Years of neglect have left Lenasia South Hospital in a state of crisis

Note to Editors: See pictures here , here and here

Concerns over the exploitation of cleaners and nepotism allegations at Lenasia South Hospital have fallen on deaf ears and continue to affect the rendering of healthcare services to the community.

It is alleged that there is a high level of absenteeism among the nursing staff, yet the hospital management is not doing enough to curb it and discipline those involved.

Since 2010 Lenasia community leaders have been raising concerns to the hospital management about hospital cleaners being used by the nurses and administration staff to do admin work.

In 2014, the complainants had their lives threatened by the management for raising their concerns. To date, nothing has come out of the complaints and a case they opened with the police.

The complaints include the busing in of people as far as Alexandra to fulfil the learnerships programme at the hospital and allegations of “sex for jobs” by management.

Furthermore, the waiting times for treatment have increased dramatically. A recent incident involves allegations that the nurses refused to assist a woman in labour because they were on a tea break. The woman had to be rushed to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, where she gave birth shortly after arrival.

During the DA’s oversight inspection at the hospital, we also discovered that there is a continued increase in unhygienic conditions. The garbage is not collected timeously, and there are piles of rubbish, see pictures here, here, here, and here.

In addition, the hospital has security issues, and its parking area is open for use by big trucks blocking parking spaces for patients.

The community arranged a peaceful protest at the hospital on Wednesday, 17 August 2022 to highlight their concerns. On hearing about the planned protest, the hospital has already advertised jobs for cleaners and groundsmen. The community is also running with a petition regarding the neglect will be submitted to GPL and we as the DA will follow up on the matter.

The DA supports the peaceful protest by the community and the petition, and we will be writing to the Gauteng MEC for Health, Nomathemba Mokgethi, to intervene and investigate these serious allegations levelled against the hospital management. Should it be found that any member of the hospital management is implicated they must be held to account.

The DA will continue to monitor service delivery at this hospital to ensure that quality healthcare services are rendered at all times.

Gauteng residents continue to fork out money for nine suspended Anglo Gold Ashanti officials

Residents in Gauteng are still paying for the salary of nine officials from the Gauteng’s Department of Infrastructure Development and Health, seven months after their suspension.

The officials were suspended because of the irrational decision to spend more than half a billion rand on refurbishing the Anglo Gold Ashanti hospital.

Many months down the line there has been no movement in the case against these officials who are currently at home.

This is just another example of the administrative ineptitude of the government and calls into question whether a case exists at all.

The fact that this hospital was not utilised in the fight against Covid and today stands abandoned, adds weight to the argument that those responsible for this decision must be investigated for the waste of such a large sum of money.

The decision to refurbish this hospital was taken by the Covid Command Council, with Premier David Makhura and former MEC Bandile Masuku as its most senior political participants. Premier Makhura remains in office, while Masuku was removed as the MEC for Health.

Justice delayed is justice denied and while the officials are being paid salaries to sit at home, the politicians present themselves as crusaders against corruption while doing little to ensure that the matter is expedited.

The DA will continue to fight for this investigation to go ahead as the incompetence and wastage we see in this province must come to an end. It is high time that the current administration is replaced with a DA government that will spend our taxes openly and transparently.

Fred Norman Secondary School learners taught under a tree as GDE fails to provide additional classrooms

Some learners at the Fred Norman Secondary School in Ennerdale are forced to learn outside under a tree, due to the school not having sufficient classrooms. This has a negative impact on our learner’s education.

Valuable teaching time is also being lost because learners and teachers often have to wait for a classroom to become available for them to conduct their lessons.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng made this startling discovery during an oversight visit to the school earlier this week to access how learning and teaching take place at the school.

It was discovered that the reason for the inadequate number of classrooms is that the school is currently over capacity as the building is only meant to accommodate 950 learners but currently there are 2050 learners.

An application has been put forward for mobile classrooms but to date, this has not been delivered.

There are also severe infrastructure problems with the school. The gutters are broken, classrooms do not have proper flooring and learners sit on the desks because there are no chairs.

See pictures here and here

The safety of our learners is also at risk as the school does not have enough school patrollers and only has one person on duty during the day.

In addition, the school does not qualify for the feeding scheme because they are classified as a quintile five school and at the same time, they are also a no-fee-paying school.

The DA will be putting pressure on the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) and the Department of Infrastructure Development to urgently intervene in the current situation at the school.

No learner should be deprived of a proper education simply because the department has failed to put adequate measures in place to ensure that learning and teaching takes place in a conducive environment.

Tembisa hospital pays R498 000 for skinny jeans but CEO still not suspended

The scandal engulfing Tembisa Hospitals gets worse and worse, but CEO Ashley Mthunzi remains in his job.

It’s now revealed by a News24 investigation that R498 000 was splurged on 200 pairs of skinny jeans for girls aged 6 to 7. That’s R2500 each!

The jeans were bought on 24 June last year from a fishy company called Inez Chaste formed just one month earlier. It’s one of ten firms owned by retired soccer star Themba Shabalala and his wife Evelyn.

According to News24, they have “established a medical supply empire featuring in a broad network of 45 shell corporations – controlled by nine people – which scored more than R110 million in contracts from the hospital in two months.”

Today is exactly one year since Gauteng health official Babita Deokaran was assassinated shortly after she flagged up to R850 million payments by Tembisa Hospital as “possibly fraudulent”.

But her report that called for a forensic investigation and a halt to the payments was buried by the Gauteng Health Department.

Tembisa Hospital CEO Ashley Mthunzi is in the spotlight as amounts under R500 000 don’t have to go out to tender, and he can sign them off.

Despite the mounting evidence against him, as well as a DA protest outside the hospital on 12 August, he has still not been suspended and details of a promised investigation have not been provided by the Premier’s Office.

The Tembisa Hospital is notorious for overcrowding and poor service but splurged on luxury armchairs and skinny jeans in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. They even bought 2000 hand towels for R230 each!

There is a direct ANC connection as well – ANC Ekurhuleni treasurer-general Sello Sekhokho scored R2.3 million for over-priced goods bought from three of his companies.

We need to know why this scandal was covered up after Babita was murdered, and decisive action is needed to clear out all the rot in the Gauteng Health Department.

No more excuses. There must be Justice for Babita!

Rus-Ter-Vaal Secondary learners continue to be exposed to asbestos infrastructure as the contractor abandons the project

Learners and teachers at Rus-Ter-Vaal Secondary School in Vereeniging continue to be exposed to unhealthy hazardous conditions due to the Gauteng Department of Education’s failure to prioritise the eradication of asbestos infrastructure across the province.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) conducted an oversight inspection at the school today, and we were disappointed to discover that the construction of the newly built brick-and-mortar school is still incomplete. The contractor has abandoned the project that was supposed to be completed in February 2022.

See pictures of the abandoned school here and here.

This indicates that the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi has failed in his commitment to eradicate all asbestos schools in the province.

The 53-year-old school has 1132 learners and has been issued a non-compliance certificate by the Department of Labour due to asbestos infrastructure and overcrowding in classrooms

Further to the health risk, the asbestos infrastructure is on the edge of collapsing. See pictures here and here.

There are over 70 learners in some classrooms which affects the rendering of quality learning and teaching.

There has been no clear communication from the department or contractor as to why the construction has been abandoned but instead, there is a blame game going on. Each year since 2018 contractors have been switched and changed.

This has resulted in the project incurring more costs which is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

MEC Lesufi should account for delays in the completion of this school and consequence management should also be implemented for all the officials implicated in this project. We will also submit written questions to the MEC to ascertain when this newly built school will be completed and when mobile classrooms will be delivered to the school.

The DA reiterates its proposal for the Department of Education to take control of all its infrastructure projects from the Department of Infrastructure Development. This will ensure that all our schools are completed within the stipulated timelines and on budget. This will also ensure that all major maintenance of our schools is done timeously without inconveniencing learning and teaching.

Crime stats: motorists’ safety under attack as Gauteng leads in carjacking cases

The safety of Gauteng motorists is under attack as the first quarter of the 2022/23 financial year crime stats reported 3113 car hijackings.

The report revealed that 22 Gauteng police stations are among the top 30 stations most affected by carjacking cases nationally.

Carjacking cases in Gauteng have increased from 2 704 in the first quarter of the 2021/2022 financial year to 3113 in the first quarter of the 2022/23 financial year. This means that carjackings have increased by 409 cases which indicates that the lives of motorists are in danger.

These crime stats for the first quarter of the 2022/23 financial year were released by the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele on Friday.

The below table indicates the increase in various crimes in Gauteng in the first quarter of the 2022/23 financial year:

Crimes  First quarter of the 2021/22 financial year (April-June 2021) First quarter of the 2021/22 financial year (April-June 2021) Increase 
Kidnapping 809 1099 1100
Robbery of cash in transit 12 18
Stock theft 231 270 39
Truck hijacking 245 302 57
Trio Crimes 6206 6511 305
Murder 1197 1490 293

The above crime stats indicate that there is an urgent need for intervention as every hour a person is harmed or killed when a carjacking occurs.

The only solution to curb these increases in crime is for the Gauteng Provincial Government to adopt the DA’s Community Safety Bill to ensure that there is an increase in police intelligence to combat crime.

Our police stations are under-resourced and not well equipped to ensure police visibility and fight crime.
Furthermore, over the past month, the DA’s 100-day #GautengPoliceWatch tour has given insight into the struggles of all the police stations across the province.

The DA proposed the Community Oversight Bill and will continue to push until it is adopted as it aims to bring an integrated approach to curbing crime.

Learners continue to miss days of schooling due to DSD’s failure to provide dignity packs

Gauteng girl learners continue to miss days of schooling every month because they do not have access to dignity packs.

The Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD) has constantly failed to meet its targets for the dignity pack programme, despite this programme being in existence for over 11 years.

This department’s inability to meet its set targets for this programme has resulted in over R31 million being returned to Treasury, while young girls and those living with albinism are left to suffer.

This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Morakane Mosupyoe, in a written reply to the DA’s questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to the MEC, her department’s under expenditure on the dignity packs programme is because of the late finalization of specifications.

This is unacceptable and indicates a lack of project management and prioritisation of programmes within the department.

The dignity packs consist of essentials such as sanitary towels, bath soap, aqueous cream, toothpaste, roll-on, toilet paper and hats for girls living with Albinism.

This programme is not reaching all the young girls that are in dire need of dignity packs. In the 2016/17 financial year 294 270 dignity packs were distributed and reached 44 572 girls, for the 2015/16 financial year, 239 568 dignity packs were distributed and reached 19 965 girls, in the 2021/22 financial year 1 158 473 dignity packs were distributed and reached 96 536 girls.

The DA proposes that the DSD should engage with the Provincial Treasury to assist the cooperatives that are working with the department to be converted into small businesses. These businesses will be incubated and allowed to tender to provide dignity packs in the province for two years. This will ensure that all our girls have access to dignity packs. Furthermore, the department should have a database of all the learners that are in dire need of these dignity packs to ensure that no girl child is deprived of quality learning time because they do not have access to dignity packs.

Tembisa Hospital CEO still not grilled on fishy payments

Despite weeks of disturbing revelations of fishy multimillion payments by the Tembisa Hospital, the hospital’s CEO Ashley Mthunzi has still not been grilled by the Gauteng Health Department in this matter.

This was disclosed last week on Friday by Head of Department Nomonde Nolutshungu at a meeting of the Gauteng Legislature’s Health Committee.

Nolutshungu said that following the first News24 exposé on 27 July of the suspicious payments flagged by murdered whistle-blower Babita Deokaran, she asked the Department’s Chief Financial Officer Lerato Madyo to respond within 24 hours as to whether Babita had ever submitted a report to her on these payments.

Madyo requested extra time to respond, and on 8 August she categorically denied that she had received such a report from Babita.

But Madyo later conceded that Babita had expressed anxiety about the Tembisa Hospital payments and they had agreed that her report should be confidential. She claimed that payments had been stopped.

These unsatisfactory responses by Madyo are further reason for her to be suspended while a forensic investigation is pursued into hundreds of Tembisa Hospital payments that total R850 million.

It is inexplicable, however, that the hospital’s CEO has not yet been asked to account for his role in this matter.

A Department report admits, “underestimated the currency of the matter” given the “relentlessness and rising public outrage.” See attached the Department’s report, here

We still do not have details of the investigation that Gauteng Premier David Makhura has promised, but there should be no more delays in suspending the CFO and the Tembisa Hospital CEO.

The DA will press for a speedy and thorough investigation with regular report-backs and criminal charges against implicated people.

DA to continue with its fight to ensure that a motion of no confidence in Premier Makhura is tabled

Gauteng residents continue to suffer poor basic service delivery from the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) under the leadership of Premier David Makhura.

Under his leadership, Gauteng residents have only been made promise after promise with no tangible solution to their basic needs being met.

Since taking office, Premier Makhura has promised to ensure that job opportunities are created, that the township economy is revitalised and that the current housing backlog which is over a million is addressed. However, none of the above promises has materialised.

Therefore, we will continue to put pressure on the Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s (GPL) programming committee to put our motion of no confidence (MONC) in Premier Makhura on the agenda of the next GPL sitting.

Makhura has become known as the no-action Premier. Full of promises but lacking in delivery. The DA has built a very strong case as to why Makhura is unfit to continue as Premier of Gauteng as he continues failing to arrest corruption in his administration, curb crime and stimulate economic growth in the province.

The DA remains committed to seeing our MONC in Makhura despite speculation that he may be removed. We believe that Makhura needs to answer to the people of Gauteng for his underperformance which he must do during the MONC debate.

Furthermore, the DA does not expect a better performance from MEC Lesufi who is mooted to replace Makhura. Gauteng residents can expect more of the same from him as he will be a hamstrung Premier who will not be allowed by his party to act against corruption. He would ultimately have to answer to a PEC controlled by his rival, MEC Lebogang Maile, rendering Lesufi a lame duck premier.

The only way to deal with constant failing ANC premiers is by voting the ANC out of power in Gauteng in 2024 and replacing it with a capable DA government.

Municipalities struggle to deliver basic services as the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure owes them over R59 million

Frustrated Gauteng residents resort to service delivery protests when municipalities fail to deliver services because the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) departments are failing to pay rates and taxes on time.

According to a response to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, the total amount owed by the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) is R59 520 972,57.

This has a negative impact on the delivery of basic services to the residents of the province who diligently pay their rates and taxes and in return expect to be given the service delivery they deserve.

The MEC for Infrastructure Development, Tasneem Motara, revealed that GDID owes the various municipalities in the province the following amounts:

Department of Infrastructure Development(Rates and Taxes)
Municipality No. of Accounts Amount As per May Ageing
CoJ 336                                48 354 072,65
CoT 41                                   5 083 535,95
CoE 6                                      185 194,00
Emfuleni 0                                                       –
Lesedi 166                                   5 007 949,04
Merafong 0                                                       –
Midvaal 5                                      739 802,16
Mogale 0                                                       –
Randwest 180                                      150 418,77
734                                59 520 972,57

If this money is paid it would go a long way to ensuring that our residents who live in Lesedi and Rand West have access to a continuous supply of electricity and water.

Furthermore, in Lesedi this money will also help ensure that sewage leaks that ultimately contaminate the Vaal River are fixed.

The City of Tshwane also has problems with electricity and water, and the more than R5 million owed will help the city install new substations and fix their water pipes.

The City of Johannesburg will be able to use the R48 million owed to them to also build new substations, fix potholes, and fix old water pipes.

It is very discouraging to see the GPG blatantly ignoring its responsibility to honour the debt it owes to all the municipalities in the province.

This is the biggest contributing factor to municipalities not being able to deliver services on time. Ensuring that our roads are in tip-top condition, substations are constantly refurbished, and new ones are built can only happen if the GPG pays their bills.

Municipalities are required to pay for bulk services within 30 days and then recover this money from users like the Gauteng Provincial Government.

Municipalities should be treated like all other creditors and paid within 30 days. Their payments should not be delayed because they are not private companies.

The DA will continue to pressure and engage the MEC and her department to prioritise municipal payments.