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Will Lesufi’s Dynamic SOPA Speech Ignite a Movement?



On Monday evening, the first State of the Province Address (SOPA) was delivered by the Gauteng Premier, Panyaza Lesufi. While it was an impressive speech with ambitious plans to improve services across the province, some are sceptical that it will translate into action as reported by the Sandton Chronicle. By commencing his address with the quote, “If I had a choice, I would not deliver this State of the Province Address, as our people have lost confidence in what we say. They think we talk too much and do too little,” Lesufi recognized the ruling party’s unsatisfactory track record. Let me assure you, we will talk less and do more. We are getting Gauteng back to work!”

The plans on paper show a party that hopes to deliver improved services across the board to its citizens, but some wonder if these grand gestures will be materially realised. For example, Beverly Jacobs, a Ward 98 councillor, expressed little faith in the promises made, saying that after promises made at the last SOPA by David Makhura, she saw none of the benefits described then. Moreover, she believes the promises made each year need to be followed through with action.

Johnny Matisonn, an analyst and author, said that Lesufi had made extraordinarily ambitious promises, and if he could deliver on them, he would arrest the ANC’s decline in Gauteng. However, Matisonn said that Lesufi needed to show that he could implement them more effectively than the ANC has been able to do so far. For example, the police, who do not fall under Lesufi, must act more effectively than ever. If he cannot achieve these things, this will lead to more disillusionment.

Solly Msimanga, the DA Gauteng Leader, criticised the premier’s speech, saying that they would not get the actual state of the problems in the province but would get more pipe dreams and wishy-washy commitments not translate into anything concrete. He said that they needed to hear how the government would deal with the energy crisis in Gauteng, resource the police, and create employment opportunities.

Nkululeko Dunga, the EFF provincial chairperson for Gauteng, expressed extreme dissatisfaction with governance, especially in Gauteng, and the state of mismanagement of finances in the province. However, before they criticise and take extreme positions to disrupt proceedings, they would try to correct governance internally.


Lesufi outlined plans to tackle crime in the province, which he called the home of heartless and ruthless criminals who do as they wish. Fighting crime is the government’s priority. They plan to install car and facial recognition CCTV cameras, arm residents with e-panic buttons linked to law enforcement agencies and purchase six new helicopters to patrol the skies.

Lesufi’s speech has been met with a mixed reaction, with some praising his ambitious plans, while others doubt that they will be implemented. The government has a lot of work to do to regain the trust of its citizens, and it remains to be seen whether it will follow through on its promises.

Photo by Marco Oriolesi on Unsplash

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