DA urges Gauteng parents to register their children for 2018 schooling

31 May 2017

The Democratic Alliance in Gauteng urges parents to complete the online application process of registering their children for Grades 1 and 8 before the deadline of Monday, 12 June 2017.

With an ever growing population in Gauteng and poor planning on the part of the Provincial Education Department, children are often placed in schools far away from their homes or in overcrowded classrooms. Tragically, this is a matter not raised by the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU), whose only interest is propping up compromised ANC leaders, all while capturing and sabotaging the education system as well as undermining the futures of young South Africans.

When the people of Gauteng elect a caring and responsive DA-led government in the Province in 2019, we will do everything within our powers to ensure that the quality of education in our schools is of the highest standard. The children of Gauteng and their futures cannot be held hostage by an uncaring ANC and undemocratic teachers’ union.

Furthermore, so as to ensure that the future leaders of Gauteng and the world receive the best quality education, I will be conducting an oversight visit to Tamaho Primary School in Katlehong in order to conduct a first-hand assessment of the schools physical and ICT infrastructure. While MEC Panyaza Lesufi has claimed that school infrastructure in the Province is up to standard, past experience and oversight visits to schools in Gauteng contradict this claim.

The DA will always fight for quality education because if we do not fight for quality education we are neglecting the future prosperity of the people and the country.

Mashatile’s political games affect service delivery in Mogale City

31 May 2017

Gauteng Cooperative Governance MEC Paul Mashatile has actively tried to destabilise the DA-led coalition government in Mogale City.

Since the 2016 Local Government Elections, the ANC in Mogale City and the West Rand District have tried to topple the DA in council.

On command of the ANC, MEC Mashatile had previously intervened with the reinstatement of the council Speaker and Chief Whip and has responded to calls by the acting municipal manager to place the municipality under administration.

The DA-led coalition government of Mogale City is making progress to turn around the dysfunctional municipality – despite the efforts of the ANC in the region to destabilise the council as they are reluctant to accept the democratic will of the people.

The frivolous motion of no confidence put on the council agenda yesterday in DA Executive Mayor Cllr Michael Hollenstein is simply one of the many tactics tried by the ANC in the region to shake up the coalition.

The DA will not be intimidated by underhanded tactics and will continue to oppose them.

The failure to accept defeat has seen the ANC become more radical in their approach to take back Mogale City.

Playing politics with the lives of people is dangerous. MEC Mashatile must fast-track developments in his portfolios – such as the massive human settlements backlog facing millions of Gauteng’s residents, instead of focussing his attention on petty politics.

In the interest of the residents of Mogale City, we will do whatever we can to prevent the former government of Mogale City from regaining what they democratically lost in August 2016.

Since taking office, the DA has a vision to implement measures through the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) that is geared towards the future development of the city. This will see more jobs, better service delivery and a responsive local government in Mogale City.

The DA is moving Mogale City forward, despite the ANC’s attempts to undermine constitutional democracy.

Full implementation of children’s laws urgently needed

31 May 2017

Despite laws meant to protect children, they still remain the most vulnerable group in the country.

As the nation celebrates Child Protection Week, the DA calls upon all stakeholders in the country to play a role in ensuring that children are safe and that their rights are not infringed.

Recent statistics on incidents of violence against children are alarming. It is reported that one in every three children are victims of sexual violence or physical abuse before they reach the age of 18.

The ANC run-government in Gauteng has not done enough to ensure that the laws that protect children are fully implemented in the province. These laws appear on paper and they are only highlighted during the Child Protection Week.

Children are faced with enormous challenges such as sexual exploitation, human trafficking, as well as substance and drug abuse. The conviction rate of perpetrators of such crimes is very low and often many of these cases are thrown out of court due to a lack of evidence.

Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane must ensure that the SAPS Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offenders Unit is equipped with resources to enable them to investigate cases of violence against children.

The victim empowerment centres situated in all our police stations must be accessible to children to ensure that they are able to report cases of violence.

The DA believes that everyone has a duty to ensure that children are kept safe from harm and are able to walk in our cities and townships without fear.

ANC-run Rand West City owes Eskom R137 million

31 May 2017

The ANC-run Rand West City is failing to pay for its bulk electricity purchases from Eskom on time according to its third quarter financial performance report.

An amount of R47-million is overdue for more than 60 days, while an amount of R66-million is overdue for more than 90 days, according to the report.

It is unclear if the municipality has made payment arrangements with Eskom, but failure to pay their electricity bill on time does a disservice to residents who purchase their electricity from the municipality.

Eskom has previously threatened to disconnect non-paying municipalities in an effort to recover outstanding money.

The ANC created the Rand West City municipality by merging Randfontien and Westonaria prior to last year’s local government elections, partly to ensure that the Randfontien municipality did not fall to a DA-led coalition, which appeared to be a possibility after a collapse in ANC support in the area during the 2014 elections.

It appears however that ANC financial mismanagement continues to rule the roost, and that the ANC provincial government’s insistence that it supports local municipalities to manage their own finances in the interests of its residents has not been successful.

By contrast, in the same report, the DA-run Midvaal local municipality demonstrated the DA difference, as Midvaal owes no money beyond 30 days to any bulk service provider.

By ensuring the lights stay on, Midvaal can continue to create jobs and deliver services to its residents.

The DA will ask Gauteng Finance MEC, Barbara Creecy, and Co-operative Governance MEC Paul Mashatile why their interventions have not been successful, and how, under their watch, some R113 million in fresh debt to Eskom from Rand West City has gone unpaid.

Gauteng Infrastructure Department faces a R300 million deficit

30 May 2016

The underfunding of the budget for Gauteng’s Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) to the tune of R300 million for the 2017/2018 financial year suggests that government is running out of funds to provide the expected levels of service delivery to residents.

Out of an allocated budget of R2.5 billion, an amount of just under R1 billion is money that the Province is obliged to pay local councils for rates and services on properties such as schools, hospitals and other properties owned by the provincial government.

In addition to this, the department has rolled over R564 million in debts that should have been paid in the previous financial year that was not paid due to a lack of cash-flow. This further reduces the amount of budget available for services in this financial year.

Out of a budget of R2.5 billion, there is less than R1 billion available to support services.

There are also contingent liabilities to the value of R230 million. These include litigation cases against the department. If the department loses these cases and is obliged to pay costs, the money will have to be found from other line items in the existing budget as there is no budgetary provision for these contingent liabilities, further hampering the department’s ability to roll-out much needed services.

After the recent announcement that the Gauteng Department of Health also faces a budget deficit of almost R11 billion, there are clear signs that the downgraded economy and the poisoned political environment in the country has seriously dented the Gauteng government’s ability to fund service delivery.

Unless Premier David Makhura and the ANC in Gauteng take urgent steps to put clear blue water between their position and that of President, Jacob Zuma, service delivery in Gauteng will continue on a downward spiral and the province’s position as the fifth largest economy in Africa will be under severe threat.

R12 million library in Evaton an empty shell

30 May 2017

Just over R12 million was spent on the construction of Evaton North Library in Emfuleni Local Municipality two years ago.

The construction of the library was completed in July 2015, yet the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR) failed to hand over the library to the municipality and it has not been officially launched.

This is according to a written response to a DA question from the SACR MEC, Faith Mazibuko.

 (Both responses are available upon request)

Delays in the launch of the library come as the municipality’s building control needs to hand over the occupation certificate.

In another response to DA questions, 20 desktop computers have been purchased for the Evaton North Library at a unit cost of R14 445.43 with the total amounting to R289 108.60.

Residents in Evaton North bear the brunt of an uncaring ANC-run Provincial Government who has failed to open access to information and reading material.

The DA is of the view that libraries play in integral part in building a strong skilled, knowledgeable, employable and active citizenry in the province.

The DA will write to MEC Mazibuko in order to follow up on her commitment to open this library in Evaton.

Click herehere, here and here to view images of the library.

Gauteng Health Department claims no missing medicine

30 May 2017

The Gauteng Health Department says that it “does not have any records of missing medicine” and that only R61 637 worth of medicine has been stolen in the last three years.

This is according to a written reply by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

She says: “The Department does not have any records of missing medicine and only has information reported on expired medicine and theft of medicine. Any missing medicine that is identified during stock takes or other checks is followed up and if stock is found to be stolen it will be reported as theft.”

Stolen medicine records are as follows:

2014/15 38 cases worth R31 564

2015/16 60 cases worth R3 670

2016/17 90 cases worth R26 403

This amounts to a total of 188 cases for medicine worth R61 637, which is very low compared to evidence that medicine theft is much higher.

A recent episode of Special Assignment on SABC TV 3 investigated an organized crime syndicate that targets ports of entry, government depots, hospitals and includes the hijacking of trucks.

A raid on the surgery of Dr Mohamed Ahmed in Actonville in February this year led the Hawks to recover more than R2 million of allegedly stolen medicine which was destined for state hospitals. Why was this not picked up by the Gauteng Health Department?

There are widespread reports that anti-retrovirals are stolen for use in drug concoctions like nyaope.

Some medicine shortages in state hospitals and clinics can be attributed to medicine theft as well.

The Department is not detecting the rampant theft of medicines and needs to re-examine its monitoring methods.

DAWN Springs Constituency stands in solidarity with victims of human trafficking syndicates

30 May 2017

The Democratic Alliance Women’s Network (DAWN) Springs Constituency and party members picketed outside Springs Magistrate court yesterday in solidarity with victims of the human trafficking syndicates at the bail hearing of the alleged traffickers.

A man (42) and a woman (19) appeared in court for the second time yesterday and are facing charges of human trafficking involving five young girls. The case was postponed until June.

A second human trafficking and sex exploitation case involving five suspects was also deferred to June.

The DA members were out to support the victims and to express their anger over alleged human trafficking syndicates.

Human trafficking and violence against women has recently been on the rise across Gauteng.

The DAWN Springs Constituency strongly condemns violence against women and children and we vow to continue to support the victims during the court hearings.

Merafong spends R133 500 on cultural roadshow rather than pay Rand Water

29 May 2017

Despite not honouring its weekly payments to Rand Water to ensure that residents have a secure supply of water, the Merafong Municipality has spent over R133 500 hosting a cultural roadshow.

The cash-strapped municipality has for months neglected its responsibility to pay the water supplier, causing Rand Water to occasionally lower the water pressure leaving some parts of the municipality without water.

Last month, several schools and old age homes ran dry, yet the municipality only supplied one tanker with a 5000 litre capacity.

The fact that the municipality routinely leaves water leakages unattended makes matters worse for those who often go without water.

Instead of prioritising their funding, the ANC in Merafong would rather squander valuable funds on hosting events than bring relief to the residents of the municipality.

Some of the money wasted on this event can be broken down as follows:

• R40 000 for celebrity accommodation;
• R35 000 for mayoral prizes; and
• R9 000 for lunch with the Mayor.

The DA will write to Merafong Mayor Mogale-Letsie and request that the economic benefit of this event be provided and also request a full breakdown of the municipality’s payment plan with Rand Water.

Despite Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy insisting that government tighten its belt and implement austerity measures, Merafong would rather waste money than service its residents needs.

Infrastructure Department still failing to pay suppliers on time

29 May 2016

The Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development’s (DID) commitment to pay suppliers within the stipulated 30 day period worsened over the 2016/17 financial year, with only 68% of invoices being paid within the stipulated time-frame at the end of the fourth quarter.

In the beginning of the financial year, 73% of suppliers were being paid on time, and after an intervention from MEC for DID, Jacob Mamabolo, supplier payments rocketed to an all-time high of 93% in the second quarter.

However, this trend was short-lived, as payment levels dropped dramatically in the third and fourth quarters.

At the end of the financial year, payment levels were at a lower level than when the year began.

DID also racked up R564 million in accruals – money which will now be taken from this year’s budget to play catch up.

Not only does the slow payment of service providers destroy businesses, by forcing them to close – leading to job losses, but it also severely impacts on the department’s ability to roll out much-needed services to the residents of Gauteng.

MEC Mamabolo must ensure that the payment of suppliers is not sporadic. The performance of quarter two in 2016/17 shows that with a concerted effort and political will things can get done.