DA to write to GPL speaker about MEC Maile’s unruly behaviour in the House

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng will be writing to the Speaker of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL), Ntombi Mekgwe, to investigate MEC Lebogang Maile’s conduct and institute disciplinary measures, following the chaos that descended in the House yesterday.

The MEC for Human Settlements and Cooperative Governance, resorted to name calling while answering questions put to the Executive.

The Speaker made no attempt to ask MEC Maile to withdraw his comments that my colleague Councillor Leah Knott is a ‘domkop’ and allowed this name calling to continue unabated in the House.

Further to this, several times Maile told members of the DA caucus to ‘shut up’ when they tried to address his inappropriate language.

It appears as if this was just a way for the MEC to obfuscate and deflect from the fact that he is failing in his mandate as MEC responsible for the proper functioning of local government. MEC Maile is one to always call people derogatory names when he has nothing to offer or to run away from accountability. This is not how government leaders should behave.

The unruly behaviour displayed by the MEC has compromised the decorum of the House and shows a blatant disregard for the opposition, whose responsibility it is to ensure that ANC-led government is held to account where service delivery is not functional in a proper and timely manner.

Maile’s unchecked arrogance is a clear sign that he feels emboldened to take over from Makhura as premier. Makhura may find it difficult to survive the allegations against him, as his enemies from inside uses it in a concerted campaign to replace him with Maile.

The DA will continue to hold the ANC-led government to account through the various structures put in place by the GPL and will not be deterred by the petulant utterances of MEC Maile.

Underperforming Klipspruit West Secondary School needs serious intervention

Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng conducted an oversight inspection at Klipspruit West Secondary School in Soweto, and discovered that the school is facing serious challenges, ranging from poor matric results, late coming, lack of support from parents, and no permanent principal at the school.

The school has been in serious decline since 2017. In 2019, the school was the worst performing school in Gauteng and only achieved a 47% matric pass rate for the 2020 academic year.

Klipspruit West Secondary has had acting principals since 2017, following the removal of the last permanent principal after parents protested demanding his removal. There is also a vacancy of the Head of Department that has not yet been filled.

The school lacks the environment for conducive for learning and teaching, with dirty facilities, pavements full of weeds, while the grass continues growing after not having been cut since last year. The multi-purpose court has been left incomplete, the sports ground has turned into bush, with big trees needing urgent removal.

The school has money for maintenance however, the bank signatories who are the members of the School Governing Body (SGB) have left, and they are still waiting for the appointment of new SGB members to fill their positions.

The school has not yet received some of the textbooks, hampering the roll out of the 2021 academic year syllabus, while the school has more empty classrooms due to fewer learners enrolling as a result of poor performance.

Late coming is also a challenge for both learners and teachers which needs to be addressed, while there is also a lack of discipline among learners and a lack of parent support, as they do not attend parents meetings at the school.

The DA calls on the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi to intervene as a matter of urgency to ensure that this school improve its performance. It is the responsibility of the department to ensure that all schools have all the required study materials and that all the school vacancies are filled.

The school must receive ongoing support from the district until they reach an acceptable performance level. District officials must play an effective role, starting with encouraging parents to get involved in the next SGB elections.

Gauteng spends R500 million on hospital it does not own

The Gauteng Provincial Government has irregularly spent about R500 million on the AngloGold Ashanti Hospital in the Far West Rand, despite a short-term lease from the mining company which expired on 31 January this year.

In a response to my questions yesterday at a virtual sitting of the Gauteng Legislature, Infrastructure Development MEC Tasneem Motara said that AngloGold had offered the hospital on a short-term lease, and that there were now negotiations to extend it to a long term lease or get it donated from the company.

She said that the Accounting Officer of the Gauteng Health Department had delegated the authority for her department to do the alterations to the hospital, and the decision to go ahead with it was taken by the Provincial Executive Council.

I am astonished that no legal opinion was taken in this matter as it seems obvious that it is highly irregular and possibly illegal to spend a huge amount on a property not owned by the provincial government.

This expenditure can’t be excused by the urgent need for extra beds to treat Covid-19 patients as the hospital is difficult to access in a low population area. The extensive alterations have still not been completed, and it will need staff and equipment before patients can be accepted.

The hospital is likely to be a white elephant, chewing up money that is desperately needed to fix the ailing provincial health system.

Premier David Makhura cannot claim ignorance of this fiasco as his entire executive council took the decision to grossly over-spend on this hospital instead of extra hospital beds in more populated areas.

This illustrates the incompetence of Makhura and his entire executive as not one of them raised any objections to this hare-brained project.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is investigating this matter and I suspect that massive corruption will be uncovered.

It’s one more indication that Makhura is not fit to govern.

Water crisis looms in Emfuleni

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is deeply concerned that the residents of Emfuleni Local Municipality are currently experiencing water shortages.

The Emfuleni Local Municipality has issued a public announcement stating that they are aware of the water shortages currently affecting large parts of Emfuleni due to additional water supply reductions imposed on the municipality by Rand Water as a credit control measure since 25 February 2021.

The areas most affected by the water supply reductions are Vereeniging, Evaton, Sebokeng, Vanderbijlpark, Bophelong, Roshnee and Rus-Ter-Vaal.

It is worrying that water shortages in Emfuleni have been an ongoing issue without a lasting solution between Rand Water and the municipality.

The residents are now suffering as they have to walk long distances to fetch water for household purposes and are unable to use the ablution facilities.

The country is experiencing the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and a third wave is anticipated and one of the ways in which the spread of this virus is curbed is by regularly washing of hands; how can Emfuleni residents adhere to the health protocol of regularly washing hands when they are experiencing water shortages?

Despite the fact that Emfuleni has been placed under administration, the water challenges have still not been resolved.

This clearly indicates that the administrators are failing to rescue Emfuleni from a financial crisis and to deliver services to the residents.

The DA is calling on the Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Lebogang Maile to intervene and facilitate an agreement between Emfuleni administrators and Rand Water to ensure that water pressure is restored so that residents can have access to a normal flow of water as is their basic human right.

#MakhuraNotFitToGovern: ANC has become an incapable state

Madam Speaker,

Honourable Speaker, 

Mme Angelina works as an assistant at one of the Kempton Park Crèches. She commutes to and from work by train. 

She leaves home at 4:00am and returns back home after work at 8:00pm. Her children only see their mother over the weekends because when she leaves home, they will be still sleeping and when she returns home, they will also be sleeping. 

This is not how a caring government care for its people. I know that PRASA is not a provincial competency, however Mme Angelina is a resident of this province. 

In Kempton park near where Mme Angelina works there is an abandoned Kempton Park Hospital. 

Since 1996, the ANC-led government has failed to do something useful with this building.

The ANC has become an incapable state: if they were, they would have factored in population migration dynamics: this would have alleviated the pressure on Tembisa Hospital which has resulted in our people sleeping on the floors of the hospital. 

Covid-19 has further exposed how incapable the ANC is as a government today; we see tents being erected as an extension of Tembisa Hospital. Clearly the ANC has no intention of opening Kempton Park Hospital. 

And so, the once glamorous state institute has become a ghost-hunting white elephant. 

Mme Angelia and many others commute daily from Tembisa to Kempton. If anyone has been on the metro-rails during the peak hours, then one knows that our people travel like stuffed sardines – women carry their bags around their necks and clutch them near their chest to avoid the watchful eye of pick-pocketers.

On one occasion, she told me that as they disembarked, one of her friends had semen on her back. During the trip some sick man had masturbated on her. 

This is the indignity that women have to endure while commuting on trains on a daily basis in Gauteng. Honourable Speaker, these are people’s wives and daughters. 

Whilst suffering this indignity, Mayor Masina has Harambee – the multi billion Rand failed bus system of Ekurhuleni with incomplete bus stops. Honourable Maile was told that the bus stops are functioning – yesterday, I was in Tembisa and still, years later they are not open, yet contractors were paid. 

Whilst the trains are full, Harambee buses move almost empty out of Tembisa towards the airport: Nkandla teatime! Who designed these bus routes? The move is mainly towards the airport. These could be easing the congestion on the trains. 

Why has Kempton Park Hospital precinct not been converted into a multi-use facility that includes social housing? That way people like Mme Angelina can move closer to her place of work, and could even travel by foot.

There are many abandoned buildings in Tembisa that can be utilised such as the Old Age Home in Ward 9 and the clinic in Emangweni and chicken farm in Ward 8. There are also collapsed bridges in Wards 9 and 10 in Tembisa.

This government should have used state resources to preserve families and communities.

I will definitely be supporting this motion of no confidence against Premier Makhura 

I thank you!

#NotFitToGovern: Premier Makhura we cannot keep supporting you because you sing a good song

Madam Speaker, 

When I was young there was a song by Roberta Flack that contained the lines: 

“I heard he sang a good song, I heard he had a style”. 

When Hon. Makhura began his term as Premier in 2014, he sang a good song, and indeed he had a style. 

In each of the subsequent years of 2015, 2016, 2017 and so on, people applauded the Premier because he sang a good song and had a style. 

But over time, people have discovered the song keeps sounding the same: the same challenges have remained – from e-Tolls to corruption – the same promises kept being made. 

Mr. Premier, we can’t keep supporting you simply because you sing a good song and you have a style. We can’t get excited about hearing the same old, same old. 

Mr .Premier, surely you understand that you are measured on outcomes, not on effort? 

Mr Premier, you can’t say, “My Office is doing well”, even when the SIU says there is at least one crook in your office.  You are accountable for the success or failure in the department of Health; you are accountable for the success or failure of Infrastructure Development, and indeed every department under the oversight of every member of your cabinet. 

In 2014, the Honourable Premier pledged that “fraud and corruption are prevented and detected early in the value chain to prevent losses.”  We also heard that there would be an “urgent turnaround” in the Gauteng Health Department. 

These promises have been repeated in one form or another, year after year. 

And when the Covid-19 crisis hit, the corruption networks profited and the Premier reluctantly fired former MEC Bandile Masuku, after the fact. Where was prevention “early in the value chain”? 

Mr. Premier, you made promises. Not just once. These promises have proven to be empty. 

Firing is one thing. What about prosecution? 

While health workers risked their lives with inadequate and sub-quality Personal Protective Equipment, parasitic Gauteng employees enriched themselves. 

Corruption and irregularities included the R2 billion spent on urgently needed infrastructure to create new beds. Of the beds that the Premier boasted about these were, in various instances, in the wrong places. 

Moreover, when beds where provided, there often wasn’t enough staff. 

We saw scenes such as Steve Biko Hospital, which was overwhelmed with tents in the parking lot. 

The latest Auditor-General’s (AG) report shows that beside the usual financial mismanagement, there has been a rise in irregular expenditure last year and a regression in audit outcomes. 

Corruption Watch has found that corruption is four times more likely to occur in Gauteng than in similar-sized provinces such as Kwa-Zulu Natal. 

Madam Speaker, I could go on regarding the failures to achieve outcomes. These would include failure to properly oversee local government with examples such as Emfuleni and Merafong; Failure to ensure jobs are delivered through infrastructure development and the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller; Failure to apply consequence management for poor performance and corruption. But time does not permit me to do so. 

Honourable Premier, you said it in your own words: “We have lost the trust of the people”. In so doing, you have acknowledged and declared that you are not fit to govern. 

Madam Speaker, colleagues, please vote in support of this motion. 

I thank you. 

Under Premier David Makhura’s watch the public purse has been looted, service delivery has collapsed

Today, this house is meeting to discuss a Motion of No Confidence (MONC) that was tabled by the Democratic Alliance (DA) , the official opposition against the Gauteng Premier David Makhura. This motion was not brought to the house lightly but has come about as a result of Premier Makhura’s inability to properly maintain oversight over his ANC-led government.   

Madam Speaker, Premier,   

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, government kicked into high gear and started to look at ways of allocating government funds to key departments, like the Department of Health and Infrastructure Development to enable them to provide much needed beds and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline workers.   

It comes as no surprise that there were and most probably still are vultures waiting in the wings to capitalise on this pandemic. No sooner, was the country placed into locked down than it emerged that the Gauteng Department of Health, spent R2.2 billion on suspicious PPE suppliers in the space of just three months last year. The department paid inflated prices above the National Treasury’s regulated PPE price list.   

Further to this, the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) in the province spent more than R431 million on sanitising schools between June and August last year. In November last year, the Daily Maverick reported that the GDE had spent R98 million on the decontamination of schools, a cost that was justified by the department.   

Madam Speaker,   

The AngloGold Ashanti hospital on the far West Rand received R500 million worth of funding in order to equip it with extra beds and facilities to treat Covid-19 patients. These wards are still incomplete and are under construction and while the country has now moved to Lockdown Level 1, there is still concerns around a third wave that could hit the country. The question remains, will this facility every be ready to deal with a third wave?   

One of the most important departments in this province- Infrastructure Development and Property Management, is unable to ensure that critical infrastructure like schools and hospitals are completed on time and within budget. This Madam Speaker is because the Premier has failed in his duty to ensure that the string of incompetent MECs are held to account and that consequence management takes place where officials in the department are found to have neglected their duties. At the end of the day, the only one’s who suffer are the residents of Gauteng. This is evident, when we look at the Khutsong Clinic in extension that that has still not been completed and has since been abandoned by the contractors.   

It is quite clear Madam Speaker, that under the watch of Premier David Makhura, the public purse will continue to be abused by those who seek to enrich themselves, there is no political will to ensure that public funds are safeguarded and spent within the guidelines set out by National and Provincial Treasury. It is important now more than ever that this province is given a Premier who is committed to corrupt free and clean governance where the needs of our people of Gauteng is put first. I urge all parties present in this house to support this motion if they are indeed committed to ensuring that the public purse is not looted, and that transparent governance takes place in the province.   

#MakhuraNotFitToGovern: ANC-led government’s vote of confidence in Premier Makhura shows their commitment to cadre deployment

It is no surprise that the ANC in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today voted to keep Premier David Makhura in office. Today’s motion of no confidence brought by the DA comes after it became quite clear that Premier Makhura is not fit to govern.

The outcome of today’s vote does not change our view. Premier Makhura remains unfit to govern.

Under his watch:

  • Up to R125 million wasted on corrupt tenders for Personal Protect Equipment.
  • R431 million was spent on decontaminating schools between June and August last year.
  • AngloGold Ashanti hospital on the far West Rand received R500 million worth of funding in order to equip it with extra beds and facilities to assist Covid-19 patients. These wards are still incomplete and remain under construction.
  • Years after the horrible tragedy at Life Esidimeni, 81 claimants had still not been paid their compensation by November 2020.
  • Over 18 months since the Bank of Lisbon Fire, the Premier has still failed to release the investigation report.
  • There has been a continuous systemic collapse of municipalities like Emfuleni and Merafong.
  • An illegal dissolution of the Tshwane Municipal Council last year.

It is clear that the ANC-led government in Gauteng remains committed to cadre deployment and will do anything in their power to ensure that Premier Makhura remains in office, despite his government failing to exercise proper fiscal control and governance.

The DA will not waiver in its duty as the Official Opposition in the province to hold Premier Makhura and his executive to account.

No fire engines for Johannesburg as ANC slashes R200m from budget

The number of functioning fire engines in the City of Johannesburg has remained a secret ever since the ANC took over the City’s government. The various fire-fighting vehicles, known as the red fleet, are vital for Emergency Management Services’ (EMS) operations to save lives and properties. Even without the official figures, one thing we know for sure is that the City does not have enough functional fire engines to service its residents.

At the start of the financial year in July 2020, the City ambitiously allocated R200 million to buy new vehicles for the red fleet. We were pleased to see that the new government’s willingness to continue with the fire engine procurement program started by the DA, but we cautioned them that all mechanisms and procurement processes must be in place to successfully complete this important project.

More than seventh months later, the City doesn’t have a single new fire engine. To make matters worse and despite the DA’s vehement protest, the ANC has pushed through an adjustment budget last week to slash the R 200 million intended for red fleet procurement to zero.

All this happened whilst the MMC for Public Safety sad quietly in support of this disgrace when she should have been fighting hard to ensure new fire engines are bought for the residents as planned.

The ANC has now allocated this budget towards additional staff costs which look like jobs for cadres during an important election year. Residents of Johannesburg should not have to live with the risk of losing their lives and properties to fire because the ANC cannot do something as simple as ordering new fire engines.

I urge the City to start the procurement process of fire engines without any further delays and consider using emergency procurement to correct this dire situation. The City should also explore a public private partnership to allow EMS to partner with qualified private service providers at fire scenes. Residents can only benefit if the City takes the initiative to put their safety first

Joburg City Manager a scapegoat for Covid corruption or making way for cadre looting?

I note the abrupt resignation of the City’s City Manager, Dr Ndivhoniswani Lukhwareni, but I am not surprised. Earlier last month the ANC called a special Council meeting to discuss a ‘human resources report’ but this was cancelled at the 11th hour by the Speaker who claimed that a ‘settlement’ had been reached with the official in question. Immediately after this sitting Dr Lukhwareni suddenly went on ‘special leave’ but the rumours were that he was never going to return.

The statement by the Mayor confirms this, and I repeat my concerns that he is being made the scapegoat for Geoff Makhubo’s failings in the City, which includes over R400 million in corrupt Covid-expenditure, along with service delivery falling apart. In an election year we have to worry that Dr Lukhwareni is being pushed aside to make way for a more compliant cadre who will enable looting so as to fund the campaign of the morally and financially bankrupt ANC.

The DA in Joburg will oppose the settlement agreement with Dr Lukhwareni and any attempt by the ANC to install one of their cadres into this vital position. We stand for a clean, well-run City which puts residents first.