Only 5 out of 147 cases of police brutality have been resolved in the past five years

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is deeply disappointed to learn that only five out of 147 cases of police brutality in Gauteng have been resolved in the past five years.

This 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, the following cases have been opened against Gauteng SAPS members in the last five years from the 2016/2017 financial year to the 2020/2021 financial year:

 

  • 117 cases of common assault and assault with intention to cause grievous bodily harm
  • 16 deaths in police custody
  • 10 death cases as a result of police actions
  • 3 cases of rape
  • One person raped in police custody in 2018

In total, 147 cases have been opened against Gauteng SAPS members in the past five years.

All these cases have been reported to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) and of these opened cases, only five have been resolved.

It is worrying that our people continue to suffer and die in the hands of the police yet there is a delay in ensuring justice for the victims and their families.

This clearly shows that some of the SAPS in this province are failing to abide by the SAPS Code of Conduct and that they are failing to respect the rights of our people while they are conducting their duties

The DA calls on MEC Mazibuko to engage both the Minister for Police, Bheki Cele and the Head of IPID, Jennifer Ntlatseng to ascertain why there have been delays in resolving these cases.

Justice delayed is justice denied for the victims and their families, and it is high time that the IPID speeds-up the investigations in these pending cases.

 

Work stoppages delay new beds for covid-19 at Bronkhorstspruit

Greedy sub-contractors and a local ANC councillor in Bronkhorstspruit have been hobbling efforts to complete 150 new beds at the Bronkhorstspruit Hospital that are desperately needed to treat the surge of COVID-19 cases.

According to Tshwane DA councillor Bronwynn Engelbrecht, the extra beds should have been completed by 15 December last year, but sub-contractors have downed tools and are demanding more money to finish the job. It appears that they have squandered money already paid to them by buying expensive cars.

Engelbrecht has also been informed that a local ANC councillor has been encouraging these stoppages. This is putting pressure on BMW which is funding it as a social responsibility project.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura claimed last week that the hospital upgrade was expected by the end of this month, but this seems unlikely.

Further delays can be expected in staffing and equipping these beds as well.

It is questionable why extra beds are being set up so far from the densely populated parts of Tshwane where the need is greatest.

Extra beds at the Mamelodi and Kalafong hospitals would have been more useful in taking strain off the Steve Biko Hospital where COVID-19 patients are now being treated in tents in the parking lot.

And where is the field hospital in Rosslyn that Makhura promised in May last year with the assistance of Nissan and BMW?

This is yet another example of poor planning and botched implementation of hospital projects that are urgently needed to save lives in this terrible epidemic.

Note: Clr Engelbrecht can be contacted at Tel: 082 376-1022

No money for 983 community service nurses to get posts in Gauteng hospitals

983 nurses at Gauteng public hospitals who completed their community service at the end of last year have not been appointed as promised to permanent posts this year because of budget cuts.

This shocking information was disclosed today at a meeting of the Gauteng Legislature’s Health Committee.

According to a Gauteng Health Department official, the provincial budget was cut by R4 billion last year, and R1.2 billion in this year’s budget. He said that the Department is now engaging with Provincial Treasury to try and get the funds to employ the nurses.

I am appalled that these nurses are not being employed immediately as they are desperately needed to treat the surge of Covid-19 patients that are overwhelming our hospitals.

There is no excuse for this poor planning and irrational budget cut as community service nurses are supposed to be given posts once they complete their service.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura needs to intervene urgently to ensure that funds are found to employ these nurses.

Gauteng has no plan in place to deal with spike in Covid-19 infections

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is extremely concerned that the Gauteng Provincial Government has no plan in place to deal with the spike in Covid-19 infections that may occur as many residents return from their holiday destinations.

Furthermore, it is worrying that the Provincial Command Council (PCC) has postponed this week’s meeting indefinitely given that the province is currently one of the Covid hotspots in the country with 315738 positive cases reported on 7th January. It is therefore imperative that a solid plan to deal with the spike in infections is put into place as soon as possible.

In addition, hospitals like Chris Hani Baragwanath and Steve Biko are filled to capacity with Covid-19 patients and cannot cope with a further influx of patients.

By August/September last year, 2000 new beds should have been built in existing hospitals, which would have helped ease the pressure on the hospitals which are currently under pressure.

Undertakers in the province are also under pressure due to the Covid-19 pandemic and are running out of space to store bodies.

The DA is also calling on the Premier and the PCC to release a list of all the hotspots in Gauteng, so that residents can take the necessary precautions. I have already requested a meeting with Premier Makhura to get clarity on the plans that will be put in place to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic as well as to ascertain the status of the additional 2000 beds as well as the Nasrec field hospital.

Another hard lockdown is not option as our economy cannot afford it and the DA is appealing to members of the public to follow all the Covid-19 safety protocols that have been put in place – wear a mask when going out at all times and wash or sanitize your hands regularly.

e-Government once again incurs irregular expenditure to the tune of R354 milion

The Department of e-Government in Gauteng has once again incurred irregular spending of R354 258 000 for the 2019-’20 financial year and the DA will now submit questions to ensure proper procurement processes are followed in the future.

The irregular spending was revealed in the annual report for the department for the previous financial year.

According to the annual report this irregular expenditure was incurred because of the following:

  • Month-to-month extension of an irregular Security Operations Centre extension due to the delay in the SITA procurement process.
  • Contravention of the PFMA 16A 3.2(a): Lease contract date precedes the evidence of ownership date.
    Request of variation after contract expiry: Email as a service.
  • Deviation from the normal procurement process for procurement of Gauteng Broadband Network (GBN) services excluded from the SITA request for bid.
  • GBN proposed substantive conditions not yet attained.

This trend of irregular expenditure is extremely concerning as this is not the first time that irregular expenditure has occurred.

Last year the department incurred irregular expenditure of R31,9 million due to not following the correct procurement process.

It is becoming clear that this department lacks the political will to ensure that the proper procurement processes are followed as this is again the reason for the irregular expenditure for the 2019-’2020 financial year.

Given the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the country, the Department of e-Government can play a key role in improving service delivery to the residents of Gauteng, modernising the public service and stimulating the province’s knowledge-based economy.

Considering this year’s annual report and the history of this department failing to properly implement and roll out the Gauteng Broadband Network (GBN) then the department is falling on its core mandate to improve service delivery to the residents of Gauteng.

Last year, this department was identified as a key growth area by the Gauteng Provincial Government and received R1.4 billion to fund key projects like the GBN and the creation of the e-services platform that will allow residents to connect with government.

It is worrying that this department has once again regressed and received a qualified audit opinion from the Auditor General.

I will again be submitting questions to the MEC to determine what steps will be taken to ensure that the proper procurement process is followed by this department and if a resolution has been reached on the GBN and the implementation of the second phase of this project.

R500 million wasted on incomplete Covid-19 Hospital on West Rand

About R500 million of funds meant for urgent Covid-19 beds has been wasted on the AngloGold Ashanti hospital on the far West Rand that will probably treat not a single Covid-19 patient.

Last week local DA Councillors Blackie Zwart and Alme Rowles-Zwart visited this former mine hospital which AngloGold Ashanti donated to the Gauteng Health Department to fight the Covid-19 epidemic.

They found it closed with a number of completed wards but mostly unfinished construction. The completed areas had no equipment and there was no indication that the hospital will be ready for use anytime soon.

Photos can be seen here, here, here and here.

This hospital was in reasonable condition when it was handed over, and the plan was to remodel it with 176 high care/ICU beds for acute Covid-19 cases.

But only 56 beds have been completed because of on-site strike action by contractors, and payment to the 8 contractors has been stopped pending the outcome of an investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) into possible corruption.

It is very unlikely that any Covid-19 patients will be treated at this hospital in the near future.

We need to know why so much money was allocated for a hospital that is doomed to be a white elephant as it is so far from major urban centres. It is also difficult to access since it is in the Western Deep Level mine midway between Carletonville and Fochville.

An official admitted at a meeting of the Gauteng Legislature’s Health Committee that it would have been cheaper to build the hospital from scratch.

This is a colossal misuse of money that could have been spent at other hospitals to assist them in treating the rapidly escalating Covid-19 cases, some of whom will need high care or ICU beds.

The DA will insist on accountability for this fiasco, and we await the outcome of the SIU investigation in this regard. We need to know who authorised it, who benefited from it, whether there was corruption, and how unauthorised money can be recouped.