South African elections
'Gauteng Can Work'

Daily Maverick - Premier Debate Gauteng Edition

Road sign reading " You are now leaving Gauteng". This sign is between the border of Gauteng and Freestate provinces in South Africa

© Shutterstock

Last week the Daily Maverick kicked off its inaugural election debate at The Forum, in Johannesburg Gauteng. The event supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in South Africa sparked new hope among participants after an informative debate between candidates running for Premier in the province.

DM Debates

DM Debates Gauteng Premier Candidates. From left to right on stage: Solly Msimanga, Nobuntu Hlazo Webster, Vuyiswa Ramokgopa, Adv. Reuben Masango and Stephen Grootes

© Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

Gauteng used to work

The sentiments of Msimanga were partly echoed by the Political Economist, Moeletsi Mbeki, who was the keynote speaker at the event. He argued that "Gauteng's economy used to be the second largest biggest in Africa, following Egypt" but that things have changed since South Africa's economy has lost traction. He urged political parties to think innovatively about how they will put Johannesburg back on the map.

"Today South Africa as a country is the third largest economy in Africa, behind Nigeria and Egypt," he told the crowd. He said this gives us an idea of what has been happening in South Africa over the last thirty years, and how the economy of specifically Gauteng declined.

"I am looking forward to the future leaders of Gauteng, and to hear what they are going to do to bring Gauteng back to its former glory," he said.

Infrastructure high on the list of priorities

Over the last few months citizens in the Gauteng province have been struggling with access to water and electricity. Work done by The Third Republic and FNF SA, has shown how a lack of water has infringed on the basic human rights of ordinary South Africans in this province. Our findings can be viewed here: MetroMonitor Archives - thethirdrepublic (

In their speeches, candidates from the Democratic Alliance (DA), Rise Mzansi, Action SA, and Build One South Africa (BOSA), recognised the need to address issues of water and electricity in the province. They agreed that these functionaries are in the control of local municipalities but stressed the importance of intergovernmental collaboration to support infrastructure upgrades and maintenance of these utilities.

On why the Western Cape works better than other provinces in the country, DA Premier candidate Solly Msimanga, told the crowd that infrastructure is treated as a priority where the DA governs, hence people are moving in numbers to this province. He said that his party would prioritise infrastructure in Gauteng to make sure Johannesburg becomes the gateway to Africa, again.

WATCH: Daily Maverick - Premier Debate Gauteng Edition

On 9 May 2024, The Forum, The Campus in Bryanston was transformed into a battleground for visions, solutions and, some spicy debates as the Daily Maverick launched the inaugural Premier candidates debates series.

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Young people's feelings on the state of Gauteng

The youth who were present at the event echoed that the province is not working. "I don't think that politicians are doing what they should in this province. They are more concerned about filing their own pockets and stomachs," said Shaquil Collins, the President of his school Council. One other student who is eligible to vote in the upcoming elections told FNF that he will not be voting as he believes that no party "has [his] best interests at heart."

Politicians actions speak louder than their words because they tend to scrutinise their track record and integrity. 
They should be held accountable for their promises and the impact of their decisions on society.

Ntokozo Mlangeni

'We have a plan for Gauteng'

New kid on the block, Rise Mzansi told FNF that they have a plan for Gauteng. Their Premier candidate, Vuyiswa Ramokgopa said their 'Tsoga Gauteng Plan' will address critical issues such as unemployment.

"We have released a plan which means Rise-up or Get-up Gauteng. It is about restoring our economy. We want to connect people to work opportunities. We want to care for our people, making sure people have health care,'' she said.

With just a few days away from the elections, politicians are working on the ground to garner electoral support, the main question remain, who will rule South Africa post these elections. The FNF as an organisation supporting liberal values and liberal democracy will continue to support the current election dialogue and will be sharing these updates as they unfold.

For more election news, follow our media partner's coverage here: Elections 2024 – All your questions answered (