The Gauteng Provincial Government under the leadership of Premier David Makhura, has this year had to wade through difficult political waters whilst continuing to carry out its Constitutional mandate to the province’s 13.5 million residents.
The damage meted out to the country by the continuous scandals around President Jacob Zuma, saw the Gauteng Provincial ANC attempt to distinguish itself from the mother body and offer itself as the true, untarnished version of the ANC. This was not possible as intrinsically Zuma and the ANC are one in the same.
Years of cadre deployment, the mismanagement of funds and failed service delivery projects could not hold back the electorate’s disproval of the party, which was reflected in the party’s losses of the Johannesburg Metro, Tshwane Metro and Mogale City.
It is evident that the promises made by Premier Makhura in his inaugural State of the Province address in 2014 have not yielded the results required to radically transform the inequalities and hardships faced by millions of the provinces residents.
The DA Cabinet Scorecard is an analysis based on the individual MEC’s grasp of his/her portfolio demands, leadership skills, approachability, willingness to appear before oversight committees, and quality of written and oral responses to DA questions.
Premier David Makhura
As the head of the Provincial Government, ultimate responsibility for failures of the performance of the administration lie with him.
Regarded as a man of action, the Premier has failed to live up to his title. Recommendations by the Public Service Commissioner that action should be taken against corrupt government officials amounted to slaps on wrist, with no criminal action perused against offenders.
Similarly, his failure to fire Health MEC, Qedani Malhangu, after the death of 37 mental health patients further reiterates the point that Premier Makhura is a man of charisma, but when it comes to tackling difficult issues, he has a hard time keeping to his word.
Inequality and social ills such as the housing backlog and violent crime continue to rise in the province, despite the Premier’s plans for a “radical” overhaul Gauteng’s socio-economic structure.
The results of this year’s local government elections reflect that the ANC in Gauteng has lost touch with people on the ground, and that the provincial administration is not performing as well as they perceive themselves to be doing. Alternatively, they are aware of the reality that faces them and are simply trying to paper over the crevasses.
Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 42 questions to the Premier, of which 18 went unanswered.
Finance – MEC Barbara Creecy
Gauteng Finance MEC, Barbara Creecy, has a critical role to play in ensuring that the day to day business of the provincial government is carried out effectively and efficiently.
MEC Creecy has become less transparent since initially taking up her post in 2014. Despite the fanfare created about the open-tender system, established to create transparency in the government tender process, documentation for tenders is often deeply embedded in departmental websites – or is outdated when found. This project cannot be called anything other than lip-service.
Staff in her department have been instructed to not respond to requests from the DA, making oversight a difficult and frustrating task. It begs the question – does the MEC have something to hide?
As the head of e-Governance, the ITC arm of the provincial government, Creecy has been seen to take an arm’s length approach to projects and their resultant shortcomings. This has been evident in the challenges faced with the Gauteng Online sites which are mired by connectivity problems, leaving clinics, schools and government institutions unable to provide quality services to residents.
Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 24 questions to the MEC of which 14 went unanswered.
Infrastructure Development – MEC Jacob Mamabolo
It was with some relief that MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza was replaced by Jacob Mamabolo in February 2016.
The department’s poor performance this year lies squarely at her feet and not Mamabolo’s. Client departments who were reliant on the Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) for the roll out of classrooms, clinics, libraries fell behind on their Annual Performance Plans due to the weak political leadership under MEC Mayathula-Khoza.
Current MEC, Jacob Mamabolo, acknowledges problems and attempts to resolve them with officials. While Mamabolo has not been in place long enough to make a huge impact in terms of the performance of the department, his receptiveness to engage and act has resulted in some improvement.
It is important that Mamabolo maintains his vigour, as the task that lies ahead is huge. To address the high levels of unemployment and stimulate the provincial economy, it is imperative that this department unlocks the infrastructure potential of Gauteng and fast tracks back dated projects.
Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 53 questions to the MEC of which 16 went unanswered.
Economic Development, Agriculture, Rural Development and Environmental Affairs – MEC Lebogang Maile
As the engine of South Africa’s economy, Gauteng is strategically placed to take the lead in creating a more inclusive and diverse economy that meets the needs of the provinces 13.5 million people.
While some initiatives have been mooted by MEC Lebogang Maile, such as the Township Stock Exchange and the procurement of goods and services from township businesses, the economy of Gauteng still remains fragmented. Neither of these initiatives have had the impact they were expected to have had.
Black businesses and emerging start-ups still face cumbersome red-tape and cannot access market places which would ensure their success. This is largely due to the impotence of many of the innovation and incubation hubs set up by the department that simply do not offer the requisite knowledge or skill sets to budding entrepreneurs.
Often neglected, but critically important is the work this department is supposed to carry out regarding agriculture and the environment. The department’s response to the current drought has been knee-jerk rather than proactive, which has had a disastrous impact on the agriculture sector in the province.
Little regard is given for the environment, as requests to provide feedback on Environmental Impact Assessments more often than not go ignored. This has been evidenced in the steam rolling of the mega-tailings dump proposed for Kalbasfontein on the West Rand.
Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 85 questions to the MEC of which 48 went unanswered.
Community Safety – MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane
Gauteng continues to remain a one stop shop for criminals. The failure by MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane to take steps to introduce smart policing and effective oversight measures have left residents of Gauteng at the mercy of gangs, hi-jacking syndicates, armed robbers and murders.
The consistent failure by the South African Police Service to meet Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is a clear indication that the department’s constitutional mandate of oversight is being ignored.
Financially the department is faring better with accruals having being dealt with and showing some financial improvement, as well as having a new HOD who is providing more accurate reports on the department’s performance.
However, there is continued under expenditure on the Civilian Oversight Programme as well as the implementation of many small programmes that do not relate to the department’s core mandate.
Road fatalities remain high due to the MECs apparent lack of political will to improve road safety through the Gauteng Traffic Police.
Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 65 questions to the MEC of which 28 went unanswered.
Roads and Transport – MEC Ismail Vadi
MEC Ismail Vadi has rarely been seen at legislature oversight committee meetings, and when he has attended – he generally leaves early.
Cited in Premier David Makhura’s white elephant e-Toll review panel report, was the repeated emphasis that Gauteng is in dire need of cost effective, reliable public transport. MEC Vadi’s fixation with expanding the Gautrain network, when cost effective public transport is virtually non-existent in the province, speaks volumes to the mis-direction of the MEC’s priorities.
This is highlighted by the constant confusion and disorganization of provincial bus subsidies which frequently threaten commuter’s plans to get to and from work.
Unnecessary delays between his department and municipalities to formalise street light and road maintenance agreements as well as the huge roads maintenance backlogs remain a cause of concern.
The MEC is often quick to blame to the National Department of Transport for many of the short-comings of his department, yet despite numerous recommendations from the DA that he should engage Minister Dipuo Peters on these issues, the MEC remains silent.
Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 67 questions to the MEC of which 19 went unanswered.
Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements – MEC Paul Mashatile
MEC Paul Mashatile was deployed to this position to play politics – it is clear that his focus is not on the effective and efficient delivery of basic services and roll-out of housing in the province.
Cheap politicking has no place in the provincial government when hundreds of thousands of Gauteng’s citizens are living in squalor, awaiting proper homes, adequate sanitation and electricity and ownership through the delivery of long awaited title deeds.
The department of human settlements is nearing financial collapse and during his tenure, R908 million was sent back to National Treasury, money which was allocated for housing delivery.
MEC Mashatile has made numerous utterances about placing DA Municipalities under administration, because the ANC has not yet accepted the outcome of the Local Government Elections, he even went as far as encouraging the community of Nellmapius to disrupt the Tshwane Council meeting in October this year.
The municipalities of Lesedi, Merafong and Emfuleni continuously fail to provide services to their residents and implement sound financial management procedures.
The MEC would do well to spend his time on ensuring that his department can fulfil its constitutional mandate of service delivery. The department cannot go another year failing to deliver its mandate – ultimately keeping the provinces most marginalised trapped in the cycle of homelessness.
Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 240 questions to the MEC of which 141 went unanswered.
Health – MEC Qedani Mahlangu
Events of 2016 have proved that MEC Qedani Mahlangu is not fit to hold office.
She should have resigned or been fired over the 37 known deaths of psychiatric patients transferred hastily to unsuitable NGOs after the cancellation of the contract for Life Healthcare Esidimeni which looked after about 2000 patients.
Her continued evasion of this subject, and her defiance on the matter makes her appear more complicit than a simple by-stander in a failed project.
She has also bungled the payments of Community Health Workers by handing over their administration to the SmartPurse Company which many CHWs objected to. This has seen the loss of about 2000 CHWs, which has adversely affected the provinces primary health care.
Premier Makhura is equally to blame for this situation. His initial appointment of MEC Mahlangu and his subsequent inability to do the right thing by relieving her of her duties has jeopardised Gauteng’s primary healthcare network.
A professional individual is needed to replace Mahlangu to ensure that residents of Gauteng receive quality, dignified healthcare.
Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 142 questions to the MEC of which 48 went unanswered.
Education – MEC Panyaza Lesufi
Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, is more responsive to challenges in his department than most of his fellow MECs.
He is willing to engage openly with the opposition, even if his solutions are not always befitting the challenges at hand.
His piloting of the online school enrolment process for grade 1 and 8 learners has been relatively successful despite initial challenges to the system. The number of Matric bachelor passes in the province have gradually increased during his tenure.
However, Lesufi still battles to deal with the basic challenges facing his department like providing running water, electricity and sanitation to some schools in the province. His department’s inability to identify how many asbestos schools there are in the province, and a detailed plan of action to immediately address this, continues to place the health and safety of learners and teachers at risk.
The failure to comply with the National Department’s Norms and Standards to reduce the cost of building new schools continually sees project running over cost – wreaking havoc with the department’s budget.
The MEC has also failed to take the lead on the cash-for-jobs syndicate where SADTU union members have been implicated offering cash rewards for SGB’s and officials to ensure that their preferred candidates are selected for teacher, deputy principal and principal positions.
MEC Lesufi can do more in his department, but must get the basics right and stamp out corruption decisively.
Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 104 questions to the MEC of which 34 went unanswered
Social Development – MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza
MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza deployment to the department earlier this year was met with anticipation, as it was hoped that she would breathe fresh air into the department.
However, the trend set by her predecessor, Faith Mazibuko, has remained.
The biggest concern with this department is the lack of transparency. The department does not submit documents showing actual transfers to all NGO’s and NPO’s in the province, this is coupled by the continual late payment of these organisations. This has created a situation where a number of NGO’s and NPO’s are on the verge on closing down, which will leave people destitute or create overcrowding the ones that remain open.
Social workers and auxiliary social workers around the province work in terrible conditions. They handle many case load and therefore struggle to give case the quality attention it deserves. In some places social workers work in open plan offices yet they counsel people who need to be given confidentiality.
Like in previous years the MEC has still not provided comprehensive plans for people with disabilities, the elderly and those struggling with substance abuse.
Most concerning is that there is no real plan to capacitate the growing number of non-compliant Early Childhood Development centres in the province.
MEC Mayathula-Khoza has still not put in place a payment schedule to collect monies owing from various departments to the Department of Social Development.
This is coupled by the fact that financial documents presented in various documents are often inconsistent. In some cases, instead of presenting targets and actuals, only percentages are indicated.
Gauteng’s most vulnerable and marginalised will continue to remain so if the MEC does not pull the financial state of this department into shape and support the staff it employs to create a more holistic, caring environment.
Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 46 questions to the MEC of which 12 went unanswered.
Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture – MEC Faith Mazibuko
The department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture (SRAC) has been in a state of flux this year since the suspension, and later firing of Molebatsi Bopape, who was replace Faith Mazibuko as MEC.
While Gauteng Premier, David Makhura took the right action against the former Head of Department, for meddling in supply chain management processes, MEC Faith Mazibuko has not endeared herself as the current leader of this department.
SRAC was the only department in the GPG portfolio to have shown regression by incurring unauthorised expenditure. Irregular expenditure for the 2015/16 financial year doubled from R88.6 million to R194.4 million.
Long outstanding projects of this department, such as the Provincial Archives Centre in Kagiso and additional libraries across the province are still outstanding.
These failures have been pinned on the Department of Infrastructure Development. Recently MEC Mazibuko launched a scathing attack on MEC for Infrastructure Development, Jacob Mamabolo, claiming that her department’s failures rest squarely at his feet.
SRAC needs to for a better partnership with DID to ensure that it delivers on its mandate. It also needs to implement stronger financial controls to ensure that it spends its budget on correctly.
Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 71 questions to the MEC of which 23 went unanswered
It is clear that there is much room for improvement across the board, and that Premier Makhura’s dream of a Gauteng government that delivers will remain distant if he does not show the political will necessary to take action against corruption and stand up to his masters in Luthuli House for the good of the people of Gauteng.
John Moodey MPL
DA Gauteng Caucus Leader
082 960 3843
DA Gauteng Legislature
073 601 6144