Gauteng’s infrastructure department is a mess and is…

Infrastructure development is one of the main arteries that can give life to any economy in the world. In Gauteng, a special department that focuses on building and maintaining social infrastructure was launched in 2014 under Prime Minister David Makhura.

This Department of Gauteng Infrastructure Development and Property Management (GDID) was started to ensure that Gauteng would have appropriate social infrastructure to enable timely delivery of basic services such as healthcare. Unfortunately for Makhura, this department is not living up to its vision as a trusted provider of integrated, smart public infrastructure.

Projects managed by the department are often not completed on time and often go over budget.

Why is this of concern? There are a number of reasons why infrastructure development is important to the province, the first being that it is a key driver of employment opportunities in the province, particularly among unemployed youth. . It also gives small businesses and entrepreneurs the opportunity to do business with the government. Moreover, a well-built and well-maintained infrastructure means that the government can provide efficient and unimpeded services to residents.

With the high rate of immigration to Gauteng, the province needs more schools, hospitals, clinics and libraries. The government must also ensure that the infrastructure that already exists is well maintained. In the case of several government buildings in the province, we have seen that it is something that he has failed to do correctly.

When buildings are not properly constructed due to shoddy workmanship and subsequently poorly maintained, lives can be lost – as we saw in the Lisbon Bank fire.

The Charlotte Maxeke Hospital fire has severely affected the provision of health services to residents. Those dependent on state-provided health services now have to travel much further to get the treatment they need. Patients wait longer for treatment and have to endure even longer queues.

Makhura was right when he admitted in its state of the province address that GDID let down the people of Gauteng. This became apparent when the Covid-19 pandemic hit our shores and we needed our social infrastructure to be strong. Cracks began to appear almost immediately.

Our hospitals were not sufficiently equipped to cope with the influx of patients. At great expense, a field hospital had to be set up to meet the projected demand and the government ended up spending money on the Anglo Ashanti Gold Hospital, which was not even its asset initially.

As no new school has been built for almost two years, parents of students now have to look for places for their children in schools much further from their place of residence. This is yet another burden on learners who have been subjected to rotational learning, as so many schools are overcrowded and would not have been able to implement physical distancing in the space provided to them. arrangement.

It is easy to point out the flaws in our social infrastructure. The question is, how to fix it?

First, the GDID should be dissolved and the MEC for infrastructure development and property management should be abolished. It makes no sense to keep a department that is supposed to help create employment opportunities for unemployed residents if it is unable to manage its mandate well.

If the premier is serious about growing our provincial economy and being able to attract more private sector investment, he would allow the departments that currently rely on GDID to manage their own projects and ensure that they are completed on time and within budget.

Service delivery can no longer be hampered by an incompetent ministry as our economy suffers and the unemployment rate continues to soar. DM

Lillian L. Pena