How often have you heard “teachers work half day” – very often, I’m sure. But it’s not true.

How often have you heard “teachers work half year” – again, very often. But again, it’s not true.

How often have you heard “teachers get half a salary” – well that is true.

Our teachers are probably amongst the hardest working members of our community and amongst the least appreciated. Many high school teachers teach two or three subjects in three to five grades which have four or five classes of 35 to 45 learners in a week. Let’s do the math to see how many young minds they are responsible for developing every week. This equates to a Gauteng teacher being responsible for over 840 young minds.

Now make the assumption that in each exam cycle, those learners sit two exams for each subject. Our hypothetical teacher has to mark 1680 exam papers taking 15 minutes per paper. That’s 420 hours of marking in each exam cycle. Please note that there is generally the expectation that a paper has to be marked within 5 days of it being written.

Teaching is not a half day, half year job. And we have not even considered the time needed for preparation for each lesson, the time for intervention sessions with struggling learners, the time for extra-curricula activities and the time needed for personal studies to remain ahead of the subject matter in an ever changing world. Seldom is the phrase, “over worked and under paid” so appropriate.

But who suffers in this very realistic scenario? The teacher? Yes. The learner? Very definitely! The community? Certainly! Our province? Absolutely. South Africa? Without a doubt.

Let’s look at it from the perspective of the learner. If the child is doing well at school, he or she will certainly be on the teacher’s radar. The child will be interacting with the teacher in the classroom and getting confirmation of material as well as affirmation regularly. A weak learner will be on the teacher’s radar too. Time will be spent on intervention and additional lessons. What about the child who is simply average but with potential to do better? Let’s call them “the invisible middle”. In the average Gauteng school, this child will get very little attention to realize her potential.

A teacher’s assistant in the classroom will plug this gap as well as take some of the huge load off the teacher to enable greater attention be given to the pursuit of excellence in our classrooms.

It is not the intention that the teacher’s assistant makes tea and cleans the board before every class. The intention is for this person to assist in the teaching and assessing process. This has multiple benefits: the teacher will have more time to prepare and present stimulating lessons; the learner will have someone by her side to assist and help surmount obstacles; the teacher’s assistant will get experience in the real world, a real classroom.

Ask any teacher what they had to learn after getting an education degree and they will tell you that they didn’t really know how to handle a classroom in the real world. Theory is all very well but dealing with children in a classroom effectively requires experience beyond what is given in the annual practical period facilitated by our universities.

Teacher’s Assistants could be drawn from multiple sectors. New graduates who would gain much needed experience. Correspondence students studying towards an education degree who cannot afford to study full time and not work to provide for families. Retired specialist teachers where specialist skills are needed.

During my recent stay in London while doing research at Melcombe School which is an inner city state school in a working class area, it became more obvious that teachers’ assistants play a vital role in the education system. They have the advantage of much smaller class sizes than we have and sometimes have as many as 3 teachers’ assistants in the room at a time to assist in the learning process and personal development of the child. There is no way that we can have a system of this magnitude but we have to start putting more resources into education to achieve a well-educated population which can realize its potential and develop our country to the next level.

The time is now. The need is now. Action is needed now.

Motion With Regards To Teachers Assistants In Gauteng

Our teachers are burdened with work overload and this makes it difficult to teach learners and give special attention to learners who aren’t naturally given. We have noticed that in some schools we noticed that we have few learners who perform exceptionally well but on average, many learners don’t perform as expected.

This perpetuates inequality as those who can afford, do attend we’ll run schools where pass rate on average has many bachelor and diplomas passes. Teacher’s assistants in these schools will help to improve quality of passes in township and rural schools. Many of these schools are over crowded with more than 45 learners per class. In some instances, after the committee visited some schools we observed learners left alone due to teacher absenteeism.

This proposal seeks to provide support to teachers so they can do their work and get positive results. While we note that we need performance management systems to reward excellent performances but it is difficult to recognize their efforts considering their working environment.

Some of the benefits of this program include amongst others, job opportunities to deal with high unemployment rate. While dealing with this challenge, we will afford assistants work experience opportunity and minimize inequality. The most important benefit, will be experienced by teachers and learners. In return, the province will gain as we will be able to produce high skilled, innovative and talented personnel.

Teachers assistants will also help to identify natural talent like sporting codes. Though we don’t have enough facilities but that shouldn’t stop us from naturing such talent. We have responsibility to ensure that our learners are not limited to academic lessons only but sports and other activities like debate competition.

This call is to explore possibility to realize this program. Based on aforementioned benefits, let’s create a better province. We can only be a better place if we create more opportunities for our young people.

This call is to unlock the learning and teaching barriers to enhance quality education.

Let’s introduce this program. Many teachers will support this proposal as it will simplify their work load. The education system will improve and we will get best outcomes.

The DA believes that a caring government listens and act. Let’s see where we find common solutions aimed at improving quality education.


Media Queries

Khume Ramulifho, MPL

DA Gauteng Education Shadow MEC

082 398 7375

Gauteng Education Procures Over R1 Billion In Services Without “Open Tender” System

The Gauteng Education Department was found by the Auditor-General (A-G) to have procured goods and services with a transaction value above R500 000 without obtaining price quotations as required by Treasury Regulation 16A6.1.

This information emanates from the department’s 2015/16 Annual Report.

According to a response by the Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, to a DA question on the matter, the MEC indicated that a number of tenders were not run through the “open tender” system.

Contracts awarded over half a million rand in the 2014/15 and 2015/16 financial years amounted to over R1.1 billion of which 8 contracts were not procured in accordance with Treasury Regulations.

The cumulative value for the contracts extended and not put out for open tender are unknown.

Despite providing reasons for not openly tendering these contracts, the department suffers from the same problem year-on-year.

Click here to view the reply.

Premier David Makhura made claims at the Open Tender conference that the Gauteng Provincial Government has opened tenders for all contracts.

The DA will submit further questions to the MEC to ascertain the value of each of the 8 contracts awarded, which service providers have benefitted and what the MEC’s plans are to rectify the non-compliance with Treasury Regulations.

The DA will closely monitor the department’s expenditure on contracts for goods and services and ensure public funds are well spent and not pocketed by corrupt officials or bogus service providers.


Media enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education

082 398 7375

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Gauteng Finance MEC Must Table Provincial Financial Statements By Month-End

Consolidated Provincial Financial Statements

Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy has until October 31 to make the province’s consolidated provincial financial statements available for public scrutiny – which the DA firmly believes belies the true state of the province’s financial performance.

The Public Finance Management Act makes it clear that this report must be tabled in the Legislature, something which has not happened since March 2014.

Under the watch of Premier David Makhura and Finance MEC Barbara Creecy, the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) has been lauded in some quarters as affecting “game-changing” strategies to enhance government services.

GPG’s Finances

However, after going to great lengths to retrieve the consolidated financial statements for the 2014/15 financial year – which was not tabled by end October 2015, the DA can reveal that the GPG’s finances are all but sound and received a qualified audit opinion from the Auditor General.

The AG found that that the GPG racked up billions in accruals, legal liabilities, and fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

Click here to view the report.

According to the report, R2.22 billion worth of accruals have been outstanding for longer than 30 days.

This has a massive impact on service delivery and deals a heavy blow to the budget process, as delayed payments are rolled over to the next financial year.

Delayed payments also take their toll on service providers who cannot get by without secure cash flow.

Township Economy

With Premier Makhura announcing that the GPG would support the Township Economy by procuring goods and services from the informal sector, the GPG’s current payment record will be the deathblow for many small to medium service providers.

Fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounted to R416 million in 2014/15, up 66% from the previous year’s R166 million. These funds could have been used on underfunded programmes, such as student bursaries, drought relief and support to NPOs.

The DA looks forward to MEC Creecy tabling the report within the next 11 days so as to provide a true reflection of the real state of Gauteng’s financial affairs.


Media Enquiries:

Adriana Randall MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Finance

060 556 4342

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Gauteng Fails To Register Special Needs Independent Schools

Amazing-K Independent School

The DA will submit written questions to Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, to ascertain exactly how many independent schools are not registered due to the department’s tardiness.

The Amazing-K Independent School in Northwold Ext 15, Johannesburg, has been operating since 2013 without being registered by the Gauteng Department of Education.

Following an oversight visit to the school today, Amazing-K has been trying to register as a school for the Autistic.

Three and a half years have passed and their plea to the department has fallen on deaf ears.

Amazing-K School has no Health Permit, Health Certificate and Occupancy Certificate.

Learners Access to Education

Further to this, Heron Academy in Mulbarton, which caters for learners with ADHD has also been battling to obtain formal registration.

The department should be fast tracking the process to register independent schools especially schools which cater for children with special needs.

Independent schools which relieves the pressure on the department should be assisted and swiftly to afford all learners access to education.

Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, should ensure that all schools operating are complying with department registration regulations.

MEC Lesufi has a responsibility towards learners with special needs in the province and should act swiftly to assist these schools.


Media enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education

082 398 7375

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Gauteng Health MEC Must Prevent Unnecessary Tooth Extractions

Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi

The DA will request Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu to engage with the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, to redesign treatment regimes in state dental clinics towards modern preventive and restorative dental treatment protocols.

During 2014 and 2015 over half a million teeth have been extracted in Gauteng, whilst a mere 36,301 fillings were inserted and 3540 crowns placed in the province.

This information was revealed in response to a DA question by Gauteng Health MEC, Qedani Mahlangu.

(Click here to view the reply)

Gauteng State Dental Clinics

This means that for each filling completed 14 teeth were extracted and for each crown fitted 143 teeth were removed.

In the same period 16,665 dentures were fitted.

The removal of teeth is a destructive process which allows tipping and movement of the remaining teeth and leads to food debris collection between the teeth and the onset of further decay.

Often such extractions result in a loss of chewing capability which, in Gauteng state dental clinics, requires the construction of plastic dentures.

Dentures require regular replacement to remain functional and are far less effective than the natural dentition to chew food.

The use of fillings is a far more cost effective procedure than extractions and dentures.

Gauteng state dental clinics need to educate patients on modern preventive and restorative treatment techniques rather than destructive tooth removal.


Media enquiries:

Dr Neil Campbell

DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Health

082 387 2540

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Gauteng Doubles Spend On Legal Services

Gauteng Premier David Makhura

The DA will put questions to Gauteng Premier David Makhura demanding he explain why the Gauteng provincial government has almost doubled its legal expenses for the 2015/16 financial year.

A consolidation of all provincial government departments’ annual reports shows that legal fees have skyrocketed from R469 million in 2014/15 to R881 million in 2015/16.

The biggest spender is the Department of Health, whose legal costs increased from R238 million to R569 million.

This could only be as a result of increased medical negligence claims against the department and its callous MEC, Qedani Mahlangu.

Austerity Measures

The Department of Education spent R42 million on legal fees and services (up from R27-million), while the infrastructure development department incurred R46 million.

Excessive legal claims and legal fees are a natural consequence of an uncaring and inefficient government that forces citizens and suppliers to take legal action.

As a result Gauteng’s most vulnerable, the poor and unemployed, are being penalised by delayed service delivery due to budgetary constraints.

Premier David Makhura and his ANC government has spent millions advertising clean audits in Gauteng on expensive billboards, but the fact is that it’s a smokescreen to cover up the reality that the provincial government is still not delivering.

It is clear that Gauteng is on the wrong track as it is meant to carry out austerity measures to ensure that people receive the services they deserve.


Media enquiries:

Mike Moriarty MPL

DA Chief Whip in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature

082 492 4410

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Does Gauteng Health MEC Believe In A Legal Duty To Provide Quality Care?

Medical Negligence

I am hugely disturbed by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu’s attempt in a medical negligence case to deny that there is a legal duty to provide quality health care.

Legal writer Carmel Rickard has highlighted this issue in an article in the Financial Mail concerning the MEC’s initial legal plea against the claim by Ramatharee Pather after an alleged botched operation in a state hospital.

Pather’s lawyers have contended that the MEC had a legal duty to ensure that medical care would be given to Pather “with such skill, care and diligence” as are expected of medical personnel.

But in the written plea filed in court on behalf of the MEC the state attorney said: “It is denied that [the MEC] owes such a duty of care to [Pather].”

Gauteng State Attorney

Other arguments by the state attorney included the following:

  • There was no law in SA that “guarantees proper, sufficient and reasonable health services to citizens”.
  • The constitution and other laws provided for health services “in an equitable manner and subject to the availability of resources”. But no law obliged the state to provide “proper, sufficient and reasonable health services to members of the public “.
  • “No health professional owes a duty of care to render medical care as defined in the act with skill, care and diligence.
  • “No statute requires professionals to give advice with skill, care and diligence.”
  • Paying compensation to individual claimants “depletes the funds for health in favour of individual victims and undermines the principle of solidarity and equitability” as well as undermining the state’s ability to build a sustainable health system able to provide health care to all, especially the poor.

This plea has now been withdrawn, but according to Rickard, Gauteng’s state attorney Kgosi Lekabe has denied that the initial plea was a “mistake” that slipped through by accident.

Bad Medical Treatment

He said that a case would be heard by the supreme court of appeal next month, where the state would raise issues such as those highlighted in the Pather matter.

It is very sinister that MEC Mahlangu went along with a poor legal argument that ignores all past law on medical negligence claims.

Her department is expected to pay out about R1 billion this year in settlement of medical negligence cases.

She should reduce the avalanche of claims by improving the quality of treatment rather than undermining the legal right to redress for patients hurt by bad medical treatment.

Mahlangu’s callous handling of negligence cases is yet another reason for her to be fired as Health MEC following the deaths of 37 psychiatric patients who were previously at Life Healthcare Esidimeni.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222


Dr Neil Campbell

DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Health

082 387 2540

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Gauteng Premier’s Open Tender System Loaded With Empty Promises

Open Tender Seminar

Gauteng Premier David Makhura must put his money where his mouth is and take definitive action against a host of government officials and Members of his Executive if he wants to retain any credibility for the remainder of his term in office.

At today’s Gauteng Provincial Government’s Open Tender Seminar in Midrand, the Premier remarked that those who are involved in corrupt dealings would be exposed in public, blacklisted and prosecuted.

While this is a welcome announcement, the fact is that the Premier has been making the same promise since he took office in 2014.

To date little action has been taken against errant officials, a fact which was echoed by the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) report late last year that only 3% of all provincial government officials involved in 122 cases of financial misconduct amounting to R67 million faced criminal charges.

Dark and Murky Process and Provincial Governments

Furthermore, the Premier has yet to take action taken against ANC Chief Whip Brian Hlongwa and Economic Development MEC Lebogang Maile, who are both under clouds of allegations of fraud and corruption.

Since taking office in 2014, the provincial government has been moving at a snail’s pace to open government’s tender processes – and in instances where tenders have been “open” to public scrutiny, the documentation was either published after the fact, or hidden so deeply in government websites that it would only be found after hours of dogged research.

The fact is that Premier Makhura talks the talk of an open and transparent government, but in reality it remains as dark and murky as all other provincial governments led by the ANC.

If Premier Makhura is as serious as he sounds, he should implement the DA-led Western Cape open tender system without delay.


Media enquiries:

Adriana Randal MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Finance

060 556 4342

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Rip-Off Plumbing For Gauteng Hospitals

Kokwane Express Services CC

A plumbing company contracted by the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development routinely charges R20 000 for every job done at a hospital, but the Department insists that this is a fair market rate.

According to a written reply by Gauteng DID MEC Jacob Mamabolo, Kokwane Express Services cc was awarded a three year maintenance contract through open tender to do plumbing jobs at hospitals at a negotiated rate.

The company was paid R20 000 for each of 26 jobs done at hospitals and other government buildings in 2014 and 2015, which amounts to R520 000 in total.

Helen Joseph Hospital

This included the following small jobs at the Helen Joseph Hospital:

  • Unblocking a sewer at the pharmacy;
  • Repairing the drainage system in the kitchen; and
  • Unblocking the main sewer line

R20 000 was also charged twice to unblock the bathroom on the 4th floor of the Sage Life Building, first on 10 November 2014 and then again four days later.

And R20 000 was charged to replace a burst geyser at the Fanyana Nhlapo clinic.

Other jobs involved more work, like fixing pipes and pumping water at the basement of the Hillbrow clinic.

Lowest Rates for Quality Work

Mamabolo says that “an extensive market research and analysis was done to arrive at the rates agreed upon.”

I am not convinced that a fair value rate was negotiated as the small jobs should surely have cost much less.

I suspect that the department is being grossly overcharged by many other companies for reasons that need to be investigated.

Every effort should be made to negotiate the lowest rates for quality work at our hospitals and clinics.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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