Schools damaged by December storms still not fixed

The DA calls upon the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi to fix all the schools that were damaged by the December storms.

The schools’ conditions aren’t conducive for learning and teaching. The district visited the schools but nothing was done. Failure to replace damaged classrooms has angered many parents who are deeply concerned with the safety of both their children and teachers.

Parents of learners at Mayibuye Primary School in Snake Park, Soweto had, as of Wednesday, shut down the school demanding that MEC Lesufi immediately fix six storm damaged classrooms.

These classrooms had most of their roofs blown away while parts remain hanging over the walls.

The ceiling has collapsed with water leaks on exposed power cables posing a serious electrical hazard.

Click here, here, here and here for photos of the classrooms.

These learners are now taught outside in the heat.

Parents have vowed that schooling will not resume until the damage has been repaired.

While we welcome the monthly opening of new state-of-the-art schools across the province, MEC Lesufi must get the basics right and ensure that all the existing schools which have infrastructure backlogs are addressed.

The DA has written to MEC Lesufi informing him about the dire state of this school and the conditions that the learners and teachers are exposed to.

We will continue to put pressure on MEC Lesufi to ensure that all the schools across the province that were damaged by the storm are fixed as a matter of urgency.

DA-governed Midvaal is the crown jewel of Gauteng municipalities

Under the leadership of the young and energetic Mayor, Bongani Baloyi, Midvaal has achieved four consecutive unqualified audit opinions since 2013.

It is through the DA’s system of good governance, a professional civil service, regular monitoring and evaluation of programmes and prudent financial controls that the residents of Midvaal are enjoying a high standard of living.

Midvaal has the lowest unemployment rate in the province as well as the highest number of people in employment.

It is through the efforts of Mayor Baloyi and his dedicated team that an environment has been created for growth and delivery.

This is what the DA has to offer. The DA is a party that brings positive change to communites.

In the places where we are in working coalitions in Gauteng, we have already seen the positive affects that our policies have brought to bear on the lives of residents.

Come 2019, the successes of Midvaal will be emulated across Gauteng.

I would like to thank Mayor Baloyi, his team and every civil servant who goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that Midvaal is the great municipality that it is.

DA opens missing persons case for 62 Esidimeni patients

Today I opened a missing persons case at the Johannesburg Central Police Station for the 62 former Life Esidimeni patients who have still not been located.

I submitted a list of the 62 patients that the Gauteng Health Department sent last week to some mental health NGOs to assist in finding them. The list can be found here.

The full names of 55 patients are given, but there are only 35 with ID numbers although dates of birth are given in all cases.

In three cases only a first name is known and in another case only the surname. There is no name at all for three of the missing patients.

There are 43 men missing and 19 women.

I have requested police involvement as far too little has been done to publicize and track down those who are missing more than 18 months since the Esidimeni tragedy unfolded.

There should surely be some photographs of the missing patients that would assist in finding them.

It is known that disability grants are being collected for some of them, so why have they not been tracked down or possible fraud detected in this matter?

I suspect that many of the missing patients could be dead as they would not be able to survive long without decent care.

This could push the total Esidimeni death toll to more than 200 patients.

Every effort should be made to return to treatment those who are still missing or find out how they died and who is responsible for their deaths.

The Esidimeni nightmare will not be over until every one of the patients is accounted for.

Gauteng Health Department looking for 62 missing Esidimeni patients

The Gauteng Health Department has asked mental health NGOs to check whether they are giving care to any person who is on a list of 62 missing Life Esidimeni patients.

A poorly worded email was sent out on Tuesday this week with the heading: “Life Esidimeni cohort 62 patients not located”.

It reads as follows:

Morning NGOs Mangers

Please check this list of 62 not located Life Esidimeni Patients in your NGOs facilities and respond to us if any of them is receiving care from any of your facility.

The email is send on behalf of Acting Mental Health Director Dr S.J Marais.

Your urgent respond will be much appreciated.


Ramaboea Semetji

Mental Health Directorate

Cell: 076 3581 851

The attached list is headed “List of 62 Mental Health Care Users Not Located, updated 23 January 2018.”

The full names of 55 patients are given, with ID numbers in most but not all cases.

In three cases only a first name is known and in another case only the surname.

There is no name at all for three of the missing patients – all that is known about them is that two are female and one is male, and their dates of birth are given.

I am appalled that a year after the Health Ombudsman’s report on the Esidimeni tragedy so many patients are still unaccounted for, and may never be found, especially those whose names aren’t even known.

This email to NGOs is a sad and belated attempt to track down all the patients who were discharged from Esidimeni.

I doubt that many of them will be traced, as they would not be able to survive without decent care.

This means that the true Esidimeni death toll could be more than 200 patients.

We will never know the true enormity of the Esidimeni tragedy and all the suffering as many died with their cries unheeded, and some without even their names recorded.

The arbitration hearings chaired by Justice Dikgang Moseneke have uncovered the heartlessness and negligence of those responsible for the deaths.

It is vitally important that the police investigation is done thoroughly and concludes soon so that charges are laid and the court can decide the punishment for all those implicated in this atrocity, including former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu whose lies were clearly exposed at the hearings.

MEC Lesufi must act against SADTU for downing tools in the Vaal region

The DA has been informed that the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) in the Vaal region informed parents not to send their children to school today so that their members could attend a march organised by the National Association of School Governing Bodies (NASGB) to Hoërskool Overvaal.

It is unacceptable that teachers have abandoned their posts so early in the year, interrupting learning, to attend a march where the issue at Hoërskool Overvaal is currently under court review.

Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi must come out of hiding and act against these errant teachers and condemn SADTU for its reckless and negligent behaviour which has undermined the rights of learners.

Now is not the time for MEC Lesufi to act coy. He must be decisive and respond swiftly before this situation spreads to other regions in the province.

The DA condemns SADTU’s actions and will request that MEC Lesufi make sure that this disrupted school day is caught up at a later point.

Tshwane: Unqualified audit is a symbol of change and delivery

Life is getting better for the residents of Tshwane.

The DA-led multi-party administration under the leadership of Mayor Solly Msimanga has achieved an unqualified audit for the 2016/17 financial year.

This has been no small feat.

Upon taking office, the ANC had left the City on the brink of financial collapse. A costly smart meter project, which had been flagged by the Auditor-General as one of the biggest areas of irregular expenditure, failing supply chain management policies and rampant unauthorised expenditure were the hallmarks of the previous administration.

This administration clawed back irregular expenditure, as well as unauthorised expenditure. The PEU smart meter contract has been binned and a new suitable contractor, who has not been found irregular by a Court of Law has been appointed.

The City ended the 2016/17 financial year with an operating surplus of R704 250 million, opposed to the inherited deficit of R1.3 billion meaning that there is more money in the pot to change the lives of residents and build better communities across the City.

A key enabler of this has been thinking out the box and engaging in cross sector dialogue to pool alternative streams of revenue.

Even though the economic climate now is not favourable, and across the province unemployment is rising slightly, a revamped EPWP programme has been formulated to ensure that the City’s residents have a fair and equal opportunity to accessing work programmes.

More money in the City’s coffers allow us to take better care of our people than ever before.

Service delivery is on the rise and the challenges of prolonged down-time are being whittled away.

The City does not just aim to be a world class city, but it aspires to ensure that residents feel world class.

These changes are felt through the democratic processes afforded to us through the ballot box. Every resident of Gauteng deserves world class status.

I would like to thank and congratulate Mayor Msimanga and his team, across the political spectrum, as well as every civil servant who has affected a positive change in Tshwane.

Repaired Ekurhuleni Metro Police vehicles cannot hit the streets due to non-payment

Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) vehicles that were sent for repairs last year have not been returned from the dealerships due to non-payment.

The ANC run Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality owes millions of Rands to several vehicle dealerships for repairs carried out on EMPD vehicles.

This already under-resourced and under-staffed department has been crippled by the depletion of its fleet and as a result cannot operate effectively or efficiently. Visible policing is now at an all-time low.

The safety of Ekurhuleni residents is now under threat as there are fewer metro police officers on the roads to enforce traffic laws and by-laws.

Once again the ANC administration of Ekurhuleni has fallen foul of the law by not adhering to the stipulated 30 day payment cycle. Businesses trying to survive in this harsh economy are hit hardest by ANC governments who do not pay their bills on time, as this leads to job losses and growing unemployment.

The DA has tabled questions in the Gauteng Provisional Legislature to determine the number of EMPD vehicles that have not been released by dealerships due to non-payment, why these services providers have not been paid within the stipulated 30 days, who the service providers are and the amount of money owed to each.

We will not allow the incompetency of the ANC administration in Ekurhuleni to thwart a key service.

The DA will continue to put pressure on both Gauteng Department of Community Safety MEC, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane and Gauteng Premier, David Makhura to ensure that these service providers are paid and the repaired EMPD vehicles are released to service the Ekurhuleni residents.

Poor infrastructure in Finetown Secondary School affects learning and teaching

Finetown Secondary School in Ennerdale South is plagued with many challenges ranging from poor infrastructure and severe shortage of resources.

The cargo containers converted into classrooms are old and dilapidated, which pose a serious risk to both teachers and learners. The community has demanded a brick and mortar school to be built, as the current school environment is not conducive for learning and teaching.

There are 1355 learners enrolled with 5 classes per grade. There is a severe shortage of classrooms, desks and chairs, which most pupils share or have to do without. There is overcrowding in classrooms, in the grade 11 classroom there are 68 learners while most classes average just over 60 learners.

In one of the grade 10 classrooms there are no chairs and desks, learners sit on the floor while others are taught standing.

This is unacceptable. Learners’ background must never determine their future destination.

There is no classroom for one grade 8 class, learners are taught outside under a short tree with not enough shade. When the weather is bad, two grade 8 classrooms are combined into one class with two teachers conducting lessons at the same time.

There are no sporting fields, no library, no laboratory and no equipment for experiments. Science teachers are borrowing equipment from other schools.

The school has performed well in the past three years. Grade 12 results have been above 85%. This prestigious achievement is because of the dedication of the educators lead an excellent management team. This school must be supported.

Time and again we see the department fail to plan and allocate resources where they are needed most. The department’s infrastructure budget was reduced from R3 billion to R2,3 billion because it failed to spend budget. As always it is the disadvantaged schools which are hardest hit.

I have written to the Gauteng Department of Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi informing him about the disappointing state of this school.

We will also be tabling questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to determine the department’s time line and action plan to upgrade this school.

We call upon the MEC to provide desks, chairs and additional temporary classrooms to this school as a matter of urgency. There is no child that is supposed to learn under a tree or sit on the floor.

All learners deserve a dignified learning environment. The DA will continue monitoring this school to ensure that it receives all the basic necessary resources.

Uncollected medical waste in Gauteng hospitals because of unpaid supplier

Hazardous medical waste is building up to dangerous levels in Gauteng state hospitals because a supplier has not been paid.

I am aware of a number of hospitals where medical waste has not been collected since December last year.

These include Kalafong, George Mukhari, Leratong and Yusuf Dadoo hospitals and others affected by the stoppage of service by Compass Medical Waste.

See photo of waste at Kalafong Hospital here.

This is in contravention of Gauteng provincial regulations that medical waste may not be stored onsite at hospitals for longer than 30 days, with the exception of sharps (needles and scalpels) and expired medicines which can be stored for 90 days.

It is yet another example of the Gauteng Health Department’s budget crisis that is worsening patient care because unpaid suppliers are stopping deliveries and services.

The lack of budget has also led to community service nurses not being placed and the first year nursing course for 700 students has been delayed until the new financial year in April.

The Department needs an astounding R5 billion to pay off all its debts and keep essential health services going.

The health intervention team announced last year by Premier David Makhura needs to produce quick results as the situation is deteriorating rapidly in many areas.

SAPS fail to combat drugs in Gauteng

Many communities across Gauteng are afflicted with the scourge of drugs, yet the South African Police Service (SAPS) are failing to tackle this growing problem.

Our communities have lost confidence in SAPS officers and have started to take the law into their own hands, raiding suspected drug dens and setting alight houses.

This week, Krugersdorp residents meted out vigilante justice against suspected drug dealers in response to poor service they receive from the police. Protests result in violence, injury, damage to state and private property and allow criminals to take advantage of the chaos to commit crime.

Unfortunately, SAPS only acts when the situation spirals out of control, and when they do, they are not trained well enough or equipped to deal with drug related issues.

This is evident from then episode in Vanderbijl Park last year where police officers were attacked by suspected drug dealers in a house suspected to be a drug den.

The establishment of specialised narcotics units, as well as specialised training must become a reality if the war on drugs is to be won.

The ANC-run provincial government has failed to uproot drugs in our communities and it is eating away at the fabric of our society. Gauteng is in desperate in need of a new beginning that will bring a real change and strategic ways of fighting crime such as drugs.

The DA calls on both Gauteng Department of Community Safety MEC, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane and Gauteng SAPS Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Deliwe de Lange to urgently intervene to ensure resident’s safety and to effectively fight drugs in the province.