Schools in Tembisa in need of urgent attention

RefiloeThe DA Gauteng continues to urge MEC Panyaza Lesufi to meet the minimum norms and standards at schools across the province.

During an oversight visit to three Tembisa schools; Emmangweni Primary School, Seotloana Primary School and Tlama-tlama Primary School the DA found an urgent need for infrastructure development and more school teachers.

While the national learner\teacher ratio for primary schools is 1:40 (forty learners to one teacher), Setloana Primary School has 1209 students and is over capacitated by 300 learners, with up to 60 children in some classes. To accommodate learners, the school has been forced to borrow chairs from a neighbourhood orphanage.

Overcrowded classrooms place unnecessary strain on teachers’ ability to teach, and to assist struggling learners. It also places increased strain on infrastructure such as toilet facilities, and with no sports field children are restricted to a cramped playing area.

The situation at Tlama-tlama Primary School is similar, with only 37 teachers to teach 1400 learners and some classes having 53 learners in a class. The school lacks both a play area and a sports field, forcing learners to have sports at the grounds near Makholong stadium.

This is not acceptable, and not conducive to a proper learning and teaching environment.

Despite Emmangweni Primary school being well-run and teacher and parents working together the needs for more teachers cannot be ignored. The school has 1625 learners to 39 teachers.

The parallels between self-development and a child’s sense of self is deeply rooted in individual attention children receive from their teachers. Overcrowded classes like the ones seen in these schools, impede this development.

The DA urges the MEC to take these concerns seriously. We will also raise these concerns within the Social development and Education portfolio committees. The need for proper infrastructure needs to be addressed if we are to prepare a generation of industry leaders and educate our communities.

Media enquiries:
Refiloe Nt’sekhe
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Social Development
060 558 8297

Transport MEC acts on licencing centre chaos

de-Goede,-JustusAfter continued calls by the DA for Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, Ismail Vadi, to address problems experienced by the public at licencing centres across the province, it would appear the MEC has finally taken note.

A week ago, the DA alerted MEC Vadi to the fact that many centres were not operating at full capacity, resulting in motorists having been turned away from renewing their licenses and other compliance issues.

This morning, the MEC was seen conducting an oversight visit at the Centurion licensing department.

At this particular centre, motorists have reportedly been turned away on three consecutive days due to staff inefficiency and bad management in what can only be regarded as contempt for the public.

While the reaction of the Gauteng Provincial Government is to be applauded, we shall have to see whether the employees concerned are now sufficiently aware of the seriousness of the situation and put matters right.

Innovative ways of relieving pressure on licencing centres and reduce time spent at these centres should be tested, such as visits to schools to prepare learners’ licences – as done by Home Affairs in the case of identity documents.

The DA hopes that officials working at these centres will now understand the importance of the work they do and realise the seriousness of the situation.

Media enquiries:
Justus de Goede MPL
DA Gauteng spokesperson on transport
060 558 8305

More Cop cars a win for Gauteng

kateI am pleased that Gauteng will receive 1080 new police vehicles this year to strengthen efforts in the fight against crime.

Yesterday, 130 of these vehicles were showcased at the Buccleuch interchange by Provincial Police Commissioner Lesetja Mothiba and National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega.

In 2013, the SAPS in Gauteng reduced the number of sectors in many of the policing precincts, in doing so, dealing a blow to effective visible policing.

There are still many police precincts which are unable to run 2 sector vehicles in every sector 24 hours a day.

I hope these new vehicles will be distributed to police stations across the province to address this issue in particular.

I hope this will be the case.

The National Commissioner was at pains to assure that the situation regarding a tender for the maintenance of police vehicles, resulting in less than a 50% complement of working vehicles for many months last year, has been resolved.

I am yet to be convinced.

It is imperative that these new cars are allocated where they are most needed, and properly looked after on an ongoing basis in order to maximise their value in the fight against crime in Gauteng.

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

Soweto, say no to xenophobia

KhumeThe DA in Gauteng calls on Soweto residents to distance themselves from xenophobic attacks in Snake Park, Emdeni and Zola.

The attacks caused the unnecessary and tragic shooting of a 14 year boy when a foreign owned spaza shop was looted.

The DA condemns all forms of xenophobia and looting of foreign-owned shops.
We call on all law enforcement agencies to definitively deal with criminal cases over the alleged possession of unlicensed firearms, murder and attempted murder.

We urge Soweto residents to avoid repeating the experiences we had in 2008, where widespread xenophobic attacks caused much instability in our country.
South Africans must never forget the support and protection we received from other countries and their citizens during the dark days of apartheid. We are one people, living side by side in one country.

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

Tshwane Metro fast becoming “graft city”

AdrianaInternal conflict arising from nepotism and corruption has left the City of Tshwane in dire straits.

This is according to a confidential report allegedly circulated by disgruntled officials in the Supply Chain Management (SCM) department last week.

The report allegedly reveals how senior officials were presented opportunities to appoint family members in strategic positions ranging from deputy directors to functional heads, with the intention of influencing and manipulating tender processes.

Despite the suspension of Senior Executive Director in SCM, Mr Tswelopele Maabane, graft continues unabated.

Requisitions and purchase orders have been created and approved as late as 21:00, a clear indication that the situation remains unchanged.

It is alleged that officials in the department are rewarded handsomely for their silence, and that data capturers are reportedly earning R28 000 to R38 000 per month for allegedly complying with the wishes of management.

Officials regularly turn up at ANC conferences in luxurious vehicles – not in the least bit shy to show off their riches – eventually prompting the City Manager and MMC for Finance to call an urgent meeting to reprimand officials about flaunting their flashy lifestyles whilst earning relatively small salaries. It is alleged that they were warned to tone it down; otherwise their “handlers would be exposed”.

Two years ago the Tshwane SCM department was “cleaned-out” irrespective of personnel experience and performance. Officials were transferred to other departments to make space for new employees in what appears to be the City Manager’s jobs-for-pals campaign.

If left to continue, the metro not able to meet its financial commitments, and definitely not a good story to tell.

To this end the DA will ask Gauteng Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Jacob Mamabolo, to intervene and investigate allegations as a matter of urgency. I will also request that MEC Mamabolo endeavour, in liaison with Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa, to open up the City of Tshwane’s tender process to ensure transparency and the correct implementation of the SCM policy.

Media Enquiries:
Adriana Randall MPL
DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Procurement
060 556 4342

Are police selling firearms used to terrorise the people?

Moodey,-JohnThe DA notes the arrest of Colonel Chris Prinsloo as part of a Western Cape police investigation into links between police and criminal gangs and the sale of firearms, ammunition and gun licences.

While police claim Colonel Prinsloo’s arrest relates strictly to ammunition found at his home, the DA is extremely concerned over the extent of the rot that has set in in the SAPS.

In a written reply to DA questions late last year it emerged that 633 Gauteng police-issue firearms had been reported lost or stolen, and that since 2011, 281 firearms handed over were lost or stolen from police safe-keeping across the province.

Click here to view Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane’s response.

Of particular concern is the high numbers of firearms stolen from individual police stations, such as from Nigel (23), Lyttelton (59), Rietgat (26) and Vereeniging (33).

The question is of course, whether these firearms have made their way to criminal gangs in the Western Cape, or if they are being used to terrorise people in Eldorado Park, Riverlea, Westbury, Reiger Park and elsewhere in Gauteng.

While the year-long investigation is still ongoing, the DA remains concerned over the possible extent of police officials’ involvement in the sale of firearms.

To this end we will submit further questions requesting the details of investigations into the loss of these 914 firearms, whether they have been concluded, and whether any individuals have been disciplined, dismissed, or charged and convicted.

Police are mandated to protect and to serve the people, and the rot must be prevented from spreading.

Media enquiries:
John Moodey MPL
DA Gauteng Provincial Leader
082 960 1743

Gauteng schools must meet minimum infrastructure norms and standards

KhumeThe DA calls on Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to ensure that the province’s schools meet minimum norms and standards, including those of infrastructure and furniture. In many instances schools lacked the basics, such as office and kitchen facilities, insufficient ablution facilities and Internet and Wi-Fi connectivity.

During the past week, DA public representatives conducted oversight visits at schools across the province to assess school readiness, and found the following:

  • At Rebongwe Primary school in Meadowlands, classes were overcrowded, with three learners sharing two chairs and a table.
  • Learner-educator ratios were extremely high at Rebongwe Primary and Morutathoto Primary in Meadowlands, Lodirile Secondary School and DSJ in Dobsonville, Itirileng LSEN School and Mandisa Secondary school in Kagiso, and Phathudi and Diphalane primary schools in Munsiville.

These challenges need to be attended to urgently.

Lack of proper infrastructure and overcrowded classrooms will play havoc with the quality of teaching and education as the increased learner/teacher ratio inevitably leads to learners not receiving the attention they deserve.

By simply meeting the minimum norms and standards for schools the department will enable a conducive learning environment for both learners and teachers.

To this end the DA will continue to engage with MEC Lesufi and the education portfolio committee and address these challenges

Media enquiries:
Khume Ramulifho, MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education
082 398 7375

200 Public Works youngsters booted from Pretoria hospitals

Bloom,-Jack200 young people doing maintenance work at Pretoria hospitals have been told that they will be out of a job at the end of March when their contracts expire.

These youngsters are paid a monthly stipend of R2400 as part of the Zivuseni Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) of the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development.

They do valuable maintenance work at the Steve Biko, Kalafong, Weskoppies, George Mukhari and Odi hospitals.

Most of them have been working at the hospitals since February last year and are bitterly disappointed that their three month contracts will not be renewed as happened previously.

It’s a pity that these young people are not trained to take up artisan posts at hospitals that desperately need skilled workers to fix deteriorating infrastructure.

The Zivuseni project in hospitals is too short-term to be meaningful and fails to equip with real skills.

I hope that the department reconsiders and extends the contracts of these young people.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

Kempton licensing department’s lunchtime woes

Nt'sekhe,-RefiloeMotorists are being turned away from the Kempton Park licensing department during operating hours due to staff being away on lunch.

For many, the most convenient time to visit the licensing department is between 12:00-13:00, as this is when most companies allow people to take a break.

One would imagine that during this peak period, staff at the department would take lunch on a rotational basis to ensure motorists are dealt with efficiently.

However, motorists who visit the centre between 12:00 and 13:00 are often told to wait until after 13:00 for assistance.

This is not feasible as many people need to return to work at 13:00.

I have experienced this poor service first hand when trying to renew my own vehicle licence at the centre.

I will be writing to the Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, Ismail Vadi, demanding that this situation be addressed immediately.

Media enquiries:
Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL
DA Constituency Head: Kempton Park
060 558 8297

DA calls for referendum on e-Tolls

Moodey,-JohnGauteng Premier David Makhura has betrayed the people of the province by refusing to call for the scrapping of e-tolls, despite the overwhelming public opposition to this unfair and unjust system.

In evaluating the socio-economic impact of e-tolls, the review panel has found that the system is unsustainable, that there is widespread opposition to it, that the poor and working class are bearing the brunt of the financial burden, and that alternative methods of funding should be sought.

Last week the Premier promised further consultations with all stakeholders, yet he still insists that motorists continue to pay e-tolls.

By doing so, the premier unnecessarily dumps the people of Gauteng into further drawn-out review processes, which will inevitably lead to the same conclusion that e-tolls are unjust, and should be scrapped.

In its recommendations, the panel proposed a so-called hybrid system where funding sourced from tolls and other means, such as increased licensing fees, tyre taxes, issuing prepaid e-tags upon vehicle license renewals, and ring-fencing the fuel levy.

In short, Makhura’s panel has recommended that e-tolling must remain when the vast majority of us oppose it.

Today we demand that the Premier places the decision on e-tolling in the hands of the people.

The DA today calls on Premier David Makhura to announce a referendum on e-tolls in his State of the Province address on 19 February.

He must ask the people of Gauteng to say “yes” or “no” on the scrapping of e-tolls.
He must then use this mandate from the people to negotiate the end of e-tolling with national government.

The people’s voice on e-tolling must prevail, not the panel’s voice.

The panel’s recommendation of a hybrid model overcomplicates an already uncertain funding regime – and still forces the public to pay through one “stealth tax” after another.

Shifting gantries around is not pro-poor in the least as Makhura claims. It is anti-poor. E-tolls drive up the costs of goods and services, severely slow down economic growth, and hamper job creation. All residents, including the poor, will still pay for e-tolls through higher prices, lost jobs and restricted movement.

The review panel process offered the people of Gauteng no relief whatsoever, and they will be forced to pay – despite the premier promising otherwise.

In his last State of the Province Address, the premier acknowledged the need to review e-tolls, and many communities and stakeholders were consulted.

The Premier now has to take the next step and call for a provincial referendum in terms of Section 127 of the Constitution asking only one question: Should e-tolls be scrapped?

A referendum is the most direct and effective way to tell government that e-tolls must go.

Media enquiries:
John Moodey
DA Gauteng Provincial Leader
082 960 3743

Neil Campbell
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport
082 387 2540