DA to assess incomplete and abandoned housing projects in Ekurhuleni

Tomorrow, Wednesday, 4 October 2023, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Gauteng Shadow MEC for Human Settlements, Meryn Cirota MPL, the DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Human Settlements, Evert Du Plessis MPL, and the DA Human Settlements Spokesperson in Ekurhuleni, Cllr Mabekenyane Thamahani, will conduct an oversight inspection at the neglected and vandalised Hospital View housing project and abandoned Esselen Mega housing project in Ekurhuleni.

The DA will assess the state of the neglected, vandalised, and incomplete Hospital View housing project. This project was left incomplete due to an insufficient budget, which resulted in vandalism.

The Esselen housing project was stopped in 2016 following a directive from the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) stating that the land was identified as a wetland, leaving 190 stands incomplete.

The DA will assess these two projects to ascertain the status quo and what needs to be done.

Members of the media are invited, and there will be an opportunity for interviews and photographs.

Details of the oversight inspection are as follows:

Date: 4 October 2023

Starting point: Tembisa Hospital, 1 Flint Mazibuko Street, Tembisa, Johannesburg, Gauteng.

Time: 10:00

MEC Khumalo hides corrupt activities in Emfuleni, nothing to show for the millions spent on generators

The Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Mzi Khumalo, is shielding corrupt activities in Emfuleni by saying that millions of rands have been spent on procuring generators for the municipality instead of leasing them. It has been claimed that the over R15 million paid to service providers was to buy generators.

During an oral reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) regarding the leasing of generators by Emfuleni Local Municipality, MEC Khumalo indicated that the invoices that he was asked about related to the procurement of generators and not the leasing of generators.

However, when the Democratic Alliance (DA) tabled further follow-up questions , the Emfuleni Local Municipality indicated that no new generators had been procured within the last five financial years.

This is contrary to what MEC Khumalo indicated when asked about the procurement of generators.

It is worrying that the two spheres of government do not know what the other is doing, which could potentially lead to corruption and a breakdown in service delivery. It is unacceptable that millions of rands are spent on generators, yet the Emfuleni Municipality and COGTA cannot give a concrete answer regarding the total cost of money spent on this item.

The DA demands that MEC Khumalo provide proof of the generators purchased as a matter of urgency.

Delay in the commission of inquiry into the Marshalltown fire is concerning

by Mervyn Cirota MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Human Settlements

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng demands to know the reasons for the delay in the commission of inquiry into the Marshalltown fire.

This delay is unacceptable. The commission must begin its work immediately as mandated, the outcome of which is again being highlighted by the new fires reported since the Marshalltown fire.

Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s cannot merely state that he has no control over the timelines of the commission. He appointed the commission and can and must demand accountability includes accounting for timelines and the reasons for any delays. Any delay in commencing the commission’s work causes uncertainty and concern in the community. Further delays must be avoided and the commission must regularly report on its progress and complete its mandate

DA to unveil and launch Election 2024 voter registration posters and slogan

On Monday, 2 October 2023, the Democratic Alliance will unveil, flight and launch our first posters as our campaign for Election 2024 ramps up. The posters address Voter Registration ahead of the November 18 & 19 National Registration Weekend and will reveal the DA’s voter registration slogan for the campaign.

The DA plans to be the first party across South Africa to flight election posters – a sign of our preparedness and determination for Election 2024.

Democratic Alliance (DA) Federal Leader, John Steenhuisen MP, will put up and flight the first poster, in the centre of Johannesburg.

Steenhuisen will be joined by DA Gauteng Premier Candidate, Solly Msimanga MPL, DA Federal Chairperson, Ivan Meyer MPL, DA Chief Whip, Siviwe Gwarube MP, and DA Student Organisation Federal Leader, Liam Jacobs, DA Johannesurg Regional Chairperson, Wendy Alexander MP, and DA Johannesburg Caucus Leader, Cllr Belinda Kayser-Echeozonjoku.

The stakes have never been higher for the future of our country, but a vote for the DA will ensure that we can rescue our future from the clutches of ANC corruption and decay. Only the DA can beat the ANC and block an ANC-EFF Doomsday Coalition from killing the South African dream permanently.

Broadcasters, editors, and members of the media and invited to join for the poster unveiling where the DA will unpack and explain the posters, the slogan and the DA’s Voter Registration Campaign.

The details of the event are as follows:

Date: 02 October 2023
Time: 11:15
Venue: Lillian Ngoyi and Rissik Str

Gauteng residents continue to struggle as prices of chickens and eggs soar due to bird flu

by Bronwynn Engelbrecht MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development

Date: 29 September 2023
Release: Immediate
Gauteng residents now not only need to deal with the increase in food prices due to load-shedding but also because of the avian influenza outbreak (bird flu) that has hit poultry producers hard in the province, which has cost poultry farmers at least 2.7 million chickens. It is expected that the price of eggs and chickens will drastically increase because of this. In addition, experts warn that there may be a shortage of chickens and eggs in the coming months because of the bird flu. Furthermore, Gauteng residents’ dependence on poultry farming for employment will also face the potential of losing their jobs. According to recent media reports, there have been attempts to procure a vaccine for bird flu so that poultry farmers can vaccinate their chickens and, in turn, curb any losses that they may incur. The Democratic Alliance (DA) will be engaging with the Gauteng MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development on this issue. In addition, the DA is calling on government to impose a suspension of tariffs on poultry imports for at least 6 to 12 months. The DA will also be tabling questions to determine what measures have been put in place to assist poultry farmers affected by the bird flu and if there are any plans in place to procure vaccines for this disease.  

Public Protector directs City of Johannesburg to investigate DA complaint into ANC/PA cadre deployment

The DA welcomes the directive issued by the Public Protector (PP), instructing the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) to investigate our complaint regarding the unlawful deployment of senior Patriotic Alliance (PA) members in high-paying positions within the city. We have lodged complaints about both ANC and PA cadres in the City of Johannesburg as we are of the strong view that the interests of the ANC and PA align.

The DA exposed the PA’s manipulation of power through illegal appointments, costing Johannesburg taxpayers millions of rands annually. We called for accountability and transparency in governance, emphasizing our commitment to upholding the principles of good governance and the interests of the citizens of Johannesburg.

Today, we are pleased to announce that the Public Protector has taken our concerns seriously. The directive from the PP makes it clear that the CoJ must investigate the unlawful employment of PA members, including Mr. Charles Cilliers, who held two political offices in the PA while being employed in the municipal administration. This violates recent amendments to the Municipal Systems Act, which prohibits political office-bearers from working in the administration.

The Public Protector’s directive reaffirms the importance of holding those in power accountable for their actions and ensuring that political party interests do not take precedence over the welfare of the people. It also underscores the significance of adhering to the Municipal Systems Act, which prohibits staff members from holding political office in a political party while employed by the municipality.

We call on the City of Johannesburg to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into these appointments and take appropriate actions based on the findings.

Furthermore, we want to highlight that the Public Protector has assured us that if we are dissatisfied with the outcome of CoJ’s investigation, we have the option to return to the PP for further review.

In light of this directive, the DA will be writing a letter to the Speaker of the City of Johannesburg, alerting her to the Public Protector’s instruction and requesting a comprehensive investigation into the appointment of Mr. Charles Cilliers and other PA cadres. We believe that this directive is a significant step towards upholding the principles of good governance, transparency, and accountability in our city.

Additionally, the DA has also submitted a PAIA (Promotion of Access to Information Act) application for the records and recordings of the JRA meeting, as well as the recordings of the Mayoral Committee meeting where Mr. Cilliers’ resignation was announced. We have taken note of the correspondence from the City of Johannesburg requesting an extension in this matter.

[CORRECTION] EXPOSED: ActionSA voted FOR the Tshwane wage freeze that it now tries to denounce for political gain

Note to editors: Please note that this is an amended version of the statement that was released earlier

The Democratic Alliance (DA) can today reveal that, despite now playing cheap and opportunistic politics on this issue, ActionSA voted in favour of the 0% wage increase contained in the budget adopted earlier this year by the City of Tshwane’s Council. In a statement released on 1 January 2023, following the adoption of Tshwane’s 2023-2024 budget, ActionSA proudly proclaimed that “The passing of the City of Tshwane’s budget is a step in the right direction to restore financial sustainability and good governance to the city’s finances.” This clearly demonstrates that ActionSA knowingly and publicly supported the wage freeze to “restore financial sustainability.”

The DA in Gauteng finds it unacceptable that ActionSA is attacking the bedrock of the Tshwane Coalition Government, by attempting to distance themselves from decisions they played a crucial role in making.

In a bizarre turn of events, ActionSA is now publicly attacking the very decision that it voted for earlier this year.

ActionSA’s unilateral introduction of a motion to distance themselves from the budget they voted for just a few short months ago, and from the coalition they are part of, is not only profoundly dishonest. It also betrays the residents of Tshwane, who cannot afford a R600 million rates increase to fund further wage increases. No matter what ActionSA says or does, there simply is no money to pay this increase. No amount of political stunts will change that fact.

The Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Cilliers Brink, and his mayoral committee that includes councillors from various political parties, have stood firm against the illegal actions by individuals and organisations that resulted in unprecedented violence and destruction. The very equipment and infrastructure needed to deliver services to the people is being destroyed by this illegal strike.

The DA is not interested in the cheap political games that ActionSA seems intent on playing. The DA is focused on bringing illegal action and its consequences to an end, so that the residents of the Metro are no longer held hostage by the very people who are meant to ensure delivery.

It is also very disingenuous for ActionSA to imply that the Executive Mayor negotiates and signs the wage agreement. This is blatantly false; the agreement is negotiated nationally and gets imposed across all municipalities. Knowing that Tshwane could not afford the R600 million increase, the Council followed legal processes by seeking an exemption.

While others may be willing to sacrifice the rule of law, the DA will continue to stand firm. We will not allow intimidation and violence to determine our position on critical issues. We will not take decisions based on having a gun held to our heads.

Governing within a constrained financial environment requires a strong stomach by those in power. We need to ensure that our actions are designed to rescue Tshwane and Gauteng. Flinching at the slightest sign of adversity is not what residents of Tshwane and Gauteng expect from their government. The DA will hold the line. We are determined to restore financial sustainability and the rule of law where we govern. This is the only way to rescue Tshwane and Gauteng.

ActionSA attacks foundation of multi-party coalition in Tshwane

Today, ActionSA has stabbed Tshwane Executive Mayor Cilliers Brink in the back and have pulled the rug from under coalition’s feet.

Without consulting the Multi-Party coalition, ActionSA submitted an urgent motion to the Speaker of Council that seeks to compel the Executive Mayor to negotiate with striking workers as well as for the Mayor to consider what it calls the legitimate demands put forward by labour unions. These demands include adding R600 million to the wage bill, paying striking workers who have disrupted services for residents, and reinstating workers who have engaged in assaults and intimidation against Tshwane employees.

The foundation of ActionSA’s motion lacks substance. The City of Tshwane has made numerous efforts to engage with the unions involved in the ongoing strikes, and ActionSA, having 2 MMC positions, are aware of these engagements. Between July 27th and August 8th, the City of Tshwane held five meetings with union leadership and engaged with the CCMA on August 3rd. ActionSA seems to be playing opposition politics while in government, clearly attempting to score political points.

Furthermore, as the unions have distanced themselves from the strikes in Tshwane, ActionSA’s motion essentially calls on the mayor to engage with the criminal elements who have held this city hostage through violence and destruction.

Over the past nine weeks, the multi-party coalition has been locked in a battle for the financial future of Tshwane. This struggle has witnessed the destruction of municipal infrastructure, assaults on municipal employees, and even the shooting of a municipal worker. Supporting this motion would essentially condone violence, destruction, and intimidation.

ActionSA’s motion displays a lack of foresight. Granting wage increases in Tshwane would inevitably come at the expense of resources designated for essential services to residents. If this motion were to be accepted, creating the illusion of ending the strike in the name of resuming service delivery in Tshwane, it will lead to a long-term decline in the quality of services provided to Tshwane residents.

The DA and VF have initiated a dispute against ASA, which, in accordance with the Coalition Agreement, compels them to withdraw the item and have it discussed at the CMC. If consensus cannot be reached, the DA is ready to escalate the dispute with ASA for discussion at COG amongst Party’s National Leaders.

Under no circumstances will the DA endorse a motion that could result in the financial ruin of the City of Tshwane. Nor will the DA support a motion that harms the residents of Tshwane to appease those responsible for the destruction of municipal infrastructure, assaults on, and shootings of municipal employees.

The DA is a party guided by principles. If ActionSA chooses to engage in politics that undermine the coalition and potentially return the city to the ANC, the DA Caucus will persist in fighting for residents from the opposition benches.

DASO files HRC complaint: Deregister the EFF

Note to Editors: Please find a soundbite by Crezane Bosch in English here

Please find photos here, here, and here

The Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO) filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission (HRC), against members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and – Student Command (EFFSC) today.

After students were refused access to the Hatfield campus of the University of Pretoria (UP) based on their race, serious intervention is necessary. This complaint with the HRC aims to address the violation of students’ constitutional right to education.

We are calling for the HRC to ensure that the EFF is deregistered as a political party, for their clear Human Rights Abuse. Furthermore victims of these acts deserve compensation while the involved EFF Councillors must be suspended from public office.

Crezane Bosch MPL alongside Ruhan Robinson MPL, has also committed to write to the Speaker of Council in Tshwane and the MEC of COGTA in the province. The EFF’s Regional Chairperson, Obakeng Ramabodu should be expelled from Council, and we demand that urgent intervention take place. Obakeng has clearly breached the code of conduct in terms of the Structures Act.

In light of the rightful disqualification of their SRC candidates, the EFFSC illegally protested around the Hatfield campus of the University of Pretoria alongside the EFF, with Obakeng telling students that “only black students” may enter campus.

Human rights, as per the constitution, are non-negotiable. There is no debating that point, and the DA, and DASO will not rest until those responsible for these acts of racism are held to account.

Maxwell Court residents suffer due to COJ’s failure to maintain the property

Maxwell Court residents in Claremont, Johannesburg, are forced to live in inhumane conditions because the City of Johannesburg (COJ) constantly fails to properly maintain their rental stock.

This block of 60 units is so badly managed that the well-being and health of the tenants are at risk. Johannesburg Housing should be reported to the Human Rights Commission for their lack of care and mismanagement.

The block has not had water for some time, while Johannesburg Water and the Housing Department point fingers at each other. Residents indicate that the water pumps in the building no longer operate and that the valves to the water tank were stolen because of a lack of security.

The structure is unsafe and deteriorating. Staircases are falling apart, mould grows on the walls and water seeps from unit to unit. Poor-quality maintenance is done on collapsing walls and non-functioning electric plugs. Most units have geysers that do not work, and the Housing Department refuses to fix or replace them. In addition, the lifts do not work.

See photos here, here, here and here.

According to residents, there have been many fatalities, including the death of a 4-year-old boy. This incompetent and heartless government is killing our people and getting away with it.

The Democratic Alliance will be filing a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and Public Protector to ensure that no more lives are lost and the dignity of citizens is upheld.