DA calls on MEC Mazibuko to ensure safety of cyclists and athletes on Gauteng roads

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is calling on the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko to ensure the safety of cyclists and athletes on Gauteng roads.

This follows the brutal attack of a Springs local cyclist , Lucky Mokone who was attacked while cycling in Springs and was seriously injured.

This is one of many incidents where opportunistic criminals are increasingly targeting cyclists and athletes, yet the department is not doing enough to ensure their safety.

The DA calls on MEC Mazibuko to ensure police visibility and an increase in road patrols, especially along the hot-spots routes.

We also urge cyclists and athletes to ride and run in large groups and to ensure that no one is isolated during the training races.

Furthermore, we call on both MEC Mazibuko and Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR), Mbali Hlophe to urgently develop a safety plan to ensure the safety of cyclists and athletes. The routes used by cyclists and athletes are mostly known and should be patrolled on a regular basis.

The DA will also be tabling written questions to both MEC Mazibuko and MEC Hlophe to ascertain what safety measures are being put in place to ensure the safety of cyclists and athletes on our roads.


Gauteng’s Northern Corridor: Another failed promise by Premier Makhura

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has learnt that there are no pharmaceutical companies permanently operating from the Northern Corridor of the province, despite an undertaking by Gauteng Premier, David Makhura to do so in 2014.

In response to questions the DA tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, the MEC for Economic Development, Parks Tau, indicated that the Northern Corridor, is considered the hub of research, development and innovation.

But since 2014, when this was first mooted by Premier Makhura, nothing has been done by government to ensure that this corridor becomes fully operational.

The MEC claims that several companies have been assisted through incubation, but only lists four names, and does not adequately explain what assistance was received through the establishment of this corridor.

It is deeply concerning that to date no tangible effort has been made to develop and establish the pharmaceutical industry in this region.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, a world class pharmaceutical company located in the northern corridor would have been a game-changer for vaccine manufacturing, ultimately saving thousands of lives lost to the coronavirus.

The lengthy delays we currently face in the procurement of a vaccine could have been avoided had this ANC-led government lived up to the promises it made over seven years ago.

This pharmaceutical corridor is yet another example of the myriad of failed projects, ranging from aqua cities to Special Economic Zones, that have been dreamed up – but not implemented by Makhura’s failed administration.

MEC Lesufi not serious about eradicating asbestos schools in Gauteng

The Gauteng Department of Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi has failed to eradicate asbestos schools in the province. He constantly promises to replace all asbestos schools and classrooms with brick-and-mortar structures but to date this has not yet materialised.

According to MEC Lesufi, the department intends to replace 25 asbestos schools within the next five years and the remainder of the schools will be completed after the five-year period.

MEC Lesufi was responding to my written questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

A budget of R 38 811 000.00 has been allocated in this current financial year to replace 25 schools built predominantly of asbestos.

Of these 25 asbestos schools identified, only two are in the construction phase while ten are in the feasibility stage; six schools are in the inception stage; two schools are in the concept stage; three schools are in the design stage; one school is in the tender preparation stage and another one is in the retention stage.

This is the same number of schools that MEC Lesufi provided to me in a reply over five years ago and the timeframe given has been changing. Initial target was 2016 and then moved to 2022 but now it has changed again.

This clearly indicates that the department is not serious about eradicating asbestos schools in the province and cares little about the health and safety of both learners and teachers.

Money is not a challenge for this department as it has spent R450 million on deep cleaning schools in the province. Surely this money could have been used to replace asbestos schools with brick-and-mortar structures.

The Gauteng Department of Education should allocate more budget to school infrastructure. All asbestos schools must be demolished and rebuilt with brick-and-mortar structures before end of this current term of office.

For the longest time, the DA has been putting pressure on this department to eradicate asbestos schools. We have tabled several written and oral questions to both former MEC Barbara Creecy and current MEC Lesufi in the GPL as well as delivering numerous Member Statements in the House as a way of exposing the state of our schools.  A motion on school’s infrastructure was also tabled demanding that the department eradicate all asbestos schools in the province.

MEC Lesufi has on several occasions made promises to replace asbestos schools but the pace is very slow.

The department has failed to eradicate asbestos schools within the targeted time frame, the deadline of which was the end of November 2016.

We will submit our proposal during budget debates to put pressure on MEC Lesufi to fulfil his promises and to ensure that all asbestos schools and classrooms are demolished and rebuilt with brick-and-mortar structures before end of this term.


Urgent arrangements needed for Joburg Hospital cancer patients

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the planned return of patients to safe sections of the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital (CMJH) next week, but alternative arrangements for cancer patients need to be made urgently.

This is because the Radiation Oncology department is in the damaged section and will probably not re-open for patients for a number of months.

Steve Biko Hospital in Tshwane is the only other hospital that does radiation treatment, but they are already stretched with patients.

Lives will be put at risk if alternative arrangements are not made urgently for hundreds of CMJH cancer patients.

The Gauteng Health Department should expand capacity by organising cancer radiation treatment at the available machines in the evenings and over weekends.

They should also pay private hospitals to treat public patients for cancer.

Meanwhile, every effort should be made to speed up the repair of CMJH so that all specialist treatment can be resumed there as soon as possible.


Gauteng Local and District Municipalities submit unfunded budgets for 2021/22 financial year, putting service delivery in danger

Five out of six local municipalities in Gauteng, governed by the ANC, have submitted unfunded budgets for the 2021/2022 municipal financial year. Additionally, two district municipalities in the province have also provided unfunded budgets.

The only local municipality to have submitted a pro-poor budget is the DA-led Midvaal Local Municipality, which has a steady record of consistent sound financial management.

This information was revealed to me in a written reply to my questions tabled to the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Lebogang Maile. According to the MEC, the following seven municipalities have been compelled to develop credible action plans to improve the funding of their budgets:

  • West Rand District Municipality
  • Rand West City Local Municipality
  • Merafong Local Municipality
  • Mogale City Local Municipality
  • Sedibeng District Municipality
  • Emfuleni Local Municipality
  • Lesedi Local Municipality

Failure to adequately provide a sustainable budget that directly addresses basic services can have a devastating impact on residents. Some of the most blatant looting of public funds — while service delivery continues crumbling — often takes place within local municipalities.

Merafong is a case in point, where municipal services are delivered on a rotating basis between the wards, as there is not enough funding due to past mismanagement and corruption.

Having unfunded budgets at local municipal level has become common practice over the years.

It is clear that the above ANC-led municipalities care little about the needs of the people and fail to provide basic services on a regular basis.

Meanwhile Gauteng residents continue experiencing substandard service delivery or none at all, because the political leadership of these municipalities lack the expertise and political will to ensure that their yearly budgets are properly funded.

The Auditor-General’s (AG) report has consistently over the years painted an undesirable picture of billions of rand in funds allocated to municipalities being mismanaged “in ways contrary to the prescripts and recognised accounting disciplines”.

Yet we continue to see this trend, with no concerted effort being made by the governing party to implement the AG’s report and stem the flagrant abuse of ratepayers’ money, crippling the engines that drive local government, as well as the local economies.

DA calls for urgent investigation into allegations of Sedibeng top officials soliciting R1 million bribe

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is calling on the Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Lebogang Maile to urgently investigate allegations that Sedibeng top officials solicited a R1million bribe from Mafoko Security Patrols PTY (LTD).

The DA is in possession of a letter written by the Mafoko Security Patrol Regional Manager, Kgalaleo Frank Machete, dated 24th September 2020 addressed to the late Sedibeng District Municipal Manager, Stanley Khanyile.

The letter states that they are reporting the following Sedibeng officials; Motsoaledi Makhutle, who is now the Acting Municipal Manager, Kajal Wiese who is now the Acting Chief Financial Officer for Sedibeng District Municipality, as well as Motsomi Mathe and Thomas Mkaza who are no longer working at the Sedibeng District Municipality and are now working for a certain municipality in Free State.

It is alleged that on 20th April 2017 these officials held a meeting with members of Mafoko Security Patrols at Vereeniging Airport and then solicited a bribe of R1 million from Mafoko Security Patrols.

The officials entered into an agreement with Mafoko Security Patrols that the money will be paid back during the existence of the contract that Mafoko Security Patrols had with Sedibeng District Municipality.

Mafoko Security Patrols allegedly paid R800 000, 00 to Motsoaledi Makhutle and Kajal Wiese, the money delivered in two tranches of R500 000.00 and R300 000.00 in cash on two different dates.

Mafoko Security Patrols reported the matter to the late Municipal Manager, Stanley Khanyile after the contract had ended because they did not receive any payment from the officials as per their agreement.

A meeting was held with all the parties involved, including the Municipal Manager in November 2018, to find ways on how the money would be paid back to Mafoko Security Patrols.

The letter was a follow-up on the meeting requesting the Municipal Manager to intervene and ensure that Mafoko Security Patrols are paid back their money.

This is one of many examples of gross corruption that has been occurring and continue to occur in the Sedibeng District Municipality under the ANC-led administration.

This clearly indicates that Mafoko Security Patrol did not win all tenders in an open and transparent manner. Therefore, it is important that all tenders awarded by the Gauteng Provincial Government to this company be investigated to ensure that everything was done within the proper supply chain management process and that all treasury regulations were followed.

Should it be found that these allegations are true, all the officials involved must face severe consequences of their actions and Mafoko Security Patrols should be blacklisted from doing any business with government.

We will also be tabling questions to MEC Maile to ascertain what exactly transpired based on the allegations.

Merafong Municipality admits they cannot deliver basic services without the labour participation of residents

The Merafong City Local Municipality has inadvertently admitted to the public that they are unable to render basic services to the residents of the Municipality without the active labour participation of the residents.

An official advert issued by the ANC-led Municipality, calls on all residents in Wards 17 and 18 to take part in implementing a service delivery programme, that includes street light maintenance, pothole patching, grass cutting, and clearing of illegal dumping, among other activities.

To call on residents to assist in the physical provision of municipal services, of which they already pay for, is an admission by the Municipality that they have failed in their constitutional obligations of delivering basic services to the residents.

It now seems that the only way forward for the Municipality, is that residents offer their free labour.

This would not be the first time that residents found themselves doing the work themselves. Residents of Merafong, in collaboration with Democratic Alliance councillors have already started fixing their community, by filling in potholes, cutting grass, and cleaning streets. See pictures here, here and here.

The ANC has only woken up now, realising it is an election year, and that they are at great risk of losing power, now that residents have shown the Municipality that they are no longer needed.

The work of Merafong residents is a lesson for all failing Municipalities; should you abandon the residents and leave them with little to no service delivery, they will eventually abandon you and find their own way to make their community better.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

DA calls for immediate suspension of Gauteng COGTA Spokesperson over murdered gay men tweet

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is calling for the immediate suspension of the Gauteng Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Spokesperson, Castro Ngobese over his inappropriate and homophobic tweet on murdered gay men.

This follows Ngobese retweeting an article titled, “Four gay men have been murdered in South Africa in less than a month” and responding with a fist emoji, followed by “Aluta Continua” meaning the struggle continues.

His tweet came as a surprise and angered many people on social media who reacted with disappointment, considering that he is a government official.

This clearly indicates that there is a great need for sensitising training of all Gauteng Provincial Government officials on LGBTQIA+ issues.

Furthermore, instead of underspending on training budgets, departments can use money more wisely by training officials about transgender issues and how to respect members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

CoGTA MEC, Lebogang Maile’s request of Ngobese to write a formal letter explaining himself, is a weak and insufficient response. Ngobese must be suspended with immediate effect pending disciplinary actions. He must also undergo anger management training.

The DA believes that government officials should lead by example in building a more inclusive South Africa for all who live in it by promoting and protecting the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community, in terms of section 9 of the Constitution.

We will continue to monitor how MEC Maile is going to deal with this issue to ensure that it does not repeat again.

Gauteng Government resolves to issue liquor licenses to liquor outlets located closer to schools, churches, community amenities

The Gauteng Provincial Government has resolved not to subject shebeens to the provisions of section 23 of the Gauteng Liquor Act and other strict provisions, in order to assist shebeen operators, and promote open and legal liquor trade.

This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Parks Tau in a written reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

MEC Tau states that pre-inspections are not conducted, and permits are granted to shebeens located closer to places of learning, places of worship, other community amenities and similar liquor outlets.

Virginia Tavern which was established after the Klipspruit West Secondary School is one of the examples. This tavern, which is situated on San Salvador Street in Klipspruit West; opposite Klipspruit West Secondary School was granted a shebeen permit on 17 August 2006 by the Gauteng Liquor Board in terms of Section 141(1)(m) of the Gauteng Liquor Act of 2003.

MEC Tau states that the tavern was not inspected before issuing a permit because the Act does not make provision for inspection, as shebeens are exempted from complying with the provisions of the Act.

It is deeply concerning that the Gauteng Liquor Board continuously approves liquor licenses that are against the Gauteng Liquor Act.

The Gauteng Liquor Act, Section 23(3) states that notice of the application shall include the full names of the applicant, intended trading name, identity number or registration number of the applicant, full address and location of the premises, the type of licence applied for, names and nature of educational institutions, names of and distances to similar licensed premises and places of worship within a radius of one (1) kilometre from the premises.

Section 30(3) further states that “The Board shall grant an application in the case of premises not situated within a radius of five hundred (500) metres in the vicinity of a place of worship, educational institution, similar licensed premises, public transport facility, or such further distance as the Board may determine or as may be prescribed from time to time.”

We should not be approving liquor licences that tempt learners of an educational institution who are under the age of 18 years.

One of the biggest social and health problems that we have as a nation is substance abuse, in particular alcohol abuse.

At the end of the day, it looks like almost all liquor licences applications are not subject to the Gauteng Liquor Act considering how many shebeens, bottle stores and other establishments operate within the radius as set out in the Act.

I will be writing further questions asking when these provisions were relaxed and to ascertain whether there were any amendments to the Act.

How can Joburg Hospital CEO also run Tembisa Hospital?

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital (CMJH), Ms Gladys Bogoshi, has a demanding job and now has to deal with devastating fire damage, but she also been the Acting CEO of Tembisa Hospital since February this year.

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

According to Mokgethi, Bogoshi is one of only two officials in the whole department who perform two jobs because they are acting in another position to their normal job.

In the case of Mr S Sithole, he is the Tshwane District Manager Emergency Medical Services, and he is also the acting Principal of the Lebone College of Emergency Care since June 2020.

Bogoshi was appointed as the Acting CEO of the Tembisa Hospital after the Health Ombudsman’s report on the death of Shonisani Lethole, which led to the suspension of the CEO Dr Lekopane Mogaladi.

Mokgethi says that “Both officials have the ability to manage both posts, there is no effect on performance, they possess both management and technical aptitude and the
capability to carry out both functions adequately.”

I do not share the MEC’s confidence that anyone can successfully run two large hospitals.

Questions are also now raised about Bogoshi’s own competence and her accountability for the fire at CMJH.

Both CMJH and Tembisa Hospital need a full-time CEO who can concentrate on fixing the deep-rooted problems at both hospitals.