Atlas Road Remains a Death Trap While MEC Drags his Feet

Motorists continue to bear the brunt of Gauteng Transport MEC’s reluctance to maintain street lights along sections of the provincial roads network – particularly the Atlas Road off-ramp in Benoni.

Late last week, yet another serious accident took place at the intersection of Atlas and Elgin roads.

The Atlas Road off-ramp is a part of the provincial roads network.

For six years, this off ramp and provincial roads leading to and from it have been a nightmare for residents of Bonaero Park, Brentwood Park and neighbouring suburbs due to street lights not being maintained.

Whilst we have asked questions of MEC’, Ministers and Gauteng Provincial Departments, and have received tepid answers – there has been no action to actually resolve the problem.

The answer to my last question to MEC Vadi can be summarised as follows:

·         That the maintenance agreement between the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport and SANRAL for the maintenance of lights on provincial roads has still not been signed as they are still finalising the legal aspects of the agreement;

·         The lights have still not been repaired due to challenges of sourcing material, masts damaged during accidents, switches stolen and substations damaged.

I, like the residents of Bonaero Park am tired of excuses.

Whilst the Department experiences delays in finalising agreements and sourcing materials, people are losing their lives and being seriously injured in accidents and hijackings.

It is the MEC and his department who are responsible for this maintenance.

Media Enquiries:

Graham Gersbach MPL

DA Constituency Head – Bronberg

060 556 4346

Gauteng’s Open Tenders Must Align with Nene’s E-Tender Process

The DA calls on Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy to align the provincial government’s open tender system with the national e-tender portal and central supplier database.Adriana Randall - DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

Launched on 1 April by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, the e-tender portal, which is aimed at simplifying, standardising and automation of the procurement process, is the first step to digitalising interaction between South African business and government.

The DA hopes that this will be a more accessible model than Gauteng’s current “open tender process”, announced in November last year for the Cedar Road upgrade – which has been marred by challenges of accessibility to Gauteng businesses.

While the DA supports any initiative aimed at opening up government procurement to public scrutiny, we hope that these will not just be grand public relations exercises, but true implementation strategies.

Open adjudication of bids will provide maximum transparency, reduce red tape, and speed up service delivery.

The DA will submit questions to Gauteng MEC for Finance Barbara Creecy on the province’s readiness to ensure a smooth and stable transition to this national portal and whether the two can be aligned and accessible.

Media Enquiries:

Adriana Randall MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

060 556 4342

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37 Dismissed Gauteng Health Workers Still in their Jobs

MEC Qedani Mahlangu

A bizarre situation has arisen whereby 37 employees in Gauteng public hospitals are working in their jobs despite being dismissed for offences that include fraud, gross misconduct, assault and theft. Most of these employees were initially suspended, but were allowed back because their appeal was not heard within the required 30 days.Jack Blom DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

Appeal Advisory Committee

The reason they are still working is because of long delays in hearing their appeals against dismissal. Out of 47 appeals, ten people were dismissed because of absence, but 37 others remain in their jobs earning a full salary.

The appeal that has dragged on the longest is that of a dentist at the Bertha Gxowa Hospital in Germiston who appealed in October 2013. Three other appeals date back to November 2013, and there are 32 other appeals that have not been finalised after more than 6 months.

According to Mahlangu, the Appeal Advisory Committee is considering the appeals, following which they will give their recommendations to the MEC. She says that the recently appointed committee was dedicated in the last few months to clearing “a huge backlog” and that it is “working on a fast-track programme to ensure the finalisation of the outstanding appeals.”

This appalling breakdown in the disciplinary process means that there are known crooks and incompetents working in hospitals.

At the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital, for instance, there are two pharmacist assistants and two messengers who were found guilty of theft, and a clerk who accepted a bribe.

The department’s gross incompetence in handling discipline needs urgent improvement.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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Gauteng farming co-ops need improved support

The Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development failure to assist farming co-operatives will limit economic growth and job opportunities for rural communities.Adriana Randall - DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

Tomonk Farming Co-operative

In a written response to DA questions over assistance to the Tomonk Farming Co-operative near Cullinan, lack of funds, poor communication and half-hearted coordination between the Department and beneficiaries has caused this Co-op and its potential growth irreparable harm.

This includes:

  • The forced sharing of equipment such as tractors, agricultural machinery and equipment with another co-op, Supagrand Milling, nearly 40 kilometres away. Due to the distances involved, the practice has become unsustainable;
  • The department could not appoint a mentor to assist with the farm’s development to due limited funds for farmer training;
  • Departmental assistance for four hydroponic tunnels, seedlings and fertilizers never materialised;
  • A contract to drill and equip boreholes was turned down and farmers were merely informed the project would be postponed by a year;
  • No emergency funding was made available to assist after damage caused by a hail storm in September 2014.

Agricultural Hubs

During his State of the Province Address, Premier David Makhura outlined a grand scheme to create agricultural hubs to speed up job creation and economic growth.

The horticultural sector is the second largest income earner with 21% of the province’s gross agricultural income, and presents huge opportunities for small farmers to create jobs and grow the Gauteng economy.

Assisting emerging farmers to build sustainable commercial enterprises is not done through extension officers visiting only three times per year and sharing machinery and equipment with others – it is done through ongoing mentorships and training backed up by the technical resources.

If this Department wants to make good on Premier Makhura’s promises, it needs to ensure that objectives are coupled with a budget that promotes all aspects of agricultural development.


Media Enquiries:

Adriana Randall MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

060 556 4342

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DA Gauteng Condemns Invasion of Government Land

The DA Gauteng condemns the attempts earlier this week by residents, to invade government owned land in Emaphupheni, east of Gauteng.Mervyn Cirota, MPL DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Human Settlements

Unlawful Land Seizure


Despite genuine grievances from many of our poor and marginalized citizens whose pleas for service delivery have fallen on deaf ears – we appeal to community members not to be misled into breaking the law but should rather go through the proper platforms with government to air their grievances to speed up housing delivery.

While the DA supports land reform that is aimed at achieving redress in rural communities, the unlawful seizure of land will create an environment of anarchy and lawlessness.

The rule of law must prevail at all costs to ensure that public order and effective governance is maintained.


Media enquiries:

Mervyn Cirota MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Human Settlements

060 558 8312

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Gauteng Community Safety Department Must Commit to a Safer Province

Oversight and Community Engagement

The Gauteng Department of Community Safety’s needs to adopt a sense of urgency in its implementation of oversight and community engagement programmes before another year of missed targets and deadlines passes by.Michele Clarke DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Community Safety

This week the Department tabled a third quarterly report littered with failed programme outcomes and under-expenditure before the Gauteng Legislature, illustrating MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane’s poor grasp of Gauteng’s security concerns and her complete lack of leadership skills.

Despite the MEC’s undertakings, the department’s accruals still amount to over R87 million, and continues to default on Premier David Makhura’s promises to pay service providers within 30 days.

Portfolio Committee and the Civilian Secretariat

To date, the critically important Civilian Secretariat has still not been established. The secretariat is responsible for monitoring the SAPS to ensure that policing is carried out in line with existing policing strategies, and monitoring of the police budget.

The Secretariat is also tasked with monitoring all Metro Police departments within the Province and ensuring that they function within the parameters of their mandate and legislation.

Due to the absence of the Secretariat, the department is only able to monitor a mere 10% of the provincial SAPS budget. The department has advised the Portfolio Committee that the Civilian Secretariat will only be appointed by the end of April.

Community Policing Forums

The division responsible for crime prevention and community policing relationships is yet to award contracts for the training of patrollers and Community Policing Forums, and has failed to do so for more than two years. This is yet another critical aspect of policing in the province, as both patrollers and CPFs act as direct link between police and the public.

If the MEC was indeed serious about improving relations between police and communities, she should crack the whip in these under-performing departments and ensure that the necessary steps are taken to rectify this major shortcoming.

Furthermore, the MEC should extend her commitment to a safer Gauteng by paying closer attention to traffic management and road safety, and to insist upon more traffic officials on duty after hours and on weekends to conduct aggressive road safety operations. Simply claiming budget shortfalls and ignoring the gap in traffic law enforcement will not make our roads safer.

The DA will continue to exercise intensive oversight over this department and the MEC to ensure a safer environment for the citizens of Gauteng.


Media Enquiries:

Michele Clarke MPL

DA Spokesperson on Community Safety

060 558 8309

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Bloom Barred from Natalspruit Hospital

Last week, on Thursday 2 April, I was barred by security guards from doing an inspection visit to the new Natalspruit Hospital in Vosloorus.Jack Blom DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

Head of security Mr Vusi Mkhize appeared to be waiting for me as I had announced earlier in the week that I was going to visit the hospital.

Verbal Exchange

He stopped me and my colleague, Dr Neil Campbell MPL, at the car park, saying that he had to ask management permission for us to visit.

When we persisted we were stopped at the security gates and a man came out and told us very rudely that we could not enter.

He called Neil Campbell “a child” and waved his finger threateningly, telling us to “go to hell” after identifying himself as Dan Molefe.

Part of the verbal exchange is captured on a recording I made on my cellphone (available on request).


The exchange goes like this:

Mkhize – you must come with an appointment here

Campbell – No, you do not need an appointment

Mkhize – I won’t allow you to come in

Campbell – Get your finger out of my face

Molefe – I am saying you are not going to tell me what to do

Campbell – Get your finger out of my face

Mkhize – I will not allow you to come in … make arrest … You are not going to take my name …

Molefe – You take mine, Dan Molefe, take mine, I am the one to talk to you, I am saying to you, you go to hell


Visit to Natalspruit Hospital

It is utterly appalling that we were barred so aggressively from doing our jobs as elected representatives in checking up conditions at this hospital.

The reason I was visiting is because Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu had claimed at a sitting on Tuesday 31 March that the Electronic Document Management System was working well at the hospital, and that inpatients only faced a 13 minute wait, and outpatients a 45 minute wait.

I replied that this was not my observation when I visited the hospital in January this year, where I saw long queues and patients who said it was better at the old Natalspruit Hospital. I then said that I would visit the hospital to see for myself

Click here to view Hansard transcript.

Hide and Seek

What are they trying to hide at the hospital by barring my visit?

Last year in July I was escorted out of the Helen Joseph Hospital because the Health MEC’s office said that I did not have permission to be there.

In previous years I have been prevented from entering other hospitals, including Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital where my photograph was posted at the entrances.

The previous Speaker Lindiwe Maseko and the former Integrity Commissioner Jules Browde have endorsed my right to make unannounced visits to hospitals.

This latest incident reflects badly on Gauteng Premier David Makhura who says that he and his MECs will make unannounced visits, but allows his Health MEC to obstruct me in this matter.

I will be demanding answers about the poor behaviour of staff at the Natalspruit Hospital in barring us, and I will insist that every MPL has the right to make unannounced visits in terms of the Constitution so that we can see for ourselves what is happening in public institutions.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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4846 Patients Wait for Surgery at Bara Hospital

I am shocked at the disclosure by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu that 4846 patients wait for surgery at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

According to a reply by Mahlangu to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature, eye surgery has the highest waiting list, with 1919 patients waiting for operations (40%), followed by 1325 orthopaedic patients (27%), 1200 urology patients (25%), general surgery with 357 patients (7%) and plastic surgery with 44 patients (1%).

Earlier this year there was outrage when a patient at the hospital was told that he would have to wait seven years for a hip operation.

The surgery backlogs have been worsened by frequent equipment failures and electricity power cuts.

I welcome the measures announced by Mahlangu to cut the backlogs, which include extended theatre hours and working with private hospitals.

Hospital management also needs to be improved, and given control over equipment maintenance which is presently done by the dysfunctional Infrastructure Development Department.

The huge suffering by patients at this hospital because of delayed operations is a scandal that should be ended soon.

Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

Esselen Park Mobile Clinic in Shocking Conditions

The DA calls on Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu to urgently address serious infrastructure and sanitation issues at the site of the Esselen Park mobile clinic in Ekurhuleni.

During a recent oversight visit with local DA Councillor Ruth Shabalala, the DA found that due to the broken down mobile clinic, nursing staff are forced to work from the dilapidated building the mobile unit shares premises with.

Even more shocking was the complete lack of sanitation facilities, forcing patients and staff having to use toilets of neighbouring houses.




The lack of access to water and toilet facilities poses a huge health risk to both patrons and clinic staff.

Failure to provide a clean and safe working environment compromises the quality of health care, and will cause the potential spread of disease.

To this end the DA will write to MEC Mahlangu demanding the health department provides decent sanitation facilities to this clinic. We will also submit written questions to the MEC to explain the general state of repair of all mobile clinics in the province, and whether the sites they are located have access to basic services such as water, electricity and sanitation.


Media enquiries:

Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL

DA Shadow MEC: Social Development

060 558 8297

17 False Qualifications Detected in Gauteng

Qualification checks have been made on 1013 employees in the Gauteng Provincial Government since 2012, and have uncovered 17 false qualifications.

David Makhura’s Response

This is revealed by Gauteng Premier David Makhura in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

Most of the checks (747) were carried out in the Education department, which found no false qualifications.

Nine out of 20 employees who were checked in the Human Settlements Department were found to have fake qualifications and resigned when disciplinary proceedings were instituted.

Eight false qualifications were found after 100 employees were checked in the Health Department – 6 employees were dismissed and two are still employed.

Verification Process

According to Makhura: “The verification of qualifications is a continuous process (which) is compulsory for newly appointed staff. Departments such as Health are using the services of the Health Professions Council. Other departments are in the process of procuring service providers to conduct qualifications audits in order to eliminate potential fraudulent incidents before they occur.”

I agree with Makhura’s sentiments in this matter but very few of the 170 000 employees in the provincial government have had their qualifications checked.

It is particularly disturbing that only 100 staff have been checked by the Gauteng Health Department, which has picked up two fake doctors, but there may be more.

More senior level personnel need to be checked and fired if found to have false qualifications.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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