GPG fails to tackle illegal mining, endangering resident’s lives

Gauteng residents’ lives are in danger due to illegal mining, which has resulted in the loss of lives and damage to critical infrastructure, yet the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) is failing to address illegal mining across the province.

This illicit industry has become a big contributor to the increasing tremors, sinkholes and prevalent crimes like gang violence, rapes, kidnappings, and contact crimes in mining communities.

Many people have died because of illegal mining, and residents’ safety is under siege due to gas explosions linked to illegal mining.

The causes of the explosion in the Johannesburg CBD have not yet been determined; however, there are allegations that it is linked to illegal mining.

In another incident, one person died, and two were injured in a suspected illegal mining explosion in Braamfisherville, Soweto.

Three weeks ago, 17 people died, and more than 16 were injured due to a nitrate oxide leak from a gas cylinder used by illegal miners to clean gold dust in Angelo Informal Settlement in Boksburg.

Illegal mining also has immense financial implications for the government, as they must fix damaged infrastructure that is not budgeted for.

The DA submitted questions to Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) to ascertain if the GPG has measures in place to address illegal mining in the province.

The DA demands that the Gauteng Premier, Panyaza Lesufi, the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko, and the Gauteng SAPS Lieutenant General, Elias Mawela, engage with their national counterparts, the Minister of Police, and the Minister of Mineral Resources, including different stakeholders in the mining sector, to develop a strategy to address illegal mining.

It should include a safety plan to ensure the safety of residents in illegal mining areas.

City of Johannesburg: A ship without a captain in a storm

Issued by Cllr Belinda Kayser-Echeozonjoku, DA Johannesburg Caucus Leader

 

The DA expresses grave concern about the absence of political leadership in the City of Johannesburg, facing various crises. While infrastructure in the economic hub of the country is falling apart, an explosion rocks the CBD, and public transport turns into a public safety risk, the City of Johannesburg is “without” a mayor.

The City Manager has selectively been updating residents, and councillors regarding actions steps to be taken following the CBD explosion, and while extraordinary circumstances demand extraordinary measures, one of these measures surely cannot be the absence of the mayor.

The elected mayor, and his MMC’s are nowhere to be found amid the storm the city finds itself in. The City Manager’s strings are now being pulled by Gauteng Premier, Panyaza Lesufi. Who, despite what he may believe, is neither the mayor of the City of Johannesburg, nor is he the ultimate authority on what our residents need.

There are also allegations of selective service delivery to a politically connected few in the City. Access to basic service delivery cannot become a new form of cadre deployment.

The city manager, in his new role as acting mayor is ignoring calls for mini substation repairs in other areas of Johannesburg leaving residents without electricity. Should the City Manager and Premier Lesufi continue to fulfil the role of the mayor and his MMC’s, they should start by heading the calls of councillors who are desperately trying to service our residents.

During the past week, the DA has written to the Executive Mayor, requesting him to brief all councillors, regarding what happened in the CBD, we have yet to receive a response from him.

The City Manager is calling for a Local State of Disaster to be declared in the Johannesburg CBD. This, however, leaves the DA worried – if allegations of selective service delivery are true, and if absenteeism is now at the order of the day, then the City of Johannesburg cannot be trusted with the type of funds that come with a state of disaster.

The DA will lead an oversight visit to the site of the explosion, and write to Premier Lesufi regarding the alleged favours he has been doing for his politically connected friends, while keeping a very close eye on the planned State of Disaster.

Under the DA’s watch, the City of Johannesburg and its residents cannot and will not be captured by the ANC or its cadres.

Premier Lesufi misled Gauteng residents: e-tolls contract extended for another six months

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi has misled Gauteng residents into thinking that e-Tolls have been scrapped while the contract has been extended for another six months.

This means that Gauteng motorists will continue to pay for this unwanted system until December 2023.

Gauteng residents are struggling to make ends meet due to the high cost of living, which is hitting hard on their pockets. Continuing to pay for e-Tolls will worsen the situation.

Sadly, Premier Lesufi has used e-Tolls as an electioneering tool to garner votes for next year’s elections without considering the impact on people’s daily lives.

Premier Lesufi has no proper plan in place to deal with this issue. He is still battling to find a financial model for the replacement of e-Tolls.

Premier Lesufi is mum about the issue instead of coming clean and engaging different stakeholders and political parties represented in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to assist with a lasting solution for e-Tolls.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has submitted questions to the Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, Kedibone Diale, to ascertain the progress in finding a financial model to service the e-Toll debt. We are eagerly awaiting the responses; however, with the way things are going, e-Tolls are here to stay.

The DA will continue utilising all mechanisms at our disposal to fight e-Tolls and any proposal impacting residents’ pockets.

DA demands Gauteng Premier Lesufi fire incompetent Education MEC Chiloane

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng demands that the Gauteng Premier, Panyaza Lesufi, fire the incompetent MEC for Education, Matome Chiloane.

MEC Chiloane is incapable of leading this department. He is dodging his responsibilities while things are falling apart.

Learners at Wendywood High have not been going to school because the City of Johannesburg has cut the water supply. These learners are being denied access to quality basic education.

This is unacceptable, as these learners will compete with other learners in other schools at the end of the year despite missing days of schooling.

The DA has written to the department seeking its intervention; however, there is no urgency in resolving this matter. The school has had no water since May, and the MEC has done nothing to resolve the matter.

Many school infrastructure projects are either on hold or have been abandoned. This means that learners who applied online will not be placed before the end of the year, as there are not enough schools to accommodate them.

In addition, more than 80 Gauteng City Region Academy (GCRA) employees are pocketing salaries for doing nothing. Furthermore, GCRA has failed to pay monthly stipends to many youths on internships with several TVET colleges across the province, yet the MEC has failed to intervene.

Since the beginning of the 2023 academic year, the department has recorded many school disruptions because of a lack of leadership. This has had a negative impact on quality teaching and learning.

MEC Chiloane has no plan to lead this department, and his priorities are not clear. He is not responsive or accessible.

The DA demands that Premier Panyaza fire MEC Chiloane before he completely collapses the department. The department needs an energetic leader with a vision to improve the quality of teaching and learning. It needs a dedicated MEC to provide leadership and support to the department.

Abandoned ECD centre are illegally invaded while children suffer without access to nursery school

The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) has abandoned an Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre, Acunamatata Nursery School, in Hatfield, Tshwane, depriving children of access to a nursery school.

This is a burden to parents and guardians who now pay for transportation for their children to commute to nearby areas to access nursery schools.

This centre, which closed in 2017 due to high water and electricity bills, has been illegally invaded.

Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) conducted an oversight inspection at the nursery school, and we discovered that the building is dilapidated, and allegedly used as a drug den.

We were also shocked to learn that nearly 20 people claimed to have been paying rent of R1000 to the GDE’s officials since 2017.

The DA demands that the Gauteng MEC for Education, Matome Chiloane, institute an urgent investigation into these allegations of department officials collecting monthly rentals from the illegal occupants.

Should it be found that these allegations are true, criminal cases must be opened and disciplinary action taken against those implicated.

In addition, we demand that the department reclaim this nursery school and repurpose it for educational purposes.

City of Johannesburg gearing up for yet another disaster

Joint Press Statement by:

Cllr. Mark van der Merwe DA Spokesperson on Metrobus

Cllr. Tyrell Meyers DA Shadow MMC for Transport, in the City of Johannesburg

View photos of multiple incidents involving Metrobus busses here and here. Images from today’s incident here, and here.

The DA in the City of Johannesburg, notes with grave concern the failing state of the Metropolitan Bus Services (Metrobus). Bearing in mind the serious accident involving one of the city’s busses this morning outside the University of Johannesburg (UJ), the city can ill afford to have 145 busses, out of 383, out of service.

We wish a speedy recovery to those involved in the tragic accident this morning. However, the question arises from this and a plethora of other accidents, how and when will the city address yet another failing entity under their charge.

We call on the MMC of Transport in the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Kenny Kunene, to launch an investigation to determine the extent of the Metrobus’ involvement in the accident.

Thousands of people in Johannesburg and its surrounding areas are dependent on the usage of the Metrobus system. With 38% of the buses out of commission (OOC), these commuters are left stranded. The most recent quarterly report confirms exactly that while noting that Metrobus was unable to meet their required planned trips.

With an aging fleet, 59% of the busses are older than 15 years, the Metrobus service not only lags behind the industry standard in the age of their fleet, but the numerous accidents this year begs the question – can residents trust the service?

Safety and trust are both crucial aspects of public transport, and Metrobus is proving to be neither safe nor trustworthy. It is high time that these busses enter the modern era. Drivers should be monitored while bus maintenance and an actual delivery of services should become the main goal. Under leadership of the current government, Johannesburg is fast becoming a hub for failure in service delivery and serious accidents.

The DA will not rest until answers are obtained. It is unacceptable that users of public transport need fear for their lives in the economic hub of the country.

DA interventions lead to eviction of illegal occupants at Glen Marikana Informal Settlement illegal occupants

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the eviction of illegal occupants at Glen Marikana Informal Settlement in Kempton Park.

This is a huge relief to the landowner of the land, the Jansen van Vuuren Beleggings (PTY) LTD, and the residents of Glen Marais.

These illegal occupants invaded this private land in 2016, which has placed an immense financial and resource burden on the landowner, municipality, and Glen Marais residents.

The illegal occupants were connecting electricity illegally to the substations belonging to the residents of Glen Marais.

This caused immense distress to the residents, who were sharing their resources with them. These illegal occupants did not have access to basic services such as proper sanitation and refuse removal, and the area became polluted with trash. The area was no longer safe, and it affected the value of the bond houses in the area.

The DA has been at the forefront of helping the residents and the landowner evict the illegal occupants.

In November 2018, an eviction order was granted, but the City of Ekurhuleni needed to relocate the occupants before 31 March 2019. Therefore, the eviction order could only be implemented in February 2020, but this was stopped due to the national lockdown.

The eviction process is underway, and the illegal occupants have been moved to Putfontein. We applaud the role of law enforcement agencies in ensuring that eviction takes place, which is a victory for the rule of law.

The DA will continue to monitor the eviction process and work with law enforcement agencies to ensure residents’ safety and engage them to provide support when needed. At last, law, order, and calm will be restored in Glen Marais.

Families anguished by delays at Hillbrow Mortuary

The DA has alerted Gauteng Health and Wellness MEC, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko to the unacceptable situation whereby bodies are not released for burial by the Hillbrow Mortuary because of delayed post-mortems.

Families are anguished as the bodies of their loved ones are not released. This issue needs to be resolved urgently.

All cases of unnatural death are supposed to be sent to the state mortuaries for a post-mortem, which should be done within two days.

But the backlog at Hillbrow Mortuary has grown to about 100 bodies, and families are waiting for more than week before the body is released.

In one case, the family of a man who was murdered on Sunday 16 July are still waiting to bury him.

Funeral parlours also complain that bodies are sometimes released in a decomposed state.

There is a general problem of poor management and staff shortages at the nine mortuaries run by the Gauteng Health Department, but the Hillbrow Mortuary seems to be worst affected.

DA to assess Northridge Primary School facing bullying issues and abandoned Hakunamatata Nursery School

Tomorrow, Tuesday, 25 July 2023, the DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho MPL, the DA Constituency Leader for Thabo Mogale, Adriana Randall MPL, and the DA Councillor for Ward 50, Cllr Lenise Breytenbach, will conduct oversight inspections at Northridge Primary School and Hakunamatata Nursery School in Pretoria.

Northridge Primary School has had several bullying incidents since the beginning of the year, severely impacting learning and teaching.

The DA believes a school should be a safe place for learners and teachers, and bullying must not be tolerated.

We will inspect the abandoned Hakunamatata Nursery School, which has now become a haven for drug dealers and sex workers.

The nursery school belongs to the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE). It was allegedly shut down because of water and electricity issues.

The DA will assess both schools to find solutions to these issues, and we will further establish why government infrastructure is left to be vandalized and not used for educational purposes.

Members of the media are invited for an opportunity to take pictures and ask questions.

Details of the oversight are as follows:

Date: 25 July 2023

Oversight Inspection One:

Time: 10:00-11:00
Venue: Northridge Primary School, 232 Braam Pretorius St, Sinoville, Pretoria, 0129

Oversight Inspection Two:
Time: 11:30-12:30
Venue Hakunamatata Nursey School, 221 Richard St, Hatfield, Pretoria, 0028

DA to assess Northridge Primary School facing bullying issues and abandoned Hakunamatata Nursery School

Tomorrow, Tuesday, 25 July 2023, the DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho MPL, the DA Constituency Leader for Thabo Mogale, Adriana Randall MPL, and the DA Councillor for Ward 50, Cllr Lenise Breytenbach, will conduct oversight inspections at Northridge Primary School and Hakunamatata Nursery School in Pretoria.

Northridge Primary School has had several bullying incidents since the beginning of the year, severely impacting learning and teaching.

The DA believes a school should be a safe place for learners and teachers, and bullying must not be tolerated.

We will inspect the abandoned Hakunamatata Nursery School, which has now become a haven for drug dealers and sex workers.

The nursery school belongs to the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE). It was allegedly shut down because of water and electricity issues.

The DA will assess both schools to find solutions to these issues, and we will further establish why government infrastructure is left to be vandalized and not used for educational purposes.

Members of the media are invited for an opportunity to take pictures and ask questions.

Details of the oversight are as follows:

Date: 25 July 2023

Oversight Inspection One:

Time: 10:00-11:00
Venue: Northridge Primary School, 232 Braam Pretorius St, Sinoville, Pretoria, 0129

Oversight Inspection Two:

Time: 11:30-12:30
Venue Hakunamatata Nursey School, 221 Richard St, Hatfield, Pretoria, 0028