GPL committees call on Premier Makhura to institute forensic investigation into projects at Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve

The Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s (GPL) Portfolio Committees on Agriculture and Rural Development and Infrastructure Development and Property Management are calling on the Gauteng Premier, David Makhura to institute an urgent forensic investigation into the projects at Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve in Heidelberg, Lesedi Local Municipality.

According to the oversight report from the two portfolio committees, there are currently no tourist facilities at the nature reserve; the oxidation tank services at Kareekloof Resort are not in operation as the resort is closed and non-functional and there is an incomplete pump station.

Furthermore, the joint committee also found that the sewage system is old and cannot handle the current demand; the southern water supply line is functional but very old and requires regular maintenance; the northern water supply line is complete but has not been commissioned yet owing to inadequate pressure for efficient water supply. The tourism side is closed to the public due to unreliable power supply, lack of water supply and the dysfunctional sewer system.

The project, which was initiated in 2008, with an expected completion date in 2009, is still not complete after all these years. In addition, the original budget was estimated at R8, 6 million and to date, R31 million has already been spent. To complete the project, according to the Infrastructure department, a further R49 million will be required.

This project was previously investigated by the Public Protector and the NPA, which found that the conduct of the Infrastructure Department was improper in terms of the Constitution and Public Management Finance Act, which resulted in maladministration in terms of the Public Protector Act.

Through the hard work of the DA members who are part of these portfolio committees, the joint committee then made the following recommendations:

• Premier David Makhura should refer the matters relating to Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve projects for forensic investigation and a progress report should be submitted to the joint committee by 26th February 2021.
• The MEC should institute a special joint task team to implement immediate interventions to secure the reserve perimeter including risk mitigation due to veldfire season
• The MEC should engage on a consultative process with the task team with the view to secure collaboration and investment from Gauteng’s private business sector as well as Gauteng residents who are clients of the Reserve
• A report should be provided to the committee outlining the process undertaken to enhance security at the Reserve
• Provide clarity in terms of the nature of work/construction that is currently taking place at the Reserve and from which budget these constructors are being paid from.
• To present to the Joint Committee the terms of the joint venture that has been formed to deal with the repositioning of the Reserve’s strategy.
• Provide a detailed report on the legal steps that have been taken against the service providers that received payment without completing their work. To further commence with the process of recovering monies that have been paid irregularly, if any, to these constructors.

The DA will be closely monitoring the implementations of these recommendations and calls on Gauteng residents to engage robustly in all public engagements so that as Gauteng residents we can save this iconic piece of our heritage.

DA calls on MEC Lesufi to place all learners who applied on time – before 10 December 2020

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is calling on the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi to ensure that 41156 Grades 1 and 8 learners that have not yet been placed for the 2021 academic year are placed before 10 December 2020.

According to MEC Lesufi, the department has received 220 000 online applications for Grades 1 and 8. Of these applications only 181 000 have been approved and learners placed while 41156 applications have not yet received their placements.

It is worrying that 18 percent of the parents who applied online for their children for Grades 1 and 8 have not secured school placement timeously.

The demand to place learners in some schools in Gauteng has been an ongoing challenge. This is continuing to cause frustration and anger from the parents who are still unsure whether their children will get placement for the 2021 academic year.

MEC Lesufi states that the department is facing the challenge of a high number of applications and inadequate classrooms. The parents have chosen schools that have high demand, and the capacity of the chosen schools cannot accommodate all the applicants.

For far too long the DA has been calling on MEC Lesufi to use the online admission placement process as an indicator for the need for additional resources for schools such as recruiting more teachers, providing additional classrooms , building new schools and delivery of LTSM.

The department should engage with the Schools Governing Body (SGB) in schools that have high demand so as to provide or build additional classrooms in December to accommodate more unplaced learners.

It is high time that the department establishes more schools of excellence so that they can ease pressure on schools that have high demand. By so doing the parents will have a variety of schools from which to choose.

The department should avoid last minute interventions which result in the disruptions of learning and teaching in January and February each academic year. This will also help parents to prepare for 2021 academic year with uniform, transport and school fees.

The DA is urging the department to place all grades 1 and 8 before 10 December 2020.

Emfuleni spends almost R1 million in four months on two administrators’ salaries

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is shocked to learn that Emfuleni has spent R893 984,000 in four months for the payment of two administrators’ salaries.

This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Lebogang Maile in an oral reply to the DA’s questions at a virtual sitting of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to MEC Maile, a team of three administrators were appointed to support the lead administrator in the Emfuleni Local Municipality.

The team started working in Emfuleni in August 2020 and they are paid an hourly rate of R2264,00 in line with the treasury regulations which constitute 52 hours per month.

The Gauteng Department of COGTA is only paying the salaries of two administrators who are part of the provincial government and the other two administrators are paid by Emfuleni. Each administrator earns about R111 748 a month which means that Emfuleni has spent R893 984,000 on the salaries of two administrators in four months.

It is unacceptable that the cash-strapped Emfuleni Municipality continues to pay ridiculous salaries to administrators while facing a serious cash flow problem.

This municipality has been battling to pay its debts owed to Rand Water and Eskom as well as to pay it service providers for the services rendered yet they continue to pay thousands of rands to administrators every month.

Service delivery has completely collapsed in Emfuleni under the watch of these administrators who are failing to rescue this municipality from its serious financial situation.

The DA calls on MEC Maile to review the work done by these administrators in Emfuleni so far so as to ascertain whether they are assisting in rescuing this municipality from its long-term financial and service delivery problems. We see no use in having a team of four administrators if this municipality continues to move from one challenge to another with no lasting solution.

225 000 HIV/AIDS patients lost to ARV treatment in Gauteng

About 225 000 HIV/AIDS patients in Gauteng have discontinued their ARV treatment.

This is revealed in the Gauteng Health Department’s 2nd Quarter Report which was recently tabled in the Gauteng Legislature and covers the July to September period this year.

According to the report 1 076 638 patients have remained on ARVs against the set target of 1 301 235, which the Department says is due to high loss to follow-up that was aggravated by the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I am also concerned that new estimates from the Thembisa mathematical model of HIV in South Africa show that Gauteng is not doing well in suppressing the HIV virus in all affected people.

The Thembisa model estimates that 51.7% of all HIV-positive people in Gauteng are virally suppressed because of ARV treatment. This is the second-lowest amongst the provinces, only slightly better than North West province at 49% and trailing the 66.4% of KwaZulu-Natal, which is the best province on this indicator.

The UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets are as follows:

1. 90% of people living with HIV must be diagnosed,
2. 90% of those diagnosed must be receiving sustained antiretroviral therapy, and
3. 90% of those diagnosed must achieve viral suppression (i.e. there must be so little virus in their blood that standard tests do not pick it up).

But Gauteng’s figures on these three targets are 89%, 66% and 88% respectively, which shows that the major failing is that only 66% instead of 90% of those who are diagnosed are receiving sustained ARV therapy.

Last year there were 72 000 AIDS-related deaths in South Africa, which is much higher than the 21 000 Covid-19 deaths recorded so far.

We need to ensure that the disruption caused by COVID-19 does not lead to an increase in AIDS-related deaths, and it essential that proper tracing is done to ensure that all those who started ARV treatment remain on treatment.

GPG spends almost R25 million on Edwin Sodi’s Blackhead Consulting company, implicated in state capture

It is extremely concerning to note that Blackhead Consulting owned by Edwin Sodi, has been awarded numerous contracts by the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development

With Blackhead Consulting in the spotlight recently for the millions of rand made in profit from an asbestos audit project, without having the certification needed to handle asbestos, and a further R100 million profit made in Gauteng, from an asbestos project the company did prior to the Free State one, the Democratic Alliance (DA) submitted questions to all Gauteng government departments to establish which departments awarded tenders to the company and details of the tenders that were awarded.

The Department of Social Development indicated that they had used Blackhead Consulting through the Department of Infrastructure Development as the implementing agent, while work was also done for the Department of Health and Education.

According to the MEC for Infrastructure Development and Property Management, Tasneem Motara, Blackhead Consulting is responsible for the following projects:

  • Barcelona Primary School
  • Adelaide LSEN School
  • Vereenigeng Gymnasium Secondary School
  • Randfontein High School
  • Khutso Primary School AET
  • Tiyelani Secondary School
  • Thutong Junior Secondary School
  • Desmond Tutu Child and Youth Care Centre
  • Lehae Community Health Centre
  • Kalafong HospitalThe following amounts were paid for each of these projects:




Barcelona Primary School

R10 889 377,00

R1 820 545,45

Adelaide LSEN School

R15 000 000,00


Vereeniging Gymnasium Secondary School

R14 800 000,00

R2 532 524

Randfontein High School

R632 119,44

R632 119,44

Khutso Primary School AET

R462 842,88

R462 842,88

Tiyelani Secondary School

R258 833,70

R258 833,70

Thutong Junior Secondary School

R481 738,79

R481 738,79

Desmond Tutu Child and Youth Care Centre

R23 430 850,74

R3 727 489,84

Lehae Community Health Centre

R331 318 315,00

R14 730 640,12

Kalafong Hospital

R120 000 000,00

R279 730,86


R517 274 077,55 

R24 926 465,32 

In addition to the provincial government using Blackhead Consulting, this company was also awarded the tender for the Rooiwal Sewer Plant Phase 1, despite not being a registered vendor for the City of Tshwane in January this year.

It is extremely concerning that the Gauteng Provincial Government has awarded several tenders to this company given the revelations at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

If Premier David Makhura is serious about running a transparent and ethical government, then he will ask the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate all tenders that have been awarded to this company since 2014. If it is then indeed found that these tenders were not awarded fairly and transparently, the Premier must take action against all officials implicated and have Blackhead Consulting added as a restricted supplier on the National Treasury’s database.

The DA is planning oversight visits to the projects mentioned as only R25 million out of R517 million budgeted has been spent to date, as we need to establish the status of each projects, especially the Vereeniging Gymnasium Secondary School tender which was awarded in 2016 and is still in the planning phase.

DA calls on MEC Mazibuko to increase police visibility on all major roads used by trucks in Gauteng

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is calling on the MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko to increase police visibility on all major Gauteng roads, following the torching yet again of two trucks in Daveyton this morning.

This morning’s alleged petrol bombing of the two trucks is a clear indication that this is no longer just a random incident but are clearly coordinated attacks on truck drivers. Last Thursday, at least 20 trucks were petrol bombed on the N3, R103, R23 and R550.

These attacks amount to economic sabotage and needs to be nipped in the bud as a matter of urgency.

If these attacks on trucks transporting goods into and through the province continues, it will have a severe impact on the Gauteng economy, which is already struggling due to the lockdown that was imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The DA is therefore calling on both Premier David Makhura and the MEC for Community Safety to liaise with the SAPS Provincial Police Commissioner, Elias Mawela to set up a task team as a matter of urgency to investigate these attacks and the exact reasons as to why this is happening in the province.

R380 000 a day for empty beds at Nasrec field hospital

Only 34 patients have been admitted to the 1000-bed NASREC field hospital so far this month, but R380 a day is being paid for each empty bed.

Acting Gauteng Health MEC Jacob Mamabolo revealed this yesterday in an oral reply to my questions at a virtual sitting of the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Mamabolo, there is a fixed cost per bed of R380 a day, and R390 a day for each patient.

This means that about R380 000 a day is being paid for 1000 empty beds in terms of a 6 month contract with the Johannesburg Expo Centre. The contract expires on 31 Januarynext year so the last three months of the contract is likely to cost more than R32 million.

This is extremely wasteful and cannot be justified even if we had a second wave of COVID-19 infections as fewer than 10% of the NASREC beds were used at the peak of the epidemic in July.

It would be far better to contract with private hospitals to take public patients if state hospitals ever overflow with COVID-19 patients.

I have requested the Auditor-General to investigate the NASREC contract which I suspect contravenes good practice and is possibly corrupt.

179 606 Gauteng learners did not receive dignity packs

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is disappointed to learn that 179 606 learners across Gauteng did not receive their dignity packs during the second quarter of the 2020/21 financial year.

This information was revealed by the Gauteng Department of Social Development in their second quarter report for the 2020/21 financial year.

According to the second quarter report for the 2020/21 financial year, the department distributed 266 026 dignity packs compared to the target of 445 632 dignity packs.

This means that 179 606 learners across Gauteng did not receive their dignity packs.

Failure by this department to meet its target of distributing dignity packs is unacceptable.

Furthermore, the department reprioritized R83 million from the dignity packs to food parcels during its special adjustment budget for the 2020/21 financial year.

The department claims that due to the fact that the schools were closed due to lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic they could not locate learners who are beneficiaries of the dignity packs.

While Covid-19 meant the shutting down of schools, vulnerable and deserving girl children still went on their menstruation periods. The department needs to look into innovative ways to ensure that dignity packs are distributed even when schools are closed.

The DA calls on the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Nomathemba Mokgethi to establish a database of contact details of all the beneficiaries of the dignity packs to ensure that all our learners across Gauteng access this service consistently without any interruptions.

Gauteng can’t fight Covid-19 with fake figures

Gauteng’s officially recorded COVID-19 figures are becoming more and more ludicrous, providing little guidance in tracking the epidemic to prevent hotspots developing further.

According to the latest figures from the National Health Department, there are only 283 active cases in Gauteng, the lowest in the country despite having the highest population.

It is simply not possible to have so few active cases when there have been 1887 new COVID-19 cases recorded in the last ten days.

Furthermore, there are 1624 COVID-19 patients in Gauteng hospitals according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

The Gauteng Health Department used to give a daily breakdown of cases by district, but has not given any update since 4 November 2020.

It is essential that accurate figures are available for the districts so that any spike in cases can be combatted quickly.

Acting Health MEC Jacob Mamabolo needs to act urgently to ensure that real infection statistics are available and monitored closely to manage this epidemic properly.

DA calls for SIU investigation into LTE Consulting housing corruption scandal

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is calling on the Gauteng Premier, David Makhura to ask the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to urgently investigate the Gauteng housing project corruption scandal involving LTE Consulting.

The DA has learnt through media reports that LTE Consulting has been paid more than R938 million since 2014 for more than 25 Gauteng housing projects.

It is alleged that of the R938 million paid to LTE Consulting, records show that R224 million of those funds were for projects that LTE Consulting claims it has never worked on.

The LTE Consulting has denied that it was paid R224 million for the following projects: Diepsloot East, Simunye Extension 2 in Johannesburg and Bikoville in Hammanskraal, Tshwane yet records show that the payment was made by the department to LTE Consulting with regards to the mentioned housing projects.

LTE Consulting has been receiving lucrative government contracts from the ANC-led administrations across the province namely, Ekurhuleni and the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements.

It is also alleged that LTE Consulting has donated millions of rands to the ANC in Gauteng and its local structures.

This clearly indicates that these donations were made as a golden handshake in exchange for tenders.

A lack of financial control has been a major challenge for this department resulting in money being wasted with nothing to show for it.

The R224 million paid to LTE Consulting could have built over 750 RDP houses for our people who are desperately in need of dignified housing.

It is unacceptable for the department to pay millions to service providers when the service has not been rendered.

The DA calls on Premier Makhura to ask the SIU to investigate the Gauteng housing project scandal involving the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements and LTE Consulting.

Should LTE Consulting be found to have received these funds, then they should pay back the money and officials from the department and politicians who are implicated should face the might of the law.