Over 6000 Madala hostel residents live in appalling conditions due to Premier Makhura’s failure to deliver houses

Over 6000 Madala hostel residents in Alexandra continue to live in appalling, inhumane and unsanitary conditions due to the failure of Premier David Makhura’s government to deliver dignified houses to hostel residents across the province.

The Madala hostel residents, like many hostel residents across the province, have lost hope and are tired of empty promises from the current government.

There has been no proper or regular maintenance of the hostel, and the building structure has deteriorated into disrepair. There are water leaks and no electrical connections. The lack of proper drainage systems is leading to regular sewer blockages, resulting in raw sewerage flowing all over the place around the hostel.

See photos here, here, and here.

Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) conducted an oversight inspection at Madala hostel, and was shocked to discover that the health and safety of the residents is severely compromised as the environment is not conducive to human habitation.

We have visited this hostel on several occasions and the living conditions have worsened instead of improving. There are also unfinished temporary relocation units next to the hostels, and there are no timelines as to when they will be completed.

The DA demands answers from the Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements and COGTA, Lebogang Maile, about his department’s plans to address the conditions which the Madala hostel residents are exposed to daily. We also demand that these temporary relocation units be completed urgently so that Madala hostel residents can be relocated while there are looking for a permanent solution.

The DA will also raise this issue with MEC Maile and the Human Settlement and COGTA Portfolio Committee at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

Hostel residents across the province are tired of empty promises from this current government that has failed to deliver houses.

In 2024 when the DA is voted into power, we will amongst other things deal with the corrupt housing lists, conduct an audit of hostel dwellers who have registered for house allocations since 1998/99 and not allocated to ensure that they are also prioritised. We will also push the budget towards maintaining hostels to ensure better conditions than what people are subjected to now.


Electronic Invoice System open to fraud and corruption as Gauteng Department of Health records over 34 thousand duplicate invoices

Gauteng government departments are at risk of paying more than once for services that are rendered by service providers. Currently, suppliers can upload their invoices on the Electronic Invoice Submission (EIS) system and, if not carefully monitored could be paid twice for services delivered.

This information was revealed to me in a reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL). The Department of Health had a total of 34 856 duplicate invoices uploaded to the EIS system from 1st April 2021 to 31 March 2022. This amounts to a total of R24 256 537 105, 09. The Department of Infrastructure had 650 duplicate invoices submitted through the EIS system, amounting to R143 716 057,71.

While other departments have not had any duplicate invoices, it is very concerning that the Department of Health has the highest number of duplicate invoices submitted. This indicates a loophole in the current system, which opens the door for fraud and corruption to occur.

Our taxpayers cannot afford to have such a loophole that exists in the government invoicing and payment system. Each department has a limited budget and this crack in the system is putting an even greater strain on the budget.

The DA is therefore proposing the following:

• An exception list must be created every morning, so that duplicate invoices are flagged immediately.
• The service provider must be contacted to determine why a duplicate invoice was submitted.
• Repeat offenders must be red flagged for future business.

While none of the duplicate invoices was paid the risk of corruption occurring remains.

While human error may occur and there may be problems with the system while uploading invoices, the fact that only one department appears to have a high number is very concerning and warrants further investigation.

Furthermore, we urge the Department of Health and the Department of Infrastructure Development to engage with their counterparts to determine how they can quickly weed out duplicate invoices from their system or prevent them from being loaded onto the EIS for a second time.

Gauteng residents deserve a government that is detail oriented and that will put every measure in place to ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent transparently and is not lost to corruption. Our residents do have an opportunity to change the current government come 2024 and vote for a DA government that is capable of clamping down on corruption.

DA refers appointment of Tembisa hospital CEO to the Public Protector

Following the Gauteng Health Department’s bizarre about-turn on whether the Tembisa Hospital CEO Ashley Mthunzi was facing disciplinary charges when he was appointed last year, I have referred this matter to the Public Protector for investigation.

The Department accuses me of “sensational allegations” and “deliberate distortion of facts” after I stated that Dr Mthunzi was appointed even though he was facing a disciplinary charge which should have disqualified him.

I based my statement on an official reply by Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi (see here) in which she says as follows:

“On 15 September 2021, the acting Head of Department, Dr Sibongile Zungu approved recommendations that Dr A Mthunzi should be disciplined for contravening the Recruitment and Selection Policy. The Labour Relations Directorate was supposed to implement the said recommendations.”

When I asked who provided the false information that he had not been found guilty on any misconduct charge, the reply was that it was the former Acting DDG: Hospital Services Mr Freddy Kgongwana.

According to Mokgethi: “The Selection Committee did not have knowledge or information on Dr Mthunzi’s pending disciplinary hearing whilst at Pholosong Hospital”, and the reason is that “The Selection Committee was not aware as the information was not in his personal [file] nor in the register of pending disciplinary cases.”

It is clear from the above that Mthunzi was indeed facing a disciplinary hearing when he was at Pholosong Hospital, and that it was wrong that this information was not given to the Selection Committee.

Why is the department now contradicting an official reply by the Health MEC?

While they concede that the former Acting Head of Department signed a report recommending that Mthunzi be given a final written warning, which confirms that he was facing a disciplinary charge, they now claim it was invalid as they did not provide Mthunzi the opportunity to respond.

I do not believe this is true. It’s a cover-up by Mthunzi’s buddies in the department who are trying to shield him as they are themselves implicated in irregular activities.

It confirms my suspicion that there was a plot to get Mthunzi appointed at Tembisa Hospital, which was followed by a surge of payments to suspicious companies that murdered whistleblower Babita Deokaran says were “possibly corrupt”. She requested a forensic audit but it was never done.

The Public Protector is already investigating the alleged irregular appointment of the Department’s CFO Lerato Madyo after a whistleblower referred it to them and also a referral by myself to the PSC which passed it on to them.

We need to expose the sinister network at the Department that colluded in massive theft while patients suffer in under-staffed and poorly equipped hospitals.

Nothing to celebrate as our heritage is on a brink of collapse 

Heritage Month is symbolic as it is about celebrating our diverse cultures and reflecting on how far we have gone and achieved as a country.

Today, as we celebrate the actual Heritage Day, l can see many people dressed in their cultural regalia to demonstrate who we are and where we come from.

We must not forget where we come from as a country and where we are striving to go. Our beloved diverse country is on a brink of collapse, we can see with the current blackouts that we are experiencing as a country.

The fact that our country is collapsing is also seen through the state of Gauteng heritage sites which are in a terrible state even though there are millions of rands allocated annually for the maintenance and operationalisation of our heritage sites.

While we commemorate Heritage Day today, there is nothing to celebrate in Gauteng as several facilities worthy of preservation remain a shadow of their former selves.

As part of the DA Heritage Month Campaign, we have conducted oversight inspections of the following heritage monuments so far; O R Tambo Precinct in Ekurhuleni, Boipatong Monument and Youth Centre in Vanderbijlpark, Kagiso Memorial and Recreation Centre in Krugersdorp and Women’s living heritage monument in Tshwane

All these heritage monuments have similar challenges, they are not operational or not well maintained.

* The OR Tambo Cultural Precinct is on a brink of collapsing due to years of neglect by the previous ANC-led Ekurhuleni administration. The facility is unsuitable for human habitation as it poses a serious safety risk. The ceiling is damaged and falling off, walls have cracks, the exterior walls are also peeling off, and the ablution facilities are not functional.
* The Boipatong Monument and Youth Centre is still not operational and not benefitting the residents.
* The state-of-the-art Kagiso Memorial and Recreation Centre has been abandoned and left to crumble while residents suffer with no access to sporting facilities.
* Women’s living monument which was built at the cost of R200 million an since it was opened R78 million was spent on it yet the monument is not operational an poses a safety risk.

It is disappointing that there is a lack of progress from this current government with regards to ensuring that our heritage monuments are fully operational and are benefiting our residents.

Experience has shown that where there are delays in the completion of projects, there is a corrupt element involved.

This means that millions of taxpayer’s monies spent on the construction of these heritage monuments and the operational costs will go down the drain because they are still not functional. The longer these facilities remain unoccupied and not utilised the become vulnerable to vandalism and theft.

These heritage monuments have the potential of boosting local tourism and creating employment opportunities for their residents as well as empower them with the necessary skills to be able to earn a living.

This current government has been dragging its feet on getting our monuments fully operational. With these remaining one year and some months, we will continue to demand that this current government must reprioritise the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation’s (SACR) expenditure plans to ensure proper budget allocation, focusing on the core mandate of the department of providing universal access to sports and facilities.

The DA has plans on how to get our heritage monuments operational, come 2024 when a capable DA government is voted into power, we will do the following: conduct a forensic audit into the state of all our heritage monuments and reprioritise the budget to ensure that they are completed and fully operational. We will also tighten control and oversight roles to ensure that they are functioning accordingly and for the benefit of our residents.

As we leave here today we must as ambassadors and activists of the DA paint the length an breath Gauteng blue, cover every nook an corner of Gauteng, knock on every door an speak to every voter in Gauteng, register all eligible voters who are not registered and ensure that the DA wins Gauteng outright in 2024 in order for Gauteng residents to experience and feel what is the like to live in society characterised by values of freedom, freedom, Fairness and diversity.

For Gauteng Residents to live in corruption free province where services are rendered on a continuous an sustained basis.

Murdered whistleblower’s position still vacant

Babita Deokaran was the Chief Director: Financial Accounting at the Gauteng Health Department when she was murdered on 23 August last year after blowing the whistle on massive corruption, but her position has still not been filled.

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

According to Mokgethi, the post was advertised on 5 September 2021, with the closing date at 17 September. Shortlisting for the post was only done on 4 July 2022, but no suitable candidate could be shortlisted, so it was advertised again on 4 September with a closing date of 16 September 2022.

The person responsible for filling this position was the Chief Financial Officer Lerato Madyo, who was recently suspended pending an investigation of R850 million payments by Tembisa Hospital which Babita identified as “possibly fraudulent.”

Another disclosure is that Madyo charged Babita with Gross Insubordination, Improper Conduct, and Dereliction of Duty, and put her on precautionary suspension away from head office.

These charges were all withdrawn later. It looks like Madyo made them up to stop Babita from uncovering suspicious payments.

Babita’s key financial position should have been filled as soon as possible, but I suspect that certain posts are deliberately left open because this facilitates corruption.

I am convinced that Madyo did not act alone, and other head office staff implicated in dubious dealings should be identified and suspended as soon as possible.

This department needs to spend its budget productively to treat patients in hospitals, rather than serve as a piggybank for crooked people.

The Gauteng health care system is already under tremendous pressure and requires all hands-on deck and therefore the DA proposes that all unfilled posts be filled rapidly with competent and honest people.


Abandoned iconic Mamelodi Rondavels must be restored to preserve our heritage

The Mamelodi Rondavels are in a state of disrepair and not benefiting its residents because the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SCAR) has abandoned this facility despite having a massive budget for heritage sites.

Three years ago, 10 of the 14 rondavels on this site filled with the rich history of our education system were burnt down. The rondavels were built in the 1940s and are where some of our icons such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu were schooled.

The longer these rondavels remained neglected, the more they became vulnerable to vandalism and theft. As a result, the remaining four rondavels were also burnt down.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) conducted an oversight inspection at the Mamelodi Rondavels today as part of the DA Heritage Month Campaign. We were disappointed to discover that all the rondavels are in shambles. The facility is not fenced and, there is now a pedestrian route passing through the facility.

Please see the images here, here, and here.

The DA proposes that the Mamelodi Rondavels should be preserved as a development facility, such as an early childhood development centre and art gallery, to boost the local economy and empower residents.

The DA demands that the Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Mbali Hlophe, should prioritise the budget to revamp this facility and save what is left on this heritage site.

Our heritage is our future which must be preserved and passed on to future generations. The DA will not allow this current government to destroy our heritage, hence we will fight to ensure that these sites are restored to their former glory.

Prasa and Eskom’s bad management leaves Pretoria North railway commuters in the lurch

Rail commuters in Pretoria North were left stranded this morning due to the Passenger Railway Agency of South Africa (Prasa /Metrorail) trains not running.

The trains were resigned to their stations because Prasa did not pay their electricity bill resulting in Eskom cutting their power.

Commuters dependent on this crucial public transport daily were left in the lurch and forced to make alternate arrangements.

As a result, most of the commuters using rail on a daily basis had to arrive at work late or not at all if they were not able to afford alternatives.

The Mabopane-Pretoria, Saulsville-Pretoria and Pienaarspoort-Pretoria service has been affected by this move. One can only blame bad management on the side of Prasa for not settling their bill on time, or at least entering talks with Eskom to keep the electricity on.

Not only are commuters left stranded by the lack of electricity, but the Prasa infrastructure is also at risk. During the Covid-19 lockdown period Metrorail infrastructure was pillaged and each time the electricity is cut due to load-shedding or other events like credit control, a window of opportunity opens for criminals to steal electrical cables and other components.

Travelling by train is the most affordable mode of public transport available. This line not operating puts commuters in a precarious position, forcing them to fork out additional transport money that they can ill afford.

The DA proposes that Prasa should immediately make arrangements with Eskom to pay this debt as a matter of urgency so that the train line can become operational again.

Our rail system is a crucial cog in the public transport wheel for Gauteng. The DA wants to promote an expansion of rail services in the province so that more commuters can be moved effortlessly during peak hours on a safe and affordable transport mode.

DA Pressure Leads to the Opening of Tembisa Rabasotho SASSA office

The pressure exerted by the Democratic Alliance (DA) to ensure that Tembisa residents have access to a conducive SASSA office has led to the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu permitting a dual procurement process to get a new office.

This means that the DA’s efforts have yielded positive results as the Tembisa residents were exposed to appalling conditions when accessing social services at the Rabasotho SASSA offices.

The office is too small and could not accommodate the officials and residents coming to access social services. The residents are forced to queue outside because there is no waiting area.

The DA submitted a petition with over 2000 signatures to the National Assembly demanding the upgrades of the Rabasotho SASSA office.

Furthermore, last week, 14 September 2022, the DA’s activist Nombulelo Dubula, a resident from Ward 7 Tembisa made a presentation to the Social Development Portfolio Committee in the National Assembly about the state of the Rabasotho SASSA office and demanded urgent intervention.

While we welcome that Tembisa Rabasotho residents will be getting a new SASSA office, this is long overdue and raises the question of why residents must complain first before the government can fix the infrastructure. This is unacceptable as a caring government will ensure that public offices are accessible and conducive to rendering services.

The DA will monitor the progress of procuring the new offices so that the process is not delayed, and our people receive the services they deserve. The DA is the only party that gets things done and cares about ensuring good governance, transparency, and accountability.

Unemployment rate continues to soar, yet the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport fails to meet job creation targets

With at least 2 515 000 unemployed Gauteng residents it is very disappointing that the provincial department of Roads and Transport has once again failed to meet its target of creating 1 453 jobs as part of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

Given the current economic situation, and the rise in the cost of basic goods and services, programmes like the EPWP play a crucial role in clamping down on unemployment in this province.

According to the first quarterly report for the 2022/2023 financial year, the department only managed to employ 879 people as part of the EPWP programme.

EPWP programmes equip our unemployed residents with much-needed skills that will enable them to seek gainful employment.

There is a lack of political will from this department to ensure that all targets set for the financial year are met.

The Western Cape DA-led government has managed to create 3253 work opportunities in the Department of Public Works and Roads as part of its target for the 2021/2022 fourth quarter. The initial target set was 2452.

The only way in which this current situation can be changed is if our residents come out in their numbers in 2024 and vote the ANC-led government out of power.

The DA will continue to put pressure on this department to start meeting its targets as a matter of urgency. Furthermore, the department should liaise with their counterparts in the Western Cape to ascertain what measures are put in place to ensure the targets set to create work opportunities for our unemployed residents are met.

Our residents deserve a government that is committed to ensuring that job opportunities are created on an ongoing basis and that they have access to skills development programmes that will help them to either become entrepreneurs or find long-term employment in the future.

Lawley Secondary School learners suffer due to the continuous rotational learning system and overcrowded classrooms

The learners at Lawley Secondary School continue to be taught in overcrowded mobile classrooms and still on a rotational learning system, which is not a conducive environment for learners to access quality education.

Lawley Secondary School has a total number of 2200 learners and about 60 learners per classroom.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) conducted an oversight inspection at the school, and we were disappointed to discover that learners are still attending on a rotational basis, losing much of their learning time.

This is unacceptable as the rotational learning system was ended, and all learners must be attending school on a full-time basis.

The school does not have running water and no proper ablution facilities. The chemical toilets are only serviced once every two weeks instead of being serviced every two to four days, which poses a health risk for both learners and teachers.

The school also has electricity challenges, and the furniture is broken.

See pictures here, here, here and here.

The DA demands answers from the Gauteng Department of Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, regarding why this school is still on a rotational learning system. We demand to know when will his department deliver additional mobile classrooms to ease overcrowding in classrooms and to ensure that there are enough classrooms so that rotational learning can end as a matter of urgency.

We also demand that this school must be provided with additional much-needed resources to ensure that learning and teaching take place in a conducive environment.

The DA proposes that MEC Lesufi must conduct a forensic audit into the state of our mobile schools across the province. This will assist the department in prioritising the building of brick-and-mortar schools to ensure that schooling is not compromised due to a lack of adequate infrastructure.

We will not allow our children to suffer due to the department’s incompetency in failing to provide resources to the schools.