Brian Hlongwa must be held accountable for his actions

By Janet Semple MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Economic Development


Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered in the Gauteng Legislature during the DA/EFF motion debate on ANC Chief Whip Brian Hlongwa’s fitness to hold office.

Madam Speaker,

Honourable Brian Hlongwa, in interviews with the media, has stated that the allegations against him are not new and that they repeatedly become a talking point in this House.

Honourable Member Hlongwa is quite right, they are not new – and they do come up as a repeated issue in this House.

But this is not because, as the Member has claimed, that it is being done to tarnish the ANC, the ANC does that job quite well all on its own – it happens because there is an unresolved R1.2 billion case of corruption hanging over his head.

Imagine if no one pursued the Nkandla issue?

The dogged determination of the opposition and civil society ensured that former President Jacob Zuma was held to account for the excessive abuse of public money to establish his luxurious KwaZulu-Natal palace.

Perhaps Zuma sought inspiration from Member Hlongwa who purchased a palatial home in Bryanston with R7.2 million of the people’s money?

Honourable Hlongwa can claim the title, “architect of state capture”, because his underhanded dealings with Gupta-linked Regiments Capital supersedes their capture of the state under the watch of Jacob Zuma.

Gauteng’s healthcare system is collapsing under the weight of the debts it owes to suppliers and medical negligence claims as a result of the inadequate supply of equipment and deteriorating infrastructure.

Imagine if that missing R1.2 billion could be ploughed back into the coffers of the department?

Residents of this province would be afforded a much higher standard of public healthcare and it is likely that 30 day payments to suppliers would be within reach.

Even the deaths of 144 mentally ill patients, who were moved from Life Esidimeni in a cost-cutting exercise due to budgetary constraints, could have been avoided.

However, the “architect” still sits smugly in this house, knowing that he has the protection of the ANC.

This “Honourable Member” should do the honourable thing and recuse himself from the position he holds, as his continued tenure taints this House.

If you do not believe me, watch the polls next year and see how the voters of Gauteng endorse you by voting for someone else.

But I am not here to give lessons on public relations.

I am here, taking up our mandate for clean and transparent governance by the people who elected us as DA officials – even on behalf of those who didn’t.

Premier Makhura, do not tread the same path you did with former Member Mahlangu. Rid us of this fraudster.

But I suppose this is perhaps too much to ask of you, as we all know that the ranks of the ANC close tighter the more grandiose the alleged crime.

Despite your best wishes to woo people under your spell it is evident that the so-called “clean Gauteng ANC” is not so clean after all.

Gauteng ANC not embarrassed by Hlongwa corruption

by Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered in the Gauteng Legislature during the DA/EFF motion debate on ANC Chief Whip Brian Hlongwa’s fitness to hold office.

Madam Speaker,

This is a very important motion which will show whether the governing party is really serious about fighting corruption.

Honourable Member Brian Hlongwa has said that the SIU report is nothing new and is a ploy “to embarrass the Gauteng ANC”.

He is right that the details in the SIU report are not new.

It has indeed been regularly aired in this Legislature, and just as regularly elicited an angry response from member Hlongwa who insists he is innocent and needs to have his day in court.

Let me outline just a little bit of what is not new.

I refer to court documents lodged in the Johannesburg High Court in July 2014 which applied for an asset forfeiture order for Member Hlongwa’s House in Bryanston, Johannesburg which he bought for R7.2 million.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA): “At no time did Mr Hlongwa declare to the Gauteng Legislature the holiday to Cuba, payments towards his new house at Eccleston Crescent, various home renovations, rent-free accommodation, cash, spa treatments or other benefits received from Mr Payne, Mr Smidek, Mr Pillay or their various entities.”

And furthermore, he “did not declare these benefits because he was well aware they were not innocently given or received, involved contractors to the GDoH and would attract attention.”

The undeclared benefits allegedly include the following:

  • 5 million paid to Brisgo Properties, a company 100% owned by Hlongwa and his wife, to pay towards purchase of the Bryanston house.
  • A further R2.6 million paid by Richard Payne of 3P and Niven Pillay of Regiments Capital towards the Eccleston house.
  • The purchase for R4.75 million of Hlongwa’s previous house at College Drive in Bryanston by Kemsing Services (Pty) Ltd, a Cyprus-registered company. It is alleged that this is “a gratification as defined in the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.”
  • Payment for renovations to the Eccleston Crescent house amounting to R1 444 382.89 from Pillay, Samuel and entities associated with Payne and Pillay.
  • Trip to the Durban July Handicap for him and his wife in 2008, including two nights at the Beverley Hills Hotel, paid for by Regiments, which is a Gupta-linked company
  • Spa treatment for Hlongwa and his wife, complete with limousine transport, on 30 July 2009, paid for by 3P, the value being approximately R8381.

All of the above should have been declared in the Register of Members Interests, but it wasn’t.

I disagree with the notion that we have to wait until this is proven in court, as this means unreasonable delay.

Failure to declare just one of these benefits would be grounds for extreme censure.

But most of all, there is the scale of the corruption that occurred at the Gauteng Health Department when Member Hlongwa was the MEC for Health.

The appointment of 3P gave rise to a state capture of more than R1.2 billion that should have gone to the care of patients.

The ANC in Gauteng has claimed that it was opposed to the obvious state capture under Jacob Zuma, but here is a glaring example for which there has been no real accountability.

I remember asking in this House how a 3P employee could be the Acting Chief Director of Finance.

It was a period of brazen irregularity and theft presided over the Member who declares unconvincingly that he did no wrong.

There is a direct line from the breakdown of systems when he was Health MEC to the health crisis that we face today.

And people have died because of this.

Member Hlongwa should have resigned in shame from all political positions forever, and his party should have insisted on this as well.

But a comrade is always a comrade, so he remains in a senior political position.

The ANC in Gauteng pretends that it has an Integrity Committee.

This is the same Integrity Committee that has yet to censure another former Health MEC for the Life Esidimeni disaster.It has also failed to take any action against Member Hlongwa.

It is only because of convention in this House that he can be called an Honourable Member because he really has no honour, and neither does the party that protects him.

You should understand that when I use the title Honourable in reference to him in this House, it is with a great deal of cynicism and irony.

I disagree with Honorable Hlongwa that the ANC can be embarrassed about anything.

They have not been embarrassed to have him as Chief Whip despite all the court documents and the asset forfeiture application on his House as a proceed of crime.

They will not be embarrassed in voting against this motion.

What happened to the proposal made by Premier David Makhura at the ANC’s 2012 Policy Conference proposal that all deployed ANC members in government step down immediately when accused of misconduct or incompetence?He was quoted then as saying that stepping aside doesn’t mean a person is guilty, but the idea is that no-one will be able to “hide behind” the argument that they are innocent until proven guilty, and thereby worsen the “troubled image” of the party.

The ANC now has the opportunity to show that it really does care about fighting corruption.

If they vote against this motion, it will show once again that they only protect themselves and have no moral authority.

It remains for me to note that according to the “Hlongwa Monitor” it is now SEVEN DAYS since the release of the SIU report and he has not been fired.

How many more days before he goes?



Brian Hlongwa: The rotten apple that crippled the Gauteng Health system

By John Moodey MPL,  DA Gauteng Provincial Leader

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered in the Gauteng Legislature during the DA/EFF motion debate on ANC Chief Whip Brian Hlongwa’s fitness to hold office.

Madam Speaker,

Honourable Members,

The ANC in Gauteng has held an unspoken mantra that it is the “better ANC” and has not succumbed to the many corruption scandals that have plagued the party, particularly dealings with the Gupta’s.

Premier David Makhura is the self-anointed poster boy in his so-called fight against corruption.

He has told members of this House that the Gauteng Government has never been captured.

Is it not then ironic that one of the initial proponents of state capture, which has paralyzed the State and wreaked hardships on our people, sits alongside the Premier as the ANC Chief Whip in this Legislature?

Yesterday, there were news articles in which Honourable Brian Hlongwa asserted that the “sudden” release of the SIU report into corrupt activities that took place during his tenure as Gauteng Health MEC is nothing but a rouse to paint the ANC in a negative light.

Yes, Honourable Hlongwa, it does cast a dark shadow over the so-called “clean” ANC.

But your presence in this legislature dismantles your own prophecies and exposes the ANC’s true nature – corruption and you Sir are its face.

The SIU investigation which was initiated in 2010 may not be a new story, but the findings in the report confirm all that you have come to deny over the past few years.

You, Sir, were one of the original sinners that opened the flood gates for looting on a grand scale.

It is through your nefarious dealings that the Gauteng Health Department lies in tatters.

Your greed has caused untold suffering to residents of this province who make use of public healthcare. A lack of maintenance, broken equipment – sometimes no equipment at all and late payments to suppliers are just some of the results of your appetite for public funds.

When the people seek answers about the poor state of Gauteng’s healthcare facilities, when people die in our hospitals due to a lack of much needed equipment – I will tell them to ask Brian Hlongwa why he made off with millions of Rands of their money.

Even the decision to plug the gaping hole that is the health budget by transferring mentally ill patients from Life Esidimeni to ill-equipped NGO’s can be traced back to your looting.

If you hadn’t stolen the money, then there may have never been a need to terminate the Life Esidimeni contract.

Premier Makhura, you have in your ranks a miscreant – one you knew all about before taking office in 2014.

It then begs the question, “is the ANC in Gauteng serious about tackling corruption within its ranks?”

The simple answer is that it is not.

Honourable Hlongwa should not have returned to this institution – one that is tasked with looking out for the well-being of our people when it is evident that he is only here to enrich himself.

It is clear that the ANC shields its own from scrutiny. It is clear that the Premier has failed to effectively tackle corrupt individuals within his organization.

It is abundantly clear that the ANC in Gauteng is synonymous with corruption. The two can never be separated.

Honourable Hlongwa, stop pretending to be a victim. Stop acting as if you are a saint.

Do the right thing, recuse yourself from this House.

If you don’t we will pack your bags for you.




Gauteng Roads and Transport budget not pro-poo

By Dr Neil Campbell MPL, DA Spokesperson for Roads and Transport

Madam Speaker,

As we meet once again to debate the various budgets of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature I had hoped to be pleasantly surprised by a novel, imaginative and appropriate budget for the Department of Roads and Transport, because the ANC has assured us that there would be real change from the corrupt Zuma administration to a ‘New Dawn’ under President Ramaphosa.

Alas, in describing this budget the word disappointing would be a euphemism for the dull, robotic, unimaginative and retrogressive document which is served before us today.

We all know of the huge lack of affordable, accessible, punctual, safe and reliable public transport systems in Gauteng but despite the ruling party’s claims of being pro-poor the allocation for bus subsidies, which certainly aids the poor, has been irrationally reduced while the subsidy for the Gautrain, which caters for the relatively well-heeled, has been increased not only this year but every year of the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

The ongoing battles between minibus taxi associations continues to claim lives.  I could not locate any budget being made available to try and resolve this problem.

The relatively recent warfare between metered and e-hailing taxis is also untenable. The latter are denied their constitutional right to free movement under threat of death and property damage around our transport centres, by the former.

Yet here too I could find no allocation of money by the Department to fight this impediment to the freedom of individuals.

Madam Speaker,

Integrated transport hubs and the promised single ticket system which would solve many problems are also largely unfunded, and when long delayed transport centres are eventually opened the taxis and shops which were to use the centre are either bankrupt or have moved to pastures new. Does this sound like the actions of a pro-poor governing party? I certainly think not.

Much blame has been laid by our Department at the door of the National Department of Transport regarding poor systems and procrastination. The ANC is a past master at passing blame especially between spheres of government, but MEC Vadi, you have the forum through MINMEC to influence the Minister and other MECs in speeding up the resolution of transport problems, yet you fail to spearhead such transport solutions for the people of Gauteng.

With the rise of the price of oil and the weakness of the Rand, due to poor ANC economic policies and corruption, fuel prices have escalated alarmingly which has had a negative effect on people’s pockets. The price of anything which requires transportation rises and the impact is greatest on the poor. Crony deployment in most of the SOEs, like Eskom, SAA, PRASA and Denel has resulted in ratings agencies eschewing our country as a place to invest and the National Treasury is chronically short of money.

In this abysmal economy the recent VAT increase was hard to bear but higher taxes on fuel have again been used as a quick source of revenue despite the huge negative effect it has on the cost of living. Gauteng motor vehicle licence fees have again been increased well above CPI, further increasing transport costs.

Nothing in this budget speaks to innovation nor is there any glimmer of hope for better public transportation. It contains more of the same old hackneyed, formulaic marking-time which has characterised this department over the last several years.

I appeal to you MEC, on behalf of all of us in Gauteng, to use your considerable powers of persuasion to buck up delivery from the NDT and to make your department an innovator in transportation solutions.

I thank you Madam Speaker.



Not all targets set in Integrated Transport Master Plan met

By Fred Nel MPL, DA Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport

Not all targets set in Integrated Transport Master Plan met

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered during the 2018/2019 Budget Vote of the Department of Roads and Transport in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature

Madam Speaker,

In 2012 the Department of Roads and Transport completed the Integrated Transport Master Plan’s five-year implementation plan. This plan set thirteen objectives that it wanted to achieve over the short term. That five-year period has since expired.

Also completed by the same department, in November 2013, was the Gauteng Integrated Transport Master Plan (ITMP25) which re-listed these thirteen interventions but expanded on the strategy to give fruition to these objectives.

In principle the ITMP25 made some good suggestions about improving Gauteng’s transport environment. It acknowledged the importance of transport in growing the economy as well as the importance of making rail the backbone of our public transport system. It also states the importance of land use densification to promote proper public transport.

The ITMP25 does not exist in isolation and needs to support the Gauteng 2030 and 2050 plans which both acknowledge the importance of transport in achieving economic growth.

Although I believe the ITMP is somewhat outdated and due for a revision, it is the plan and the budget that is needed to support this project, that we are considering.

The question we as legislators therefore must answer, is whether the medium-term budget framework speaks to the transport master plan of the province?

The budget we are considering today makes mention of both the five and twenty-five-year plans that the department formulated. However, very few of the five-year plan’s thirteen objectives were met during that period. In fact, I would go as far as to say that none of the objectives were fulfilled.

On the face of it, the budget is aligned to make public transport a priority in the province. However, upon closer inspection the 57% spent on public transport is in the form of bus subsidies and supporting the Gautrain. There is absolutely no investment in public transport infrastructure by the province.

Granted, the bulk of the rail network does belong to Prasa and national government is expected to make the investment in its infrastructure. This makes it very difficult for the provincial government to plan as government seems to fall behind in its investment in Prasa as corruption plagues Transnet.

However, what we require from our provincial government is a more assertive approach to the national Department of Transport if we are to build a proper public transport system in the province.

Why is this important?

Firstly, due to the apartheid spatial legacy most of the poor in our province lives the furthest away from economic opportunities. As such they are dependent on affordable public transport to access these opportunities.

Unfortunately, Gauteng’s public transport is the most expensive on the continent and excludes the poor from the advantages it should offer all citizens. According to the National Household Travel Survey released by Stats SA in 2014 as well as information contained in the 2030 and 2050 plans, more than 45% of Gauteng households spend more than 10% of their income on public transport. The average spend on public transport for commuters ranges from R467,00 per month on rail transport up to R1332 per month on personal vehicle travel. Today it is even more.

Secondly, travel times have increased significantly with a train user spending on average 102 minutes traveling, bus user 92 minutes, taxi user 63 minutes and car user 49 minutes impacting negatively on productivity. This is an average of 46 minutes per commuter up from 32 minutes in 2000.

Finally, it is estimated by these reports that 70% of provincial roads have reached the end of their lifespan and are limited in their capacity. The department has received three hundred million rand in additional funds to maintain roads in this financial year. The only problem is that the increase is driven by the higher number of roads that need to be rehabilitated. This is because of years of underspending on road maintenance that is now coming to bite this province in its wallet.

The construction of new roads and increasing capacity of major routes is only a temporary solution and placing a plaster on a knife wound. The department’s delays in the awarding of tenders has caused it to fall behind on its roads programme as projects keep getting postponed.

Given the fact that Gauteng has the highest per capita vehicle ownership in the country and is the fastest growing province by population in the country the future of road travel is becoming unsustainable. The equation is therefore quite simple;

more people + more cars + stagnant public transport infrastructure capacity = gridlock.

This is why investment in public transport is crucial.

Unfortunately, the department’s budget does not support the tough decisions that this government should be making. It is important to expand the capacity of rail as a matter of urgency as rail is the cheapest form of public transport for commuters with the highest cost recovery.

Road-based public transport like e-hailing services, taxis, minibus taxis and buses contribute to congestion although not at the levels that private vehicles do.

Our medium distance bus services are plagued by unroadworthy vehicles and are unreliable leaving commuters stranded for long periods during strikes.

We have one of two futures. We can continue on the “do nothing” path as the ITMP25 refers to inaction without interventions and ends in a gridlocked future.

The better future would be to heavily invest in public transport with rail as its backbone and get more citizens on to quality public transport.

It is also important to embrace and make policy provision for innovation and the integration of new typologies like the hyperloop and even flying taxis in our future transport planning.

We have a duty to move the people of Gauteng between their families and economic opportunities quickly with affordable, safe, on-time and quality public transport.

Unfortunately, this budget is not moving us in that direction.

Thank you.




Department of Community Safety not doing enough to curb crime in Gauteng

By Michele Clarke MPL, DA Spokesperson for Community Safety

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered during the 2018/2019 Budget Vote for the Department of Community Safety

Madam Speaker,

Can we honestly say that the Gauteng Provincial Community Safety Department has played a critical role in reducing crime and keeping our roads safe in our Province?  When analysing our budget, the answer is no. Why do I say this?  We are a province marred by daily horrific criminal incidents and carnage on our roads, statistics reflect increases year on year and this Government, in this province, is not able to proactively address the situation.

The community in Gauteng is forever fearful and we do not live in an environment in which communities can reach their full potential as they do not feel safe and do not have any confidence in the current law enforcement agencies.

The Community Safety department’s budget fails to address its core function and mandate within the Civilian Secretariat Programme; this programme’s function is to exercise oversight over law enforcement agencies and to ensure the safety of the citizens of this province, although, for the first time in the past five years the department has managed to spend its budget but only managed to reach 79% of its targets.

This is clearly a department that cannot plan properly in terms of its KPIs and fiscal management.  The non-financial performance of the department must align with the budget and safety strategy of the province; but, once again, year on year, this is not the case and the department will fail to meet it objectives.  The inability to implement a coordinated approach between law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system, highlighting the fact that the criminal justice coordinating committee established by the department of community safety bears no outcomes in terms of its functionality.

Cash-in-transit heists is just one of the crimes that has had a massive negative effect on the province.  159 heists have occurred in the past six months, increasing ‘crimes linked to explosives’ use by 300%.  Research has shown that the perpetrators are dangerous and violent criminals linked to the top structures of police, magistrates, prosecutors and metro police.  They are highly sophisticated in terms of planning, driving skills and the ability to handle firearms.  They can secure high powered ammunition and explosives through corrupted law enforcement agents.

Madam Speaker,

Programme three:  Traffic management only managed to reach a 92% expenditure level. Important operational targets in terms of drunken driving, reckless and negligent driving and pedestrian operations – which are three key components that are linked to fatal road statistics, were not met.   The Gauteng Traffic Department is under-resourced and underutilized and as such, cannot win the fight against poor driver behaviour, moving violations and clamping down on illegal drivers.  The current situation is concerning as the Gauteng Traffic Department will never realize its 50% reduction as set down in its own targets.

The extent of corruption in the police service is out of control; the impunity that allows it to flourish is due to a Government that simply does not have the political will or ability to make the difference that is needed. The appropriate sanctioning of perpetrators is required if this conduct is to be deterred.  The establishment of an independent mechanism for reporting corruption within the SAPS, including reports from civil society organizations, is urgently needed.  We need more transparent processes in the appointment of key police officials as laid out in the NDP including performance indicators for improving integrity and ethic compliances within SAPS.  It is critical that we establish a Community Safety Ombudsman, as such an Ombudsman has played a critical role within the Western Cape in terms of transparent policing.

As the Gauteng Provincial Government, we must ensure that all people in Gauteng feel safe, and this is not the case in our province. Government needs to exercise a complete overhaul of the SAPS if the community of this province is to gain confidence in the criminal justice system.  This can only be realized if we appoint professional leadership in all criminal justice departments and law enforcement agencies.  We must stop the damaging political interference that has characterized the current system.




Community Safety needs a paradigm shift

By Kate Lorimer MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Community Safety

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered during the 2018/2019 Budget Vote for the Department of Community Safety

Madam Speaker, the prospect of change is upon us in Gauteng.  It is time for a paradigm shift in how we do things.  Year after year at budget time, those of us in the opposition benches struggle to think of what to say.  Why?  For two reasons: Firstly because the budget is a fait accompli presented to the various portfolio committees after the fact.  We ask the public to attend meetings and give their input, but it changes nothing.  No department changes its budget after it has been presented to its oversight committee, no matter how valuable or credible the input may be.  This province only approves its annual budget 2 to 3 months after it has already been implemented.  This legislature and the citizens of Gauteng are purely a rubber stamp for a “done deal” presented by the executive and their departments.   In the proverbial sense it closes the stable door after the horse has already bolted.

Secondly, we struggle because nothing ever changes in terms of programmes or strategies or targets or the inevitable blinkered thinking.  Departments don’t seem able to critically evaluate the success and added value of their programmes and targets and then make necessary changes.

Well, next year there will be a change, the ANC will be smaller and sitting on this side of the house and the opposition will be sitting on that side of the house and will be governing Gauteng either in partnership or with a complete majority.  Then, as in the Western Cape, we will ensure that the committee inputs and the budget debates are concluded before the start of the new budget year.  This ensures that only an approved budget is implemented.  Input from committees into the budget process will be encouraged and critically evaluated with a view to including them in the budget before it is presented for approval.

The department of Community Safety will also experience change with a change in government.  More focus will be placed on fewer more meaningful interventions that fulfil the constitutional mandate of the Province to improve community police relations through improving police performance.

There must be a change in attitude towards the issue of missing women and children.  Between April 2017 and May 2018, 472 children under the age of 16 went missing.  Unfortunately 4 were found dead and 32 ranging from 3 years old to 16 years old, have never been found. 32 families have no idea whether their children are alive or dead. Sophiatown, Soshanguve, Benoni and Daveyton are the areas where most children have not been found.  This should form the basis for specialist interventions in these areas.

Between January and October 2017, 597 women were reported missing and only 151 were found.  Where are the other 446 women?  These shocking figures were revealed in an answer to a question.  If they are true they paint an horrific picture of life for women in Gauteng.

All the efforts of the department should be focused on implementing measures that assist the SAPS to do their job better and to ensure that cases of missing women and children are prioritised and publicised and that specialist task teams are created to ensure these cases are properly investigated and shepherded through the court processes to ensure convictions.

In many cases people known to the family, or family members are implicated in missing persons cases.  Often a history of domestic violence has been recorded.  When are the Department of Community Safety going to change the way they think and understand that a manual system of tracking domestic violence cases does not add value?  Until one tracks offenders and victims electronically across police station, cluster and Provincial boundaries, the SAPS will not be able to be truly effective in tracking down potential suspects in missing women cases.

If we do not change how we look after SAPS members, their performance will be affected due to burnout and even fewer cases will be concluded with successful convictions.

A recent question asked in the National Assembly regarding psychological debriefing of SAPS members claims that mandatory Multiple Stressor Interventions are to be offered to all operational members going forward. In Gauteng there is 1 psychologist, 12 psychometrists and 12 Registered counsellors available to conduct debriefing for members.  Bearing in mind there are probably around 26 000 operational SAPS members in Gauteng, this is a laughable figure.  Even when supplemented by another 216 Psychologists through POLMED.

When visiting the FCS unit in Katlehong recently, one of the complaints of the members was that they never received psychological debriefing even though they consistently have to deal with a high volume of extremely violent cases against the most vulnerable of victims.  This is unacceptable.  Investigators cannot work under such conditions and be expected to produce consistent convictions.  This matter should be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Madam Speaker, it seems the SAPS does not know what it is doing as far as Gauteng is concerned.  First we are told Lt. General de Lange has been asked to leave, no reasons given! Rumours then abound that Minister Cele’s friend Mzwandile Petros is to be brought out of retirement and will be the Provincial Commissioner.  Now we hear that General de Lange will remain.  This type of irrational behaviour demotivates SAPS members and destabilises and undermines command. There is clearly a lack of leadership in the top echelons of the SAPS and the Ministry of Police.

So, change should not be made for change’s sake or because it serves a narrow political agenda, but rather because change will bring new opportunities, new ideas, a new vision and a new DA government.

SRAC budget does not address the needs of Gauteng residents

By Kingsol Chabalala MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Sport, Recreation, Arts, Culture and Heritage

Madam speaker,

One can argue whether the Gauteng Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts, Culture and Heritage (SRAC) exists or has ever existed in this province. This is because this department has done nothing in terms of its mission to create an enabling environment and accelerated social transformation for sporting, artistic and cultural excellence.

The budget is allocated to the department, but it fails to administer it as per its Annual Performance Plan (APP). The department has reduced its targets while its spending has gone up.

The APP for 2017/2018 financial year was to roll-out social infrastructure such as libraries and community multi-purpose sports centres. But not much has been done by this department. Libraries are in a state of disrepair and some are yet to be completed and handed over to the communities, while others have been completed and are now standing empty, not being utilised. The Evaton North Library was officially opened in September 2017 by this department but remains closed to the public.

This department which plays a critical role in the development of young people in the province, has for far too long continued to ignore their need for libraries and multi- purpose centres.

Gauteng youth need libraries and museums so that they can improve their reading skills and gain the knowledge to better equip them for the future; they need sporting facilities to keep them off the streets and safe from drugs, alcohol and criminal activities.

Madam speaker,

The ANC-led Gauteng government has always lamented about the lack of transformation in sports yet their administration is doing nothing to address this issue. For example, construction was started on the Toekomsrus Multi-Purpose Centre in Rand West in the 2010/11 financial year and is still not completed.

Young people in poor communities are the ones most affected as their development is hindered by this department’s incompetency.

Madam Speaker,

This department continues to overspend on public holidays, carnivals and sports awards.

It is shocking that the department had overspent by 154,68% on its budget for public holidays in the province since the 2013/14 financial year to date. The total budget for activities and celebrations relating to public holidays and public commemoration days for the 2013/14, 2014/ 15, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years respectively was R112.5 million.

This is unacceptable as it is a blatant waste of public funds.

This indicates that there is no fiscal control in this department and that the ANC-led Gauteng administration cares little about the real needs of our people.

The millions that were spent could have been used to upgrade the sporting facilities creating a conducive environment for nurturing local talent.

 Once again, it is evident that project management and poor planning remains a problem within this department.


Madam speaker,


The problem with this department is a lack of a political will to lead this department towards transformation and to ensure that it accomplishes what it is mandated to do.

This department has many projects that look good on paper but it fails to implement them. Many of the programmes that the department supports do not have a positive impact on the lives of our people. This department has a responsibility to provide adequate sporting resources to our communities.

There is also no monitoring and evaluation on national grants which includes library grants given to municipalities. This has resulted in the non-functioning of our local community libraries.

We cannot adopt a budget which does not speak to the needs of the people.

Madam speaker,

The DA will not be supporting this budget.

I thank you.

Gauteng school infrastructure plagued by chronic underspending

By Ashor Sarupen MPL DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Education

Madam Speaker,

The Department of Education is entrusted with the safety, security, care and learning of our children for 12 years of their lives – their most formative years. What happens to our children in schools for the six or more hours a day they spend in school determines the path of their entire lives. Education is the quickest ticket out of poverty, inequality and redressing the imbalances of the past.

Poor education, particularly in a child’s formative years, cannot be easily undone in later years. It is no secret that inequality is a major problem in education – and that there is a massive infrastructure backlog. However, infrastructure project failure is endemic in schools in Gauteng. I can cite dozens of examples of schools where shoddy workmanship, contractors abandoning projects and ghost projects have taken place. This in and of itself perpetuates inequality in the system.

But, school infrastructure in this province is also plagued by chronic underspending, and the ANC government is robbing Peter to pay Paul over the next three years.

This ANC government has stolen and looted so much that you have decided to cut school infrastructure spending drastically. The Guptas live it up in Dubai, avoiding charges and enjoying their ill-gotten gains, while this Education department will be spending less on school infrastructure in 2018/19 than it did in 2014/15.

Let me repeat that – the ANC in Gauteng will spend less on school infrastructure in 2018/19 than it did in 2014/15. It will spend even less in 2019/20 and 2020/21. Last year you were supposed to spend R2.1 billion, this year you will only try to spend R1.6 billion, and next year R1.4 billion. Meanwhile, we still have asbestos schools, we still have insufficient and inadequate sanitation, we still have schools with an insufficient numbers of classrooms, we still have inadequate facilities for learners with special needs, we still have overcrowded classrooms and we still have schools without access to any sporting facilities.

Infrastructure is critical to creating an environment in which learning and teaching can be conducive. The Democratic Alliance believes that “every child must be provided with an opportunity to learn in a safe and nurturing environment to develop and reach their potential.”

The longer you fail on infrastructure, the more you fail in creating an environment in which our children can learn with the facilities they need.

This environment further requires that our learners are safe from abuse. I was alarmed to learn that the department did not historically vet all teachers and school support staff to ensure that our learners are safe.

Last year, the sheer number of incidents relating to the abuse of our girl learners in schools was incredibly disheartening and heart breaking. No girl child, and indeed, no child at all, should be preyed on by a teacher, a principal or a scholar patroller, or any support staff. Schools should be safe spaces for our children. This is the responsibility of trust that parents place on the department when they send their children to our schools. Last year, the department showed that it was failing on this critical responsibility.

The DA has called on the department to have a full scale, high level commission of enquiry into the extent of abuse in our school system – to date, this has not been heeded. You have a responsibility to create an environment in which learners can come forward, without fear of retribution or being targeted, with their right to privacy being protected, and with care and sensitivity, to ensure that we rid our system of any person who would prey on our children. This budget does not create a dedicated programme to achieve this.

Indeed, standards in this area need to be improved by the department, as the South African Council of Educators (SACE) has permitted 45% of teachers found guilty of sexual misconduct against learners, between 2009 and 2012, to continue teaching our children. If the unions won’t act, if SACE won’t act, then the department must do everything in its considerable power to protect our children.

The department should, immediately and without hesitation develop and implement a national school abuse policy that requires immediate reporting of physical and sexual abuse to the SAPS as well as appoint dedicated individuals in conjunction with the department of social development to report and manage a school’s response to abuse. This point person’s dedicated responsibilities should include pro-active follow-ups of investigations, so that any adult in the school system who abuses a child in any way, goes to jail. There should be zero tolerance on this matter. Furthermore, the department should create a dedicated learner helpline for learners to call to report abuse so that investigators can swiftly move in and deal with reported issues in schools.

There is a massive burden of trust on the Department of Education, and its budget and programmes, as well as its implementation, just creates a trust deficit. We cannot support this budget vote, as it is just a continuation of the department’s failed approaches to bringing equity to education, and ignores critical issues relating to school safety.

Education Department fails to spend allocated infrastructure budget

By Khume Ramulifho MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education


Madam speaker, 

This is the last budget of the 5th term of this legislature. We have noticed certain developments led by MEC Lesufi. No one can doubt the passion and commitment to education shown by the MEC. There are three projects introduced with some intensity. These include, the roll out of Information and Communication Technology (ICTs), introduction of an online registration system for grade 1 and 8 and the introduction of schools of specializations in Gauteng.

The ICT initiative roll-out is far more advanced than the Gauteng Online System. Even though, we have witnessed some challenges. Some are ongoing and others were historic. It is unfortunate that a positive project intended to benefit many learners in the province has attracted many criminals to our schools.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has made meaningful contributions on how to improve quality learning and teaching in Gauteng. The need to train teachers to embrace new technology needs to be given attention and isn’t really where it is expected to be at this stage. The DA continues to call for the department to engage communities to take ownership of our schools.

The emphasis on education technology is primarily to ensure that all learners from poor communities must have access to opportunities to gain meaningful skills while still at school. So that when they leave school, they have certain skills required by the job market. Our education must be linked to work skills.

The modernisation of school classrooms and the implementation of innovative technology is important in creating conducive learning and teaching environments. However, the costs and poor planning have been areas about which we have disagreements. The DA believes that the type of work done could have been achieved at a lower price. If there is better planning, the department will spend its entire infrastructure budget and demand more to deal with the backlog.

Madam speaker,

The online admission system is also a positive programme. However, when it started it was characterized by glitches. It is important to note that this year, the system had experienced minor challenges.

Though the DA maintains that the challenge is the department’s failure to make many of our schools centres of excellence. This is the long term and sustainable solution to managing the demand faced by a few excellent schools.

While there is a clear understanding of the limited resources, school infrastructure programme has failed both learners and teachers in this province. It is largely due to poor project management and lack of consequences for those tasked with implementation.

Treasury has been the biggest beneficiary when the department failed to spend its allocated budget. The DA has been calling for more budget allocated to fix school infrastructure but even when Treasury does make the necessary provision, the department failed to spend its allocated budget.

The department fails to spend its infrastructure budget, despite the fact that there are still more than 25 asbestos schools that have been declared as health hazards. Many schools are aging, they are deteriorating at a rapid speed. The most unfortunate ones are schools that are built after 1994, where they are joining aging ones but because of poor workmanship.

The department has also failed to build libraries, laboratories and sporting facilities. These are still privileges for former Model C and well-resourced private schools. Government must redress the past imbalances.

Schools are centres where learners’ talent get identified. When talent is identified, it must be nurtured. So those learners can lead productive lives because schools would have provided proper facilities. Imagine, learners who intend pursuing science professions who will only see real labs at varsity. This takes away an opportunity to be creative and innovative.

Some of the former Model C schools we have visited this year, have more than 20 sporting codes but many of the township schools we have visited have dusty football grounds. The inequality gap must be closed. Access to well-resourced schools cannot only be for those who can afford them.

Madam speaker,


The ECD program also failed to spend its allocated budget. This is historical, since I served on the education committee, the department has never spent the entire allocated budget. I’m referring to 9 years. But there are many learners who only start schooling at grade 1 because they cannot afford to pay for Grade R fees.

The same learners who are expected to attend no fee schools, are expected to pay for Grade R classes. If their parents cannot afford this, how will they pay for school fees?

Madam speaker, 

The DA recognises that education has taken a different turn. Instead of debating and deliberating quality teaching and learning, so many issues dominate the debate. If you make an observation on issues dominating the education agenda, they are mostly social ills.

This raises questions about the leadership we have and the role played in shaping society.

Though these are societal issues, they can’t be ignored. We have a responsibility to create an enabling learning and teaching environment. School safety, order, discipline, parental support and community involvement, quality teaching and school leadership and management should be priorities.

It is a known fact that all the best schools have high discipline, proper leadership, community ownership of the school and both learners and teachers understand what is expected from them. On the other hand, a dysfunctional school lacks all the above factors.  Given the fact that we know what the problems are at these schools, this should have made it easier for the department to the fix problems faced by these dysfunctional schools.

There is a general tendency to prioritize education when matric results get announced and when the admission process is underway. After that, its sexual harassment cases, burglaries, vandalism, theft etc – these social ills define our education system.

These social ills take away certain basic school resources. We have noticed disruptions caused when smart boards get stolen. When learners carry weapons to school.  The focus should rather be on assisting learners who are poorly performing across all the grades.

There are many teachers who are dedicated and committed to the work they do. They go to school very early and leave school after 15:00. Some teachers even teach on Saturdays without expecting additional money but expecting learners to excel in the subjects they teach. It is unfortunate that a few teachers involved in misconduct drag the entire profession into disrepute.

It is the responsibility of the department to create enabling learning conditions. Teacher quality is measured by content knowledge and experience relating to learners’ achievement. This can be made possible by providing principals with the necessary support to employ effective teaching strategies. Whether it be collaborative learning, looping, different instructions etc. this will only be possible when there is the necessary relevant support.

But many of our districts have been failing to provide the necessary support. District officials have reduced their school visits to a box-ticking exercise.

These are the areas in which the department can do better:

  1. a) District support – districts must be realigned to provide direct relevant support to schools.
  2. b) Conducive learning and teaching environments – many of our school infrastructure is a crisis in the making, schools must be safe centres. Infrastructure must be of good quality.
  3. c) Strong public private partnerships – communities must have ownership of schools. The private sector should be encouraged to get involved to solve certain challenges that may need more resources.
  4. d) School leadership and management – appoint principals and HODs based on merit not union affiliation.
  5. e) Quality of teaching and management – teaching strategies, assessment and time spent teaching.
  6. f) Corruption and financial mismanagement – looting and mismanagement takes away basic resources meant to benefit learners. This must stop.

The DA is concerned that basic school infrastructure will collapse as the pace and management of the projects are weak. Social ills are defining our education agenda.

Thank you.