1955 by the real Congress of the People.
We know beyond our doubts that only the ANC lead alliance that has a vision, capacity and political commitment to improve the lives of the majority who are poor and destitute. It is only the ANC-led alliance which could resolve the three inter-related contradictions in our society and in the Gauteng province in particular.
We appreciate progress that has been registered on number of fronts, such as in areas like education, health, crime, poverty and number of other areas as demonstrated by the census 2011.We however believe that more could have been done to create a better Gauteng for its workers and the working class in general and the poor in particular. We believe that the Gauteng could achieve more for the workers, poor and the working class if some of the things could be done differently as compare to the current situation.
We would like to appreciate the fact that the current administration has ensured that the matric results are normalized or stabilized in the process and had moved away from the yoyo type of matric results and the class of 2012 have produced the best results ever since the democratic breakthrough. We also appreciate the fact that ANA results of 2012 have indicated improvements from the 2011 results in all areas and also have been above the national average.
We however believe that the Gauteng legislature should or could do more in improvements of the education system if it could be able to ensure that the following are addressed in our working class schools.
The improvements of the teacher/learner ratios through building of more schools in the working-class communities.
The infrastructural improvement in the number of working-class schools which are still in the state of decay.
The building of libraries, laboratories and computer labs.
Improvement of the working conditions of teachers and returning the pride of the professions.
We have also observed that there have been serious interventions by the Gauteng Government in improving the state of health in the province and also note the introduction of the National Health Insurance as one mechanism to ensure that there is universal access for all the residence of Gauteng.
We are having been very serious concern about the state of the Department of Health in the Province which has been in the news day-in day-out for the wrong reasons on areas such as death of new-born babies, avoidable stillbirths in the labour wards etc. We have also noted that the National Government has to step in to assist with the turnaround strategy in the Department which had been implemented in 2012.
We are also concerned by the instability at the leadership level of the department which manifests itself by changes in the form of the MECs and HODs in past four years. We are also concerned about the lack of capacity within the Department at various levels to meet the challenges facing the working class in relation to the provision of health. We view health as a fundamental right for the working class and not a privilege.
Therefore the current state of the department is a matter of serious concern, including lack of basic necessities for hospitals in areas such as essentials medicines, vaccines, ARV’s, medicines for tertiary treatment, non-availability and maintenance of equipment, failure of maintenance of infrastructure and also under-staffing and use of agencies within the department. Failure of payment of doctors’ and nurses’ salaries including the incentives agreed upon in the bargaining councils.
We have also had observed serious maladministration and corruption within the department; hence the SIU commissioned by the State President in 2010. We demand as COSATU that this report should be handed over to us and those implicated should face the music, regardless of the seniority within the state or government.
We have agreed that decent work and job creation are the priority areas in this current term of administration. We have witnessed the job losses which amounted to more than 1 million jobs as a result of the global economic crises and majority of these jobs have been in the province.
We have not seen any progress to create decent jobs by the Gauteng Government in the past four years and this is one area of serious concerns for the workers and the working class. We have also seen the various governments of the Gauteng Departments still using labour brokers in the current administration and this goes against the principle of decent work. Labour Brokers and the decent work cannot co-exist and will never co-exist.
Crime and Corruption
We note the visible policing taking place in the province and also the progress being registered to reduce crime, and violent crime in particular, by the Department of Community Policing. We have also noted the high number of police killings in the province and also of those in the Metro police and number of civil servants such as doctors and nurses. We believe that all these personnel are executing the mandate of the state and in particular of the ANC-led government and therefore require protection from all of us inside and outside the state.
We have noted various Auditor-General Reports for various departments in the past four years and a number of departments have not received clean audits and this is a serious area of concern for the workers and the working class. We have also noted that the province had witnessed about three SIU investigations into the Department of Health, Tshwane municipality and also in Ekurhuleni which indicates serious levels of corruption within the province.
We have also noted the recent press statements about the level of corruption within the cement and construction industry on how they have milked the state in the building of stadiums, Gautrain and also in terms of its impact to the building of clinics, hospitals, schools and number of other community projects in our province. We note that there are still investigations taking place in this regard. We however feel that the Gauteng Government should lay criminal charges against all the contractors involved in the construction of these facilities as they have demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt on how corrupt the private sector is.
We have also witnessed the serious rise to the level of abuse and rape of women in the province with a number of cases in the courts as we speak. These cases have not being finalized and are taking a long time to be resolved by the NPA and the Courts. We believe that the province should ensure that crimes against children, women and disabled persons should take priority as these are the most marginalized sectors in our society.
Public Transport System
We have noted the commitment to improve and provide a public transport system that is safe, reliable, accessible and intermodal for the province. We have noted that major projects which had been made in this endeavour are the Gautrain, BRT in the City of Johannesburg and also the painful, stupid and senseless e-toll system.
We are still of the view that the current transport system in the province does not meet the requirements of the public transport system which is safe, reliable, accessible and intermodal. Our workers and the working class are still being subjected to the worst form of transport by virtue of their location in terms of the apartheid spatial development and location in terms of class. Putco, Metrorail, and taxis are moving coffins for our workers and the poor while the elite in our society and Gauteng in particular have now access to the Gautrain. The recent incidents of buses killing workers and daily accidents on Metrorail and the taxis are symptoms of the ailing public transport system in the country and the province at large.
Eskom Electricity Hikes
We have noted the proposed 16% electricity hikes proposed by Eskom in terms of its recent electricity increases to Nersa. We view this proposed increase as a blow to the workers, working class and the poor. We believe that the proposed electricity hikes amount to reversal of the little progress being registered by the democratic state and government.
We view these proposed electricity hikes as going to be one of the sources of political and economic instability in the country and the province in particular. We hence think that the Gauteng Government and Legislature could not remain silent on this matter, given the impact that it would have to the general public and the poor in particular. It is going to reverse electrification of the number of households who would not afford the price increases. It is going to impact our local government and also result in the closure and retrenchments in some companies.
We therefore would like to place the following demands to the Gauteng Legislature, which in our view represents the interests of the people of Gauteng and the workers, the poor and the working class.
We have elected all of you as public representative to address the interests of the working class and the poor; hence our call to yourselves as the people’s representatives’ to ensure that the legacy of colonialism and Apartheid is eradicated in our province. We therefore demand the following:
Building of libraries, computer labs and laboratories in all the working class schools.
Development and implementation of proper maintenance plans in all the working class communities’ schools.
Building of more schools in the working class communities to reduce the teacher/ learner ratio.
Development and implementation of the maintenance plan for the clinics and hospitals in the Province.
Development and implementation of the plan to address overcrowding in the hospitals in the province.
Development and implementation of the Human Resource plan to deal with shortage of nurses and doctors in our clinics and hospitals.
Development and implementation of the plan to ensure that all essential medicines, vaccines, ARVs and equipment in the clinics and hospitals are properly stocked and maintained.
Ensure that all the outsourced state functions in terms of staffing, management and procurement processes are brought back to the Department.
Ensure that all vacant posts are filled in all hospitals and clinics in the province to reduce the level of overburdening of health workers.
Payment of all outstanding claims by doctors and nurses in the health sector.
We demand that there should be a proper plan for the creation of decent jobs in the province.
We demand that the Gauteng Government should end all contracts with labour brokers and all related companies.
We demand that the Gauteng Government should refuse to do any business with any company that refuses to embrace and practice decent work.
We demand a proper plan for the re-industrialization of the Gauteng province and saving of the industrial hub of the province.
We demand that the government should use the 75% procurement policy for the locally manufactured goods.
We demand a passing of the legislature which will prohibit the import of scrap metals in the province.
Crime and Corruptions
We demand that the Gauteng Government should prohibit all those of its employees from doing business with Government and the state.
We demand that all those implicated in the SIU reports both in the Department of Health and also in the municipalities should be immediately suspended and disciplinary processes commence.
We demand a copy of the reports of the SIU in the department of Health and also in the two metro’s be provided to us as the federation.
We demand that there should be special courts for the perpetrators of violence against women, children, disable and the elderly.
We demand that all those who kill police, metro police, nurses and doctors should be declared as treason charges.
We demand that all those who sell and or trade with drugs such as Nyaupe must be arrested and prosecuted in special courts.
We demand the development of a proper plan for the creation of a public transport system in the province which will be safe, decent, reliable and intermodal.
We demand that all the BRTs to be built should be controlled and run by the state and not to be given to the private sector either white or black.
We demand that the E-tolling system should be scraped and an alternative means be found to pay the current debt.
We demand an end to the privatization of the public goods and in particular our roads and its infrastructure.
We demand that the Government should end the funding of Putco and all other private bus companies and use these billions to improve the public transport system for the province.
Eskom Electricity Hikes
We demand that our provincial government must condemn the proposed Eskom Tariff Electricity hikes.
We demand that our provincial government must call upon the Nersa not to grant the electricity hikes as proposed by Eskom.
We demand that the Speaker should responds to these demands within 48 hours from today.
Thus signed on the 25 February 2013 at JHB in the Library Gardens
On Behalf the Gauteng legislature On Behalf of COSATU