ANC Has Lost The Moral Authority To Govern

Madam Speaker,

I have been in this House since 1994.

I have seen six different premiers, all from the same political party.

They all had some virtues, and also faults.

But this is the first debate in this House that calls for a premier to be removed from office.

This is because no previous premier presided over such a huge and preventable loss of human life.

There were various points in this sad saga that the Honourable Premier could have and should have intervened.

He could have listened to all the many warnings which were widely publicised in the media.

He could have listened when relatives of the Esidimeni patients protested three times outside the head office of the Gauteng Health Department.

He could have listened to what his Health MEC was saying in various statements that made it clear that the Esidimeni patients were being transferred to NGOs instead of pretending that he thought they were going to other state health facilities.

He could have listened in this House on 15 March last year when the former Health MEC said in an oral reply to me that preparations were being made with NGOs to receive Esidimeni patients.

His degree of claimed ignorance is in itself inexcusable.

But then, when the former Health MEC revealed in this House on 13 September last year that 36 patients in NGOs had died, did he snap into action to replace his health MEC and do all that he could to prevent more deaths?

The answer is NO.

He supported the referral to the Health Ombudsman, but he should have been shocked enough by the 36 deaths to demand the resignation of his Health MEC or to fire her.

Thirty-six deaths are also high, higher in fact than the 34 mineworkers killed at Marikana in August 2012.

Thirty-six vulnerable people, each with as much right to live as you and me.

They felt pain, they cried out – but nobody in power would hear them

Just think about it. To each death, there is a name, and people they loved and who loved them.

If I had time I would read out all the names.

But here are just two names:

Aaron Vuyo Nqondwana, His father Christopher

His father Christopher Nqondwana says:

“I have loved my son more than any ordinary family could have. My son was lying in the middle drawer of the mortuary, bleeding profusely from the mouth, with a ball of cotton wool in his mouth. If you can phone me, Mr Makhura, Mr Motsoaledi, and say ‘This is what killed your son’, I think I may be able to rest.”

Nokuthula Sweetness Funane

Her niece Brenda says:

“My father was killed in Thembisa during the ANC and Inkatha wars, his body was left outside his mother’s gate. And now my aunt has died. My grandmother’s words were, ‘I have lost two children to this ANC, and not once have they come to account.’ In a meeting with the department, an official said to me, ‘Did you think your aunt was never going to die?’’’

I am pleased that the Honourable Premier is listening to the family members now, but he should have listened earlier and then nobody would have died.

Thank goodness I forced the former Health MEC to reveal the deaths earlier rather than later.

Thank goodness the Health Ombudsman completed his investigation quite speedily.

If it wasn’t for this, Qedani Mahlangu would still be Health MEC, her officials would still be lying and covering up, and there would have been more deaths.

I want to say to the Honourable Premier that this is not a “game of politicians” as he has falsely described it.

This is no game at all. It is deadly serious.

If the deaths happened under a DA government the ANC would have been screaming genocide and demanding the resignation of the entire provincial government.

Please tell me what you would have said and done if more than 100 people had died, the vast majority of whom were black, under a DA government?

You can criticise us because we were perhaps not forceful enough in uncovering the horror in the health department earlier.

But it is you who are in power, and it is you who are accountable.

Your excuse is that you did not know.

The Honourable Premier likes evidence. I have presented incontrovertible evidence that he did know that they were being transferred to NGOs and not to other state health facilities as he has claimed.

If he was really as ignorant as he claims, then that is another reason for him to go.

The Honorable Premier comes from a political party where members are notoriously unwilling to show political accountability and only resign under the utmost duress.

Mathews Phosa, the former ANC Premier of Mpumalanga, has spoken of his Damascus moment at the opening of Parliament “when Speaker Baleka Mbete callously, coldly and clinically refused to allow Parliament to bow their heads to show that they feel the pain of the families of the 94 who had died because the government looked the other way.”

When will the ANC have its own Damascus moment?

The Honourable Gwen Ramokgopa, who is strangely the only ANC speaker in this debate, has said the following:

“I still do not fully comprehend how it was possible that the Constitution of our land, the National Health Act, the National Mental Health Act, the Health Professions Council Act, the South African Nursing Act, the Public Service Act as well as the plethora of policies and interventions like the Batho Pele Policy all failed the most vulnerable amongst us.”

It is a very good question. And the answer is that it was this ANC provincial government, led by this Premier, who allowed it to happen.

Real accountability starts with acknowledging the truth.

The ANC has lost the moral authority to govern.

We shouldn’t even be having a debate about removing the Premier.

He should be resigning of his own accord.

There is a secret vote at the conclusion of this debate.

Members of the ruling party can have their Damascus moment, like Mathews Phosa, and vote their conscience.

If they do not, we will know when we count the votes.



Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

Where Is Your Honour, Premier?

Honourable Speaker,

What happened to the ANC’s grandstanding stance on collective responsibility? Is it applicable only when it’s convenient and not at all times? If former MEC Mahlangu saw it fit to do the honourable thing and resign why doesn’t Premier Makhura find it honourable to do the same in solidarity and in sharing collective responsibility with “a fellow cadre”?

We heard at last week’s debate on the SOPA that on several occasions the Premier refused to hear anything or pretended not to hear anything that came from members on this side. Should the Premier have cared enough when the DA raised the first red flag on this matter, many lives could have been saved. Many families could still be enjoying the smiles and comfort of their loved ones. Many of us from National Assembly to this house would not be having this debate at all if Premier Makhura had cared enough to take note of the concerns raised by the DA with regards to the Esidimeni matter and had acted swiftly. Sadly, many did not live long enough to witness “Botho jo bo tshwanetseng gonna jaalo”.

From Marikana to the Esidimeni matter, the ANC in government continues to be irresponsible and reckless. The ANC at the helm of government finds no value in human life, particularly those who are vulnerable. In Makgoba’s own words I quote “The decision was reckless, unwise and flawed”. Unquote. Now the question that I am asking in full view of everyone here today, including those that are sitting on the ANC benches, is why should we be governed by a leadership that is reckless, unwise and flawed?

Why should we as a province be recipients of a failing governance system that shies away from accountability, and collective responsibility when it suits them? Why should we be subjected to a leadership that is never willing to listen, that is never willing to be shown the faults and the wrongs, that is never willing to speak and talk of what is honourable, that is never willing to walk on the path of great heroes who know that every human life is important and matters.

It became very clear when Makhura ignored students at the Waverley centre who appealed to him for the facility not to be closed, that he is a leader that is only willing to listen to those within his own circle as opposed to the many cries of the people of Gauteng. Why should we keep such a leader? He must go so that we have a Premier who is willing to listen and act promptly when warned.



Media enquiries:

Lebo More MPL

DA Spokesperson on Petitions

072 273 4487

Great Leadership Requires Great Responsibility

Honourable Speaker,

Being a leader is not an easy or simple task. It is not, and should never be, about a position or about the power or the remuneration that comes with such position. Being a leader should be about being aware of the responsibility such a position brings; a responsibility about being of service to others – the people who follow you. Great leaders understand this- they understand that the benefits of being a leader also bring with them great requirements such as greater responsibility and sacrifice. Being a leader in politics is even more difficult and complicated. Dwight D Eisenhower said “The supreme quality of leadership is unquestionable integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, football field, in an army, or in an office”.

Responsible leadership is about making decisions that take into consideration all the stakeholders who are impacted. Unlike in business, where the key stakeholders are the shareholders, thereafter other stakeholders such as workers, clients, suppliers, the environment, the community and future generations, in politics, the most important stakeholders should be our shareholders; the people who put their trust, their wellbeing and their future into our care. Thereafter it should be about other stakeholders such as the environment, the Party and numerous others.

Unfortunately, the world is full of political leaders who sadly do not live up to leadership ideals. Unfortunately, far too many political leaders seem to severely lack some of the most important leadership qualities, such as integrity and accountability. It is no coincidence that for many people, more so in South Africa, the word “politician” has a negative connotation. Sadly when one meets people for the first time and they find out that you are a politician, the first thing that goes through their minds is “gravy train”. Many actually say as much. It is not uncommon to hear the statement – oh so you too are on the gravy train. It has become a joke. It is sad that in our beloved Country, being a politician is to be associated with corruption and self-enrichment.

However, history and the present day shows us that there are still a few who come close to the leadership ideals and who are good examples of an effective political leader, however, there are too few such leaders.

As political leaders, through the authority of government, we have access to the distribution of power and resources, we build relationships and make decisions that have a great impact on the well-being of our nation and our people. Our goal as political leaders requires that we focus on the long-term good of our country, above and ahead of any personal short-term gains. Good political leadership requires a combination of charisma and integrity, as well as the ability to access a situation and make a decision based on what would be best for the greatest number of people. Most of all, leadership in a political framework requires “statesmanship”- as opposed to just being a “politician”- this means having the integrity and willingness to stand up for what is right, even if it means resigning from a position in government or losing an election. Thabo Mbeki was such a “Statesman”. He made the unpopular decision to fire his Deputy President and as a result, when recalled by his Party, he stepped down gracefully. He could have used the power of the State to remain in power but resisted the temptation. In so doing he retained his dignity and earned the respect of the Nation, including that of his detractors and indeed of the world.

Madame Speaker, being a leader, and more so a political leader, is very difficult. We often find ourselves in a situation where we can easily compromise our principles. As MP’s and MPL’s we do not contest an election in constituencies, we are elected into office via Party lists. This situation often puts us in a position where our loyalties and responsibilities can be compromised. We could believe that our allegiance to the Party takes priority over our accountability to the people we should serve, our nation and future generations. We could believe that in ALL circumstances we should put the Party first. That we must hold onto positions and remain in power at all costs. Thus in the process, we could lose our dignity and self-respect, and face the real possibility of losing the respect of the electorate and those we should be serving. For we should first and foremost always remember why we are here as politicians; we should be the servants of our people first and our respective Parties.

A leader needs to embrace a number of key qualities. True Leaders are not born as such but are shaped by their experiences gained from the University of Life and the University of Hard Knocks. A true political leader should have the qualities of humility, simplicity, self-awareness, passion, compassion, courage and integrity. A true political leader will listen to their team and be open to listening to the opposition even if they do not like what they hear. They consider all views and assess them. Then they need to weigh up the pros and cons of the choices they have to make. Thereafter they have to make firm decisions, without the waiver, and should not leave things undecided for long. They do not make excuses; if they have made a mistake they take ownership of it and don’t pass the blame to someone else. Cut their losses. Arnold H Glasow has this to say about leadership “A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit”.

Another fundamental quality of a leader is that they should trust what their team presents to them, but they verify the information. They do not take such information as a given. Evaluate and verify.

Madame Speaker, I dwelled upon the characteristics and qualities of leadership as described not only in textbooks but also in terms of general expectations of leaders, for we are all leaders in this House. Hopefully, we are here to represent the interests of our people, to serve them with dignity and more so to ensure their wellbeing; to ensure that their plight is improved and that we secure for them a better future. We should always strive to put our people first.

We have heard what motivated Member Mabala to bring this motion before this House; we will furthermore hear what Member Bloom and other speakers will be contributing to this debate. These subsequent speakers will inform this House of the facts and evidence relevant to this debate. Member Bloom, in particular, will present to this House the facts as to the unfolding of events and circumstances that lead to the untimely death of at least 100 and counting, innocent mentally ill patients; the most hopeless, voiceless and vulnerable, who we in this House, as leaders, are tasked to serve and protect and we failed to do so.

The Honorable Premier in my humble opinion failed to exercise his duties and responsibilities as a leader. He did not listen to the opposition and others who brought the matter to his attention and warned him about the possible dire consequences that could result from moving these mentally ill patients. He trusted the information he received from his MEC, without verification, without considering all the evidence before him. He made the wrong decision. When what he was warned about became a reality, he relied upon a defence of denial.

The Premier claims that he was lied to and thus mislead. If he was misled, it is because he ignored the information received from the opposition and from other bodies and individuals. He cannot claim his innocence. It could be argued in his defence that he delegated authority to his cabinet, however, as the captain of his government, responsibility and accountability falls squarely upon his shoulders.

It is said that you can delegate authority, but you cannot delegate responsibility. Winston Churchill said, “The price of greatness is responsibility.” The Premier was called upon to suspend the former MEC, at least until a finding was made, a process that should be normal in such cases. He either refused or neglected, to make this unpopular decision. Therefore, he should have done what a true leader would do, and that is to take responsibility for his actions or inaction and resign, with dignity. I, therefore, call on this House to consider what I have said about the responsibilities and qualities of leadership, to take into serious consideration what other speakers will present, then ponder upon your decision, be led by your conscience and then vote to remove the Hon. Premier from his position.



Media enquiries:

John Moodey

DA Gauteng Leader 

082 960 3743

Dysfunctional West Rand District Municipality Impacts Negatively On Service Delivery

Emergency Fire Services & Integrated Development Planning

The West Rand District Municipality is meant to provide specific services such as emergency fire services, integrated development planning and after hours’ service outage reporting to all councils in the West Rand.

The reality is that the ANC controlled District Municipality has been roundly criticised for poor service delivery by residents across the West Rand. Recent media reports exposed the increased risk of fire given that there is insufficient equipment, including fire trucks, to deal with emergency situations.

The responsible official in the District Municipality is quoted as saying, “I always tell my firemen, if there is a fire, and you don’t have a vehicle, you get on a bicycle and you pedal till you get there to help the people concerned.” It is deeply concerning that the shortage of emergency vehicles in the District has not been prioritised.

West Rand Development Agency

Numerous residents of Mogale City have complained that the after-hours emergency number (107) mostly goes unanswered. Some residents say that the phone is occasionally picked up and immediately put down. This calls into question whether the responsible officials are in fact part of the ANC’s campaign of destabilisation against the Mogale City municipality.

Over and above poor service delivery, it has been reported that the West Rand District Municipality is technically insolvent.

In addition, the proposal by the ANC, that additional services be moved from local councils and centralised in the District Municipality is not only unlawful but is also a looming disaster in terms of service delivery.

The West Rand Development Agency, an entity of the West Rand District, has been tasked with the economic development of the West Rand but has failed spectacularly and produced little of value.

The DA will continue to hold the District Municipality to account in order to ensure that it stops wasting public funds and delivers the standard of services our residents deserve.



Media enquiries:

Alan Fuchs MPL

DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Mogale 

060 558 8313

[Image source]

Fewer Psychiatric Patients But Long Waiting Times At South Rand Hospital

Custom-designed Psychiatric Ward

South Rand Hospital has fewer psychiatric patients than before but the two wards set aside for them need to be relocated to a custom-designed psychiatric ward on the ground floor.

This was the observation of a DA delegation that visited the hospital yesterday (27 February) after receiving complaints from patients. DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC Jack Bloom, DA Joburg South Constituency Head Manny de Freitas MP and DA councillors Michael Crichton, Rashieda Landis and Faeeza Chame inspected various parts of the hospital and met with hospital CEO Dr Nobantu Maleka.

We were pleased to find that psychiatric patients were no longer mixed with other patients in ordinary wards and that the numbers were down dramatically because of the recent opening of the psychiatric ward at the Bheki Mlangeni Hospital in Soweto.

There were only three psychiatric patients in the 27-bed female psychiatric ward and 11 patients in the 34-bed male psychiatric ward on the fourth floor.

Psychiatric patients are seen for an observation period of 72 hours and then discharged or sent to a more specialist and long-term facility.

One Security Guard at the Psychiatric Ward

The two psychiatric wards are not ideal as they have been converted from ordinary wards. A request has been made for the refurbishment of a former crèche on the ground floor into a proper psychiatric ward where staff can interact with the patients and they can also recuperate in a secure garden.

Staff expressed concern that there was only one security guard at the psychiatric ward and that the glass windows could be shattered and shards used as a weapon or to commit suicide. There are burglar bars to prevent a patient jumping to their death, as happened in May last year.

Long waiting periods are a continuing problem at this hospital.

Official figures for July to September last year show that patients wait between two-and-a-half hours to three hours at both the Outpatients department and at Casualty, which is unacceptable.

Moratorium on Hiring more Admin Staff

On a positive note, however, the hospital is looking very clean and pharmacy waiting times have decreased.

Hospital CEO Dr Nobantu Maleka said there was a moratorium on hiring more administrative staff which has led to long waiting times; there was also a shortage of 16 nurses.

The hospital’s staff compliment needs to be increased to cope with the large increase in patient numbers.

Maleka said that there are plans to renovate the Outpatient ward towards the end of the year.

The DA will monitor the promised improvements and push for more staff and for electronic files to replace the paper files that often get lost and add to patients’ frustration and waiting time.




Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

[Image source]

Wattville Hostel Conditions Ignored By ANC-Ekurhuleni

Wattville Hostel – Ekurhuleni

The appalling conditions at Wattville Hostel in Actonville, Ekurhuleni have been ignored by the ANC-led council in the metro.

Three years have gone by and no action has been taken to address the health and safety concerns of residents.

DA local Ward Councillor, Haseena Ismail, had submitted 8 petitions on behalf of the community yet it was ignored.

The DA has also submitted a motion in council for mobile chemical toilets as there is no maintenance at the hostel and raw sewerage flows into the streets.

Service-orientated Government

Gauteng Premier David Makhura in his State of the Province Address promised the conversion of hostels into family units. The DA will hold the Premier accountable on this promise.

Residents deserve a responsive, caring and service-orientated government; for far too long have the residents’ cries gone unheard.

The DA will write to Human Settlements MEC, Paul Mashatile, to request that he visit the hostel and address residents and listen to their concerns.




Media Enquiries
Michele Clarke MPL
DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Benoni
060 558 8299
Yaseen Carelse
Social Development Cluster Manager
076 721 8613
[Image source]

Twist In The Tail Of EPWP Ghost Worker Investigation

EPWP Ghost Workers at Johan Heyns Clinic

The DA has been reliably informed that an internal investigation into Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) ghost workers at the Johan Heyns Clinic in Vanderbijlpark was launched, however the very same person implicated in allegedly selling jobs to the ANC is doing the verification of the ghost workers.

The DA had called for the suspension of the project coordinator until the investigation was completed but this has fallen on deaf ears.

Gauteng Health MEC

Sources have indicated that the ANC regional office in Sedibeng has already set up lists of workers for the new six month contracts within the EPWP.

It is unacceptable that the ANC is buying support through promising jobs to only their members.

The DA awaits the response from the Gauteng Health MEC, Gwen Ramokgopa, following our request to have an external departmental investigation into the matter.




Media Enquiries
Kingsol Chabalala MPL
DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Emfuleni North
060 558 8299
Yaseen Carelse
Social Development Cluster Manager
076 721 8613
[Image source]


DA Submits PAIA To Obtain Evaton Renewal Project’s Documents

Promotion of Access to Information Act

The DA has today submitted a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application to obtain the Evaton Renewal Project documents.

This comes as Gauteng Cooperative Governance and Human Settlements MEC, Paul Mashatile, refused to respond to a letter from the DA requesting all documentation on projects rolled out through the Evaton Renewal Project (ERP) since its inception in 2004.

Thirteen years on, at a cost of R700 million, this project has achieved very little.

The MECs refusal to release the documents to the DA begs the question on whether or not he has something to hide. Evaton remains one of the provinces most neglected townships and residents deserve better.

Evaton remains one of the provinces most neglected townships and residents deserve better.

The DA will continue to pursue access to all documents relating to projects to the ERP. Gauteng residents deserve to know how their money has been spent over the past thirteen years.

Media Enquiries
Kingsol Chabalala MPL
DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Emfuleni North
060 558 8299
Yaseen Carelse
Social Development Cluster Manager
076 721 8613
Image source

Xenophobia Has No Place In Our Democratic Society

Rule of Law

The DA in Gauteng strongly condemns the recent wave of xenophobic violence in our province.

Xenophobia has no place in our democratic society.

It is deeply saddening that two of our Afropolitan cities of Johannesburg and Tshwane have seen attacks targeting foreigners.

We call on all South Africans to respect the rule of law and to refrain from targeting foreigners.

Our country’s history and the freedom we enjoy today was not won in isolation, many African nations played a pivotal role in supporting South Africa’s liberation.

The DA will put forward a motion in the Provincial Legislature on Xenophobia.



Media Enquiries
John Moodey MPL
DA Gauteng Provincial Leader
082 960 3743
Yaseen Carelse
Social Development Cluster Manager
072 721 8613
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NGO Threatens Brother Of Deceased Patient

Shammah House NGO

I am appalled that the Shammah House NGO has threatened the brother of a deceased mental health patient who was sent there from Life Esidimeni last year.

Mr Mike Thlolwe (60) died at Shammah House in Cullinan on 12 February this year shortly before an ambulance was to take him to hospital.

Last week on Thursday the NGO sent a letter from a law firm to his brother Ike Thlolwe threatening him with legal action if he did not retract public statements blaming them for poor treatment of his brother.

Health Ombudsman’s Recommendation

According to the legal letter “Our instructions are that our client attended to your brother’s health and welfare according to best practice and followed every relevant protocol … Our client reserves its rights to take any legal action should they become aware of any untrue, unfounded or defamatory statements or insinuations in respect of their conduct.”
Shammah is acting in a very inappropriate and insensitive manner.

I have reported this to Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa and requested her to intervene to resolve this matter.

I am also concerned that Shammah has reportedly been offered a contract by the Gauteng Health Department to continue to accommodate 44 mental health patients.

This is despite the Health Ombudsman’s recommendation that former Esidimeni patients be moved from the unlicensed NGOs.

We need to know that all mental health patients are in suitable facilities that are regularly monitored by health officials.



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