Mogale City’s Mayor and Municipal Manager chicken out of meeting with DA to discuss missing R9 million

Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Gauteng Leader and the DA Gauteng Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs Spokesperson, Solly Msimanga MPL, along with the DA Mogale City Caucus Leadership and Councillors conducted oversight inspections at the incomplete Krugersdorp taxi rank and failed Brickvale housing project. Following this, the DA went to the Municipal office to meet with the Mayor and the Municipal Manager, but they were nowhere to be found.

This clearly indicates an intention on their part to not be transparent about what exactly happened with regards to the R9 million that was mysteriously taken out of Mogale City’s coffers.

We proceeded to the Krugersdrop taxi rank and discovered that the taxi rank is still incomplete and there is nothing to show for the millions of rand spent so far.

The construction of the taxi rank began in April 2018 and was scheduled to be completed in March 2019, however, to date it is still incomplete.

The initial budget for the taxi rank was R49.7 million, but the budget was later increased to R92.3 million for the upgrading of the infrastructure, while an additional R13.5 million was provided for professional fees. This has resulted in a total of R105.8 million spent on a project that is only 60% complete.

The local businesses have lost out on much-needed economic activity by waiting for the new taxi rank to be completed. The commuters and taxi operators are using the old dilapidated and overcrowded taxi rank that is unsafe and poses a serious health risk.

The incomplete, failed Brickvale housing project was meant to build 6840 houses. The contractor has only built the top structures which are still incomplete, and lack the needed bulk infrastructure.

Furthermore, the land where these houses are built is rich in dolomite, while the top structures were built without a geotechnical assessment conducted. This has resulted in R900 million for this project going down the drain. The contractor has also abandoned the project due to non-payment.

In addition, this particular land was evaluated to the value of R3 million but was subsequently bought for an inflated price of R63 million by the municipality. This raises questions of the municipality’s motive for such a fruitless and wasteful purchase.

We also discovered these two failing projects were awarded to the same contractor which raises questions why this contractor continues to be awarded tenders by the municipality while is failing to complete projects within the stipulated timelines and within the allocated budget.

The DA will be tabling questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to ascertain what exactly happened to the missing R9 million, what are the reasons behind the delays in the completion of the Krugersdorp taxi rank and the Brickvale housing project as well as what happened to the money allocated for these projects.

Acting Gauteng Health Head was a member of PPE procurement committee

Mr Arnold Malotana, the acting head of the Gauteng Health Department, was a member of the controversial committee which procured Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Covid-19 with contracts that are being investigated for corruption.

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

This committee had ten members and was headed by Ms Kabelo Lehloenya, who was the Chief Financial Officer and is a chief suspect in the corruption. Lehloenya has left the department after a damning report by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

According to Mokgethi, all investigations in this matter were handled by the Premier’s Office and her department was asked for a charge sheet against Ms Thandi Pino, the suspended Chief Director of Supply Chain Management.

The charges against Ms Pino include involvement with the appointment of Royal Bhaca and Ledla Structural Development, which are both companies mired in allegations of corruption and massive over-charging for PPE.

I am concerned that no disciplinary action has been taken against 8 of the 10 members of the PPE procurement committee, who are all in senior positions in the department.

The big question is why Premier David Makhura appointed Mr Malotana as acting head of department despite his involvement in this procurement committee. Surely he and the other members of this committee should face disciplinary action for failing to prevent the procurement debacle? This was the reason why former Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku was dismissed, and this standard should apply to officials as well.

Instead of being disciplined, Malotana was promoted by the Premier!

Makhura’s failure to investigate the role of all members of the PPE procurement committee is another indication that he is unfit to govern.

The Gauteng Infrastructure Department is a ravenous leech on the taxpayer


The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is deeply concerned about the current status of infrastructure projects that have been managed by the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) on behalf of the Gauteng Department of Health.   

Based on the presentation to the Health Portfolio committee by the Department of Health on the number of projects that have either not been completed, or not completed within time and budget, it was concluded that infrastructure development is beset by wastage and inefficiency. 

The difficulties experienced by the DID are well known and primarily stem from a lack of skills and expertise. This is not unique to Gauteng, as the same dynamic exists in the public sector at all levels of government. 

What is extremely disappointing is that the Health Department, which is the customer in this relationship, does not appear to have the skill or the motivation to hold the Department of Infrastructure to account for poor performance. One wonders if they would act differently if they were spending their personal money as opposed to public funds. 

Amongst the projects are those that were launched in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. A number of these projects are still not complete and they may never see a Covid-19 patient. In response to criticism, the Health Department is now talking about repurposing these facilities to provide for non-Covid-19 medical services.

The Health Department has identified a number of issues that cause projects to fail, most of which fall under the control of the DID.

The fact of the matter is that the DID does not have a property management function that can resolve land ownership issues, does not adhere to legislated or regulated processes, plans poorly and project manages poorly.

If the DID was operating in the private sector, it would have been liquidated by now. In the public sector, however, poor performance is covered up, wastage and inefficiency are accepted as the norm and consequence management is non-existent. It is unfortunately the taxpayer who bears the brunt of this never-ending black whole of wastage.



Only 238 oxygen-needing patients at NASREC field hospital

Only 238 patients at the NASREC field hospital required oxygen treatment, but R216 million was spent on this 1000-bed facility from 1 April 2019 to its closure at the end of February this year.

This was revealed today by Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in an oral reply to my questions at a virtual sitting today of the Gauteng Legislature.

This is a huge amount of money spent on a small number of patients who needed oxygen treatment for Covid-19, rather than the larger number of patients in quarantine or isolation at NASREC who could have been put up at much less cost at a hotel.

Field hospitals should ideally only be in use for less serious patients at the peaks of epidemics when other hospitals cannot cope with the volume of patients.

For a long time period the 1000 beds at NASREC were mostly empty of patients who required actual treatment rather than quarantine or isolation.

The Auditor-General has found that their irregularities in the choice of the NASREC facility to use as a field hospital. According to the Auditor-General “the department did not invite as many suppliers as possible and there was no prior approval from the relevant treasury for the emergency procurement of the NASREC Field Hospital as required by treasury regulation.”

Mokgethi said that an investigation would be conducted to determine the culpability for the irregularities in the choice of NASREC as a field hospital.

This investigation should also probe if there was any corruption in spending so much for empty beds at this field hospital.

The R216 million could have been spent more effectively in enhancing facilities at existing hospitals for COVID-19 patients.

Urgent audit of licensing slots needed amid bribery and corruption of slot bookings

Gauteng is experiencing a severe shortage of online booking slots for driving license renewals, learner license tests and driving license tests. This causes many instances of corruption where driving schools and members of the public bribe officials at licensing offices to reserve slots for them or inform them the moment slots are loaded on to the system.

 As a result, law abiding citizens find very few slots available for them to book.

 A further problem is the short periods for which slots are made available for bookings. So far, slots are only available for a week in advance.

 This crisis requires a serious and immediate intervention by the Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, Jacob Mamabolo.

 The DA calls on the MEC to conduct an immediate audit to determine how many slots are available per Driving License Testing Centre in the province, per day, and how many of these slots are actually made available for online bookings.

The DA further calls on the MEC to make slots available at least two months ahead so that more slots are available for drivers. It will also help to assist learner drivers whose permits might expire soon.

It is also critical that the MEC engages with the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, to extend the validity period of learner licenses to avoid unnecessary lapsing of these licenses leading to further pressure on the system due to re-writes.

This crisis requires immediate attention and can no longer be ignored as the delay in issuing of licenses has dire consequences for the province’s economy and the livelihoods of residents in the province.

Traders and beggars take control of traffic during load shedding

The only thing worse than sitting in congested traffic in Johannesburg is sitting in congested traffic during load shedding. Even with the reduced two-hour period of load shedding, the impact on traffic is significant. This has prompted an innovative but dangerous activity at intersections where street traders and people who beg at intersections have taken on the role of informal pointsmen.

On Saturday I drove past the intersection on Cedar and Uranium Roads in Fourways. The traffic lights were out due to load shedding and a group of four men were doing their best to direct traffic whilst another was busy collecting donations from passing motorists. We do appreciate their efforts in trying to ease traffic congestion but such acts are extremely dangerous and could lead to accidents and multiple civil liabilities.

The Road Traffic Act already prohibits people from standing in the road to trade or beg at intersections, and only permits those who are qualified and appointed as traffic officers to direct traffic. In the event of a vehicle collision as a result of the driver taking directions from an unqualified pointsman, both the driver and the unqualified pointsman could be held civilly and criminally liable for the loss, injury and even death.

The Gauteng Traffic Police (GTP) and the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) need to take joint responsibility for reducing traffic congestion, especially during load shedding. We propose an effective and simple solution: follow the load shedding schedule and plan for the deployment of traffic pointsmen to affected busy intersections before the load shedding starts.

We need the City to be proactive in solving issues. A wider traffic pointsmen recruitment and training programme will go a long way in easing Johannesburg traffic and create many opportunities for unemployed residents.

Appointment of former Lesedi Mayor as new Mayor of Sedibeng is a last ditch effort to hold onto power

The failing ANC-led Gauteng Government has once again opted to protect its cadre, former Mayor of the Lesedi Local Municipality, Lerato Maloka at the expense of the voters who entrusted them with a mission to fight corruption, by appointing her as the new Mayor of the Sedibeng District Municipality.

 Maloka has been officially appointed as the new mayor of Sedibeng, despite the recommendations by Advocate William Mokhari that the municipality should be placed under administration.

Advocate Mokhari was appointed to probe allegations of corruption and financial mismanagement in Sedibeng. He subsequently released a damning report last year, indicating that Sedibeng had no financial systems of control put in place by the municipality, including no supply chain management policy, leading to blatant mismanagement, while serious cases of irregular expenditure, procurement deviations, and corruption materialised. 

Placing this compromised Mayor in Sedibeng is confirmation of the ANCs unwillingness to end corruption. The Mokhari report raised serious concerns about the activities of the previous Mayor, yet now she is being replaced by someone with even more serious allegations against them.

As Maloka nears the end if her tenure at Lesedi, the ANC is rewarding her allegedly corrupt behaviour with a promotion, something that the South African taxpayer has become accustomed to.

By placing Sedibeng under administration, the ANC would have saved this municipality from total collapse and ensure that service delivery is restored.

However, the ANC, which is known for its reputation of protecting its cadres, is now shielding Maloka from facing accountability for the R7 billion Aerodrome Project tender which was awarded without following proper procurement processes and ignoring Treasury regulations, while she was Mayor of the Lesedi Local Municipality. 

Appointing Maloka is no more than a desperate move to cling to power and an insult to the people of Sedibeng as she has failed in delivering adequate service delivery in her previous role.

The DA will closely monitor how Maloka is going to govern Sedibeng and we will continue to hold her accountable for the R7 billion Aerodrome Project and service delivery failures in her previous and current role.

The residents of Sedibeng will not be fooled by the ANC’s selfish decisions and will hold them accountable for this disastrous move during this year’s local government elections. 




DA welcomes the arrests of four police officers in connection with the death of Mthokozisi Ntumba


The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng welcomes the arrests of four police officers from the Public Order Policing Unit by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate in connection with the death of Mthokozisi Ntumba.

Mthokozisi Ntumba was allegedly shot dead last week in a crossfire during a protest by a group of students from University of Wits over university fees.

He was allegedly shot when the police were dispersing the university students who were protesting in Braamfontein.

The four police officers who have been arrested are facing charges of murder, attempted murder and defeating the end of justice.

It is worrying that South Africans continue to suffer and die at the hands of the South African Police Service (SAPS), while severe consequences for these actions hardly ever follow.

The DA will be present in court for the first appearance of the suspects in solidarity with the family of the deceased and further call for the suspects to be denied bail and their firearm licenses to be suspended with immediate effect.

We further call on the SAPS to abide by their Code of Conduct and to respect the rights of South Africans while they are conducting their duties.

Grades 2 and 5 learners only attends 5 days of school a month due to overcrowding at Mayibuye Primary School

Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng conducted oversight inspection at the old and new Mayibuye Primary School in Tembisa. We were appalled to discover that Grades 2 and 5 learners only attend schooling for 5 days a month due to severe overcrowding at the old school.

Even though there is a rotational learning and teaching system, the number of learners in classrooms remains high, limiting the number of schooling days for certain grades.

While the primary school normally capacitates 1200 learners, they currently accommodate 1891 learners.

The school is overcrowded and in dire need of additional mobile classrooms, however there is no space to build such classrooms.

The current container classrooms are also old and dilapidated, with some having broken holes in the floor, causing a danger for both learners and teachers. We were also informed that one of the teachers has been injured as a result.

The ablution facilities are not adequate to accommodate the number of learners and educators. 1891 learners are sharing six toilets, while 85 members of staff are also sharing six toilets.

The construction of the new brick and mortar school began in 2017 and to date is still incomplete and on hold.

According to the Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure Development and Property Management (DID), Tasneem Motara, replying to my questions the school will be handed over when the construction is completed. The project is on hold awaiting the allocation of the required additional funds.

The initial budget for the new school was R88 823 180,67 and the DID has spent R 86 258 053,62 so far and is still in need of additional funds to be allocated to complete the project.

Poor implementation of this school project is costing taxpayers more money than budgeted for. It is estimated that they need more than R36 million to complete the project.

The new school is also built on top of the sewer system which clearly indicates a lack of proper planning and consultation from the local municipality by DID.

The state of the new school is terrible and has been abandoned, with the pavements full of weeds and the grass left to grow, while three toilet doors have been stolen.

The longer this school remains unoccupied, the sooner it will turn into a white elephant and further become a target for vandalism, theft, and burglary.

It is completely unacceptable for learners to only attend schooling for 5 days a month while other grades at the same school are attending for two weeks a month.

The DA calls on the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi to urgently intervene at the Mayibuye Primary School to ensure that the environment is conducive for learning and teaching, and that all grades are given equal time to attend school.

We also call on both the DID and the Department of Education to speed up the process of completing this school so that the learners can be moved to a proper conducive environment for schooling.

Adverse events rise in Gauteng’s worst hospitals

Serious Adverse Events (SAEs) in Gauteng public hospitals have risen from 4170 in 2019 to 4701 last year, an increase of 13%, with Tembisa Hospital by far the worst with 1226 SAEs during this period.

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

A SAE is defined as an event that results in an unintended harm to the patient by an act of commission or omission rather than by the underlying disease or condition of the patient.

Hospitals with high numbers of SAEs for 2019 and 2020 include the following:

George Mukhari  – 1022

Chris Hani Baragwanath  – 883

Kalafong  – 850

Weskoppies  – 74

Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg  – 632

Thelle Mogoerane  – 380

Mamelodi  – 362

Sebokeng  – 324

Helen Joseph  – 319

Leratong  – 258

Jubilee  – 204

The Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital has the best record, with not a single SAE in 2019, and only 2 SAEs last year.

Steve Biko had the fewest SAEs of the four academic hospitals (the others are Bara, Charlotte Maxeke and George Mukhari), with 55 SAEs in 2019 and 200 SAEs last year.

Some hospitals saw sharp increases from 2019 to 2020. Edenvale hospital went up from 13 to 129, Leratong from 61 to 197, Helen Joseph from 102 to 217, and Sebokeng from 107 to 217.

The 747 SAEs at Weskoppies mental hospital are of concern as there is no surgery at this hospital.

Tembisa’s very number of adverse events highlights the poor judgement in choosing it as a Covid-19 treatment centre. This was a finding of the Medical Ombudsman when he investigated Shonisani Lethole’s death at this hospital.

Our health sector has been battered by the Covid-19 pandemic, and effective measures need to be taken to ensure medical negligence is minimised as much as possible. Proper staffing and resources is critical, as well as good training, and disciplinary measures for non-performance.