Madame Speaker, leading up to Monday the 23rd of February, the people of Gauteng waited in anticipation for the Premier’s SOPA address, with the hope that his would be a message of hope. Though he spoke of the quest to establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights, by and large his address failed to inspire. His address was an ambitious agenda for economic and spatial development, without any clear implementation timelines and or deadlines.


Honourable Premier, the phrase “Tell no lies and claim no easy victories” is often used in this house. Your speech writers had indeed, given you a script full of spin and riddled with false claims of innovation by your administration. You spoke of spacial reconfiguration and massive infrastructure investments as part of making macro interventions, as though these are new initiatives, when in reality they are projects dating back 10 to 15 years


You mention the Five Economic hubs, which you call corridors, as if they are a new development, when in fact they are historic building blocks of the Gauteng economy. I had learned about these economic Hubs and the advantages of comparative advantage derived from such clustering of industries, at primary school. And that was a good few decades ago. Likewise, most of the “new cities such as the Waterfall Estate, is not a new idea. Similarly, the Aerotropolis is a 12 year old initiative. Many Councillor’s and officials from the Ekurhuleni Metro have been on numerous overseas trips, over the years, spending millions of rand; tax payers money that could have been put to better use, on so called study tours and consultations with experts, to get ideas on how to develop this Aerotropolis. It is not as your address would like to portray it; a new development. Similarly the Tshwane Convention Centre has long been in the planning stages. There had been no less than 4 soil turning ceremonies held to launch this development. Claiming that these developments are new initiatives is nothing but spin doctoring. Spin, to give the impression of radical transformation.  Remember the phrase “tell no lies and claim no easy victories.”


Madam Speaker, the Honourable Premier indicated that his administration had consulted extensively with local governments and that land owned by government will be used to prioritize development. The DID does not as yet have a complete land asset register. The Tshwane Metropolitan Council had recently sold land to the value of R 500 000 in order to balance its books. This Metro, like many others in the Province is on the brink of bankruptcy. Local government remains the coalface of government’s service delivery agenda.


It is where the political will to do, or not to do, have the most direct impact on the day-to-day lives of our people.


This administration needs to pay heed to the cries of our people living in municipalities around the province; our people who are in a daily struggle for water, electricity and decent housing.


Corruption runs rampant, the law is openly flouted, wrongdoers are protected and communities’ service delivery needs are disregarded.


It is the poorest of the poor who bear the brunt of maladministration and malaise – waiting, and in some instances dying, before their basic human rights are met.


The proposed introduction of new metropolitan municipalities is neither feasible nor will it be conducive to the residents living there as centralisation is not the master stroke to cure all ills.


These ills are apparent in the metros such as Ekurhuleni, where communities are only serviced when the premier comes to visit; or Johannesburg, where financial management and billing is a shambles; and Tshwane, where government contracts are reserved for the mayor’s extended family and comrades.


Local government is slowly reaching boiling point, as communities are increasingly resorting to violent protests as a means to an end. Corrupt officials in the employ of government must be dealt with sternly. Corruption robs our people of much needed services and prospects of a decent life.



The contentious tolling system of Gauteng’s freeways has been a thorn in the side of Premier Makhura since he took office.


In the review panel’s final report it became abundantly clear that e-tolls were forced onto the citizens of Gauteng with limited consultation, and that their unilateral implementation harms the poor, the working class, and the provincial economy.


The people of this province have on numerous occasions and on numerous platforms said that e-tolls must go, yet the premier and the ANC refused to recommend they be scrapped. This is evident in the Finance Minister’s speech yesterday.


Only one solution remains, and that is for the premier to announce a provincial referendum on the future of e-tolls. No hybrid system of toll collection is acceptable to the people of Gauteng.



Infrastructure Development

The Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) is a department that shows neither fear nor favour when it comes to thwarting service delivery. It continuously overspends, underachieves and shifts blame – and the premier needs to tackle this department head-on.


Government departments’ service delivery programmes are undermined by DID’s incompetence, and the province will not unlock growth and development unless this department fires on all cylinders.


There will be no growth without infrastructure.


  • While the moves for own power generation and green initiatives (solar) are noble, the use of old coal power stations are not moves made by a government serious about green alternatives.
  • Independent power producers should supplement the power grid – taking the strain off an already burdened coal and diesel sector.
  • The Provincial Infrastructure Coordination Commission (PICC) will remain a talk shop as long as nothing is done to address the incompetence meted out by the Provincial Department of Infrastructure.
  • Departments should be responsible for own maintenance and infrastructure.
  • The Sedebeng Sewerage works project is far from being completed. We are aware of a good number of business investment projects, with the potential to create thousands of sustainable jobs, being denied, as the much needed bulk sewerage infrastructure is not available to service the additional load of human excrement that workers at these businesses will produce. (Afrikaans saying DAAR IS A DROL IN DIE DRINK WATER)…




From his address it is clear that health and the well-being of residents of this province remains a major priority for Premier Makhura. He however needs to re-establish public confidence in government health facilities.


Too often do stories of malpractice, medical shortages, long queues and ailing health infrastructure hit the headlines, with very little or no reassurance that this administration is serious about caring for the needs of the people.


As a starting point, the premier should announce the decentralisation of procurement to hospital CEOs. By doing so, bureaucratic red tape that often hinders critical care will be minimised – improving the quality of healthcare to residents of the province.


Coupled with this, the responsibility of maintenance and repair should be removed from the ambit of DID and be done in-house. This will alleviate the backlog in infrastructure projects and increase maintenance turnaround time. The mentioned E-Health system was a promise made in this very House almost 10 years ago. The question is “When will it finally come online”?



Economic Development

While Gauteng may be the economic heartbeat of South Africa, its pulse is rapidly fading. The Premier brags about the fact that the province’s economy grew above the national average, by 2.2% in 2013, while the NDP sets an annual growth target of 5%, which is 2.7% less than the target. And this bad performance is somehow acknowledged as an achievement. Indeed it is true that in the land of the blind one eye is king.


Innovative and incentive based approaches are needed to increase employment and economic growth.


It cannot be business as usual while the people of this province are crying out for the right conditions to steer the ship of Gauteng into less stormy waters, and the premier failed to announce a definitive policy direction to loosen the economic shackles of cumbersome, bureaucratic red tape and plagued by corruption,. The Finance Minister yesterday announced that no less than R30 billion is stolen from the Countries covers and crime Watch had recently pointed out that Gauteng is leading on the corruption bandwagon.


By simplifying processes such as registration and regulation – business will flourish: Particularly SMME’s and those individuals trying to eke out a living in the province’s townships.


Special Economic Zones and Innovation Hubs in our township economies will go a long way in bringing informal businesses into the formal economy, while at the same time improve skills and increasing the provincial revenue base.


  • Central corridor (JHB) not an industrial centre – the high crime rate has forced the private sector out or forced it to take own initiatives to remain safe.
  • The new mega-cities mentioned are all private sector initiatives – the Premier cannot claim success for the free market initiative.
  • We need red tape reduction, freer markets, and viable centres of trade
  • Madam Speaker the Premier has promised to build no less than a total of 680 000 housing units within the next 4 years of the remainder of this term of office. Though I would like to believe that his intentions are genuine, this is an over ambitious target as historical evidence indicates that the province and local government together has on average built 30 000 RDP units per annum. This is a government owned project that if properly managed, can potentially offer not only employment opportunities, but the development of skills employed in the construction industry. Skills such as bricklaying, plastering, carpentry, plumbing and electrical wiring can be taught to unskilled workers, while delivering on the housing needs of our people. The building of sustainable communities does not only involve the building of houses. What is glaringly missing in this announcement is the building of schools, clinics, libraries and other recreational facilities needed in Proper Township planning. If these facilities are not provided, then Hon. Premier, your government will be perpetuating the former apartheid housing development schemes.
  • The premier mentioned the sorry state of Alexander and Kliptown. Both had been Presidential Projects, yet more than 15 years later, little has changed for the majority of our people. Instead of providing sustainable decent housing projects, these areas are fast becoming slums. Our people deserve much better.



As migration into Gauteng continues in search of a better life, the demand for education in our ever-expanding communities remains a priority.


Failing infrastructure, overcrowding, and a lack of sanitation, electricity and water; coupled by the limited number of state schools – are all factors that harm quality education.


It is imperative that these issues are dealt with in a timeous manner to ensure that Gauteng provides quality basic education to all learners.


If not, the province will suffer an educational disconnect.

Madame Speaker very little was said about how the Provincial Government will be tackling the unacceptable high levels of crime in the Province. When it comes to the issue of drugs, prevention is better than cure. Proper and effective policing by the re-establishment of the specialised drug combatting unit which would lead to a higher arrest and conviction rate of drug dealers will assist in this regard.


In conclusion Madame Speaker, my advice to the Honourable Premier, is that he should deal with basics first. Sort out and deal with corruption in your provincial and local governments as a matter of urgency. The former Premier with the nickname of Mama Action also made promises that she would eradicate corruption in her administration and yet little if any progress was made in this regard. By the end of her term of office she was renamed as the Queen of empty Promises. Honourable Premier your announcement of the establishment of the Integrity Management and Anti-Corruption Unit must not be an empty promise. We want to see a concerted effort aimed at arresting and imprisonment of corrupt officials and public representatives alike. Otherwise you could consider yourself a servant of the people and at the end of your term be known as THE DOCTOR OF SPIN.







Contact: Cell 082 960 3743

E-tolls: Whose interests do they serve, Minister Nene?

Finance minister Nhlanhla Nene needs to face the public and spell out exactly who stands to benefit by continuing to impose e-tolls on motorists.


During his budget announcement yesterday the minister said that but that e-tolls would remain the principal funding mechanism of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).


After the newly announced cap, e-tolls are now projected to earn R2 billion per year, based on the assumption that every motorist would pay. This of course is not happening.


Of that amount, half would service the GFIP debt while the other half would go to the collection agent.


It makes no sense to R5 to an agent to collect R10 when by using the fuel levy you can collect for free and save.


This of course begs the question: Why not scrap e-tolls in their entirety, ring-fence 10 cents a litre of the fuel levy, and service the debt?


All taxpayers eventually pay the e-toll via the passing on of costs through every loaf of bread and every litre of milk.


Government’s ongoing insistence to levy e-tolls, only to lose half to a collection agent, increases perceptions that certain individuals have interests in the e-tolls contract, and are benefitting at the expense of Gauteng’s citizens.


It is now the only logical conclusion. But is a perception and Minister Nene must address it.


It is time for minister Nene to come clean and state Treasury’s reasons behind the refusal to ring-fence a portion of the fuel levy to fund GFIP, when clearly this would be the cheapest way of paying for the roads.


Media enquiries:

Mike Moriarty MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Finance

082 492 4410


Clayville Ext 45 residents none the wiser about improved infrastructure

Gersbach-Graham1Gauteng MEC for Housing and Traditional Affairs, Jacob Mamabolo, has pronounced noble intentions to improve the living conditions of residents of Clayville Ext 45, Ekurhuleni, but has failed to provide detailed plans as to how this is to be done.


In a written reply, the MEC stated that 3 384 stands in Clayville Ext 45 were to be developed providing for 200 single residential RDP units, 1 704 High Density Walk-up units, 380 rental units and 1 100 GAP / FLISP units (for persons not qualifying for RDP or bonded units).


Beneficiaries of these plans include residents of the nearby Madelakufa 1 & 2 Informal Settlements, Freedom Square and applicants on the Tembisa housing waiting list.


Whilst the reply stated that schools, parks, medical facilities, roads and transport facilities were being planned – no detail of these facilities was provided.


The nearby Mpumelelo Primary School, designed for 1 800 learners, has an enrolment in excess of 2 300 yet is still housed in temporary facilities.


Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, mentioned in his State of the Province Address that Clayville Ext 45 is one of the areas included in the delivery of more than 100,000 housing units in the next 5 years.


However, there are still no details as to what is planned.


My colleague, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho MPL, and I will address a public meeting on Wednesday, 4 March, 2015 at the Olifantsfontein Community Centre at 19h00 to provide feedback to the community on the DA’s education campaign.


Educational needs are critical to sustainable human settlements.


The DA will continue to ensure that the needs of the residents are addressed effectively and are not lost in the mists of cheap talk.


Media enquiries:
Graham Gersbach MPL
DA Spokesperson on Roads
060 556 4346


Disgraceful barring of media from Bara Hospital

I am appalled that members of the media were yesterday barred access to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.


According to a report, they were invited to accompany the Public Service Commission on an inspection of the hospital, but the hospital’s CEO Sandile Mfenyane said he was following instructions from the Gauteng Health Department in barring them.


This is utterly disgraceful. We seem to be going backwards in access to hospitals to investigate service delivery problems.


I have previously been banned from Bara Hospital, and last year I was escorted off the premises of Helen Joseph Hospital by security guards because the department said I did not have permission to be there.


According to the Constitution, public representatives have the right to do unannounced inspections, and media also have rights that have now been denied by this hospital.


The Gauteng Health Department should respect the Constitution and allow reasonable access to hospitals to assess conditions.


They are undermining democracy and are no doubt fearful that poor treatment of patients will be exposed, like the photograph of two babies in a cardboard box that a newspaper published some years ago following a visit to Bara Hospital.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222


Bungled legal processes keep Gauteng’s roads in the dark

A service level agreement, to be signed in December 2014, ensuring the lights on Gauteng’s freeways would be adequately maintained has still not been ratified by the South African Roads Agency (SANRAL) and the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport (GDRAT).Gersbach-Graham1


This was revealed in a Roads and Transport committee meeting held at the Provincial Legislature.


This agreement would ensure that SANRAL would repair and maintain lights on Provincial Roads including the R24 (Albertina Sisulu freeway) from Johannesburg to O.R Tambo International Airport and the Atlas Road off-ramp from the R21.


The lights on the R24 have not been working for close on a year now, and according to residents the lights on the Provincial section of the Atlas Road off-ramp been a problem for over 6 years.


Reasons given for the delay include:


  • The agreements have been referred back to both the Legal Departments of the Gauteng Provincial Government and SANRAL for further negotiation;
  • The “as built drawings” for the design of the Atlas Road off-ramp when the R21 was handed over by GDRAT to SANRAL were outdated and did not reflect the current configuration of this off ramp;
  • Sections of road inclusive of the P40 and the section to where the lighting type changes should have initially been handed over to SANRAL.


In the meantime, whilst GDRT and SANRAL sort out their past mistakes, and the legal departments are sitting on the draft agreement, no maintenance and repairs are being done to any lighting on provincial roads across Gauteng.


Residents therefore are at risk of motor vehicle accidents due to poor lighting – while crimes at off ramps like Atlas Road continue to escalate.
Media enquiries:
Graham Gersbach MPL
DA Spokesperson on Roads
060 556 4346


DA strongly condemns Sedibeng protests

The DA Gauteng strongly condemns the current protest action by two opposing ANC factions in the Vereeniging central business district.


According to reports, the protesters are demanding the resignation of district mayor Mahole Mofokeng, accusing him of corruption and nepotism. Protestors are causing havoc in the city centre by burning tyres and have brought business to a halt.




The DA strongly condemns violence in any form, and we call on the ANC to deal with its internal problems as a matter of urgency – as residents are being negatively affected by the spill-over into the municipality’s ability to deliver services.


The ANC must separate the party from the state, and ensure that internal struggles do not affect residents and business government is meant to serve. (I will insert fotos sent)


The DA will continue to monitor the situation and ensure that the ANC is held to account for its reckless behaviour.


Media enquiries:

Kingsol Chabalala MPL

DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Evaton

060 558 8299  


Blockages at licencing centres should be easily removed

Following the problems experienced at licensing centres across Gauteng, Centurion in particular, the DA conducted a follow up visit to the facility.


Although a general improvement in efficiency and staff attitudes seems to have taken place, the biggest single disruption in the licencing procedure was experienced at the eye-test station.


The majority of testing machines were unmanned leading to long delays and frustration.


This is a simple organisational problem, not beyond the capacity of management to fix.


The breakdown of these facilities has negative impact on the economy as applicants often have to leave work leading to down time.


It is not uncommon for employers to have to give their staff up to three days off to visit the licencing centres.


Unpaid leave is often the norm.


What should be a quick routine operation turns into a frustrating and time-consuming exercise.


This applies equally to school learners and students who lose out on precious class and study time.


Inefficiency in the licencing system impacts negatively on both municipal and provincial revenues, as a large percentage of fees obtained in the licencing and testing process reverts to municipal coffers with the rest going to the Province.


Delays in the process inevitably slow down the revenue flow.


There should be an environment of trust and confidence between officials and the public, who ultimately pay their salaries.


The situation in a number of licencing centres unnecessarily erodes this relationship, making the corrective steps which should be taken all the more urgent.


Media enquiries:

Justus de Goede MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Transport

060 558 8305

Who was consulted on the renaming of Gauteng hospitals?

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has said that “following a community participation process” three hospitals will be renamed, but previous procedures to ensure wide public involvement in such a matter have not been followed.Bloom-Jack1-240x300

According to Makhura, the Zola-Jabulani Hospital will be named after Bheki Mlangeni, the Natalspruit Hospital will be named after Thelle Mogoerane, and the Far East Rand Hospital after Ruth First.

These are all ANC struggle heroes and it is not clear who was consulted on the renaming.

Previously, there was a public call for suggested names, and the Gauteng Legislature’s Health Committee was also involved.

We have not been given a rationale as to why these three hospitals are being named after particular people.

This is not a good precedent by a new premier who has pledged to be a servant of the people.

There needs to be real community participation in any hospital renaming process.

The higher priority is actually to improve service at these hospitals so that they do not disgrace the names of the people they are going to be named after.

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

State of Gauteng: Premier bites of more than he can chew

Gauteng Premier David Makhura today laid out an ambitious agenda for Gauteng’s economic and spatial development, but without any clear implementation timelines and deadlines.

While the premier rightly emphasised the need to grow the province’s economy, he did so while paying scant attention to the elephant in the room: E-tolls and their continued implementation.

In fact, the premier only further delayed the inevitable decision that tolls will continue in some form or another and will not be scrapped.

Economic growth can only take place in an environment of uncurtailed movement of people, goods and services, despite the premier’s misconception that Gauteng’s people are in favour of the user-pays system.

As long as highways are tolled or road users forced to pay for freeway improvement through one stealth tax or another, the economy will be stifled, and the premier’s ambitious plans will not materialise.

It is also concerning how little attention was paid to the development and improvement of the province’s roads infrastructure. The province’s roads are already congested and it will only become worse as long our roads infrastructure does not enjoy priority.

So too is the insufficient attention on the province’s public transportation network. Improved productivity requires people to get to work using safe, reliable and affordable public transport. The premier only made reference to plans for expanding existing bus, rail and Gautrain networks, once again without implementation timelines.

While the DA acknowledges the need to negate the effects of apartheid spatial planning, the premier needed to be more clear about the establishment of mega-cities and their implementation plans.

The premier does himself no favour by re-announcing flagship projects that had been in the pipeline for years, such as Tshwane Convention Centre, the Aerotropolis and the African Gateway, as well as the construction of 680 000 housing units, when his government can only build 30 000 housing units per year.

The same applies to the crisis in municipalities across the province. Little or no effort is being made to tackle the massive service delivery backlogs and financial irregularities, while communities take to the streets almost every day to give rise to their frustrations.

In the meantime, the premier’s service delivery war room is yet to become operational, almost a year after being announced in 2014. Local government is the first point of contact the people have with government, and the premier needs to bring his activist government principles to our communities if he wants his administration to enjoy any success.

The state of Gauteng will be no better in the medium term so long as Premier Makhura, and his administration pay little attention to every aspect of economic growth and job creation across the province.

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


Urgent need for Edenvale Hospital to be expanded

The Edenvale Hospital runs at an average 98% capacity, which often leads to over-crowding in casualty, and needs to be expanded from 230 beds to 450 beds.

This was a major concern expressed by Dr Norman Kearnes, the hospital CEO, during a visit by the Gauteng Legislature’s Health Committee on Thursday last week.

I have seen for myself how patients in casualty lie on the floor or in the corridors because there are not enough beds to be admitted.

Other issues include:

· Small repairs can take months because responsibility was transferred last year to the Infrastructure Development Department e.g. the casualty door has been broken for more than 3 months.

· While there is only a 3% vacancy rate in funded staff posts, the hospital is in desperate need of more doctors and nurses, which means that the official staff establishment should be increased.

· Waiting times are worse in the early morning but are more acceptable later in the day.

· Medicine shortages are dealt with by substitutions or getting from other institutions.

· The hospital scores only 50% on cleanliness according to national health standards.

The hospital budget is R266.6 million, but is expected to spend R340 million by the end of the financial year in March.

The expansion of Edenvale Hospital makes a lot of sense because the local population has grown rapidly.

The 800-bed Tembisa Hospital is horribly over-crowded and it appears that the Kempton Park Hospital will not be re-opened in the near future.

Plans for additional beds at Edenvale Hospital date back to 2006, and should be implemented as soon as possible.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222