The national government’s announced review of tender outsourcing in provincial health departments raises more questions about the Gauteng Health Department’s R265 million award of hospital security contracts in September last year.
I am very suspicious about these two-year contracts which were awarded in a rushed manner without the input of hospital managers.
We also appear to be grossly over-paying as the annual hospital security costs have more than doubled from the R113 million paid to private security companies in 2013.
The Hawks are already investigating allegations of fraud, corruption and money laundering with regard to the new hospital security contracts.
I have it on good authority that the department’s suspension of Mr Abey Marokoane, Chief Director of Risk Management and Internal Control, is related to allegations of corruption in the award of these contracts.
Marokoane is currently out on bail after being arrested on November 27 last year and appearing in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria the next day.
Former Health MEC Hope Papo refused to call for new security tenders because he said that national policy was moving towards in-house security for hospitals rather than outsourcing.
The question is why MEC Mahlangu pushed ahead so speedily with these contracts,
Mahlangu has also refused to give me the prices quoted by other security companies for each hospital, which I why I have submitted an application for it to be revealed under the Promotion of Access to Information Act.
I will continue to push for more information so that the truth is revealed about these contracts.
Statement by Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC
Tel: 082 333 4222
The DA in Gauteng wishes the class of 2015 a fruitful academic year, and encourages all learners to start the year with the end in mind.
While the DA believes that the education department has put all necessary plans in place before schools open tomorrow, we will visit schools across Gauteng for the rest of January to check school readiness.
By doing so, we will make sure that all schools are sufficiently staffed and equipped with learning and teaching materials, properly furnished, that school nutrition programmes are in place and ready to deliver, and that municipal service accounts are paid up to date.
As we head into a new academic year, the DA urges all learners to be disciplined and focused on their studies, and we urge parents and communities to take ownership of their schools and provide the youth with the necessary support.
Education is the key to success, and we firmly believe that all learners starting grade 1 will continue until they reach grade 12 and finish school with flying colours. Theft and vandalism should be things of the past, and learners must commit themselves to academic excellence.
The DA also appreciates the work done by our dedicated and committed teachers, we wish them well too.
Khume Ramulifho, MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education
082 398 7375
Complaints from members of the public have been pouring in regarding the sloppy and at times hostile behaviour by staff at licensing centres across Gauteng who appear not to be back at work.
At least four centres in the province, Centurion, Midrand, Watloo and Randburg, have experienced queues backed up for hours due to poor communication from the centres’ staff.
Although Monday 5 January 2015 was identified as the first working day of the new year, preparation was not made to receive licence applications. Various excuses were provided, ranging from the premises having to be cleaned to unexpected volumes of applicants.
At Centurion, members of the public were left to queue for hours, only to be informed that they would not be served.
This “couldn’t-care-less” attitude was experienced at several other centres. In addition, serious allegations of corrupt practices whereby individuals offer to help members of the public jump queues for a fee have also been reported.
Licensing centres are the responsibility of the Gauteng Provincial Government. Citizens expect the authorities to intervene and resolve the unnecessary logjams which have inexplicably occurred.
If staff are incapable of managing this important service, steps should be taken to replace them with individuals who can do so.
Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, Ismail Vadi, must intervene immediately and ensure that this indispensable service runs optimally.
Justus de Goede MPL
DA Gauteng spokesperson on transport
060 558 8305
The lack of intervention by the Gauteng Provincial Government to curb the horrendously high number of road fatalities in the province over the festive season has tragically resulted in 212 deaths.
Before the start of the 2014/2015 festive season, the Democratic Alliance appealed to the Gauteng Provincial Government for a focussed intervention by traffic authorities to reduce the horrific accident and death toll on South African and Gauteng roads.
It is clear that despite our constant pleas, nothing has changed the attitude of motorists and law enforcement authorities.
Despite the fact that South Africa has far more road accidents and fatalities than countries with similar levels of development, there is a reluctance to impose harsher penalties on law breakers.
There are no real consequences for irresponsible road behaviour such as the withdrawal of licences, the impounding of vehicles and the successful prosecution of fleet owners who effectively allow their employees onto the road armed with lethal weapons.
Without political will and a real understanding of the underlying causes of road chaos on Gauteng’s roads, the situation will be repeated year after year.
It is essential that the Provincial Government identify and treat this situation like the emergency it is.
I will request that Gauteng Community Safety MEC, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, provide an explanation for the unnecessary waste of human life and an action programme as to how incidents like these will be avoided in the future.
Justus de Goede MPL
DA Gauteng spokesperson on transport
060 558 8305
The DA in Gauteng is urging Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to invite technology experts to monitor the implementation “Schools of the future” project.
Failure to do so will see a repeat of Gauteng on Line problems, where the Gauteng Provincial Government invested about R3 billion towards the project in the last few years. Despite it being a good initiative, the lack of oversight led to the project being characterized by lack of strategy, theft, failure of connectivity for users and insufficient training.
The DA believes the new initiative to make 7 schools paperless is dependent on proper connectivity, trained teachers, support from service providers and safety of the technological gadgets.
About 188 tablets were stolen last year and not recovered. Should this trend continue, teaching and learning will be disrupted with the provision of quality education being compromised.
Criminals get away with their illegal activities as there were no charges brought against offenders.
The DA asks the MEC to provide details about this proposed project which includes service providers, service level agreements, security measures, list of the schools and costs involved.
The DA supports innovation intended to enhance quality learning and teaching in the province. However the department must take ownership of the project and monitor progress based on the service level agreement.
Khume Ramulifho, MPL
DA Gauteng South Regional Chairperson
DA Gauteng Caucus Chairperson
082 398 7375
The number of foreign tourists visiting Gauteng has dropped since the introduction of South Africa’s new visa regulations.
In reply to my question regarding the impact these new regulations will have on tourism in Gauteng, MEC for Economic Development, Lebogang Maile, indicated that the number of tourists from the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations had dropped by 3009 in a period of three months.
However, these figures are only for the first quarter of the current financial year. It would not be improbable that this number will increase significantly as data from the last two quarters emerges.
In an attempt to gloss over the issue and the impact this will have on the economy, MEC Maile dodged the question and indicated that more aggressive and targeted marketing needed to be conducted by the Gauteng Tourism Agency (GTA) to bolster the number of tourists visiting the province.
What the MEC failed to grasp is that as a result of these new regulations, the tourism industry in Gauteng and throughout South Africa will slowly begin to die off.
As other sectors of the economy decline, tourism is purportedly poised to fill the gap left by them. However, as jobs are shed due to draconian visa requirements this will forever remain an unattainable ideal.
If the Gauteng Provincial Government is serious about stimulating the economy and creating real, sustainable jobs through the tourism sector, members of the Provincial Cabinet must aggressively lobby their counterparts in National Government to scrap these destructive, ill-conceived visa regulations.
Failure to do so will ensure that the thousands employed in the tourism sector will have no option but to stare down the barrel of unemployment.
Janet Semple MPL
DA Shadow MEC: Economic Development
060 556 4346
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