Cable Theft at Van Rhyn station in Benoni leaves thousands of commuters stranded

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has learnt that several trains are not running this morning due to cable theft at the Van Rhyn station in Benoni.

Thousands of commuters have been left stranded due to the overnight cable theft at the station

Trains between Germiston and Dunswart as well as Kaalfontein and Pretoria have been affected by cable theft.

It is unacceptable that commuters are now forced to make alternate transport arrangements due to the lack of security at Metrorail train stations.

Residents in Gauteng need to be given a public transport system that is reliable and affordable.

The DA is calling on the Gauteng Provincial Government to speed up the process of handing over the Metrorail service to the province as this will ensure that the service runs adequately and that there is sufficient security.

Where we govern in the Western Cape, we have established a Rail Enforcement Unit that not only oversees the safety of commuters but also ensures that that cable theft does not occur and trains are not vandalised.

Zama Zama Crisis: DA calls for holistic approach

The DA condemns the brutal killing of five women suspected to be involved in illegal mining activity near Crystal Park in Benoni by alleged gang members earlier this week.

Illegal mining in Gauteng has reached an all-time high and the situation has now become untenable. Illegal miners (Zama Zamas) whether operating in gangs or individually place their lives at risk in order to put food on the table.

Zama Zama’s urgently seek social and economic intervention from government. It is through their desperate attempts to survive that many scavenge old mine dumps for gold residue.

Those involved in illegal mining should not only be dealt with by the law but a holistic approach is necessary to identify, educate and assist many who are trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty. This can be achieved with an interdepartmental approach.

Too many have lost their lives in Gauteng already.

The provincial government must take a firm stance in addressing this scourge and not simply pay lip service to this issue.

Last year, the DA debated the matter in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, yet the ANC have rejected our calls for specialised units within the South African Police Service (SAPS) and offered no alternative solution.

We will once again table a motion for debate in the Legislature at the earliest available opportunity to ensure that urgent action is taken.

As a first step, a specialised unit within SAPS is vital to ensure that surrounding communities are safe and that our resources are protected.

We cannot expect to meet violence with violence and therefore a systemic intervention is required to deal with this matter.

The DA extends its condolences to the family and loved ones of the women brutally killed near Benoni. The families and loved ones remain in our thoughts and prayers.

Shortage of staff affects service delivery at Benoni SASSA offices

Yesterday myself, DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP, and DA Ward Councillor, Sinethemba Matiwane conducted an oversight visit at the Benoni SASSA offices in Ekurhuleni.

The Benoni SASSA offices are the only SASSA offices that render services to the entire Benoni area and neighbouring suburbs.

As a result there is an overflow of people coming to access social grant services, on most days, officials service up to 200 clients per day.

There are times , particularly at the beginning and end of the month, where people have to sit in the centre’s garage while waiting to be serviced, as the offices are full.

The vulnerable and the elderly endure much stress whenever they have to access SASSA services at these offices.

Some members of the public who arrive at the offices have to return back home and come back the following day due to long queues. It is alleged that the SASSA system does not accommodate more clients after 4:00 pm in the afternoon.

The offices are generally under-staffed which compromises the quality of the service being rendered to the public. Despite the fact that the officials on the ground are trying their best to do their work, the Minister is failing them by not ensuring there are sufficient Centres for the vulnerable to receive these much needed services.

This is yet another disgraceful failure by a Minister that should not still be in her job.

The DA will hold the Social Development Minister, Bathabile Dlamini, accountable in ensuring that there is adequate staff at Benoni SASSA offices. The Minister must also ensure that there are more accessible SASSA offices in Benoni and neighbouring suburbs to reduce the influx in these offices.

Urgent SAPS Operation Needed To Clamp Down On Crime In Benoni

Criminal Activity Rife

The Benoni Central Business District (CBD) and Actonville and surrounding areas are severely affected by crime. Drug smuggling, human trafficking and prostitution have become the norm in the CBD of Benoni.

Many of the residents have written to the DA expressing their concern about constantly having to live in fear.

Criminal activity has become rife in the community over the past few years. The community has expressed to me that they will take matters into their own hands by torching homes owned by drug lords.

SAPS should work with the Community Policing Forum and gather intelligence from members of the community in order to clamp down on illegal activity.

I implore Community Safety MEC, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane and the Provincial Police Commissioner, Lt General D.S de Lange, to launch a large-scale police operation in the area.

Police officers must be dispatched in order to prevent violent protests and to keep community members safe.

Young people are most affected by the scourge of drugs and crime and they are unable to walk to school and partake in evening extra-mural activities at school as they constantly have to watch over their shoulders.

The MEC and the Provincial SAPS commissioner must act now before it is too late.

Media Enquiries
Michele Clarke MPL
DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Benoni
060 558 8299
Yaseen Carelse
Social Development Cluster Manager
076 721 8613



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Bunking Jeppe Police Station Commander Under Urgent Review

I welcome the announcement today by Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane that the position of Jeppe Police Station Commander Brigadier Govandsamy Mariemuthoo is under review as “a matter of urgency”.

She said this in an oral reply to my questions in the house following the disclosure earlier this month that he had taken 156 days absence since his appointment at the station in February 2014.

Nkosi-Malobane said that there was an ongoing investigation into this matter and that he had been “very clever” to take as many days as possible as he had used different categories of leave.

This included 64 days which he took for what was described as “Alleged IOD – Injury Left Knee”, which she said had not been granted but was “pending” as processes had not been finalized.

She said that they were not sure whether he was at home when he was on leave or “moonlighting”.

I pointed out that the general absenteeism at the station is 14% and she said that when the head is ill-disciplined others will follow.

I am surprised that the MEC said she did not know about his previous record of high absence when he was the Station Commander at Benoni, which shows that this has been an ongoing problem with Mariemuthoo.

Crime is high in the area and I hope that an effective station commander is put in place as soon as possible.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Constituency Head Johannesburg East

082 333 4222

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156 Day Absence Of Jeppe Police Station Commander

Brigadier Govandsamy Mariemuthoo

The Station Commander of Jeppe Police Station, Brigadier Govandsamy Mariemuthoo, has been absent from his job for 156 days following his appointment there on 17 February 2014.

This is revealed by Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane in an official reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Nkosi-Malobane, he took 70 days vacation leave, 22 days sick leave, and 64 days Temporary Incapacity Leave for what is described as an “Alleged IOD : Injury Left Knee”.

This means that he was absent for more than 30% of the time, which is excessive and affects the functioning of the station which is in a high crime area.

Leave National Instruction

Nkosi-Malobane says that his period of absence was in accordance with the Leave National Instruction (leave and medical certificate were submitted). An Acting Station Commander is always appointed during his absence so “there has been no noted effect on the operation of the police station.”

I am outraged by his long absences and I disagree with MEC Nkosi-Malobane’s assessment that it has not had a negative effect on the station.

The area is plagued by drugs and problem buildings. Last year in November, local Ward Councillor Carlos Da Rocha and residents in Bez Valley did their own night patrols to stop rampant theft of water meters. Furthermore, house-breakings and murders have increased.

Labour Court Ruling

I suspect that Mariemuthoo is a serial malingerer. Previously he was the station commander of Benoni where he was investigated after taking 106 days sick leave, 39 days study leave, 122 days normal vacation and capped leave, as well as three days of family responsibility leave. He was temporarily removed from his post there and reinstated following a Labour Court ruling.

I fail to see why a knee injury should lead to 64 days leave, which is three months absence.

He is a poor example at this police station which suffers from a 14% general absenteeism rate.

I am going to campaign with local DA Councillors Carlos Da Rocha and Victor Penning to have him removed. We will mobilise the community for him to go as he does not seem to want to do the job he is supposed to do.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Johannesburg East Constituency Head

082 333 4222

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DA Wishes Muslim Community A Blessed Ijtima

The DA in Gauteng would like to wish the Muslim community a blessed Itjima.

Held once a year, Itjima is dedicated to the spiritual progress of all Muslims.

This year’s Itjima will be held from 25 March to 28 March 2016 in Actonville, Benoni, Ekurhuleni.


Media enquiries:

John Moodey MPL

DA Gauteng Provincial Leader

082 960 3743

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Ekurhuleni Metro fails to repair crumbling Fairleads infrastructure

During the past year (2015) the residents of Fairleads in Benoni have been left neglected by the Ekurhuleni Metro.

The roads in Fairleads are sand-sealed and expire every five years. As a result, these roads cannot be repaired by way of re-tarring the roads, but have to be reconstructed.

However, the Ekurhuleni Metro choose to patch the roads with tar rather than completely reconstructing the road. There is also no storm-water system in this area and as a result the temporary tar-patching washes away every time it rains.

Due to a lack of proper and continuous maintenance by the Ekurhuleni Roads Department, many of the residents can no longer safely drive to and from their homes due to the large amount of potholes. Several residents have also incurred damage to their vehicles due to the potholes.

“Pretoria Road is a main arterial road and we use this road to get our children to school. However, due to the damage in the road we are constantly late,” says Fairleads resident Michael Holmes.

I have been reporting this issue to the Ekurhuleni Roads Department since July 2014 and was informed today that the department have funds available to fix these roads.

However, a date have not been set for when reconstruction can begin and the department assured me that they will maintain the roads until the dates have been finalised.

I will continue to monitor the progress made by the Roads Department and put pressure on the department to start reconstruction as soon as possible.


Media enquiries:

Stefanie Kruger

Councillor: Ward 24, Benoni

076 541 9717


DA condemns shooting of two police officers in Benoni

This morning two police officers were shot and wounded during the pursuit of a hijacked truck in Benoni.

According to Acting Benoni SAPS cluster commander, Brig. Poobalan Subbiah, the two police officers were driving in separate vehicles behind a marked courier vehicle which was hijacked on the N12 near Delmas.

Police believe that the driver of the vehicle must have seen the officers following him at which point the driver phoned for backup. Several other suspects then arrived on the scene and shot at the officers who returned fire.

According to Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini one officer was shot in the leg and the other was shot in the shoulder. Both were taken to hospital.

The truck was later found abandoned in Kempton Park.

Three suspects have been arrested and three rifles were also recovered.

The police have now also opened an attempted murder case.

The DA condemns the shooting of these two brave officers who pursued the hijacked vehicle and welcomes the swift arrests of the suspects involved in the hijacking and shoot out.

Anyone guilty of attempting to kill or injure a police officer must face the full might of the law.

Media enquiries:

Michele Clarke MPL

MPL for Etwatwa / Benoni

Spokesperson on community safety

060 558 8309


New Private Hospitals Proposed For Gauteng

New Hospitals

Thirteen new private hospitals with 1304 beds have been given the go-ahead to be built in Gauteng.

This information is revealed in a written reply by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

Private hospitals require a permit from the Gauteng Health Department, which has in previous years refused some major hospital applications, with preference given to township areas.

The largest approved hospitals include the following:
• 200 bed Mediclinic Hospital in Boksburg;
• 170 bed Thomas Makhonya Hospital in Eikenhof in south Johannesburg;
• 170 bed Longlake Hospital in Longmeadow, Edenvale;
• 170 bed Clinix Protea Glen in Soweto;
• 130 bed Tumisang Private Hospital in Hartebeespoort;
• 100 bed Phelang Maletsatsi Private Hospital in Mamelodi;
• 100 bed Netcare Pinehaven Hospital in Krugersdorp; and
• 100 bed Head and Neck Specialized Hospital in Lynnwood, Pretoria.

A number of Day Clinics have also been approved including in Waterfall, Groenkloof, Benoni, Midrand, Roodepoort, Lynnwood, Fourways and Vereeniging.

The increase in private hospital beds is good news as greater competition should bring down prices.

Day Clinics will bring down the cost of operations as they do not have the expense of keeping patients overnight.

The new beds will bring the total number of private hospital beds to more than 16000, and any spare capacity could be used to assist public patients as recently mooted by Health MEC Mahlangu.

Media enquiries:
Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health
082 333 4222