Failure to implement the Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan indicates a lack of technical capacity and expertise

The abject failure of the Gauteng government to implement its infrastructure plans is indicative of its inability to improve the lives of residents.

In 2017, at great cost to the fiscus, the Gauteng government produced a voluminous document called the Gauteng City Region Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (GCRIIMP). The document analysed the status quo and deficit in terms of infrastructure in the province. Furthermore, it modelled future infrastructure needs and defined priority projects to fill the gaps.

The infrastructure analysis was done in several sectors, namely water, sanitation, electricity, solid waste, ICT, health infrastructure, educational infrastructure, and roads.

The priority projects proposed included:

• The creation of new wastewater treatment plants and bulk sewer capacity as part of the Sedibeng, Zuurbekom, and Lanseria Regional Sanitation Schemes.
• Creating an airport city as an element of the Aerotropolis.
• Gautrain phase two, the objectives of which were to purchase 12 additional train sets and to expand the existing network.
• Installation of solar PV panels on Gauteng buildings.
• Recommissioning of the Kelvin, Rooiwal, and Pretoria West Power Stations.
• Decentralising the Tambo Springs Freight and Logistics hub by building new roads and upgrading others.
• Create a mega human settlement in the West Rand in terms of the Masingita City Development Node.
• Trigeneration at hospitals, which uses technology to generate cooling, heating, and power.
• Implementation of an additional transmission powerline from the Matla to the Jupiter Power Stations.
• Building a new Lillian Ngoyi District hospital.
• Creation of the Kopanong Precinct, which involves the refurbishment of inner-city buildings in Johannesburg to house provincial officials.
• Social housing and mixed-use developments in the Lanseria area.

More than six years later, not a single project has come to fruition. No work has been done on most of the so-called priority projects.

There is absolute agreement that the government is not able to implement cost-efficient infrastructure and an acceptance that this will not change unless the private sector is involved both in terms of financing projects and contributing technical expertise.

The DA, in government, would make sure that this happens and that working with the government is an attractive option for the private sector.

Illegal dumping and non-functioning treatment plant pollute Klipspruit River

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng expresses deep concern over the rampant illegal dumping of chemicals and the non-functioning sewer pump station that is polluting the Klipspruit River.

During a recent oversight inspection at the Klipspruit River in Eldorado Park, the DA witnessed a company blatantly burning chemicals inside a drum on the riverbank. This blatant disregard for the environment and public health is unacceptable.

Furthermore, the sewer pumping station behind the Eldorado Park Cemetery is in a state of disrepair, causing sewage to spill into the Klipspruit River. This toxic combination of chemicals and raw sewage poses a serious threat to the health of both residents and the environment.

The Klipspruit River eventually flows into the Vaal River, a crucial source of drinking water for millions of people. The pollution of these waterways not only jeopardizes the safety of our drinking water but also endangers the delicate ecosystems that depend on these rivers for survival.

Our rivers play a vital role in our society, serving as a source of water, a haven for biodiversity, and a potential catalyst for economic growth through tourism. The DA condemns the irresponsible actions of those who are destroying these precious resources.

The DA calls on the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to take immediate action to address this environmental crisis. We urge the department to:

• Increase enforcement efforts to curb illegal dumping and hold perpetrators accountable.
• Expedite the repair and maintenance of the non-functioning waste treatment plant.
• Launch an awareness campaign to educate residents and businesses about proper waste disposal practices.

The DA remains committed to protecting Gauteng’s environment and ensuring the well-being of its citizens. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and hold the authorities accountable for their actions.

The Democratic Alliance believes that working with the administration we can build a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable Gauteng for all.

 

Johannesburg must take note of who voted against saving the City

The Democratic Alliance’s motion to dissolve its Municipal Council was debated today and defeated. We have campaigned for months, and we have asked other parties to vote with their consciences.

Unfortunately, the DA could not rely on other parties in the council who voted in their own interests, instead of the residents’ interest.

The past year has been filled with the ANC/EFF Doomsday Coalition’s failures. They have wasted billions of rands while driving service delivery into the ground with cadre deployment.

The failure to Dissolve Johannesburg’s Council means that our colleagues in Council across the political spectrum, are comfortable with the hapless executives who place an emphasis on their self-serving goals, while ignoring the needs of the residents they are meant to serve.

Councillors have today, voted for their jobs and personal comfort above that of our residents. Thousands of residents have signed our petition, and similarly, hundreds of thousands would have had the opportunity to vote again.

The City of Gold is now experiencing first-hand, just how bad the situation can get at the hands of the Doomsday Coalition.

Rescuing the city is now more difficult than ever, but we will not be stopped.

We maintain our stance; the residents of Johannesburg deserve the best quality service delivery possible. The DA in Johannesburg will continue to strive for what you deserve.

Joburg Party Scandal: Brink and Masuku must resign

Note to Editors: Please find evidence here, and a soundbite by Cllr Leah Knott here

The DA in Johannesburg calls on Cllr Loyiso Masuku and Floyd Brink to resign in shame for their role in the irregular diversion of funds to pay for an R2.6 million party for 500 employees. It was reported this morning that money was diverted from hard-won loco allowances to a slush fund that would allow Masuku and Brink to loot the City coffers.

The loco allowances were a hard-won victory by the DA for the unions and the workers, especially for the front-line workers who had not had an increase for over a decade. These are workers who are most vulnerable to the massive cost of living increases our country has experienced and require the allowances, to get to, and actually do their jobs.

This blatant corruption demonstrates that the Doomsday Coalition will continue to put their interests far ahead of residents’. This confirms the DA’s position that Council should be dissolved and validates the DA’s court challenge on the irregular appointment of Floyd Brink as City Manager even further.

It is disgusting that in the face of increased power and water outages, Masuku had her cronies in the department push through an irregular request to burn through over R2.6 million, of which over R1 400 000 will be spent on watches and branded puffer jackets. Over R76 000 went to venue hire, while R170 000 went to “management fees” which is obfuscated as the contract goes through the Metropolitan Trading Company – which does not disclose the name of the service providers. We are told the reason for this non-disclosure, is because the service providers are linked to Masuku herself.

The city has its own venues for hire, can do internal catering, and is under strict instruction from National Treasury to eliminate all expenditure on parties and gifts. Residents of Joburg have a right to be angry, as there is no excuse for this abuse of critical funds.

The DA will continue to investigate this matter until we get to the bottom of it. All information about this abuse of critical budgets must be exposed. The DA will continue to fight for accountability for the use of Joburg’s constrained budget.

Joburg deserves transparency, ethical leadership, and the highest standards of governance. The time for decisive action is now; the time to dissolve council and get rid of the rot is now.

DA demands GDE to publicise a list of all registered independent schools to rescue parents from bogus schools

The Democratic Alliance (DA) demands the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) to urgently make public the list of all registered independent schools in the province to protect parents and learners from falling victim to bogus schools.

The recent shutdown of the New World Institute Carlswald private school in Midrand only confirms the gruesome spike of illegal independent schools in the province.

In the 2022/23 financial year, the department reported that 69 independent schools were closed. The DA conducted numerous oversight inspections at illegally operating independent schools in the province. We discovered that learners are taught a curriculum not aligned with the National Curriculum Statement, Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement, or Independent School Curriculum. This has always created problems when learners change schools.

Please see the list of shutdown schools here.

Children should not experience the inconvenience of cutting short an academic year due to the illegality of a school. The DA believes GDE’s failure to provide sufficient schools and adequate school infrastructure is a core reason why parents seek admission to these illegally operating independent schools.

The DA demands that the Gauteng MEC for Education, Matome Chiloane, must prioritise completing unfinished school infrastructure projects and reopening closed schools in the province.

In addition, the MEC must make public the list of registered independent schools in the province so that parents and guardians can make informed decisions when they choose independent schools for their children.

Lesufi’s government fails to meet job creation targets despite high unemployment rate

The Gauteng Department of Economic Development has once again failed the residents of this province by not meeting critical targets set for the second quarter of the 2023/2024 financial year, even though the cost of living, unemployment and poverty have drastically increased in this province.

For the second quarter, they failed to meet the target of creating 12 500 jobs through the township economy programmes as only 1 220 were created. According to the department, the failure to meet this target was due to the late disbursement of the Township Economy Partnership Fund funds.

During the first quarter, the department failed to meet its job creation targets and used the same reason. It has become a trend for this department not to meet job creation targets.

This is a clear indication that the Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s government is failing the residents of this province.

The core mandate of this department is to grow the Gauteng economy. Failing to do so means that the private sector will not have the confidence to invest in the province.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) proposes that the government must cut the red tape involved in doing business with the government, foster public-private partnerships and root out corruption.

It is high time that the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) learned from its counterparts in the Western Cape about best practices for involving the private sector in job creation initiatives.

Why is Gauteng Health still not paying electricity bills

Several Gauteng public hospitals are facing electricity cut-offs this week for owing about R64 million to Johannesburg City Power, but the Gauteng Health Department still refuses to pay.

According to City Power, the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital owes R41 million, and amounts owed by other hospitals include the following:

Helen Joseph Hospital – R13 million
Rahima Moosa Hospital – R4 million
South Rand Hospital – R3 million
Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital – R2.6 million

I highlighted the huge power bills owing by hospitals in August this year, but the department seems to be in denial about its obligation to pay in time like everybody else.

While it is unlikely City Power would actually cut electricity to a hospital, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi needs to step in urgently to ensure speedy payment of all municipal bills.

Learners’ lives at risk: 832 learners affected by food poisoning in Gauteng schools

More than 832 learners in Gauteng have been affected by food poisoning in the past five years, which indicates that their lives are at risk. The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) is not doing enough to ensure that the School Governing Body (SGB) enforces the Department of Basic Education’s developed guidelines for the management of nutrition and vendors.

The department has reported that 12 incidents of food poisoning have occurred across all Gauteng schools after learners bought and ate food sold by vendors inside the school premises.

The department only recorded the number of incidents that occurred inside the school premises and excluded the incidents that occurred outside the school premises but affected learners.

This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Education, Matome Chiloane, in a written reply to the DA’s questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

The following 12 schools have been affected by food poisoning:
• 2019: Rosina Sedibana Special School had 27 learners affected.
• 2020: Iterele Secondary School had 115 learners affected.
• 2020: Vlakfontein Secondary School had 122 learners affected.
• 2021: Rivoni Secondary School had five learners affected.
• 2021: Sizwesethu Primary School had 21 learners affected.
• 2021: MH Baloyi Secondary School had 203 learners affected.
• 2022: Ezimvubu Primary School had 15 learners affected.
• 2022: Nghunghunyani Secondary School had one learner affected.
• 2022: Diepsloot Primary School had 73 learners affected.
• 2022: Lefa Ifa Secondary School had 60 learners affected.
• 2023: Rodney Mokoena Primary School had 78 learners affected.
• 2023: Thathulwazi Secondary School had 112 learners affected.

The department didn’t report cases where learners lost lives like incidents in Roodeport and Naledi which occurred last month. Also, other cases like Alexander and Soshanguve were not included in this reply.

For far too long, the DA has been demanding the vetting of school vendors to ensure proper hygiene measures are followed to avoid food poisoning.

Furthermore, the DA has tabled questions to the MEC for Health requesting the postmortem report of learners who died after eating food bought from the vendors selling outside the school premises.

We reiterate our call for the GDE to engage and ensure that the SGB adheres to the guidelines, rules, and safety measures to manage and prevent incidents of food poisoning proactively.

The safety of all learners is of utmost importance to the DA, and we will continue to hold the GDE accountable for failing to ensure learners’ safety by not enforcing preventative measures to avoid food poisoning.

 

 

Lie-sufi strikes again

Note to Editors: Please find video evidence of Lesufi lying to residents here

The DA in Gauteng condemns the unapologetic lies being spread by Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi in the strongest terms. All debt to Eskom has not been forgiven, nor can he claim that it has.

The truth of the matter, as economists have long pointed out, is that large-scale debt relief, not unlike what Lesufi is punting, will lead Eskom into a deeper financial hole than the one it is already in. This, and people must understand, is another hollow election promise that will only result in disappointment.

While the premier is on the campaign trail, he should deeply consider which, if any, of his promises have come to anything.

The people of Gauteng have been subjected to his lies time and time again – from panic buttons in every resident’s home, to a crime-busting campaign led by a ‘skilled’ group of green-clad law enforcers.

Not one panic button has been installed, nor have we seen any skilled law enforcers come from his promise. We have, however, seen a group of ‘crime wardens’ driving around in luxury cars, breaking the law with neither a constitutional mandate nor an idea of what they’re doing.

There is a serious disconnect between what the Premier promises and the reality. Next, no doubt, he will flout free education and housing for all. More promises South Africans have heard before. Yet, here we are. Housing projects across Gauteng are at a standstill because suppliers have gone unpaid, money continues to evaporate into thin air, and the ANC’s commitment to lining the pockets of their friends remains the same, here, and across South Africa.

Lesufi is quoted as saying: “All the people that have owed Eskom for years, all those debts have now been officially scrapped…”.

This blatant lie enforces what we already know – he is an unfit leader. The people of Gauteng deserve a government that cares about their well-being all the time, not only a few months away from the election. If he cared about debt relief or anyone at all, he would have made good on his promise to ensure that Gauteng is the economic hub of South Africa. Under his leadership, we have lost jobs, and he has made it near impossible for people to repay their debts to Eskom.

The disfunction the people of Gauteng have been forced to become accustomed to, should not be accepted as the norm. There is an alternative, and come 2024, we will show them what a functioning government looks like – Lesufi, pack your bags.

#GP2023/24AdjustmentBudget: No tangible solution to rescue Gauteng residents from high costs of living, unemployment and poverty

The Gauteng Adjustment Budget for the 2023/2024 financial year is full of empty promises and fails to outline how this province intends to create more employment opportunities, improve the quality of life of our residents, eradicate poverty, and clamp down on corruption and crime.

Today, the Gauteng MEC for Finance, Jacob Mamabolo, delivered the Adjustment Budget for 2023/2024 in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

The following departments received an increase in their budget:
• Office of the Premier: R86 million
• Gauteng Department of Health: R2.5 billion
• Gauteng Department of Social Development: R70 million
• Gauteng Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs: R441 million
• Gauteng Department of Human Settlements: R160 million
• Gauteng Department of Community Safety: R10 million
• Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development: R159,1 million
• Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation: R37 million
• Gauteng e-Government: R10 million
• Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development: R429 million

While the increase in the budgets of these departments is welcomed, our residents are continually failed by this government. This government is failing to ensure that critical targets like job creation are met and to implement consequence management to root out corruption and ensure accountability.

Furthermore, more emphasis needs to be placed on capacitating entities like the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP), the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA), and the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC), to name a few, to deliver on their core mandate.

These entities are meant to help grow the economy, but when looking at the annual reports and quarterly reports, many of the key targets that are set through the Annual Performance Plan (APP) are not met.

In addition, red tape must be cut to make it easier for the private sector to do business with the government. The private sector also needs assurance that their assets and investments will be protected for the benefit of Gauteng residents.

In terms of e-Tolls, the debt stands at R12.9 billion, and they will be submitted on 15 December on how the province plans to pay the debt, yet they have not disclosed the plans as part of good governance.

The proposed Provincial State Bank will use another bank to do its business on behalf of the government, while it is not clear whether the proposed pharmaceutical company will be manufacturing its own medicine or procuring from other pharmaceutical companies.
It makes no sense to use a middleman for certain services that the government can do themselves.

Instilling a false sense of urgency about delivering better services to our residents is only creating a false sense of security. Our residents deserve a government that will truly put their needs first and responsibly manage the public purse.