PREMIER’S A+ REPORT CARD.Lucille September
Five years ago, Premier Maurice Jacobs’ speeches sounded like the start of more empty promises, pledging to change lives for the better, create jobs and make the Western Cape a home for all.
That was before Project H blew a wind of change through the province, so that when Jacobs delivered his state-of-the-province speech at the opening of the provincial legislature today, instead of bracing for more promises, people were waiting for him to deliver a sparkling report card.
So he wasted no time and dove right in, reporting back on the twenty key projects he prioritised in last year’s speech.
- A transformed health service. Jacobs said that before, patients used to bear the brunt of poor service, with long queues, staff shortages and dispensaries running out of essential medications. His target was to reduce queuing times from an average of seven hours to two. Today that wait is not longer than one hour. “The days of patients shuffling home with an IOU are finally over,” Jacobs said. Facility managers have been appointed at nine previously problematic community health centres in Delft, Elsies River, Gugulethu, Hanover Park, Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain, Retreat, Kraaifontein and Vanguard Estate. The supply of medication to clinics are now faster and more efficient and the use of original medicines instead of generics are now commonplace.
- The province has conquered crime and gangsterism in the Cape Flats after Jasper King personally intervened to resolve the conflict between two prominent gangs on the Cape Flats using Project H. Since then, gangs have ceased to exist on the Cape Flats as well as all the nefarious activities they were involved with. This has marked a huge reduction in the province’s crime rate.
- Transport has improved. All train routes are safer due to the low crime rate.
- A total of R800m was spent this past year on labour-intensive construction and maintenance of transport infrastructure, including community access roads, public transport facilities and non-motorised transport. The money was also spent on maintenance of public buildings; Project H endorsed social development clinics, municipal infrastructure for water, sewerage, roads and stormwater, agricultural support programmes, the tourism industry and environmental programmes.
- Over the past five years 1, 4 million jobs were created as part of Project H’s public works programme.
- Several new schools are now up and running in previously impoverished communities such as Delft, Elsies River, Gugulethu, Hanover Park, Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain and Retreat, all of them equipped with state of the art computer and scientific laboratories and other advanced learning equipment.
- Over the past five years, the housing shortage has been resolved, with the province building 450 00 homes for former shack and back yard dwellers. Jacobs said “We have built fully furnished homes, not matchboxes.”