DA intervenes to ensure power is restored at Garankuwa SAPS

The SAPS Gauteng Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela has responded to the DA’s email requesting his urgent intervention to ensure that electricity is restored immediately at Garankuwa Police Station and that the police station is restored to its full operations so that residents can have access to the police services which ensures their safety.

In his response, Lieutenant General Mawela acknowledges the challenge of the electricity supply at the Ga-Rankuwa police station. He states that the police station is currently operating with a standby generator and is following procurement processes to replenish the diesel fuel. A second generator was provided to the station as an additional backup and is being installed. The Divisional Commissioner: Supply Chain Management is finalising the procurement of electrical heavy current services to resolve the challenge at the police station, and it is envisaged that an order in this regard will be issued before 4 February 2022.

Furthermore, he states that the station is equipped with notebooks that can be utilised with charged batteries and 3G or 4G connections.

The DA’s intervention has now forced the SAPS Provincial Commissioner to act as the police station has been without electricity for several months, dating as far back as October 2021, when allegedly the cables feeding electricity from an Eskom sub-station were severely damaged and stolen. This resulted in the police station, court and mortuary being left in the dark.

This situation is affecting the police station’s operational services and putting the safety of residents and police officers who specifically work night shifts at risk. The ongoing electricity outage has resulted in the station not being able to connect its computers and therefore it also has no access to the 10111 helplines. This means, that the station cannot effectively respond to the calls received on this emergency helpline.

The DA visited the police station to confirm whether there is progress based on the response from the SAPS Provincial Commissioner. We discovered that the second generator was delivered to the station last week Friday. The service provider has been appointed to do fault finding and they are scheduled to complete the work in two weeks, thereafter they will send the report to the SAPS who will then hire another service provider to restore electricity. There is no timeframe as to when electricity will be restored.

With regards to notebooks, there is only one laptop that has been installed with a 3G card to enable one detective to work from home while the rest of the laptops including the management do not have 3G cards. This means that the police officers are unable to do their work due to power outages and the most affected people are the residents who are dependent on police to prevent and fight crime.

We will be responding to the SAPS Provincial Commissioner’s letter demanding him to provide us with a timeframe as to when electricity will be restored at this station. We also demand to know how many laptops or notebooks and 3G or 4G cards were issued to this station. This will assist in determining the whereabouts of the resources which are needed to deliver services to our people.

We will continue to put pressure on SAPS Provincial Commissioner to restore electricity at Ga-Rankuwa Police Station and to ensure that this police station is adequately equipped with all the basic necessary resources to ensure the safety of Ga-Rankuwa residents.

Open letter to Premier Makhura: Hold Maile accountable for illegally placing Tshwane under administration

Dear Premier Makhura,

Over a week has passed since the Constitutional Court ruled that a member of your ANC government executive breached the law, acted unlawfully and took a most serious administrative action outside of the very law which he swore to uphold.

In the week that has passed, you have done nothing to hold MEC Lebogang Maile accountable for his unacceptable conduct and grave actions.

You are personally protecting and defending a law-breaker.

There is no higher court than the Constitutional Court, and the finding against your MEC is on a matter fundamental to his role in your government. The MEC is responsible himself for the relationships between governments in the Province, and it is on this which he has been ruled out of order by the Constitutional Court.

Where is the accountability, and where is the responsibility for MEC Maile breaking the law?

It is clear that the MEC intended only to misuse his powers to undermine the DA governance of the City of Tshwane, and his unlawful conduct was clearly designed to stop the progress that the DA had begun to make.

That is a devastatingly political ploy by MEC Maile, and even without the Constitutional Court ruling against him, you should have taken action.

Just yesterday, you and MEC Maile visited Emfuleni Local Municipality which has been under administration since 2018, there is clear maladministration, Eskom attached its municipal bank account and the Sheriff attached its municipal vehicles. Yet no further intervention has been forthcoming from your administration.

Premier Makhura, one can only conclude that you are protecting and defending Maile for your own cynical political reasons.

The people of Gauteng deserve a government that responds when the highest Court in the land makes serious findings against it.

For this reason, I challenge you, Premier Davide Makhura, to fire MEC Maile within 7 days.

You have 7 days to do so, else you make a mockery of the highest court in South Africa.

The ball is now in your court.

Yours sincerely,

Solly Msimanga
DA Gauteng Leader.

Tshwane judgement: Open letter to Premier Makhura

The Constitutional Court ruling delivered on Monday was a damning indictment on the petty political games that COGTA MEC Lebogang Maile was playing at the expense of the residents of Tshwane.

We call for the immediate suspension or firing of MEC Maile for putting the continuing DA service delivery to residents at risk in a poorly veiled attempt to discredit the DA and the work it was doing to uplift and improve the lives of people in Tshwane.

Before ANC administrators took over, DA-led Tshwane had a surplus of R297 million in the bank. By the time the administrators were removed we inherited a budget deficit of over R4 billion.

This cannot be allowed to be swept under the carpet like so many other attempts to sabotage the DA as it goes about fixing what the ANC broke. We say that the time for games is over, and those who think otherwise should find a career where their failures do not impact the lives of the most vulnerable.

Acting Justice Rammoka Mathopo’s judgement is very clear:

“This leads me to one conclusion: the provincial government misconstrued its powers and failed to apply itself to the issues faced by the municipality. It is clear to me that the dissolution decision should be set aside and that the municipality should be allowed to do its job. The dissolution decision falls to be set aside on the basis of offending the principles of lawfulness.”

Please allow the DA to do its job. Fire MEC Maile.

Randall Williams commits to getting things done in Tshwane

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered by DA Tshwane Mayoral Candidate Randall Williams at Fort Klapperkop today during the launch of his Mayoral Campaign.

Good afternoon everyone,

Thank you for coming out this afternoon to attend our Mayoral launch.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There is an age-old saying, a week is a long time in politics.

Well, a year is even longer, and the last year in the City of Tshwane has brought with it a whirlwind of change.

So please indulge me as I take you on a journey.

•City placed under ANC administration


Can you believe that one year ago, myself and my fellow councillors found ourselves unemployed?

Indeed, the City of Tshwane had been placed under administration after the ANC provincial government unlawfully dissolved the Tshwane Council in March 2020.

For 8 months the city was under the control of unelected and deployed ANC administrators. While the Democratic Alliance fought in the courts to get this decision overturned and return sound governance to the capital.

We succeeded in the end, as in October of 2020 the administrators were removed from office and as councillors, we were reinstated.

The 8 months under the ANC administrators was a disturbing period for the city, it also came just as the Covid-19 first wave hit.

In those 8 months, the legacy of the ANC administrators was one of financial mismanagement and failure.

The DA’s surplus of R297 million which we left in March 2020 was decimated such that by the time the administrators were removed we inherited a budget deficit of over R4 billion.

Revenue collections plummeted dropping to as low as 75% such that the administrators accessed a short-term loan of R800 million to keep the city running.

Credit control processes were suspended so the city had no way to stabilize its finances as the debtors’ book then hit R18 billion.

The ANC administrators had no proper knowledge of local government nor real understanding of the work that was required in the city.

Their failures soon began to manifest very visibly as basic service delivery effectively ground to a halt.

There was a rapid deterioration in the quality of response times to water leaks and electricity outages. Streetlights, traffic signals and potholes went months without being fixed.

In fact, in some cases, we found that there were issues that were not addressed for the entire duration that they were in office.

That was the legacy of the ANC administrators in just 8 months, they brought the city to its knees.

•The DA Difference


I was humbled to be elected Mayor and assume office from the beginning of November 2020.

From the first day that I returned to the office, I encountered service delivery backlogs that went back months in almost every sphere of the work that is required from the city.

As you can imagine, the pressure from the residents to turn the city around was immediate.

No sooner had we returned to the office we were inundated with complaints from residents on issues that they had been reported which had been unattended.

Once we had evaluated the scale of the issues we faced, it became a question of systematically implementing the required governance structures to refocus the work of the administration.

Simply put we had to restore financial sustainability and drive basic service delivery. So what did we do?

Immediately I implemented a weekly Service Delivery War Room that began tracking the very basics in the city.

We created comprehensive dashboards to monitor how many water leaks were reported, how long did they take to get fixed, the same with electricity outages.

How many potholes and streetlight repairs have we conducted? How are we maintaining our open spaces, and combatting illegal dumping?

All of these basic processes and more we began to track.

In 11 months we have fixed over 150 000 streetlights

Repaired over 20 000 water leaks

Filled over 30 000 potholes.

We pushed to ensure that we restore the majority of power outages that are reported within 7.5 hours.

I have always believed that how we do our work should be data-driven and evidence-based.

This is why on core service delivery we implemented such a tracking system.

It ensures that we are able to continuously evaluate the responsiveness of the institution because we track the very basics.

This is not the type of work that an Executive Mayor should be doing. It is unusual to have to immerse oneself into the very basic operations, but it was critically necessary.

I am nowhere near satisfied and I won’t be until we have a sustainable level of service delivery and more importantly a responsive administration.

Responsiveness is a principle I am particularly passionate about and it speaks to the culture we are looking to cultivate in the city.

If people contact us, we must engage them and provide a response, it’s that simple.

•Financial turnaround

As I indicated earlier when we assumed office we had a deficit of R4.3 billion that we had to manage.

Colleagues, in the space of one year we reduced this deficit by R3.4 billion, as we ended our financial year in July with a deficit of R900 million which we will eradicate in our current financial year.

The R800 million short term loan the ANC administrators took out, we paid that off as well.

That is the DA difference.

It is responsible for financial management and discipline.

Stabilising the city’s finances is not a popular exercise. We have to implement credit control, cut power and disconnect those who are not paying their accounts.

We have made ourselves particularly unpopular with some government departments.

For example, it took us shutting off power to the Department of Defence for them to pay us R90 million. We even disconnected some Ministerial houses.

Democrats, our financial turnaround is well underway.

Revenue collection is up and meter readings to ensure accurate billing is at 80%.

This is how we restore sound governance to the City of Tshwane.

•Tshwane successes to highlight

Colleagues, but in the last 11 months we have also had numerous other successes which are worth highlighting

• We now have over 50 vaccination sites in Tshwane and have administered half a million vaccines to our residents.

• I announced a micro-grants plan to small emerging farmers, where we distributed individual grants of R20 000 to over 100 emerging farmers within 6 months.

• We started construction at a new clinic in Lusaka for Mamelodi.

• Our teams initiated construction on new roads and stormwater projects in Soshanguve Block FF.

• Over 10 000 illegal dumping sites have been cleared in areas across the city.

• In Hammanskraal Extension 10 we begin the process of formalisation in an area that had been plagued by land invasions, 2767 will be provided with basic services.

• New busses were introduced for the A Re Yeng line to Mamelodi.

• We cleared the backlog of over 4000 rates clearance certificates.

• Currently we are the only metropolitan in Gauteng that is still running a medical ambulance service departments capacitated with a specialized infectious disease ambulance.

• Our new A Re Yeng line to Menlyn was finalized and launched allowing residents to access this important economic node.

• We launched construction at Caledonian Stadium to restore it to its former glory.

• We are driving the development of the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone in Silverton which will draw R15 billion in investment for the area, create 8700 direct jobs and a further 50 000 jobs in the future.

• We launched a TMPD satellite station in Garsfontein.

• Within 6 months our Development Management Application Systems was developed to process city planning applications online.

• We relaunched our Tswelopele clean-up campaigns which promote a cleaner and healthier city. In doing so we supported residents in Mamelodi, Hammanskraal, Salvokop, Menlyn, the Inner City, Cullinan and various other locations to clean their neighbourhoods.

These are just some of the key highlights colleagues but there are many, many more.

But our work is not done yet, I call on you to have a look at the city as we stand here today on top of this mountain.

Look at the Union Buildings, the city skyline, and let me tell you, our work is not done yet!

We started implementing our manifesto, and from what I just shared with you, it is clear that the DA does get things done.

We stand here today united as we overlook our city with the aim of protecting it.

We need to unite. We need more time. We need a majority in Council.

•Key manifesto points

When the DA gets its majority in council after this election, we will fully implement the manifesto that we have developed.

We have created a robust plan which is based on 10 key interventions.

1. Prioritisation of the electrical grid and water infrastructure.

The City of Tshwane’s utilities infrastructure such as its substations, transformers, electrical networks, reservoirs, waste-water treatment plants, sewer and water reticulation networks are its most critical assets.

We have invested heavily in this infrastructure, and we will continue to do so. This infrastructure is the lifeblood of our city and protecting it, is critical to attracting investment.

We are doing it and will continue to do it.

2. Provide stringent financial management and oversight.

We inherited a R4.3 billion budget from ANC administrators, in one year we reduced that deficit by R3.4 billion.

Discipline and strict financial management, that is the DA difference.

3. Promote employment and economic growth in the city.

We will spend more on enabling infrastructure that enhances economic development and creates jobs, continue our recruitment through EPWP and leverage our economic assets.

The Special Economic Zone in Silverton is one such example, this is how we create opportunities for residents because the DA gets things done.

4. Enhancing city safety and emergency services.

We have fought and succeeded to protect our emergency services from being taken over by the provincial government, while both Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni failed.

We intend to keep our residents safe by expanding visible policing and building a safe capital city and fighting for the rights of our residents.

5. Maintaining a clean and protected natural environment.

With over 10 000 areas cleared of illegal dumping and continuous monthly clean-up campaigns, we will continue to keep our municipality clean so that our city is a place where residents are proud to live.

We must look after it and encourage our community to do the same

6. Develop road infrastructure and advance mobility

Economic growth is enabled by ensuring citizens have good public transport in the form of a reliable bus service and well-maintained roads.

We have already expanded bus routes across the city and continuously maintain and upgrade our roads based on the commitments we made to residents
We get are getting it done.

7. Supporting the vulnerable and providing social relief.

We must ensure that we have a safety net for our most vulnerable residents. Those that live in poverty must know that we are there to support them.

This is why we will continue to formalize informal settlements, construct quality low-cost housing and support charities that are helping the vulnerable.

A DA run Tshwane cares for its residents.

8. Modernisation and digitisation of city processes

With new technologies our city can work more efficiently and faster, we will continue to leverage online platforms to enhance our services and expand our free Wi-fi footprint.

The DA will always seek to advance a higher quality of life in Tshwane.

9. Promoting good governance, accountability and transparency

Tshwane must operate in an open and transparent manner where decisions can be easily scrutinized or engaged upon by the public. Decisions cannot be taken behind closed doors and imposed upon residents.

We will maintain a high standard of openness and responsiveness so that residents can clearly see and track where their money is being spent.

10. Implement a robust Covid-19 management strategy.

Covid-19 has fundamentally changed the way in which we work that is no doubt.

However, we must ensure that we work through this pandemic, provide quality services and keep our residents safe.

Already we have administered over 500 000 vaccines with more to come. We will continue to protect our residents and staff and prevent Covid-19 from disrupting our operations.

This is our commitment and promise to our residents, 10 focus interventions backed up by years of experience and planning to take them forward.

We are here to get things done!


Friends, we are entering into the shortest election cycle in the country’s history.

The election is on 2 November that is in approximately 6 weeks’ time.

As you know there were attempts by the IEC to delay the elections which were stopped by our court actions.

It is a legislative imperative that we have elections in line with what is required with the constitution.

While parties such as the ANC and EFF were desperate to try and have the elections delayed, they ultimately failed.

They needed the elections delayed because quite frankly, they are not ready.

Now, they are scrambling.

But here is the DA difference, we have already prepared.

We are ready.

In fact, we have already been campaigning for weeks.

We are in campaign mode, we have our candidates secured, our posters are going up and our manifestos are ready.

In the weeks to come, we will be needing all the support that we can get as we seek to convince residents in this city that the DA is the best organization to lead the capital and carry on the journey and work that we have embarked on.

More so that we need residents to vote us in with a majority of 51% so that we fully implement our manifesto and policies.

We have till now governed Tshwane with a minority government which is incredibly difficult.

We are not in a coalition with the EFF or the ANC which means we lead the Tshwane council with our other coalition partners with approximately 46% of the vote.

We need your vote, the vote of your families and friends.

We have done some exceptional work in the city in the last year and we want to carry on into the future.

We simply cannot allow the ANC to return to the city.

You would have seen that the ANC is desperate to have the candidate submission process opened.

Democrats, the ANC are in trouble.

It is estimated that there are 35 municipalities where the ANC have not submitted candidates.

In Tshwane, there are approximately 12 of their ward candidates in wards who are not properly registered.

If this is true, it will mean that before the election even commences the ANC will be down 12 seats in the Tshwane Council.

The ANC cannot even manage the submission of local government candidates properly, how on earth do they intend to manage a municipality if they are elected?

Democrats, Activists, Residents, the DA is serious about governing this city and taking it forward into the future.

Our teams are in place, our manifesto is ready, we are governing right now and we are ready to govern into the future.

The winds of change are on our side and now is the time to use them to sail our city into a future we can all be proud of.

Let us secure our capital city firmly under the DA and demonstrate to our residents that the DA gets things done.

United we can win, Verenig kan ons wen, Ga re spanisana ra popa!

Together we can lead our city to greatness!

Let’s bring proper service delivery and stabilize City of Tshwane

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

For the last 10 months I have had the privilege of being the Executive Mayor in the City of Tshwane.

It has undoubtedly been one of the greatest honours of my life to have served my country as the leader of our capital city.

I became the Executive Mayor at the beginning of November 2020 after the city had been plunged into eight months of chaos by the ANC provincial government.

This came after they unlawfully dissolved our Municipal Council and imposed unelected administrators to run the capital.

In doing so they effectively collapsed service delivery and drove the city to the brink of financial ruin.

Since assuming office my commitment to our residents was very simple, that I would restore basic service delivery and stabilize the finances of the municipality.

This is exactly where I have placed by focus during the last 10 months as we have sought to restore proper governance to the City of Tshwane.

We have done this with a minority government which has brought with it, its own challenges that we have had to overcome.

What it is has shown us, is that we can do so much more with a proper majority so that we can govern the city outright and fully implement the policy positions of the Democratic Alliance to take the city forward.

I am immensely humbled by the DA’s decision to select me to contest the position of mayoral candidate for the City of Tshwane.

I intend to fully embrace this opportunity as it would be an honour to carry on serving the residents of Tshwane as their Executive Mayor.

I would like to thank all those that have supported me thus far in this journey, particularly my Mayoral Committee, my colleagues in the Tshwane caucus, the DA leadership, activists and supporters and all the residents of Tshwane for the faith you have shown in me.

Local Government Elections are coming up! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status. 

Safety of Tshwane residents must be prioritised by ensuring more arrests to curb Boko Haram violence and criminality

In order to protect the livelihoods and businesses of innocent Tshwane residents who have been constantly targeted by the Boko Haram gang in Tshwane, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is calling for more arrests to be made to curb such violence and criminality.

Apart from walking around with firearms, looting stores and robbing people, Boko Haram is getting more and more involved with hijacking the contracts of community projects and extorting money from the developers and contractors.

This follows the arrest of an ANC Ward 86 Branch Secretary, Lima Sethokga and his two accomplices for alleged extortion of money from a developer involved in a Silverton construction project.

This arrest is a step in the right direction, however, there needs to be more arrests made to put a stop to this act of criminality that is terrorising communities and delaying community projects that are meant to benefit the residents.

Through the DA’s engagement with the Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko and the Gauteng SAPS Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General, Elias Mawela, a task team was established by the Tshwane District to investigate and monitor crime involving the Boko Haram gang. Informers are tasked to gather intelligence relating to the gang.

The fact that this gang is continuing to terrorise the residents, clearly indicates that the established task team is failing and there is an urgent need for effective intervention.

The DA will continue to put pressure on both MEC Mazibuko and the Gauteng SAPS Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General, Elias Mawela to put urgent measures in place to curb the violence and criminality of this gang.

It is the responsibility of the South African Police Service to ensure the safety of residents and to prevent such crimes. More arrests need to be made but this can only be done through effective police intelligence and comprehensive actions taken. The DA’s continued pressure on authorities will ensure that more arrests are made and the safety of our people is prioritised.

Local Government Elections are coming up! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

While DA in Tshwane proudly shows support for LGBTQIA+ community, ANC backtracks on raising pride flag

Despite the adoption of a Democratic Alliance (DA) motion in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) on 15th June 2021 to show support for the LGBTQIA+ community by raising the pride flag over the GPL, the ANC Speaker to date has still failed to ensure the flag has been raised over the province’s highest decision making body.

Further to this, the DA is also deeply disheartened by the attitude of the Speaker in the Johannesburg Council who disallowed a motion by DA Councillor Chris Avant-Smith to have the pride flag flown over the Johannesburg Council. The DA can only surmise that the office of the Speaker and the Mayor are innately opposed to this important issue based on personal prejudice and a lack of understanding of the inclusivity of the Constitution of South Africa which enshrines the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The lack of enthusiasm by both these ANC-led legislature bodies to show uncategorical support for LGBTQIA+ South Africans is horrifying, especially with many recent cases of homophobic-based violence in the province and across South Africa. Of these attacks, the recent murder of Anele Bhengu in KwaZulu-Natal comes to mind. Anele, who was a young lesbian, was stabbed to death and found in a ditch almost two weeks ago.

South Africans of the LGBTQIA+ community now more than ever, need to see solidarity from their public representatives across all spheres of government. While the ANC seems to drag their feet on demonstrating their support, the DA does not hesitate in advocating for the rights of all South Africans.

During a meeting of the Tshwane Council yesterday, DA Councillor Malcolm de Klerk called on the Council to raise the pride flag in the chamber. The Speaker of the Council allowed this, followed by a declaration of support from the Council for the LGBTQIA+ community, including positioning the City of Tshwane to fully realise programmes that will serve and protect its LGBTQIA+ citizens.

The DA remains committed to fighting against any form of injustice or attacks of any kind against any member of the LGBTQIA+ community. We will not stop until every member of the community is free and safe in their country, in their province, in their city, and in their home.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

DA calls on MEC Maile to enforce all Tshwane housing eviction court orders as a matter of urgency

Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Gauteng Provincial Leader, Solly Msimanga MPL, and the DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Human Settlements, Mervyn Cirota MPL, along with the Tshwane DA-led administration, conducted oversight inspections at incomplete, illegally-invaded housing projects in Olievenhoutbosch Extensions 27 and 36, and the Saulsville hostel in Tshwane.

Further to these visits, we discovered that an empty space in Olievenhoutbosch Extension 27, where 2000 houses were to be built, has also been invaded few weeks ago. There is a new mushrooming informal settlement in the area in between the houses.

According to the illegal occupants, specific individuals are selling pieces of land to illegal invaders.

The 888 units of the Olievenhoutbosch Extension 27 have been illegally occupied since 2017. These houses were left incomplete without bulk infrastructure, where illegal occupants have made illegal connections.

The Olievenhoutbosch Extension 36 housing project has 919 units and were invaded early this year. The illegal occupants in the area are accusing the ANC ward councillor for allegedly selling the units.

Other illegal occupants state that their desperation to own dignified housing has led them to illegally occupy the units.

The housing project in Saulsville hostel has 172 family units and has been invaded since 2016. The City of Tshwane has appointed a legal team to undertake a litigation process to secure an eviction order.

The eviction orders for both housing projects in Olievenhoutbosch have been obtained and await implementation.

For the longest time, the DA has been warning the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements that unnecessary delays in completing housing projects and in allocating the rightful beneficiaries to their housing units once the project has been completed, has resulted in illegal occupation of the houses.

Based on previous experience, the longer the housing projects remain unoccupied, the more likely they will become targets for illegal occupants, vandalism, and corruption.

The illegal occupants are costing the department more money in terms of legal fees for eviction orders, eviction processes as well as repairs for the damages.

The DA is calling on the Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Lebogang Maile to execute the implementation of the eviction orders in all Tshwane housing projects.

The DA-led Tshwane administration will write a follow-up letter to MEC Maile to ascertain the progress with regards to the implementation of the outstanding eviction court orders.

We will also be tabling questions to MEC Maile in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to ascertain the reasons behind delays in executing the eviction orders, and why these housing projects have not been allocated to the rightful beneficiaries.

Gauteng Health should issue ambulance licence to Tshwane urgently

I am most concerned by the Gauteng Health Department’s delay in issuing a licence to Tshwane metro council to operate ambulances, which has forced the city to cease ambulance operations.

According to Alderman Karen Mayer, Tshwane MMC for Community Safety and Emergency Services, ambulances have ceased operating in Tshwane due to the failure by provincial government to honour an agreement to extend their emergency services operating license.

The city cannot continue the service because of the legal liability of operating without a valid licence.

This unfortunate situation has arisen because of the provincialisation of ambulances which has not been handled well.

Meanwhile, Tshwane residents will suffer delays because the city’s emergency call centre will be relaying calls to the provincial emergency medical services call centre to be processed.

I have raised this matter with Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi, and I hope it is speedily resolved with the issuance of the licence.

Why are there inadequate beds for Covid-19 in Tshwane?

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has suggested that Covid-19 patients at the overcrowded Steve Biko Hospital in Tshwane can be sent to the NASREC field hospital in the south of Johannesburg.

This highlights the dismal failure to complete the new beds for Covid-19 cases in the Tshwane district that Premier David Makhura promised last year.

Instead of new beds at central hospitals like Kalafong and Mamelodi, the plan was to have 300 high care beds at Jubilee Hospital, 300 high care beds at George Mukhari Hospital, and 150 beds at the Bronkhorstspruit Hospital.

The beds at Jubilee and George Mukhari were supposed to be completed by 30 November last year, and those at Bronkhorstspruit by 15 December.

The reality is that only 95 of the 300 beds at Jubilee have the staff and equipment for Covid-19 patients, none of the extra beds at George Mukhari can be used because of staff and equipment shortages, and no beds are ready at Bronkhorstspruit.

This is why emergency tents had to be erected in the parking lot of Steve Biko Hospital.

Across the province 1100 bed spaces constructed using Alternative Building Technology still have to be delivered. This is according to a report by the Gauteng Health Department which also identified staffing as a major bottleneck and a shortage of health furniture.

The Tshwane district has been particularly hard hit by the second wave of Covid-19 infections and accountability is needed for the poor preparation to treat local patients who should not have to be sent to beds in another city.