The Gauteng Provincial Treasury, under MEC Barbara Creecy, is failing to ensure that the people of Gauteng’s money is spent responsibly and in line with Supply Chain Management (SCM) protocols. Furthermore, the MEC is abdicating her responsibilities by stating that individual Departments must take action against official found to have flouted SCM protocols, not her.
In a response to a Democratic Alliance (DA) question about disciplinary and/or criminal action taken against officials who undermine SCM protocols, the MEC responded by saying that “It is the responsibility of Accounting Officers to institute disciplinary measure against officials found to have flouted SCM protocols.” The MEC went on further to say that “As such, information pertaining to disciplinary action taken against officials should be directed to respective departments.”
This is unacceptable given that the Provincial Treasury is the custodian of the people of Gauteng’s money and is ultimately responsible for SCM protocols, across Departments. In terms of its mandate and role, it is directed to “promote good governance by providing stewardship on all financial matters in the province.”
MEC Creecy and the ANC in Gauteng evidently do not care about the resources of the Province and the need to safeguard them at all times.
Only a DA-led government will ensure that those who mismanage the people’s money will face the full might of the law. The people’s money must work for the people by creating jobs and delivering services, and when it does not do so, those in power must be held accountable.
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi must take strong action against schools and teachers participating in an ill-thought go-slow which has the potential of jeopardising learners contact time at schools.
Appointments of school principals must be based on merit not race.
The DA urges the communities in the Johannesburg West and the Eldorado Park regions, to rethink their actions and to put learners on top of their agenda.
Communities in and around these areas have valid concerns including allegations made against SADTU, which the MEC needs to address, however, closing schools and calling for a specific “race” for a school principal is damaging and takes our country backward not forward.
The SADTU “jobs for cash scandal” is destroying school leadership and management. The MEC has an obligation to reclaim the department from undue influence of SADTU in promoting and appointing teachers.
We cannot sow divisions in communities through race-based appointments. Communities must be reminded of the horrors of apartheid as this has no place in our democratic society.
The DA urges MEC Lesufi to speedily resolve the case at Klipspruit West Secondary School and ensure a full functioning School Governing Body is appointed as well as to investigate the merits of the school principal appointment.
Despite the ongoing decline of the appalling living conditions at Wattville hostels in Actonville, Ekurhuleni, the Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, has broken his promise of visiting these hostels during the month of July.
Premier Makhura made a promise to personally assess the inhumane and unsanitary living conditions that the residents are exposed to on daily basis and to engage with the residents to address these matters.
This was in response to my oral questions during the sitting at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature on 16 May 2017.
Hansard link here – (33:10 to 33:50)
Failure of the Premier to visit Wattville hostel demonstrates the lies and empty promises that the ANC is feeding our people.
The Gauteng ANC-led administration does not care about the livelihood of our people and they are quick to make promises that they are unable to fulfill.
The DA is an honest and caring party that puts the interest of our people first. We visited the hostel last month and lodged a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commissioner with regards to the terrible living conditions which the residents of Wattville hostel are facing.
We will continue to engage the Premier and the MEC for Human Settlements, Paul Mashatile, to ensure that he fulfills all the promises made to hostel residents across the province, including the refurbishment of Thokoza hostels that was scheduled to start ‘immediately’.
The DA believes that our people deserve far better in terms of service delivery than what they are currently receiving from the ANC government. We are committed to delivering dignified houses to our people.
In the 2016/17 financial year, 37 forensic audits were commissioned by Gauteng Provincial Government Departments into issues such as procurement irregularities, irregular expenditure, irregular overtime pay and fraud.
These investigations encompass ten departments, with some, like the Department of Health having incurred up to eight investigations.
The respective departments and their investigations are as follow:
|Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
|Department of Community Safety
|Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
|Department of Economic Development
|Department of Health
|Department of Infrastructure Development
|Department of Social Development
|Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture
|Departments of E-Government/ Education
Given the nature of these investigations, it is deeply concerning that the public purse in Gauteng has been allowed to be abused by individuals working within the system – who instead of doing their jobs, have seen fit to benefit themselves.
This has a severe impact on the roll out of much-needed services to the residents of Gauteng who are serviced by these provincial departments. All aspects of residents’ lives are affected, from education, health, policing and much-needed infrastructure expansion and maintenance, which in turn creates jobs.
In 2015, the Public Service Commission identified 122 cases of financial misconduct amounting to R67 million. Of these, only 3% were referred for criminal prosecution.
Given ANC-run provincial government’s soft approach to tackling fraud and corruption head-on, the DA will be submitting questions to each department to ascertain the status of each investigation, as well as the disciplinary action that should follow their completion.
The DA will keep the pressure on this administration to take action against those who are implicated in these investigations as accountability is one of the fundamental pillars of building a corruption-free government.
Gauteng’s environment is falling victim to polluters as the province’s Green Scorpions have no sting in their tails to effect real change and bring offenders to book.
To date, the agency in Gauteng has only managed to secure five court convictions, all of which received a suspended sentence with fines.
It can take the agency up to five years to resolve a case and currently there is a 33-case backlog with the National Prosecuting Authority.
The biggest challenge to the environment in Gauteng is the impact of industry and urban sprawl. The province’s river systems often become a dumping ground for industries who find this to be a “cheaper” means of disposing of goods rather than paying for sustainable waste disposal.
High volumes of in-migration coupled by ailing infrastructure such as water treatment systems and burgeoning landfill sites all play a part in adding to the destruction of the province’s environment.
Similarly, there has been little effort made to take industries that pollute the air to task.
The Gauteng Department of Economic Development under MEC Lebogang Maile, has made little effort to take environmental matters to heart.
In the provincial government’s bid to fast-track much-needed infrastructure, Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) are becoming more of a box-ticking exercise for compliance sake than actually looking at the impact that developments will have on the environment.
MEC Maile is very good at making pronouncements on the work that he wants to do, but given the state of the province’s environment it would appear that actually getting his hands dirty is the last thing the MEC intends on doing.
The DA will continue to fight for the protection and preservation of Gauteng’s environment to ensure that it will be around for generations to come.
I am dismayed that the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) has vowed to intensify the strike by more than 5000 workers at the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS).
The negative effects of this strike are going to become very serious as thousands of medical tests are delayed.
Gauteng is hardest hit by this strike as most NHLS laboratories are at a complete standstill while a small number are working with minimal staff.
I am also concerned by intimidation and incidents of violence against those still working e.g. a rock was thrown at a non-striking worker at the Braamfontein laboratory in Johannesburg.
Furthermore, expenses for the cash-strapped NHLS will mount as they are paying private laboratories to do the most urgent tests.
NEHAWU has already gained a 7.3% salary increase, but is insisting on other work improvements and on insourcing.
It is unfortunate that their distrust of NHLS management and Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is so high that they are unwilling to accept assurances that their other issues with be dealt with in future.
The Gauteng Health Department has added to the NHLS’s woes by not paying more than R2 billion in total dating back about five years.
All the other provinces are in arrears except for the DA-run Western Cape Health Department.
I appeal to NEHAWU to think about the suffering of patients and settle this strike as soon as possible.