Frustrated Mamelodi community denied access to sporting facility as HM Pitje Stadium upgrades delays

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is disappointed that the lack of progress with regards to the demolition and reconstruction of the dilapidated HM Pitje Stadium has caused children and sporting clubs in the community to seek alternatives venues such as Loftus Versfeld and Lucas Moripe Stadiums in Atteridgeville, at great commuting cost for themselves. 

 This has naturally caused unnecessary frustration for Mamelodi residents in Tshwane.

The HM Pitje Stadium which was once the pride of the Mamelodi community and a home of the CAF champions, Mamelodi Sundown, but is now a drug den and a safe place to harbour criminals, putting the lives of residents in danger. 

The Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR), Mbali Hlophe has indicated that the decision to demolish the stadium had been taken and was communicated to the residents during a stakeholder meeting on 27 February 2021. The demolition will take place in the current financial year, however there is no detailed timeline as to when this will happen.

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

According to the MEC, the estimated cost of the demolition is R20 million, and the reconstruction of the stadium remains a challenge as it is estimated that it will require R10 000 per seat for a new stadium.

This clearly indicates that the department has not yet budgeted for the reconstruction of the stadium yet there are aware that the communities are in dire need of proper sporting facilities such as this stadium, which will certainly nurture and develop young sporting talent from the grassroots level.

Furthermore, the department has underspent by R161.1 million for the 2020/21 financial year of which there is R844 000 irregular expenditure as a result of irregular appointments – money that could have been used to demolish and construct the stadium.

 This information was revealed in the department’s fourth quarter report for the said financial year.

The DA will continue exposing MEC Hlophe for dragging her feet on getting this stadium completed and will demand her to reprioritise the department’s expenditure plans to ensure proper budget allocation, focusing on the core mandate of the department of providing universal access to sports and facilities.

We will further write to MEC Hlophe and request time frames as to when the demolition process will begin and when the stadium will be reconstructed.

There are also media reports that Mamelodi Sundowns and the Motsepe Foundation is willing to assist the government to refurbish the stadium. I will also write to the club to ascertain what they are willing to assist with and facilitate an engagement between them and the department.

In our engagement with Motsepe foundation, our first priority is that we care about the people of Mamelodi and urge the residents to fully utilise and safeguard this facility and not to sell their only prime township sports asset away. We believe that our intervention will help to speed up the process of rebuilding the stadium to make it a wonderful facility to nurture talent to greater heights.

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Water security needed as Joburg hospitals suffer from water cuts

Water security measures are urgently needed for Gauteng public hospitals as patients suffer from persistent water failures by Johannesburg Water and Rand Water.

The Helen Joseph and Rahima Moosa hospitals have been worst hit by water cuts, but Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and Leratong Hospital have also been affected by the breakdown of water supply.

It is completely unacceptable that operations are cancelled, wards are smelly, and toilets are filthy because of the water shortage.

A nurse has described the state of a casualty ward “as if they slaughtered a cow in there.”

A doctor at Leratong Hospital said a patient died because they could not sterilise the instruments to save him.

Instead of dialysis for four hours, kidney patients at the Helen Joseph Hospital are only getting three hours or less.

The outpouring of assistance by private individuals and organisations in providing water to the hospitals is heartwarming.

This includes the initiative by Gift of the Givers to build a borehole at the Rahima Moosa Hospital.

Residents of Montana and Sinoville in Tshwane are also assisting after an appeal by DA Tshwane Clr Arnold van Niekerk, whose daughter is an intern at this hospital. He will be delivering 100 5-litre bottles of water to the hospital tomorrow.

But the prime responsibility for water security at hospitals lies with the Gauteng Health Department which has been slow to react to this crisis.

Water security at Gauteng hospitals has been neglected for too long. It needs to have priority along with fire security and power backup measures as state infrastructure continues to fail because of poor maintenance.

We can get this right with private/public partnerships that can provide speedy and innovative solutions to this water crisis.

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Gauteng residents jobless as SEZ implementation is delayed by Gauteng government

Over 34% of Gauteng job seekers are without work and cannot put food on the table for their families. The DA is concerned that the economic plight of our citizens is being ignored while obvious solutions to the problem is available to implement.

Every day when l drive through our roads across the province there are groups of people carrying boards looking for employment, many of them hold various scarce skills like carpentry and plumbing but battle to find work. Many Gauteng residents have also endured the horrifying experience of retrenchment in the past year due to the pandemic and lockdown.

Failure by the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) to create the correct environment for private and foreign investment in the province has contributed to these latest unemployment numbers. Covid-19 and the lockdown cannot be further used as the scapegoat for the failures of government.

Specialised Economic Zones (SEZs) plays a crucial role in alleviating unemployment but can only work if all SEZS are fully operational.

Currently there is only one SEZ that is fully operationally in Gauteng which is located at the OR Tambo International Airport, while the Vaal SEZ only exists on paper.

Where the DA governs in Tshwane, the Automotive hub is up and running and is not only giving South Africans job opportunities but has also attracted foreign investment to the province. During the construction phase, this hub created 8600 short-term jobs, a purposeful step in the right direction. In addition, a further 2000 direct jobs will be created by this SEZ to alleviate unemployment.

It is this record of good governance that we are working to bring to the entire residents of Gauteng. Getting all the SEZs in Gauteng operational is what is needed to curb the rising unemployment and poverty.

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ANC tables DA’s infrastructure motion which they voted against years ago

Madam Speaker,

It is now almost three years ago that the DA‘s motion on safeguarding critical infrastructure has been debated, a motion the ANC shot down and voted against. To see a similar motion being debated today gives me hope that the ANC have finally realised the major impact vandalism and sabotage has on the critical infrastructure in the province.


Critical infrastructure includes assets, systems, facilities, networks, and other elements that society relies upon to maintain national security, economic vitality, and public health and safety, and is it important that engagement at all spheres of government and industry is ensured to successfully foster mutual understanding and trust, whilst promoting information sharing and practical exchanges.

This is important if we want to ensure that we have an economy in Gauteng that makes it conducive for foreign investment so that more job opportunities can be created.

In addition, effective engagements will also ensure that a strong critical infrastructure security and resilience programme, based on collaboration and information sharing is in place and will yield the necessary results.

Covid-19’s impact on our economy and livelihoods of the most vulnerable in our province was and still is devastating, and to only now try and assess the impact and implication of sabotage and vandalism on our critical infrastructure, is a little too late for so many residents who have lost all confidence and trust in an incapable government.

PRASA, a public entity, wholly-owned by government, hardest hit by vandalism, and already in financial trouble as a result of irregular expenditure to the value of R21billion, now will have to fork out billions more to fix its vandalised infrastructure.


We also note the electricity infrastructure damage caused by Eskom’s impact of load shedding that costed the City of Tshwane R12,5million last year, while in the 2019/20financial year, it cost R232 million to fix similar damages.

In Merafong, residents are left without electricity for many days as the municipality is incapable of ensuring that critical infrastructure like substations, are properly secured. So, when load shedding hits, criminals strike and strip the substations of all cables, leaving Merafong residents in the dark longer than needed. Furthermore, grass surrounding these stations are not cut on regular basis, posing a risk to security personnel who are too scared to attend to faults at the substations as there is a great risk of criminals hiding among the long, unmaintained grass.

In Lenasia, during winter, when there is a high demand for electricity, residents are subjected to daily power cuts for periods of 6 to 13 hours a day, with some outages extending for many days. Extensive illegal connections in the area also contribute to these power outages. This problem is further exacerbated by the fact that no proper maintenance has been done in the area. This means that ageing infrastructure is prone to breaking, where residents are left without electricity.

The DA supports the establishment of a Provincial Protection Infrastructure Task Team but warns that despite having such a task team, we will not see results if a “put a plaster on the wound” strategy will be followed.

We need to face the real reasons why sabotage and vandalism has continued and intensified during this Covid-19 pandemic. For starters, it will help if politicians, senior officials, contractors and residents can once again be reminded what is meant by moral high ground – the status of being respected for remaining moral and adhering to and upholding a universally recognised standard of justice and goodness, the situation will be less dire, needing less intervention at the same time.

A DA-led government will ensure that proper maintenance of our ageing infrastructure takes place on a regular basis so that we are able to attract foreign investment as well as investment from local businesses, which would also possibly open the door to our municipalities being less reliant on Eskom. This motion opens the doors for all municipalities to take proper care of their infrastructure and to ensure that it is properly guarded at all times for the benefit of our residents.

Speaker, in closing, a growing economy is the frontline of the fight for inclusion. Without improving South Africa’s prospects, there can only be shared misery instead of shared prosperity. But in order for this to happen, this government has to become serious about protecting its critical infrastructure, less speaking, and actual implementation of security at these sites.

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Only 42% of covid-19 deaths officially recorded in Gauteng

The Gauteng Health Department has officially recorded 10 770 deaths from Covid-19 but acknowledges that this is only about 42% of the excess deaths figure that is estimated by the SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC).

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

According to Mokgethi, the discrepancy in the death figures is due to undiagnosed or unreported cases, and also delayed reporting of deaths.

She said that the extra deaths can be linked directly or indirectly to the Covid-19 epidemic, which includes those deaths arising from the impact on the health system as a whole.

 The department estimates that 13 756 deaths from Covid-19 in the province have not been picked up officially but is working on data clean-up and harmonisation in order to better reconcile the divergent figures.

The latest SAMRC figure of excess deaths in Gauteng is 26 802 from 3 May 2020 to 22 May 2021, which is more than double the department’s figure of 10 770.

This highlights the true extent of the suffering caused by this terrible epidemic, which includes the bereavement of relatives and economic devastation caused by the loss of breadwinners.

It is important to have an accurate record of Covid-19 deaths, which should spur the provincial government to prevent more deaths, and to ameliorate the suffering of those most affected by these deaths.

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Less money for struggling artists, athletes with service providers costing R16.5 million to administer Covid-19 relief grants

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is appalled to learn that the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (GSACR) has spent R16 546 200 on two service providers to administer the payment of R13 206 000 Covid-19 relief grants to the Gauteng athletes and artists.

It is extremely concerning that two service providers were paid such a ridiculous amount of money, which is higher than the amount individually paid out to artists and athletes. The jobs of the two entities enlisted to help administer grants must be audited to ascertain exactly how they used the millions of rand that was paid to them. Clearly this Covid-19 relief grant did not benefit the financially struggling Gauteng athletes and artists, but a few individuals, labelled as ‘department stakeholders’.

This was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Mbali Hlophe in a written reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to MEC Hlophe, the Covid-19 relief funds of R13 206 000 were paid from November 2020 to date to Gauteng athletes and artists. This means that 2201 athletes and artists have been paid R6000 each. While the relief grant is meant to ease the pressure off artists and athletes during this trying time, this amount could have been higher or included more recipients had the department negotiated a lower administration fee or simply facilitated the disbursement themselves.

There are still many artists and athletes in the province who are struggling to make ends meet and the utter lack of forward thinking by this department when it came to the distribution of the Covid-19 relief grant is unacceptable. 

Business Arts South Africa had received R9,946,200, and the Gauteng Sports Confederation had received R6,600,000 (both inclusive of the administration fee) for administering the payments for Gauteng athletes and artists.

While we understand that these two service providers play a critical role in the careers of artists and athletes, however, they should not have benefitted more than the artists themselves who are the sole beneficiaries of this grant.

The administration of the Covid-19 relief grant could have been done in-house by the officials of the department as a way of saving costs and ensuring that more artists and athletes could have benefitted. 

The DA will not hesitate to hold MEC Hlophe to account for the millions spent on service providers instead of the beneficiaries and will continue to put pressure on the MEC to utilise in-house officials to administer the Covid-19 relief funds. We will also keep pushing for a full investigation into the funds paid to the service providers until the truth is revealed on how the Covid-19 relief grant has been spent.

It is high time that taxpayers’ money is spent wisely to benefit our people who are in dire need of financial support, and not a few individuals who are directly connected or linked to the department.

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