198 cases of stock theft reported during Gauteng lockdown but only 2 convictions

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is concerned that that there have only been two convictions out of the 198 cases of stock theft that have been reported, while there have only been 22 arrests.

Although this indicates an 11 percent decrease in stock theft compared to the same period last year, anecdotal information from the sector paints a different picture.

This information was revealed to me by the MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko in a written reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

The value of the stock stolen amounts to R10.2 million.

According to the department the following stock was stolen:

  • 62 Sheep
  • 63 Cattle
  • 26 Goats
  • 21 Poultry
  • 19 Pigs
  • 1 Horse
  • 1 Zebra
  • 1 Donkey
  • 1 Duck
  •  Chicken

However, the DA is questioning the reliability of the information supplied as the statistics indicate that a criminal case was opened to report the theft of only one duck and one chicken.

In addition, there is a continuing trend of mistrust between agriculture sector and the South African Police Service (SAPS) which is leading to cases not being reported.

Furthermore, livestock breeders are not registering their brandmarks with the stock theft information centre and they are also not tattooing their livestock, which makes recovery and successful conviction that much harder.

Instead of the SAPS providing increased patrols in rural communities where stock theft is increasing because of the lockdown, they are instead deployed to enforce the lockdown regulations, thereby giving a false impression that they are doing their jobs.

This is leading to food security being threatened by a low-grade civil war that is going on in our rural communities. The DA will continue to put pressure on the MEC for Community Safety to work with the agriculture sector to ensure that stock theft is curbed, and that trust is built between law enforcement and the farming community.

Sign our petition here: https://petitions.da.org.za/p/ruralcommunities


Raw sewage spilling into wetlands in Bonaero Park a health and environmental risk

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is concerned that the thousands of litres of raw sewage flowing into the wetlands in Marigane and Lanseria street in Bonaero Park, Kempton Park is a health hazard.

The DA has been inundated with complaints by residents about the severe sewer stench which is present 24/7.

The existing sewer line which was installed many years ago within the perimeter of this important wetland has become severely perforated due to old age, which has led to the raw sewage seeping out of this pipe into the wetland.

See pictures here here here and here

Residents are unable to go outside or open the windows of their homes for fear of breathing in this stench. This has been a problem in the area for more than 10 years.

The pleas of the residents to government to do something about the raw sewage running into the wetlands have fallen on deaf ears.

This wetland used to be a major attraction with hundreds of flamingos frequenting the wetland and home to many fauna species. However, due to the current state of the wetlands the flamingos have disappeared as have the fauna species.

The DA will be writing to the Gauteng MEC for Agriculture, Rural Development and Environmental Affairs, Morakane Mosupyoe as well as the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional, Lebogang Maile and the Green Scorpions to intervene in this situation as a matter of urgency.

Poor maintenance causes water shortage at Helen Joseph Hospital

Poor maintenance is to blame for the hundreds of patients who have suffered for days from a water shortage at the Helen Joseph Hospital.

Water to wards was cut off last week after a pipe burst, causing major disruption to medical services and distress to patients, including those in Covid-19 wards.

Patients did not have water to take their medicine or to drink and could not wash themselves.

Staff could not wash their hands and crucial equipment, including dialysis and CT-scans, could not be cleaned.

It was so bad that the public were called on to give donations of water.

The Gauteng Health Department has claimed that the problem is fixed but I continued to receive complaints of water shortages from distressed patients this weekend.

The tragedy is that the many years of management failure hinders our capacity to save lives in the present health crisis.

DA uncovers signs of corruption in City of Johannesburg

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has uncovered a scheme in the City of Johannesburg where the Patriotic Alliance (PA) is abusing its slim hold on power by guaranteeing itself and certain alliance partners control over key City entities, including the Joburg Market, and the Joburg Property Company (JPC).

In 2019 the African National Congress (ANC) seized control of the City through an awkward alliance of single-councillor parties, who were promised lucrative positions of power when the former DA Mayor handed control over to the ANC through his resignation.

The PA, headed by former convicted gangster Gayton McKenzie, secured the Economic Development portfolio through this alliance, which has a combined budget of R1,2 billion for the 2020/21 financial year and includes:

  • The Department of Economic Development;
  • The Joburg Market which is South Africa’s largest fresh produce market and the City’s most profitable entity; and
  • The Johannesburg Property Company which manages the City’s entire property portfolio of more than 30,000 properties.

The Joburg Market has already been captured through the appointment of Leanne Williams, McKenzie’s second in command in the party and its former councillor in the City of Johannesburg.

Williams then went straight from being an official in the political office of the MMC for Economic Development to the position of CEO of Joburg Market while the City was under lockdown.

It has now come to light that the PA is intent on offering control of the Johannesburg Property Company to another alliance partner, which also holds only 1 seat in Council, in order to maintain their position of political power.

This is an indication that there is more to the current CEO of the Joburg Property Company being placed on ‘special leave’ than just a routine investigation.

The DA will submit formal questions to the executive, to uncover further details of what appears to be blatant City of Joburg capture, and will report this matter to the Public Protector in order to obtain answers for the residents of Johannesburg.

The DA stands for clean, honest governance that puts our residents first and we will not allow such corruption to go unanswered.

One homeless person died and another critically injured after being stabbed numerous times at Heuweloord shelter in Tshwane

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is disturbed by the death and the injury of yet more homeless persons in Tshwane.

The DA has been reliably informed that one homeless person has died at Heuweloord shelter in Centurion, Tshwane.

It is alleged that the deceased died after being isolated in a tent because he was suffering from tuberculosis. This incident happened during this winter’s coldest weekend.

The second homeless person has been admitted to the hospital in a critical condition after being stabbed numerous times.

It is alleged that there are no security or Tshwane Metro police officers at the shelters to ensure the safety of homeless people.

The shelters have been in the spotlight since the start of the lockdown more than 100 days ago, and even though a lot of critical issues were addressed, it appears that as the lockdown is phased out, less attention and care is being given to the shelters.

We have further been informed that the Tshwane Metro police officers have been withdrawn from all shelters over the past month leaving this vulnerable community even more at risk.

People are now being relocated from one shelter to another, and there are rumours that all of these makeshifts shelters are in the process of being closed down.

This comes at a time when we as South Africa are experiencing the coldest cold front yet this winter.

The DA has been calling on the Gauteng Provincial Government for the longest of times to ensure that we find a long-term solution when it comes to addressing the concerns of the homeless.

In the midst of closing these makeshifts shelters there are no alternative solutions and the provincial government will yet again turn a blind eye to the poverty stricken poorest of the poor when they are forced to go back to the streets.

The DA will table questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) and we will also write to the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Nomathemba Mokgethi to ascertain what measures are being put in place to ensure the safety of homeless people at the shelters and to call for an urgent investigation into what lead to these terrible incidents .

It is also time that tangible solutions are tabled to address homelessness as the numbers of Covid-19 infections are on the rise.

DA calls on MEC Maile to intervene in Ekurhuleni electricity crisis

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is concerned about the continuous power outages in Ekurhuleni yet the Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Lebogang Maile is doing nothing to resolve this crisis.

Ekurhuleni has been experiencing power outages almost daily which has left thousands of residents without electricity.

This current electricity crisis is as a result of the City’s failure to have sufficient technical staff within the electricity department as well as a shortage of necessary resources.

It is MEC Maile’s responsibility to coordinate and ensure the effective functioning of local government, promote integrated development planning, and deepen participatory democracy in order to accelerate service delivery. However, it seems MEC Maile is conveniently ignoring the current crisis at hand as Ekurhuleni fails to function effectively due to abnormal power outages.

The growth and effectiveness of the City’s economy is measured by the number of necessities such as electricity that it provides to its people.

The DA is calling on MEC Maile to intervene and resolve Ekurhuleni’s power outages as a matter of urgency. We will also be tabling questions to MEC Maile in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) to ascertain the reason behind the continuous power outages in Ekurhuleni and what has been done by his department as part of the required interventions.

Oxygen shortages in Gauteng for Covid-19 patients

I am highly concerned by reports of oxygen shortages at Gauteng health facilities as it is a critical resource in saving the lives of those with Covid-19 infection.

According to Professor Francois Venter of the University of the Witwatersrand, the Gauteng Health Department has failed to ensure adequate supplies of life-saving oxygen to public hospitals and clinics.

I am also aware of low oxygen pressure at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital that is compromising the care of patients.

Other reports indicate that some patients are put on oxygen for one hour on and one hour off in order to preserve supply, and some patients do not get it at all despite desperate need.

It does not appear that the lockdown period was used to increase the number of beds in hospitals with piped oxygen, which is usually only one in ten.

Another disappointment is that oxygen points are only now being put into the field hospital beds at NASREC and there may not be enough for the surge of infections.

The timely supply of oxygen through a mask or using high flow nasal oxygen has proved successful in assisting patients without need for ventilators which are in short supply and require skilled staff to operate.

Every effort is needed to ensure sufficient supplies of oxygen reach those who most need it to survive Covid-19.

Yet another Gauteng road upgrade left unfinished due to contractor woes

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is deeply concerned that the upgrade of the Solomon Mahlangu Drive will be delayed because of the contractor, UMSO has applied for business rescue.

See letter here.

This is yet another road in Gauteng that will be left unfinished because the contractor is unable to complete the job due to money woes.

The K69 project which is the Solomon Mahlangu drive upgrade from K54 at Mahuba Valley in Mamelodi to the R104, Pretoria is costing the Gauteng Provincial Government R285 million and is supposed to be completed in August 2021.

As part of the upgrade the existing gravel should will be reconstructed, asphalt surfacing and drainage improvements will be made, road markings will be redone, damaged signs repaired and the guardrails will be repaired.

In addition, a dual carriage-way will be built, which will help to increase capacity as well as improve road safety.

The same thing happened with William Nicol Drive. The upgrades to this road are still not complete because of the contractor’s inability to complete the project. This resulted in the Department of Roads and Transport once again advertising this tender.

It appears as though it is a trend that contractors appointed by the Gauteng Department of Transport do not complete the upgrades of roads in the province. This is concerning as the maintenance of roads is extremely important to ensure that road fatalities do not occur.

The DA will be closely monitoring the business rescue process of UMSO construction and the work currently been done on Solomon Mahlangu drive.

Gauteng Health MEC should clarify his remarks on 1.5 million Covid-19 graves

Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku needs to clarify his remarks yesterday that his department is “preparing over 1.5 million grave sites” for the Covid-19 crisis.

The entire number of deaths worldwide is about 550 000 and there is no scenario in which there would be so many Covid-19 deaths in Gauteng.

Mass burials may need to happen at a certain stage of the epidemic, but it is unlikely that these would exceed one hundred even on the worst days.

There have been 478 deaths so far in Gauteng out of 75 015 cases. This indicates a case fatality rate of about .64% which is in line with studies worldwide that show less than a 1% fatality rate bearing in mind the large number of asymptomatic infected people.

We know that the fatality rate is much lower in younger people and the median age of Gauteng’s 15.7 million people is 27 years old, with 81% of the population under 44 years old.

Whilst it is prudent to prepare for the worst and hope for the best, Masuku’s comments are causing needless panic and should be withdrawn.

Alleged child rape at hospital highlights failures in responding to GBV

I am horrified at the alleged rape of a two-year-old girl while in isolation for Covid-19 at the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in north western Gauteng.

The hospital CEO Dr Richard Lebethe has now claimed that he only heard about this through the media although the incident happened in mid-June.

The delays in investigating what happened highlight the failure at various levels to take this seriously. The police are giving poor excuses and the hospital sent the family from pillar to post instead of immediate action. According to the family, the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) has still not contacted them.

It is difficult to comprehend the evil of someone perpetrating Gender Based Violence (GBV) on a helpless child in an isolation ward because of suspected Covid-19 infection.

The investigation by the Gauteng Health Department needs to be concluded soon and real action taken to ensure that justice is seen to be done in this case and extra protections put in to ensure safety of patients in isolation wards.