Deafening silence on reopening of Charlotte Maxeke Hospital despite patients’ suffering

The Democratic Alliance is most concerned at the deafening silence from both national and provincial government to the pleas to speedily reopen all sections of the fire-damaged Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital.

Lives are at risk as thousands of patients have lost access to specialist services including heart, cancer, mental health, and respiratory diseases.

Despite promises that the Accident and Emergency Unit would reopen this month, patients are still redirected mostly to the casualty at Helen Joseph Hospital which cannot cope with the extra patients who spend days sitting in chairs before being admitted to a ward.

Mental patients are also suffering with the loss of 40 beds in the hospital’s psychiatric unit.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has not responded to the open letter that Professor Adam Mahomed, the hospital’s Head of Internal Medicine, sent to him in December last year concerning this “national crisis” which infringes the constitutional right to health care.

Another disappointment is that Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi has failed to give a clear timeline for the reopening of all services at the hospital.

The continuing closure is a terrible blow to health services in Gauteng. I fear that many cancer and heart patients in particular are dying, and the backlogs for operations are growing alarmingly.

National treasury should make extra funds urgently available for this hospital which treats patients from other provinces as well.

I have little faith, however, that the dysfunctional Gauteng Infrastructure Development Department has the expertise to speedily repair the hospital.

The best way forward would be a private/public partnership to ensure that money is properly spent so that all patient services are restored as soon as possible.

DA lays charges of assault against ANC councillors

Democratic Alliance (DA) Councillor Cindy Billson has laid criminal charges against ANC councillors for intimidation and assault during a council meeting on Friday 28th January. See photo.

Cllr Billson was struck by a water bottle, suffered verbal abuse, intimidation and unwanted touching.

A number of councillors also attempted to grab Cllr Billson’s phone whilst she was taking photos and videos of their disruption of the Council meeting proceedings. This was an attempt to destroy any evidence of their boorish behaviour.

The incident occurred in the early hours of Friday, after a prolonged Council meeting that started on Thursday which was held at Tshwane House.

The actions by the ANC councillors perpetuates the ill-treatment of women in the workplace and gender-based violence.

The ANC caucus left their seats to run amok in the Council chamber, they started by focusing their unprovoked attacks against ActionSA councillors and spread it to the other coalition partners’ benches.

Cllr David Farquharson assisted Cllr Billson in opening a case of assault, intimidation and crimen injuria at the Pretoria Central Police station.

The DA wishes to relay thanks to the SAPS for the professional and sympathetic manner in which they handled her complaint, we hope there will be an investigation to bring the perpetrators to account.

The DA is committed to growing a positive, democratic partnership with its coalition partners and opposition parties in Tshwane.

MEC Lesufi’s failure to fix ageing infrastructure denies learners access to a conducive learning environment

A block of 10 classrooms at Sekampaneng Primary School in Temba, Hammanskraal are not in use as one classroom has collapsed on Monday while others are in a waterlogged area. While some of the classroom’s walls have cracks and pose a safety risk for both learners and teachers, leaving the school in a dire state.

This school, which was built by the community, is old and dilapidated and was built in a waterlogged area that has resulted in the collapse of some classrooms.

Photos can be accessed here_ here _ here _

The school has over 2400 learners; the classrooms are severely overcrowded and not conducive for learning and teaching. It is unacceptable as our learners are being denied the dignity of learning in an adequate environment.

This situation has arisen because of the department’s failure to fix our school infrastructure and to conduct regular oversight and monitoring of our schools.

The DA demands that the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi must provide the school with temporary mobile classrooms to ensure that learning and teaching continue in a conducive environment without any disruptions.

We further advise the MEC to conduct soil testing at this school to ensure that temporary mobile classrooms are in an area that is not saturated with water.

It is the responsibility of the department to eradicate all the ageing infrastructure and ensure that our schools have adequate classrooms, learning materials and equipment.


The DA is urging MEC Lesufi to attend to this matter urgently as learners are already denied access to quality basic education due to rotational learning and teaching system.

Garankuwa SAPS’ failure to respond promptly to the 10111-emergency crime line puts residents’ safety at risk

The lives and livelihoods of Garankuwa residents in Tshwane are under threat as Garankuwa police station officers are unable to respond swiftly to the 10111-emergency crime line due to continuous power outages at the police station.

The Garankuwa police station has been without electricity for several months, dating as far back as October 2021, when an allegedly the cables feeding electricity from an Eskom sub-station was severely damaged and stolen. This resulted in the police station, court and mortuary being left in the dark.

It is alleged that Eskom is refusing to repair this sub-station or restore the electricity connection to the police station, although electricity to the court and the mortuary was restored. This matter has been escalated to the provincial department for assistance and for urgent intervention but with no success.

This situation is affecting the police station’s operational services and putting the safety of residents and police officers who specifically work night shifts at risk. The ongoing electricity outage has resulted in the station not being able to connect its computers and therefore it also has no access to the 10111 helplines. This means, that the station cannot effectively respond to the calls received on this emergency helpline.

The DA has been informed that the station managed to obtain a generator to assist police officers to continue with their work, however, they are unable to purchase fuel for the generator and in some instances, they have had to purchase the fuel with their own personal funding, due to the lack of support from the provincial government to solve the matter.

Police officers are further forced to use their own personal cell phones as the only means of contact to get their job done as the phone lines are also disconnected due to the continuous outage. This is not fair towards any officer and not sustainable as these numbers are not public, and once again unreachable to the public.

There is a need for an urgent intervention to restore electricity and this simply cannot be delayed any further.

I have written to the SAPS Gauteng Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko and the Head of Department for Community Safety requesting an urgent intervention to ensure that electricity is restored immediately and that the police station is restored to its full operations without any fear or prejudice to any of the local officers.  It is the responsibility of the SAPS to ensure that all its police stations are adequately equipped with all the basic necessary resources to ensure the safety of residents.

We will continue to engage the provincial government and monitor the situation to ensure that the electricity is restored as a matter of urgency.

Success! DA pressure results in the allocation of R300 million to address Benoni’s water and sewage challenges

Following several petitions initiated by residents of the area and pressure from the DA, we are pleased to announce that the R300 million promised at the petition hearing by the National Portfolio Committee of Water and Sanitation and Human Settlements has been allocated to the City of Ekurhuleni to address the ongoing water interruption and sewage overflow challenges in Benoni.

The existing sewer line that was installed years ago was extremely perforated due to a lack of maintenance and decay, resulting in raw sewage into the wetlands, streets and homes of residents.

The DA welcomes the oversight visit conducted by the Portfolio Committee of Human Settlements with the City of Ekurhuleni and the commitment they made to build a new sewer line in the area. See attached photos.

During the visit, the DA also highlighted the urgent need for the Water Use License which was hampering the implementation of work around the wetland on Marignane Street, Bonaero Park (Poo Lake) and requested the Chairperson and Committee to assist in expediting the issuing of this license so that the construction of the sewer line can be completed timeously.

The DA commends members of the community who took the time to sign petitions. This was especially useful in putting pressure on the Department to urgently intervene and provide resolutions to the ongoing sewage problems.

The DA will continue to monitor the construction of this sewer line to ensure that construction is completed timeously.

Cash-strapped Emfuleni Municipality provisions money for political positions

Note to Editors: Please find the attached soundbite by Cllr Tebogo Tlhokwe, the DA Caucus Leader in Emfuleni Local Municipality.

The ANC in Emfuleni Local Municipality has taken it upon themselves to appoint ten Executive Assistants to the Members of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) and nine researchers to the political parties represented in Council.

This decision comes at the detriment of providing service delivery and as the cash-strapped municipality struggles to pay service providers and creditors to keep the municipality functional.

The municipality has no money to pay for service delivery fundamentals like replacement of transformers, maintenance of infrastructure and yet they are willing to spend at least R15 million yearly on these positions.

The municipality is currently running on an unfunded budget with no sustainable cash flow.

The municipality is struggling to pay Eskom and Rand Water as the accumulated debt currently stands at R5 billion. There are several other creditors that the municipality owes and yet they are willing to add further financial constraints through unnecessary positions.

If these positions are needed then we do not need the Executive Directors as they should already serve as advisors to the MMCs. The municipality already has a bloated staff complement, and yet the ANC and its coalition partners want to add more staff.

The DA tried without success to advise them against this exercise as there are key positions such as Risk Manager and Internal Auditor that remain vacant. The municipality has been warned by both the Chief Audit Executive and the Auditor-General to fill those posts but to date, they have not been filled.

The DA rejects this endeavour of cadre deployment at the expense of the community of Emfuleni.

The R15 million that has been proposed should be redirected towards improving service delivery needs such as the maintenance of municipal vehicles, repairing potholes and taking care of the municipal infrastructure.

MEC Hlophe spends R7 million on a three-hour celebratory event while Gauteng athletes and artist’s struggle

Many Gauteng artists and athletes have lost their livelihoods and have been forced into unemployment because of the Covid-19 lockdown, yet the Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR), Mbali Hlophe spent R7 million on a three-hour Gauteng Sports Awards event.

The DA has been reliably informed that the department has spent R7 million on the 2021 Gauteng Sports Awards despite the DA cautioning the department on excessive spending on this annual event. There was nothing spectacular about this event as guests were served a three-course meal with a soft drink or juice and only three renowned artists performed at the event.

The money spent on the Gauteng Sports Awards could have been used to provide the Covid-19 relief grant to 1166 athletes and artists at a rate of R6000 each.

For far too long, the DA has been calling on the department to reprioritize its budget to ensure that the money is allocated to render services to our people instead of wasting money on celebratory events.

In the 2019/2020 financial year, the department spent R9,494,000,00 on the Gauteng Sports Awards and, since the 2012/2013 financial year to the 2020/2021 financial year, it has spent over R61 million on this annual event. This ridiculous excessive spending by the department is unacceptable because we still have libraries across the province that do not have access to reliable internet. This money could have been used for service delivery and not for a one-day event.

While the DA supports the honouring of our athletes as it motivates them and inspires our youth to take part in sports, we do not agree with excessive spending on this annual event considering the suffering of residents during this time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This event can be held at any one of the many government venues or community stadiums available instead of paying for expensive venues and wasting money on food and beverages. The department can also hire local artists to perform to showcase their talents instead of hiring renowned artists.

The DA will not hesitate to hold MEC Hlophe to account for the department funds to be allocated according to priorities and for the benefit of all our residents, not a few individuals who have access to the department tenders. We also demand a breakdown of how R7 million was spent on this event considering that it was an in-door event and there is a limitation in terms of the number of people who can attend such events due to Covid-19 regulations.

DA Tshwane Caucus pledges support to the newly elected Speaker of the City of Tshwane

The DA Caucus in the City of Tshwane wishes to congratulate the newly elected Speaker, Councillor Marunwa Makwarela, from one of our coalition partners, COPE, in the multi-party coalition.

Makwarela was elected today, Thursday, 20 January 2022, during a special Council meeting in the City of Tshwane Council Chambers at Tshwane House.

The Council meeting was very productive and concluded successfully.

The DA caucus wishes to pledge our support to Councillor Makwarela and the Office of the Speaker.

The coalition partners worked very closely together in preparation for this meeting and the DA is confident that this first successful Council meeting will strengthen the coalition as we work to bring and improve services for the people of Tshwane.

Gauteng cancer crisis will cost more lives than Esidimeni

The lives of more than 2000 cancer patients are at risk as they face a long wait for treatment in Gauteng public hospitals.

This cancer crisis was brought to the attention of Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in November last year by the Cancer Alliance and Treatment Action Campaign, but the Gauteng Health Department has yet to respond with effective action.

I am most concerned at the 72 vacancies at the Radiation department of the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital, which is also plagued by broken and outdated machinery. They urgently need the following machinery to cut the alarming treatment backlogs:

  • 2 small Linac machines
  • 2 HDR Brachy machines
  • 1 MRI Linac machine

More than 1000 men with prostate cancer are on the list for radiation treatment, but many of them will suffer terribly and die because they have to wait as long as five years.

There are also about 500 women with breast cancer waiting for more than a year for radiotherapy.

Another 300 women wait between 4 to 6 months for cervical cancer treatment.

If nothing is done urgently, there will be far more cancer deaths that could have been avoided than the 144 mental patients who died in the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

As the tender processes for new radiation machines are extremely slow, the best solution is a private/public partnership to save lives by drastically cutting the treatment backlogs.

There are already discussions with the Netcare Hospital Group to assist with treatment of public cancer patients, but Treasury has not made funds available to take it further.

The Democratic Alliance calls on the Gauteng Provincial Government to urgently adopt solutions to save the lives of hundreds of cancer patients

Department of Water and Sanitation must urgently tackle Sedibeng Regional sewer scheme challenges

Note to Editors: Please find attached pictures here, here, here, here and here. See videos here and here

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes with concern the re-appointment of the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation as the implementing agent for the Sedibeng Regional Sewer Scheme.

The Department was previously appointed to oversee these projects and there was little visible progress.

The pollution of the Vaal Dam, Vaal River and various tributaries cannot continue if we are to safeguard our potable water supplies for Gauteng, the Free State and Lesotho.

The sewer spillages, particularly in the Emfuleni Local Municipality’s area of jurisdiction, have become disastrous, with many pump stations being more offline than on, and the Waste Water Treatment Plants, still undergoing upgrades, being under-capacity as the sewage does not reach them as a result of the failing pump stations.

Pools and rivers of sewage are a daily occurrence with some having become permanent features.

In areas of Vereeniging, some residents who have sewer lines running through the back of their properties, have despaired from the constant flow of sewage into their properties, and have dug trenches to channel the sewage onto the road, which poses a health risk, and also causes potholes and general degradation of the road surface.

The DA is also concerned with the political connections that the Rand Water CEO, Sipho Mosai, has to the Sedibeng District Municipality. There is a massive conflict of interest as the appointment of sub-contractors and local labour was done under a cloud of suspicion with local community members believing that to be employed or to receive a contract requires an ANC membership card.

Mosai’s wife, Andiswa Mosai, was also the Speaker of Sedibeng District Municipality until November 2021 and remains a councillor in the ANC caucus.

For years now, the DA has been demanding action on the Sedibeng Regional Sewer Scheme, putting pressure on the Emfuleni Council, Sedibeng District, with the various Ministers responsible for Water and Sanitation, including Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, Lindiwe Sisulu and now Minister Senzo Mchunu. We also challenged the Deputy President and the President himself on the issue.

The DA in the Vaal Region now calls on the Department of Water and Sanitation as well as Rand Water to tackle this massive problem with urgency and with the best sub-contractors and workers, regardless of their affiliation, and to spend every cent allocated to this project to ensure prompt and effective improvements to the sewer network.