Guptas destroy Gauteng business

The infamous Gupta family have struck once again, this time crippling a Gauteng business that supplied the family with much-needed equipment to continue operations at their controversially acquired Shiva Uranium mine in Klerksdorp.

Quarry Master, situated in Springs, Ekurhuleni was contacted in 2015 by Varun Gupta who sought to utilize the company’s expertise to repair a rock crushing machine.

Quarry Master took up the job but indicated that repairing the machine would be of no use and that a replacement unit should be installed.

Varun Gupta insisted that the company do the repair job, despite being informed the repair would carry no warranty. Quarry Master repaired the machine and sent a technical team onsite to monitor the system for a period of 12 hours, as per the request of Varun Gupta.

Suspiciously, when these 12 hours were up, the machine “broke” and Varun refused to pay for the work carried out – including other goods that were purchased from Quarry Master.

When Quarry Master sought legal recourse, Varun Gupta indicated that they would counter sue. R500 000 out of pocket, and with suppliers breathing down their necks, Quarry Master was not in a position to take the matter further.

Subsequent to this event, the company has had to down-scale its work force and its reputation with its suppliers has been badly tarnished.

This is yet another example of how cronyism and corruption are killing small businesses in South Africa. Without the political will to tackle this scourge head-on, more jobs will be lost in an ever shrinking economy.

Where the DA governs, we have instituted measures to root out corruption, focus upon supporting micro and small businesses and come 2019, there will be no corner available to individuals like the Guptas to spin their webs of corruption, or to bully small businesses.

R13 million owed to Merafong by government departments

The cash-strapped Merafong Municipality is currently owed R13 million rand by errand government departments who have yet to settle their bills.

The Gauteng Departments of Infrastructure and Roads and Transport make up the bulk of this debt at a combined total of R6.5 million.

Other departments that owe Merafong money can be broken down as follows:

  • National Department of Basic Education:                 R2 million;
  • National Department of Environmental Affairs:      R66 815.00;
  • National Department of Health:                                  R2.8 million;
  • National Department of Public Works:                      R1.7 million; and
  • National Department of Social Development:          R1 760.00

Merafong has a massive problem paying for the services it uses from Eskom, Rand Water and other entities. Recently it was threatened with rolling load-shedding as it had not paid its Eskom bill, a crisis it narrowly managed to avoid.

If government departments continue to fail to pay Merafong what is owed to them, the financial situation will continue to worsen.

Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, must as a matter of urgency instruct MEC for Infrastructure Development, Jacob Mamabolo, and MEC for Roads and Transport, Ismail Vadi, to make good on the debts that they owe.

The DA will follow up with both MEC’s to ascertain what payment plans are in place. We will also follow up with the national departments to ensure that they too pay their bills.

If these debts continue to go unpaid, services in Merafong may come to a halt due to a lack of funds. The DA will not stand by and watch service delivery stop because government cannot practice sound financial management.

Jeppe Clinic patients desperately waiting for facility upgrades

Despite its five month closure, doors to the Jeppe Clinic in Johannesburg will continue to remain shut as much-needed renovations, due to be complete at the end of this month, have not even started.

The clinic was shut down in April this year due to roof leaks and general unhealthy conditions. However, the R396 000 worth of renovations to repair these problems never got off to a start, despite the clinic’s closure.

Patients who use the clinic will now have to wait possibly another five months for services to resume.

Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure, Jacob Mamabolo, has gone on record stating that “as government we must be accountable…” however, it is evident that accountability only extends to juniors who will take the fall for this fiasco.

Ultimately the buck stops with MEC Mamabolo.

Instead of spending the last six months on a public relations exercise, trying to convince residents that his department is in good hands, the MEC should rather have monitored this project from inception to completion.

The blame-game is a hallmark of the Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) when projects fail or are incomplete. The MEC is quick to blame contractors, but if he and his team had their fingers on the pulse, there would be no room for the many shoddy projects handled by his department.

When projects fail, service delivery fails and Gauteng’s 13 million residents bear the brunt of this.

The DA will investigate why renovations at this critical government facility never got off the ground and what the turnaround time will be to re-open the clinic to ensure services resume as soon as possible.

Hillbrow Aids Clinic is a successful private-public partnership

The Hillbrow HIV/Aids Clinic is a successful private-public partnership that treats 22 000 patients with Antiretroviral medication.

This is my assessment after my visit there yesterday to see how they were coping with a high volume of patients.

It is a government clinic that is assisted by the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) which has refurbished the clinic and provides extra funds where needed.

Their main challenge is follow-up to ensure that patients do not interrupt ARV treatment, which can lead to resistance.

I was astounded to find that more than 60% of their patients are foreigners, many of whom do not even live in South Africa but come to access medicines.

The clinic only requires that they give an address and an ID of some kind as they are constitutionally required to treat them.

Most of the foreign patients are Zimbabweans and give a Hillbrow address which is hard to check.

I sympathize with Premier David Makhura who is attempting to get foreign embassies to pay for medical treatment of their citizens, but I suspect this will be difficult to enforce.

According to Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa, foreigners make up between 15% and 35% of patients at Gauteng hospitals, but the National Treasury only allocates funds based on the local population.

I support the provincial government’s efforts to get more funds to deal with the real numbers of patients treated by public health facilities in Gauteng.

Only 1 of 28 lifts working at Steve Biko

Patients and staff are greatly inconvenienced at the Steve Biko Hospital in Pretoria because all but one of the 28 lifts are broken.

The one working lift has to carry patients, staff, visitors, food, waste and even dead bodies.

Last week on Friday, Mrs Shelagh Cunningham (60) had to pull her wheelchair-bound husband up the stairs for one floor to be admitted for a cataract operation.

It seems that the motors on the lifts are being replaced and it will take about two weeks before they are working, but this should surely have been done on a staggered basis.

Maintenance needs to be drastically improved at this major hospital which treats many thousands of patients and should always have functional lifts.

ANC-led Emfuleni fails to deliver title deeds to residents

Emfuleni Local Municipality residents are in desperate need of title deeds and the uncaring ANC-led Emfuleni Local Municipality administration has issued only 684 title deeds over the past 6 years.

The residents who have been occupying the RDP houses for many decades have nothing to show as a security of tenure.

The title deeds would enable residents who are rightful owners of the houses to be able to leave their property to their children or spouse in the event of death, reducing conflict and contestation.

In a reply to the DA’s questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, the Gauteng Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements MEC, Paul Mashatile revealed that 684 title deeds have been issued in Emfuleni Local Municipality in the last five financial years:


2011/2012 2012/2013 2013/2014 2014/2015 2015/2016
None None Title deeds issued: 208 Title deeds issued: 274 Title deeds issued: 202


This is yet another sad story of the ANC-led administration in Emfuleni as it continues to undermine the importance of issuing title deeds to its residents.

The title deed is often seen as an asset against which homeowners can raise secured financing.  The other benefit of owning a title deed is that the owners will be able to extend their houses and know that the property will remain theirs.

According to the MEC, the backlog of title deeds has been increasing every financial year. In 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 there was 0% backlog ,in 2013/2014 the backlog was 96% , in 2014/2015 the backlog was 95% and in 2015/ 2016 the backlog was 97%.

The MEC shifts the blame of their slow process in delivering title deeds to residents on the slow response by home-owners to collect their title deeds.

Furthermore, the MEC blames the delays on their corrupt housing allocation system, highlighting that illegal occupants of the houses are an additional challenge.

Since the DA-led coalition took over the City of Johannesburg, we have delivered over 2000 title deeds to some of the city’s previously forgotten people. In the City of Tshwane, we have delivered over 2804 title deeds to our residents and will strive to deliver a total of 6000 in this financial year (2017/18).

The DA cares for its residents and we are giving our people the dignity of ownership of a home that can be passed on to their children.

We will continue to engage MEC Mashatile to ensure that the process of issuing title deeds in Emfuleni is accelerated.

Merafong staff down tools to party on taxpayers’ expense

Last week Friday, municipal staff in Merafong downed tools to attend a “wellness” event paid for by the residents of the municipality where boozing seemed to be the order of the day.

The DA received numerous complaints from residents who could not reach officials to pay their accounts or report service delivery issues.

Municipal officials started partying up a storm at the Merafong sports complex from 10:00am and continued well beyond 18h00. At one point, ER24 paramedics were called to the event to assist a staff member who had collapsed from overexertion.

Billed as a ‘Wellness Day’ to boost staff morale, photo footage shows at least 150 revelers consuming alcohol and food in full view of leaking drains.

This event is said to have set residents back R30 000.

While the ANC-led municipality decides to party, residents in Merafong have been left with little to celebrate. Serious challenges such as the leaking of reservoirs, unattended water leaks, staff looting, and serious payment backlogs to Eskom, Rand Water and Telkom are negatively impacting on service delivery.

In DA-led municipalities the practice of wasting money on celebrations has been stopped completely.

More than parties, what Merafong desperately needs is an administration that is fit for purpose and governs responsibly. A caring and responsive government where there is zero tolerance for corruption would be an enormous boost to staff morale and of increased benefit to the community.

The DA is investigating this party and will submit a request to the Mayor to ascertain what positive benefits this event will have for the residents of Merafong.

Mashatile must stop uMkhonto we Sizwe’s violent plan for JHB

The DA calls on the ANC’s Leader in Gauteng, Paul Mashatile, to prevent politically motived acts of intimidation and violence by the ANC’s uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) in the City of Johannesburg.

This follows the alleged distribution of a message by the MKMVA to its members, calling on them to “intensify” the “struggle to reclaim power” in the City of Johannesburg in order to support the ANC’s Motion of No Confidence in the Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Cllr Herman Mashaba.

These intensified efforts will most likely mean violent protest, which will be held outside Council on the 27th of September 2017.

Regrettably, we have witnessed these thuggish acts of intimidation from the ANC before. Earlier this year, public consultations of the City’s Integrated Development Plan were marred by politically motivated acts of violence aimed at preventing these crucial public consultations. This was due to the ANC distributing a message to its members calling on them to prevent peaceful public consultations. Importantly, the message also instructs ANC members not to wear party attire so as to make them less identifiable.

In another instance, the ANC staged an orchestrated attack on our democracy under the auspices of their front-organisation, the Johannesburg Social Movement (JSM), in a blatant attempt to prevent Council from passing the adjustment budget and bringing change to the residents of Joburg.

The ANC has made it clear that it will resort to violence in order to undermine democratic process and the law, all so that they may secure their patronage networks.

I have a message for the ANC: We will not be intimidated. You will not stop us from fulfilling the mandate for change that the residents of our City have given us. The DA-led administration has already begun changing the lives of the people of Joburg through delivering better services, recruiting more metro police capacity and by cracking down on corruption. This is just the start; real change is on the way.

The ANC has built a corrupt system to feed themselves, we need total change to that system. We need a new beginning in Johannesburg.

The DA will challenge this motion. We will not allow the ANC to undermine the change that the people of Johannesburg have called for. The DA is committed to serving the people of Johannesburg with pride.

Merafong staff caught with their hands in the till

A report on the virtually collapsed Merafong City Local Municipality paints a shocking picture of the current state of affairs. The report indicates that staff at various pay points across the cash-strapped municipality are sticking their hands in the till for various dubious reasons.

Staff at the pay points have elected to use money meant for service delivery to fund their personal affairs, turning the municipality into a loan shark.  For example, at the Fochville pay point, a cashier admitted to taking R1 220 in order to go to Bloemfontein, claiming that this was an “advance on his salary”.

Other such instances include:

  • Old Kokosi – money bags were found stuffed in a microwave oven. The cashier admitted to taking money saying she needed the money for her father’s funeral;
  • Blybank – the cashier admitted to taking money and promised to pay back the money;
  • New Kokosi – nearly R67 000 went missing and the cashier could not give reasons for this discrepancy.

The total amount looted comes to R340 000.

The report states that the reason for the lack of control is due to staff shortages, poor supervision and shortage of vehicles, which have not been allocated to the area since 2014. As a result, the municipality has now temporarily closed certain pay points, making it even harder for the municipality to collect much needed revenue.

Staff implicated in the till looting have been suspended but no disciplinary action has been instituted nor have any arrests been made, as is the practice in the City of Johannesburg where corruption is not tolerated.

I have tried on a number of occasions to bring this looting to the attention of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Paul Mashatile, because he is either not fully aware of what is happening in Merafong or he is turning a blind eye.

The Democratic Alliance will continue to mount pressure on the ANC to ensure that corruption is rooted out and those found stealing face the full might of the law. I will again raise this matter in the House because the longer it persists the more the people of Merafong suffer.

The people of Merafong deserve a government that shows zero tolerance to corruption.

Time for Premier Makhura to act on e-hailing and meter cab violence

The ongoing battle between e-hailing and meter cab drivers has escalated into a full blown war, which Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, can no longer ignore. Last night’s horrific scenes on the streets of Sandton demand the need for leadership and intervention from the highest levels of government.

Gauteng commuters, both residents and tourists, are becoming collateral damage in a turf war between e-hailing and meter cabs. At the first instance of violence, the Premier, as the leader of the Province, should have spoken out and acted. To date he has said and done nothing the find a solution to the ongoing crisis.

It is time for Premier Makhura to take necessary action on behalf of the residents of Gauteng.

Premier Makhura must urgently meet with the various stakeholders, which include the Gauteng Departments of Community Safety and Roads and Transport, e-hailing and metre cab representatives, and the Provincial Police Commissioner in order to formulate a programme of action that will ensure lasting peace and prevent further violence on the province’s streets.

Furthermore, the law enforcement authorities must take stern action against those found to be acting in violation of the law. Lawlessness and criminality cannot be allowed to continue unabated.

The ongoing battles between the two transport stakeholders threaten the economy of Gauteng by limiting the ease of movement of residents and tourists. It is therefore of great importance that all transport stakeholders work together to ensure that Gauteng is home to a reliable, safe and affordable transport system.