DA Lays Charges On Auditor-General Bribe Attempt

I have today laid charges against three officials in the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR) who allegedly attempted to bribe the Auditor-General’s office to remove audit findings on irregular expenditure.

The charges are based on two affidavits that were disclosed by former SACR MEC Molebatsi Bopape – who has been suspended by the ANC as a member of the Gauteng Legislature because she attempted to make a statement at a sitting on 30 September 2016 on corruption in the department.

Documents released by Bopape include affidavits by two senior employees of the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA), Mothophatleheng Phillip Rakgwale and Tshireletso Molate.

In his affidavit, Mr Rakgwale relates that Ms Morwesi More, an official of the SACR, came to the AGSA offices on 20 July 2015 together with the Head of Department Ms Namhla Siqaza to discuss findings relating to construction contracts.

Ms More then contacted him five times in connection with a proposal, and Ms Siqaza tried to persuade him on 28 July 2015 to meet with More, which he declined. Ms Siqasa then came to his office on 30 July 2015 to try and persuade him to change the audit outcome.

According to Rakgwale: “She asked me what could be done to remove the findings on the audit report and suggested political intervention to resolve the findings contained on the signed audit and management report issued on the 31 July 2015.”

In his affidavit, Mr Molate relates instances when he was approached by Ms Lorraigne Nuku, an official of SACR, who indicated that she was acting on the instruction of the Head of Department Ms Namhla Siqasa to determine what the HOD could offer to the Senior Manager in charge of the audit, Mr Phillip Rakgwale, to convince him to remove the audit findings regarding irregular expenditure from the audit report.

This includes the HOD telling him that she offered Mr Rakgwale anything he wanted including political intervention, which he declined.

The charge I laid today at the Commercial Crimes unit in Johannesburg requests investigation into the alleged contravention of Section 51 of the Public Audit Act which makes it an offence for any person to hinder or interfere with the Auditor-General or provide false or misleading information.

Furthermore, whether Ms Siqasa as Accounting Officer has contravened Sections 40 and 50 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), which relate to her reporting responsibilities and fiduciary duties. A further charge is whether Siqaza, More and Nuku contravened Section 4 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act which deals with corrupt activities in relation to public officers.

Premier David Makhura claims that he runs a clean administration, but the ANC is persecuting Bopape despite her efforts to expose corruption in the SACR.

While Siqasa and More have been suspended and are facing disciplinary action, this has not been speedily concluded and does not include criminal charges.

There is an unfortunate history in the provincial government where corrupt officials get away without facing criminal charges.

The DA will monitor the progress of police investigations to ensure that there is real accountability in this matter which has been so bravely raised by Bopape.

 

 

Media Queries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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Death NGO Still Treating Psychiatric Patients

Precious Angels NGO

The Precious Angels NGO in Pretoria, where nine psychiatric patients died after being transferred from Life Healthcare Esidimeni, is still treating 35 public patients, but in state hospitals, not on its own premises.

This was revealed last week on Friday when the Gauteng Legislature Health Committee visited the Tshepong Health Centre in Pretoria where, 176 psychiatric patients are living.

I questioned Gauteng Health Department officials about the Precious Angels NGO and was informed that their patients had been moved from their Atteridgeville and Danville facilities to various government hospitals as follows:

  • Kalafong Hospital – 13
  • Pretoria West Hospital – 10
  • Tshwane District Hospital – 6
  • Weskoppies Hospital – 6

SANTA TB Sanatorium

Although the patients are in state hospitals, Precious Angels staff are still in charge of taking care of them.

I am concerned about this as there needs to be accountability for the 9 deaths out of 45 patients that were sent to this NGO.

How can this NGO still have any responsibility for psychiatric patients who require specialist care?

The situation at Tshepong NGO is more satisfactory. It is based in a facility that was previously a SANTA TB sanatorium next to the Kalafong Hospital, and has 58 staff to look after 176 patients.

Tshwane Metro Council

Five patients have died there this year, apparently from natural causes as they were elderly, and four have been discharged to their families.

Tshepong staff denied that they were short of food although they do get food from charities and from the food bank of the Tshwane Metro Council.

The Gauteng Health Department should ensure continuous monitoring of all psychiatric patients at NGOs to ensure that they are treated properly.

 

Media Queries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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Merafong Fails To Implement Its Own Water Restrictions

Water Restrictions in Merafong

Residents in Merafong are unaware of the water restrictions in the municipality as it hasn’t been advertised or communicated to residents.

The municipality allegedly does not have an advertising budget to fund such a campaign.

On 27 October, the Merafong Council considered a report on water restrictions and resolved as follows:

  • That the water restrictions be implemented in the whole of the Merafong Municipal area;
    • That the Director Infrastructure Development provide a plan on water infrastructure repairs in line with the Council’s “Stop leakages” initiative;
    • That the Council achieve a 15% water restriction target;
    • The municipality gives the assurance that water leaks will be addressed within a specific time period. (Although no time period was specified);
    • Residents must be encouraged to fix their own leaks as more restrictions will affect them in future if they don’t; and
    • That the Mayor be the face of the Merafong “Save water Campaign” and that Councillors be Ambassadors for the campaign.

Using Water Sparingly

While we commend the efforts of the Council in trying to save water, the implementation should match the intended plan.

So too, should it stick to its own resolutions and take the leadership in saving water. However, this does not seem to be the case as sprayers are used to water the Carletonville sports grounds every day during daytime.

Council must lead with example in implementing water restrictions. The irrigation system of the municipality is on every day in full view of residents passing by. This sets a bad example and entrenches the image of an uncaring government.

In September this year, the municipality failed to repair a burst water pipe for 6 weeks, losing more than 1.6 million litres of fresh water per month.

Given the current drought conditions, it is imperative that residents are well informed.

The DA will go door-to-door and host community meetings to inform residents to using water sparingly.

 

 

Media Enquiries:

Ina Cilliers MPL

DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Merafong

060 556 4344

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Urgent Intervention Needed At Twilight Home In Hillbrow

Twilight Home – Hillbrow

Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Nandi Mayathula-Khoza must intervene urgently to save Twilight Home in Hillbrow which will be forced to close its doors due to funding constraints.

Twilight Home has been serving the community of Hillbrow for 33 years but has fallen into ill repair and is no longer in the position it once was to house the children it supports.

Earlier this month the DA submitted a member’s statement in the Provincial Legislature appealing to MEC Mayathula-Khoza to intervene, but this call was blatantly ignored by the ANC.

Adequate Funded, Properly Maintained

Safety of the children is severely compromised as access to the premises is open to anyone. Stretched workloads mean that children in this facility often come and go without supervision and are not signed in or signed out of the home.

MEC Mayathula-Khoza has a responsibility to ensure that not only are homes such as Twilight adequately funded, but to ensure that they are properly maintained and managed.

The DA will again pursue the MEC to ensure that she establishes an investigation into Twilight and assists the children residing at the home.

 

Media Enquiries:

Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Social Development

060 558 8297

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Gauteng Health MEC Still Not Fired After 50 Days

#MahlanguMustGo

A significant milestone has been reached as it is now 50 days that Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu remains in her job, after she admitted that 36 psychiatric patients had died in unsuitable NGOs where they were sent after the cancellation of the contract with Life Healthcare Esidimeni.

Mahlangu disclosed this information in an oral reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature on Tuesday 13 September.

I have been tracking the days on a Mahlangu Monitor at #MahlanguMustGo on my @JackBloomDA Twitter account.

It is relevant to note that it took 50 days for former Gauteng Local Government MEC Humphrey Mmemezi to resign after he was caught abusing his corporate credit card for private purchases.

Mahlangu is now passing the 50-day mark even though her dereliction of duty is far more serious than that of Mmemezi because people have died.

Unsuitable NGOs

More damning evidence has since come to light about the rushed transfer to unsuitable NGOs, despite warnings by mental health experts that their lives were being put in danger.

The death toll has risen to 37 and may be as high as 60 patients according to some sources.

Premier David Makhura’s image is taking a knock by his delay in firing his Health MEC who has lost all credibility because of her callous handling of the patients’ deaths.

He need not wait for the investigation by the Health Ombudsman, as it is abundantly clear that Mahlangu bears the prime responsibility for the deaths.

How many more days must we wait before she resigns in shame or is fired by Premier Makhura?

 

Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222