Cllr Vasco da Gama and Cllr Belinda Kayser-Echeozonjoku to serve residents of Eldorado Park

Residents of Ward 17 and 18 which covers Eldorado Park can rest assured that they will not be left without proper representation in Council – Cllr Vasco da Gama and Cllr Belinda Kayser-Echeozonjoku will be taking care of you. Cllr da Gama has served the City of Johannesburg as a Councillor for over 20 years and was previously the Speaker of Council. Cllr Kayser-Echeozonjoku has served as a councillor for three years and is the DA’s Shadow MMC for Community Development.

Cllr da Gama will serve Ward 17 and Cllr Kayser-Echeozonjoku will serve Ward 18 until the by-elections which will likely be in May 2021. At this election residents can count on the DA to put forward candidates who works towards the DA vision for Johannesburg as a well-run, caring City which puts the needs of residents first.

Residents can contact Cllr da Gama on 0670281589 and, while Cllr Kayser-Echeozonjoku can be contacted on 0849700509 and

Johannesburg North in dire need of additional schools due to increasing new developments in the area

Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) conducted oversight inspections at three schools in Cosmo City, and one school in Northriding, and discovered that there is a dire need of additional schools in Cosmo City due to overcrowding in classrooms.

Despite the fact that there is a rotational learning and teaching system, the number of learners in classrooms remains too high. This also makes it difficult for learners to adhere to the health protocols such as social distancing.

While Cosmo City Primary School 2 has a capacity of 1200 learners, they currently accommodate more than 2125 learners as they continue to allow admission. Cosmo City Primary School 1 has a capacity of 1080 but currently have 1765 learners. Cosmo City Secondary School is also overcrowded with 2000 learners.

These schools are in dire need of additional mobile classrooms, however there is not enough land to place these classrooms, leaving the school with no choice but to use sports facilities as learning spaces.

The major challenge is that there are only eight public schools in Cosmo City, four being primary schools and four being secondary schools. As the area continues to expand with new housing developments, there is a need for additional schools to accommodate the number of learners in the area.

Furthermore, safety and security remains a challenge for Cosmo City Secondary School, as three burglaries have already taken place, where 52 computers and three laptops had been stolen.

The DA calls on the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi to ensure that his department reduces underspending by ensuring that they build more schools in Johannesburg North to avoid overcrowding in classrooms.

We also call for an urgent co-operation between the provincial and local government so that proper planning can be done to accommodate the demand of more schools in the area as a result of new developments.

Makhura prioritised party over province, at the expense of service delivery

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng looks forward to the debate and vote on our motion of no confidence (MONC) against Premier, David Makhura in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature tomorrow, 2nd March 2021.

As the Official Opposition, it is critical for the DA to represent the residents of Gauteng who have been negatively affected by Makhura’s failed government. Further to this, the DA has a duty to hold those in government to account when they do not deliver on their promises.

Over half of the promises Makhura made in his first 100 days in office, remain unfulfilled. These include failing to lease land and unutilised buildings to businesses that would result in job creation; failing to build a partnership with the Taxi industry and municipalities to transform taxi rank facilities to become vibrant economic nodes in all townships and CBDs; and failing to fill all hospital CEO posts.

This clearly demonstrates that Makhura was a man of all talk, but no action. Instead of delivering on his promises to the people of Gauteng, Makhura and his government delivered scandal after scandal.

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; and last year alone saw widescale Personal Protective Equipment tender corruption, wasteful school deep cleaning expenditure, and the continuous systemic collapse of municipalities like Emfuleni and Merafong.

The only tangible explanation that one can draw from this disaster of a term for Makhura is that governing for the people of Gauteng was never his primary objective.

The evident case in point was the illegal dissolution of the Tshwane Municipal Council last year. Never before have we seen a Provincial Executive move so quickly to illegally remove an opposition party from government. All the while, this government continued to work at a snail’s pace in addressing failing municipalities where the ANC governed. The worst of this is that Makhura did not act in accordance with spirit of the Constitution or for the residents of Tshwane by stopping the dissolution, but instead encouraged it. This resulted in more wasteful expenditure by section 139 administrators, who left the municipality in a worse state compared to when they seized control. It took a High Court ruling to prove how government compromised the Constitution by instituting an illegal intervention.

Makhura’s only objective since the start of his term, was to serve his party over the province. Every decision and action has been considered with the ANC first in mind. The residents cannot have a Premier who operates as such. This is why the DA’s MONC is critical. It is the first democratic step in holding this failing Premier to account.

No leadership in Joburg to prevent Covid corruption

The latest report on Covid expenditure in the City of Johannesburg reveals that there is a complete lack of leadership by Mayor Geoff Makhubo. From the start of lockdown in March 2020 City officials have used the cover of this pandemic to systematically loot hundreds of millions while the Mayor’s only excuse is that he didn’t know better, there weren’t proper controls in place, that he’s still in the dark as to how these millions were spent, and that they’re waiting for more reports before they take action against officials.

In July 2020 we were warned by internal auditors that out of R600 million there was R400 million in suspicious expenditure, and now seven months later the total figure has been changing to R412 million, R354 million, and now R265 million. The DA has had to resort to threats of walking out of Council to get the Covid expenditure reports tabled, and when we eventually get them at the 11th hour they are always a confusing mess of figures
that don’t add up, are always changing from one report to the next, and show that there are no consequences for this blatant corruption.

You can’t claim that R3000 for a 100ml bottle of sanitiser, R5000 on a mask, or R5 million fogging an empty building is fine because this was a disaster, we weren’t prepared for, or that there were no controls in place. National Treasury was quick to provide guidelines on pricing for PPE and emergency procurement, and the Department of Health issues advice on appropriate responses, of which fogging or “deep-cleaning” was flagged as being ineffective. Yet Mayor Makhubo still wants to claim that he’s waiting on expert advice, and that the
City didn’t have controls in place.

By April 2020 there was a plan in place which acknowledged National Treasury guidelines, and the Mayor claimed that a special committee was set up to manage Covid responses and spending. The Board of the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC) in May 2020 flagged the fogging and deep-cleaning contracts as highly suspicious and suspended the CEO And CFO while they conducted an investigation. The Mayor has since replaced the Board of JPC through an illegal process, and the investigation has gone quiet while JPC still spends millions of fogging and deep-cleaning.

In Friday’s Council sitting the Mayor gallantly suggested that the Covid expenditure reports be sent to the Section 79 oversight committees for interrogation, yet for nearly a year these committees have not received any reports to scrutinise, and the Mayor is a serial no-shower at the Section 79 Governance Committee which he is accountable to. I proposed a dedicated ad-hoc committee to specially deal with Covid corruption, but this was shot down.

It still doesn’t make any sense that officials who in charge of supply chain management think that they can get away with this abuse of residents’ money by claiming that they didn’t have the right controls in place – it takes common sense to know that you don’t appoint a one-month old catering company which isn’t on the Central Supplier Database to supply a 100ml bottle of sanitiser for R3000. Yet to date no action has been taken against these people.

This is a clear-cut case that there is no leadership or sense of accountability by Mayor Makhubo, who continues to shrug his shoulders or pass the buck when it comes to over R600 million. The DA stands for a clean, well-run city which residents of Johannesburg deserve. We will continue to demand that the Mayor comes clean and that corruption officials are fired.