#MakhuraMustGo: Premier Makhura to face DA’s MONC next month

The DA in Gauteng welcomes the decision by the Programming Committee for the DA’s Motion of No Confidence (MONC) to be debated in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) on 18 October 2022.

This is a step in the right direction, as the ANC’s attempts to dodge the motion have been unsuccessful, considering that the DA submitted it early last month.

The DA is not surprised by the sudden change of tune by the ANC, as they also want Makhura out. However, because of their internal fractions, they continue to speak in fork tongues, which has made them consider our MONC as the only solution to get rid of him.

Should the secret ballot be allowed, Makhura’s colleagues will also vote in favour of our MONC. We have already engaged different political parties; they have agreed to support our motion and we are certain of victory.

Premier Makhura continues to fail the residents of Gauteng, he is nowhere to be found while our people and businesses are struggling due to load shedding that is severely crippling the economy. There is no plan of action on how his government will deal with the current blackouts. Our people are suffering as our municipalities are struggling to ensure that their residents have access to uninterrupted water supply during load shedding.

The DA’s proposals to the current government to engage with the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and not to be reliant on Eskom for electricity continues to be ignored.

Our people are tired of empty promises from this current government that does not prioritize service delivery. The only solution is to vote for a capable DA government that has demonstrated good governance, and accountability and continues to provide adequate service delivery in municipalities where we govern.

Abandoned state-of-the-art Kagiso Memorial is left to crumble while residents suffer with no access to sporting facilities

The children and youth of Kagiso Township do not have access to proper sporting facilities and continue to be forced to commute to nearby suburbs to access such services, yet the state-of-the-art Kagiso Memorial and Recreation Centre has been abandoned and is still not fully operational.

The Kagiso Memorial and Recreation Centre has a world-class sporting facility that should be used by the community for different sporting codes such as gymnastics, basketball, aerobics, and squash. There is also a music recording studio that is gathering dust.

This facility has been neglected and left to crumble by the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR).

See the photos here herehere,

The DA conducted an oversight inspection at the Kagiso Memorial and Recreation Centre today as part of the DA Heritage Month Campaign. We discovered that this facility is not fully functional, and some people are using it as a physical fitness centre and charging the community a fee.

We received numerous complaints from community members who claim that they are charged a monthly subscription to use the physical wellness centre.

Making residents pay to use gym equipment owned by the department is a criminal act. We propose that the community should report those people to the department.

Furthermore, the toilets and showers are not working, and the kitchen equipment has never been used.

The heritage artefacts are being stored in a temporary storage room while the R14 million budget allocated for a heritage component disappeared with a service provider.

The DA demands that the Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR) Mbali Hlophe, must prioritise fixing the infrastructural defects at this facility. This facility must be handed over to Mogale City Local Municipality so that it can benefit the community.

We will also be tabling questions to the MEC demanding answers about the R14 million that disappeared with the service provider. We want to know who the service provider is and what has the department done so far to force the service provider to deliver services or to pay back the money. Thereafter, we will be laying criminal charges against the service provider demanding that it should pay back every cent owed to the department.

We will not allow incompetent service providers that fail to deliver on community projects to steal money meant to better the lives of our people. We will continue to fight to ensure that such service providers face the full might of the law and be blacklisted to do business with the government.

It’s all “coding errors” – no jeans, armchairs or hand towels at Tembisa hospital, but R734 million overspent

There are no skinny jeans, cloth hand towels or leather armchairs at the Tembisa Hospital – this is what I found when I visited this morning to check whether these items reportedly bought for R1.5 million had actually been delivered.

I was accompanied by local DA councillors Selby Thekiso and Philip Thamahane, and we met the hospital’s Acting CEO Dr Mohlamme Mathabathe and his management team.

We were informed that the hospital does not use cloth towels, only paper towels (see photo here).

There were no skinny jeans either. They said that “coding errors” were to blame. In the case of the towels the word “paper” was omitted, and monocryl sutures should have been coded, not skinny jeans.

They said that the 100 armchairs could be found in the ICU and high care wards.

We then visited an ICU ward and were shown adjustable-height chairs without side-arms (see photos here and here). When I pointed out that these were definitely not the leather wingback armchairs that were recorded as being bought for R5000 each, they again said it was a “coding error”.

These three items were part of hundreds of payments totalling R850 million that murdered whistleblower Babita Deokaran flagged as “possibly fraudulent” as they went to fishy companies and were all under R500 000, which means they did not have to go out to tender and were signed off by the hospital CEO.

I was shocked that last year the hospital overspent its annual goods and services budget of R320 million by R734 million.

This year’s budget is still paying off the massive splurge of suspicious payments last year.

Meanwhile, the hospital has 849 official beds, but has squeezed in another 351 beds to treat 1200 patients, with an overall budget of R1.7 billion, of which R1.2 billion is spent on personnel.

This highlights the need to spend the budget on needed items at the best price, instead of wasting money on unnecessary and over-priced goods.

The hospital said they have tightened up on purchasing procedures, which I hope curbs the abuses of the past.

I am a great believer in transparency in this matter. As they say “sunlight is the best disinfectant”.

The DA propose that all hospital purchases should be on a public website so that irregularities can be picked up speedily by competing suppliers.

This will halt the feeble excuse of “coding errors”.

Under-resourced Eldorado Park SAPS is unable to ensure residents’ safety as gang shootings intensify

The safety of Eldorado residents is in danger due to the ongoing protests and gang shootings, yet the under-resourced Eldorado Park SAPS is unable to ensure the safety of the residents.

Like many other police stations across the province, this station is highly under-resourced and overburdened with crime incidents. This has affected its ability to swiftly curb crime, particularly the current gang shootings in the area.

The DA conducted an oversight inspection at the station as part of its 100-day #GautengPoliceWatch campaign.

Eldorado Park police officers have managed to keep the station in good condition, and their dedication has resulted in multiple arrests of suspects involved in gang shootings.

The DA demands that the Gauteng SAPS Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, must deploy more manpower and provide adequate resources at this station to ensure there is no hindrance to police service delivery.

Lieutenant General Elias Mawela must also intervene immediately to curb the gang shootings in the area.

The DA maintains that vigilantism and gangsterism require specialised resources to ensure that crime is addressed as a matter of urgency.

This can only happen if the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko, considers the DA’s Community Safety Oversight Bill, which will assist in improving police intelligence to be able to investigate and curb crime. The Bill will also give effect to an integrated approach to curb crime.

The DA also pleads with the community to remain calm and urges the Community Police Forums (CPF) and street patrollers to work with the SAPS in reporting any incidents of crime in the area.

When the DA takes over Gauteng, it will prioritise the training and employment of more policemen and women and ensure that more resources are provided to the law authorities so that they are able to do their job adequately and bring a sense of safety to our residents.

Thousands of jobs on the line as Gauteng businesses lose a third of their revenue during load-shedding

Many businesses in Gauteng are suffering major financial losses because of the latest round of rolling blackouts implemented by Eskom across the country. 

Currently, stage 5 load-shedding is underway, which means that some businesses will be without electricity for at least 8 hours a day. This is a full workday, which means that businesses are only able to trade for a few hours at a time. 

There are at least 2 515 000 unemployed Gauteng residents, and this number is expected to increase by the end of the year because of load-shedding. 

According to some businesses the DA interacted with this week, they have lost about a third of their revenue which is not enough for them to be profitable over the last four days alone. 

No electricity means no trade, which in turn means that businesses are unable to break even so that they can at least pay their employees’ salaries on time. If the current electricity situation continues, both big and small businesses may be forced to retrench staff in a bid to keep their heads above water. 

The only solution to this situation is the political will to decrease the province’s reliance on Eskom by making use of Independent Power Producers (IPPs). 

We as the DA are proposing that Premier David Makhura and the relevant MEC engage with independent power producers in the province to help find a lasting solution.

The Gauteng government must go against the grain as set by the failing National government and do all that it can to ensure that we save jobs and ignite new energy into the economy, by providing uninterrupted, reliable electricity to residents and businesses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eskom to blame for current water crisis in Gauteng

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng will be writing to Eskom regarding the current wave of load-shedding affecting the province and the country.

Load-shedding not only interrupts our workday but also the supply of water by municipalities to the various areas in the province.

This week Joburg Water warned residents that they may experience low water pressure because of the higher stages of load-shedding that was implemented on Saturday morning.

Water is a basic right and the State-Owned Entity (SOE), Eskom is responsible for ensuring that we have access to a reliable supply of electricity and is to blame for the lack of continued water supply.

The reservoirs used by municipalities to pump water to residents are reliant on electricity and if there is not sufficient pressure in the pumps, taps may run dry or there will only be a trickling supply of water.

It is high time that Eskom gets their house in order and does the job they are paid for through our taxpayers’ hard-earned money.

Municipalities do not have the budget to buy generators to continuously run during the duration of load-shedding which in some cases on stages five and six can be for up to eight- or ten-hours day.

Furthermore, the water infrastructure owned by the municipalities is at risk of collapsing which will cost even more money to repair.

The DA is demanding that Eskom as a matter of urgency put plans in place that will protect all water reservoirs from load-shedding.

Eskom has had since 2007 to get their house in order and ensure that additional power stations are built so that the demand on the current electricity grid is eased.

The role of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) is important now more than ever as this will add more generating capacity to the grid.

It is time that this SOE becomes proactive rather than reactive.

Double whammy: Gauteng residents left without electricity and water

Gauteng residents are being dealt a double blow this week as they are left without electricity and in some instances without water.

In Gauteng, municipal water entities are solely dependent on electricity to pump water to reservoirs. The rolling blackouts are impacting the ability of municipal water entities to fill reservoirs and water towers in their areas.
Gauteng residents may only have a trickle or no supply of water.

No water in pipes will also affect sewage lines that rely on a constant flow of water to push waste material in the system downline.

The continued interruption of electricity to pump stations means that the stations cannot continue to pump sewage which will overflow into rivers and water courses.

It is unacceptable that Gauteng residents are continuously being put in this position because the current government is incapable of providing proper consistent basic services in the province and the country.

The DA-led municipalities in Gauteng will continue to engage with Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to provide an alternative supply of electricity so that our residents are afforded some protection from the continued ineptitude of Eskom.

Gauteng hospitals’ maintenance backlogs of R2.5 billion puts the lives of patients and staff at risk

Many of our hospitals are simply falling apart and despite warnings to the Gauteng Department of Health, no steps have been taken since 2017 to remedy the situation. In addition, the longer the facilities deteriorate, the higher the cost to repair the damage.

See pictures here, here, here and here.

An explosive report was presented to the Health Portfolio Committee in Gauteng which highlighted the fact that there is a backlog of maintenance in the facilities that would cost an estimated R2.5 billion to fix.

The report highlights that some of the infrastructure issues may compromise the safety and health of patients, for example, theatres not being available, the inability to sterilise critical equipment, and not being able to provide food to patients.

This is reminiscent of warnings to the national government in 1998 to urgently build additional power-generating capacity. These warnings and recommendations were ignored and today our economy suffers the consequence of electricity shortages.

Whether the abdication of responsibility by the Health Department is based on incompetence or a lack of budget is not known, since the department has not provided input as to their failure.

Much of the mechanical equipment in the hospitals, which includes boilers, chillers, autoclaves, lifts, and generators have reached the end of its service lifespan and must be replaced. For example, of the 86 boilers, 45 have passed their expected service life of 30 years, some of which are more than 55 years old.

There is also a backlog in the refurbishment of facilities to deal with occupational health and safety regulations which are not adhered to.

This is expected to cost an additional 6 to 8 billion Rand to address.

The expectation of residents for a better future has been dashed by a government that has shown itself to be incapable of running a modern province, including the ability to manage infrastructure.

Although the Premier has announced he would remove the maintenance function from the Department of Infrastructure and transfer this responsibility to the health facilities themselves, there is now some doubt as to whether these facilities have the expertise and resources to do so. The DA will ensure that a lack of due diligence in terms of the Premier’s announcement will not exacerbate the already dire condition of health facilities. This is one of many empty promises made by Premier Makhura during his time in office, and it is high time that he vacates the office.

The government has dashed the hopes of citizens by depleting the fiscus to the point that it will take a very long time to plug the backlog. The DA will pressurise the Department of Health to reprioritise its budget to speed up the process of rectifying the maintenance failure.

Learners of Lawley Primary School No. 2 suffer from overcrowded classrooms with 80 learners per classroom

Learners of Lawley Primary School No. 2 are being taught in overcrowded classrooms with 80 learners per classroom, which is not a conducive environment for learning and teaching.

This level of overcrowding at this school is unacceptable as there is a total of 1800 learners.

The mobile classrooms in which learners are being taught are damaged and pose a safety risk for both learners and teachers.

The school is also facing a serious safety challenge as it does not have a fence. The sewer system is also broken and overflows due to pressure as it is unable to accommodate the increasing number of learners at the school. During the rainy season, the sewer floods the school sporting grounds.

See images here and here.

This school has been in existence since 2014 and it is high time that a brick-and-mortar school is built.

The DA demands that the Gauteng Department of Education must urgently intervene and provide the school with additional mobile classrooms to ensure that learning and teaching take place in a conducive environment. We will also put pressure on the Gauteng Department of Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, to prioritise this school and add it to the list of schools that are in the process of being built with a brick-and-mortar structure.

It is the responsibility of the department to ensure that schooling takes place in a conducive environment. We will continue to fight to ensure that additional mobile classrooms are provided at this school to reduce overcrowding in classrooms.

Were skinny jeans and armchairs delivered to Tembisa hospital? Department won’t tell so I will see for myself

The Gauteng Health Department has refused to confirm whether over-priced skinny jeans, luxury armchairs and hand towels were delivered to the hospital after paying R1.5 million for these items.

In a written reply to my questions regarding the purchase of these items by the hospital, Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi responded as follows:

“The office of the Premier has appointed the special investigating unit (SlU) to investigate all matters related to the alleged fraudulent activities in Tembisa tertiary Hospital that were flagged by the late Ms Babita Deokaran.

A process of scoping and gathering more information on top of what is currently being publicised regularly in the media. To that extent, the Department is unable to respond to all matters raised in the question from (i) — (x) pending the finalisation of the investigations.”

This is a poor excuse not to answer at least some of my questions on these suspicious purchases, including whether the items were actually delivered.

Why is the department scared to answer this simple question?

If they won’t tell me, I will find out for myself.

According to a News24 investigation, the hospital paid R850 million to fishy companies for over-priced goods, including R500 000 for 100 leather armchairs, face cloths at R230 a piece, and 200 skinny jeans for young girls at R2500 each.

Meanwhile, patients suffer because of a shortage of beds and equipment at this overcrowded hospital.

Tomorrow (Wednesday 21 September), I will visit Tembisa Hospital at 10am and see if I can find out if the armchairs, jeans and face cloths are at the hospital.

Media are welcome to attend.