Joburg Mayor: EFF’s choice is between the DA-led multiparty coalition of change or a corrupt cabal

At a meeting of the Johannesburg City Council on Thursday, 28 November 2019, outgoing Executive Mayor, Cllr Herman Mashaba, will resign, making the election of a new Mayor the first order of business of the Council.

As the Democratic Alliance (DA) we will be fielding a capable and experienced candidate, Cllr Funzela ‘Funzi’ Ngobeni. Ngobeni currently serves as the MMC for Finance and the Leader of Executive Business. The EFF have stated that they will put forward a candidate, and we assume that the ANC will present a candidate.

This scenario where there are three candidates, and the political dynamics of the Joburg Council, will most likely result in a run-off election. In terms of Schedule 3 of the Municipal Structures Act, which regulates the election of Mayors, if there are more than two candidates for the position, the Council will have successive rounds of voting. After each round, the candidate with the least number of votes will drop out, and voting will then take place for the remaining candidates.

Having consulted with our Coalition Parties, namely the IFP, ACDP, COPE, and FF+, we are confident that when the various caucuses toe their party lines, the EFF candidate will fall out, leaving the DA and ANC candidates.

This, therefore, leaves the EFF with an important decision, whether they support the DA multiparty coalition’s candidate or support the ANC, whose only intention is to reverse the progress made since 2016 and loot the people of Johannesburg’s money. Further, even if the EFF abstains the ANC will regain control of the City. No doubt there will be a return to the wholesale looting of the past.

The coming week’s vote is critical for the future of Johannesburg. In Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB), communities are experiencing first-hand the damage that can be done when the EFF make the choice to sit on their hands and give the keys to the city back to the ANC. 

The excellent recovery work done by Mayor Athol Trollip was swiftly undone by the coalition of corruption, consisting of the ANC, UDM, and UF (sometimes assisted by the PF). The contrast between the DA-led government and that of the coalition of corruption has been stark. In frank terms, Nelson Mandela Bay is being plundered, it has run out of water in some areas, and some of the key office-bearers in the municipality are being investigated by the Hawks. All the while, it is the people of the City who suffer, and particularly the poor.

Like the previous DA-led NMB administration, the DA’s Mayor Mashaba has brought significant change to Johannesburg, reversing two-decades of ANC non-responsiveness and theft of the people’s money.

Some of the change brought by the DA-led multiparty coalition include:

  • The cutting of frivolous expenditure through concerted austerity measures increased the percentage of the capital budget spent on engineering infrastructure and housing from 58% in 2016 to 71% in 2019;
  • Over 900km of roads have been resurfaced, out of the 4000km of roads that lay in poor and very poor conditions;
  • A major turnaround has been made in resolving the long-standing billing crisis. The number of queries every month has come down, the backlogs have been reduced and the average time to resolve queries has been halved;
  • Investment in the City has grown by 400% from R4,5 billion in 2015/16 to R17,3 billion in 2018/19;
  • Healthcare and access to it has improved with 26 clinics across the City having their operating hours extended;
  • The forensic and anti-corruption unit established by the current administration has reawakened the fight against corruption, with over 6000 cases under investigation, totaling more than R35 billion in expenditure. This unit has managed hundreds of arrests and dismissals of corrupt City officials;
  • In a commitment to build a safe city, 1,500 new JMPD are set to be deployed following their training. This represents a 50% in the size of the JMPD force;
  • Over 7,400 households in informal settlements were electrified during 2016/17 and 2017/18 with a target of 6,500 for the 2018/19 financial year.
  • The Inner City revitalization project stands poised to transform the skyline of Johannesburg, with 139 properties awarded for development and construction has already begun.

This is but snapshot of the change we have brought to Johannesburg, and it would be sad day for the people of the City if the ANC were to be elected back to the Mayor’s Office.

We will continue engaging our coalition partners and the EFF to ensure that the people of Johannesburg come first.

Our work is not done, and there is still more to be done to build a safe, corruption-free, and investment-rich City for the people.

Rescuing and reforming SA’s economy is our primary focus

The following statement was delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a press briefing at Nkululeko House, Johannesburg. Maimane was joined by the Chairperson of the DA’s Federal Executive, James Selfe, and the Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba.

Over the past two days, the Democratic Alliance’s Federal Executive (FedEx) convened for its first sitting of the 6th Parliament, to discuss and decide upon matters of importance to the party and the nation.

 SA’s Economic Crisis

On top of FedEx’s agenda this weekend was South Africa’s deep and persistent economic crisis and how we plan to rescue and reform the economy. The perilous state of the economy is the single biggest threat to our country’s future. It is with great concern that over the past months the conversation has moved from how to grow the economy, to how we avoid total collapse.

There exists a tangible mood of fear throughout the country, with the vast majority of South Africans lacking hope in the future. Discontentment with the current downward spiral is fast producing fertile soil for mass rebellion. The reality is that change will come, whether by the ballot or other means. We have no more time to kick the can down the road. We need immediate action.

Despite this, there lacks both the requisite urgency and a bold reform plan from Cyril Ramaphosa and his ANC government. For the past 18 months Ramaphosa has occupied the presidency it has been business as usual, with an added dose of economic gimmicks in the form of summits, talk shops, roadshows.

Unemployment is at a post 1994 record high, breaching the sobering 10-million mark for the first time. 10.2 million South Africans are without a job, with an expanded unemployment rate of 38%.There are now 746 000 more jobless South Africans than there were 18 months ago when Ramaphosa assumed office. This is a clear vote of no confidence in Ramaphosa’s much heralded yet ineffective “Jobs Summit” held earlier this year.

In terms of growth, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has forecast growth for 2019 at a meagre 0.6% – the worst since 2016. Last year, South Africa experienced its first recession in over a decade – with two consecutive quarters of negative growth. We also saw the economy contracting by 3.2% during the first months of this year – the biggest decline in a decade. It appears we may just narrowly avoid another recession in 2019.

As things stand, we are the closest we have been to complete, all round junk status since 1994. In July this year, ratings agency Fitch changed their outlook for SA to junk status. Moody’s, the only agency that has SA above junk status, also expressed its concerns especially given the lack of change or plan to reform SOEs – specifically Eskom. Once we hit complete junk status, we are staring down the barrel of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout.

Investment is plummeting at an alarming rate. The President’s investment summit has yielded little positive impact as foreign investors have sold a record-high $4.8bn of South African equities and bonds in 2019 -the most on a year-to-date basis in over 20 years. Both at home and abroad, investors see South Africa as a risk not worth taking.

There is no sign of any “green shoots” in the economy, and instead of halting the decline, it appears Cyril Ramaphosa is exacerbating it. His open support for economically damaging policies such as Expropriation Without Compensation, the National Minimum Wage, the National Health Insurance, and the Eskom monopoly – among many others – is proof that when it comes to the test, Cyril Ramaphosa is loyal to the ANC above all else.

The DA’s Economic Recovery Plan

In order to avoid economic collapse and bring about rapid growth, a clear and concrete plan for urgent reform is required. The DA is currently in the process of expanding our “Economic Recovery Plan” – a comprehensive package of reform interventions that are unashamedly pro-growth, pro-investment, and pro-job creation.

The focus of this “Economic Recovery Plan” is on deliberate structural reform that will act as shock to our economy, in order to revive it and usher in rapid economic growth. The plan will include the following proposals, among others:

  1. Splitting Eskom into two separate entities while allowing IPPs to come on board by passing the Independent Electricity Management (IEMA) Bill;
  2. Passing our “Jobs Bill”, consisting of a wide range of incentives for foreign companies to invest in SA – bringing thousands of job opportunities to our shores.
  3. Implementing a government-wide Comprehensive Spending Review aimed at reviewing the efficiency of spending, the composition of spending, and future spending priorities in order to “tighten our belts”;
  4. Placing SAA under business rescue with a view to sell it off;
  5. Scrapping BEE and replacing it with a pro-growth plan that offers real broad-based inclusion in our economy;
  6. Beginning the rollout of a Voluntary Civil Service Year for young people;
  7. Introducing tax incentives for big job-creating sectors including manufacturing, tourism, mining and financial services;
  8. Rejecting investment-killing policies including the National Health Insurance (NHI), Expropriation Without Compensation (EWC), the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and the nationalisation of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB);
  9. Cutting the Public Sector Wage Bill; and
  10. Creating an enabling environment for job creation by freeing up micro enterprise and relaxing labour legislation.

In addition, provinces in which persistent drought continues to affect the agricultural sector must declare such as a provincial disaster. One such province in the Northern Cape, where over 60 000 jobs are on the line due to 5-year long drought.

This plan and the details thereof will be tabled early next month during Parliament’s urgent debate of national importance on the economy, which I requested in light of our current economic crisis.

In order to halt our economy’s spiralling decline and create opportunities for those left outside the economy, we need bold and urgent reform. This is the DA’s plan, and we intend to pursue it with intensity.

The President and the Public Protector

FedEx reaffirmed the party’s stance that Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane is unfit to hold office and Parliament must initiate an inquiry into her fitness without delay – as requested by the DA.

The DA was the only party that objected to Mkhwebane’s appointment almost two years ago, citing the very concerns which have now manifested themselves in the daily operation of her office.

The Office of the Public Protector is a crucial Chapter 9 Institution tasked with fostering accountable democracy. Under Mkhwebane’s tenure, it has been reduced to an arm of a certain faction within the ANC. Mkhwebane lacks both the impartiality and technical ability required to justify her continued occupation of the role of Public Protector, and there is little evidence to suggest otherwise. She must be removed at once.

Notwithstanding, it must be made absolutely clear that questions around Mkhwebane’s impartiality and ability have nothing to do with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s wrongdoings as it pertains to Bosasa.  Mkhwebane’s unfitness to hold office has no bearing on whether the relationship between Bosasa and the President is corrupt, nor whether he misled Parliament.

Ramaphosa’s misleading of Parliament, and his and his son’s dodgy dealings with Bosasa, are all established facts independent of the Public Protector and her supposed agenda. We will continue to monitor President Ramaphosa’s review application as it pertains to the Public Protector’s report into his Bosasa dealings.

We will not relent in our pursuit of accountability because the principle of equality before the law must be upheld, and the Office of the Public Protector must be respected regardless of whether the incumbent is fit to hold office.

This coming Thursday, 22 August, I engage Cyril Ramaphosa in Parliament on this matter during the scheduled Oral Question Session. Presidents and their families who abuse their power for personal benefit must be treated as equal before the law and held accountable for their actions. Cyril Ramaphosa is no exception.

National Health Insurance (NHI)

FedEx noted Health Minister Zweli Mkhize’s tabling of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill in Parliament last week.

The South African healthcare system is an unequal one, with a minority of South Africans paying for quality, private healthcare, and the majority of South Africans with access to free, but overwhelmingly substandard healthcare.

The DA supports the move towards the provision of universal healthcare. This is non-negotiable in our unequal society. However, we disagree that the NHI is the way to achieve this. The NHI is a deliberate attempt to nationalise healthcare in South Africa, and it is based on this core aspect that we reject the bill.

Moreover, it is both naïve and irresponsible to have an academic debate about the merits of the NHI in the abstract. The debate must consider both this ANC government’s dire governance deficiencies and its tendency to loot public money at every juncture. As with the approach to both property rights and land, and the SARB, this is a push for more state control and thus more inefficiency and corruption.

We also have serious concerns as to the legality and constitutionality of the NHI bill, particularly around its impact on the constitutional mandate and power of provinces as it pertains to health services. We have urgently requested that on behalf of Parliament, Speaker Thandi Modise, instructs the Parliamentary Legal Services to obtain a legal opinion on the bill. On Thursday, the Committee folded to our demands and there will be extensive legal scrutiny of the bill. Our alternative plan, Sizani, is a hybrid model, seek to achieve the following:

  1. It will be funded through the current budget envelop which includes the tax benefit currently afforded to medical aid clients;
  2. It would strengthen the role of primary healthcare in many communities;
  3. It would invest heavily in the provision of maternal and child health services, and the training and provision of healthcare professionals;
  4. It would reinforce the powers of provinces by ensuring they are adequately funded and equipped to provide quality healthcare to all;
  5. Through these interventions, all South Africans would have access to a quality health system that provides them with a standard package of care across all facilities;
  6. Medical aid companies would be used as a top up measure for those South Africans who choose to use them and who can afford to do so;
  7. Ultimately this system would increase competition, drive up quality, and afford every South African the choice of which medical provider they wish to use.

The DA has a workable alternative that will ensure all South Africans are provided with quality healthcare, without crippling the economy.

Road to 2021

South Africa has entered the space where we go from election to election, with little time to rest in between. This is illustrated by the fact that following the 2019 National and Provincial Elections, we have contested 24 by-elections, with success in the vast majority, and the need for reflection in others. There is another tranche of by-elections between now and the end of the year, most notably, all 15 wards in Maluti-a-Phofung municipality in the Free State. Between the 2016 Local Government Elections and the 2019 National and Provincial Elections, the DA showed growth in every ward in Maluti-a-Phofung, which bodes well for the upcoming by-elections on 28 August 2019.

Our public representatives are currently engaged in a focused ground campaign where they are winning back the confidence of voters we lost in 2019, while constantly engaging those who voted for us. We are strengthening our branches and we are recruiting new members every day. The work has begun on the ground as we build momentum towards the 2021 Local Government Elections.

In the build up to 2021, we are concerned by the capacity and impartiality of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). To date we have not received an update or correspondence regarding two key investigations into ANC conduct. One of the complaints dates back to the 2016 election, where the ANC ran a black-ops social media campaign. The other case relates to the Bosasa-sponsored ANC election “war room.” These matters cannot be allowed to gather dust, especially when they impact on South Africa’s democratic processes and we implore the IEC to act in this regard.

Moreover, the voters’ roll is of great concern. It is vital that the voters’ roll has the most accurate and up to date geographical information of voters in order to ensure the credibility of the election.

At the end of the last Federal Council, it was announced that James Selfe will step down as the head of both the Federal Executive and Federal Council in order to head up our Governance Unit. This unit will act as the Party’s direct line with our governments at an executive level. James has hit the ground running, and we will work to fully capacitate the office, to ensure that we have real-time information from DA-led governments so that we truly deliver on our commitment to job creation, clean governance, and the acceleration of basic service delivery.

Mayor Herman Mashaba

The Democratic Alliance is fully behind Mayor Herman Mashaba in the frivolous Motion of No Confidence (MONC) tabled by the ANC in the Johannesburg City Council. Throughout his term, Mayor Mashaba has prioritised service delivery to forgotten communities, rooted out corruption, created jobs and attracted investment, and channelled millions of freed up funds into building a city that works for all.

The Motion of No Confidence  tabled against Mayor Mashaba must be seen for what it is – an attempt by the ANC criminal syndicate to get their hands on the people’s money and reverse the gains made by Mashaba’s multi-party government.

Mayor Mashaba is a strong and capable leader who has the best interests of Johannesburg at heart. We call upon all Johannesburg residents to rally around Herman Mashaba on 22 August. The message to the ANC crooks is clear: ‘Hands off Mashaba!’. We do not say this for the sake of staying in government, we say so because we have made significant changes to better the lives of residents across the country’s economic capital.

In the time that the DA and Mayor Mashaba have led the multi-party government, the following key interventions have been made:

  • 44 000 Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) job opportunities have been created;
  • Extended operating hours have been introduced at 22 clinics;
  • 1,500 Metro Police Officers have been recruited to ensure the safety of residents and to maintain order. Furthermore, regular updates are given on the state of crime and the interventions made in the City;
  • Over 5,000 cases of corruption worth more than R34 billion in transactions have been uncovered;
  • Just this week it was announced by the Household Satisfaction Survey that customer satisfaction with the city’s services has risen by 12 points to 73 in 2019 from 61;
  • For 2018/19 the City of Johannesburg attracted over R17-billion in investment.

We have full confidence that we will have the support of our coalition partners to successfully defeat this motion so that Mayor Mashaba can return his focus to delivering services to the people of Johannesburg.

DA Governments

Premier Winde’s Western Cape provincial government has been hard at work during its first 100 days in office. With its focus on job creation and economic growth, we welcome the establishment of an “Economic War Room”. The Western Cape continues to lead in job creation, with the province boasting an unemployment rate that is 14% below the national rate. Other achievements include:

  • Advertising the tender for the conducting of lifestyle audits on the entire Western Cape cabinet;
  • Introducing the Open Government First Thursday – an ability for citizens to engage directly with politicians and officials;
  • Starting the process of revising the Ministerial Handbook for a second time. The first review conducted ten years ago has already saved the province in excess of R100 million;
  • Conducting a “speed dating” event with mayors and municipals managers across the province, hosted the Premier’s Coordinating Forum (PCF). The purpose is for these individuals to learn from each other and share best practice;
  • Engaging with key stakeholders in the agricultural sector, business organisations and religious leaders.

FedEx considered the current situation in Tshwane and resolved to intensify our daily engagement with the political leadership. We have been given assurance that Mayor Mokgalapa will apply consequence management to employees of the city who caused damage during the recent unprotected strike.

Lastly, we continue our call for Mongameli Bobani to be removed as mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay as he is wholly unfit to hold the position. The DA has submitted a Motion of No Confidence in Bobani, which will be debated and voted upon in the coming weeks.

As ANC municipalities crumble, the DA is turning local governments around

The following comments were delivered today by DA National Spokesperson, Solly Malatsi, at a press conference at Nkululeko House, Johannesburg. Malatsi was joined by DA Midvaal Mayor, Bongani Baloyi,  DA Kouga Municipality Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, and by the DA Eastern Cape Provincial Chairperson, Andrew Whitfield.

This week marks the three-year anniversary of the 2016 Local Government Elections when South Africans gave the Democratic Alliance (DA) a mandate for change and entrusted us with governing more than 30 municipalities across the country.

Where we have governed, we have excelled in providing services, creating jobs, keeping communities safe and rooting out corruption.

Where we govern, residents not only have clean running water, more homes, more jobs and a better quality of life, but DA governments are beating the odds in growing local economies in spite of a gloomy national economic picture:

  • The most recent consolidated report by the Auditor-General (A-G) showed that, 13 or 72%, of municipalities with clean audits were DA-run – 12 in the Western Cape and 1 in Gauteng.
  • The Quarterly Labour Force Survey report released last week, once again showed that the Western Cape obtained the lowest expanded unemployment rate in the country at 23.8% compared to a national rate of 38.5%.
  • The City of Cape Town, in the past financial year, generated R2.7 billion worth of investments, creating more than 4 700 jobs and at least 2 100 people were empowered with skills training.
  • Last month, Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba, announced that preliminary figures showed that the City’s Department of Economic Development had facilitated more than R16 billion in investments to revitalise the inner city and cater to business. The multi-party government led by the DA, has also ensured that the City spent 91% in Capital expenditure, has a debt redemption fund valued at R2.5 billion, spent 100% of its Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) funding, and has long term assets to sufficiently cover long term liabilities.
  • In Midvaal, despite being a relatively small municipality, Heineken and Ferrero Rocher have plants in the municipality because they can rely on it to keep the lights on and the taps flowing with water. Sedibeng Brewery has also made a R3.5 billion investment in the municipality which created 3 500 construction jobs.
  • Kouga is set to become the first municipality in the Eastern Cape to roll out free, unlimited WiFi to the public following an in-principle agreement between the Council and Cell C.

These are not mere statistics, they are measures of improving quality of life. They show that the DA in government turns circumstances around, and keeps on steadily improving.

The ANC on the other hand has a different story to tell. From potholes and water shortages to polluted rivers and debris strewn streets, corruption, theft, neglect, nepotism – the ANC has shown that it cannot deliver basic, quality services to its residents.

The state of ANC-run local governments is appalling. And where the DA is in opposition, we spend every day highlighting these issues and fighting for better services for residents.

Some examples of appalling ANC failures we have raised just in the past few weeks include:

  • The Mangaung Metro, under ANC governance, has had its credit rating slashed this week by Moody’s by a massive three notches, due to serious political mismanagement and risk of debt defaults. This is a shocking indictment on how the ANC governs metros and mismanages municipal finances.
  • For the past two weeks, the Mogalakwena Municipality in Limpopo has descended into chaos as two ANC factions are at war for control of the Council – schools and businesses have shutdown as the Mayor is “in hiding” and failing to address the instability. At the same time the Municipality is spending almost R650 000 to send municipal officials to Zambia for a sporting event.
  • In Taung, in the North West, ANC-card carrying members are alleged to be exclusively hired for the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPW) jobs, whilst those who are not affiliated with the ANC are overlooked.
  • Tswaing Local Municipality, also in the North West, has been placed administration for the third time. Clearly the past two interventions, have not yielded any real results as it instead created further financial instability and a lack of service delivery.
  • The Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality, in Free State has all but collapsed as the ANC-run municipality owes R4.5 billion to its creditors and has failed to pay Eskom debts since August 2017.
  • In Limpopo, the DA has uncovered that a simply unacceptable 50% of promised houses have not been built by the ANC government in the past 5 years. Hundreds of thousands left without their homes, by the ANC.
  • In the Eastern Cape, in Bedford, at Raymond Mahlaba local government, ANC factions and labour unions have clashed, shut down the town, completely stopped service delivery and burnt down the municipal store.
  • In Ekurhuleni, the ANC government spends R3 300 a month per chemical toilet, in an outlandishly inflated contract, while a housing project for 29 houses in Tembisa remains unfinished and unusable with over 90% of the contract price R4.6 million, paid to the builder.

This stands in stark contrast to the DA’s record of getting things done.

Today we shine a spotlight on Kouga and Midvaal. These municipalities, under the capable leadership of Mayors Bongani Baloyi and Horatio Hendricks, have made significant contributions to the betterment of communities.

These two governments are being highlighted today because they are both DA-majority Councils. And both demonstrate what can be done when a DA majority is able to govern a local government.

Kouga – Delivered by Mayor Horatio Hendricks

Under the DA’s leadership the municipality is now more financially stronger than it has ever been. The collection rate increased from 72% in August 2016 to 94% in August 2019. The municipality’s cash-on-hand almost tripled from R70 million in June 2017 to R214 million in June 2019.

The DA-led council also adopted an anti-corruption strategy and established a Financial Misconduct Disciplinary Board.

Kouga municipality implemented a borehole project to augment its water supply and secured R151.2 million in drought funding for ground water development and Water Conservation and Demand Management projects.

Thirty boreholes were drilled at Jeffreys Bay, Oyster Bay, Hankey and Patensie, with 12 delivering good yields and quality. Seven boreholes were drilled at Humansdorp. The test results are being awaited.

The municipality has also invested millions to upgrade its water and wastewater treatment works, benefitting thousands of households.

Under the previous ANC regimes, the building of new government-subsidised housing came to a standstill. This changed under the leadership of the DA when in 2017 work started on the top structures of 391 houses at Kruisfontein. Another two housing projects are currently underway and another seven are in the advanced planning stage.

When the DA took over in 2016, Kouga had almost 4000 household which still relied on a bucket toilet system. The DA-led municipality is currently in the process of eradicating more than 2000 bucket toilets through current housing projects, and has also launched a multi-year programme in the 2018/19 financial year to eliminate the use of buckets in Kouga entirely.

The regional landfill site at Humansdorp and Hankey waste site were upgraded, an official recycler was appointed, and new drop-off zones were opened at Jeffreys Bay, St Francis Bay and Oyster Bay. In addition, the municipality has started distributing wheelie bins to households to replace black bags. A total of 7 713 wheelie bins were delivered to Hankey, Patensie, Loerie, Thornhill and Humansdorp during 2018/2019, with the roll-out set to continue in the new financial year.

In 2016, the DA-led municipality inherited a vehicle fleet which was almost entirely broken. Only 4% of the fleet was fully operational. A fleet replacement plan has subsequently been implemented, by the DA, and at least 90% of the fleet is in operation daily.

We also became the first municipality in the Sarah Baartman district to launch an app-supported call centre for residents to submit service requests. A total of 35 201 service requests and faults were resolved through the Kouga Call Centre and Link service delivery app during 2018/2019. This is more than double the number of 17 298 that were resolved the previous year.

From 2017 to 2018 the DA-led municipality distributed an historic 1 827 title deeds. A 98-year-old resident from Patensie recently became the official owner of a home for the first time.

Tuli Wilson Tanda had been living on the property for more than 15 years, and only under the DA was it registered in his name in July 2019 for the first time.

The DA-led Kouga will be pioneering the first road made from plastic waste in Africa, a stronger and more durable alternative to traditional asphalt mixes. A total of 7 785 potholes were repaired during the 2018/2019 financial year and 32 roads and parking areas, totalling 140 977m², were resealed.

Kouga is poised to become the first municipality in the Eastern Cape to roll out free unlimited WiFi to the public. An agreement has been reached between the Council and Cell C.

To ensure the safety of both residents and visitors in Kouga, the DA-led municipality installed security cameras along the main beachfront of Jeffreys Bay, for the first time,  and spotlights were recently erected at the informal settlement in Donkerhoek and at the entrance to upper Vaaldam.

Midvaal  – Delivered by Mayor Bongani Baloyi

The DA-led Midvaal municipality is consistently rates as one of the best run municipalities, not only in Gauteng, but nationwide.

Midvaal was one of only 18 municipalities in the country, and the only one in Gauteng, to receive a clean audit for the 2017/2018 financial year, its fifth consecutive one.

The 2019 Good Governance Africa Government Performance Index ranked the municipality as one of the top ten performing municipalities in the country and the 2017/2018 findings of the Gauteng City Region Observatory’s Quality of Life Survey found that while overall satisfaction with service delivery in Gauteng is decreasing, the overall approval of the quality of services provided by Midvaal is steadily increasing.

Infrastructure investments include upgrades to the bulk electricity supply, a new reservoir, resurfacing and rebuilding of roads, bulk water pipe replacement and upgrades to the sewer pipelines. In the current political term, the municipality will spend:

  • Over R95 million to improve water supply in Midvaal including Sicelo and other informal settlements;
  • R21 million on electrifying Sicelo and R19.5 million on electrifying the RDP sections of Savanna City
  • R43 million for tarring 23 km of roads in our municipality and R42 million to maintain our existing road network

This is why companies like Heineken, Ferrero Rocher, Paramount Trailers, New Hope, BSI Steel and Twin Boats have all chosen to establish and grow their businesses within the Midvaal municipality. Sedibeng Brewery alone has made a R3.5 billion investment, creating 3500 construction jobs, and is currently looking to expand its supply chain locally, through purchasing barley from 32 local farmers.

To date the municipality has:

  • Allocated R6.6 million to train and provide opportunities for the youth in Midvaal.
  • R1 million to equip young people with skills that would enable them to run their own businesses.
  • R5.5 million identified across all our municipal departments to benefit graduates, particularly those who have completed the Kgatelopele training programme.

In this past financial year, the municipality appointed six youth-owned cooperatives under the primary contractor from the Kgatelopele companies. In the coming weeks the DA-led Midvaal municipality will also be launching the “Midvaal’s Sebenza Imbokodo Fund”, which will provide start-up capital for female- owned small-scale businesses in the informal sector and assisting them to take their business to the next level.

Midvaal will also be engaging young people through the “Just Start Programme” which aims to address the need for people to access available land to start their own agricultural and farming projects. In the current political term, the municipality will lease 300 hectares of land for agriculture, including 100 hectares to the youth.

Conclusion

Key, to our brand and our promise, is that change is tangible under the DA. This is our offer to South Africa.

It is clear that the DA’s unrivaled record of excellence in governance extends beyond the Western Cape.

By focusing on service delivery, infrastructure development, investment promotion and programmes to assist jobless young people, the record in Midvaal and Kouga has shown that the DA is the only party focused on expanding service delivery and breaking the hold of the unemployment crisis.

The DA is ready to take this message of delivery and jobs to the people of South Africa in 2021. Our governments offer the people of this country more than just talk shops, plans and summits.

Where the DA governs, people see tangible change.

When the DA says ‘we are the only party that can turn things around’ it is not just some empty slogan. We mean it because everywhere we govern, we have proven that we can turn things around.

DA welcomes Mayor Mashaba’s action against prolonged Eskom power cuts in Johannesburg

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba, requesting an urgent meeting with Eskom following a series of unjustifiable and prolonged power cuts in areas such as Diepsloot, Ivory Park,  Soweto and Orange Farm.

Mayor Mashaba has also vowed to institute urgent dispute resolution proceedings between the City and Eskom with the energy regulator, Nersa, in terms of Section 4 of the Electricity Act, should the utility fail to meet his request.

Eskom has instituted credit management procedures in the affected communities as a result of non-payment by some residents.

While the DA holds the view that those who fail to pay their electricity bills should be held accountable, we condemn Eskom’s apparent illogical punishment of entire communities.

It is unfair and frankly unethical that paying residents should have to bear the brunt for the actions of a few residents.

The DA also notes reports that Eskom has made a decision to not repair or maintain its infrastructure in areas with a high non-payment rates.

It is absolutely deplorable that the power utility would choose to not repair and uphold its own electricity infrastructure. This decision will not only sabotage services and economic activities in these communities, but Eskom will also be shooting itself in the foot as future repair costs will most certainly skyrocket.

Eskom has no right to punish innocent and law-abiding residents for the failures of others. The utility must not forget that its mandate to paying residents is to ensure the reliable and sustained provision of electricity.

Ace’s IEC complaint against DA an attempt to draw attention away from ANC’s incitement of violence in Alex

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has received a complaint from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in which the ANC Secretary General, Ace Magashule denies his party’s involvement in orchestrating violent and anarchic protests in a number of municipalities run by the DA.

It is clear from a range of factors that the ANC is inciting violence in Alex and that they used the genuine concerns of the people to fight their own narrow political battles.

The violent protests were nothing more than an diversion tactic by the ANC to draw attention away from its 25 years of empty promises and corruption.

This complaint to the IEC will not take away from the concrete evidence the DA and the City of Johannesburg has uncovered regarding the ANC’s hand in the violent protests in DA-led municipalities. We have evidence that ANC officials were behind Alexandra shutdown and have subsequently lodged a complaint with the IEC.  This is further strengthened by the fact that Mayor Herman Mashaba has established that the protests, were in part, led by the ANC ward councillor.

The choice before South Africa is clear, vote for a party that shamelessly uses the genuine plight of poor people for its own narrow political benefits, or a party that will hold its leaders accountable regardless of who they are.

Only the DA has a clear vision that will build One South Africa for All.

DA stands behind Mayor Mashaba’s commitment to bring change to Alex

The images of deliberate disruption emanating from this evening’s Alexandra community meeting with City of Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba, were premeditated by the ANC.

Mayor Mashaba went to Alexandra to address the concerns of the community but was prevented from doing so when the meeting was hijacked by several rogue elements in the hall – no doubt sponsored by the failing ANC.

What was meant to be a genuine interaction about concrete plans and budgets between the Mayor and the community, was hijacked and the meeting soon disintegrated into chaos and disorder.

The ANC has denied the people of Alex a real opportunity to hear Mayor Mashaba’s plans to speed up service delivery and development.

The ANC has truly deserted what was left of its democratic values and replaced it with violent, anarchic and chaotic tendencies.

Due to the ANC’s interference, it was obvious that the intention was never for Mashaba to engage with the residents. They do not care about the grievances of the people of Alexandra, they only care about the narrow electoral prospects.

Despite the ANC attempts to disrupt the meeting, Mayor Mashaba and the DA-led coalition will continue to put the residents of Alex first. The plans to bring about real change to the people of Alex and Johannesburg will not be derailed by the ANC in a desperate attempt to hang on to their dwindling support.

Ramaphosa, Makhura and Tau, join me and Mashaba in accounting to the people of Alex

On Thursday, 18 April 2019, I will be hosting a townhall meeting with Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba and the people of Alexandra so that we can reflect on what has been done since 2016, and what more needs to be done to make Alex into a place to be proud of. In addition to this I extend an invitation to President Cyril Ramaphosa, Gauteng Premier David Makhura and former Mayor Parks Tau to account for the period between 1994 and August 2016.

This engagement with the people of Alex will also present an opportunity for all three spheres of government to forge a partnership and commitment to working together in order to put the people first. Above all, we are servants of the people, therefore party politics should be put side so that we can build a broken community.

It is most disappointing that the ANC chose to play with the lives and emotions of the people by hijacking and criminalising a community movement. From day one the City of Johannesburg Executive was ready to engage with the community, but ANC Ward Councillors instead chose to fuel fires running a disinformation campaign and spurring the community to engage in criminal acts. On Sunday, 07 April 2019, I will be laying charges against the Ward Councillors we have been identified as the ringleaders of a carefully coordinated campaign to fuel the fires of anarchy in Alex.

Further to this, I have written to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to probe whether the ANC is indeed in violation of the Electoral Code of Conduct. The harshest sanction that comes with a violation of the Code is being disqualified from contesting the elections.

As the DA, in both government and opposition, we are committed to Building One South Africa for All by ensuring that communities like Alex become places of pride, development and production.

I trust that Ramaphosa, Makhura and Tau will heed the call by joining me and Mayor Mashaba, a man of action, on 18 April.

When the people we commit to serve call, we have a duty to answer and listen

City repairs over 3 000 potholes in the month of February

Rainy season in Johannesburg is beginning to wind up, however the heavy rainfall we’ve experienced has wreaked havoc on our roads. Usually, cracks are formed because of the regular – and notorious traffic in our city – which means that, when the rainy summer months come around, rainwater seeps into the asphalt and the underlying layer and causes the cracks to widen, which causes further damage.

Consequently, the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA), which is the custodian of the road network in the City of Joburg, typically receives higher numbers of reports of potholes from residents around this time of year. This has been the case again since the turn of the New Year.

The preservation of the existing road infrastructure is very important to the City of Joburg. It allows for improved movement of traffic and pedestrians flow, and of course, reduces the risk of all vehicles being damaged by potholes and other road defects. In the month of February, the JRA repaired a total of 3045 potholes across the City; with Region A being the best in terms of completion rate (92%).

It is our responsibility to maintain public infrastructure. We are well aware of the formidable work that lies ahead of us. We also know we have to carry out the repairs and maintenance of roads at a quicker rate – for this reason, the JRA has been testing the Jetpatcher road rehabilitation solution system.

The Jetpatcher system is not there to replace the current workforce, but to assist the JRA to accelerate the patching of potholes and the current workload, as well as upskill the existing workforce on the use of new technology.

In the moth of February, the system was used to repaired 2 700 potholes i.e. big patches and potholes (of 1 square meter and potholes of less 0.5 square meters) – averaging just under 200 potholes per day. The testing took place in Region C, with Regions E and A to follow to complete the testing.

This is further proof of how this administration has gradually set about using existing and new techniques to help ease the mammoth service delivery backlogs it inherited within the City of Joburg. These are the product of years and years of neglect and they manifest in the daily service delivery issues that plague our communities.

Due to massive infrastructure backlogs, over 3 900kms of our roads had fallen into the classification of “poor” or “very poor” conditions. In addition to that, work continues in undoing the mammoth backlog in storm water drainage, which further exacerbates the state of our roads.

Indeed, most of the city’s roads have gone past their design lifespan, normally set at about 30 years, with factors such as traffic (loading), drainage system, floods etc., also contributing to the state of our deteriorating road network.

The JRA was allocated R1.2 billion to the capital budget. Within this budget was an allocation of R250 million for road rehabilitation and reconstruction. In addition to this, the entity also budgeted R181 million for the rehabilitation of bridges in 2018/19, up from R49 million in 2017/18. During the recent adjustment budget, an additional R135 million was made available for road rehabilitation.

All of these projects will take time to deliver. As Johannesburg is a large area, aside from the daily inspections and maintenance, I urge residents to be our eyes and ears by reporting issues that they notice to the JRA.

The JRA offers multiple channels that residents can use to log a road infrastructure related fault in the City of Joburg:

  • You can log a fault online via the website www.jra.org.za or via the Find&Fix app. Simply snap a picture of an issue on your mobile phone, choose the nature of the issue on the app, and use GPS to send through your location.
  • You can also call our customer contact centre on 0860 562 874, or report the issue on Twitter, Facebook or e-mail hotline@jra.org.za

ANC’s call for fresh elections in Tshwane and CoJ a cheap political gimmick defying voters’ choice

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes the press conference by the ANC Deputy Provincial Chairperson, Panyaza Lesufi, where he made remarks regarding the state of DA-led coalition governments and his party’s decision to call for fresh elections in the City of Tshwane.

Lesufi stated that the call for a fresh election is for “the of people of Tshwane [to] elect a government of their choice”.

This latest political gimmick by the ANC is ironic considering that the people of Tshwane in the 2016 Local Government Elections elected a government of their choice and voted the ANC out of power. The residents of Tshwane gave a mandate for the DA and other opposition parties to form a coalition government to administrate the business of the City and deliver services to its residents.

Over the past two years in the City of Johannesburg and the City of Tshwane, Mayors Herman Mashaba and Solly Msimanga uncovered 22 years of billions in rands of looting, corruption and abuse of the people’s money to fund the ANC’s elections.

In just two years, the DA-led coalitions governments of Johannesburg and Tshwane have turn things around and the two metros are thriving. In Johannesburg:

  • The City closed out the 2017/18 financial year with an improved performance in the unaudited financial reports. Cash reserves now stand at R1.9 billion with R6 billion in loans now repaid;
  • Over 2 000 title deeds have been delivered to residents who have waited for the dignity of home ownership for many years, and the City has started delivering services to 51 informal settlements neglected by the previous administration; and
  • With 1 500 more Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) Officers on the streets, the City has become much safer than before.

In Tshwane:

  • The DA inherited a R2 billion deficit from the ANC, however, in the 2016/17 the City closed out at a R704 operating surplus;
  • Mayor Msimanga sold the so-called “Mayoral Mansion” for R5.1 million in order to build houses for the disadvantaged. Proceeds from this sale are already being used to build more than 40 houses for those without; and
  • Following much-needed reforms to root out corruption, the Capital City has allocated R137.2 million towards the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) initiatives this financial year. This will lead to more jobs and skills for the unemployed.

These are only a few examples of the DA difference. Unlike the ANC, we have put the people of Johannesburg and Tshwane above petty politics and have exposed and rooted out corruption, created jobs, tackled crime, delivered service and given our people the dignity of a roof over their heads.

Whilst the ANC continuous to destabilise legitimate and democratically established governments in our metros, we will continue to do the work of bringing tangible change and building One South Africa for All.

2 years later, DA-led Johannesburg is bringing CHANGE

From day one, the DA-led City of Johannesburg made jobs and growth its primary focus. By creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurs and businesses to grow, it was only a matter of time before the results began to show.

Creating Jobs

Despite the continued rise in the national expanded unemployment rate to 37.2% in the second quarter of 2018, the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) released by Stats SA earlier this week shows this government has created an environment that produced 109 000 new jobs since the beginning of the year. This was achieved while reducing the expanded unemployment rate from 32.3% to 30.8%. If this trend continues, the City is well on its way to reaching the goal of 5% growth by 2021.

Quality infrastructure and the stabilisation of services will always be a non-negotiable for business in the continent’s economic capital. The City has met this expectation by not only renewing infrastructure and stabilising services but establishing a responsive, dedicated, accountable and professional civil service that inspires confidence with the people of Johannesburg and delivers world-class services that will continue to make Johannesburg an attractive destination for investment.

Opportunity Centres

The Khoebo Opportunity Centre has seen hundreds of young entrepreneurs walk through its doors, turning ideas into small businesses. The roll out of these Opportunity Centres are beginning to assist residents with crucial skills and support to grow their businesses so that they too can create job opportunities. In addition to Khoebo, the City’s goal is to create 13 more Opportunity Centres through Johannesburg, deepening access to jobs with two in every one of the seven regions throughout the City by 2021.

Fighting Corruption

Crime and corruption have become public enemy number one in the City of Johannesburg, and we are winning the war. More than 3 500 cases of corruption and maladministration involving almost R18 billion has been uncovered by the newly established Group Forensics and Investigation Services (GFIS) and the recruitment of an additional 1 500 Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officers has ensured the streets of Johannesburg are much safer. The launch of Operation Buya Mthetho has seen to more than 8 000 arrests by law enforcement officials since the beginning of the year.

Over 20 000 arrests have been made by the JMPD, and the GFIS has a specialised unit that counter-acts building hijacking syndicates and returns properties that have been hijacked to their rightful owners. With the assistance of the JMPD, this unit has already returned 73 buildings to their rightful owners.

Fighting Drug Addiction

A free Community Substance Abuse Treatment Centres has been opened which includes provision for a 24-hour crisis line where the people of Johannesburg can speak with caring professional staff to get the help that they need. By the end of this financial year there will be eight of these Centres reaching areas such as Poortjie, Bophelong and Cosmo City.

In order to open up access to health services, extended operating hours within City clinics have ensured that residents do not have to decide between making it to work and receiving medical attention, and so that students never have to choose between going to school and accessing healthcare.

One of the greatest privileges one can ever be entrusted with is a mandate from the people to serve and it is these DA-led governments’ past two years of service to the residents of these great cities that we should all be celebrating today.

– DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane