#MakhuraMustGo: Makhura chooses to not face the DA’s MONC

The Gauteng Premier, David Makhura is running away from the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Motion of No Confidence (MONC), which was due to be debated on 18 October 2022.

Earlier today, the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) issued a notice for a special sitting to be held on Thursday, 6 October 2022 to nominate and elect the new Premier.

The DA brought the MONC before the GPL because our residents in this province have not been receiving the service delivery they rightfully deserve.

State of the Province Address after State of the Province Address (SOPA) has been littered with a list of promises by Premier Makhura which has not been fulfilled.

Here are some of the lists of Premier promises that have not been materialised:

• Failed to develop a plan for a healthy energy mix with an emphasis on smart and green energy solutions.
• Failed to release the SIU reports, and they have never been made public.
• No action has been taken to recover millions of rands looted during the Covid-19 pandemic.
• The handing of complete housing projects to legitimate owners has still not happened.
• No progress has been made in the reporting of the fires at the Bank of Lisbon building and the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, and no one has been held accountable for either.
• The rollout of broadband and free wifi across the province
• Katlehong, Soweto and Kagiso township industrial hubs are to be accredited and open for business before the end of the 2016/2017 financial year.
• Work to begin on the logistics hub on N12 between Rand West and Merafong.
• The investment into infrastructure to support clusters of township businesses to expand access to markets has not happened.

Makhura knew that there was a strong possibility of our motion passing and that he will leave the office disgraced.

It does not matter who is nominated by the ANC to be the new Premier, this party has demonstrated their failure to govern, and it will not make any change to the lives of Gauteng residents.

They will also be a Premier of no action and will not be able to make strategic decisions that will benefit the residents of our province.

Service delivery will continue to suffer under the leadership of the ANC-led government. The status quo needs to change, and our residents have the power to do this in 2024. Residents in this province deserve a DA-capable government that will deliver the services they promise and at all times act in the best interest of our residents.

GDE will not meet the demand to place all learners as DID is lagging in building new schools

The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) will not meet the demand to place all learners who applied for Grades 1 and 8 for the 2023 academic year.

This is because the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development and Property Management (DID) is lagging in building new schools and maintaining the existing schools.

This means that with the high demand for enrolment in this province, many learners will not have access to quality education and a conducive learning environment due to the shortage of schools.

This will result in overcrowding in classrooms, some learners being taught under the tree or in the school hall, and many schools will adopt the rotational learning system to ensure that learning and teaching continue without further disruptions.

There have been unnecessary delays in the construction of the following new schools; Hillcrest Primary School, Mayibuye School Primary, Mogobeng Primary School, Nokuthula LSEN School, Nancifield Primary School, Braamfischerville Primary School, and Rustervaal Secondary School.

The contractors have been terminated, and the planning is underway for the appointment of new contractors to complete the projects.

This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure Development and Property Management (DID) MEC, Tasneem Motara, in a written reply to the DA’s questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL). See replies here.

It is unacceptable that seven schools are still incomplete and will not be completed within the stipulated timelines. Delays in the completion of infrastructure projects will result in running over budget.

It is further disappointing that the only action taken by DID against these contractors that have failed to complete the construction of the schools is terminating their contracts.

Contractors who fail to complete the infrastructure projects should be blacklisted and not do business with the government.

The DA demands that both MEC Motara and Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, must fast-track the process of appointing the new contractors so that the construction of schools can be completed and be able to ease pressure on high demand schools. When the DA governs Gauteng in 2024, we will terminate the current agreement between DID and the GDE, to ensure that GDE is responsible for its infrastructure budget and building its own schools.

Gauteng businesses continue to suffer from late payments as Gauteng Health Department only paid 19% of invoices within 15 days

Gauteng small businesses that provide services to the Department of Health in the province have to wait extremely long before they are paid. This means that they may potentially struggle to pay their employees on time because of this delay.

This information was revealed to me by the MEC for Health, Nomathemba Mokgethi, in reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) regarding the payment of invoices.

Out of 122 018 invoices received for the 2021/2022 financial year, only 22 794 were paid within 15 days, and 99 227 were paid out of 15 days. 62 235 invoices were paid out of 30 days.

This has resulted in R1 510 582,28 being paid in penalties due to the late payment of invoices to FNB (Medico-Legal Litigations), Telkom, Eskom, and EMS (Standard Bank).

The late payments of invoices put the delivery of services at risk, as suppliers may withhold their services until they are paid in full.

Given the current load shedding crisis where many small businesses may be unable to trade for between 4 to 6 hours daily, the late payment of invoices by the Gauteng Department of Health is an added burden in their attempts to keep their businesses afloat.

The DA will be putting pressure on all government departments to pay suppliers within 15 days, as is the current practice in the Western Cape. This will allow departments to negotiate an early settlement discount, and they will avoid paying an exorbitant amount in penalties.

WesBank contract model causing undue delays in Gauteng SAPS vehicle repairs

The delivery of police services has been severely affected due to a lack of adequate police vehicles to provide necessary visible policing due to the contract entered by the National Treasury and WesBank, which has resulted in a complicated vehicle repairs model.

The National Treasury entered a contract with Wesbank on behalf of the South African Police Service (SAPS) for the maintenance and repairs of most SAPS vehicles. Wesbank took the responsibility of vehicle maintenance and repairs away from the SAPS garages.

This has created backlogs for simple repairs of up to 500 days in some cases. This not only puts the safety of the residents at risk but adds to the frustration and staff morale of the police officers to conduct visible policing and detective services.

According to some police stations, the WesBank contract allows for 30 days to access a breakdown and three months to appoint a service provider to fix the vehicle that must then still be assessed afterwards. This means that the police vehicles will be out of commission for months on end, and in some cases, tyres and wheels are stolen from parked vehicles even before work can be done on police vehicles.

In addition, 24 mechanic artisan posts have been vacant at the SAPS garages since 2016 that could have been used to repair the broken police vehicles.

This was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko, in a written reply to the DA’s questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to MEC Mazibuko, there are 16 SAPS garages in Gauteng, 205 mechanics in all the garages and 24 mechanic artisan posts that have been vacant since 2016.

It is unacceptable that the vacant mechanic posts have not been filled for almost six years. This has also resulted in police vehicles that are sent for repairs being kept at these garages for a long time due to a lack of an adequate number of mechanics to fix them. There is also too much workload for these mechanics due to unfilled vacancies.

This is greatly impacting the ability of police officers to provide visible policing to protect residents and prevent crime as vehicles sent for repairs are not returned to their respective police stations timeously.

This is quite harrowing considering that many mechanic graduates are sitting at home unemployed, yet the SAPS is sitting with 24 vacancies that can help change and better the lives of our people.

We believe the Department of Community Safety must review its contract with WesBank as it may be the main reason for the backlog in vehicle maintenance and repairs.

The safety of Gauteng residents is of utmost importance for the DA hence we demand that MEC Mazibuko and the Gauteng SAPS Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, must liaise with their national counterpart Minister of Police, Bheki Cele to ensure that these mechanic posts are filled as a matter of urgency. Shortage of police vehicles is a major challenge affecting many of our police stations.

This is one of many reasons why Minister Bheki Cele must go, he continues to fail our people due to his incompetency. The DA will continue to use all the mechanisms at our disposal in all spheres of government to force the President to fire Minister Cele as he is compromising the safety of our people and a danger to society.


MEC Lesufi must ensure that all learners are placed before end of November

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng demands that no learner in 2023 must miss a day of schooling due to the Gauteng Department of Education’s failure to allocate school placements before the end of this year.

The Gauteng Department of Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, is tasked with a responsibility to ensure that all parents and guardians who applied on time for the Grades 1 and 8 online admissions should all receive placement offers.

The late placement of learners can no longer be tolerated, as it denies learners their constitutional right to access basic education. This will result in learners missing out on the much-needed everyday learning and falling behind in the curriculum.

Many learners across the province continue to suffer and are not being allocated schools timeously despite that they applied on time. This causes uncertainty and frustration amongst the parents who are supposed to budget and plan for their children’s stationery, transport, and school uniforms.

The DA propose that the department must use the information received from the online admissions to plan and prepare to ensure that schools have adequate learning resources. This includes amongst others, recruiting more teachers, providing additional classrooms, and replacing dilapidated mobile classrooms.

We will continue to monitor the process of learner placements to ensure that all parents and guardians who applied on time receive placement offers. Should we receive complaints from parents that they have not received any placement offers, we will directly engage with the department.

Gauteng Health employee paid R4.7m to stay at home

The Gauteng Health Department has paid its top legal head R4.7 million to stay at home since July 2019.

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

According to Mokgethi, Advocate Lebeloane Mpelegeng is Chief Director: Legal Services, but was told to stay at home following a Public Service Commission report on her appointment that found irregularities in her transfer from the Department of Water and Sanitation.

The PSC recommended that the department apply to the Labour Court “without delay” to set aside her transfer to the Department.

The Department made the application to the Labour Court on 18 November 2020, but Mpelegeng opposed it.

Mokgethi says that the Court Registrar has indicated that a date for this matter will only be set in 2023, and “The Department wants to see the matter concluded as speedily as possible, however, remains constrained by the Court’s processes which are outside the Department’s control.”

Meanwhile, there is an acting person in her job, and she has been paid R4 681 700 for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 September 2022.

This is an enormous sum of money to pay for a botched appointment.

It could have paid for 10 senior nurses for a year at our understaffed hospitals.

Lebeloane has a chequered history with the Department – she was former Health MEC Gwen Ramokhopa’s personal assistant when she was fired in January 2006 for misusing state property, but was later absolved on appeal. When Ramokgopa returned as Health MEC in February 2017, she recruited Lebeloane to get her buddy back into the department.

The PSC investigated Lebeloane after complaints about her high-handed management style.

I am appalled that the department’s mismanagement has wasted so much money that should be used to provide better care for hospital patients.

I will continue to expose the appointments of buddies in this department and the protection of cadres like the suspended Tembisa Hospital CEO Ashley Mthunzi.

The DA’s policy of a merit-based public service is needed to fix this ailing department.


R9 billion in irregular expenditure by Gauteng departments puts service delivery at risk

Gauteng residents continue to suffer through the ineptitude of the provincial government which is constantly failing to clamp down on irregular expenditure, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

This information was revealed this week at a two-day breakaway held by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA).

According to the report that deals with the Public Finance Management Act Provincial Audit outcomes, irregular expenditure to the tune of R9,73 billion was incurred, while fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounted to R378 million.

The following departments are the top offenders when it comes to irregular expenditure:

• Health- R2,57 billion
• Roads and Transport- R2,48 billion
• Education- R812 million
• Infrastructure Development- R340 million
• e-Government- R413 million

The main reason for the large amount of irregular expenditure and fruitless and wasteful expenditure is due to non-compliance with Supply Chain Management (SCM) processes.

This is very concerning as it means that loopholes exist within the system for potential corruption to occur.

The DA proposes that to clamp down on non-compliance with the SCM, officials who circumvent the SCM process must face consequence management. In a situation where the same officials are found to be contravening the policy and procedures put in a place, formal disciplinary hearings must take place. The impunity for floating processes and violating policy must end.

If these efforts are intensified by the current government, public funds will be managed correctly, and we will not see a repeat of the recent Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) scandal.

A DA government will ensure that the SCM policies that are in place are followed, and if any official disregards these directives, they will face immediate disciplinary action.

Taxpayers’ money should be spent transparently and meticulous records of where every cent is spent must be kept accordingly.

Year-long postponement in Hlongwa corruption case highlights failure to all-or-nothing approach

The Democratic Alliance notes the year-long postponement of the corruption case against former Gauteng Health MEC Brian Hlongwa, his wife Jolene and five others, who are facing 258 charges that include fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering.

This postponement was granted yesterday at the request of the State as they were applying for the extradition of one of the accused – businessman Richard Payne – from an undisclosed country, and also because one of the accused is appealing a racketeering certificate.

It is very disappointing that this case continues to drag out for events that occurred 14 years ago, including the award of a R1.2 billion tender to the Baoki consortium in 2008 to set up a health information system and electronic health record. They were paid more than R400 million before their contract was cancelled a year later with no system installed.

There is strong evidence that Hlongwa received kickbacks from other tenders issued when he was the Health MEC.

The Gauteng Health Department has never recovered from this early example of state capture which diverted money that should have been used to treat patients in our hospitals.

It is said that justice delayed is justice denied. Hlongwa received political protection against corruption charges for years, and state incapacity could drag it out for many more years as well.

What hope is there that recent cases like the PPE corruption and the R850 million fishy Tembisa Hospital payments will ever get to court in good time?

It does not look like there will be justice anytime soon for the 144 mental patients who died in the Life Esidimeni scandal six years ago.

The state simply does not have the resources to speedily prosecute and convict corruption cases. There are all the Zondo commission cases, and more corruption in government departments is revealed all the time.

My view is that success is far more likely by selecting the easiest-to-prove charges in complicated corruption cases, so that implicated people get convicted for at least something.

My fear is that the all-or-nothing approach can end up with nothing.

There are lots of lesser charges that Hlongwa and his colleagues could have faced in court long ago, without the potential for endless stalling tactics.

The cancer of corruption will only be stopped when crooked people are speedily charged and convicted.