DA supports nurses in Gauteng

The Democratic Alliance has sympathy for the frustration of nurses that led to yesterday’s march by the Democratic Nurses Organisation of SA (DENOSA) to Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s office.

They are right to be aggrieved by poor working conditions and short-staffing, which places unbearable strain on nurses who are the backbone of a decent health system.

It is inexcusable that there are unfilled nursing vacancies, and many newly-qualified nurses are unemployed after completing their community service.

DENOSA has also highlighted the late payments to suppliers which resulted in food and other shortages in hospitals.

And how can there still be nurses who are not being paid their salaries?

Despite projections of a huge future shortage of nurses, Gauteng is training too few nurses, and then fails to employ many of those who have qualified.

Premier Makhura promised eight years ago to “urgently” turn around the Gauteng Health Department with its non-stop scandals. It’s time he delivered!

DA urges parents to apply for the 2023 online admission to secure their children’s school placement

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng urges parents and guardians to apply for their children’s school placement on time to avoid the last-minute and late application process.

The 2023 online admission process for the Grades 1 and 8 will open on Friday, 22 July and closes on 19 August 2022.

Since the inception of this online system in 2016, parents experienced numerous problems like glitches in the system and officials manipulating gaps in the system to place their children.

This frustrated many parents who applied on time because their children were not appearing on the system.

Furthermore, the delays by parents in submitting their applications have resulted in many learners across the province missing months of schooling. In most cases, learners were placed in schools that have not been chosen by their parents.

The DA believes that if parents apply early, all the challenges which they confront during the process can be resolved before the closing date of the online admission process.

We also urge parents who do not have access to the internet to visit the nearest department regional office to be assisted with their online application.

The DA will monitor the opening of the online admission process to ensure that the process runs smoothly and will liaise with the department should parents continue to face any difficulties with the online system.

We will also continue to hold the department to account to ensure that parents who have followed all processes and applied on time get placement for their children in their preferred schools.

It is the department’s responsibility to ensure that all applications received before the closing date are processed within the stipulated timeframe.

Bara Hospital spends R3.4 million on diesel for generators

The Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital has spent R3.4 million on diesel for its emergency generators so far this year, a sharp increase from previous years due to the latest electricity cuts.

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

Last year the hospital spent R2.63 million on diesel for its 20 generators, and the previous year only R321 000.

All the generators are being serviced, with 12 of the 20 generators serviced to date. But there was one generator failure this year because its batteries failed.

It’s a pity the hospital has to spend so much money on diesel in order to keep essential functions going when power is cut.

The generators only provide power for emergency operations, so elective surgery has to be cancelled with devastating effects for patients on long waiting lists.

This strengthens the case for all public hospitals to be exempted from Eskom load-shedding.


DA is saddened by the passing of renowned poet Don Mattera

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is deeply saddened by the passing of the renowned poet and struggle icon, Don Mattera.

Mattera played a pivotal role in the Black Consciousness Movement and was banned for eight years, spending three years under house arrest.

In 2006, he received the Order of the Baobab for his outstanding contribution to literature and journalism.

Mattera helped form the Union of Black Journalists and the Congress of South African writers.

Earlier this year, Mattera was honoured with the 2022 Artfluence Human Rights Award for his continued commitment to human rights, activism, and community development.

The DA extends its condolences to the family and friends of Mattera.

EFF members blockade Gauteng Health Tshwane offices

The Democratic Alliance is alarmed that EFF members have blockaded the Gauteng Health Department’s Tshwane district office and forced 200 staff out of their offices.

Trouble started three weeks ago when about 40 EFF members sat in the lobby of the Fedsure building in Tshwane’s inner city and harassed health staff.

Things became increasingly difficult, and since Thursday last week the 200 staff members have had to be relocated elsewhere to try and do their work.

The Tshwane district office services 77 clinics, and their work has been severely disrupted. Newly hired clinic workers won’t get paid this month if the human resource unit cannot get access to their offices.

Both the department and the landlord have laid criminal charges, but the police have not been visible in removing them.

The EFF members are demanding jobs and refuse to leave, some of them sleeping overnight in the building.

On Monday, this week the EFF’s Gauteng Chairperson Itani Mukwevho allegedly arrived at the building and demanded that security let them in to the health department’s offices. He was allegedly abusive when they refused.

Mukwevho is also an MPL and is the EFF Leader in the Gauteng Legislature.

This appalling behaviour by the EFF is unacceptable. It is cruel to make false promises about jobs to their supporters, and patients in Tshwane clinics suffer because of their disruption of the district office.

The department cannot be forced to provide jobs to members of any political party. Whatever jobs there are should be advertised and people appointed on merit.

The DA will be taking this up with the police to ensure that the health staff can do their jobs without threats and hindrance.

MEC Lesufi must ensure that teaching and learning resumes at Sediba sa Thutho Primary School tomorrow

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is demanding that the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, ensures that teaching and learning resume tomorrow without further interruptions at Sediba sa Thutho Primary School in Mamelodi East, Tshwane.

There has been no schooling at this school since May because the parents have shut down the school due to overcrowding in classrooms.

The parents had requested additional mobile classrooms to ease overcrowding as there are 74 learners per classroom. Most of the mobile classrooms are broken and pose a safety risk for both learners and teachers.

MEC Lesufi has had enough time to ensure that all the much-needed resources are provided to this school during the school holiday.

These learners have been lingering at home for far too long and have been denied their right to access basic education.

It is the responsibility of the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) to provide adequate resources to this school and ensure a conducive environment for teaching and learning.

The DA will continue to hold MEC Lesufi to account for failing to provide learning and teaching resources at this school and for depriving these learners of their constitutional right to education.

The more these learners continue to miss months of schooling, the more they will fall prey to unproductive activities in their community.

No learner must be deprived of their right to access basic education. The DA will continue to fight to ensure schooling resumes without further delays at Sediba sa Thuto Primary School.

New Gauteng Film Commission CEO must prioritise local film productions instead of spending half of its budget on salaries

Many artists in the film industry continue to suffer due to a lack of financial and training support from the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC). This entity constantly spends almost 50 percent of its budget on salaries and less money on the development programmes for the film and television industry in the province.

The financial woes of Gauteng artists in the film and television industry have been neglected for far too long by the GFC, and the newly appointed CEO, Keitumetse Lebaka, is facing a crucial task. has big shoes to fill. She must ensure that the local film industry is empowered with much-needed skills to provide world-class films that can compete with other internationally-produced local films.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the continued suffering faced by the artists in the film and television industry. CEO Lebaka must review the GFC budget allocations and prioritize support for local film and television artists in Gauteng.

In the 2018/19 annual report for the GFC, they spent 54.9% of the budget on salaries while they had four vacancies, and in the 2020/21 annual report, they spent 47% of the budget on salaries while they had seven vacancies.

This shows that this entity continues to spend almost half of the budget on salaries which is unacceptable and indicates poor financial and management planning.

The DA will be monitoring how the new CEO is going to turn around this entity to ensure that its budget is spent accordingly to benefit local film and television producers.

The only solution is to prioritise a budget that is focused on skills development through funding initiatives that aim at producing highly skilled filmmakers and providing training, workshops, and mentorship to emerging filmmakers.

DA’s Community Safety Bill only solution to curb the spate of shootings in Gauteng

The only solution to curb the violent spates of shooting in Gauteng is to adopt the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Community Safety Bill, which will assist in improving police intelligence to be able to investigate and curb these incidents.

The Bill would give effect to an integrated approach to curb crime. It will include all stakeholders in the law enforcement agencies, such as the South African Police Service (SAPS), metro police, Community Policing Forum (CPF), security companies, neighbourhood watches and street patrollers.

Yesterday, a further 20 people were shot dead during these unexplainable and vicious attacks. Sixteen people were killed in a gang feud between two illegal mining gangs in Soweto, and the other four were killed in Lenasia.

This is the fifth incident in Gauteng within a week which makes the public wonder whether it is by an organized crime syndicate.

The Bill will also regulate the Gauteng Provincial Government’s powers and functions regarding its oversight function over the police services.

The residents of Gauteng no longer have confidence in our police system, and it is through this Bill that will rebuild the trust between residents and the SAPS.

Through the DA’s #GautengPoliceWatch campaign, we will be engaging with the police and community members to establish better ways that will assist the police in preventing and fighting crime.

The DA demands that the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko, must liaise with the Gauteng Provincial SAPS Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, and the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele to deploy the public order police in the province. They should also deploy the under-utilised police resources in Gauteng to ensure increased police visibility in areas where there is an increase in crime.

We will continue to monitor the progress concerning the allocation of additional SAPS resources in Gauteng by Minister Cele. It is long overdue, as for far too long, the DA’s plea for allocation of additional resources for SAPS has been ignored.

The DA would like to send its deepest condolences to all the families that lost their loved ones because of these shootings.

We also urge the community members not to be discouraged but to continue to speak up and share information with the police. Together we can win the fight against crime.

Police visibility needs to be increased following Alexandra shooting incidents

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng demands that there must be an increase in police visibility in Alexandra following a series of shootings over the last two days.

This is the latest incident involving firearm violence in the province. On Sunday 14 people were killed during a shooting incident at a tavern in Soweto.

In the latest shooting, well-known Alex FM DJ, Joshua Mbatha was killed as well as four other people. In addition, seven people were also injured.

It’s believed that the victims were killed in separate robberies while getting out of taxis.

It is unacceptable that our residents have to live in constant fear of falling prey to criminals.

We demand that Premier David Makhura must urgently liaise with the MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko and the Gauteng Provincial SAPS Commissioner, Lieutenant General, Elias Mawela, to beef up police visibility in the area.

Furthermore, we also call on the community to assist the police in finding these criminals so that they can face the full might of the law. In addition, we urge them to report any person in possession of a suspected illegal firearm.

The DA extends our condolences to the families who have lost loved ones over the last two days in Alexandra during these shooting incidents.

Injured child turned away from Alexandra Clinic as generator was broken

A family in Alexandra township is mourning the death of their 4-year-old child who was injured on Wednesday this week in a car accident, but they were turned away from the Alexandra Health Centre at 5 pm after security guards told them the clinic had no electricity as the generator was not working.

According to the family, the child died from his injuries when they tried to take him to a hospital.

I have taken up this tragic case with Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi, and it has been confirmed that the generator is broken because it exploded during the frequent load-shedding.

While the investigation into this matter is continuing, it is inexcusable that a generator at a large clinic has been out of action for two weeks.

This highlights once again the incompetence of the Gauteng Infrastructure Development Department which is responsible for the maintenance and repair of all generators at healthcare facilities.

Other health facilities in Gauteng that have suffered from failed generators include the Badirile and Thusong clinics on the West Rand, and the Far East Rand Hospital ran out of fuel for one of its generators two weeks ago.

Broken generators should never be a reason for turning people away from a health facility.