David Makhura. Picture: THE TIMES
David Makhura. Picture: THE TIMES

Newly re-elected Gauteng premier David Makhura says he will not tolerate political leaders and senior civil servants who compromise on clean governance and service delivery.

“By that I mean MECs who will not tow that line will really be in trouble. Administrators who will not tow that line will really be in trouble,” Makhura told journalists shortly after he was sworn in as premier of Gauteng for a second term in Johannesburg on Wednesday.  

Makhura, who is also the ANC’s provincial chair, said he wanted to shake-up the management of some of the struggling departments in the province to build strong capacity.

Makhura was elected by 38 members of the 73 seat legislature on Wednesday, receiving one more vote than the ANC’s total caucus of 37 members. His rival, the DA’s Solly Msimanga, got 32 votes.

Early in May voters in Gauteng gave the ANC a very slim margin to continue governing SA’s economic heartland with 50.19% of the support. This was enough to avoid the province going into a coalition government.

The DA, which had taken over the Joburg and Tshwane metros via coalitions with other opposition parties after the 2016 local government elections, only managed  27.45% with the EFF coming in third in the province at 14.69%.

MPs who make up South Africa's sixth parliament were sworn in on May 22 2019. The ANC claimed 230 seats while main opposition parties the DA and EFF claimed 84 and 44 seats respectively.

The victory came on the back of a big health scandal that saw the death of more than 140 mentally ill patients in what became known as the Life Esidimeni tragedy. The party also battled the continued opposition to e-tolls, which the ANC in Gauteng still wants to abolish.

But despite these shortcomings, the ANC managed to reverse some of the the losses it suffered in the 2016 local elections when support for the governing party tumbled to just above 45%.  Then, it lost control of the key metros of Johannesburg and Tshwane, and just managed to hang on to the Ekurhuleni metro, courtesy of a coalition with a small opposition party.  

Makhura referred to the May 8 polls as a “tough election”, despite  the provincial government having done well over the past five years. He said the government will now have to double its efforts.

Makhura, who still has to appoint his provincial executive, has indicated it will be a combination of people with experience, new faces and those who have led local governments.

The provincial executive will focus on the economy, creating jobs, access to housing and land, development of public transport and fighting crime and corruption.  

He said that he was also looking at the actual administration and at the civil servants who manage departments and not just at the members of the executive committee.  

“I want to build departments that are strong so that those departments don’t depend on one MEC,” Makhura said.

He said during his first term in office he saw  that there were civil servants “who are just sitting, doing very little”. He said  he knew which departments performed optimally and those that did not.

According to Makhura, the education and treasury departments functioned very well due to very competent management teams.

He said strong management teams would have to be built in the departments of health, transport and human settlements, co-operative governance & traditional affairs.