Seventh clean audit for DA-led Midvaal Municipality

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is proud to announce that the DA-led Midvaal Municipality is continuing its good governance practices and managing its financial resources in a sustainable manner.

The Auditor General has awarded the municipality another clean audit for the 2019/20 financial year, the seventh consecutive award since 2013, making it the best performing municipality in Gauteng.

Receiving this accolade proves once again that where the DA governs, we do our utmost to ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent on delivering services efficiently to our communities.

The DA commends Mayor Baloyi and his team for another positive audit outcome, and most importantly we thank the residents of Midvaal for their support.


Gauteng has a backlog of 113 285 DNA and 9 757 ballistic reports

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng calls on the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko to urgently engage the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele and Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, regarding the backlog of 113 285 DNA and 9 757 ballistic reports in Gauteng.

This information was revealed by Mazibuko in an oral reply to the DA’s questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to Mazibuko, these backlogs are a result of a shortage of consumables while six provinces are being serviced by one laboratory.

Although Mazibuko stated that she has no idea as to when this backlog will be cleared and how many cases are held up as a result of the backlog, she did however indicate that such a question should rather be redirected to the National Prosecuting Authority.

The MEC’s arrogance became clear when she further stated that “we will let you know when we let you know”.

Mazibuko clearly has very little compassion for the victims whose right to justice is being delayed as a result of these backlogs.

With a DNA and ballistic reports backlog of this proportion, there will be a delay in prosecutions, possibly leading to cases being struck off the roll due to no evidence produced in court.

Instead of giving heartless responses to pertinent questions in the GPL, the MEC must get off her high horse, and start working to bring justice to the victims.

Justice delayed is justice denied.



Joburg residents should oppose high increases for rates and tariffs

Yesterday in Council the ANC tabled the draft Property Rates Policy and By-law for 2021/22, along with increases for water, electricity, sewerage, and all other City services. Most of these are far above inflation and ignore the dire economic situation which we are in. As these proposed increases are out for public comment, we encourage all residents to write in and oppose the increases.

Many property owners have had to give discounts amounting to billions of rands to tenants that have been without income. These same property owners still have to meet their own costs of doing business such as bond payments, rates and utility charges. At the same time there has been no relief coming from the City.

According to the South African Property Owners Association, since 2008, rates have increased by a cumulative 318%, while CPI has only increased by 78% over the same period.

Even for those who are not property owners, electricity and water tariffs continue to climb even above the increases by suppliers such as Eskom and Rand Water. This hits not only the most vulnerable in our society who must commit scarce resources to these essentials, but even the middle class who are being squeezed beyond their ability to pay.

In a recent Business Day op-ed, Neva Makgetla, a senior economist at Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies, pointed out that over the past decade Eskom’s tariffs increased by approximately 160%, yet that of municipalities increased by 300%.

The DA opposed the City’s Adjustment Budget in February as the ANC increased expenditure by R300 million, most of it on paying staff who have been sitting at home, and for a new cadre recruitment drive in the Mayor’s Office. We argued that this money should instead be spent on rates and tariffs relief for residents.

Section 74(2) of the Municipal Systems Act says that tariffs must be in proportion to the cost of the services, and a 2003 circular from the South African Local Government Association states that tariffs should be linked to the proportional use of a service. The flat tariffs for sewerage and refuse removal go directly against this.

This is especially true for those living in apartments or complexes that were declared ‘multi-unit dwellings’ by the City which promptly doubled sewerage charges and sent bills for backdated amounts. Some body corporates were hit with multi-million rand bills.

The increases include 2% for property rates, 6.8% for water, 6.8% for sewerage, 9-18% for electricity, R200 charge for pre-paid residential and R400 for pre-paid business, 4.3% for refuse collection, R50 charge for recycling in ‘affluent areas’, and R276 pre-termination notice charge. All of these amounts exclude VAT.

The increase in the charge for pre-termination notices are especially galling and the charge should be scrapped entirely. Residents already pay a fortune in tariffs and other charges and the City should absorb this. The contractors they use to deliver these pre-termination notices are making a fortune off the back of residents.

We see that the City is sneaking in the R200 charge for pre-paid customers, which we oppose. The City should be encouraging everyone to move to pre-paid, not penalising them. The R50 recycling charge should be a rebate for residents to encourage recycling – again we should not be penalising positive behaviour.

Johannesburg residents deserve quality services for the money they pay the City, and this is not reflected in the increases which the ANC are putting forward. We encourage all residents to write to and oppose the unfair increases. There should be 0% increases so that residents and businesses can use all available funds to invest and spend on economic activity which can restore the Johannesburg economy.

11 sexual harassment cases in Gauteng hospitals

11 sexual harassment cases were reported in Gauteng public health facilities, but only four criminal charges were laid against the perpetrators.

This was revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

There were two sexual harassment allegations at the Helen Joseph Hospital, two at the Pretoria West Hospital, and one incident at each of the following health facilities:

Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital (CMJH)

Kopanong Hospital

Mamelodi Hospital

Soshanguve Clinic

Stanza Bopape Clinic

Itereleng Clinic

Johannesburg District

Disciplinary action was instituted in each of the cases, with a dismissal in the case of the incident at CMJH and a final written warning in a case at the Pretoria West Hospital. In the other cases, one was dropped as the employee resigned, one case was closed as no evidence was presented, one case was withdrawn, and six cases are still in progress.

According to Mokgethi, only four criminal charges were laid in connection with these incidents as the individuals decided not to proceed with criminal cases “due to private reasons.”

The department has a 2016 Sexual Harassment Policy in place, and 24-hour psychosocial support is available for staff.

It is important that there are consequences for sexual harassment in the workplace, otherwise there will be under-reporting and abuses will continue.

29 acting positions at Gauteng Health Department

29 senior positions at the Gauteng Health Department are filled by acting personnel, with plans to fill them from next month onwards.

This was revealed yesterday by Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in an oral reply to my questions yesterday in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Mokgethi, the key positions of Head of Department (HOD) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) are still vacant. Former CFO Kabelo Lehloenya was embroiled in the PPE corruption scandal and resigned last year at the end of May, and former HOD Mkhululi Lukhele left at the end of October after he faced disciplinary action.

The HOD position has been advertised, with the closing date of 5 April 2021. A recommended appointment for the CFO post has already been submitted for approval.

Ten out of 36 hospitals also need to have permanent CEOs appointed.

I hope that all the acting positions are speedily filled with competent and ethical people, otherwise the sad pattern of scandal in this department will continue.

DA-initiated clinics in Bophelong and Florida close to completion

A recent committee oversight visit has confirmed that the much-needed Bophelong and Florida Clinics which were started by the DA, are close to completion.

Bophelong Clinic was started in 2017 and will provide 18 consulting rooms, antenatal care, HIV/Aids and TB testing services. Florida Clinic was started in 2016 and will have the same facilities. Residents will also be able to collect chronic medication which will cut down on waiting times in long queues in distant clinics, thanks to the Central Chronic Medicine Dispensing and Distribution programme and a partnership with the Cipla Foundation.

Delays have been due community unrest over employment on the projects and sewer upgrades. Florida Clinic was also delayed from non-performance by the main contractor, but the DA made sure that they were replaced.

The oversight visit also included the Fleurhof Empowerment Zone which is supposed to provide skills development for the local community and agricultural co-operatives. Unfortunately the facility has not been maintained, lacks running water, and there is no electricity. We will ensure that this issue is escalated so that the local community is not deprived of the opportunities from this facility.

The DA will continue to push for clinics and health facilities that are close to residents and can provide the quality services which residents deserve.

Gauteng Social Development department has high vacancy rate of critical skills

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng notes with great concern that the Gauteng Department of Social Development has a high vacancy rate for critical skills, despite the many unemployed graduates in the province.

This information was revealed by the Gauteng Department of Social Development’s annual report for the 2019/2020 financial year.

According to the department’s annual report, there was a vacancy rate of 50 percent for occupational therapists, 36 percent vacancy rate for psychologists and a vacancy rate of 26 percent for professional nurses.

There was also a shortage of 166 social worker and related professionals.

Failure by the department to fill these very critical and specialised posts had a severe impact on the lives of the vulnerable who could not afford private services, particularly the residents of informal settlements.  

This is especially concerning, considering these vacancies were in the financial year a month before Covid-19 hit the shores of South Africa, setting up the provincial health care system for failure. 

Furthermore, despite the high vacancy rates, it is worrying that the department reprioritized R91 million from the compensation of employees in the department’s special adjustment budget for the 2020/21 financial year, during the middle of the Covid-19 storm.

Gauteng is facing a severe shortage of social workers as the department has for several years failed to meet its employment target in this regard.

The DA calls on the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Morakane Mosupyoe to ensure that all funded critical skills positions such as social workers, occupational therapists, psychologists, and professional nurses are urgently filled.


Under expenditure by Gauteng Department of Social Development is a crime against the poor residents of Gauteng

Thank you, Speaker,

Underspending of this magnitude is a real disgrace for such an important department like Social Development.

In the 2019/20 financial year, R401,9 million was underspent,
In 2018/19, R419,1 million,
In 2017/18, R104, million, and
In 2016/17, R19,7 million.

It just goes on and on, while the residents continue to suffer.

Programmes 1 and 2 were underspent by R17.3 million and R11.7 million, respectively. The department failed to fill crucial funded posts. How can a department not recruit Social Service professionals, such as social workers and psychologists, to name a few?

There is no will in this department because if there was a will, graduates would not be sitting at home unemployed while the department fails to fill vacant posts.

Monitoring and Evaluation vacancies make me believe there is another malicious reason for not filling these posts – it is deliberate, because if filled, they would expose the fact the department is simply unable to comply, and Gauteng is not getting value for money.

Programme 3 had underspending of R182.1 million, where cooperatives were not appointed, and school uniform were not made. Imagine those poor learners who needed these uniforms? So poor children are subjected to going to school without uniform or with sometimes, old tattered clothing, yet the department that is meant to assist them, simply fails them by not spending the money.

On Programme 4, the underspending amounts to R48,9 million: the much needed Sedibeng and Randfontein Treatment centres were not completed. Whilst our communities are being ravaged by drugs, these two centres that were desperately needed by our communities were simply not completed.

On Programme 5, the underspending amounts to R141.7 million where food parcels and dignity packs were not distributed: This department should truly hang it’s head in shame. People were struggling with hunger during the lockdown, while lists were submitted for many requests. There are people who applied in March 2020 and got nothing from the department, while female learners could not access sanitary pads during the holidays.

And the worst of all; R401.9 million was sent back to Treasury.

With regards to risks and emerging risks, note page 158 of the department’s own annual report. These risks which have been my warnings since 2014 but have fallen on deaf ears:
• Insufficient social work and staff to execute the department’s mandate. The department has 5408 funded posts and has filled 4662, leaving 746 vacant positions – amounting to 14%)
• Non-compliance, especially in state-run institutions
• Unsafe working conditions
• Outdated IT systems
• Foster Care backlogs
• Inadequate monitoring and evaluation
• Lack of required management structures

In closing I wish to quote the Auditor-General (AG): “effective internal controls were not in place for approval and processing of payments as required by Treasury regulation 8.1.1. The AG further says “the monitoring and evaluation unit was not adequately capacitated.”

Why is it important to have monitoring and evaluation? To assess the performance of projects, institutions and programmes set up by governments and NGOs. Its goal is to improve current and future management of outputs, outcomes, and impact.

The ANC-led Gauteng Social Development Department has no interest in these remedies, therefore, for the vulnerable people of Gauteng, under this ANC government, the struggle continues!

I thank you!

Gauteng Department of Health is failing to provide quality medical care to the residents of Gauteng

Madam Speaker,

When you read the Annual Report of the Department of Health, you will find yourself drowning in a deluge of statistics. The frustrating aspect of this is that from these statistics, one does not get a clear sense of the quality of medical care dispensed to the citizens of Gauteng. It was this frustration that motivated me to ask the former MEC for Health in a Portfolio Committee meeting as to how he could be satisfied with the quality of care provided by the department that he then led. His response, which was rather cynical, was that at least, people are not dying on the streets.

This is something that I have thought about quite a lot since then. Despite a cover up and whitewash of the true state of the Health Department by this administration, surely those individuals responsible for oversight, both politicians and officials, know the true state of affairs. Do you. Mr Premier, ever wonder how far we are from a situation where people die on the streets? Or will you once again claim, as you did in the case of Life Esidimeni, that you did not know?

Besides the actual quality of medical care, there are continuous complaints about the contemptuous and arrogant treatment of patients at our public health facilities. The attitude of the staff was something the former MEC took seriously, and I appeal to the newly appointed MEC to put a mechanism in place to test this issue on an ongoing basis and to take steps to ensure that sick people are treated with dignity.

I am disappointed to say that when it comes to health infrastructure, the department is hit by a double whammy. Not only is the health infrastructure budget put under pressure by a dysfunctional Infrastructure Development Department (DID) that struggles to complete projects within time and budget, but in addition, the infrastructure officials in the Health Department do not hold the DID to account. Whether this comes about as a result of honour amongst comrades or it is a ‘couldn’t care about the public purse because it is not my personal money’ attitude, is unclear. Either way, it must be remedied.

The Department of Health is a large enterprise, and its scope of management control is such that it cannot be managed from the centre i.e., from head office. One is therefore reliant on the management at each of the facilities to provide oversight over their own service and resolve the day-to-day problems that arise. That is unfortunately not the case. 

Oversight visits to the health facilities highlight the myriad problems which beset hospitals and clinics. As a committee, we often wonder why the staff on site do not identify these issues and resolve them. Is it a question of people at the coalface abdicating their responsibility of oversight because of attitude or expertise deficiencies, or is organisational culture such that by highlighting the problems, people will feel judged by their superiors? 

Officials must be held to account and consequence management must be applied. It is unconscionable that we continue to expose our citizens to a third-rate service delivery, especially where lives are at risk.

Mr Premier, we are sick and tired of listening to the propaganda about turnaround strategies. The time has come to fix the rot.

Gauteng Department of Health is in dire need of a functioning health information system

Madam Speaker, this is the 27th time that I am speaking on the Annual Report of the Gauteng Health Department.

This report covers the period from April 2019 to March 2020, so it is virtually all before the great calamity of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A health system that was already under strain, with huge backlogs, was ill-prepared for this new health threat.

We will see the outcome in the next annual report, but in this report, 103 out of 159 targets were achieved. This amounts to 65%, a marginal increase from 63% the year before.

There are distressing failures in key areas.

This department used to boast 100% immunisation coverage, but the immunisation coverage under 1 year olds was 87% compared to the target of 98%. The measles second dose coverage was only 80%.

It makes me worry how the mass anti-virus vaccinations for adults will proceed when we are falling behind with ordinary child vaccinations.

Another worry is that the biggest disease killer in South Africa is still Tuberculosis (TB), but the TB treatment success rate went down to 82% from 84% in the previous year. Only 62% of TB patients co-infected with HIV/AIDS are receiving ARV treatment instead of the target of 90%.

Furthermore, 9.4% of TB patients were lost to follow-up compared to the target of 5.5%, and the TB multi-drug resistant treatment success rate was at 55.1% compared to the target of 60%.

I am also distressed at the continuing failure to provide 100% vital and essential medicines as there was only 95.5% availability. This is particularly hard on psychiatric patients who cannot be easily switched to other medication.

An important indicator that is missing from the annual report is the number of patients on waiting lists for surgery and the average length of time they wait for operations.

The former MEC for Health promised that this indicator would be included in the future, so I hope it is in the next report.

I am very concerned that the surgery backlogs have surged because of the cancellation of much elective surgery during this pandemic. We need to know the extent of the backlogs and what special measures are being taken to reduce them.

I get heart-rending appeals from people who cannot see because of cataracts, or need a hip operation to walk, or even a cancer operation that has been delayed.

The surgery lists were already unacceptably long before this epidemic – I shudder to think what they are now.

The extra staff that have been hired because of the epidemic will hopefully assist in speedily reducing these backlogs, but the private health sector should also be brought in on a contract basis.

The root of the problem in this department is poor management. It leads to gross inefficiencies and allows corruption to flourish, as we have seen with the PPE scandal.

Madam Speaker, it is nearly seven years since the Honourable Premier promised in his inaugural address that there would be an “urgent turnaround” in the Gauteng Health Department.

But every year the Auditor-General identifies the lack of controls, and every year nothing much is done to fix it.

It is absolutely vital that a health information system is finally implemented. I remember the very first Health MEC Amos Masondo promising in this House more than 20 years ago that a health information system would be introduced.

There is currently a court case about a R1.2 billion contract awarded during former Health MEC Brian Hlongwa’s tenure for a health information system that should have been up and running ten years ago.

In the last five years, this department has had four health MECs, two heads of department and now a plethora of senior acting positions waiting to be filled.

The Honourable Health MEC has inherited a real mess. My advice to her is to try and get at least this one thing right – a functioning health information system so that you can properly assess where money is being spent, otherwise you are largely flying blind.

From the patient point of view, the paper files that lead to long queues and often get lost, should finally become history.

Unfortunately, according to this annual report, zero hospitals had implemented the integrated health information system compared to the target of 100%.

Zero hospitals had Electronic Health Records linked to the Provincial Heath Clinical Data Repository instead of the targeted 37 hospitals.

And zero PHC facilities had Electronic Health Records linked to the Provincial Heath Clinical Data Repository instead of the targeted 48% of facilities.

It is a zero, a zero and a zero in a vitally important area.

There is actually a lot of budget to spend, but the spending is inefficient and is often directed to the wrong areas.

The Auditor-General identifies irregular expenditure of R2.3 billion for the year under review. And fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounted to R9.3 million, largely due to interest accrued from litigation.

There was a total underspend of R905 million, of which R698 million was surrendered back to the Revenue Fund. Can you believe it? The needs are so great, but a sizable amount of money is not spent!

Every year the Audit Committee identifies the same 22 key strategic risks. They include the following:

• inadequate access to quality health services for mental health patients
• increase in maternal, new-born, infant and child morbidity/mortality
• high death rate due to increase in the number of HIV and TB infections
• financial losses due to litigation
• fraud and corruption
• aging infrastructure and health technology
• shortages in pharmaceutical supplies
• inadequate Human Capital Management
• Serious Adverse Events

These risks really need to be minimised as soon as possible.

The MEC has the opportunity now of filling all the senior vacant positions with top class, incorruptible people. No more cadre deployment! Whoever can best get the job done should be appointed.

The Honourable Premier appointed a high-level intervention team in November 2017 to fix the deep-rooted problems in the department. It had very good people, including Professor Craig Househam, the former head of the Western Cape health department.

They made good recommendations, but they were not implemented.

Yet another intervention team was appointed by the Honourable Premier in December last year. I am sure that they will also make good recommendations, but they will fail again unless the right people are in the right jobs and they do what needs to be done without fear or favour.

Madam MEC, I hope you are prepared to be tough and take on all the entrenched interests in your department.

If you do this, the future annual reports will look a lot better than this one.