Sinkhole inside RDP home: DA escalates issue to Gauteng Legislature as EMM fails to assist

A resident living in Etwatwa, Ekurhuleni has been living with a sinkhole in his RDP house for the past five years.

Sphiwe Mokwena, approached the DA after both the previous and current local ANC ward councillor and Ekurhuleni Metro failed to assist him, despite reporting the sinkhole in 2010.

A sinkhole formed in the living room of Sphiwe’s RDP house five years ago, forcing him and his family to move out of their home.

Sphiwe’s family was subsequently forced to rent two shacks – one for his parents and one for the children.

In 2010, the Mokwena family reported this issue to the previous local ANC councillor who gave the family cement to cover the hole but this did not resolve the problem.

Since then the family have not heard from the previous councillor and the current councillor, Masele Madihlaba, have also done nothing to assist the Mokwena family despite this issue being covered in the media last year.

The sinkhole now takes up half of the living room and has caused cracks to form in different parts of the house.

Last September (2014/09/26), the issue was reported in the Daily Sun and Ekurhuleni Metro Spokesperson, Themba Gadebe was quoted in the story saying that the municipality would send officials to assess the sinkhole. He stated: “We are determined to assist the Mokwena family. We don’t want any loss of life.”

Yet, more than a year later, Mr Gadebe has failed to deliver on his promise. Officials have not come to assess the sinkhole and the Mokwena family still live in shacks because their home is unsafe to live in.

It is unacceptable that the Ekurhuleni municipality has failed to address this matter over the past five years.

In my capacity as Springs/Daveyton Constituency Head I will be writing to the Ekurhuleni MMC for Human Settlements, Aubrey Nxumalo and request that he provides answers on the following questions:

  1. Why has the municipality failed to fix this problem since the issue was reported in 2010;
  2. What steps will the municipality take to assist the Mokwena family;
  3. Whether a site and soil review was conducted to ensure that the land was suitable to build on prior to the RDP homes being built; and
  4. Are the surrounding RDP homes also at risk of being affected by a similar problem?

Due to the Ekurhuleni Metro failing to properly address this issue for the past five years, I will also write to the MEC for Human Settlements, Jacob Mamabolo in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature asking his department to investigate this issue as a matter of urgency.

It is crucial that the municipality assist the Mokwena family immediately so that they can move back into their home and that officials who have failed to take action over the past five years are held accountable.

Media Enquiries

Ashor Sarupen MPL

DA Springs-Daveyton Constituency Head

076 334 5147


R54m spent on TB hospital that developers want demolished

Critical Hospital

R54 million has recently been spent on the Sizwe Tropical Diseases Hospital that developers of a proposed massive housing scheme in the area want to demolish.

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

The construction work includes the following:

  • A new 46 bed XDR-TB ward built from 2008 to 2014 for R49.8 million;
  • Renovations of wards in 2012 and 2015 for R1.7 million;
  • New carports for R456 000 in 2011;
  • Multi-purpose centre for R483 000 in 2010;
  • Painting of roofs for R859 000 in 2012;
  • Ablution block renovation for R324 000 in 2013; and
  • Rest area for R99 000 in 2014.

The contract for the development was awarded in January 2012 to the Equisent Infrastructure Development consortium, to develop the Rietfontein site which is bordered by Edenvale and the Johannesburg suburbs of Linksfield and Sandringham.

The contract was awarded by the Gauteng Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).

Mahlangu has said that discussions are ongoing with Equisent about demolishing the historic 100-year-old hospital and building a new one by Edenvale Hospital.

Much of the multi-million rand renovation work has been done since the award of the contract, which shows poor coordination between the Gauteng departments of health and housing.

The hospital building is a National Heritage site and plays a vital role in treating multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

It would be wrong to demolish it purely so that a developer can make vast profits.

Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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Bara babies died because of overcrowding


Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu has acknowledged that 13 babies died last year at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital from Klebsiella infection and that overcrowding was a contributing factor.

She said this today in the Gauteng Legislature in response to my oral questions on this matter.

According to Mahlangu, too many mothers are giving birth to underweight babies and this is growing on a daily basis.

More incubators have been purchased but the ward is now full and needs to be expanded, which she is working to do with the Department of Infrastructure Development.


I am saddened by the death of so many babies from a largely avoidable cause.

The issue of overcrowding in the neonatal ward at Bara has been highlighted for many years, including a shocking photo that was published with new-born babies in a box.

I hope that the expansion of the neonatal ward is expedited to avoid any more deaths from Klebsiella and other infections that pose a danger to low birth-weight babies who are vulnerable because their immune systems have not developed.

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

Stoffel Park should be upgraded not dismantled


The Stoffel Park informal settlement in Mamelodi East should be upgraded rather than dismantled.

I was shocked to see on my visit there yesterday the empty spaces where shacks had been destroyed and more than two thousand people brutally removed to Pienaarspoort earlier this year.

I first visited Stoffel Park in August 2013, and I stayed the night there in the shack of Mr Jimmy Nkuna.

It was one of more than 100 visits to informal settlements that I did on one day a month for two-and-a-half years, including spending the night in 30 shacks to experience what it was like to live there and see what I could do to help.

Jimmy Nkuna is a young disabled man who gets around in a wheelchair, and is threatened with a forced removal to Pienaarspoort.

I gave him a copy of my book “30 Nights in a Shack – A Politician’s Journey”, which makes a plea for forgotten people in informal settlements to be assisted to uplift themselves.

Together with DA list councillor Magic Mampuru, I also met with Mr Stoffel Motloutsi, the founder of the settlement, who expressed determination that residents wanted to stay and have proper services provided.

I was pleased on the one hand that the council had fixed the bridge that residents had built to provide access to the area, and that gravel had been put on the main sand road.

On the other hand, residents told me of how the council had forcibly relocated people without any warning, picking on female-headed households who provided the least resistance.

They said that Pienaarspoort was a bleak place without services.

Stoffel Park residents have invested a lot of effort and money in setting up this settlement which is on council-owned land.

There are a number of brick houses in Stoffel Park and many other sturdily built structures that residents have built.

The DA has gone to the Human Rights Commission to prevent any further removals.

I hope that the Tshwane Metro Council recognizes the human rights of Stoffel Park residents and consults with them to provide title deeds and proper services.

Media enquiries:
Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature
082 333 4222

DA Gauteng condemns disruptions and vandalism at Braamfischerville Primary school

Lack of Response

The DA condemns the latest disruption and vandalism at Braamfischerville Primary School today where one classroom has been set alight and other facilities damaged. While the community has genuine concerns, the approach must not deny learners the opportunity to learn.

Community members are fed up with the lack of responsiveness from the Gauteng Education Department to build a brick and mortar school, so that all learners have proper schools in Braamfischerville. Some people decided to take this matter in their own hands.

It is unfortunate that violence and vandalism are continually seen as the best methods to get the Provincial Governments attention.

Neglected Communities

The DA believes that the School Governing Body must be empowered to represent the parents in engaging with the department. Destroying school facilities is irresponsible and unacceptable.

The Department of Education has set aside R2.5 billion for school infrastructure. There are currently five schools under construction in Braamfischerville. Earlier this month, the DA conducted site inspections to ascertain whether the projects will be ready for the 2016 academic year.

While it’s important to build new settlements, part of the plan must be to build school infrastructure and health facilities for community members. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Braamfischerville where residents were allocated to the area without the facilities it needs to empower the residents in the community.

The DA will engage with the disgruntled community members to take up their fight with the Gauteng Provincial Government. To ascertain whether there are plans to build a brick and mortar school and the time frame to do so.

Media enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education

082 398 7375

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Change is coming to Tshwane

Democratic Alliance speech by
Solly Msimanga
DA Mayoral Candidate for Tshwane

Today, as we stand in Solomon Mahlangu Square, I am humbled to be your candidate for Tshwane Mayor. We stand in a square named after an icon of the struggle for freedom.

I’m reminded of his famous words “My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom. Tell my people that I love them. They must continue the fight.”

Like Solomon, many great men and women have fought before us to realise the potential of South Africa. Some paid the ultimate price for believing in a free and fair society that offers everybody opportunities to be the best they could be.

This is why I stand before you here today, to share my belief in the potential of this great City.

Ek glo in die toekoms van hierdie stad. Ek glo in n mooi toekoms waar ons almal saam sal kan leef.

We are the home of the beautiful Jacaranda tree, the Union Buildings, the legendary Loftus, the Voortrekker monument and Freedom Park. We are a city of diversity, and one that can find strength in unity.

From the tallest towers of the CBD, to the bustling streets of Soshanguve, from Phomolong in Mamelodi, to the beautiful panoramic views in “Ver-genoeg” in Atteridgville, from Nkangala to Olievenhoutbosch, CHANGE is coming to Tshwane!

Change that stops corruption.
Change that starts delivery.
Change that creates jobs.
Change that makes Tshwane the inclusive, thriving, prosperous city it can be.

Today we officially start our campaign to bring freedom, fairness and opportunity to the City of Tshwane.

I would like to share with you today why I want to be Mayor of this City, backed by a DA government.

I believe that we owe it to our children to forge the kind of society uTata Madiba dreamed of – a society where government puts the needs of people first and where hard working citizens can change their future.

We have seen spirited student protests this week; we have seen our young people rally against the failures of the ANC national government.

It is evident that the society uTata Madiba dreamed of, is still to be realized.

This is the kind of society the DA is striving to create – in Tshwane and South Africa.

A society where a child born in Hammanskraal or Mamelodi can have the same opportunities as a child born in Waterkloof or Centurion. n Kind wat in Nantus of Eersterus gebore word moet dieselfde geleenthede hê as n kind wat in Waterkloof gebore word.

I am proud to be part of a dynamic movement that is working to build a better future for our children and I am determined to do my part, right here in our great city.

I love this city. It is my hometown and the place of my birth.

I am extremely proud to have been born in Atteridgeville, going on to live in Jeffsville informal settlement.

I started my own family in this city, together with my wife, we are raising our two sons in this city and I want Tshwane to be a great place to live for ALL.

I grew up, like so many Tshwane residents, in an informal settlement.

My mother struggled to find work, we didn’t have much, but I always knew that I had the love and support of my family and I was determined to succeed.

I empathise greatly with the students of today as I too struggled to pay my varsity fees and had to rely on part time jobs to fund my studies and support my family.

This is because I also grew up without a government of opportunity. And I had to struggle every day to get ahead in life.

I remember having to go fetch water from a tap far from our home, or walking to Saulridge High through the Saulsville hostels, wearing shoes that had holes underneath, this simply because our family just could not afford.

And so, I am committed to improving the lives of all people in Tshwane and I am committed to ensuring that we have a city that we can be proud of; a city that actually works.

I also want my children to live in Tshwane and to be proud of this city.

In the last 21 years there have been improvements, and progress has been made. No one can deny that.

But this progress has stalled under the ANC of Jacob Zuma. There is a lack of opportunities, in particular, jobs.

Today our country and our city are going in the wrong direction.

Instead of opportunities for all, we see opportunities for some.

We see transport improvements for the central city, but transport lacking for the rest.

We see tarred roads for some, and broken gravel roads for others.

Delivery is unfairly allocated, and we see too many broken promises.

We must ensure Tshwane moves in the right direction again.

We must restore fairness to this great city.

Where today under the ANC there are only jobs for pals, the DA will open opportunities to everyone!

Where money for service delivery is currently being stolen from the people, we will root out corruption and spend money on the residents of Tshwane.

And we will not be a government that speeds past its citizens in big cars with blue lights,

No, a DA government in Tshwane will be close to the people, accessible and working among the people every day.

Let us make Tshwane great, together.

I know that some residents might ask: Solly at every election we hear promises from political parties and then all these promises are broken.

We live in a city where the street lights don’t work.  The streets are full of potholes, we have an ageing and failing electrical supply structures.  Water pipes are continuously bursting and take weeks to be fixed.

These are some of the broken promises.

But today as I stand before you, I want to offer you hope for a better future.

I have served at local government, and at provincial government. I have grown up in an informal settlement, and I have struggled to get ahead.

But your struggles are my struggles.  I will not make you a single empty promise because I know the hurt of being let down.

I am committed to being the change that Tshwane needs, and change will be possible under the DA.

I studied right here in Tshwane at Saulridge High School, and then worked hard to attended Vista University which has now merged with the University of Pretoria.

I have worked in the private sector and I have learned life-skills both inside and outside of government.

I believe that today we see government going in the wrong direction because there is an elite layer at the top, who are career politicians solely focused on holding onto power.

But change will only come when politicians with the right skills and experience assume leadership.

Instead the government of the ANC in Tshwane keeps a tight control over power today. They control who gets jobs, who gets houses, which areas get development, where the roads are tarred, where the water is drinkable – and they use billions of Rands of our money in corrupt and improper deals.

That is why so many today live in shacks, have no basic services, no access to toilets, no roads, and no street names.  People spend days waiting in queues at hospitals and local clinics.

But it does not need to be this way. Change in Tshwane is possible, and I am driven to be the change that Tshwane needs.

Democrats, we need to cut out the cancer of corruption in Tshwane. We need to tell the ANC that enough is enough, and the days of corrupt politicians are over.

Corruption is the very cause of unemployment and service delivery failures. Corruption is eating away at the ability of Tshwane to realise its great potential.

Corruption stops jobs being created, and it keeps good hard-working people out of jobs because the ANC keeps these jobs for friends and family.

So I pledge that when the DA comes into government in Tshwane we will root out corruption!

We believe in employing civil servants who are fit for purpose, not someone’s friend, or relative or member of a particular political party.

We will clean up government, and we will make government work for you.

This change begins at the ballot box in next year’s election. Your vote will make this change possible.

By voting for the DA, change can come to Tshwane and change will come to Tshwane.

Only the DA is capable and committed to bringing a new future to this great Metro. Our values of Freedom, Fairness and Opportunity are the foundation of the change we will bring.

But voting for change is the first and most important step. Wherever you are, and whoever you speak to, spread the message that voting for change by voting for the DA will bring a new hope to Tshwane.

The DA has assembled a strong and competent team to start working from our first day in government.

Our team is ready to deliver on promises and to start the process to make Tshwane a well-governed, safe city of opportunity for all people.

We will start to cut corruption, get service delivery working and create jobs for the people of this Metro.

I will be honest with you that it will not be easy and it will not be quick to turn this City around.

The current ANC run municipality has stalled service delivery and has left a legacy of corruption. We are committed to undoing this damage.

It will take time, but a DA City of Tshwane will work every day to bring the necessary change.

We will work tirelessly for the people, because that is how the DA governs.

We are asking you to give us your vote in this election.

And if you don’t see and feel change after five years of a DA government, then take back your vote!

That is the power you have in a democracy.

But give us the chance to work hard for you, because we are ready to govern in Tshwane.

This is the difference between the DA and the ANC. We expect voters to hold government accountable at the ballot box.

But let me promise you, that you will feel the DA difference after five years.

You will feel it as this city becomes safer.

You will feel it as this city becomes more inclusive.

You will feel it as this city becomes better run.

You will feel it as this city puts the needs of residents first.

You will feel it as this city becomes a home of opportunity for all people.

When the metro police work for you, rather than working against you, safety will be guaranteed.

When we bring back anti-drug units to the metro police, our children will be kept from Nyaope.

When we launch anti-gang units within the metro police, gangsters will be pushed out of our communities and put behind bars.

When we install high-mast lighting in every informal settlement, these areas will become safer.

We will open municipal service centres in every community, so residents will have direct access to services where they live.

When we provide more housing opportunities, in more places, these opportunities will go to the deserving residents who have been on the waiting lists for so many years.

When we grow the local economy, and create an environment that enables job creation, everyone will have access to job opportunities to earn a decent living and support their families.

When we make the tender process more transparent, corruption will be rooted out.  We are also committed to awarding more government tenders to local businesses.

This is not a stretch at all.

It is now more possible than ever.

The ANC has less than 50% support in Tshwane now. The ANC is losing support day-after-day.

The ANC National General Council revealed that it is losing members on a daily basis.

Victory is within our reach.

We want to make Tshwane great, together with you the residents.

Never has the ANC’s support been so low in Tshwane, and never has the DA been so close to victory.

We must take advantage of this moment and vote the ANC out in next year’s local elections.

With every resident of Tshwane, together, voting for change, we can make this City great!

Media enquiries:
Solly Msimanga
DA Mayoral Candidate for Tshwane
083 612 0492



Linen shortage cancels 154 ops at Helen Joseph Hospital


Operations Cancelled

A shortage of clean theatre linen has led to the cancellation of 154 operations at the Helen Joseph Hospital from January 2014 to July this year.

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

According to Mahlangu, the linen shortage was because of a breakdown of boilers, and improper installation of autoclaves that are used to sterilize linen.

She claims that these problems have now been fixed by the Department of Infrastructure Development.

Worsening Situation

The linen shortage intensified this year as it led to 94 cancelled operations from January to July which averages 13 cancellations a month, as compared to 60 operations cancelled last year (5 ops a month on average).

The worst month was May this year when 40 ops were cancelled.

The hospital has also suffered from shortages of blankets, bed sheets, pyjamas, night dresses and nurses gowns.

This forced some patients to use their own blankets and pyjamas.

Mahlangu says that clean linen will be ensured by doing more washing in-house, procuring linen, and appointing retired nurses to co-ordinate better management of linen between the laundry and theatre/wards.

The maintenance contract of hospital machinery has also been completed.

I hope that measures to ensure clean laundry at all times are successful as it is very disruptive to have so many operations cancelled for an avoidable reason.

It adds to long surgery backlogs that lead to much suffering by patients.

Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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Uncertain future for Mangolongolo

Land Ownership Dispute

The Mangolongolo informal settlement in Denver in east Johannesburg faces an uncertain future as it can only be upgraded when the land ownership issue is resolved.

According to a written reply by Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Jacob Mamabolo to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature, the 413 dwellings at Mangolongolo are built illegally on land belonging to Transnet.

Mamabolo says that the City of Johannesburg “is providing services to the community, but cannot conclude upgrading and formalization processes until land ownership status is resolved.”

This settlement has been plagued by fires because shacks are spaced too closely together and there is no readily available water to fight a fire.


In June this year, about 60 shacks burnt down and 169 shacks were destroyed by fire in September.

Many of the dwellings are solid structures built in brick.

It is not a good location near a railway line, but there are few other housing options for the 1500 people who live there.

The DA has drawn up a petition asking for the formalization and upgrading of the settlement, including electrification and adequate water and sanitation.


More than 150 residents have already signed the petition which will be handed in to the Petitions Office at the Gauteng Legislature.

The best policy will be to give them ownership of this state land which will assist in upgrading efforts that will provide certainty for the families who live there and prevent further devastating fires.

Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Joburg East

082 333 4222

Gauteng health MEC must re-advertise jobs at Lenasia South Hospital



There is confusion about whether Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu has genuinely re-opened job applications for 31 positions at the Lenasia South hospital after accusations that ANC members were given preferential treatment.

Mahlangu was quoted by was quoted by Timeslive yesterday that the department “has delegated the Johannesburg Health District with the responsibility of overseeing the appointment of employees at the facility” and that “this will allay fears concerning the purported interference and maintain the integrity of the appointment process.”

She said that this step followed “allegations of corruption levelled against the Lenasia South Hospital management.”

But according to a written reply by Mahlangu to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature, she says that the job appointment process will not be re-opened in view of allegations of interference and favouritism that have been made to the Human Rights Commission and the Public Protector.

The 31 support staff positions at the hospital, which includes clerks, general assistants, drivers and porters, were advertised on 26 May 2015.

According to affidavits given to the HRC and the Public Protector, many applicants were unfairly denied the chance to apply because they were not given application forms, but ANC members were given the forms.

The local DA branch in Lenasia was successful in getting ANC ward councillor Paul Molutsi removed from sitting in on interviews, but Mahlangu falsely denies that he was ever part of the process.

The DA has also launched a petition to re-open the whole process, but Mahlangu seems to have gone ahead with interviews at the Johannesburg District Office.

According the DA PR Councillor for the area, Martin Williams, the process has been neither fair nor transparent to the community leaders who first raised the issue and have been following it closely since May.

He says that neither MEC Mahlangu nor anyone in her department has kept the community informed. “Instead, ANC-favoured candidates have been interviewed in secret at the Johannesburg District office, without the knowledge of Vinay Choonie and Andries Mahlangu, who have led the complaints process. Choonie and Mahlangu would like to know to whom the process has been transparent. They also want to know if the answers in the Legislature constitute a reply to the petition emailed to her on October 8 and handed in on October 9.”

Suspicions remain that ANC members are still getting preference and Lenasia residents are enraged over this double-dealing. They want to see a genuinely fair process that leaves no doubt that appointments are done without improper interference.

The jobs need to be re-advertised and I will continue to press MEC Mahlangu to redo the whole process.

Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

Gauteng cabinet reshuffle: Premier protects ANC cronies

Misplaced Priorities

Gauteng premier David Makhura has once again put the ANC before taking a tough stance on corruption, when he reshuffled his cabinet to protect party cronies.

In yesterday’s post-Executive Council statement, the premier announced that the MEC for social development, Faith Mazibuko and MEC for sports, heritage, arts and culture, Molebatsi Bopape would swop portfolios with immediate effect.

Since taking office, MEC Bopape has been sparing no effort to clean up supply chain problems and holding officials to account – and eventually led to the suspension of the Head of Department, Ms Namhla Siqaza earlier this month.

Furthermore, MEC Mazibuko has a deplorable track record – the Department of Community Safety is still reeling under the effects of her poor leadership – and the only reason she holds such high office is because of her standing within the ANC.

In fact, The DA believes the swop is aimed at removing the treat of corruption allegations and investigations against former sports MEC Lebogang Maile and his cronies, and to spare the ANC further embarrassment as we head into an election year.

Media enquiries:

John Moodey MPL

DA Gauteng Provincial Leader

082 960 3743