DA debates Human Settlements 2017/18 budget

Note to Editors: The following speeches were delivered today in the Gauteng Legislature by the DA’s Shadow MEC for Human Settlements, Mervyn Cirota MPL, and Spokesperson for Human Settlements, Makashule Gana MPL during the debate on the Department of Human Settlements 2017/18 budget.

Speech by
Mervyn Cirota MPL

“Human Settlements budget devoid of substance”

  • It is very apparent from the budget that the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements has no plan to ascertain what the problems are that exist, no plan to measure the extent of the intervention necessary and no plan to put in place rectification and other necessary measures to deal with these challenges.
    • Although 1.5 million homes have been provided since 1994, 2 million are still required and the number of informal settlements have increased by more than 50% since 1996 with the number now in excess of 800 in Gauteng.
    • Communities across the province are frustrated and no longer wish to hear unrealistic promises. They require timelines and commitments in writing.
    • As with previous budgets, it is misdirected, lacking in imagination, failing in policy implementation, its priorities are confused and contains little vision or planning.

The full speech can be obtained here.

Speech by
Makashule Gana MPL

“More under-delivery expected from Human Settlements budget”

  • This department is well known for over-promising and under-delivering. The delivery record of the department in the last few financial years has been below target, actually the department last achieved its targets in the provision of RDP houses before the 2010 World Cup.
    • MEC Mashatile you have been on a roadshow visiting communities of Eldodaro Park, Freedom Park, Ennerdale and surrounds making promises. When one looks at the budget under consideration, there is just no money set aside for these areas.
    • One area of concern is the money set aside for the maintenance of provincial assets, the amount being reduced from R77 million to R64 million in this current financial year, and its further reduction to R45 million for the 2018/19 financial year.
    • The people of Gauteng deserve better than what this department has been delivering, a government that will not forget people. No one in Gauteng must ever feel left behind or forgotten.

The full speech can be obtained here.

DA Gauteng Debates Cooperative Governance Budget for 2017/18

The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, Mervyn Cirota MPL and DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Cooperative Governance and Human Settlements, Makashule Gana MPL, during the debate on the Cooperative Governance 2017/18 budget.

Speech by
Mervyn Cirota MPL

DA’s Midvaal shines as ANC municipalities regress”

  • Only one municipality in Gauteng for year 2015/16 was able to receive a clean audit according to the latest figures released by the Auditor General. This was the achievement of the Midvaal Municipality.
    • The failure to comply in Ekurhuleni and Mogale was due to irregularities in the supply chain process. In Johannesburg, previous clean audits for JRA and Pickitup were changed due to inadequate contract management.
    • MEC, perhaps you should follow the steps that are being taken by the administrations in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Midvaal to ensure effective governance free of corruption and which implements responsible financial management.

The full speech can be obtained here.
Speech by
Makashule Gana MPL

“MEC Mashatile lacks political will to effect change in COGTA”

  • A closer look at the budget reveals that we are in essence being asked to approve an increase in spending on employees’ cost and a decrease in spending on municipal direct support. The employee costs for this department sits at 65% of the entire budget, everything else only accounts for 35% of the budget.
    • In the last two financial years almost 90 million rand was transferred to these municipalities to assist with various projects. For the MTEF period only R22 million is put forward as the amount to be transferred to the municipalities.
    • In the last two financial years almost 90 million rand was transferred to these municipalities to assist with various projects. For the MTEF period only R22 million is put forward as the amount to be transferred to the municipalities.

The full speech can be obtained here.

DA Gauteng debates the Office of the Premier budget for 2017/18

The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by DA Gauteng Leader of the Official Opposition, John Moodey MPL, and DA Gauteng Committee Member for the Office of the Premier, Jack Bloom MPL, during the debate on the Office of the Premier’s 2017/18 budget.

Speech by
John Moodey MPL

“We are ready to serve the people of Gauteng. We are ready to put them first”

  • It is no mistake that we govern the major centres in Gauteng.
  • The DA is on track to occupy the Office of the Premier in 2019, not because we have a birth right to do so, not because we are power hungry but because we are working hard to show the people of Gauteng that they will always come first.
  • The truth is that the ANC no longer holds moral legitimacy neither does the ANC have the will nor the ability to ‘self-correct’.
    The full speech can be found here.
    Speech by
    Jack Bloom MPL

“Makhura has failed to get GP running effectively”

  • Premier Makhura can no longer blame his predecessor who also made unfulfilled promises about paying all suppliers on time.
  • The Office of the Premier does not generally have a good track record of picking up problems in the various departments early and fixing them.

• There are layers and layers of incompetent and captured people in every ANC administration.
The full speech can be found here.

Observatory East Primary School in desperate need of refurbishment

The DA led by the Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho MPL, DA Joburg East Constituency Head, Jack Bloom MPL and Joburg Ward 60 Councillor, Carlos da Rocha, conducted an oversight visit to Observatory East Primary School this morning.

Observatory East Primary School in Johannesburg was built in 1930 and is in desperate need of refurbishment.

Crumbling infrastructure resulted in a roof collapse at the school recently. An entire block of the school’s roof is starting to fall apart and structural defects can be observed. Two classrooms have already collapsed with a broken roof and ceiling.

The DA has asked the Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, to urgently intervene as learners are now using the school hall as a classroom.

Responding to DA questions in the Provincial Legislature yesterday, Premier David Makhura indicated that there is R12.5 billion set aside for infrastructure for schools in the province.

The DA urges MEC Lesufi to give this school the necessary support and renovations it needs, a perfect time for which would be during the upcoming school holidays.

The conditions at the school are not safe. Learners and teachers could be injured by the collapsing infrastructure.

The Gauteng Education department needs to ensure that learners and teachers are not placed in a high-risk environment that will see the quality of schooling deteriorate.

17 young men die in Gauteng as a result of botched initiations

Gauteng Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Paul Mashatile, has revealed in a written reply to a DA question that 17 young men in Gauteng have died as a result of botched cultural initiation practices since 2012.

These are tragedies that could have been avoided. What’s more shocking is the unwillingness of the ANC-run government in the province to institute an urgent Commission of Inquiry into these deaths.

While a commission at national was conducted, no reports or recommendations have been released. Therefore there is absolutely no excuse to not institute a provincial commission to address these tragic deaths in Gauteng

Families deserve closure on the deaths of their loved ones. One death, is one too many.

The DA expects the MEC to commit to the development of provincially-based policies and regulations that will see zero deaths in Gauteng.

This would be informed by the establishment of a provincial initiation forum that seeks to connect communities and initiation coordinating committees. Out of this, initiation schools would need to be registered, provided with clear guidelines on how they should function and what support would be provided.

The DA-run Western Cape government developed an initiation framework and protocol in 2011, which incorporates the provincial Department of Health’s circumcision strategy.

This approach focuses on the supply of services that support and respect the initiation process, including giving first-aid training to cultural practitioners and allocating medical officers to initiation sites.

As humane and caring people, we simply cannot allow the national government to continue to fail on this deathly issue. Our young men deserve the best support from government at this delicate, but honourable time of their lives.

The DA will continue to do everything possible to make sure that this support becomes a reality and that not one more life is lost during an initiation ceremony.

DA Gauteng Debates the Department of Education budget for 2017/18

The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature yesterday by DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho MPL, and DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Education, Ashor Sarupen MPL, during the debate on the Department of Gauteng’s 2017/18 budget.

Speech by
Khume Ramulifho MPL

“GP education budget will not empower the youth and future”

  • Despite the state’s constitutional obligation to provide and fund education for the poor, the path from Grade 1 to Matric is fast becoming a road less travelled.
  • These young people are not engaged in economic activities and are now joining Social Development queues, instead Economic Development queues.
  • The NDP objective to eradicate infrastructure backlogs and ensure that all schools meet the minimum standards by 2016 wasn’t met.

The full speech can be found here.
Speech by
Ashor Sarupen MPL

“SADTU runs GP education, not the MEC”

  • This budget and its priorities do not acknowledge the SADTU problem, nor does it attempt to solve it.
  • We still are not doing a good enough job compared to our friends and neighbours on the continent.
  • The DA is not convinced that the ANC-led government in Gauteng has the political will to address the myriad of issues facing the education system

The full speech can be found here.

DA Gauteng Debates Sports, Arts, Recreation and Culture Budget for 2017/18

Note to editors: The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by DA Gauteng Shadow MEC Sports, Arts, Recreation and Culture, Kingsol Chabalala MPL and DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Sports, Arts, Recreation and Culture, Paul Willemburg MPL, during the debate on the Department of Sports, Arts, Recreation and Culture’s 2017/18 budget.

Speech by
Kingsol Chabalala MPL

“SRAC budget does not address the needs of the youth”

  • The ANC in this administration has chosen to ignore the calls made by us for stronger financial controls, better administration and improved project management.
  • Young people in poor communities are the ones most affected as their development is stymied and they are left to be influenced by drugs and crime.
  • The department has chosen to build stadia which are now merely shrines of corruption, maladministration and poor workmanship. Very little to nothing is done to blacklist construction companies which have downed tools before the completion of projects.

The full speech can be obtained here.
Speech by
Paul Willemburg MPL

“SRAC is a ‘faithless’ department”

  • The Provincial Archival Centre in Kagiso is a fine example of this Department’s inability to plan and project manage properly.
  • Then there’s the debacle of the “dust gatherers”; seven buildings deemed to be libraries, but currently empty effaces in Evaton North, Drieziek, Naturena, Kagiso Ext. 6, Kingsway, Olievenhoutbosch and Leondale.
  • I have little Faith, (no pun intended, as that in itself would be an oxymoron), but based purely on this department’s repeated poor record of timeous implementation and keeping within budget.

The full speech can be obtained here.

Gauteng Health defies court order to pay mental health NGO

The Gauteng Health Department has failed to comply with a court order to pay subsidies to a NGO that was described by the Health Ombudsman as an example of good care.

San Michele Home in Brakpan got a court order last week on Friday to compel the Department to pay R2 098 421 by close of business that day, but this was still not paid by yesterday. The home is filing further papers today requesting that the court find the Department in contempt.

San Michele looks after 200 people, some of whom are mentally ill and many who do not have any family to care for them.

Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa disclosed yesterday in reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature that 149 NGOs had not received payment because they were not compliant with new licensing requirements.

She said that by the end of this month agreements should be signed with most of them, and those that were not fully compliant would be given six months to comply.

I think it is disgraceful that the Department stopped the monthly payments of R3400 per patient to so many NGOs providing care to vulnerable people.

This was heartless and legally wrong as proved by the court case.

Proper notice should have been given in the first place rather summarily stopping payments.

The NGOs look after more than 6000 mental health and other patients. Their staff have had to go without payment since March and some have struggled to get food for their residents. In some cases, those with family have been sent home.

According to DA Ekurhuleni Councillor Stefanie Ueckermann, the following NGOs have run out of funds and depend on donations to feed their residents – House Talita in Primrose, Vista Nova in Springs and Kgaugele Stimulation Centre in Tembisa.

The department’s uncaring attitude and disregard of a court order shows that they have not fully learned the lessons of the tragic Esidimeni saga where more than 100 mentally ill patients died.

DA Debates 2017/18 Community Safety budget

Note to Editors: The following speeches were delivered today in the Gauteng Legislature by the DA’s Shadow MEC for Community Safety, Kate Lorimer MPL, and Spokesperson for Community Safety, Michele Clarke MPL during the debate on the Department of Community Safety’s 2017/18 budget.

Speech by
Kate Lorimer MPL

MEC Nkosi-Malobane must get tough on her department to stamp out crime.

• If one looks at the various NGO websites that publicize missing persons such as The Pink Ladies or Missing Persons, there is an endless stream of missing adults and children. Some are found alive and well, but too many never come home and leave families who are devastated by the loss of not knowing what happened to their loved one.
• The Department of Community Safety has set aside R 94.8 million in this budget to deal with Violence against women and children, but we do not know how this will be spent.
• A centralized team of experienced investigators and legal experts must be tasked with expediting Section 205 applications relating to each case and tasking investigating officers at station level with necessary actions to be taken and by when. If, as it is said, the first 72 hours are critical in these cases, it is no use that section 205s are taking ten days to two weeks.
• Detectives and SAPS members working in the CSC’s must undergo specialized sensitivity training and training on the Domestic violence and Children’s Acts. If they are found not to be taking domestic violence and sexual assault cases seriously, they must be disciplined.
• Every instance of domestic violence reported should be captured on an electronic monitoring system that operates across all police stations in Gauteng. This system should enable police members to pick up serial offenders and serial victims and will assist in providing background when women and children go missing or are murdered.
• It is time for the gloves to come off. Find the loopholes that can be exploited to fight this battle and ensure the department spends its money on something that really matters.

The full speech can be obtained here.

Speech by
Michele Clarke MPL

Budget must prioritise the protection of Gauteng’s residents.

• Despite Gauteng being the most populous Province in the country, with one of the highest road fatalities, the Gauteng Traffic Police are unable to provide 24 hour road safety services to the citizens of Gauteng because they are not recognised as essential service.
• MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane and the Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Deliwe De Lange have given the Premier an undertaking that they will reduce crime in our Province by 50% in the next two years. How are we going to achieve this promise made to the people of Gauteng if we do not address the shortcomings of each police station within our Province?
• Domestic violence against women remains widespread and under-reported. Victims of violence are not adequately supported by our public services. Violence has come to permeate the very fabric of society. The world’s worst gender violence is perpetrated in South Africa. While these are shocking statistics, it is a reality.
• Our law enforcers have to change the way they do business. We need to have a well-resourced service; a well-trained professionalized Police force, committed to visible policing and combatting crime, committed to establishing specialized units to show a remarkable decrease in the fight against crime and implementing policy that makes a difference in the fight against crime.

The full speech can be obtained here.

DA Debates 2017/18 budget for Department of Health

Note to Editors: The following speeches were delivered today in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature by the DA’s Shadow MEC for Health, Jack Bloom MPL, and Spokesperson for Health, Neil Campbell MPL during the debate on the Department of Health’s 2017/18 budget.

Speech by

Jack Bloom MPL

“Worst health budget ever will run out in 9 months”

  • The health budget is now R40.2 billion, which is more than four times the health budget in 2005 which was only R9.2 billion. With great regret, I have to say that this is the worst health budget ever tabled in this House. This is because it has been admitted that about R11 billion of the R40.2 billion budget is not available in this budgetary year for the delivery of health services to the people of this province.
  • We are told that accruals of R4.2 billion have to be settled, and there are contractual commitments of R3 billion, and possible payments of R3.8 billion for medical negligence this year. This means that only 73% of this budget is actually available and we will run out of budget after 9 months in December of this year.
  • Financial management has never recovered from the disaster unleashed on the department by the Honourable Brian Hlongwa who took over as Health MEC from Honourable Ramokgopa in early 2006. Court documents show that about R3 billion was allegedly misappropriated.
  • Another damning figure is that only 77 out of 166 service delivery targets were achieved last year, which is a 54% failure rate. The capital budget is 18% down from last year largely because National Treasury withheld R860 million for hospital infrastructure “pending submission and approvals of plans by the department”.
  • Another continuing failure is the Folateng private wards at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital that lost R12.6 million last year. The Folateng wards were started by Honourable Ramokgopa in 2002, and since then an astounding total of R569 million has been written off for all the Folateng units. Instead of closing them all, the Honourable MEC actually wants to expand the services offered. These wards should be closed as soon as possible.
  • I wish I could see more rays of light, but this budget is inescapably going to require a financial bailout, otherwise health services will come to halt in December. But this must be the last bailout that is ever needed. Madam MEC, you need to clear out the rot in this department and appoint capable new people, including a permanent head of department.

The full speech can be obtained here.

Speech by

Neil Campbell MPL

 “Gauteng health budget not enough for the training of healthcare workers”

  • It is of concern that the money available in real terms for Health Science training will decrease this year by 5% and in the following two years enjoy no increases. We must strive to train home grown doctors and specialists and it is obvious that more training facilities are required in South Africa. If our budget does not stretch to it, perhaps an opportunity exists for a Public Private Partnership to build and operate medical schools.
  • I find the figures provided by the Department for the number of its healthcare workers who receive CPD in state hospitals to be astoundingly low.
  • The Department has put an estimate on litigation payments this year of R3.775 billion and if this comes to pass service delivery will be severely curtailed and accruals will increase. In such a litigious environment one would imaging that additional training of healthcare workers, provided by the hospitals, which could direct CPD to areas where the most litigation occurs, would be money well spent.
  • As it is, soaring professional indemnity insurance costs for obstetricians, are putting this vitally necessary specialist on the endangered list.
  • It is not even necessary to expend a lot of money on CPD training, because academic lecturers are found in many state hospitals and suppliers, certainly in the private sector, regard sponsoring CPD as part of their corporate social responsibility spend and I am certain that this aid would extend to state facilities too.

The full speech can be obtained here.