R1.1 billion to fix Charlotte Maxeke Hospital

The Gauteng Health Department has estimated that it will cost about R1.1 billion to fix the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital (CMJH) after the fire on 16 April this year, and is requesting the Solidarity Fund to assist.

This was disclosed last week at a meeting of the Gauteng Legislature Health Committee.

No date has yet been given, however, for the hospital to be fully repaired even if the money is obtained for the necessary building work.

I doubt whether R1.1 billion can be obtained from the Solidarity Fund which was set up at the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic last year. The Department itself is expecting no more than R200 million.

About R100 million is being taken from the normal maintenance budget in this financial year to meet the safety requirements to open the structurally sound parts of the hospital.

Two of the 5 blocks in the hospital have extensive damage that will need additional funds.

Extra funding should be sought from the national treasury as there is no provision in this year’s provincial budget to do the job.

The DA has proposed a private/public partnership with a tight deadline to ensure that the hospital is fully re-opened as soon as possible. This is because the Department of Infrastructure Development has proven incapable of doing any project on time and within budget.

This hospital was originally designed for 2000 beds, but fewer than 1100 beds were operational at the time of the fire.

Funding from the private sector should be explored to expand the bed capacity of the hospital so that a section can be leased to a private hospital group to provide extra income for public patients.

This was the original intention of the Folateng wards which were supposed to generate income by taking private patients. It failed dismally because the Gauteng Health Department tried to run it instead of contracting it to a private provider.

We need a creative solution to get CMJH up and running as thousands of patients are suffering with every delay due to avoidable incompetence.

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

DA’s holistic development approach only solution to sustain extended operation hours at Princess Clinic

Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Mayoral Candidate for the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Mpho Phalatse, met and engaged with the residents of Princess Clinic in Roodepoort who are in dire need of the Clinic’s operating hours being extended to the initial 15 hours per day.

Abel van Wyk, a community representative of Ward 71 and a former EPWP worker at Princess Clinic,said the extended clinic hours that were initially implemented in 2016 were welcomed as a great relief for the residents as they were able to go to the clinic after working hours. This meant that they did not have to take time off work and risk losing their jobs.

Van Wyk stated that the extended clinic hours were cut by four hours and now started from 7:00 am to 18:00 pm and as such residents were now facing difficulties because they are unable to seek medical services after 18:00 pm.

Residents are pleading with the City of Johannesburg Health Department to return the original extended operating hours. Their community is struggling to access medical services particularly in case of emergency as ambulances are unable to go inside the informal settlement because they fear for their safety. Van Wyk stated that there are no streetlights and this is posing a safety risk for both the ambulances and the residents.

The extended operating hours at Princess Clinic were from 07:00 am to 22:00 pm Monday to Friday and on Saturdays from 07:30 am to 13:30 pm. However, these were reviewed because of security concerns as there were cases where clinic staff members were hijacked during the night.

The DA is proposing a holistic development approach around the area to sustain the extended operating hours at Princess Clinic. The following is needed: electrification of the informal settlements and the installation of streetlights; effective and adequate police visibility and access to reliable transport after hours.

Extending hours of operating service at Princess Clinic without implementing other needed support services will not be sustainable.

When the DA takes over the City of Joburg from the ANC-led administration after the local government elections, we will implement our holistic development approach to ensure that our residents have sustainable access to quality healthcare and enhanced livelihoods. Our residents’ safety and security, access to basic services and quality health care are of importance to us and we commit to improving their living conditions.

DA Women’s Network welcomes selection of Randall Williams as Tshwane Mayoral candidate

The Democratic Alliance Women’s Network (DAWN) welcomes the appointment of Randall Williams as the DA’s Mayoral candidate for the City of Tshwane.

Williams is the current Mayor for the City of Tshwane and has demonstrated his commitment to serving the people of Tshwane by fast-tracking the restoration of service delivery after the city was plunged into turmoil when the Council was unlawfully dissolved and placed under administration last year.

Mayor Williams’ track record is a foundation from where he will continue to build and improve the municipality’s positive growth and economic development.

The DA Women’s Network in Tshwane pledges its support and will rally behind him as the DA’s Mayoral candidate to bring further stability and growth to this capital city of South Africa.

The DA has already started laying the groundwork as we rally support towards the local government elections. We will continue to engage with communities across the city to build a city we can all be proud of.

The DA Women’s Network also wishes to congratulate the DA’s City of Ekurhuleni’s Mayoral candidate, Refiloe Nt’sekhe, and the City of Johannesburg’s Mayoral candidate, Mpho Phalatse.

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

Gauteng spends R64 million on corruption investigations but Premier won’t release reports

The Gauteng Provincial Government has spent R63.8 million on 54 reports to investigate suspected corruption, but not a single one of these reports has been made public despite claims that the recommendations made have been implemented or are in the process of being implemented.

This is revealed by Premier David Makhura in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Makhura, the investigations were done by 23 forensic and audit companies over the last four years. These companies were chosen from a panel of 35 approved service providers after following an open tender process.

Gobodo Forensic and Investigative Accounting was paid R9.1 million for four reports, broken down as follows:

• School Nutrition Programme – R4.6 million
• George Mukhari Hospital – R2.9 million
• Metrofile in the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) – R990 000
• Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs – R576 000

Other companies that have scored highly from expensive investigations include Bowmans Gilfillan, which was paid R7.4 million for three investigations, Deloitte was paid R6.1 million for three investigations, and Sekela Xabiso was paid R5.3 million for 5 investigations.

Notable investigations include the following:

• Security Tenders in the Health Department
• Foodbanks in the Department of Social Development (DSD)
• Dignity packs (DSD)
• Places of safety (DSD)
• Combi courts (Department of Sports)
• Microsoft (DHS)
• School uniform
• Nepotism (Office of the Premier)

The completed reports make a total of 1226 recommendations, of which 394 have been fully implemented, 312 are in progress and the remaining 520 are being dealt with in meetings between the Premier and each MEC and Head of Department on an ongoing basis.

Makhura says that 162 criminal cases have been referred to law enforcement agencies, 515 officials have been referred to disciplinary processes, and 128 civil claims have been instituted.

Furthermore, “steps are underway to ensure the recovery of R600 million lost from irregular conduct, unethical behaviour, corrupt practices or negligence.”

The burning issue is why none of these costly reports have been made public despite repeated promises that this will be done.

There needs to be far more transparency on this so that we can judge for ourselves whether appropriate action has been taken. Why are 520 recommendations still not acted on and why are no MECs held accountable for all this deplorable corruption?

I doubt whether much of the R600 million lost will be recovered as previous attests to recoup losses have failed dismally. More than R1 billion of irregular and wasteful expenditure has been written off already, including R723 million from the Department of Social Development, R124 million from Human Settlements and R83 million from Health.

Makhura’s big failure is that he has not prevented corruption in the first place. Money that is stolen or wasted is rarely recovered, which harms people in Gauteng who suffer from inferior services.

How can it be that people steal money from feeding schemes, dignity packs for schoolgirls, and places of safety?

The murder of health official Babita Deokaran shows how ineffectual Makhura has been in protecting whistleblowers and those who tried to spend money in the public interest.

The DA will continue to press the Premier to make all investigation reports public and ensure real accountability so that all rotten staff and politicians are removed and face justice in the courts.

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

Justice denied to tens of thousands of victims of crime due to an increase in the backlog of DNA tests in Gauteng

Justice has been delayed to thousands of victims of violent crimes due to an increase of DNA tests backlog. The backlog has doubled in Gauteng compared to the previous financial year.

The SAPS’s failure to timeously process DNA tests is causing this backlog and creating so much more unnecessary pain for victims, and the families of victims who wish for justice and to close a horrible chapter in their lives.

This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko, in an oral reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to MEC Mazibuko, there has been an increase in the backlog of DNA tests in Gauteng from 20 132 in 2019/20 to 46 595 in the 2020/21 financial year.

This is unacceptable and indicates that there was no work done or less work was done with regards to the DNA tests.

MEC Mazibuko stated that there is a recovery plan by the laboratory including working with the National Prosecuting Authority to prioritise urgent cases.

The recovery plan by the laboratory is ineffective, and it is evident through the number of backlogs of DNA tests in Gauteng.

The DNA tests backlog will result in delays in prosecutions, possibly leading to cases being struck off the roll due to no evidence produced in court.

MEC Mazibuko must liaise with her national counterpart, Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, to review the current laboratory recovery plan as it has not yet yielded positive results.

The DA demands that new measures are put in place to ensure that the backlog is cleared and that the DNA tests are completed in a timeous manner.

By reducing the DNA tests backlog, we will ensure that the police and NPA start working to bring justice to the victims and their families. Justice delayed is justice denied.

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

Small businesses and their employees go without income as Gauteng fails to pay over R7 billion in invoices

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is deeply concerned that the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) is taking longer than 30 days to pay invoices.

This is a worrying trend as it means those small businesses who may be waiting for payment is negatively impacted, and would not be able to pay their employees on time, leading to more financial frustration for their own families and households.

This information was revealed in a recent report released by National Treasury on non-compliance with payments of suppliers.

According to this report, 28% of invoices totalling R7 836 885 671,00 were paid after 30 days for the 2020/21 financial year. Gauteng has the second-highest number of invoices and the highest rand value of invoices not paid on time.

50% of invoices totalling R1 413 754 979,00 was older than 30 days that has not been paid on time.

Small businesses are already in dire straits due to the Covid-19 pandemic and now more recently the unrest and looting that spread through the country, particularly in Gauteng.

These businesses may then need to take out a bridging loan if their invoices are not paid in order to ensure that their employees are paid a weekly or monthly salary as agreed upon.

This is unacceptable as it may lead to small businesses then having to close their doors if this trend continues.

A DA-led Gauteng government will replicate what we are doing in Western Cape by ensuring that all invoices are paid within 30 days or less, as this is important to ensure that small businesses are not put in a position where they are unable to pay employees’ salaries.

In the Western Cape, the DA-led government has paid 98% of all invoices for goods and services within 30 days. In addition, this was the only province to not have any invoices older than 30 days outstanding by the end of the 2020/21 financial year.

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


DA welcomes extension for renewal of driver’s licences

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is ecstatic that our continuous pressure has resulted in the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula extending the deadline to the end of March 2022 for the renewal of vehicle licences that expired during the 2020 lockdown. 

This means that motorists who could not get slots to renew their licences are now able to remain legally on the road.  

While an extension has been granted, we are calling on motorists to still renew their licences as speedily as possible and not wait until the last minute to do so.  

We will continue to exert pressure on government to increase the capacity at licensing centres so that more motorists can be assisted with renewing their licences.  

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

Death of whistle-blower in PPE tender scandal an indictment on the Gauteng government

The failure of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to protect key whistle-blower, Babita Deokaran in the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) scandal is a clear indictment on the Gauteng government.

Babita, who was the Gauteng Department of Health’s Chief Director of Financial Accounting officer was brave and courageous enough to come forward with information on corruption in the PPE tenders, instead, she was rewarded with a hail of bullets.

This week I have written to the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation to assure them that we will continue to put pressure on the provincial government to release the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) reports on the various investigations they have undertaken in the province including that of the procurement of PPE in the province.

This is worrying and is a huge setback in the fight against corruption in government and the public sector.

It is clear that our country is being held hostage by an ingrained culture of corruption and criminality which has now reached the point of no return.

The rot in our government needs to be exposed and now is the time for all parts of society, civic organisations and political parties to unite against the scourge of corruption.

Babita’s death cannot be in vain, and the DA will continue to expose the rampant looting of our government departments and entities.

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

New Johannesburg water restrictions can be avoided in future by declaring substations, water reservoirs and towers as national key points

The City of Johannesburg’s bulk water supplier, Rand Water has today issued a notice of 20% water restrictions to Gauteng municipalities. This is due to the water demand consistently exceeding the water supply, while Rand Water has also experienced a power supply issue at their Zuikerbosh purification works yesterday, which has negatively impacted their Palmiet pumping system that feeds their Meyers Hill reservoir which supplies the South Hills tower.

The residents of Johannesburg have been constantly experiencing low to no water supply for days on end. This is on top of ageing substations that break down due to frequent loadshedding, causing further unplanned outages for residents.

There is a simple solution to this dilemma that can prevent such water shortages or unplanned outages in the future. National government must immediately declare all electrical substations, water reservoirs and towers as national key points. This would in effect, protect these critical infrastructure assets from Eskom-sponsored rolling blackouts, and further ensure a stable water supply during loadshedding and after loadshedding, while also protecting ageing substations from surges that cause their breakdowns.

My colleague in the Gauteng Legislature, Nico De Jager MPL, will continue pushing provincial government to engage with their national counter parts to action these solutions so that the City of Johannesburg can gain some sense of basic service delivery stability again.

The residents of Johannesburg need immediate action to prevent these two critical basic services from being hampered any further.

It is time to get basic services back on track for the residents of the Helen Joseph Hostel

Residents of the Helen Joseph Hostel in Alex Township have been left without electricity for two weeks, while gas stoves in the kitchens have had their supply stopped by the municipality. This is on top of the fact that these residents have not had running water for two years and now rely on the regular delivery of Jojo tanks to use for cooking and cleaning. 

These are just some of the service delivery failures I observed during my visit to the Hostel yesterday. During my walkabout, I was able to engage directly with some of the residents who were able to describe some of their hardships, especially the women residents who fear for their safety. With no electrical supply, the corridors of the Hostel remain dark during both day and night, while the main gate to the Hostel building has been damaged and now cannot be locked. These factors created a very unsafe environment for women residents, who are at risk of harassment or sexual assault by coming-of-age male residents.

With no running water, the bathrooms are in an appalling state.  Residents are forced to take a bucket to the Jojo tanks to get water for use in the bathrooms. This is a totally unacceptable situation for residents, especially during the Covid-19 era. 

 The cut to supply to the gas stoves in the kitchens have also compromised the livelihoods of some of the residents, who used the facilities to make vetkoek and sell within their communities.

 I have already had a phone call with the Mayor of Johannesburg on the services that the Municipality is obligated to supply to Hostel.  Mayor Matongo informed me that will follow up of these issues.

 I have also written to the Gauteng MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Lebogang Maile, requesting a face-to-face meeting to discuss how we can speed up the allocation of housing or conversion of the Hostel into family units.

These residents deserve so much more and their right to basic services cannot ever be ignored or delayed any further. 

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