DA to visit Tshwane schools to assess readiness for the 2023 Academic Year

Today, Friday, 13 January 2023, the DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho MPL, accompanied by DA Gauteng Provincial Leader Solly Msimanga and Cllr Sipho Mtakati of Ward 98, will conduct an oversight inspection in Tshwane to assess the readiness of schools for the 2023 Academic Year.

The schools visited will be Laerskool Danie Malan, Hoërskool Pretoria North, Hoërskool Gerrit Maritz and Laerskool Theresa Park.

The details of the oversight are as follows:

Venue: Laerskool Danie Malan
Time: 08:30

Venue: Hoërskool Pretoria North
Time: 09:30

Venue: Hoërskool Gerrit Maritz
Time: 10:30

Venue: Laerskool Theresa Park
Time: 11:30

DA to visit Tshwane schools to assess readiness for the 2023 Academic Year

Tomorrow, Friday, 13 January 2023, the DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho MPL, accompanied by Cllr Sipho Mtakati of Ward 98, will conduct an oversight inspection in Tshwane to assess the readiness of schools for the 2023 Academic Year.

The schools visited will be Laerskool Danie Malan, Hoërskool Pretoria North, Hoërskool Gerrit Maritz and Laerskool Theresa Park.

The details of the oversight are as follows:

Venue: Laerskool Danie Malan

Time: 08:30

Venue: Hoërskool Pretoria North

Time: 09:30

Venue: Hoërskool Gerrit Maritz

Time: 10:30

Venue: Laerskool Theresa Park

Time: 11:30

Lack of readiness in some Gauteng schools will negatively impact learners

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has conducted oversight visits to check school readiness. A high number of learners were unable to start school today because the department has failed to place them on time. 

 

It is regrettable that the Gauteng Department of Education failed to place all learners who applied timeously before the new academic year started today.

 

During our oversight, we observed many parents queuing in search of space for learners. Equally, the DA has been inundated with calls and emails from parents desperately looking for space. 

 

The lack of completion of infrastructure projects compounds the problem. One example is Braamfischer Primary School, where the contractor left the site in October last year. As a result, learners are overcrowded, with more than 60 learners in a class. This school should have been completed in 2020 to accommodate more learners who are still without school.

 

The DA demands that MEC Matome Chiloane place all learners before the end of the week. Instead of teaching commencing today, many schools have been busy with admission.

 

The DA urges the MEC to prioritise placing all learners and allocating resources to overcrowded schools. Any further delays will only aggravate the education challenges in the province.

 

The learners and parents of Gauteng deserve a responsive and caring government to expedite the resolution in admissions and school readiness.

 

The DA will continue to monitor developments regarding interventions to place all learners. We will further visit schools to confirm whether the MEC kept his promise to deliver mobile classrooms to high enrolment demand schools to avoid classroom overcrowding.

Tambo Hospital repairs must be done without corruption

The Democratic Alliance commends Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko for questioning the estimated cost of R18 million to fix the Tambo Memorial Hospital after it was damaged by the gas tanker explosion on Christmas Eve.

This amount was cited by Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure Development Lebogang Maile, but his department is notoriously corrupt, and disreputable people may want to benefit from the damage to the hospital.

We saw this with greedy companies that profited from money earmarked for the Covid epidemic, including R500 million for alterations to the Anglo Ashanti Hospital on the Far West Rand, which is now abandoned.

I will monitor the repair process to ensure decent contractors repair the Tambo Memorial Hospital in good time and within budget.

The DA will continue to hold the Gauteng government accountable to ensure that corrupt politicians and their cronies do not fleece the people of Gauteng.

Will new taxes be imposed on taxpayers to pay for e-Tolls?

The deadline for the scrapping of e-tolls has been delayed due to the Gauteng Provincial and National governments not reaching an agreement on how the outstanding debts for the construction of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) will be settled.

Rumours abound that there will be an additional Gauteng-only fuel levy, increased driver license and vehicle license fees, increased casino taxes, and even retaining certain tolls.

The DA rejects these additional taxes outright.

It has been reported that the outstanding debt for the GFIP construction costs stands at R43 billion, of which the Gauteng Government must repay R12,9 billion. Concerns have been raised about these figures as the government has contributed over R22,4 billion towards e-tolls to Sanral since 2012, according to OUTA.

Gauteng committed to paying the e-toll debt and a further R2 billion for the maintenance of the highways over the next three years and refunding motorists who paid e-tolls almost R7 billion.

Shockingly, the Gauteng government agreed to this deal without knowing beforehand how it would be able to pay its share. The DA maintains that the imposition of e-tolls in Gauteng was a national decision and that the national government should foot the entire bill.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi also committed that the current budget allocations in Gauteng will not be affected and that additional funds will be raised to fund these commitments. However, it is unclear how he plans to do it.

Clearly the plan to replace e-tolls with another form of tax on Gauteng residents is so that the Gauteng government can cover its newly acquired liability towards the scrapping of the system. It is the only way additional revenue can be generated, to the detriment of residents. This is not what the residents of Gauteng want.

It is also likely that the R12,9 billion liability will be much more than the current amount as the Gauteng provincial government wants to pay the liability off over the long term. This repayment plan will attract further interest and cause the liability to balloon. The R12,9 billion is already inordinately high.

The DA believes that an alternative solution should be sought to reduce the liability on both the Gauteng government and the residents of Gauteng. The province cannot afford further pressures that inhibit economic growth. The DA believes that under expenditure by government departments should be utilized to pay towards the e-toll loans as a starting point. The current very high taxes on fuel can also be used to contribute towards the repayment of loans. These are just two proposals that do not require any additional taxes.

The DA will continue to keep holding the Gauteng Government accountable for its commitment to scrap e-tolls and ensure that Gauteng residents are not burdened with any new taxes.

DA to visit Soweto schools to assess readiness for the 2023 Academic Year

Today, Wednesday, 11 January 2023, the DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho MPL, will conduct an oversight inspection in Soweto to assess the readiness of schools for the 2023 Academic Year.

The schools visited will be Braamfischer Primary, Siyabonga Secondary, Livhuwani Primary and Meadowlands High.

The details of the oversight are as follows:

Venue: Braamfischer Primary
Time: 08.30

Venue: Siyabonga Secondary
Time: 09:30

Venue: Livhuwani Primary
Time: 10:30

Venue: Meadowlands High
Time: 11:30

DA to visit Soweto schools to assess readiness for the 2023 Academic Year

Tomorrow, Wednesday, 11 January 2022, the DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho MPL, will conduct an oversight inspection in Soweto to assess the readiness of schools for the 2023 Academic Year.

The schools visited will be Braamfischer Primary, Siyabonga Secondary, Livhuwani Primary and Meadowlands High.

The details of the oversight are as follows:

Venue: Braamfischer Primary
Time: 08.30

Venue: Siyabonga Secondary
Time: 09:30

Venue: Livhuwani Primary
Time: 10:30

Venue: Meadowlands High
Time: 11:30

Learners denied education as Gauteng Education fails to place them in schools before the start of the academic year

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is concerned that the Gauteng Department of Education has failed to place all learners who applied on time before the new academic year starts tomorrow, Wednesday, 11 January. This means thousands of learners will not attend school on day one of the 2023 academic year.

The online system seems to be easily manipulated as learners who have siblings or reside next to schools were not placed or allocated space far from their siblings or place of residence.

MEC Matome Chiloane must account for failing to place all learners who applied on time but were still not placed. Parents informed the DA that the appeals process was flawed and failed to consider reasons, only offering a general standardised response. This is a confirmation of the flaws in the current online system.

The DA urged the department to use online applications to ensure proper planning and allocate resources to high-demand schools. Unfortunately, the department has failed dismally.

Late applications will compound this problem. The lack of consequences against responsible officials is the main reason learners will be frustrated and sit at home without commencing their learning for the year.

The DA proposes that the MEC prioritises resolving placement issues for the learners who applied on time. Thousands of parents and guardians who applied on time are still waiting for SMSs to confirm the placement of their children.

No learner should be denied access to education because the department failed to allocate a school for them. Furthermore, the long wait and uncertainty frustrate parents who still need to buy stationery and uniforms and make transport arrangements for their children.

The DA will continue to monitor developments regarding interventions to place all learners. We will further visit schools to confirm whether MEC Chiloane kept his promise to deliver mobile classrooms to high enrolment demand schools to avoid classroom overcrowding.

Security review needed as thefts at Bara hospital threaten lives of patients

The Democratic Alliance condemns the thefts at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital that threatened the lives of patients.

Ten metres of copper cable were stolen on Monday this week which forced the evacuation of 24 patients at the main ICU unit, one of whom has since died.

On Wednesday, copper pipes were stolen which cut off water to two operating theatres as their cooling system was disrupted.

I suspect these thefts involved insiders and possible collusion with security guards.

More than R20 million a year is spent on private security at this hospital, but major thefts continue.

Deliberate sabotage cannot be ruled out as Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital suffered vandalism which delayed the re-opening of the casualty unit earlier this year.

A security review is urgently needed for all Gauteng public hospitals as security contracts were last awarded in 2016 for a two-year period, but have been irregularly rolled over.

ANC-run Emfuleni Municipality confirms that it is unable to pay salaries for the month of December

The DA in the Vaal Region notes that the Emfuleni Municipality has issued a letter to employees and councillors, confirming that salaries for the month of December will not be paid on time.  The letter gives no guidance as to when or if the municipality will meet its contractual obligations and pay these salaries.

It is unfortunate that the mismanagement of the municipality will have such an impact on so many families at a time when access to banks is limited. The non-payment of salaries is however also likely to impact on service delivery as disgruntled staff lose motivation to fulfil their duties.

The most concerning aspect of the letter is the passing of the blame onto Eskom for having attached the Municipality’s bank account.

It must be noted that this was done in execution of an order of the Court, and that this action was only taken after Emfuleni Local Municipality repeatedly reneged on agreements with Eskom.  Poor management and bad budgeting has resulted in the inability to meet their obligations, and the actions of Eskom are the actions that any creditor would take in similar circumstances.

The actions by Eskom, the souring of the relationship with Rand Water and now the inability of the municipality to pay salaries is confirmation that the upliftment of the Section 139 intervention by the Gauteng Province was both premature and misguided.

While it is generally accepted that the administrative Intervention had little or no impact, a more intensive intervention was called for, rather than the apparent act of surrender by the then-MEC for Co-operative Government Lebogang Maile.

The DA repeats its demand that the Emfuleni Council be dissolved under Section 139.5 of the Constitution and that the voters be given a chance to elect new leadership to start the process of correcting this failure by the Local Council to fulfil their Constitutional mandate.