Has Gauteng Premier
Mcebisi Mbhazima Shilowa ever seen a multi-billion Rand train project he didn’t like? First we had the Gautrain (R20 billion and probably rising) and then we had the proposed Soweto Monorail which would have cost R12 billion, although it seemed it was going to be privately funded. That was quickly shot down by the national Transport Ministry but lo and behold it seems to be possibly back on the drawing board.
Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool (be sure to read his scintillating blog) is to face a probe deciding whether he misled the provincial legislature about the costs of security upgrades to his house. The DA brought forth the motion and surprisingly it was supported by the ANC. No doubt the ‘Africanist’ faction led by Mcebisi Skwatsha of the Western Cape ANC is behind this, they’ve had their targets on Rasool for a while now.
Still it’s nice to know that bipartisanship is actually possible in SA politics.
Minister of Transport Jeff Radebe says the first time he heard about the proposed monorail between Soweto and Johannesburg was when he read about it in the paper.
Radebe said it was not clear “what particular process” had been followed to secure the contract for the monorail. “I’m as in the dark as you are at the moment,” he told the committee.
Now the federalists amongst you out there might very well be cheering the Gauteng provincial government along, after all what business does the national government have in a province’s affairs. Unfortunately with the current administrations love for central planning and considering that all rail projects are considered an area of ‘national competence’ I guess we can assume the monorail is all but dead now.
The building of a 44,7 kilometre monorail between Johannesburg and Soweto has been “put on hold”, the Transport ministry said on Friday.
What is it with Gauteng and expensive railway projects? Gauteng Finance and Economic Affairs MEC Paul Mashatile has announced the building of a R12 billion monorail linking Soweto and Johannesburg.
This one actually makes a bit more sense than the Gautrain (which links Johannesburg, OR Tambo Airport and Pretoria) as the Soweto Monorail will carry close to 1 500 000 people a day, compared to the Gautrain which will carry a pitiful 20 000/day.
A few months ago the national and provincial housing departments excluded the Cape Town municipality from the N2 Gateway Housing project claiming that it was a project of national importance. Well that decision seems to have come back to haunt them because the CT municipality would have been perfect scapegoats for the current problems at the project.
Residents slam govt houses
It will cost millions of rand to repair structural damage caused by poor workmanship to the N2 Gateway housing project.
Richard Dyantyi, provincial minister of housing, said it was shocking that problems were being experienced at rental units in phase 1 less than a year after construction.
The N2 gateweay project is still way way behind schedule. 705 units have been made available but when you consider that Cape Town has a housing backlog of 400 000 people then it really is more of a shiny showcase than an actual solution to Cape Town’s housing problem.
Gauteng MEC for Housing Nomvula Mokonyane is planning to blacklist any company that employees a senior department official. I guess she’s decided to accelerate the proposed cooling off period for civil servants entering private enterprise.
The MEC however still has a lot of explaining to do for the housing backlog in Gauteng and can’t place all the blame on departing staff. Perhaps she’d like to explain how a R58 million contract to build low cost housing granted in 2004 has yet to actually produce a house.Update: And now the Department of Correctional Services is coming under fire for the same problem
Correctional Services came under fire on Tuesday as parliament demanded to know why the very same high-level officials who awarded contracts for the construction of new prisons later became directors of the same companies that won the lucrative tenders.
Things are not going well for Ebrahim Rasool. The supposedly “Africanist” camp that runs the Western Cape ANC, after pushing Rasool out as party leader, headed by James Ngculu and Mcebiso Skwatsha are not exactly making his life easy at the moment. Looks like he’ll be called to grovel in front of party leadership for daring to call some members of the ANC his ‘opponents’. Got to keep that illusion of ANC unity going at all costs!
In recent US history, the easiest way to become president was first to become governor of a state. George W. Bush was governor of Texas, Clinton of Arkansas, Regan of California and Carter of Georgia.
In SA we have not had a long enough period of democratic rule to extrapolate any kind of trend of who will be president, but one thing that has been a recurring theme is that the Premier of Gauteng has always been mentioned as a presidential contender. When Tokyo Sexwale was premier under the Mandela administration there was a lot of chatter about him being the next president. That he was forced out of politics, supposedly thanks to Mbeki, before any of the chatter could become reality is an indication of the prestige and weight the position holds.
So while reading through this article about current Premier of Gauteng Mbhazima Shilowa’s speech at the opening of the provincial legislature I couldn’t help but wondering if we have another stealth presidential candidate in the making. The speech seemed to be everything that people wanted out of Mbeki’s opening speech at parliament. A new focus on combating crime (R600 million for the 10111 emergency system alone – which seems a bit much to me), focusing on underperforming schools, a planned 60% increase in the number of HIV+ sufferers on anti-retrovirals – what’s not to like?
Shilowa has kept his head down and quiet over the whole Mbeki/Zuma struggle, hasn’t been involved in any political scandals that I’m aware of and to top it all off he’s got lots of cred with the various left wing factions thanks to his past leadership of COSATU. The only black mark I can put against his name is the Gautrain which is still in my opinion the wrong approach to take to reduce congestion and traffic but at least there’s the possibility of something cool coming out of the whole process.
Now of course this is all speculation on my part so take it all with a grain of salt but if he is playing the quiet under the radar game then he’s playing it very well.There’s still a few months to the ANC congress and I really do hope we start getting a better idea of who the potential candidates are in the near future.Update: Shilowa unveils plan to tackle crime rate
GAUTENG premier Mbhazima Shilowa yesterday gave one of the strongest undertakings from a senior government leader to address the high crime rate as he unveiled a number of crime-fighting initiatives.
The province, which has taken a strong stance on a number of issues, including HIV, was the first to make public its crime-fighting initiatives, following criticism of President Thabo Mbeki’s and government’s alleged failure to deal effectively with crime.
Read the following quotes from this article (no peeking) and try and guess who is the subject.
Western Cape municipalities should be cautious when changing the political leadership of their councils.
“Service delivery is very important. A previous mayor may have had a particular leadership style or set a specific tone, but, if that person leaves, the council could immediately lose momentum when someone else comes with a new approach.”
If you guessed Richard Diyanti, who had previously tried to “stabilise” the Cape Town DA led coalition by changing the form of municipal government and removing Mayor Helen Zille from any practical power, then give yourself a round of applause.
And to add insult to injury read this final quote:
If we did not have provincial government supporting municipalities, intervening and monitoring them, you would have a mess.
Why those municipalities are like little kids totally unable to control themselves. If it wasn’t for us responsible parents here at provincial government it would be chaos! CHAOS!
The split in the ANC in the Western Cape between current Provincial Premier Ebrahim Rasool and ANC Provincial Secretary Mcebisi Skwatsha seems to be coming to a head (again). Rasool has admitted that there is a pressure within the ANC for him to reshuffle his cabinet. Doing so would probably make Rasool even more of a lame duck then he currently is.
The Skwatsha camp is denying that they are putting Rasool under pressure although his admittance of the fact and that he is now “reluctant to get into this discussion because I have bound myself to discipline on this matter” probably means that there are very heated discussions happening at Western Cape ANC meetings.
I am still unsure why the Skwatsha camp is not happy with Rasool, or why in fact there is a split. Skwatsha is supposedly the head of an ‘Africanist’ faction but if you consider that the proposed names on the new cabinet list include names like Max Ozinsky and Yousuf Gabru that doesn’t seem to be the reason for the reshuffle. Perhaps Skwatsha is unhappy with Rasool not being more vigorous in attempting to remove Helen Zille as Cape Town Mayor, he was awfully quiet during the entire affair.
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