DA submits petition for Emfuleni service delivery failures to be urgently debated

The Democratic Alliance in Emfuleni has submitted a petition to the Speaker of Emfuleni Municipality, protesting a complete breakdown of service delivery in the municipality, and enormous financial losses, and for an urgent debate on the matter.

The municipality faces shortages of vehicles, materials, and skilled officials necessary to deliver basic services. This was admitted by the 2016/17 mid-year Audit Report. The municipality’s poor record of paying service providers is also keeping outside business from working with the municipality.

The municipality has ever-increasing potholes, covering its roads, and the Roads department officials complain that without the bitumen needed to repair potholes, their hands are tied. Accidents are increasing as roads deteriorate.

The Roads Department has no paint to refresh and repaint road markings, and the roads of Emfuleni present a risk to motorists who cannot properly drive with roads unmarked.

Water losses, as aging water infrastructure is left to crumble, continue to increase. Last year over R200 million in clean drinking water was lost by Emfuleni, sharply increasing from the year before.

Electricity is also being lost as infrastructure fails because it is not maintained. Last year over R300 million in electricity was lost by Emfuleni, increasing by over R80 million in losses from the year before.

In 2015 Gauteng Premier David Makhura visited Emfuleni and said “This is unacceptable, and we will make sure that your concerns are addressed urgently. We will shake up this municipality to ensure we deliver.” This has proved to be a broken promise from the ANC Premier, and has exposed the ANC as an uncaring government of broken promises.

The DA expects that our petition will be processed by the Speaker, debated in the Council, and referred to the Gauteng Province for intervention. We cannot accept this appalling failure of delivery to continue in Emfuleni.

Media Enquiries:

Adv. Hendrik Schmidt MP
083 227 5658

Gauteng Department of Social Development closing down homes

The closure of Twilight Home in Hillbrow is yet another Gauteng Department of Social Development (GDSD) blunder.

Last year, the DA requested Social Development MEC, Nandi Mayathula-Khoza to urgently intervene and save Twilight Home from closing due to funding constraints.

However, the GDSD failed to intervene and rescue this home which has been in operation for over 33 years.

Many children and teenagers who receive quality care have now been absorbed by other NGOs in the province.

Two children from Twilight are back on the streets and are in desperate need of care. Some learners failed to write their Matric exams as they were removed from the home last year.

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 GDSD’s blunder in not supporting or investigating conditions at Twilight Home speaks to the uncaring, non-responsive nature of the ANC-led government in Gauteng.

The DA will submit questions in the Legislature to ascertain why the department ignored calls by the home to assist in keeping their doors open to care for the homeless and most vulnerable members of our society.

Media Enquiries:

Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Social Development
060 558 8297

Gauteng Provincial Government must cease funding SANRAL over collusion scandal

The Gauteng Provincial Government must cease its funding of the South African National Roads Agency Limited’s (SANRAL) Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), as revelations made by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) claim that possible collusion on the project inflated its cost by R9.6 billion.

In the 2015/16 financial year, Gauteng MEC for Finance, Barbara Creecy indicated that the provincial government would contribute R123 million to the project.

If SANRAL and the National Department of Transport had listened to advice available in reports commissioned by them, as early as 2005, an alternative funding model could have been used to contain costs of this project and would have negated the socio-economic impact of the unjust e-toll system currently enforced in Gauteng.

It is critically important that these claims are investigated as soon as possible. Funds must be recovered if the allegations of collusion are true.

Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC, Ismail Vadi, must aid his colleagues in the national department to ensure that public money is protected.

The DA will work with OUTA to ensure that those who are responsible for the fiasco which foisted e-Tolls on Gauteng’s residents are brought to book.

Media Enquiries:

Fred Nel MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport
083 263 2427

DA appeals 2nd inadequate PAIA response from Gauteng Education department

The Gauteng Education Department failed to provide the DA with all the documentation relating to the School Smart Board (ICT Tender), which was requested through a Promotion to Access of Information Act (PAIA) application.

The DA has submitted a Notice of Appeal to the department’s decision to withhold information requested. This is in accordance with section 75 of the PAIA Act.

This is the second inadequately answered PAIA from the department.

Last year, the DA was reliably informed that the department could have saved millions of rands had the ICT tender been awarded to an alternative service provider. It is alleged that the products that were delivered were not the same as those on tender specifications.

In our initial PAIA application, we requested a list of all the companies who put out to tender for the smart boards and a costing model for each. However, the department is refusing to share such information.

The department has only furnished the DA with a list of company names. Should these tenders have been awarded in an open and transparent way, it begs the question as to why the MEC is hiding this information?

It is of vital importance that whilst the MEC plans to roll out more ICT classrooms and high-level equipment to schools, that the tender process is open and transparent.

This project has raised more questions than answers. For instance, why were 88 000 tablets recalled? Not all grade 12 classrooms have smart boards and, connectivity is still a challenge as materials provided are alleged to not be the same as the ones specified in the tender notice.

The DA has asked the education committee to prioritise this project to ensure that it does not face the same fate as the R2 billion failed Gauteng online project. Should we not obtain the relevant information, for both the School Nutrition and ICT Tenders, the DA will have no other choice but to request the Office of the Public Protector to investigate.

Media Enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education
082 398 7375

Daveyton Golf Course is an abandoned site

The DA conducted an oversight visit to the Daveyton Golf Course in Ekurhuleni last week.

A once thriving golfing facility and the pride of the Daveyton is now nothing more than an abandoned site.

The Daveyton Golf Course was developed by the Ekurhuleni Metro Council in order to address the shortage of golfing facilitates and training for the community.

The caretaker had informed the DA that more than 60 children had trained for golf at the club on a daily basis in the past, but currently, youth from the community cannot make use of the facility as it is in such disarray.

The grass on the golf course has not been cut for several months. Half the boundary wall is missing which leads the course open to vandalism.

On numerous occasions, the caretaker has had requested the Gauteng Department of Sport and Recreation to cut the grass and attend to maintenance issues, but this has all fallen on deaf ears.

It is extremely disheartening when the government spends millions of rands to build sporting facilities, to uplift children within the community, but lacks the basic management and maintenance skills to sustain these facilities.

The DA has submitted questions to the MEC for Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Ms Faith Mazibuko, in the Legislature to ascertain whether there is a maintenance budget for the golf course, when will restoration take place and whether or not the department intends to keep the club doors open.

Media Enquiries:

Michele Clarke MPL
DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Benoni
060 558 8299


Five priorities for new Health MEC

New Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa faces a huge challenge in restoring confidence in the health department which has been shown to be uncaring and deceitful.

Her previous stint as Health MEC from 1999 to 2006 was marked by mediocrity and an ugly spat at the end with her head of department Dr Letitia Rispel.

For the sake of our country, I hope that she rises to the challenge to rebuild this long-troubled department.

I suggest the following top five priorities:

  1. Ensure that all the remaining mental health patients are safely transferred from unlicensed NGOs to facilities where they will receive proper care. As existing public hospitals are already over-crowded, she should request Life Healthcare to re-open the facilities where mental patients were previously treated.
  2. Speedily appoint new top management with real skills and ethical standards. The criterion should be competence, not political loyalty.
  3. Review the R87 million contract with SmartPurse which is failing abysmally to pay 8000 Community Health Workers on time, and ensure that the valid grievances of CHWs are addressed.
  4. Review all other fishy contracts entered into by the department, including security companies that grossly over-charge. Make sure that the Auditor-General’s recommendations are implemented strictly, and that all corruption is investigated and punished.
  5. Pay all suppliers on time within the legally stipulated 30 days.

There are many other things that will demand her attention, but she should start with these five measures to stabilize the department so that further improvements can take place.

I will request a meeting with MEC Ramokgopa in order to discuss this further and how the DA can assist.

Media Enquiries:

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

Appoint Thuli Madonsela to ensure relatives of 94 dead get fair settlement

The Gauteng Provincial Government has suffered a crisis of credibility over the deaths of 94 mental health patients and needs to appoint someone of high stature to get redress and compensation for the relatives.

Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba has recommended that the National Health Minister and the Gauteng Premier contact all affected individuals and families and enter into an Alternative Dispute Resolution process.

Makgoba says: “the response must include an unconditional apology to families and relatives of deceased and live patients who were subjected to this avoidable trauma; and as a result of the emotional and psychological trauma the relatives have endured, psychological counselling and support must be provided immediately.”

He also recommends: “The outcome of such process should determine the way forward such as mechanisms of redress and compensation. A credible prominent South African with an established track record should lead such a process.”

The Democratic Alliance supports this approach which avoids long-drawn-out legal proceedings as has occurred with the Marikana deaths.

It could also be a more satisfactory and speedy alternative to a class action law suit.

We believe that former Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela has the necessary moral authority and support to ensure that there is a fair settlement for the relatives that includes financial compensation, while bearing in mind that no amount of money can recompense for the loss of a loved one.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Premier David Makhura should approach Adv Madonsela as their top choice for this purpose.

We hope that she can spare some time from her current sabbatical at Harvard University, otherwise someone else with a similar reputation for integrity and independence should be appointed.

Media Enquiries:

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

Appointment Of The Moral Regeneration Movement By Gauteng Infrastructure Raises Questions

Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development

The decision by the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) to involve the Moral Regeneration Movement (MRM) to assist in driving its campaign to safeguard public assets from being vandalised has raised a few eyebrows.

The campaign, called “I Care, We Care”, was launched by the department a number of months ago, with its primary objective to convince members of civil society that vandalising or destroying public assets such as schools, hospitals or clinics is counterproductive and self-defeating.

The appointment of the MRM has however provoked interest, as it must be remembered that initially, the patron of the MRM was none other President, J G Zuma, who eventually resigned from this position.

MEC Jacob Mamabolo

One would have expected that in the debate on the fitness of the President to hold office that the MRM, as the centre of our collective South African morality, would have had something to say. Instead there was deathly silence.

Funding for the MRM comes from national government, and receives a very small budget. It must also be noted that the MRM has few human resources, so it begs the question -what will the Movement do and how much they will be paid?

MEC for DID, Jacob Mamabolo, was extremely vague as to the amount of money allocated to them, stating that it could be between R2 to R3 million.

One hopes that this is not a cynical mechanism to augment the funds of the MRM.

In light of the laudable objectives of the campaign and an appeal from the MEC to evaluate the MRM’s performance as the project proceeds, the appointment was accepted.

The DA will pose questions to the MEC to ascertain the exact amount the MRM is receiving from the department’s budget. We will also scrutinise the project to ensure that value for money is maximised as a result of the MRM’s input.



Media enquiries:

Alan Fuchs MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Infrastructure Development

060 558 8313

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DA Lays Charges Against Former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu

Former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu

The DA is laying charges today against former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu who resigned this week after the devastating findings of the Health Ombudsman’s report into the transfer of mental health patients from Life Healthcare Esidimeni to NGOs without legal licenses where 94 patients died.

In my affidavit, Mahlangu is charged with culpable homicide and with contraventions of the Mental Health Care Act (MHCA) and the National Health Act (NHA).

Click here to view the affidavit.

Culpable Homicide

The crime of culpable homicide is defined as the “unlawful, negligent killing of another human being.”

The Ombud’s Report in numerous instances describes the conduct of the Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) and by extension the MEC, as negligent. There can be no doubt that the deaths of the patients are as a direct consequence of that conduct, and that the conduct was not in accordance with the NHA, the MHCA and the Constitution.

It is therefore apparent that the MEC, in instructing the termination of the GDoH contract with Life Healthcare Esidimeni, has prima facia met the requirements of culpable homicide.

Section 70 of the MHCA states as follows:

“(1) Any person who – 

(a) misrepresents a fact in any application, report, record, certificate; 

(b) obstructs or hinders any person in the performance of his or her functions; 

(c) neglects, abuses or treats a mental health care user in any degrading manner or allows the user to be treated in that manner; 

…. is guilty of an offence.

The MEC’s false statement in the Legislature on 13 September 2016 in which she said that 36 patients had died whereas the true figure was 77 patients is a prima facie misrepresentation of a fact in a report as considered by Section 70(1)(a) above.

Life Healthcare Esidimeni

Furthermore, the decision by the GDoH to terminate its contract with Life Healthcare Esidimeni at the MEC’s instruction directly resulted in the neglect and abuse of numerous mental health care users. Instigating such treatment, let alone permitting it, is therefore a prima facie offence in terms of Section 70(1)(c).

I also charge the MEC with breaches of the NHA that relate the withholding of adequate health services as required in Section 3(2) and also the failure to provide discharge reports as required in Section 10.

I have laid these charges as it is important that there are consequences for contraventions of the law by politicians and also because I am not confident that the provincial government will lay similar charges against former MEC Mahlangu.

The scale of the deaths and the negligence make this a Medical Marikana that requires accountability from the perpetrators and justice for the victims.

Media are invited to the Johannesburg Central Police Station at 1 Commissioner Street at 12pm where I will be formally laying the charges.



Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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DA Welcomes Resignation Of Gauteng Health MEC

Health Ombudsman’s Report

I welcome the resignation of Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in the wake of the highly critical findings of the Health Ombudsman concerning the deaths of at least 94 mental health patients.

Premier David Makhura bears part of the blame for this disaster as he should have acted earlier to fire her and taken action to protect the patients, many of whom are still suffering in unsuitable NGOs.

Dr Gwen RamokgopaDr Gwen Ramokgopa

It took 141 days for Mahlangu to resign following the first disclosure of deaths in reply to my question in the Gauteng Legislature on 13 September last year.

I am not impressed with the return of Dr Gwen Ramokgopa as MEC of the Gauteng Health Department. She was mediocre in this position previously and does not have the drive to fix this deeply dysfunctional department.

Premier Makhura has failed badly in this matter and needs to keep his promises to ensure that action is taken against all those implicated, including criminal charges.



Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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