ANC failure to pay bills plunges Merafong into darkness

Financial mismanagement by the ANC-led Merafong Municipality will see residents and businesses plunged into darkness come 25 October 2017 as the municipality owes Eskom R129.5 million.

This is the second local municipality under ANC rule in Gauteng that Eskom intends on switching off in October.

Earlier this month, residents of Emfuleni woke to the news that they would be left out in the dark as the municipality owes Eskom R194.7 million.

With a shrinking job sector in the non-metro areas of the province, it is unimaginable that a critical resource such as electricity will be cut in areas that need it the most to stimulate new economic growth.

Sadly, in the case of Merafong, other services may be disconnected due to the complete failure by the ANC to manage the people’s finances.

Merafong currently owes R55.3 million to Rand Water, yet has done little to curb the more than 50% of water losses it experiences due to ailing infrastructure and a lack of maintenance.

Next week, the municipality will ask the Council to condone R16 million for interest accrued on arrears as well as R11 million for an irregular security contract. All of these woes come at a time when the Mayor is being accused of hiring her own band of gangsters to intimidate and threaten political opponents.

A group of young men claiming to be the Mayors own army came forward voluntarily to disclose this when their payment in the form of EPWP jobs dried up.

It is abundantly clear that the ANC administration of Merafong have no interest in serving the people. The DA has been calling on the province to remove the Mayor since 2015, and to actively intervene according to the mechanisms contained in the Constitution. It is clear that the ANCs Back to Basics programme is a dismal failure.

The DA will again question Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affair, Paul Mashatile, as to whether the Provincial Government has any intention of intervening in the matter. We will also write to Eskom to give reasons as to why the lights in Merafong should not be switched off.

DA MPL prevented from doing a follow-up visit to Vosloorus Social Development Offices

Security guards and the staff at the Vosloorus Social Development premises refused to facilitate a follow-up oversight visit to the facility yesterday by DA Member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, Justus de Goede.

Some of the staff members said that they were instructed not to talk to DA representatives and not to grant permission to conduct any inspection following the MEC’s visit to these offices on 3 August 2017.

The team was intimidated and told that if the oversight inspection proceeded, it would be doing it at “own risk”.

The purpose of the follow-up visit was to determine the improvements reported by the Gauteng Social Development MEC, Nandi Manyathula-Khoza in her reply to the DA’s written questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature with regards to the maintenance and renovation of these premises.

The DA’s first oversight visit to these offices was on 21 July 2017. We discovered that the building was old and dilapidated, the ceiling and roof had collapsed and the walls had cracked posing a danger to both the public and the officials.

There is also overcrowding in these offices with up to three social workers sharing one office. There is no provision for proper consultation rooms for the clients and social workers. There is also a dire shortage of resources and a clear lack of maintenance.

According to MEC Manyuthela-Khoza, the offices were not maintained due to the absence of a lease agreement between the Department and the Ekurhuleni municipality.

The alleged emergency maintenance undertaken included for the most part the replacement and repair of facilities in the toilets.

The MEC said the department was aware of the inadequate office accommodation at Vosloorus Service Point. Furthermore, the Department had requested the Ekurhuleni Municipality to designate the wing of the building for social workers’ offices.

One assumes reasonably that little has been done in these offices, as no inspection was allowed and what was stated in the replies by the MEC cannot be verified or otherwise.

The MEC appears clearly embarrassed by the state of these offices, hence the instruction to staff not to grant access to these premises.

The MEC is not respecting the role which Members of the Gauteng Provincial legislature play in terms of holding public officials accountable. The members of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature are elected public representatives and it is their role to conduct oversight visits at any public facilities. The DA will subsequently refer this matter to the Ethics Committee at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

Residents demand answers for ‘promised’ primary school in Refilwe Ext 9

Residents of Refilwe Extension 9 in Cullinan, Tshwane demand answers from Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi on his promise to have a school built in their community.

In an oral reply to my questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature on 29 November last year, MEC Lesufi confirmed that the building of the school in the area will start in February 2017.

According to the contractor, no funds have been made available for the construction of the new school. The MEC and the Gauteng Education Department have not communicated with residents since promises have been made.

The DA has been approached by community leaders to seek advice on how they can keep MEC Lesufi accountable for his promise of a new school.

The population size in Refilwe Extension 9 has doubled as a result of new dwellings hence the need for a new primary school.

Overcrowding in Gauteng schools are a major challenge for the department. The prioritisation of building new schools across the province was a promise made by MEC Lesufi and Gauteng Premier David Makhura.

The DA will submit questions in the Provincial Legislature to MEC Lesufi in order to ascertain what exactly the status of the project is, the reasons for the delay, and when the school will be completed.

GP Economic Development misses job creation targets by 85%

According to its quarterly report, the Gauteng Department of Economic Development committed to creating 2 400 jobs in the first quarter of the 2017/18 financial year but only managed to create 381 jobs. This denotes performance of just over 15%. This is another clear illustration of the poor economic policies and self-interested leadership of the ANC.

Coupled with the recent StatsSA report entitled “Poverty trends in South Africa: An examination of absolute poverty from 2006-2015”, which shows that more South Africans are being strangled by poverty, it is evident that the uncaring ANC government has no plan to build a dynamic and inclusive economy that provides a platform for much-needed job creation and opportunities for the people of Gauteng and across the country.

The reality is that under an ANC government, which is only committed to self-enrichment, corruption and protecting Jacob Zuma, the people of Gauteng will never be able to enjoy the dignity of a job.

The following entities under the Gauteng Department of Economic Development failed to honour their job creation commitment to the people of province:


Entity Jobs Target Performance
Gauteng Enterprise Propeller 671 195
Gauteng Growth and Development Agency 1 229 186
Gauteng Tourism 500 0


When the people of Gauteng vote for a Democratic Alliance-led government in 2019, we will build an efficient and caring administration.

In building an inclusive economy, the DA will ensure that we are able to attract investment; build a meaningful relationship between government and business; create an environment that makes it easier for small businesses to be established and flourish and; work with institutions of higher education so that that departments attract the best talent and make skills deficiencies a thing of the past.

Gauteng is ready for a new beginning under a DA-led government.

More resources can bring down Bara baby deaths

More resources can bring down the high number of deaths of new-born babies at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital which occur despite hard-working staff who do what they can with what they have.

This is my conclusion after I visited the neonatal and maternity departments at the hospital yesterday with my colleague Dr Neil Campbell MPL. We were escorted by senior officials and allowed to see or ask whatever we wanted.

The hospital delivers about 1900 babies a month, but should ideally deal with no more than 1400 babies a month.

These are mostly complicated cases that cannot be dealt with by a lower level hospital or clinic. About 12% of patients are foreign-born, some of whom come directly to give birth at the hospital.

There are 18 ICU beds for babies, but there should be between 24 and 30 ICU beds.

Broken equipment is not repaired speedily because of lack of budget or companies not paid for their services. Current broken equipment includes radiant warmers, incubators, CritiCool machines to cool babies, monitors and ventilators.

For instance, only two out of five CritiCool machines are now functioning.

If ICU beds are not available then babies are referred to other hospitals, mostly nearby but sometimes as far away as Klerksdorp.

There are currently 15 staff vacancies but the staff establishment as a whole needs to be increased.

Ideally, there should be one nurse for each ICU bed, but one nurse looks after two ICUs.

The majority of deaths are due to prematurity and infection, which often go together because a low birthweight baby has low immunity.

The hospital uses a birthweight cutoff of 750 grams to do Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy (CPAP) to assist them to breathe.

Comfort care is given for babies below this weight, a small number of whom do survive.

The cut-off point at some other hospitals is lower – it is 700 grams at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital.

I was disturbed to hear that some of the infections are due to babies being placed too close to each other. This is something that needs to be fixed urgently, and we heard that there are plans to expand and renovate the unit.

The overflow of patients can also contribute to deaths from asphyxia (lack of oxygen) because of delays in being seen to.

Congenital deaths are those that cannot be avoided.

My view is that it is a disgrace that the maternity and neonatal units at this hospital have not been renovated and expanded despite many announcements about this over many years. The corridors and cubicles are dingy, which is not pleasant for staff and patients (see pictures here, here and here)

Staff do their best under the circumstances. They have a good spirit and do what they can under adverse conditions. They are distressed when they get blamed for things that are out of their control.

The easiest to fix in the short term are staff vacancies and the repair of broken machines. Expansion and renovation should be prioritized and the staff establishment expanded to accommodate the vast number of patients.

The maternity unit delivers the most babies in South Africa – 61 507 infants between 2014 and 2016, of which 1338 (2%) died.

Many of the baby deaths cannot be avoided because of adverse factors, but the death rate can definitely be brought down by expanding capacity in staff, equipment and facilities.

Vote DA in today’s by-elections in wards 124 in Joburg and 91 in Ekurhuleni

Today voters will have the opportunity to support the project of change by voting for the DA in by-elections in wards 124 in Johannesburg and 91 in Ekurhuleni.

I call on each and every voter in wards 124 and 91 to come out and support this project of change. The ANC has built a corrupt system to feed themselves. It is time for a total change to the system and it starts with every voter coming out to cast their vote in support of the DA.

In recent years, especially during the 2016 Local Government Elections, the DA has seen continuous growth. This is because more and more South Africans are recognizing the DA as a party of job-creation, growth and of clean government.

The DA is the only party that can bring about a new beginning in South Africa. Today is an opportunity to take another step in that direction.

ANC Joburg – Parks Tau’s cries for attention

A corrupt and idealess ANC has yet again exposed itself not only as a failed government but a failed opposition party as well. This follows yet another attempt by the ANC’s former Mayor, Cllr Parks Tau, to revive his political career from the ashes.

It is deeply saddening that the ANC in Johannesburg, without irony, would hold a press conference to purportedly evaluate the performance of the current administration, when the ANC ran the City in an environment of chaos, disorder, poor service delivery and corruption.

It’s truly ironic that the ANC in Joburg, the party that presided over endemic corruption, would brazenly evaluate the performance of a new government that is now forced to rectifying their failures.

When the new administration came into office, a number of corruption cases were uncovered, which the previous ANC administration had refused to act on. Currently, there are 1920 cases under investigation within the City.

With respect to the City’s current financial performance, for the year 2016/17, the unaudited numbers show a significant reduction in the variance between the budgeted and the actual revenue collected compared to 2015/16.

This is an improvement from a R3.4 billion negative variance in the 2015/16 financial year to an improved R2.7 billion negative variance for the 2016/17 financial year. In March and June 2017, the revenue that was collected exceeded R3 billion. Never before has the City of Johannesburg collected revenue exceeding R3 billion in a period of two months. This improved revenue collection means improved service delivery.

Total revenue collection in the 2015/16 financial year was R34.9 billion as opposed to an improved collection of R35.2 billion in the 2016/17 financial year. The City also assesses its revenue collection performance through financial ratios. Our forecasted debt to revenue ratio is 40.7%, well within the City’s target. Our main liquidity ratio measure, cost coverage ratio, is also projected to be a healthy 36 days, well above the National Treasury benchmark.

Ultimately, measurement of the City’s performance with respect to service delivery should be left to the residents themselves and not a political party or its leader, who seem to be struggling with maintaining their relevance.

The City’s recent customer satisfaction survey – run by an independent service provider – indicated that Johannesburg residents are seeing the change which has been brought by the DA-led coalition government.

These are survey results which the previous administration kept under lock and key due to the fact that they indicated downward trends in performance. The last survey of this kind was conducted in 2015.

The results of the current survey, conducted in April 2017 under the DA-led administration, demonstrates a rise in the City’s overall performance, from 59% in 2015 to 61% in 2017. This increase effectively turns around a downward trend in the City dating back to 2009.

The results are also confirmed by a recent 6-monthly Government Performance Barometer undertaken by Ipsos, which found that residents’ overall perceptions of how well the City was performing went from 39% in July 2016 to 53% in July 2017.

Under the same survey, overall perceptions of how well the City was handling the delivery of basic services, such and water and electricity, increased from 51 % in July of 2016 to 59% in July of this year.

In terms of the City’s survey, the basic household services indicator achieved a 4% point increase from 59% in 2015 to 63% in 2017. This indicator has also been on a downward trend since 2010 and takes place against the context of aged and crumbling electrical and water infrastructure.

Improving the lives of residents is precisely what the DA-led administration delivered as recently as this morning with the launch of the electrification of Klipspruit, a mere two kilometers from the famous Kliptown, the birthplace of the Freedom Charter.

This was a community which had been forgotten and left to fend for itself by previous ANC-led administrations.

Since the DA-led coalition’s time in government, we have:

  • Given residents the dignity of owning a home by delivering 2,714 title deeds;
  • advanced the electrification of a total of 1,000 homes in Meriteng and Fine Town – more communities previously forgotten by past administrations;
  • allocated almost R163 million to provide electricity and water connections to poor residents in informal settlements throughout the city through the City’s new budget;
  • invested R482 million over the next 3 years to clean informal communities;
  • invested R40 million to enhance sanitation in the City’s informal settlements through the City’s new budget;
  • increased access to healthcare for poor communities by extending clinic operating hours at Princess, Freedom Park, Hikensile, Randburg, Zandspruit, and the Albert Street clinics;
  • To the R170 billion infrastructure backlog created by the previous administration, we have –
    1. repaired 117,483 potholes across the City, which ANC administrations had allowed to degrade to dangerous levels.
    2. Allocated R5.2 billion to upgrading our existing infrastructure. A further R3.3 billion is provided for the development of new infrastructure. R4.3 billion has also been allocated to progressively address the much-needed repairs and maintenance of our existing infrastructure system.
  • We have also allocated R574 million in capital expenditure and R115 million of operational expenditure for the upgrading of 10 informal settlements throughout the City in the 2017/18 financial year. A total of 51 informal settlements will be upgraded over the next three years. By comparison, the previous ANC administration set itself a target of upgrading a mere two informal settlements in the 2016/17 financial year.

This is the change we are bringing to the people of this City and that is the true reflection of the DA – led Coalition Government’s performance.

The ANC failed the people of Johannesburg during their time in government.

If they truly care for the residents of this City, they would take responsibility for the mess they created in their time in office rather than hosting ill-conceived press briefings.

Mental health NGOs struggle to get licensed

I am concerned that mental health NGOs in Gauteng that look after about 3000 patients are struggling to meet new licensing requirements that were imposed after the Esidimeni tragedy.

According to a reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature, there are 62 out of 126 NGOs contracted with the Gauteng Health Department that are still obtaining relevant documents for full licensing.

The department is not providing any money to NGOs to assist them in meeting license requirements which involve considerable expense.

I know of one NGO that has been in the same premises for 80 years but will have to pay about R60 000 to be rezoned from Residential 4 to a mental institution.

NGOs are also required to get occupancy certificates and police clearance for their employees which is also costly.

Some NGOs may be forced to close because of the extra expense, with dire consequences for patients who will be unlikely to find alternative care.

They presently get a subsidy of R2278 per patient and the Social Development Department funds social workers and social auxiliary workers. But this is inadequate to run a proper facility, so donor funds are critical and may not be enough.

The Gauteng Health Department needs to do far more to assist mental health NGOs to meet the new licensing requirements, otherwise thousands of patients could lose vitally needed care.

I hope that the Esidimeni lesson has been learnt so that struggling NGOs are properly assisted before it is too late and they have to close.

GP Infrastructure Development failing in its maintenance mandate

Infrastructure projects are not just about the final product and their public use. In order to get a full return on investment, it is necessary to fully maintain said infrastructure so that it serves its purpose for its entire lifespan. The Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) is failing in this regard.

This morning, the Gauteng Provincial Legislature debated a Democratic Alliance (DA) motion relating to effective options for maintaining and constructing social infrastructure.

Part of the DID’s mandate is the “maintenance and management of public infrastructure” but since its formation, the DID has struggled to complete projects within budget and time constraints. In addition, the quality and efficiency of the maintenance efforts have left much to be desired. This is evidenced by the current turn-around strategy that is being driven by the department.

The DA therefore proposes flexibility should be built into the infrastructure maintenance process, which DID is failing at, whereby individual departments and their entities, likes hospitals or schools, should have the right to decide whether they wish to use DID to perform the maintenance or whether they wish to use contractors of their own choice.

There are various models that can be utilised. User departments may employ the technical staff and artisans necessary to specify the work to be done and to perform the maintenance. On the other hand, a hybrid system can be utilised whereby departments could utilise staff that report to DID to perform both the specification and maintenance or alternatively only the specification.

The DID is not offering the people of Gauteng value for money with their infrastructure projects. As the DA we believe that the infrastructure maintenance component of the DID be given another six months to prove itself, and if it fails to improve its services, then infrastructure maintenance should become the responsibility of departments.

Poor consequence management is an endorsement of corruption

This afternoon the Gauteng Provincial Legislature debated a Democratic Alliance (DA) Motion on consequence management and the need to act against those who are found to flout supply chain management (SCM) protocols and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

By not acting harshly against government officials who preside over irregular, fruitless, wasteful and unauthorised expenditure, the ANC-led Gauteng Provincial Government is endorsing the theft and misuse of the people’s money. In simple terms, this is an endorsement of corruption.

Corruption robs our people of much needed services and job opportunities. It is for this very reason that DA-led administrations across the country have put systems in place to monitor SCM process and where corruption is found to have taken place, action is taken.

For example, the Auditor-General praised the work of the DA-led Midvaal administration, the only municipality in Gauteng to get a clean audit for 2015/16, stating that this is because of “the municipality institutionalising a number of best practices, which should be replicated across the province, such as monitoring the implementation of action plans to ensure that internal control deficiencies are addressed, maintaining stability in key positions, ensuring that governance structures are effective, and effectively applying consequence management”.

In the DA-led Johannesburg and Tshwane metros Mayors Herman Mashaba and Solly Msiminaga have established units that report directly to them that are geared towards rooting out corruption, a legacy of the former ANC administrations, and prosecuting those found to have undermined the Municipal Finance Management Act and SCM protocols. Both Mayors give regular updates to the public on arrests and the recovery of stolen resources.

In contrast, the Road and Transport and Human Settlements Departments in Gauteng form part of a group of six auditees that were responsible for just over 50% of the irregular expenditure in 2015-16, yet there is no indication that officials have been held accountable.

Legislation and systems are only as good as those entrusted with them and the ANC has shown that it cannot be trusted with these systems. The people of South Africa know this truth, and they will express this at the ballot box in 2019.

When the people of Gauteng vote for the DA to lead this glorious province, we will work day and night to ensure that their money goes to good use, and not only that, we will ensure that we are able to account for every Rand and cent spent in the delivery of services and job creation initiatives.