DA wishes Gauteng residents safe and happy Easter holidays

by John Moodey MPL – DA Gauteng Provincial leader

The DA wishes Gauteng residents and those who will be visiting our province a safe and happy Easter holiday.

Easter holidays are usually a time for religious, cultural and spiritual celebrations as well as spending quality time with family.

Gauteng is a central province and most of the people who will be travelling to different destinations will pass through our province on their respective journeys.

However, we continue to experience many horrific accidents and road carnages on our province’s roads during the Easter holidays.

Last year during the Easter weekend, 235 people died on the country’s roads, 25% of which were pedestrians.

The DA appeals to those who will be embarking on trips to different destinations to adhere to the rules of the road and not to drink and drive.

All drivers should make sure that their vehicles are roadworthy, and both drivers and passengers must buckle up.

We also appeal for tolerance and respect amongst road users, let’s keep the spirit of this holiday in mind.

As usual our law enforcement agencies will be out in full force to ensure the safety of our people. We warn those who disobey the rules of the road that the full might of the law will be enforced.

Enjoy your Easter holidays and Arrive Alive.

DA demands transparency on Emfuleni guarded assets

by Kingsol Chabalala MPL – DA Gauteng Constituency Head-Emfuleni North

It is now clear that the Emfuleni Local Municipality is not in a position to provide or disclose any documents with regards to its guarded assets.

The DA submitted written questions to the Gauteng Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC with regards to Emfuleni Local Municipality’s security contracts.

We received the replies on 12 March indicating that all the assets of the Emfuleni Local Municipality are guarded and a full list is available for inspection in the Office of the Manager: Public Safety.

We have on several occasions requested from the municipality to view the list and to date we are still waiting for the documents.

We have no other option but to conclude that Emfuleni is hiding something from us and the public.

The reply states that all Emfuleni assets are guarded which we are reliably informed is not the case. If the money being spent is not being used to guard certain assets, then where is it going?

The DA demands transparency with regards to the Emfuleni guarded assets as public funds are used to pay for this.

Emfuleni residents continue to suffer under the ANC-led administration due to lack of service delivery, maladministration and corruption.

We will write to Gauteng Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Uhuru Moiloa demanding that Emfuleni disclose the details about all the guarded assets.

This is the people’s money; the public has the right to know how their money is spent.

Unfinished projects create over a million Gauteng housing backlog

by Mervyn Cirota MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Human Settlements, COGTA and Traditional Affairs

It is alarming that the Gauteng housing units backlog has reached over a million.

This information was revealed by the MEC for Human Settlements and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Uhuru Moiloa while replying to my questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, yesterday.

This indicates that the Department is failing on its core mandate to provide dignified and adequate housing to our poor Gauteng residents.

The DA is deeply concerned that instead of the housing backlog decreasing it is increasing at a shocking rate.

The new MEC does not have a strategy on how he will tackle this serious challenge.

It is now clear that MEC Moiloa has not yet realised how this housing backlog is impacting negatively on the lives of our people.

Both MEC Moiloa and Gauteng Premier, David Makhura believe that the Mega Housing Projects are the answer to this massive housing backlog, which is not the case as these projects will not be able to reduce the housing backlog.

The Department should prioritise completing unfinished housing projects and allocating the many completed and unoccupied Community Residential Units to their rightful beneficiaries so as to reduce the housing backlog.

They should also rectify the housing allocation process which is rife with corruption so as to ensure that the rightful beneficiaries are allocated homes.

The new MEC needs to ensure that this struggling Department performs, spends its allocated budget and reaches its targets.

The ANC-led Gauteng administration cannot be trusted to deliver houses as they have repeatedly failed to complete housing projects that they initiate.

We call upon the MEC to be practical in his approach to building houses for our poor people. There should be proper plans, timelines and accurate lists of the intended beneficiaries.

We will continue to put pressure on MEC Moiloa to ensure that the Department delivers dignified housing and reduces the backlog.

People with disabilities not a priority for ANC-led government

by Alan Fuchs MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Infrastructure Development

People with disabilities claim that they have been excluded from accessing opportunities offered by the Gauteng government.

This came to light during a meeting hosted by the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) with stakeholders representing people living with disabilities that was recently held in the Johannesburg City Hall.

The objective of the meeting was to inform stakeholders about DID’s achievement of the 2% target in terms of appointing people with disabilities to the department.

But instead concerns were raised about the lack of understanding and sensitivity on the part of government in dealing with people living with disabilities.

Stakeholders highlighted that some government facilities were not designed to accommodate people with disabilities.

Other issues raised at the meeting included allegations that people with disabilities were only offered low level jobs despite their skills.

Furthermore, they did not have access to the same training opportunities as abled-bodied individuals, while internships and learnerships for the disabled hardly ever resulted in full time employment.

In addition, people with disabilities claim that they do not have access to infrastructure and services in Gauteng.

It is clear that government lacks the sensitivity, expertise and resources to reasonably accommodate the disabled and mainstream them as far as possible.

The DA believes that people living with disabilities must not be discriminated against and are entitled to the same rights as the able bodied.

The DA calls on the MEC for Infrastructure Development, Jacob Mamabolo to address the concerns raised at this meeting as a matter of urgency.

GEP still without a CEO two years later

The Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) has been without a CEO for almost two years now.

This information was revealed by the MEC for Economic Development, Lebogang Maile while replying to my questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, today.

According to the MEC, the post had been advertised through the board, but to date they have still not appointed a CEO.
Furthermore, the MEC could not provide reasons why the position has not yet been filled.

The acting CEO, Leah Manenzhe has been accused of intimidation and abuse of power.In addition, one assistant manager who was facing disciplinary action entered into a mutual separation agreement with the GEP.

This was after a cost benefit analysis was completed and determined that a lengthy litigation process was not viable.
These leadership and governance issues at yet another state entity is deeply concerning.

The DA believes GEP plays a key role in providing necessary support and guidance to small business owners, which in turn leads to the creation of job opportunities for the unemployed in our province. Hence, without a CEO, GEP cannot function properly and will be unable to fulfil its core mandate.

The DA demands that the GEP CEO position be filled as a matter of urgency.

ANC Sedibeng region owes over R300 000 in municipal bills

It is a disgrace that the ANC Sedibeng region is failing to pay its municipal bills and currently owes the Emfuleni Local Municipality R318459.46 for rates, utilities and taxes.

The ANC, which is supposed to set an example to its own residents, fails to lead by example and adds enormous pressure to the already broke municipality.

The Emfuleni Local Municipality is already suffering under the ANC-led administration due to maladministration, corruption and poor service delivery.

Some of the challenges faced by the municipality is its inability to adhere to its debt payment plan with Rand Water, ensuring that it keeps the lights on by paying its bill to Eskom, and creating employment opportunities for residents.

Yet the ANC is failing to pay for its municipal services.

The DA demands that the Emfuleni Local Municipality cuts its services to the ANC Sedibeng regional offices in Vereeniging.

The cut-off of services due to non-payment must apply to everyone with no exceptions.

We call on the municipality to treat all the residents equally and fairly.

Emfuleni residents are in desperate need of Total Change and the DA is the only party that can bring about that change to improve the lives of our people

No urgency showed in tracking missing NPO whistle-blower

The DA is concerned that there has been no sense of urgency from the Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, in tracing the missing Ms Nomawethu Kunene.

Kunene, who is the Deputy Director of A re Ageng a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO), went missing on 26 February this year and no one knows what has happened to her.

A re Ageng was being used by the Gauteng Social Development last year as a “conduit” for payments to other organisations funded by the Department.

Her disappearance is deeply concerning, as she appeared to have become the target of harassment, including a bogus arrest by police in December last year. Presumably these actions were instituted to put pressure on Kunene and her colleagues to keep quiet about events around the funnelling of money from the Gauteng Social Development Department to other destinations.

According to replies to my questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today, Premier Makhura, who has been silent since Kunene’s disappearance, revealed that he will be meeting A re Ageng in April.

The fact that it took over a month for the Premier to act indicates that this case is not being given the serious attention it deserves.

MEC Barbara Creecy, on behalf of the Premier, told the house that the Premier is being briefed on a regular basis by the SAPS, MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi- Malobane and Social Development MEC, Nandi Mayathula-Khoza regarding the progress of investigations in this case.

If this is indeed true, the Premier is keeping the information to himself and providing very little feedback regarding this investigation.

In answer to a further question, MEC Creecy misled the house by denying that the same investigating officer tasked with investigating a R5 million hacking of the A re Ageng bank account is the same officer investigating Kunene’s disappearance. Reliable information is that it is the same officer.

This will without doubt result in a conflict of interest; in both cases there is absolutely nothing to show in the investigations.

The DA welcomes the indication by MEC Creecy that the MEC for Social Development will give insight into the internal disciplinary hearings which have reportedly been instituted against those officials implicated in the ‘conduit’ payments and that the matter is at an advanced stage.

It is disgraceful that a matter as serious as the disappearance of Kunene is apparently receiving minimal attention from authorities and politicians alike in Gauteng. The least that the Premier can do is to provide regular updates on this matter.

The DA will not relent until justice is seen to be done and all any wrongdoing has been uncovered.

ANC must make lifestyle audits public

by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

All members of the ANC in the Gauteng Legislature have agreed to undergo lifestyle audits but there is no indication that these will be made public.

This information was disclosed today by Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy, who was replying to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature on behalf of Premier David Makhura in his absence.

I had asked the Premier whether he would request the ANC’s Chief Whip Brian Hlongwa to undergo a lifestyle audit in order to ascertain how he could afford a R7.2 million house that is subject to an asset forfeiture claim.

This relates to the probe by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) which has been investigating more than R1 billion lost in alleged corruption when Hlongwa was MEC for Health from 2006 to 2009.

Creecy said that the Premier had met with the SIU concerning all outstanding cases involving the provincial government but could not give further details as it might jeopardize the investigations.

She said that all ANC members of the Legislature had agreed to undergo lifestyle audits but ducked my question as to whether these would be made public.

I welcome these lifestyle audits but they will be meaningless unless they are made public and action taken in suspicious cases.

The ANC’s Integrity Committee has proved to be toothless and useless, and has yet to take action against former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu for the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

Corruption will only be vanquished when real action is taken against implicated individuals, rather than empty gestures.

Some township schools still without smart boards

by Khume Ramulifho MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education

The Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, has misled the public in claiming that all township schools have access to smart boards as this is not the case.

It is a shame that the MEC has resorted to a publicity stunt claiming that all township schools have smart boards to cover his Department’s failure to deliver smart boards within the stipulated timeframe.

We discovered that not all township secondary schools have smart boards during our ongoing oversight visits to schools in the province.

Some township schools we visited have never had smart boards while others have had their boards stolen and the Department is yet to replace them.

In responding to the DA’s written questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, MEC Lesufi revealed that the Department is aware of township schools that are without smart boards.

The Department has failed to rollout smart boards across the township schools and is using security and infrastructure challenges as an excuse.

The DA believes that it is the department’s responsibility to ensure that there are adequate security measures in place at all township schools to safeguard these important learning tools.

The DA is calling on MEC Lesufi to prioritise school infrastructure in the province that is in a terrible state of disrepair; fixing infrastructure will enable those schools without smart boards to have access and thereby significantly improving their learning outcomes.

It is unacceptable that some schools are still being left behind, and their learners disadvantaged. All schools must be treated equally and fairly.

Smart boards are crucial to teaching and learning as this allows schools to access the latest study materials and curriculum. It also enhances the students’ knowledge of ICT.

Attached are the replies indicating the township schools that have benefited from the ICT rollout programme, click here.

GPL’s supply chain management system open to abuse

by Adriana Randall MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Finance

The Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) still does not have a proper supply chain management rotation system in place.

The Gauteng Provincial Treasury (GPT) revealed during the budget hearings that the supplier rotation system was still a challenge and they would have to go back to the drawing board.

The supply chain management rotation system is crucial as it ensures that suppliers on the GPL database are given equal amounts of work.

According to GPT, the current system in place is still open to human manipulation and that they needed to strengthen their oversight and monitoring system to ensure an effective, transparent and fair rotation system.

This once again highlights the loopholes that make the system vulnerable to corruption and manipulation.

It’s high time that the ANC Gauteng-led government – that boasts about promoting township revitalisation and an open tender system – fixes this serious problem.

An effective supply chain management system is critical in ensuring transparency and that all suppliers, particularly township suppliers, are afforded the opportunity to provide goods and services to the GPL.

The DA calls on the MEC for Finance, Barbara Creecy to ensure that a new rotation system is implemented that is fair and transparent.

Where we govern in the Western Cape, we have put measures in place to ensure that red tape is reduced and that there is a transparent supply chain management rotational system in place that promotes the equitable allocation of work opportunities.