Learning, teaching disrupted by EFF at Pretoria North schools

Note to Editors: Please find a list of our questions to the MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi here.

It is extremely concerning to note that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are once again disrupting learning and teaching at Pretoria North Schools, with a blatant disregard for the Constitution that protects a child’s right to basic education.

The Danie Malan Primary School in Pretoria North has been shut down by the EFF, with chains and locks placed on the school gates. The Department of Education has advised parents to make alternative arrangements for their children.

Earlier in February learning and teaching was disrupted at the Gerrit Maritz High School, Akasia High School and Pretoria North High School.

The EFF is demanding that learners who have not been placed at schools in the area, be allocated.

While the DA understands the frustration of the delayed placing of learners, it is unacceptable that teaching and learning is disrupted. We are living in a ‘new normal’ due to the Covid-19 pandemic and every minute of teaching time is valuable and cannot be lost.

I have already submitted written questions to the MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi about the current situation at the two schools that have been affected by protests to ascertain exactly how many learners remain unplaced, how many additional learners can be accommodated at the schools in the area, and if he has engaged with the parents on the matter.

The DA has already called on the MEC to urgently place all learners who have not been allocated a school, to ensure that learning and teaching resumes for the academic year.

Poor Gauteng learners did not receive dignity packs during the December holidays

Many poor Gauteng learners across the entire province did not receive dignity packs from the Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD) during the December holidays.

This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi in a written reply to the Democratic Alliance (DA) question tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

According to Lesufi, the Gauteng DSD is responsible for the distribution of the dignity packs in the province and had reported to the Gauteng Department of Education that no learner had received these packs during the holidays.

Lesufi stated that his department provides a list of schools targeted for the academic year for both the dignity packs and feeding scheme to the Gauteng DSD.

Failure by the DSD to distribute dignity packs during the December holidays is unacceptable as vulnerable and underprivileged female children still experienced menstruation and had nothing else to use.

Furthermore, in the second quarter of the 2020/21 financial year, 179 606 Gauteng learners did not receive such dignity packs. In addition, the department also reprioritized R83 million from dignity packs to food parcels during its special adjustment budget for the 2020/21 financial year.

This clearly indicates the lack of compassion by the department regarding the plight of poor learners in this province.

The DA calls on the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Morakane Mosupyoe to ensure that all our learners across Gauteng access dignity packs consistently without any interruptions, and that this service must be made a priority.

Gauteng’s Rapid Land Release Programme a pipe dream that will never materialise

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is not surprised to discover that the Rapid Land Release Programme, promised by the ANC-led Gauteng administration under Premier David Makhura has not yet come to fruition.

According to the Gauteng Department of Human Settlement’s annual report for the 2019/2020 financial year, the department did not achieve its target to have 2,000 land parcels handed over for implementation process.

The reasons given for not meeting this target was that the planning work was not completed due to additional planning milestones that were not approved, however the motivation for approval of additional planning milestones had to be revised and resubmitted in the 2020/21 financial year.

The department also failed to achieve its target to have 6,510 opportunities handed over to the rightful beneficiaries.

The department states that this target was not achieved due to the non-availability of beneficiaries to participate in the programme yet evidence to the contrary has been provided.

Furthermore, according to the department’s third quarter report for the 2020/21 financial year, the department also failed to meet its target of handing over 1,500 release opportunities of serviced stands to the rightful beneficiaries.

This clearly indicates that the rapid land release programme is not a priority for the department but just a pipe dream that is used by Premier Makhura and the Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Lebogang Maile for electioneering purposes and to calm poor Gauteng residents who would be protesting for dignified housing.

Last year, during his State of the Province Address (SOPA), Premier Makhura said his government will release 10 000 serviced stands across the province between April and June as part of the rapid land release programme yet to date nothing has happened.

Last week, in his SOPA, Premier Makhura said nothing about the rapid land release programme and we were not surprised as it was one of the many empty promises made by the Premier in the past.

This programme would make it easier for our people who are in desperate need of dignified housing and who are capable of building their own homes. The government only provides basic services such as water, electricity, sanitation, and roads.

It is high time that our people are informed about the exact status quo of this programme and are no longer fooled by the ANC-led Gauteng administration.

The DA will continue to put pressure on both Premier Makhura and MEC Maile to ensure that the serviced stands are allocated to the rightful beneficiaries as a matter of urgency. Based on previous experiences the longer these serviced stands remain unoccupied the more likely they will become targets for illegal occupants, vandalism, and corruption. We also call for the speed-up of the planning work and implementation processes. We will also be tabling questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) to ascertain what measures are being put in place to speed-up the rapid land release programme.

DA calls on MEC Mamabolo to urgently investigate why no license renewal slots are available

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is deeply concerned over go-slow demonstrations by driving schools in the Centurion area today.

Driving schools highlighted their dissatisfaction with the lack of driving license test and renewal slots at traffic departments across Gauteng by embarking on a go-slow on the province’s highways.

The DA does not condone these actions but do understand the frustrations of these drivers.

The DA calls on MEC for Roads and Transport, Jacob Mamabolo to urgently conduct an audit of the slots available to ascertain exactly why the slots allocated to municipalities are not being made available to the general public.

We cannot have a situation where traffic is disrupted in order for action to be taken. This problem has been going on for months. The DA has already written to the MEC as well as the Road Traffic Corporation Management with suggestions on how this problem can be solved.

Gauteng Treasury develops payment monitoring tool for contractors following pressure from DA

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is pleased to note that the Gauteng Provincial Treasury (GPT) has developed a tool to monitor the performance of the main contractor when a tender has been awarded. In addition to this, this tool will also allow the department to track whether a sub-contractor has been paid on time. This monitoring tool will also ensure accurate reporting as the department acknowledged that they were under reporting on information regarding sub-contractors

The tool is active now and all departments have been trained to be able to use it effectively. The “Go live” date is set for 1 April 202. Any contract with a value of R30 million and bigger the main contractor must subcontract, therefore the sub-contractor info will be captured immediately after the tender has been awarded.

Last year, the DA raised concerns about the fact that the department currently had no system in place to track whether sub-contractors who are awarded part of a tender are paid on time, when it emerged that there was no system in place to track the payments of sub-contractors who were working on the construction of the Akasia Library in Tshwane.

Subsequent to this, the DA raised this concern during a Finance Portfolio Committee meeting that there was irregular or non-payment of sub-contractors by main contractors. At this committee meeting where the 4th quarter performance report for the 2018/2019 financial year was deliberated, a recommendation was adopted by the meeting that the GPT should develop a reporting model by main contractors to ensure that the payment of sub-contractors is regularised and that there is a transfer of skills.

The DA has been pushing for this initiative for a while, as no formal legislation is in place to track and monitor the payments of sub-contractors. We especially welcome the fact that it will be mostly SMMEs who previously struggled to get paid and sometimes lost their businesses due to non-payment, will benefit from the new system.

I will be closely monitoring the roll-out of this tool to ensure that sub-contractors are paid on time. This is critical if we want to grow the economy in Gauteng and create the correct environment for job creation as well as for SMMEs to flourish.

DA requests Makhura motion of no confidence recount following voting irregularities

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Speaker in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) for the Rules Committee to review the original vote of the motion of no confidence (MONC) in Premier Makhura from earlier this week, and institute a recount.

The DA has raised concern regarding the total number of votes that were recorded, and how the voting process in a hybrid plenary structure takes place.

While the total number of seats in the GPL is 73 (which includes the Speaker), one MPL had abstained, and two other Members did not respond during the roll call.

Despite this, the Speaker had recorded a total of 70 votes for the MONC. This meant that the Speaker included a vote for herself, which is contravention of the rules as the Speaker only has a vote in the event of a tie.

While the Speaker announced a result of 33 votes for the motion and 37 against, this was not a correct reflection of the tally.

One Member of another opposition party who, according to the recording, clearly voted for the motion, was recorded as voting no. It has been alleged that this specific Member had changed their mind to vote against the motion. The DA has asked the Speaker to ensure the Rules Committee also review this and ascertain if the Member really did change their mind or whether there was coercion at play.

The DA believes, after removing the Speaker’s vote and including the Member of the other opposition party who voted in support of the motion, the final tally should be 34 votes for the motion, and 35 votes against.

Even though this final tally would still result in the defeat of the motion, the rules and integrity of voting in the GPL must be maintained and protected at all times.

JRA wastes R15m on Find and Fix app with nothing to show for it

Residents may have realised that the Find and Fix app from the Johannesburg Road Agency (JRA) no longer works. More frustrating is the fact that they can no longer use this app to report potholes and broken road infrastructure.

The Find and Fix app was launched in 2014 at a cost of R15 million and yet the application does not belong to the City nor is it functional. The JRA CEO tried to justify the amount by claiming development costs, royalties, licence fees, and an AZURE platform fee. Enquiries have revealed that an equivalent app design in the private sector would have cost R750 000 and would have been owned by the JRA.

The bottom line is we have grossly overpaid for something that does not work, does not belong to us, and is desperately needed by residents – assuming that it is backed up by solid action from JRA when a pothole is reported.

The DA will continue to fight for the residents of Johannesburg to receive value for their money from a well-run City that puts their needs first.

Johannesburg residents have no Fire Department to rely on

Not only has R200 million been slashed from the budget for new fire engines, but now the City of Johannesburg’s Emergency Management Services (EMS) no longer has a plan in place to repair and maintain the few vehicles, known as the red fleet, that they do have. This combined with a lack of leadership and support from the members of the Executive and City Management remains a recipe for disaster.

According to reliable sources, as of 1 March the City no longer has a maintenance and repairs contract in place, which means that should a fire engine (or any red fleet vehicle for that matter) break down now there will be no mechanics or towing services available to assist them.

Not only have they failed to award Bid A845 for the maintenance and repairs to the red fleet which was advertised late last year, they have also failed to extend the existing contract leaving the City’s emergency services vulnerable.

We still don’t know how many vehicles are in the red fleet, but this could be as low as two proper fire engines.

I urge the City to take this vital function of EMS seriously and put forward emergency procurement measures to solve this crisis. Saving lives and property is the core function of the EMS, and this should never be undermined by the lack of leadership which is being shown by the MMC and Mayor. Johannesburg residents deserve a wellrun and caring City which puts residents first and gets the basics right such as making sure there are enough
functioning fire engines.

Incompetent and failing Lesedi Municipal Mayor, Lerato Maloka not fit to govern Sedibeng District Municipality

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is disappointed to learn that the failing Lesedi Local Municipality Mayor, Lerato Maloka has been chosen as the next Mayor of the Sedibeng District Municipality by the ANC in Gauteng.

The news did not come as a surprise as the ANC has a reputation of protecting its cadres by deploying them to other government posts when they realise that they have messed up in their previous position.

Sedibeng has been without a Mayor since January, following the passing of the former Mayor, Busisiwe Modisakeng.

Lerato Maloka, the Lesedi Mayor is being moved from the municipality as way of protecting her from facing accountability, following the R7 billion Aerodrome Project tender which was awarded without following proper procurement processes and ignoring Treasury regulations.

Maloka must account for this R7 billion project that will not benefit Lesedi residents but will only enrich individuals who are part of the ANC patronage network. The project was advertised by the municipality despite it having already been handed over to the Gauteng Infrastructure Financing Agency (GIFA).

Maloka is not fit to become the new mayor of Sedibeng, as she has failed in delivering adequate service delivery in her previous role.

Sedibeng is on the verge of collapse due to corruption and maladministration. There is a damning investigative reports into allegations of maladministration, fraud, corruption, and serious malpractice that has occurred, and is still ongoing in the municipality, which was released by Advocate William Mokhare last year.

According to the report, no financial systems of control have been put in place by the municipality, such as no supply chain management policy, while serious cases of irregular expenditure, supply chain mismanagement, procurement deviations, as well as corruption have materialised.

Instead of appointing a new mayor, the ANC Provincial Government must place Sedibeng under administration with immediate effect as the new mayor will run this municipality to the drain. The report recommended that Sedibeng must be placed under administration, therefore begging the question as to why the ANC is ignoring the recommendations. This clearly show that the governing party wishes to loot all that remains in the Sedibeng coffers before the local government elections.

The DA calls on the Gauteng ANC to reconsider their decision to appoint Maloka as the new mayor of Sedibeng and instead, put the people’s interest first before the party, by placing the municipality under administration.

Under Premier Makhura’s watch, jobless and poverty has gone unchecked

Honourable Members,

Fellow South Africans,

Residents of Gauteng. 

I stand here today to declare that Premier Makhura and his administration are not fit to govern Gauteng. It is a stand that one does not take lightly, but I am convinced that if we are to turn Gauteng for the better, the current administration needs to step aside.

If we all agree that Gauteng faces triple the challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality, then we should judge an administration on what they have done to address these challenges. This administration has failed in addressing joblessness and poverty in Gauteng since 2014. 

Last week, Stats SA confirmed that unemployment and joblessness continues to increase in Gauteng. More people are without jobs and live in poverty in 2021 in Gauteng than there were in 2014 when this Premier came into office.  

In many instances when I deliver a speech in this House I say, “Mintirho ya vulavula”, your work should speak for itself. This should not mean that you climb on top of the house and claim to have done something, those that have experienced your good deeds must bear testimony and tell the good deeds you have done. Beating and dancing to your own drum is not how it is done. This administration has mastered the art of blowing its own trumpet when there is very little to see. 

Just this past Sunday, this administration chose to take a full-page advert in the Sunday Times in an effort to give a none existent picture. You see Premier, if you were doing a good job there would be no need to take a full-page advert in the Sunday Times – people would be singing your praises. We know what will follow is a series of billboards with smiling Premier and MECs claiming some easy victories. 

To show that this administration does not care about the economic plight of the people of Gauteng, we need to just look at the Economic Development Department. This department has agencies that are tasked with assisting in creating an environment for job creation, but they have more actors than Generations and Muvhango. In the last 20 months, the department has had three MECs while the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller has not had a CEO for over 5 years. Given the joblessness in Gauteng, the Economic Development Department should be the mainstay of the administration, but it one of the most unstable. Changes happen faster than how Msholozi used to reshuffle his cabinet. 

In 2018, the buzz word in the corridors of power was “nine wasted years” in reference to the Zuma administration. Looking closely to the unemployment, joblessness and poverty in Gauteng one can conclude that we have had seven wasted years in Gauteng.

Honorable Members, we have an opportunity today to avoid breaking the record of nine wasted years that Zuma had set. I ask you to vote in support of this motion.