DA remembers OR Tambo’s legacy

Today the DA joins fellow South Africans in commemorating 100 years since the birth of one South Africa’s greatest sons Oliver Reginald Tambo.

Tambo was a principled leader whose ideas to create a democratic and equal society for all South Africans are still held in high esteem.

We are still optimistic that his idea of a prosperous and non-racial South Africa will be fulfilled.

Oliver Tambo was prepared to die for the cause of the emancipation of Black South Africans and building a country where everyone is equal under the law.

Tambo showed a great deal of determination and resilience at the helm of the ANC leadership during the most difficult periods of the liberation struggle.

It is clear that the current ANC does not uphold the ideals of Oliver Tambo. They have abandoned that dream in favour of self-enrichment at the expense of the people of South Africa

That is why South Africa needs a new beginning, where we can all work towards freedom, fairness and opportunity for all, to learn from Tambo’s wisdom and adopt his spirit of ethical and servant leadership.

Gauteng Health must stop obstructing police Esidimeni probe

I am appalled that the Gauteng Health Department has obstructed the police investigation into the deaths of the Esidimeni patients, as revealed in the testimony of SAPS Major General Charles Johnson at the arbitration hearings yesterday.

According to Johnson, his investigation “is delayed by the non-cooperation of the Department of Health and the Gauteng Department of Health.”

The police have gone to court to summon Dr Ernest Kenoshi, the acting head of the Gauteng Health Department, to appear before a magistrate. This is a drastic move that should not have proved necessary.

It is deeply distressing that the Department has not been helpful in providing documents to the police.

Police detectives are dealing with 127 cases, including 38 inquest dockets and 89 inquiries, which could be turned into inquests depending on the evidence.

I am concerned that many post-mortem reports are not finalized and that family members have not been informed of the findings.

Johnson says that based on his experience he infers that the Department has “something to hide.”

This is a devastating accusation that needs to be dispelled by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa.

I welcome Major-General Johnson’s undertaking that a special police sub-unit will focus on the Esidimeni deaths as it needs to go to court as soon as possible.

How many more will suffer in the Uber wars before Government acts?

The premeditated attack by meter taxi operators on two Uber drivers along the R21 earlier this morning has confirmed that Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, has once again sweet talked his way around this volatile issue and that his administration has done nothing to stem the violence.

It is also clear that metered taxi operators are unwilling to come to the party and engage in constructive dialogue that will bear fruit for both parties.

SAPS members must be commended for arresting those involved in this attack and must ensure that the full might of the law is brought to bear.

Premier Makhura must instruct Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC, Ismail Vadi to establish a task team with the Department of Community Safety to arrest those involved in what has become a criminal syndicate and revoke the operating licenses of complicit taxi drivers.

These attacks not only place the lives of Uber drivers at risk, but it also endangers commuters who exercise their rights as consumers to make use of their preferred choice of transport.

This issue has gone on for far too long and has reached a crisis point.

Should this be left any longer, the Premier will have blood on his hands.

The ANC now needs to stand up and honour the principle of Batho Pele and put people first.

Patients’ lives at risk at Thelle Mogoerane Hospital

Patients’ lives are at risk at the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital in Vosloorus as staff have downed tools because of a lack of security after unpaid guards went on strike.

I visited the hospital today and found a heavy police presence and loud demonstrations by staff.

The hospital has been closed to all new patients including emergency cases, which are being diverted to other hospitals.

This is a crisis situation caused by the non-payment of the security company that employs the hospital’s guards.

Medical staff feel unsafe without the security which is why they are protesting and ceasing work.

I am appalled that the department’s financial mismanagement has led to this situation.

Urgent action is needed to pay the security company and fix the management problems at this hospital.

Sandringham High School improves but loses teachers

I was pleased to note improvements at Sandringham High School when I visited there yesterday on an oversight visit.

This is due to a dynamic principal, Mr Phillip du Plessis, who took over in January 2016 after five years when the school had no permanent head.

Last year the school got a 85% pass, and is aiming for 95% this year. One pupil got six distinctions and another got 100% for business studies.

The school buildings and grounds look dramatically better because Mr du Plessis has successfully called on past pupils to assist with donations.

He has re-established all the sporting codes by creating partnerships with sports academies and getting sponsorships, including R200 000 of cricket gear.

This year the school won the rugby and soccer leagues, and the choir got through to the provincial finals.

I am going to assist the school to get the Gauteng Education Department to paint the school and fix some of the floors which are really bad.

Their big problem is that the Department has cut 7 posts for next year even though school numbers have only gone down from 967 to 942 – a loss of 25 pupils.

This is very unfair and will push class sizes to over 60 instead of 35 to 40 at present.

Most of the pupils come from poor homes in Alexandra, so the school can only afford three extra teachers paid by school fees

I will push for the Department to reconsider the staff cuts.

The school has been through a tough period but is getting better through good leadership and heart-warming community involvement.

School theft robs Gauteng of R5.6 million worth of assets

Theft and vandalism of school assets across Gauteng has cost the Gauteng Department of Education in excess of R5.6 million since 2014.

Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, has indicated in response to a DA question in the Gauteng Legislature, that since he has taken over the reins of the department there have been 412 reported incidents of theft and vandalism and break-ins at schools across the province.

The most notable items that have been stolen in Gauteng’s schools are:

  • Computers: 281;
    • Tablets: 404; and
    • Laptops: 90

The Johannesburg Central district experienced the highest number of incidents, accounting for a quarter of the total figure at 127.

Although the MEC has indicated that these instances have been reported to the SAPS, the department has no records of insurance taken out in the event that theft and vandalism takes place – stating that this is the competency of individual schools.

Given that ICT equipment has been introduced to schools to improve educational outcomes, it would appear that the preventative measures put in place by the department have not been adequate enough.

MEC Lesufi must ensure that ICT devices are fitted with tracking and security software to ensure that they are retrievable in the event that they are stolen, and that these items are better stored to prevent their theft in the first place.

Given that the department went to great lengths to equip schools with this infrastructure, it is quite alarming that it appears to be so lax when it comes to retrieving stolen goods and keeping an eye on school insurance policies.

The DA will write to MEC Lesufi to ascertain how many of these devices have been recovered and how many insurance claims have been processed for these stolen goods.

Mogale City: ANC falsely claims DA success as its own

Mogale City Executive Mayor, Cllr Patrick Lipudi, has failed to disclose that the successful revenue collection experienced by the municipality in the first quarter of this financial year is due to the good governance exercised by the Democratic Alliance (DA) during its tenure in leading the municipality.

As a result, and through the diligent response of residents, 27% of the total revenue budget was collected in the first quarter.

Another misguided stance that Mayor Lupidi has taken is to congratulate the ANC for the 2017/2018 budget which was in fact crafted by the DA.

What the ANC doesn’t tell residents is that it has allowed the Council overdraft facility to balloon to over R94 million.

Actual municipal expenditure for September exceeded income received by R149 million, resulting in a deficit.

In addition the ANC has in just two months spent over R1.3 million in interest for the Council’s overdraft facility, not to mention the interest charged on the Eskom account which it has repeatedly claimed is up to date.

In the ten months that the DA held office, important financial ratios were drawn back into Treasury norms despite the fact that when we took office we inherited almost R500 million in undisclosed creditors, as well as R1 billion in outstanding debtors.

Despite the rapid work undertaken to correct the municipality’s finances by the DA, it is likely that now that the ANC’s fingers are back in the till, that this good governance approach will cease.

Is Qedani Mahlangu lying about exams to delay Esidimeni testimony?

Former Health MEC, Qedani Mahlangu, has reportedly said she will appear before the Esidimeni arbitration hearings after she has written her exams.

But according to a report by bhekisisa.org, the London School of Politics and Economics (LSE) says there are no exams currently taking place.

I hope that Mahlangu is not deliberately delaying her attendance at the hearings which were supposed to be concluded at the end of this week and will now have to be extended.

She should show more respect to the bereaved relatives of those who died because of her actions. Unnecessary delays further deepens their trauma.

Mahlangu’s arrogance and self-righteousness led to the Esidimeni tragedy.

It is a great pity that her political career was not terminated earlier when a court ruled against her in May 2013 when she was Economic Development MEC and tried to dissolve the Gauteng Gambling Board because they refused to move out of their offices in favour of a commercial entity.

In his ruling, Judge Mohamed Navsa said the following:

“The MEC, in her responses to the opposition by the Board, appeared indignant and played the victim. She adopted this attitude whilst acting in flagrant disregard of constitutional norms. She attempted to turn turpitude into rectitude.”

The judgement can be found here

It would be disastrous if she tries to justify her behavior instead of acknowledging the terrible wrong that she inflicted on so many people.

She is the perpetrator, not the victim, in this whole distressing matter.

Bronkhorstspruit rape accused must receive harsh sentence

The Bronkhorstspruit man who allegedly raped his domestic worker and forced her to perform sexual acts on his dog must face the full might of the law.

This horrific incident only highlights the daily reality for many thousands of women in Gauteng who suffer abuse at the hands of their partners, employers and in some cases their closest friends and family members.

The DA wholeheartedly condemns these acts of abuse.

More must be done to give women a platform to speak out against those who have violated their rights.

The DA will monitor this case and lend its support to the victim and her family during this time.

Two years later Delta Park School renovations remain incomplete

Despite former Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure Development (GDID), Nandi Mayathula-Khosa, promising that refurbishments of the Delta Park School in Blairgowrie would be completed by June 2016, the project remains incomplete.

The school hit the headlines in September 2015 when scaffolding used by the contractors collapsed and seriously injured 3 learners.

GDID blamed the contractors for the incident, cancelled their contract and moved them off site.

According to the school, new contractors were appointed in December 2015, but only started working at the beginning of 2016. An oversight visit to the school by the DA has revealed that refurbishment is ongoing and is far from complete.

Exposed wiring, water damage, cracked tiles, ill-fitting doors, windows that cannot latch, exposed rubble and trenches are the order of the day.

Photographs of the work can be seen here, here, and here.

The quality of work is shockingly poor and in all likelihood will have to be redone. A school official indicated that complaints about the quality of the work are raised on an ongoing basis with public officials at site meetings, but that these issues are never resolved.

Not only are workers still busy at the school creating a disruption to both teaching and learning, but the poor quality of work is a waste of limited public money.

This typifies the distinct lack of oversight on the part of GDID and belies the public relations from the department and MEC Jacob Mamabolo, which suggests the dysfunctional entity is being turned around.

The DA will continue to apply pressure on the department to do proper oversight of this project and to ensure that not only is the remaining work expedited, but also to ensure that faulty workmanship is repaired.