Gauteng’s Failed Bus Services Leave Workers Stranded

National Department of Transport (NDOT)DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport Neil Campbell

While millions of Rands will be spent on celebrations across Gauteng tomorrow in honour of Workers Day, the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) has dealt workers in the province a serious blow by not ensuring the sustainability of public bus operations.

Inefficiently utilised bus subsidies granted directly to Gauteng by the National Department of Transport (NDOT) has forced PUTCO to suspend its operations in the province.

This will negatively impact the 80 000 commuters who use these buses every day.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura

When asked what steps the GPG had taken to provide affordable and efficient alternatives, Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, stated in an official written reply that alternative means of transport were already established to accommodate commuters.

These included mini-bus taxis, metered-taxis, metro-rail and the Gautrain.

Premier Makhura has indicated that extra steps will not be taken to assist stranded commuters, as the above mentioned alternatives will be able to pick up where the busses have left off.

While these forms of transport exist, and are used by many, the thousands of commuters who make use of PUTCO’s services, and not the alternatives do so for the following reasons:

·         Mini-bus taxis are often unreliable, do not service all areas and are not as cost effective as busses;

·         Metered-taxis are extremely expensive and impractical;

·         Metro-rail often experiences delays due to cable theft, rolling stock is outdated, always loaded beyond capacity and is notorious for incidents of crime.

Gauteng Workers Interests

While the GPG under Premier Makhura’s leadership attempts to make right noises, it is clear from the everyday experiences of workers that this administration does not have their best interests at heart.

A key focus of this administration is to redress Apartheid social and geographic planning by bringing those who were once forced to the periphery closer to economic nodes.

How is this to be done when one of the crucial mechanism to do so has been completely disregarded?

The people of Gauteng are being held back from economic inclusion by a government unwilling to accommodate the challenges to prosperity.

The DA will continue to champion this fight on behalf of the workforce of Gauteng.

Media enquiries:

Dr Neil Campbell MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport

082 387 2540

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DA Requests Public Protector to Investigate Evaton Security Tender

Levai Mbatha ClinicKingsol Chabalala DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Evaton

The DA has written to the Public Protector requesting an investigation into possible tender irregularities at the Levai Mbatha Clinic in Evaton.

During a recent oversight visit, the DA was informed that the security company appointed by Gauteng Health Department through a tender process, Toro Security, was replaced two months ago by the ANC Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) War veterans company Royal & Freedom Security.

Public Finance Legislation

Changing service providers without following proper procurement processes is a direct violation of public finance legislation, and the DA is deeply concerned that this is done to benefit ANC cronies.

A further concern of flouted processes is the possibility that Royal & Freedom and its officers may not be registered and certified by the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA), potentially making the Health Department to litigation vulnerable to litigation.

Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu

The DA has submitted written questions to Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu asking why the contract with Toro was cancelled and replaced without following tender processes, and whether Royal & Freedom is suitably certified to provide security services.

The DA will also request the Public Protector to investigate the allegations of tender irregularities, as well as the circumstances surrounding the removal and replacement of Toro Security.

The DA will continue to fight nepotism and corruption without fear or favour.

Media enquiries:

Kingsol Chabalala MPL

DA Gauteng Evaton Constituency Head

060 558 8299

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Gauteng Takes First Bold Step to Protect Heritage

Provincial Heritage Resources Authority of Gauteng (PHRAG)Paul Willemburg DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation

After a wait of almost 16 years, the Provincial Heritage Resources Authority of Gauteng (PHRAG) is finally taking its first step to becoming a fully autonomous entity.

This body is empowered by the National Heritage Resources Act (NHRA) of 1999 to identify, conserve and protect heritage sites, buildings and objects in Gauteng.

However, the PHRAG has been languishing as a unit within the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, instead of operating as an independent entity as required by the Act.

Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation

Through constant pressure the DA has learned that the Department has finally completed a report on the operating model of the PHRAG, with a business case to follow.

The report is damning of the Department, stating that it “is overly controlling in matters of decision making and budget administration” – an effective stranglehold on a vital institution.

Recommendations were made to follow the model of Heritage Western Cape – an independent entity which is recognised as following best practice in the country.

The PHRAG has limped along with minimal funding, and currently only has one heritage architect to undertake a key responsibility in evaluating building plans.

At one stage it was dominated by lawyers – a curious state for a heritage body tasked with identifying historical significance and evaluating building plans.

Violations of the NHRA in Gauteng

Over the past 5 years there have been 16 reported cases of violations of the NHRA in Gauteng, yet only 5 charges were laid, and none of these prosecuted.

The DA calls on the MEC to move swiftly forward with the business case for the PHRAG, and establish it as an independent entity with a proper budget.

This will empower it to identify and conserve the incredible heritage held in our province, and reverse the illegal destruction and alteration of heritage sites and buildings that has continued for so long.

Media enquiries

Paul Willemburg MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation

082 450 0815

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Daveyton Hospital Delayed to 2019

Planned Daveyton HospitalJack Bloom DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

The planned 300 bed Daveyton Hospital on the East Rand which was first approved in 2006 will only be completed in 2019.

This disappointing news was revealed yesterday by Gauteng Infrastructure Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza at a sitting of the Gauteng Legislature.

Budget for Planning and Design

According to Mayathula-Khoza, there is budget for planning and design in 2015/16. Construction will start in 2016/17 and should be completed in three years.

I doubt that the Daveyton Hospital will be built by 2019 as the Infrastructure Development Department has a terrible track record in large building projects.

For instance, the new Natalspruit and Jabulani hospitals were both five years overdue and cost more than double the original budget.

There is a great need for a new hospital to serve the growing population in the Daveyton, Etwatwa and Benoni area, but chronic incompetence means that this will not happen soon.

Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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Gauteng MEC Concedes ICT Tender Awards were Rotten to the Core

Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy all but conceded that her department improperly awarded tenders for 3G connectivity in the province, and that large numbers of staff were involved.Ashor Sarupen DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

3G Connectivity in Gauteng Schools


In response to my question in the Gauteng Legislature regarding irregularities into the awarding of a tender for 3G connectivity to Cloudseed (Pty) Ltd, the MEC said that six officials have been disciplined for financial misconduct as a result of findings of the Auditor-General’s investigation into the matter.

The tender to provide tablets and 3G connectivity to schools was given to Cloudseed, despite the fact that it failed to roll out the Gauteng Online project to provide computer labs to school.

The project was frequently ridiculed as “Gauteng Offline” as a result.

Cloudseed (Pty) Ltd. gets Gauteng Offline

When asked why Cloudseed was not flagged for poor performance after Gauteng Online, MEC Creecy pushed the blame onto the former Head of Department, Mr Stuart Lumka, in an attempt to avoid taking responsibility.

This while Cloudseed continued to get large contracts amounting to hundreds of millions of rand, and that its staff members were appointed by the ANC government.

I have already lodged an application in terms of the Public Access to Information Act (PAIA) for full disclosure of all tender documents and the investigation report into this tender and lay bare the extent of the rot in contracts awarded for ICT.Gauteng E-Tender Portal


Media enquiries:

Ashor Sarupen

DA Gauteng Spokesperson for ICT

060 558 8303

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We must reform to truly advance workers rights.

It is prudent on Workers Day not only to reflect on the historical role that organized labour played in the struggle against oppression, but also to critically examine workers rights today and understand how today’s circumstances can be helped by organized labour, and whether or not our laws adequately cater to the needs of modern workers, and those who are desperately seeking employment.

Now, organized labour has given us the 8-hour work day, paid leave, maternity leave, an end to child labour, improved workplace safety, pensions, healthcare and sick leave. For this, organized labour must be commended.

So, let me be clear, I am no union basher.

But, I am a realist about what needs to be done when economically destructive actions are taken by those so-called union leaders with ideological and political motives, and not in the interests of all workers and, more importantly, those seeking employment.

We live in one of the most unequal societies in the world. It is not a co-incidence then that we also live in a country with one of the highest unemployment rates in the world. In this case, correlation does indeed equal causation.

How has the politically connected elite at the helm of organized labour reacted to these realities? By using workers and workers rights as a shield for the political power plays, not for advancing the needs and rights of their own workers and the unemployed.

Protracted strikes are frequently political tools, where an agenda without a democratic mandate is forced onto a democratically elected government on a different platform. This is a reality. Strikes are not called democratically, members are instructed to strike and enforced militancy in the ranks prevents any dissent from being voiced. Workers don’t even get to vote in a secret ballot about whether or not they want to strike.

This enforced militancy results in looting and violence during strikes, but because of he political connections of union bosses, the organizations are never held accountable. The rights of thousands of others are trampled on during strikes but the politically connected union bosses don’t care – they’re using this all as theatre to pursue their political agendas.

More often than not, the wage offers accepted after a protracted strike are the ones on the table before strikes even commence, but the debts that households have had to incur because they and their families are used in this game of political football they can never recover from. This is why household debts are in extremes.

Most disturbingly, workers who don’t want to strike suddenly have their human rights stripped away by unions – they are beaten and attacked violently, on orders of the unions, when they attempt to go to their place of work instead of strike. Their rights are violated with complete impunity.

Workers rights extend to every worker. It is the responsibility of the state not just to protect unions, but workers! The state must ensure that every worker that wants to work when a strike takes place is able to safely get to his or her place of work and exit.

Until we introduce these reforms to protect workers, to make unions truly democratic organizations and to protect all our people from violence, we have not actually taken care of workers rights. Until we have introduced the economic reforms that move people from welfare to work, we have not advanced workers rights. Until we start calling out those who use workers as cover for their political purposes, we have not advanced workers rights.

We must reform to truly advance workers rights.


I clearly recall the bad old days prior to the 1980’s and the challenges workers in South Africa faced, more specifically the challenges black workers faced.

Even though workers not of European origin were discriminated against, the black worker was more oppressed, oppressed to the extent that they were denied the fundamental right to establish or belong to a Workers Union.  But then of course we all know, that in apartheid South Africa, people of colour were not considered as equals, they were considered lesser beings and thus denied most basic human rights.

I recall the challenges that people of colour (non-Europeans / nie blankes) faced in the workplace.  No matter how qualified or experienced a non-white worker was, you could not progress beyond the level of supervisor, and then you could only supervise non-whites.  No matter that you did the same work as your white / European counterpart, you earned substantially less and you did not have the other fringe benefits such as a pension fund, medical aid, housing subsidy, etc.  Those were the days of job reservation.  Those were the days when workers in general, were nothing else but another resource, a means of production.

I also remember when non-white political organisations were banned (I do not refer to the puppet organisations that in one way or another participated in the illegitimate system).  It was the workers who took up the challenge, to defy the apartheid regime and to fight for the liberation of workers and the freedom of our country and all its people.

Many of us in this August House, were leaders in the Trade Union Movement.  We bravely withstood the onslaught waged against us by the employer aided by the regime.  We were targeted, we were deliberately discriminated against, denied and overlooked on promotions.  The deliberate attempts at making our lives at the workplace so unbearable, that hopefully we would resign, the attempts to dishearten us.  I also remember the attempts to bribe us with huge bonuses and promotions and in exchange, we only had to sell out our fellow workers first and foremost, our lives dedicated to the course, to improve the plight of the workers and to free our beloved country from oppression.

On Sunday, I listened to a program on 702.  It was about domestic workers.  I recalled that in 1946 Eleanor Roosevelt said “The Unionisation of Domestic Workers will be salutary for both this employer and the employee” This program brought home to me the fact that the domestic worker is still to a large extent being exploited.  The irony of it all, is that to a greater extent, this exploitation of the domestic worker, is at the hands of an employer who is a worker as well.  We expect much from our domestic help, who in many instances raise our children, yet we pay them the barest minimum wage.

In conclusion:  The question I ask of us former leaders of the workers is this, what are we doing to grow this economy, to address the plight of the millions of unemployed workers, especially the youth.  What are we who now occupy positions of leadership in Government doing, to offer our unemployed youth, hope?  I quote another Roosevelt:  “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future” I believe that as leaders we must lead, we have to bring the employer and employee to understand that we co-exist, that we need each other to grow our economy and to build a South Africa in which we all have an opportunity to prosper. Thank you.


Honourable Speaker, as much as we say South Africa belong to all who live in it, it would make more sense to say Africa as a continent belongs to all who live in it.

Many people in Africa are very hopeful with the future that this wonderful continent holds for us. We truly believe that Africa should be that bright light that shall shine to the rest of the world.

Great world leaders have emerged from this continent. And great young minds shall be nurtured from the very same continent that we call home. On a daily basis we are inspired by the courage expressed by us here at home along with our fellow brothers and sisters in Africa, to wake up to make Africa a better place. Through economic prospects, social interactions, and all forms of daily practices we remain determined every day to proudly make Africa a home to us all.

Of course, Honourable Speaker, Africa still has huge challenges and problems that we need to frankly talk about. From the eternal conflicts and civil wars caused by greed and bad politicking to a continent that is marked by heavy corruption, and democratic practices that are not respected. Some of the governors in Africa pick and choose which aspects of democracies better suit them and which do not. It is such things that make a sad day in Africa.

It is because of these matters that many people in Africa resort to seeking refuge elsewhere and seeking economic emancipation elsewhere.  I have travelled to many countries here in Africa and have witnessed a desperate need for reformations.

South Africa is not immune from the challenges faced by Africa. In actual fact, through its failures to grow the economy at a sufficient rate, it contributes to the increasing number of challenges.

Africa also needs to learn not only from lessons of the past but as well as lessons of today. It is today that the people of Burundi are on the streets in protests, it is today that organisations such as Boko Haram and Al Shabab continue to horrifically destroy Africa and the peace it deserves. It is today that Zimbabwe community activists are being detained for being mere activists. It is today that some leaders in Africa do everything possible to avoid corruption charges not matter how many they are.

To them it does not matter whether they are 750 or what. They just look for escape holes. Ga o ikitsi o le molato o tshabang go sekisiwa (if you know that you are innocent then why are you afraid to face prosecution).

What we should do Honourable Speaker is to use and share the wonderful Constitution of the Republic of South Africa with other countries in Africa that need to build a strong base in building their nations.

We should uphold the great principles in this document and prove to the rest of the world that we are a country in Africa that emerged out of the murky depths of political crisis during the years of Apartheid, and through our commitment to constitutional values and principles, we are forging a strong, unified society, based on freedom and respect for all.

We should completely reject all forms and signs of xenophobic and Afro-phobic attitudes and champion unity. The question is, are we already unified? Our actions still show that we are still a divided nation. How then can we be the advocates of unity in Africa while we are still divided as a nation?


Madam Speaker

A review of the half–century of the Organisation of African Unity and its successor, the African Union, gives us an idea of progress made by the continent, as we mark Africa Day. Other speakers have addressed the problem of South Africa’s relationship with our fellow Africans fully and eloquently and I don’t want to revisit that important debate ; but I will say, based on my own experience in the international community, that we have strayed a long way from our original commitment to human rights in diplomacy. Minister Alfred Nzo told me human rights were the bedrock of South African foreign policy; right on our doorstep are two examples of undemocratic and despotic regimes and South Africa has managed to look past them for decades. I would have thought this would be a good starting point for the nation that was widely seen as a beacon for Africa in 1994 and from which much was expected.

How have we done in 50 years? Despite many steps sideways and as many back – there have been over 60 coups and attempted coups on the continent in this time – I think there is some reason for optimism. In 1990, there were only 3 sub-Saharan countries with multi-party political systems and now there are over 20. Factors working in favour of wider political freedoms and democracy are the growing organisational ability and power of opposition parties and the communications explosion, which allows much better organisation of elections.

What caught my attention was a three-year survey by Afrobarometer in 34 African countries, including North Africa; if we credit these survey results, there is indeed hope for the future: the conclusion is that over 70% of Africans want democratic government and that the demand for democratic institutions has risen by 15% in 10 years, described as a “growing attachment to democracy”. The underlying message is that, in countries where institutions around democracy, such as electoral commissions, are seen to be working, support for those processes rises. If the quality of elections is seen to be high, people interpret this as the best sign of a democratic government and failed processes discourage the search for democracy. Incidentally, South Africa scored the average among African countries, 70% to the top scorer, Zambia with 90%. Four out of 10 South Africans said they are not satisfied with democracy and three out of ten said they were in a democracy with major problems. There is a strong disillusionment with our institutions and I see red lights.

A brief anecdote, which could sum up our dilemma as a member of the African community; almost 10 years ago, an observant African visitor said to me “You South Africans speak of Africa, but you always add “…and South Africa”. You don’t really see yourselves as part of the continent”. In the light of subsequent developments, this is something to think about, Madam Speaker.

South Africa’s peacekeeping operations and conflict resolution efforts have, with one notable exception, had positive outcomes, but we should by this time have used our resources to take the lead in this area.

These are hopeful signs, but there is also a warning: a recent economist survey gave only one country in Africa, Mauritius, a rating of “full democracy” and rated virtually the whole of Southern Africa, including South Africa as “flawed democracies”. Our 1994 reputation has taken a big knock.

Madam Speaker: South Africa needs a new approach to Africa, as our government has not yet taken on board the complexities of tackling open governance on the continent. We have been passive observers of developments, particularly in the sub-continent and have missed the opportunities to be play-maker without being domineering.


Much of our national discourse and call to action in the past few weeks has been over the attacks on foreign nationals from Africa.

President Jacob Zuma has pointed out that the actions of a small minority does not mean that all South African are xenophobic.

He goes on to say “We appreciate the contribution of foreign nationals to South Africa.  They contribute to our economic development by investing in the economy, bringing critical skills and adding to the diversity that we pride ourselves in.”

There have been complaints about the displacement of many local small traders by foreign nationals and some migrant traders operating illegally.  There are accusations that foreign nationals commit crimes such as drug peddling and human trafficking, that they take the jobs of locals as employers prefer them as they are prepared to take lower wages.

We agree with the President and the Premier that none of these grievances justify any form of violence against foreign nationals. We also know that not all foreign nationals are in the country illegally just as not all are involved in criminal activity.

Most would also agree with the President that much of the blame for the violence is based on economic realities.  What he does not say is that the foreign nationals seem to be better entrepreneurs than South Africans even though the foreigners often arrive in this country with little more than the clothes on their backs. They are prepared to work hard long hours. What the President does not say is that the huge levels of unemployment in this country make life cheap and violence, be it against foreign nationals, road rage, domestic violence or child abuse is a constant threat to all of us regardless of race, language or religion.

Hon Members we know that in 2014 only 42.6% of those who started matric 12 years ago actually passed matric. What happens to those young people who “drop out”? The young men who have been arrested for the death of Manuel Jossias, better known as Emmanuel Sithole, lived in shocking conditions that are a terrible indictment on our society. All four of them failed to complete the school system, they were brought up without a father figure and they are unemployed. They live in absolute poverty.

Stats SA tells us that 51% of young people aged between 19 – 29 have never been employed and once they reach 30 they are never likely to be employed in the future. This results in high levels of gang warfare, drug abuse and crime. When you have nothing to lose, it is easy to strike out at the most vulnerable members of society including foreign nationals.

How do we create the jobs that will help mop up unemployment and hopefully reduce the violence and frustration?  One way would be to encourage entrepreneurship but we make it so difficult to start a legal business in South Africa.  A World Bank survey lists Mauritius as the number one country in Africa for ease of doing business. Ease of doing business is based on how quickly one can register a property, the availability of electricity, and what taxes are involved amongst other requirements. We need to cut the red tape and endless regulations which make it so difficult to start a business. We need to make it easier to employ young people.

We as South Africans must never forget that we are part of Africa just as Africa is part of us. In Sunday’s Business Times, the CEO of Standard Bank, Mr Sim Tshabalala said: “The way we treat African immigrants coming south to find a better life can help or harm South Africa. The bottom line (is) we need Africa and its goodwill”.

He goes further to quote the National Development Plan which says: “We say to one another: I cannot be without you, without you this South African community is an incomplete community, without one single person, without one single group, without the region or the continent, we are not the best that we can be”.

This is what we need to remember on Africa Day