Gauteng ANC governance failure causes lights to go out in Emfuleni

by Adriana Randall MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Finance

Eskom has issued a notice that it intends to start phasing in scheduled power interruptions in ANC-run Emfuleni as the municipality has failed to adhere to the terms of its re-payment plan.

Monthly debt to Eskom has increased by R200 million and residents now face the reality that come 6 August 2018 scheduled power cuts will become the norm.

Despite the municipality having recently been placed under Section 139 administration, this intervention has come too late to avert these scheduled black-outs.

According to Eskom, the Provincial ANC-government refused to accept the payment plan proposed by the power utility.

When questioned about how the provincial government will assist the embattled municipality under Section 139, Gauteng Finance MEC, Barbara Creecy simply stated that a recovery plan had been formulated and is currently sitting with National Treasury for approval.

This process could take up to six months.

Six months is a life-time to wait for residents who have already faced water throttling by Rand Water and will now be left in the dark.

The deployment of Jacob Khawe to Emfuleni as Mayor has, as the DA initially stated, had no impact in turning this desperate situation around.

The ANC Provincial Government has dragged its feet on this issue and waited until the last moment to attempt a half-hearted rescue.

The DA has for many years warned the provincial government that Emfuleni is a ticking time bomb and the situation would spiral out of control if no proactive steps were taken to arrest its decline.

Residents, businesses and the local economy will now suffer due to ANC negligence and incompetence.

Emfuleni residents deserve their rights to be upheld, but under an ANC government this will not happen.

Come 2019 the people of Emfuleni will have the opportunity to elect a DA Provincial Government that puts people’s rights first.

Election of Mahlangu and Hlongwa shows moral bankruptcy of Gauteng ANC

by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

The re-election of scandal-plagued Qedani Mahlangu and Brian Hlongwa as members of the Gauteng ANC’s Provincial Executive Committee shows the moral bankruptcy of a party that protects its own at the expense of everyone else.

ANC members in Gauteng obviously don’t care about Mahlangu’s role in the horrendous deaths of 144 Esidimeni patients, nor the mounds of evidence that implicates Hlongwa in R1.2 billion corruption in the Gauteng Health Department (GHD).

It is a poor excuse for Premier David Makhura to say that the ANC’s toothless Integrity Committee will deal with Mahlangu and Hlongwa. This committee was supposed to take a decision on Hlongwa four years ago, and has not censured Mahlangu more than 18 months after the Esidimeni disaster.

It seems that Hlongwa continues to enjoy support because of money funnelled to the ANC by entities that had corrupt dealings with the GHD – at least R870 000 according to evidence in court documents.

According to the DA’s Hlongwa Monitor, it is now 33 days and he has still not been fired as ANC Chief Whip in the Gauteng Legislature, earning R1.5 million a year.

Makhura has also not responded to my call for the provincial government to force Mahlangu and senior officials to pay part of the R159 million Esidimeni arbitration settlement from their own pockets, which can be done in terms of the Apportionment of Damages Act.

Earlier this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa hugged Qedani Mahlangu at an ANC march in Soweto, and said she was “still a comrade”.

There is no “New Dawn” in Gauteng, just the same false promises and hypocrisy while corruption and cruelty to the vulnerable continues unabated.

43% of drunk driving cases pending due to forensic lab backlogs

by Michele Clarke MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Community Safety

For the 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial years, 53 414 drunk driving arrests were made across Gauteng, yet 22 915 (43%) cases have not been able to be concluded due to outstanding blood tests.

While in almost every arrest a blood test was conducted on the guilty driver, only 23 892 blood test results have been returned.

Gauteng has a high road mortality rate and every year the Minister of Transport paints a horrific picture of how this number continues to grow.

Expensive and elaborate Road Safety programmes are rolled out annually to no avail as those who break the law know that they will not face punitive action.

The slow pace of returning the results of blood tests backlogs the criminal justice system and in many cases delays justice.

If justice is delayed, lawlessness will continue to thrive.

I will write to the MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane to ascertain what steps she has taken to lobby her counterparts in national government to provide more resources to forensic laboratories in the province.

The deficiencies of the ANC government should not impact on the rights of ordinary citizens to stay safe and receive legal recourse from those who flaunt the law.

Work stoppages symptomatic of Gauteng Health crisis

by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

Gauteng state hospitals have been hit by 3639 work stoppages since September last year, but the Gauteng Health Department has still not negotiated an essential services agreement with unions to ensure that patients are not adversely affected by strikes.

This is revealed by Acting Gauteng Health MEC, Faith Mazibuko, in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Mazibuko, 268 workers downed tools at 33 health facilities on 27 September last year, and the only action taken against them was leave without pay.

Work stoppages have jumped dramatically this year, with the following incidents involving 3371 workers:

  • Kopanong Hospital on 16 March – 42 workers
    • Thelle Mogoerane Hospital on 31 May – 500 workers
    • Sterkfontein Hospital on 28 May – 600 staff
    • Leratong Hospital on 30 May – 1600 workers
    • Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital (CMJH) on 16 March – 120 workers
    • CMJH on 19-24 April – 100 workers
    • CMJH on 25 April – 109 workers
    • CMJH on 29-30 May – 300 workers

Mazibuko says that disciplinary processes are under way for the April-May disturbances this year.

With regard to an essential services agreement, she says “the Department and the unions are negotiating at Public Sector Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) and are currently convening the Provincial workshop to orientate the Province of the status.”

The Department has been inexcusably slow in concluding an essential services agreement so that patients are not harmed when strikes occur.

Meanwhile, tough disciplinary action should be taken against any hospital staff who endanger patients such as the disgraceful violence and trashing that occurred at CMJH twice this year.

This sharp increase in industrial action at Gauteng hospitals is largely caused by the gross mismanagement which has left our Gauteng Health Department in crisis. Premier David Makhura has ignored this crisis for far too long, and it is high time that he intervenes before the public health sector in this province is beyond repair.

DA lays charges against ANC for receiving corrupt money

by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

I have today laid charges at the Johannesburg Central Police Station against the ANC and the ANC Women’s League for receiving money from entities linked with alleged corruption in the Gauteng Health Department when Brian Hlongwa was Health MEC from 2006 to 2009.

According to a forensic audit report by the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT), the following payments and/or donations were identified as of a questionable nature:

  • Certain payments/donations to the ANC Women’s League to the value of R 130 000 during the period 2008 to 2009;
  • Payments to the Friends of the ANC, in the amount of R40 000;
  • Payments in excess of R700 000 were paid to the ANC without any supporting documentation and/or explanation as to why and what this was for during the period 2008 to 2009

This ACTT report was part of an application by the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) in July 2014 against 3P Consulting and Brian Hlongwa to seize assets suspected to be the proceeds of crime in dealings with the Gauteng Health Department.

According to the report, the three payments to the ANC “can be questioned due to the abnormal circumstances under which it was paid, the fact that Hlongwa is a high ranking member of the organisation, and also as it was not done in the normal course of business of 3P”.

The report also says that the deduction can be made that a generally corrupt relationship developed between Hlongwa and Mr Richard Payne, the MD of 3P Consulting, and that the ANCWL and the ANC acquired the proceeds of unlawful activities.

The ANC and ANCYL could therefore be guilty of contravening section 6(a) and/or section 6(b) of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, 1998 (Act 121 of 1998), read with the provisions of section 1 and 8 of Act 121 of 1998, in that they unlawfully acquired and/or unlawfully possessed the proceeds of unlawful activities which they knew or ought reasonably to have known that it was or formed part of the proceeds of unlawful activities.

Premier David Makhura speaks out against corruption, but has shamefully failed to act against Brian Hlongwa, the ANC’s Chief Whip in the Gauteng Legislature, despite mounds of evidence that his corrupt activities ruined the Gauteng Health Department.

The DA challenges Makhura and the ANC in Gauteng to pay back the R870 000 in total that it received from likely corrupt activities linked to Hlongwa when he was Health MEC.

This money is desperately needed to fix our hospitals and clinics where people suffer because of poor delivery.

If the ANC is serious about fighting corruption they should “pay back the money” that came, according to solid evidence, from criminal activities

ANC man allegedly linked to cash in transit heist

by John Moodey MPL – DA Gauteng Leader

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gaunteng welcomes the determined action by Joburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba, and the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPPD) in tracking down and arresting suspects involved in a cash in transit (CIT) heist. The heist took place in Dobsonville, Soweto, earlier this month.

In a climate where incidents of CIT are on the rise in our province, DA Mayor Mashaba today confirmed that one of the four suspects was reportedly an employee of the ANC, based at Luthuli house at the time of arrest.

It is of serious concern that the ANC has been silent on this matter, as they have been on other matters relating to criminality in their own ranks. With suspected and convicted criminal elements within its ranks, it is clear that the ANC cannot be trusted with keeping our people safe and bring order to our communities.

We have yet to see the ANC so much as condemn, let alone act against Brian Hlongwa following the R1.2 billion corruption scandal he has been implicated in. The ANC has rather moved him from his position of MEC of Health in Gauteng, to the Chief Whip in the Legislature.

It is time that the ANC comes out to condemn, as well as act against those who among its ranks who are involved in criminality.

South Africa is in a state of lawlessness and disorder. It is the duty of the ANC-run National Government to ensure that criminals are brought to book swiftly. They have failed to do so. Instead, they mollycoddle corruption within their own organisation.

We need change that brings order and builds one South Africa for all, where people are free to live their lives in a safe society. The DA-led City of Joburg is making strides in that direction by cracking down on criminals.

Dagada’s resignation as DA Member premature

by Mike Moriarty MPL – DA Gauteng Provincial Chairperson

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes Dr. Rabelani Dagada’s decision to resign from the DA with immediate effect.

Dr. Dagada states that his resignation was not voluntary but necessitated by the circumstances, namely a “political witch-hunt”.

We find this perplexing as all disciplinary processes initiated against Dr. Dagada were suspended, in light of the High Court judgement handed down in the Patricia de Lille matter regarding the constituting of the Federal Legal Commission.

We regret that Dr. Dagada has pre-empted any internal disciplinary outcomes that would have resulted from a full and thorough investigation of the charges against him, which include the serious charge of bringing the Party into disrepute.

During Dr. Dagada’s seven year tenure as a DA member, he served on the Johannesburg Regional Executive Committee, Gauteng Provincial Executive Committee and the Federal Committee.

Considering this record of service, it is disappointing that Dr. Dagada has chosen to leave the Party under these circumstances. We however wish Dr. Dagada all the best in his future endeavours.

DA pushes ANC to force Esidimeni culprits to part pay R159 million damages

by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

The Democratic Alliance has today sent letters to Gauteng Premier David Makhura and Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa to demand that the ANC provincial government pursue legal action against those implicated in the Life Esidimeni tragedy so that they personally pay a share of the R159 million arbitration award to relatives of those who suffered and died.

Click here to view the letter.

According to the Apportionment of Damages Act 34 of 1956, where more than one person may be held liable for a wrongful act, these wrongdoers are considered jointly and severally liable to any claimants for the resultant harm.

In this instance, the “joint wrongdoers” include former Gauteng Health MEC, Qedani Mahlangu, former Gauteng Head of Department for Health, Dr Barney Selebano and former Chief Director Mental Health, Dr Makgabo Manamela.

The Act provides that a party that has been found liable in a civil claim, and has paid this claim in full, can act to recover from those who were also allegedly liable (the joint wrongdoers) to recover a contribution for their fair share of what has been paid.

Last month the provincial government paid R159.46 million to 134 claimants in terms of the arbitration award by Justice Dikgang Motseneke, who awarded each claimant R1 million for the loss of life, R20 000 to cover funerals and R180 000 for trauma and psychological distress.

This money has come from the budgets of provincial government departments, which adversely affects service delivery.

The DA believes that taxpayers should not have to pay for the egregious misconduct of government officials, and that the perpetrators should pay from their own pockets to cover the damage they caused.

Former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu, for instance, earned R1.9 million a year and left with a substantial pension, while Selebano and Manamela also earned well.

The DA has given government 60 days to take legal action against Mahlangu, Selebano and Maluleke to pay a fair share of the R159.46 million compensation amount.

There is some urgency as action in terms of the Act needs to take place within one year.

The ANC should not continue to protect Qedani Mahlangu who is still a member of the ANC Gauteng Provincial Executive Committee.

We insist that Mahlangu and senior officials pay directly for their wilful criminality that resulted in enormous suffering to vulnerable people and 144 deaths.

Reckless former Gauteng HOD appointed as Minister Susan Shabangu’s lieutenant

by John Moodey MPL – DA Gauteng Provincial Leader

The DA is deeply concerned by the appointment of former Gauteng Head of Department for Roads and Transport, Benedicta Monama, as a special advisor to the Minister of Social Development, Susan Shabangu. Monama has been strongly associated with suspicious activities and allegations of corruption.

Monama’s position as HOD was not renewed in 2011 by then Premier, Nomvula Mokonyane, as it was found that she had approved a R3 billion deal for the operating of licensing departments against the recommendation of Treasury not to do so.

She further went on to have an equally disastrous tenure as the acting Municipal Manager of Limpopo’s Sekhukhune district municipality where she irregularly awarded 15 tenders worth R230 million.

The department of Social Development has been embroiled in a myriad of scandals regarding the ability of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) to guarantee the role-out of grants to 17 million South Africans.

Should SASSA fail to deliver on its mandate of grant distribution, the lives of millions of South Africans will be put at risk.

An agency that has the responsibility as great as that of SASSA, individuals such as Monama – who have a history of squandering public funds, should not be considered for this position.

The DA will question Minister Shabangu as to her decision to appoint a person who is clearly not fit to handle the responsibilities of the position she now holds.

The DA will ensure that the well-being of 17 million grant recipients is given the attention it deserves.

Our people should not suffer due to the ineptitude of ANC deployees.

Inquests into Esidimeni Deaths still not finalised

by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

None of the 45 inquests into the deaths of former Life Esidimeni patients who died in illegal NGOs have yet been finalized, with delays blamed on “complexity of investigation and delay in obtaining information.”

This is according to Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

She says that “dockets and enquiry files are still at the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for perusal and decision. The investigation team is attending to some of the queries received from the DPP’s office.”

Furthermore, “the following reports are still outstanding: Clinical reports, blood alcohol reports, toxicology reports and statements as per DPP’s queries.”

I am concerned by the slow pace of this investigation more than 18 months after the 144 Esidimeni deaths.

Only five detectives are working on the case, and the police say that no finalization date can be given at this stage.

The police have also not laid any charges in this matter.

The Esidimeni tragedy involved a wide range of crimes, including murder, culpable homicide, corruption, contraventions of the Mental Health Act, fraud, theft, and illegal licenses to NGOs.

We are failed once again by police incompetence which is delaying accountability and punishment in court for all those implicated in the monstrous acts that lead to the deaths of so many helpless people.