MEC Chiloane must ensure that learners who applied on time are placed before the end of November

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is demanding that the Gauteng MEC for Education, Matome Chiloane, must ensure that all learners who applied on time are allocated schools before the end of November 2022. This will ensure that no learner misses a day of schooling because of the department’s incompetency and failure to place learners on time and within the stipulated deadlines.

Yesterday, MEC Matome Chiloane gave an update on the admission process and announced that the late applications for Grades 1 and 8 for the 2023 academic year will open on 20 December 2022 and closes on 20 January 2023.

We welcome the opening of late applications which will allow parents and guardians who missed the deadline to submit their children’s applications. However, we don’t believe that the late applications will be processed on time as this department has a reputation for failing learners and, many have been denied months of schooling due to late placements.

The DA proposes that only schools that have not yet reached their full capacity must be listed on the selection list to avoid raising hopes and creating pressure on schools that have reached their maximum capacity.

The MEC should be focusing on 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.

Come the 2023 academic year, there should be no learner that is denied access to basic education because the department failed to allocate schools for them. 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 the process of learner placement to ensure that all parents and guardians who applied on time for their children receive confirmation placements before the end of this month. We will further monitor if the MEC keeps his promise to deliver mobile classrooms to high enrolment demand schools to avoid classroom overcrowding.

R215 million to fix unsafe Gauteng Hospitals is returned to Treasury

The Democratic Alliance condemns the incredible incompetence that sees the Gauteng Health Department lose R215 million to fix unsafe hospitals because they failed to spend it.

According to the adjustment budget that Gauteng Finance MEC Jacob Mamabolo unveiled last week, the “delays in the implementation of occupational health and safety infrastructure projects causes a surrender of R214.7 million to the Provincial Revenue Fund.”

This is despite the assessment that 19 out of 37 Gauteng public hospitals do not meet the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Non-compliant hospitals include the following:

Edenvale Hospital
Leratong Hospital
Yusuf Dadoo Hospital
South Rand Hospital
Far East Rand Hospital
Pholosong Hospital
Thelle Mogoerane Hospital
Mamelodi Hospital
Odi Hospital
Pretoria West Hospital
Tshwane District Hospital
Lenasia South Hospital
Heidelberg Hospital

The Department blames the underspending on the slow processing of invoices and the failure to create Purchase Orders for contracts.

Also, to blame is the corrupt and incompetent Department of Infrastructure Development as they rarely choose decent contractors who finish the job in time and within budget.

Meanwhile, patients and staff face the danger of unsafe hospitals.

This is what you get after years of ANC cadre deployment and corruption.

Former premier David Makhura promised repeatedly to “turn around” the Gauteng Health Department, and Premier Panyaza Lesufi makes the same baseless promises.

Real progress will only happen when the ANC is ejected from the provincial government.

Nyaope farm: DA warns against uneconomical use of resources

This is another example of the government’s uneconomical use of valuable resources to achieve short-term political objectives.

The Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve at some point in the past was functional and attracted tourists. It was valued at R2,9 billion in 2009.

After years of mismanagement by the Gauteng government, the reserve has been struggling to meet its full potential as a tourist destination and a source of revenue.

A botched project to install a water pipeline by the dysfunctional Infrastructure department resulted in the reserve closing its doors because of the fire risk brought about by the lack of water.

Other bulk services such as electricity and sewerage are also problematic in terms of deteriorating infrastructure. The total cost of restoring the bulk services was estimated at approximately R120 million. This amount excludes the cost of completing the failed water-line project.

Another risk this reserve presents is the poor security situation where fences are often damaged or stolen and unauthorised individuals breach the property.

Considering the poor quality of planning exhibited by the Gauteng government, one wonders whether the Premier has considered the sub-optimal use of such a valuable asset is the best decision. In addition, there is as yet no clarity as to where the budget would come from to upgrade the infrastructure and pay more than 400 staff members assigned to this programme.

Since most projects managed by this government fail, it is essential that people with the necessary planning and implementation skills be roped in to ensure that the drug programme’s laudable objectives are met. These project skills do not exist in the public sector in Gauteng.

There is a concern, that in their desperate scramble to retain power in Gauteng, the ANC will sell all the family silverware, as it were, and bankrupt the fiscus to meet their objectives.

Safety of Ekurhuleni residents under siege as murder, sexual offences and hijackings increases

The lives and livelihoods of the residents of the City of Ekurhuleni are at high risk following the recently released crime statistics by the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is concerned that Ekurhuleni police stations had the most reported cases in these increased crimes nationally; specifically with regards to violent crime, including murder (13.6%), sexual offences (11%), attempted murder (19.4%) and truck hijackings (36.8%.).

Most crimes in South Africa like murder, violent crimes, sexual offences, attempted murder, and hijacking have bounced back to and exceeded pre-Covid-19 levels.

However, Gauteng SAPS has been losing ground in the battle against crime, as the lackluster leadership of the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko and Minister of Police, Bheki Cele continues.

The sharp upward trajectory in crime shows a clear indication that police stations still have a mammoth task of combatting crime on their hands. The list below shows the police stations that reported most a crime nationally:

• Tembisa ranking 4th for contact crimes,
• Tsakane and Tembisa ranking 10th and 12th for rape,
• Tembisa and Springs ranking 3rd and 17th for Trio crimes,
• Tembisa and Germiston ranking 11th and 29th for carjacking,
• Tembisa and Springs ranking 4th and 14th for robbery at residential premises,
• Brakpan, Kempton Park, Springs, Germiston, and Boksburg North are on the top 30 for robbery at non-residential premises,
• Boksburg North, Kempton Park, Alberton, Bedfordview, Germiston and Boksburg ranked in the top 30 in South Africa for truck hijacking,
• Tembisa, Boksburg North, Kempton Park, and Germiston in top 30 for kidnapping,
• Benoni and Kempton Park 28th and 29th for property-related crimes.

Tembisa, Springs, Kempton Park, Germiston, and Boksburg North are some of the police stations that have come up a number of times for all the wrong reasons.

During the #DAGautengPoliceWatch campaign, the DA observed shortages of personnel, training, and vehicles at many of Ekurhuleni’s hardest-hit stations.

It is of the utmost importance that SAPS has all the means at its disposal to combat crime, particularly in these areas that are hardest hit.

The DA demands that MEC Mazibuko must urgently intensify all efforts to deal with the high levels of crime facing the residents of Ekurhuleni. We will continue to fight to ensure that all our police stations across the province are adequately equipped to ensure the safety of our residents.

DA to assess progress concerning clearing the DNA testing backlog to ensure justice for the victims of GBV

As part of the 16 Days of Activism for No violence against women and children campaign, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow MEC for Community Safety, Crezane Bosch MPL and the DA’s Shadow MEC for Social Development, Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL and DA’s Spokesperson for Community Safety, Ruhan Robinson MPL will on Monday, 28 November 2022, conduct an oversight inspection at the SAPS Forensic Science Lab in Pretoria.

The purpose of the oversight is to assess why there has been a delay by the SAPS in clearing the DNA backlog in the province.

Earlier this year Minister of Police, Bheki Cele committed to clearing the DNA backlog by October 2022, but that did not happen. Cele has further announced in the recently held Gender-Based Violence (GBV) summit that the DNA testing backlog will be cleared by January 2023.

Despite the SAPS reporting that the national DNA backlog status has been reduced by 38.54%, from 143 795 in the first quarter to 88 374 in the second quarter of this year, the prosecution of many cases of crimes against women and children continues to be delayed due to DNA backlog.

There are 14 015 cases nationally which were prioritized for analysis since the inception of the NPA and SAPS DNA project in 2021. For Gauteng South, there are 1790 and in Gauteng North, there are 758 requests for DNA testing.

The DNA backlog has resulted in rapists being allowed to walk free while the lives of vulnerable victims are left shattered. This is unacceptable, a DNA test delayed is a justice delayed.

The DA will ascertain the progress concerning the clearing of the DNA backlogs and the challenges causing the delays.

Members of the media are invited and there will be an opportunity for interviews and photographs.

Details of the oversight inspections are as follows:

Date: 28 November 2022

Time: 10h00-11h00

Place: SAPS Forensic Science Lab, 730 Pretorius St, Arcadia, Pretoria, 0007

DA to assess progress concerning clearing the DNA testing backlog to ensure justice for the victims of GBV

As part of the 16 Days of Activism for No violence against women and children campaign, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow MEC for Community Safety, Crezane Bosch MPL and the DA’s Shadow MEC for Social Development, Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL and the DA’s Spokesperson for Community Safety, Ruhan Robinson MPL will on Monday, 28 November 2022, conduct an oversight inspection at the SAPS Forensic Science Lab in Pretoria.

The purpose of the oversight is to assess why there has been a delay by the SAPS in clearing the DNA backlog in the province.

Earlier this year Minister of Police, Bheki Cele committed to clearing the DNA backlog by October 2022, but that did not happen. Cele has further announced in the recently held Gender-Based Violence (GBV) summit that the DNA testing backlog will be cleared by January 2023.

Despite the SAPS reporting that the national DNA backlog status has been reduced by 38.54%, from 143 795 in the first quarter to 88 374 in the second quarter of this year, the prosecution of many cases of crimes against women and children continues to be delayed due to DNA backlog.

There are 14 015 cases nationally which were prioritized for analysis since the inception of the NPA and SAPS DNA project in 2021. For Gauteng South, there are 1790 and in Gauteng North, there are 758 requests for DNA testing.

The DNA backlog has resulted in rapists being allowed to walk free while the lives of vulnerable victims are left shattered. This is unacceptable, a DNA test delayed is a justice delayed.

The DA will ascertain the progress concerning the clearing of the DNA backlogs and the challenges causing the delays.

Members of the media are invited and there will be an opportunity for interviews and photographs.

Details of the oversight inspections are as follows:

Date: 28 November 2022

Time: 10h00-11h00

Place: SAPS Forensic Science Lab, 730 Pretorius St, Arcadia, Pretoria, 0007

Gauteng’s adjustment budget displays under-expenditure and poor performance, hampering service delivery

The mid-term adjustment budget delivered by Gauteng MEC for Finance, Jacob Mamabolo is an admission that government departments are struggling to spend their budget in a manner that will provide basic service delivery to all our residents.

Today, MEC Mamabolo announced that there will be a rollover of R1.6 billion. The Gauteng Department of Health has the biggest rollover of over R1.1 billion. This is very worrying as currently there is a huge underspending on infrastructure in the province.

For the remainder of the current government’s term the following key priorities have been identified:

• Economic recovery and reconstruction
• Strengthening the battle against crime, corruption, vandalism and overcoming lawlessness
• Changing the living conditions in townships, informal settlements, and hostels
• Prioritisation of the health and wellness of people
• Strengthening the capacity of the state

Infrastructure is one of the key drivers of the economy and if more is not done by the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) the current government facilities will not be able to cater to the needs of our residents, as the population in the province is growing on a daily basis.

MEC Mamabolo claims that this province has state-of-the-art infrastructure including roads, airports, rails, and premium digital connectivity. Yet when our motorists use our roads, they are faced with numerous potholes and a rail system that is not always operational.

Furthermore, there are plans in place to seek alternative funding for the e-Tolls debt and establish a state-owned bank and a state-owned pharmaceutical company. This will take time and will not be completed before the next general elections which are to be held in 2024.

The proposed state-owned bank appears to be a duplication of the work that the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) is supposed to do. It is high time that this entity starts to deliver on its mandate to assist small businesses, particularly those operating in the townships.

In order to change the living conditions in hostels, townships and informal settlements, the dysfunctional Department of Human Settlements will need to get their act together as a matter of urgency.

If the GPG is committed to building a capable state in this province under the leadership of Premier Lesufi and MEC Mamabolo, the DA proposes the following solutions:
• Ensure that consequence management takes place where budgets are not spent within the allocated time frame
• Conduct an audit of all officials in the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) to make sure they have the necessary skills needed to implement infrastructure projects
• Audit all entities and ensure that they are delivering on their mandate instead of creating new entities
• Reduce the amount of money spent on consultants by government departments
• Cut the red tape so that more small businesses are able to do business with the government

Gauteng residents deserve a government that is capable of delivering basic services to all, while still ensuring that there is value for money.

No accountability for Gauteng Health fire despite a damning report

No action has been taken following the damning findings of a report on the fire that started four years ago at the Gauteng Health Department’s head office at the Bank of Lisbon building. This led to the death of three firefighters, and the damaged building has been demolished.

Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko revealed this information in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Nkomo-Ralehoko, an Occupational Health and Safely Incident Investigation report was done by the Department of Labour in conjunction with South African Police Services (SAPS) shortly after the fire on 5 September 2018.

It was handed over to the Department of Health and concluded as follows:

1. The fire suppression systems were not installed in offices occupied by the Health and Human Settlements departments.

2. Both tenant departments did not request the certificate of occupancy from the landlord, which they had an obligation to do.

3. Both tenant departments did not conduct risk assessments of occupancy and further contravened the Environmental
Regulations for Workplaces 9 (2) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act 85 of 1993 by failing to ensure that firefighting equipment is serviced and in good working
condition in case of fire.

Despite these findings, no action has been taken against anyone for these severe lapses that led to the fire that devastated the entire building.

The Health MEC says: “No further investigations are anticipated as far as we have established unless there are developments that have not been communicated to us.”

I have been trying for years to get the details of investigation reports on the BOL fire. Former Premier David Makhura kept promising to make public a “consolidated” report but this never happened.

According to Makhura, there were four investigations. These were done by the SA Police Service, the City of Johannesburg, the Provincial Government and the Department of Labour.

Nkomo-Ralehoko says “investigation reports are never communicated publicly, it is left with the discretion of the report owner.”

I suspect there has been a cover-up of the fire reports to avoid the accountability of senior ANC politicians.

Immediately after the fire, I laid criminal charges of culpable homicide against then Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa and Infrastructure Development MEC Jacob Mamabolo for negligence in not setting up a functioning Occupational Health and Safety Committee for the building, and for ignoring multiple warnings from unions and staff about the fire hazard.

Mamabolo is presently the Gauteng Finance MEC.

Meanwhile, the families of the firefighters who died do not have closure for the loss of their loved ones.

I will continue to press for all the fire reports to be made public so those at fault are held accountable.

Gauteng still searching for money for e-Tolls while motorists suffer

The Premier of Gauteng, Panyaza Lesufi has confirmed that the current liability towards e-Tolls for Gauteng is R 12,9 billion but he has no answer on how the province will fund it.

The Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) committed to paying the e-Toll debt and a further R2 billion for the maintenance of the highways over the next three years without knowing where the money will come from.

Lesufi also committed that the current budget allocations in Gauteng will not be affected and that additional funds will be raised to fund these additional commitments. His only proposal thus far is that a “hybrid model” will be developed to which residents will have to contribute.

Clearly, the plan is to replace e-Tolls with another form of tax on Gauteng residents 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. This is not what the residents of Gauteng want.

It is also likely that the R12,9 billion liability will end up being much more than the current amount as the GPG 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 provincial government and the residents of Gauteng. The province cannot afford any further pressures on it that could inhibit economic growth.

The DA proposes that the under-expenditure by government departments should be utilized to pay towards the e-Toll loans as a starting point. The 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 keeping the GPG to account for its commitment to scrap e-Tolls and ensure that Gauteng residents are not burdened with any new taxes.

Residents’ lives at high risk as Gauteng Police Stations continue to dominate national crime stats

Millions of Gauteng residents are at risk of experiencing crime daily, as the recent crime statistics reflect no improvement.

Gauteng police stations are devastatingly dominating the national top 30 police stations in the following cases reported kidnapping, rape, sexual assault, murder, stock theft, carjackings, trio crimes (carjackings, house robberies and business robberies) and attempted sexual assault.

Even though the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko, is aware of the shortfalls that hinder Gauteng police stations from combating crime, such as the high vacancy rate and lack of vehicles, she has done nothing yet to ensure that our police stations are adequately equipped with resources.

In a period of three months from 1 July to 30 September 2022, there has been a sharp increase in below crimes:
• Kidnapping increased by 164.3%, from 796 to 2104
• Attempted sexual assault increased by 8.2%, 49 to 53
• Robbery in residents increased by 4.2%, from 1829 to 1906
• Trio crimes increased by 8.6%, from 5920 to 6427
• Rape increased by 10.2%, 2054 to 2263
• Murder increased by 19.6%, from 1320 to 1857
• Sexual assault increased by 4.7%, from 490 to 513
• Carjacking increased by 17%, from 2518 to 2945

This is only a reflection of zero crime intelligence within our police services.

The DA continues to demand Minister of Police, Bheki Cele and MEC Mazibuko adopt the DA’s Community Safety Oversight Bill which will put emphasis on improving police intelligence in Gauteng. This Bill is the only solution to improve police service delivery and ensure that all our police stations are well-equipped and monitored to deliver adequate services to the communities they serve.

The residents of Gauteng lack confidence in our police services, and we cannot blame them. Communities are fighting crime alone, particularly crimes against vulnerable members of society particularly, women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities which has risen even in institutions for learning.

Our police services need a proper crime intelligence approach because we cannot expect police officers to fight crimes such as rape, carjackings, and murder if we have poor crime intelligence and a lack of resources.

Furthermore, the DA demands the devolution of powers and decentralisation of the South African Police Services (SAPS) so that each province can manage police resources and budget on their own without interference from the national government.

The failures of Minister Cele and MEC Mazibuko leave them no choice but to vacate their offices. When the DA governs in 2024, we will implement our Community Safety Oversight Bill, which will serve and protect the vulnerable residents of Gauteng from criminals.

Click on the link here to Support the DA’s Community Safety Bill.