‘Give us more time to serve you,’ Lesufi asks Gauteng residents as he reflects on 18 months as premier

29 May 2024 - 15:11
By Kgothatso Madisa
Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi cast his vote for the elections in Thembisa, Ekurhuleni, on Wednesday.
Image: X / @Lesufi Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi cast his vote for the elections in Thembisa, Ekurhuleni, on Wednesday.

Gauteng premier and ANC provincial chair Panyaza Lesufi on Wednesday said he needs more time to continue his work in the province.

He said he has achieved a lot in the 18 months he has spent at the helm. 

Listing some of his achievements, he said he had created more than 100,000 new jobs, installed CCTVs around the City of Johannesburg to fight crime, employed crime wardens and brought in three new helicopters used in crime-fighting. 

Lesufi on Wednesday cast his vote at Thuto Ke Maatla Engineering School of Specialisation in Tembisa.

Although the ANC has not named any of its premier candidates, TimesLIVE understands that there was consensus in the ANC, both in the province and national, that Lesufi should be installed as premier should the party win elections.

He said the party under his leadership needed more time in government to push on with initiatives it had undertaken.

“Well, I had 18 months, and within 18 months as I’m speaking to you we’ve 105,000 people that are in jobs that were not there, in that 18 months there are people who didn’t have transformers; we put them in, we have brought almost 100MW new energy for Gauteng,” said Lesufi.

“So we just need time to expand on those things but we really believe as the ANC we have the experience, the ideas, the resources and skill to ensure that we work on those things.”

One of the biggest criticisms of the Gauteng leadership is on crime.

Lesufi says he is losing sleep over this.

“The issue of crime preoccupies my mind. If there is one thing that makes me lose sleep it is crime,” he said.

“And it’s not that it cannot be defeated. I really believe that we are using all methods and I’m on record on the new ways that I feel that we can fight crime. I’m on record on the resources we allocated to fight crime. Eighteen months ago there were no crime wardens in our province. Eighteen months ago there [were] no CCTV cameras in the townships. We didn’t have a police van in each community. Eighteen months ago we didn’t have three helicopters.”

Reflecting on the ANC’s campaign ahead of this election, Lesufi said this was the most difficult. He said he had been part of the ANC election machinery since 1994 but none had been tougher.

This one (election) is very difficult because the ANC was changing the engine of the aeroplane while it was airborne
Panyaza Lesufi, Gauteng premier

This, he said, was because the ANC was self-correcting and renewing itself while still having to contest the election.

“Indeed this campaign was very tough and difficult. I was a mere agent of the ANC in 1994, I’ve seen all the elections. But this one is very difficult because the ANC was changing the engine of the aeroplane while it was airborne,” he said.

We have to elevate renewal of the ANC while at the same time we had to contest elections and we paid the price, and that price we have not recovered.”

He gave an example of the 2021 local government election, which the ANC went into while it was being dissected at the Zondo commission that was looking into allegations of state capture.

“ I think we are the only country that in the middle of elections, for local government election, that we had a commission of inquiry about corruption, in the middle of an election, and we paid the price,” he said.

“And because of the price, people are emboldened because it was a sliding scale. Therefore this means this is contested where we have managed to really clean ourselves. Those who don’t agree with renewal formed various other political parties and [other] are no longer part of our organisation.”

Lesufi said the ANC was finding joy in its renewal programme and he believes the party will “surprise a lot of people” in this election.