Metrorail is letting the people of the city down – urgent intervention needed

This morning at 6am Cape Town Mayor-elect, Dan Plato, together with City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member of Social Services and Safety and Security, JP Smith, and the DA’s Team One SA Spokesperson on Crime, John Steenhuisen MP met at Mitchells Plain train station to catch a train from there to Cape Town to inspect the safety conditions in the run-up to the City, Prasa and the Western Cape Government’s deployment of additional safety officers on the trains.

However, almost an hour later, no train had arrived and the leaders engaged with commuters about what they have to endure on a daily basis before they headed back to Cape Town by car.

Mitchells Plain train station has become a “ghost station”; Hundred of commuters queue to take a taxi after the train once again did not arrive.

It is clear that the management of Metrorail has reached a point of no return.

It is ludicrous that on a Monday morning, there was no train travelling from this densely-populated area and people had to desperately make use of alternative, more expensive transport to get to their places of work.

Plato said: “Today, I witnessed first-hand the frustrations, commuters have to endure on a daily basis. Commuters has completely lost faith in the management of Metrorail due to trains not arriving on time or simply not arriving at all – as was the case this morning. The Mitchells Plain station, like many other train stations in and around the Cape Town metro region has become “ghost stations” which in turn is a strain on the effectiveness of service delivery in the City of Cape Town.”

Listen to soundbite here.

Commuters no longer rely on Metrorail to get them from home to work and back. The failure of Metrorail to ensure trains arriving on time, has led to commuters having to resort to alternative transport to get to work and back. Many train commuters have to use taxis or busses now to get to work, which has costs implications on train commuters of R250 or more on a monthly basis. This is simply unaffordable for most South Africans.

Watch a video of regular commuter, Rushqah Davis, sharing her daily frustration with the train system here.

With regard to the failing management of safety and security at Metrorail, we again saw last week, with the burning of trains at the Cape Town Station, the need for intervention to take control of this system. The continued arson attacks on our transport system has had a massive economic impact not only Metrorail, but also on train commuters.

John Steenhuisen and JP Smith engaging with commuters.

The people that continue to suffer are however ordinary South Africans. Rail remains the only truly affordable transportation in the era of record fuel prices. Yet the system has been brought to its knees by widespread arson attacks and lack of accountability from the national government. Until the rot is sorted out at the top, commuters in and around Cape Town will continue to suffer due to a lack of action on the part of Minister Nzimande.

Only the DA-led City of Cape Town can sort out the mess at Metrorail created by the failing ANC national government.

Cape Town Gang and Drug Task Team has to clean up failing ANC government’s mess

Today the DA’s Team One South Africa Spokesperson on Crime, John Steenhuisen MP, and City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member of Social Services & Safety and Security, JP Smith, joined the Gang and Drug Task Team as they conduct their daily operations on the Cape Flats.

Pictures can be found here, here, here and here. Videos can be found here and here

This Task Team falls under the City of Cape Town’s Metro Police which is ably led by Director Charl Kitching. It consists of a group of hand-picked officers whose sole focus is gang-related safety issues on the Cape Flats. Some of the Task Team’s main activities include profiling of gang members and drug dealers and conducting search and seizure operations. It is instrumental in combating gang and narcotics-related crime in the area.

The Gang and Drugs Task Team represent one of the many ways in which the DA-led government of the City, as well as the Western Cape Provincial Government, work hard at fighting crime, despite receiving little institutional support from the ANC national government and having severely limited powers and mandate in this regard. The anti-crime operations, some of which are in response to tip-offs from ward councillors and community members, are conducted several times a month with a view to curb drug dealing and drug use in our communities, as well as to crack down on illegal firearms.

In terms of section 207 of the Constitution policing is a national competency, which means it falls within the control of the failing ANC government. Sections 207(1) and 207(2),  respectively, read:

  • The President as head of the national executive must appoint a man or a woman as the National Commissioner of the police service, to control and manage the police service;
  • The National Commissioner must exercise control over and manage the police service in accordance with the national policing policy and the directions of the Cabinet member responsible for policing.

Under the failing ANC national government, the South African Police Service (SAPS) is failing to keep South Africans safe. The SAPS Annual Report for 2017/18 records a decline in police-to-population ratio from 1 SAPS officer for every 369 citizens in 2016/17 to 1 SAPS officer for every 375 citizens in 2017/18. The SAPS also received a qualified audit from the Auditor-General for the second year in a row. This is while the murder rate in the country increased from 52 to 56 murders per day, and the number of reported rapes jumped from 102 a day to 109.

The ANC government also seems to make a concerted effort to keep areas under DA-government even more under-resourced than areas under their own government. In the City of Cape Town, the police-to-population ratio stands at 1 SAPS officer for every 560 citizens, while in Lwandle in the Strand this figure reaches a shocking 1 SAPS officer for every 718 citizens and in Harare, Khayelitsha 1 SAPS officer for every 745 citizens – almost four times the ideal ratio of 1 SAPS for every 220 citizens.

Crime will continue to rise under the ANC’s leadership. The DA is the only party dedicated to fighting crime and protecting all citizens. South Africans will have a chance to make safer communities a reality by voting for the DA in 2019.

De Lille must come clean about SMS she sent to politically influence appointment of City Manager

The comments made by Ms De Lille about Councillors JP Smith and Xanthea Limberg are both sexist and racist. To say the text message she sent to Ms Limberg to influence the appointment of the City Manager emanated from “Xanthea and Smith under the pillowcase” is disgusting, even for her.

These comments are in line with Ms De Lille’s modus operandi of bullying and trying to discredit anyone who will expose her for what she has done.

The reality is that Ms De Lille sent Ms Limberg a text message saying “I want to keep Achmat so score him highest”. The text message is real and Ms Limberg submitted it as evidence against Ms De Lille for trying to interfere with the appointment of a City Manager.

This kind of behaviour is deplorable. It is inconsistent with a DA government and a DA mayor. The Party holds all its members of the executive to the highest standard. As such, this text message alone should have been enough for De Lille to resign as she clearly was not fit to be a Mayor.

To then slander Limberg and bring her personal life into what is essentially a criminal matter, is the worst kind of sexism and racism.

If De Lille strongly believes that the SMS that she sent Limberg, clearly showing her interference in the appointment processes of Achmat Ebrahim as Cape Town City Manager, does not hold up, she should submit her cell phone for forensic analysis. If she did not send the message then she should have no problem confirming this by allowing the analysis.

She – up until now – has never categorically stated that she did not send the text message. Instead, she resorts to ad hominem attacks which defy all her claims to the rights she has fought for in this country.

Women, particularly women of colour,  are often subjected to this kind of treatment that she now resorts to in an effort to distract from the fact that she tried to politically influence the appointment of a City Manager.

This is not the first time Ms De Lille has resorted to such deplorable actions.

She has allegedly also victimised and bullied the executive director in the mayor’s office, Craig Kesson, and the portfolio manager of probity, Lindiwe Ndaba, after they blew the whistle on the massive maladministration in the City, under De Lille’s watch.

Ms De Lille seems to have built up a long track record of bullying, intimidation and victimising anyone who questioned or opposed her.

This is why the DA stands by the decision to cease her membership in the interest of the individuals and service delivery her divisive leadership has compromised.

De Lille and Smith placed on special leave from DA activities in Cape Metro

Please find attached a soundbite by the DA National Spokesperson, Phumzile Van Damme MP
In recent days various allegations and counter allegations have been made in the Cape Town press involving Cape Town Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, and Councillor JP Smith.
DA Leader Mmusi Maimane called both Mayor de Lille and Cllr Smith to account for their actions at a meeting held last night. Following that meeting, Mr Maimane has placed Mayor de Lille and Cllr Smith on special leave from DA activities in the Cape Town Metro until such time as a DA Federal Executive investigation can be concluded.
Some time ago, the Leader convened a special sub-committee of the DA’s Federal Executive in order to investigate the political management and governance situation in the City of Cape Town, and to report back to the full FedEx as to what further action is required. This sub-committee will be chaired by John Steenhuisen MP, and is scheduled to begin its hearings today, 3rd October 2017.
Placing the Mayor and the Cllr on special leave during the investigation means that neither will be able to attend DA caucus meetings, interact with caucus members or others who may testify before the committee or attend party meetings. This leave does not affect their candidacy for provincial elected positions, nor does it affect their work in government. They should also not address the media on this issue until the conclusion of the investigation.
The statements being made in the media on allegations from both the Mayor and Alderman Smith are now a subject of investigation by both the panel mentioned above and the City itself. These statements have been inaccurate and are prejudicial to the investigation.