No additional security for public wi-fi hotspots despite increase in crime

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is deeply concerned that currently no Memorandum of Outstanding (MOU) exists between the Department of e-Government and Community Safety to ensure the safety of residents who may be using the free government wi-fi hotspots in Gauteng.

This information was revealed in a written reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to the MEC for Finance and e-Government, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko. It is worrying that no new additional security measures are being put in place, given the increase in crime around wi-fi hotspots.

Currently the Department of e-Government provides connectivity to 1181 provincial government sites and in response to the public need for access to wi-fi, the department has provided hotspots on the Gauteng Broadband Network to 21 public wi-fi hotspots in the province.

According to the MEC, all the wi-fi hotspots are housed in government-owned or rented buildings. This makes the security in these buildings the competency of the end user department.

The MEC has however undertaken that the department will be engaging the Department of Community Safety to embark on a campaign to make the public aware about the local call centre and the South African Police Service (SAPS) numbers to assist in managing the safety of users.

The DA will be closely monitoring this campaign and its effectiveness.

Merafong Mayor appoints niece as Acting Municipal Manager, councillors claim

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has learnt that the Mayor of Merafong, Maphefo Mogale-Letsie has now appointed her niece, Lerato Peu as the acting Municipal Manager (MM).

Allegations of irregular appointment practices and nepotism are rife amongst staff and councillors as the Acting MM is apparently unknown in governance circles

The appointment, if verified, suggests that the Mayor is in dire need of loyal cadres and is prepared to ignore any regulated appointment practices in order to protect her own interests and patronage networks.

This is just another defiant move by the Mayor, who has asked by the ANC to step down in August for her involvement in the illegal investment of R50 million with VBS. This money that was illegally invested with VBS under her watch will probably never be recovered.

In order to verify and substantiate the serious concerns of Merafong staff and residents, I will be submitting written questions to the MEC to get details of the relationship between the Mayor and the acting MM, exactly what transpired during the selection procedure and if any rules were circumvented, and if Ms Peu possesses the legislated qualifications required to perform the tasks of an MM.

National legislation ignored when appointing Tshwane Administrators

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is deeply concerned that the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Lebogang Maile has ignored national legislation, to be more specific the Minimum Information Security Standards document, regarding the appointment of the Administrators in the City of Tshwane.

In a reply to my written questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, MEC Maile confirmed that they did not vet the administrators that was appointed to ensure that services are continued to be delivered to the residents of Tshwane, while the municipality is under administration. MEC Maile referred the questions asked, to the Head Administrator in Tshwane Metro’s office who in turn referred it to the Chief of Metro Police to answer. This clearly shows his lack of knowledge on the MISS document, because if he understood the document he would know that it was not the responsibility of the CoT to vet the administrators, but that of The Gauteng Provincial Government, as he in his capacity as MEC appointed them.

The MEC claims that the Minimum Information Security Standards document is silent on the screening and vetting of appointments made arising out of the invocation of section 139(1)(c ) of the Constitution of the country. The MISS document was approved in Parliament in 1996 and in the City of Tshwane Council in 2003.

According to the MEC the Administrators derive their executive powers by the virtue of the provisions of section 139(1)( c) of the Constitution.


1.5 “Political appointees (Director Generals, Ambassadors, etc) will not be vetted, unless the President so requests or the relevant contract so provides. From the lowest level up to Deputy Director General all staff members and any other individuals who should have access to classified information, must be subjected to security vetting”.

1.6 A security clearance gives access to classified information in accordance with the level of security clearance, subject to the need-to-know principle.

In various chapters of the MISS document, mention is made that the Head of an Institution, or person acting on his behalf, who prepares, generates, or, initially classifies a document or has it classified, bears overall responsibility for the provision and maintenance of security , under all circumstances.

According to MEC Maile the administrators were appointed to execute the task irrespective of their political affiliation or ideological currents, but based on experience, expertise and long service in local government and corporate sector.

The 10 administrators that were appointed by MEC Maile are from different backgrounds and careers in local government and corporate sector ( Some already on pension), and all of a sudden appointed with complete oversight powers and oversight over section 56 managers and complete control of the city of Tshwane including signing authority of bank accounts and decision making regarding awarding of tenders to run a metro city. It just does not make sense to appoint persons in these positions without ensuring their integrity specifically with regards to certain key responsibilities and business processes such as tender and procurement procedures is above reproach.

Key focus areas include:

1. Undertake all executive functions of a municipal council
2. Undertake all statutory executive functions of the executive mayor
3. Undertake all fiscal and financial management functions of the municipality including being signatory on the municipal primary bank account
4. Implement all governance systems and procedures including oversight over the administration
5. Ensure implementation of financial systems policies and procedures
6. Approve all decisions taken by the municipal manager of action manager, as the case may be, and section 56 managers in terms of delegated or original authority
7. Develop a turnaround strategy for the municipality
8. Implement a system to control and approve all expenditure
9. Ensure implementation of the Local Government Municipal Property Rates ACT 2004 9Act No 6 of 2004) including preparing the municipal valuation roll in terms of section 32 (3) of the said Act where applicable

The DA will write to National Treasury and the State Security Agency’s Domestic Branch Mr Masango Head of Counter Intelligence: Gauteng to get clarity on the vetting of administrators appointed by province.

Bloated staff at Gauteng Health head office needs to be cut

Staff at the Gauteng Health Department’s head office has increased from 900 five years ago to 1080 – a 20% increase.

This is revealed by Acting Gauteng Health MEC Jacob Mamabolo in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

There is no justification for this sizable increase in a department that is already top heavy with administrators when the real need is to fill vacancies at hospitals and clinics.

According to Mamabolo, it costs approximately R475 million per year to pay the head office staff which amounts to an average salary of R440 000.

The head office has been a dumping ground for staff facing disciplinary action elsewhere who stay on and do not add any value despite their high salaries.

A proper job evaluation and skills audit needs to be done to ensure that all head office positions are justified.

This should be done by a new Health MEC who should give priority to service delivery rather than a bloated and inefficient head office filled with political appointments.

Emfuleni has spent over R378 million on employees’ overtime for the past five years

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is shocked to learn that the ANC-led Emfuleni Local Municipality has spent over R378 million on employees’ overtime for the past five years.

This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Lebogang Maile in a written reply to the DA’s questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to MEC Maile, the following monies has been spent on employees’ overtime in the last five financial years:

2015/2016- R61 441 458,08
2016/2017- R76 800 147,68
2017/2018- R68 619 491,80
2018/2019- R80 975 953,56
2019/2020- R90 695 761,49
In total the municipality has paid R378 532 812,61 on employees for overtime in the last five financial years.

Furthermore, Emfuleni has paid the following monies to employees for overtime in four months of the national lockdown:

May 2020 – R 6 810 189,07
June 2020- R 8 771 092,07
July 2020- R7 060 115,67
August 2020- R6 641 669,32
In total Emfuleni has paid R 29 283 066,01 on employees’ overtime in four months of the national lockdown.

It is worrying that this municipality which is facing a serious cash flow problem continues to pay a ridiculous amount of money for employees’ overtime.

While we understand that there are situations where the employees must work overtime, however considering that this municipality is broke, it should have initiated a better way of compensating employees for overtime worked.

This money could have been used to ensure that basic services are rendered to Emfuleni residents by paying debt owed to service providers such as Eskom and Rand Water.

It is concerning that employees are paid overtime while service delivery has collapsed in Emfuleni.

It has now become the norm where the ANC governs to spend ridiculous amounts on employees while the residents suffer from a lack of adequate service delivery.

The DA calls on MEC Maile to urgently intervene and implement other ways of compensating the employees for overtime as part of his interventions to save this municipality. The MEC should ensure that Emfuleni’s finances are spent wisely for the benefit of its residents. We will also table follow-up questions to ascertain which departments are paying employees overtime and how much per employee is being paid.

Supreme Court rules in DA’s favour

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the long-awaited judgment handed down today in the Supreme Court of Appeal in which the DA’s Section 18(3) Application was granted, which will reinstate the DA in the City of Tshwane and oust the unlawful ANC administrators.

It was obvious from the court judgement that the ANC’s action to put City of Tshwane under administration eight months ago was a politically motivated power grab on the part of Gauteng Cooperative Governance MEC Lebogang Maile.                                              

There was no justification in removing the elected DA councillors from their posts.

The Supreme Court of Appeal has affirmed the original judgement by the Gauteng North High Court, stating the following:

“the running of the City of Tshwane by an unelected administrator is the very antithesis of democratic and accountable government for local communities, enshrined in s 152(1)(a) of the Constitution. The court’s order properly ensures that the councillors, duly elected by the citizens of Tshwane in 2016, are allowed to resume their rightful constitutional role, powers and responsibilities. The order gives effect to the rights of voters and preserves the autonomy of local government. It cannot be faulted.”

The DA will ensure that Maile is personally held to account for all legal costs, wasting tax payers money and the perilous state of chaos and mismanagement that the City of Tshwane is in today due to his and the ANC’s unlawful actions and the incompetence of the administrators he foisted on the City for all these months.

For months residents of Tshwane have suffered, while Maile’s friends and ANC cadres collected exorbitant salaries.

Air-con failures cut ops at Joburg Hospital

Broken air-conditioning at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital has led to more than 100 operations being cancelled in the last two weeks despite a huge backlog caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

All the operating theatres are affected except for two orthopaedic theatres.

Medical staff are very frustrated that they cannot do their jobs and patients suffer from the delayed operations.

It seems that poor maintenance is once again to blame despite more than R200 million spent at this hospital in the past five years to fix deteriorating infrastructure.

Last year about 2000 operations were cancelled or deferred at this hospital for various reasons, and surgery waiting lists have grown alarmingly because of resources diverted to treat COVID-19 patients.

It is unacceptable that a major hospital has to cancel surgeries because of broken machinery.

I hope that the air-conditioning is fixed as soon as possible and measures taken to ensure that surgery is not crippled by avoidable equipment failures.

Only one case of illegal electricity connections opened in Kathorus in four years

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is shocked to learn that only one case has been opened with regards to illegal electricity connections in Katlehong, Thokoza and Vosloorus (Kathorus) since the 2016/17 financial year to date.

This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko in a written reply to the DA’s questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to MEC Mazibuko, only one case has been opened in relation to illegal electricity connections with the main charge of tampering with, damaging and destroying essential infrastructure in Thokoza on 17 September 2020.

This case resulted in one arrest, yet it was provisionally withdrawn in court pending additional evidence which needed to be submitted. The court case was due for the 21 October 2020.

It is worrying that there are numerous illegal connections in Katlehong, Thokoza and Vosloorus yet only one case has been opened since the 2016/2017 financial year to date.

These areas consist of a number of informal settlements and old townships that are connecting electricity illegally which has resulted in our current electricity crisis.

The fact that only one arrest has been made with regards to illegal electricity connections in these areas in four years clearly indicates that the police and Eskom are failing to curb illegal electricity connections in these areas.

Kathorus residents have been experiencing power outages which have left thousands of residents without electricity.

The DA believes that it is the responsibility of the Eskom to ensure the stoppage of illegal electricity connections with the help of the police in arresting the perpetrators and gathering adequate evidence to ensure that the case results in prosecutions.

The illegal electricity connections pose a great risk as it overloads the system which often causes power connections to trip or fail and are hazardous and can cause electrocution.

We call on MEC Mazibuko to ensure that the police stop illegal electricity connections in Katlehong, Thokoza and Vosloorus by arresting the perpetrators and ensuring that there is enough evidence for prosecution. We also urge the residents to report illegal electricity connections.

Adverse PSC report on Far East Rand Hospital CEO

Concerns have been raised about “vanity” furniture worth R379 000 bought by the CEO of the Far East Rand Hospital, Dr Zachariah Mathaba, who was appointed last year despite facing charges of gross dishonesty for alleged fraudulent commuted overtime.

It has now emerged that a Public Service Commission report in 2019 directed the Gauteng MEC for Health to approach the Labour Court to set aside his previous irregular appointment as a Medical Officer at the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital, and also wrongful payment of commuted overtime to him.

This is revealed by Acting Health MEC Jacob Mamabolo in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

Dr Mathaba was appointed as the CEO of Far East Rand Hospital in November last year despite being charged on 7 January 2019 for “gross dishonesty in that he applied for commuted/fixed overtime from 1 September 2017 to 31 March 2018, and 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 and did not fulfil his commuted overtime contractual obligation.” This occurred when he was a doctor at the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital.

According to Mamabolo: “The Department couldn’t precautionary suspend Dr Z Mathaba because at the time he was appointed at Far East Rand Hospital and couldn’t have interfered with the process of implementing the recommendations of the PSC report related to allegation that took place whilst he was at Thelle Mogoerane hospital, moreover the investigation was already completed. The precautionary measure would have been in contravention with the 7.2 of the PSCBC Resolution 1 of 2003 and the SMS handbook.”

Mamabolo adds that the State Attorney has been instructed to give effect to the PSC’s directive but has yet to apply for a court hearing for the application. Furthermore, an Investigation Officer has been appointed for the disciplinary action against Mathaba and a Presiding Officer will be appointed for this as well.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that Mathaba has recently bought more than 20 luxury office-furniture items, including leather couches and chairs, an R8 280 “dynasty desk”, a R16 675 wall unit and wooden coat and hat hangers. This is despite complaints by staff that the hospital lacks critical equipment, and has dilapidated wheelchairs, stretchers and hospital beds.

This case highlights the Department’s poor selection and disciplinary procedures. Mathaba should never have been appointed as the hospital CEO while facing such serious charges, and his disciplinary case should not be dragging on for so long.

This matter should be resolved as soon as possible, with possible additional charges concerning alleged abuses in his CEO position as well.

DA welcomes suspension of Bheki Mlangeni Hospital CEO

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the precautionary suspension of Ruth Mabyana, the CEO of the Bheki Mlangeni Hospital in Soweto. According to the Gauteng Health Department, she faces a charge of misconduct.

I have long campaigned for her removal as she has been a total failure ever since she was appointed as the first CEO of this hospital when it opened 6 years ago.

She has proved incapable of securing the safety of patients and staff, with at least 12 violent attacks this year, including the murder of one patient and the alleged rape of another.

Other scandals during her term include jobs-for-pay and poor quality services that have given the hospital a bad name amongst Soweto residents.

We have seen before how she has bounced back from previous suspensions, so I hope that she is finally held to account for years of mismanagement and is removed permanently.

Soweto residents deserve a capable management for this hospital which serves a large number of patients and is meant to take the strain off the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.