Merafong Water Crisis Now Affecting Emergency Services

Dysfunctional Municipal Services

Dysfunctional municipal services in Merafong have led to the complete destruction of a family home in Carletonville as emergency service workers could not carry out their relief work when the home caught alight.

Upon arrival emergency services could not locate the nearest hydrant as there were no markings on the street lights – which were out of order.

When one was located, the water pressure was too low for fire fighters to douse the flames.

As a result, the home was completely gutted and the family lost all their possessions.

Deteriorating Infrastructure

This incident has highlighted the precarious situation in which Merafong finds itself. Should there be a large scale fire, the municipality will simply not have the means to protect the lives of residents.

More than 52% of water in Merafong is lost every month due to ageing and deteriorating infrastructure, despite the local municipality insisting that it has a water loss management plan.

The DA has, on numerous occasions called on Gauteng Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) MEC, Jacob Mamabolo, for a provincial intervention in terms of Section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution.

Time and time again our requests have been ignored while residents of Merafong are left in desperate need of assistance.

The DA has assisted the family by providing blankets, food and water, however, if the situation in Merafong is not addressed urgently, this could become the norm.

(Pictures available on request)


Media Enquiries:

Ina Cilliers MPL
DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Merafong
060 556 4344

84 Broken Ambulances in Gauteng

Emergency Ambulances

84 out of 667 emergency ambulances in Gauteng are currently not operational, and R88 million has been spent on repairing ambulances involved in accidents in the past three years.

These figures are revealed in a written reply by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Mahlangu, emergency ambulances were involved in 256 major accidents from 2011 to March this year.

Last year, it cost R37.8 million to repair damaged ambulances, and R31.5 million in 2013 and R19.4 million in 2012.

Better Management & Training

The high number of accidents and rising cost of repairs is of great concern.

At any one time, about one in eight ambulances is off the road because they are in a workshop.

A large number are too damaged to be repaired, and are sold at auctions for scrap metal. The wrecks can be seen at the grounds of the Lebone College in Pretoria.

According to international norms, Gauteng should have 1200 ambulances to service our population of 12 million people, but we only have 787 which includes 120 private ambulances.

Better management and training of drivers is needed to ensure that as many ambulances as possible are on the roads to save the lives of emergency patients.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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Strong Partnerships Needed to Secure Gauteng Schools

Paperless Classrooms in Gauteng

Today, myself and DA Constituency Head Lebo More MPL, visited KwaDukathole Comprehensive School in Katlehong.

The school was targeted just last week by criminals intent on stealing newly installed equipment which formed part of the roll-out of paperless classrooms in Gauteng. This is not the only school which has been targeted since the launch of this initiative.

In this particular instance, the criminals made off with two computers and attempted to steal several tablets. However, a school in Soweto was robbed of at least R410 000 worth of new equipment and the guards on duty severely assaulted over the weekend.

Sustainable Technology Programmes

This spike in school robberies aimed at theft of innovative learning and teaching equipment is concerning and disadvantages already under-privileged learners even further.

The DA supports the introduction of technology in our schools; however, the programme must be sustainable.

Security is obviously becoming a major challenge and as with other similar projects in Gauteng, such as the R3 billion Gauteng On Line project, crime can completely undermine the success of these ventures.

Proactive Intervention Needed

The DA has raised this concern with Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi and has urged the Department to forge strong relationships with law enforcement agencies.

It is only through gathering intelligence, breaking syndicates and more visible policing that we will be able to fight crime and protect the future of our learners.

More proactive intervention is needed to ensure that our schools are places of safety. Only strong partnerships between school leadership, education officials, law enforcement and the community will achieve this.


Media Enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education
082 398 737

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Will Parks Tau Really Defy the ANC on e-Tolls?

Unjust Exploitation of Road Users

Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau, by publicly stating his opposition to e-Tolling of Johannesburg’s roads, has taken a bold step in going against national and provincial ANC policy by speaking out against this unjust exploitation of road users.

According to reports, Mayor Tau spoke at the Nedbank-New Partnership for Africa’s Development conference, and made it emphatically clear that the proposed second phase e-toll routes would not be sustainable, as no adequate and viable alternative public transport was in place.

Other than the cumbersome administration and operational costs, this is a point not only made by the DA, but every study conducted into the feasibility of this project.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura

It is heartening however that Mayor Tau is willing to break rank with the ANC and choose to put the people of his city and this province first.

The question is of course whether he can stick to his word, unlike Gauteng Premier David Makhura, who betrayed the people of Gauteng and buckled under pressure from the national ANC.


Media enquiries:

John Moodey MPL

DA Gauteng Provincial Leader

082 960 3743

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Gauteng Taxi Violence Requires Coordinated Approach

Effect of Taxi Violence

The DA welcomes the arrest of five suspects following the fatal shooting of a 45-year old woman at the Sangweni taxi rank in Tembisa on Tuesday.

It is believed the incident was in connection with an ongoing war between rival taxi associations, allegedly over routes.

The DA is highly concerned over the effect of taxi violence on Gauteng’s people.

Increased Police Presence

In the absence of other transport alternatives, hundreds of thousands of commuters use minibus taxis to get to work and go about their business every day – and should be able to do so without fearing for their lives.

While the swift police response following this incident is commendable, the DA believes that increased police presence and action alone will not address the core issues at play.

Disputes and violence between taxi operators over routes arise when operators without the required route permits poach passengers along the routes of others.

Preventing this requires a proactive approach from both the departments of community safety and roads and transport, by increasing law enforcement along taxi routes, and to immediately impound operators without valid permits.

Increased Cooperation Between Transport and Community Safety

Disputes over routes are easier solved at the negotiating table and through proactive government action, instead of trying to crisis manage incidence of violence whenever they flare up.

To this end the DA will engage with both Transport MEC Ismael Vadi and his counterpart in Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane to increase cooperation between their departments and to act against illegal taxi operators.

Gauteng’s commuters need safe and affordable transport to go about their daily business, and the DA will continue to act in their interests and hose for a safer province.


Media enquiries:

Dr Neil Campbell MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport

082 387 2540

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27 Initiation Injuries in Gauteng in Two Years

Gauteng Health Facilities

27 young men were treated in Gauteng health facilities in 2013 and 2014 for injuries or illness caused by initiation schools.

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

One death was reported over this period, and others were treated for assault, anaemia, dehydration, septic penis and poisoning.

Eleven cases were treated in 2013, and 16 in 2014.


According to Mahlangu, the Department is working closely with CONTRALESA through the Gauteng AIDS Council to ensure that good medical practice is maintained at initiation schools.

This includes encouraging initiation principals to partner with contracted NGOs to perform Medical Male Circumcision.

Furthermore, Environmental Health Practitioners are providing accredited pre-site inspection reports prior to opening of initiation schools.

Traditional leaders are also requested to provide a list of recognised traditional surgeons and headmen to avoid bogus schools, and are provided with contact numbers of Emergency Medical services linked to a nearby health facility.

Cultural Virtues of Initiation

The department is doing good work in this area, but illegal schools are the real problem, such as the one that was raided by police in Meadowlands, Soweto.

While injuries from initiation schools in Gauteng are thankfully much lower than in the Eastern Cape, the battle against illegal schools needs to be stepped up.

The cultural virtues of initiation are best preserved with safe medical procedures and safeguards against abuse.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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DA to Conduct Oversight on Katlehong Paperless Classroom

Tomorrow, 29 July 2015, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho MPL, and DA Gauteng Constituency Head for Katlehong, Lebo More MPL, will conduct an oversight visit at the KwaDukathole Comprehensive School in Katlehong, to assess the roll-out of the paperless classroom at the school.

Date: 29 July 2015

Time: 09:00

Venue: KwaDukathole Comprehensive School, No 6 Mofokeng Section, Katlehong.

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


Media enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education

082 398 7375


Lebo More MPL

DA Gauteng Constituency Head for Kathlehong

072 273 4487

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Kutumela Molefi Primary’s Alleged Rapists Must Be Suspended

Suspend the Boys Pending an Investigation

Reports this morning suggest that two of three victims of alleged rape at the Kutumela Molefi Primary School in Tshwane are forced to attend school along with the boys accused of this crime.

This is completely unacceptable and the DA calls on the school and relevant department officials to suspend the boys immediately pending an investigation.

Further, the Department needs to do more to ensure that the girls are given every support they need in this difficult time.

Victims Must Be Enrolled in Support Programmes

This includes alternative transport should they wish to attend a different school, as well as counselling and victim support from the Department of Social Development.

They should not have to return to the scene of their alleged rape and especially not have to face those that are accused of assaulting them.

I will urgently contact Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, to ensure that both his department and other relevant officials provide the safety nets that these girls so desperately need.

We will also approach Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Faith Mazibuko to have all three victims enrolled immediately in victim support programmes.

Ensuring Uncompromised Futures

It is a measure of our society how we respond to our most vulnerable groups in times of such brutality.

These girls, their families and the greater community of Lethabong need to know that everything will be done to help them through this trauma and to ensure that their futures are not compromised.

Media Enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC: Education
082 398 7375

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Premier Makhura’s War Room a PR Stunt

Service Delivery Protests

Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Jacob Mamabolo’s claims that protests and unrest have decreased since the inception of Premier David Makhura’s Service Delivery War Room (SDWR) has been rebuffed by data that proves otherwise.

According to Municipal IQ, of all service delivery protests around the country in 2014, Gauteng – at 21%, experienced the highest frequency of unrest with this figure escalating to 25% in the first quarter of 2015.

In 2014 when Premier Makhura took office, the SDWR was established to improve the manner in which government rolls out services to residents and speed up the reaction to protest action.

Project Still Unknown

One year later, details of this project are still unknown.

Of major concern is that despite claiming that all structures in the province have been involved in the SDWR – Members of Mayoral Committees, officials, Councillors and Community Development Workers, no indication has been given as to where these facilities are situated, who is operating them and how they are to be contacted.

War Room? PR Exercise

It is clear that the manner in which the public has been kept in the dark on this issue requires explanation from Premier Makhura, and especially to provide assurances that the project has no connection with next year’s Local Government Elections.

It appears that the War Room is nothing more than a PR exercise, of which there will be little of substance to show for public funds used to finance this pet project of the Premier.


Media enquiries:

Justus de Goede MPL

DA Tshwane Constituency Head

060 558 8309

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Linen Crisis Continues at Helen Joseph Hospital

Surgery Cases Cancelled

Helen Joseph Hospital in west Johannesburg has been plagued by a shortage of clean linen this entire month.

Last week on Thursday (23 July), about 25 operations were cancelled because of the linen shortage.

Ten more surgery cases were cancelled yesterday (27 July) for the same reason.

More than 20 operations were cancelled on 16 July and there was also disruption of surgery on 14 July and 7 July.

Theatre staff are at their wits end with all the cancellations because of something that should be easy to fix.

Erratic Laundry Supply from Charlotte Maxeke

It is very distressing to tell patients that operations have to be deferred, especially with long waiting lists, which can be as long as three years for a hip operation.

The linen problem is caused by erratic supply from the laundry at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital which is unreliable because of a broken boiler.

This linen crisis cannot be allowed to continue.

Hospital management should be allowed to use private laundries which are cheaper and more efficient than dysfunctional state laundries.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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