Blue light driver sentenced, but what about Mmemezi?

kateJoseph Semitjie, the driver of the blue light vehicle which knocked Thomas Ferreira off his motorbike resulting in permanent brain damage, has been sentenced for 5 years.

Humphrey Mmemezi, the MEC he was driving at the time, has got off scot-free and now sits in Parliament for the ANC. He never once appeared in court as a witness or otherwise.

Semitjie, throughout the trial, said he had been ordered by Mmemezi to speed, as he was late for an appointment.

It also emerged during the trial that a previous driver for Mmemezi had laid a number of complaints against Mmemezi as his attitude was one of “comply now and complain later”.

The other person who should be held accountable for his actions is the one who allowed Semitjie to drive a VIP vehicle after failing 2 advanced driving courses.

The SAPS and the ANC have never told us who this is, so presumably they too have got away with irresponsible behaviour.

I have raised the issue of Mmemezi not being held to account a number of times since the incident, and I can fully understand why the Ferreira family want him to take responsibility.

By his silence, Mmemezi shows how uncaring and insincere he and the ANC really are. He should “man up” and take the fall.

Once again, an ANC comrade is protected, showing there are different rules for members of the ANC elite who can do what they want, when they want, without bearing the consequence.

Media enquiries:
Kate Lorimer MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Community Safety
083 642 2727

Amajita make South Africa proud

SollyMsimangaThe DA congratulates the South Africa men’s U20 national team, the Amajita, and their coaching staff for their historic 2-1 win over Finland in the final of the Commonwealth Cup last night.

To cap off this phenomenal achievement, team captain Motjeka Madisha was named man of the tournament and Pule Maraisane striker of the tournament.

This weekend’s success has now established Amajita’s as firm contenders in the 2015 CAF African U-20 Championship in Senegal in March, and teams that reach the semi-finalists in this tough event will qualify for the 2015 FIFA u/20 World Cup.

Amajita’s success is a clear indication that South African football is on the rise, and that player development, coaching and management structures in the junior divisions are starting to bear fruit.

The DA along with the rest of the nation, are extremely proud of these young men who beat some of the best junior teams in world football, and look forward to their arrival in Johannesburg on Tuesday afternoon.

The DA will continue to cheer on Amajita as they march to conquer African football’s finest, and afterward as they head on to conquer the world.

Media enquiries:
Solly Msimanga MPL
DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Sport
060 558 8308

Court papers implicate top Gauteng ANC official in health corruption

Bloom,-JackRecently filed court papers provide more evidence that implicates Brian Hlongwa, presently the ANC’s Chief Whip in the Gauteng Legislature, in alleged massive corruption that occurred in the Gauteng Health Department when he was the MEC for Health.

These documents were filed in response to an asset forfeiture application by the National Prosecuting Authority in July last year against Hlongwa concerning his house purchased for R7.2 million in Bryanston, Johannesburg, and also against 3P Consultants and the Baoki Consortium, which had multi-million rand contracts with the Gauteng Health Department.

The Baoki Consortium was awarded a R1.4 billion contract by the Gauteng Health Department in December 2007 to provide a Health Information System and electronic Health Records (HIS-eHR) for Gauteng hospitals and clinics.

They have indicated to the court that they do not intend to oppose the NPA’s asset forfeiture application against them.

The reason they give is that they are not able “to address or refute the allegations set out in the documents supporting the preservation order granted on 21 July 2014 insofar as they related to the purchase of 163 Eccleston Crescent, Byanston and the sale of 26A College Drive, Bryanston (‘the property allegations’). It would accordingly not have served the court for the remaining issues to have been addressed, if the property allegations could not be addressed.”

Furthermore, they “were shocked to learn of the property allegations. Given these allegations, and as a matter of good corporate governance, it was decided not to oppose the application. This should in no way be interpreted as a concession that any of the other allegations … are admitted”.

This is a stunning climb-down in which they have relinquished a R1.2 billion claim against the Department for breach of contract.

The “property allegations” refer to the role of Mr Heinz Smidek in purchasing Hlongwa’s former home at 16A College Drive in Bryanston for R4.6 million as well as other gratifications to Hlongwa in order for him to improperly influence the award of the tender to Baoki.

Smidek is an Austrian citizen and the CEO of AME Africa and a director of Amethyst (Pty) Ltd, which were part of the Baoki Consortium.

According to the affidavit by the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Kemsing Services, a Cyprus-registered company, bought the College Drive house for R4.6 million on 26 February 2008 for the use of Baoki or AME Africa. Smidek was a beneficial owner of Kemsing and facilitated the sale.

This money was used by Hlongwa to buy a R7.2 million house in Eccleston Crescent, Bryanston, along with other payments to him by Mr Richard Payne, the CEO of 3P Consultants, and Mr Niven Pillay, the CEO of Regiments Healthcare which also benefited from a department contract.

Kemsing allowed Hlongwa to remain in the College Drive house without paying the R40 000 monthly occupational rental as required by the contract, and on 8 May 2009, Kemsing transferred R1 563 674 from its Cyprus account into Hlongwa’s personal account, ostensibly for furniture purchased – but Hlongwa took the furniture with him when he vacated the premises.

In April 2010 Kemsing sold the house for a loss.

According to the NDPP affidavit: “The Baoki gratifications were given or received in order for Hlongwa to improperly influence the GDoH’s supply chain management officials … Hlongwa’s influence extended to:

· The award of the HIS-eHR tender to Baoki,
· The fixing of the price of the HIS-eHR,
· The conclusion of the main agreement for the HIS-eHR, and
· The terms of the main agreement for the HIS-eHR.”

Alleged irregularities in the award of the contract to Baoki include the non-inclusion of VAT and training costs in their bid, which enabled them to undercut Intersystems, a rival bidder.

Nevertheless, the Departmental Acquisition Council awarded a Proof of Concept (PoC) to both companies, but Ms Sybil Ncgobo, the Head of Department, advised Baoki that they had been awarded a PoC and advised Intersystems that they had not been awarded a PoC.

The NDPP concludes that the Baoki gratifications are corrupt activities under sections 3 and 12 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

According to the NDPP, the evidence “indicates the existence of an apparent and generally corrupt relationship between Hlongwa and Payne. The evidence points out that Smidek and Amethyst associated themselves with, alternatively were part of the generally corrupt relationship that existed between Hlongwa and Payne in order to secure benefits for themselves and the entities under their control or associated with them.”

This is a really damning conclusion. Other court documents show that Hlongwa and 3P oppose the forfeiture applications on narrow grounds and provide little evidence to deny the allegations against them (all documents are available on request).

It should be noted that Payne is alleged to have paid R1.6 million towards the purchase of the R7.2 million house in Eccleston Crescent Bryanston, and R640 000 through various fronts to refurbish it.

Mr Niven Pillay also allegedly paid R700 000 for Hlongwa’s deposit on the house, and then R1 million to prevent the offer from falling through.

It was reported on 28 July last year that the allegations against Hlongwa have been referred to the ANC’s provincial integrity committee. They have taken an inordinately long time to take a decision in this matter.

Whilst Hlongwa is innocent until proven guilty, and due process must be followed in this matter, there is a huge corruption cloud that hangs over his head that undermines Premier David Makhura’s pledge to run his administration with integrity and free of corruption.

It is also a test of the ANC’s 2012 Policy Conference proposal that all deployed ANC members in government step down immediately when accused of misconduct or incompetence.

Makhura was quoted at the time as saying that stepping aside doesn’t mean a person is guilty, but the idea is that no-one will be able to “hide behind” the argument that they are innocent until proven guilty, and thereby worsen the “troubled image” of the party.

We still live today with the dire consequences in our hospitals of the disastrous period when Hlongwa was Health MEC.

Makhura needs to fire Hlongwa in order to distance himself from the increasing evidence of corruption against him.

Media enquiries:
Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health
082 333 4222

Drugs lead to Zamampilo looting and death

kateEarly indications are that the shooting incident that occurred last night opposite the Zamampilo settlement in the Langlaagte policing area, was drug related.

Two South Africans were allegedly shot dead by a Somalian shopkeeper while stripping the shop of all metal, presumably to sell for scrap.

Community members say the two appeared to be high on drugs, probably nyaope.

This highlights the seriousness of the drug problem in the Ward 68 area and is the reason why the Democratic Alliance conducted a march against crime to the Langlaagte Police Station on Saturday.

We delivered a memorandum and a petition signed by the community, calling primarily for the re-introduction of the narcotics and organised crime units and calling for strict action to be taken against police officers who are in cahoots with the drug dealers.

Click here to view the memorandum.

It is important too that the SAPS act on information given to them by the community regarding the whereabouts of drug dealers and regarding the manner in which they operate.

Good intelligence is the only way to combat the scourge of drugs and ensure the arrest and conviction of the drug distributors.

It is imperative that drugs become a high priority issue for the SAPS in Gauteng, and I look forward to the Gauteng Police Commissioner, Lesetja Mothiba, showing us the plan to deal with the issue in the Langlaagte policing area.

Media enquiries:
Kate Lorimer MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Community Safety
083 642 2727

Ekurhuleni’s potholes grow like weeds

Campbell,-Dr-NeilPotholes are taking over the streets of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM).

Despite numerous requests by Councillors to have the potholes repaired, the EMM’s Road and Storm Water Department cannot appoint contractors because almost all of their senior staff are suspended pending disciplinary action.

Coupled with this, the department claims that bitumen is unobtainable.

As a result, cold asphalt is being used to “repair” the few potholes that do get attention.

Due to the rapidly increasing number of claims for damages to tyres and rims, the metro – in an attempt to shirk its responsibility, now claims it cannot be held liable for damages unless the pothole has been reported.

The metro’s attempt at escaping their duty of maintaining quality municipal roads is flawed in both law and logic.

With the drastic drop in oil prices, the metro must stop wasting public funds by using cold asphalt, and source hot-tar to repair potholes.

The EMM must finalise the outstanding disciplinary cases against senior staff.

Failure to do so will perpetuate the pothole crisis resulting in more justifiable claims against the metro by motorists.

The DA urges motorists whose vehicles are damaged by potholes to report the incident to the SAPS on either a collision report or an occurrence book entry. The case number should be used in communication with the metro.

Motorists should photograph the damage on scenes and if possible, receive testimony from witnesses.

The DA will continue to pressure the EMM to get its house in order to ensure that this pothole crisis is resolved

Media enquiries:
Neil Campbell MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport
082 387 2540

Court papers implicate top Gauteng ANC official in health corruption

Bloom,-JackTomorrow, 26 January, DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC Jack Bloom will reveal information from court papers that sheds new light on alleged massive corruption that occurred in the Gauteng Health Department under former Gauteng Health MEC Brian Hlongwa.

These documents were filed in response to an asset forfeiture application by the National Prosecuting Authority in July last year against Hlongwa, concerning his house purchased for R7.2 million in Bryanston, Johannesburg, and also against 3P Consultants and the Baoki Consortium, which had multi-million rand contracts with the Gauteng Health Department.

Date: 26 January 2015
Time: 11:00
Venue: Democratic Alliance boardroom, 3rd floor, Gauteng Provincial Legislature, President Street, Johannesburg.

There will be extensive opportunities for interviews and photographs. Members of the media are welcome to attend.

Media enquiries:
Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health
082 333 4222

Willie Venter
Director: Communications and research – DA Gauteng
060 963 8260

DA calls for corrupt Emfuleni municipal officials to be sacked

Chabalala,-KingsolThe DA is disappointed to learn that corruption within the Emfuleni Local Municipal (ELM) continues unabated.

The recent report of two ELM officials involved in organising entertainment gigs with local music artists and then keeping a certain portion of the profits for themselves is appalling, to say the least.

The music industry is a difficult industry to be in as it is. To add greedy government officials to the mix leaves up-and-coming artists disheartened.

Government officials are assigned to improve the quality of life for the community. Those who do their jobs at the expense of the very community they are meant to serve should be sacked.

This will send a strong message to any other employee of the municipality that corruption will not go unnoticed.

Just a week ago local news reported a case of fraud where an assistant female traffic officer collected up to R 400 000 from unemployed community members. It was alleged she promised hopeful job seekers employment opportunities in the mayoral office, within the human resources department, as acting municipal mangers and as senior managers.

We call on Cooperative Governance MEC Jacob Mamabolo to hold municipal employees who manipulate vulnerable members of the community accountable.

The DA will be submitting written questions to MEC Mamabolo asking whether his department is aware of corruption at the Emfuleni Municipality and whether investigations are being conducted into officials at this municipality.

The DA strongly condemns opportunistic officials who prey on artists and unemployed members of the community for their personal enrichment.

Media enquiries:
Kingsol Chabalala MPL
DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Evaton and Sebokeng
060 558 8299

Have Gauteng police given up on smash-and-grabs?

kateFor the last week, a video of a smash-and-grab on the bridge at the corner of Cambridge and Witkoppen Roads, in Johannesburg, has been doing the rounds on social media. It shows the vicious and rapid nature of this crime perpetrated on unsuspecting motorists.

I am getting more and more complaints about smash-and-grab robberies and thefts from residents across Gauteng.

Often people complain that police are not interested in following up complaints and that these crimes continue to happen at the same spots, over and over again.

Other victims don’t even bother to report the incidents to the police as they believe nothing will be done.

This type of crime can be classified in a number of ways including “theft out of motor vehicles” or “common robbery”.

It is therefore difficult to know whether the increase in crime in Gauteng, in both these categories is attributable to smash-and-grabs.

It seems there are known modus operandi which are used repeatedly by these criminals, yet the police seem unable to arrest them.

Have the SAPS given up?

Gauteng Police Commissioner, Lesetja Mothiba, needs to spell out his plan of action against this growing crime trend.

Many Gautengers and police are aware of various smash-and-grab hotspots and I find it hard to believe that the SAPS cannot seem to deal with the issue.

It is unacceptable that motorists in Gauteng fear being targeted on a daily basis, in the same places.

It is the responsibility of the SAPS to keep our motorists safe.

Media enquiries:
Kate Lorimer MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Community Safety
083 642 2727

Emfuleni municipality must install electricity at Evaton school

Chabalala,-KingsolThe DA Gauteng calls on the Emfuleni Municipality to switch the lights on at Evaton West Primary School. A year after the school opened its doors in January 2014, staff and learners have returned to a school with no electricity.

When the school first opened, it was not connected to the local power grid. Solar panels were provided as a temporary solution, but these were stolen in March last 2014. Repeated calls for assistance from the municipality have fallen on deaf ears.

It is of deep concern that the municipality leaves important institutions like schools without any electricity for so long. Ensuring the school is fully functional with electricity is a basic requirement and should be attended to urgently.

This makes teacher’s jobs very difficult as it restricts them from conducting any online research and having to print work at internet cafes. Not only does this place an unnecessary burden on teachers, but could also cause delays in covering the school curriculum.

Valuable technological resources play a critical role in ensuring that teachers are able to provide supplementary learning material to their learners. With Gauteng moving towards the so-called paperless classrooms, it is critical that connectivity is available at all schools.

The DA will submit written questions to Cooperative Governance MEC Jacob Mamabolo asking when electricity will be installed, whether security measures will be put in place to protect school property, and whether the Emfuleni municipal manager will be held to account for failing to address the problem.

Media enquiries:
Kingsol Chabalala MPL
DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Evaton
060 558 8299

DA condemns ongoing looting in Soweto

KhumeThe DA Gauteng absolutely condemns widespread looting of foreign-owned shops across Soweto.

Such behaviour is unacceptable and reverses the gains the people of South Africa have achieved in building a rainbow nation.

This is a time when we are supposed to celebrate our unity as a people through our participation in the African Cup of Nations, and not act as a nation that has no tolerance for others.

Community leaders should provide leadership and spare no effort to restore peace and order.

We are equally disappointed by the lack of police intelligence to proactively prevent the spread of looting and vandalism. Police should be proactive and not reactive.

Police should act strongly against those individuals found to be implicated in such barbaric and criminal activities, and include those police members who stood by and watched looters ransack shops, as well as those colleagues who helped themselves.

Law enforcement agencies must spare no effort to prevent this lawlessness from spreading across the province.

All perpetrators, irrespective of their nationality and affiliation must be brought to book and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Media enquiries:
Khume Ramulifho, MPL
DA Gauteng South Regional Chairperson
082 398 7375