DA Gauteng debates Motion on Scholar Transport

The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho MPL and DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Education, Ashor Sarupen MPL, during a debate on scholar transport.

Speech by

Khume Ramulifho MPL

“Departmental support for scholar transport inefficient”

• We have the responsibility to widen the scope of the Scholar Transport Programme within the department, to ensure that all scholar transport vehicles are roadworthy. Scholar transport must be reliable, arrive on time and driven by sober drivers;
• Is the department building schools too far from where learners reside? Is it not possible to prioritise building schools in closer proximity to avoid the burgeoning scholar transport budget?
• The DA visited rural schools and we saw learners walking long distances yet the transport owner is paid. Equally, some battle to do homework after school as the buses leave immediately after class. A ‘one size fits all’ approach is clearly not the best method;
• We should allow learners the opportunity to choose the school of their choice and get support from the department. We must start to consider a budget which affords individual learners a choice. If this can cover scholar transport and tuition fees, it will be a progressive move which advances learner choice.

The full speech can be obtained here.

Speech by

Ashor Sarupen MPL

“Low-income families suffer most when scholar transport needs aren’t met”

• The current Scholar Transport policy can only be made effective with enforceable regulations and better planning, including working together with municipalities, to ensure that learner transport needs are met. It is an area in need of serious reform;
• Many parents make major financial sacrifices to cover the cost of private transport to get their children to school, such as taxis and private busses, outside of the framework of the department, because government has failed them;
• Despite the 2015 national learner transport policy being implemented, and Gauteng enacting its own scholar transport policy, a report by Equal Education found that principals who apply for scholar transport assistance frequently give up, as their requests are not responded to by the department; and
• As it stands, the policy places the onus on low income and working class parents for ensuring their children arrive on time, it assumes hard working low income families have the time or agency to dictate the timing of both state and private transport for their children.

The full speech can be obtained here.

DA Gauteng proposes Motion on ICT in Libraries


The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance, Ashor Sarupen MPL and DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Sport, Recreation, Arts, Culture and Heritage, Kingsol Chabalala MPL, during a debate on ICT in libraries in Gauteng.

Ashor Sarupen MPL

“Gauteng can use ICT in libraries to promote local languages”

•    This motion calls on the Legislature to use this opportunity to give meaning to sections 30 and 31 of the constitution, using technology to promote local language use, while also modernizing ICT in libraries, and, in the process stimulating the local ICT industry;
•    While Microsoft does provide basic Windows functions in isiZulu, isiXhosa and Sesotho, it is rudimentary at best, and its grammar and spell checker is not sufficiently developed for serious academic and journalistic use – which is the lifeblood of how languages thrive;
•    Our citizens should see their language rights promoted in the digital world, and should be able to select their language of choice to interface on these devices when they make use of their local library; and
•    In Gauteng, our libraries, as we modernize and move to e-government, offer a prime opportunity to stimulate the local ICT industry and protect language rights by transitioning to local language-based, open-sourced platforms on the devices that our citizens use.

The full speech can be obtained here.

Kingsol Chabalala MPL

“Libraries open up the windows to opportunity”

•    The DA in Gauteng tables this motion as it seeks to encourage young people of all walks of life to access good, reliable and efficient internet services at local libraries across the province;
•    The power of mother tongue internet services will bring our people closer together and unite all those that have felt excluded and marginalised;
•    Libraries remain empty for years, construction delays and blame shift occurs, very little to no books are bought and many remain in boxes for many months whilst internet connectivity seems to be something of the ‘future’  yet we need to adapt to the digital age and an ever transforming society; and
•    Great software makes great computing which equals successful job hunting. It is a win-win on all sides and this house should seriously consider adopting this motion and get our libraries working.

The full speech can be obtained here.

Gauteng’s R500 million 3G and Tablet deal: DA Lodges PAIA Application for Tender Documents

Public Access to Information Act and Tender Documents

Ashor Sarupen DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance
Ashor Sarupen DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

Today the DA lodged an application in terms of the Public Access to Information Act (PAIA) to obtain the tender documents relating to the procurement of tablets and 3G connectivity for schools, which the Auditor-General found to have been awarded irregularly to suppliers in violation of supply chain management regulations.

These tenders amounted to R500 million.

This was disclosed in the annual report for the Gauteng Department of Finance.

Gauteng Finance MEC, Barbara Creecy, promised a full scale investigation in September 2014 during a debate on the annual report.

However, some six months later, nothing further has been announced and no action appears to have been taken.

The MEC has not mentioned the matter subsequent to this debate.

Gauteng Online, Gauteng Offline

It is unsettling that the MEC only spoke of the investigation in September 2014, when the DA has seen correspondence from the Auditor-General – as far back as May 2014, indicating that the tenders were irregular.

Of particular concern is that the contract for 3G connectivity was awarded to the same supplier who was awarded the Gauteng Online tender, which was meant to provide and manage computer labs to schools.

The project was marred by problems and derided as Gauteng Offline – which is now being replaced with tablets.

The application for the tender documents is done in the interests of transparency and accountability.

The DA will further demand through questions, and processes in the Gauteng Legislature, that the MEC provide answers as to why there has been no progress reported on the investigation.


Media enquiries:
Ashor Sarupen MPL
DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance
076 334 5147


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Gauteng Community Safety MEC Mum on Secrecy

Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, refused to answer a question asking if she has instituted a policy of secrecy to hide issues relating to police officers and police facilities managed by her Department.

This followed an oral question I tabled in a sitting of the Gauteng Legislature to enquire why electricity bills were unpaid at an Ekurhuleni Metro Police station in Eislen Street, Daveyton, which lead to electricity being disconnected.

Police officers were instructed not to tell any members of the public, including opposition politicians, that electricity was disconnected at the station.

A whistle-blower brought this to the attention of the DA.

However, when asked about the instruction to hide this, and further asked if it is policy to hide problems, the MEC stated that she “can’t answer rumours”.

The MEC has already instituted a policy that Members of the Legislature may not undertake unannounced oversight visits to police stations – undermining the constitutional rights and obligations of elected public representatives.

The public have a right to know when their police service is dysfunctional as well as what is being done to address deficiencies in police.

The MECs attitude and refusal to answer, as well as her veil of secrecy approach is alarming.

Media enquiries:
Ashor Sarupen
DA Constituency Head: Springs-Daveyton
076 334 5147

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DA Wraps Up Roads Campaign in Springs

The Democratic Alliance in Springs has wrapped up a comprehensive campaign on the problems with roads and storm-water systems in the area.

Road infrastructure is not just about travel and convenience, it is part of the key infrastructure for jobs and growth. The DA wants comprehensive roads and storm-water systems to be properly maintained in Springs. This will reduce travel times, help minimise damage to vehicles and reduce travel times for people to get to work and for those looking for work.

During the campaign, the DA had events to reach out to as many people as possible about the DA’s plan to fix road. DA Ward councillors Ramesh Sheodin, Shadow Shabangu and Dean Stone reported potholes and road issues to the council.

The DA believes that good infrastructure will be the driver of jobs and growth for all people, and that road infrastructure will help all residents in this regard. Hundreds of residents in Springs have signed the DA’s petition for better roads and storm-water systems, which will be tabled to the Ekurhuleni Council and the Gauteng Legislature. The DA will keep fighting for infrastructure for growth.



Media Enquiries:

Glenda Steyn, MPL

DA Constituency Head for Springs and Nigel

082 456 3252


Ashor Sarupen, MPL

DA Constituency Head for Springs/Daveyton

076 335 5147

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Gauteng still failing to meet 30 day payment deadline

The Gauteng Provincial Government is still struggling to pay suppliers within 30 days – severely damaging the cash flow of many small, black owned businesses and causing many others to go insolvent.

This was revealed in response to written questions tabled in the Legislature by the DA.

In January 2015 alone, an outstanding amount of R618 million had still not been paid to suppliers within 30 days.

This amount was for 9352 invoices.

By contrast, only 7013 invoices were paid within 30 days – meaning that some 56,5% of invoices were not paid on time.

The biggest offender was the Department of Health, which accounted for R412 million in late payments.

This is despite the Gauteng Treasury placing the Department under administration and spending R90 million on consultants to manage its finances.

Worryingly, it was revealed in the Finance Committee that the Department of Health had some invoices outstanding for 5 years.

The Department of Infrastructure Development was the second worst offender, accounting for R137 million worth of invoices.

Payment trends do not show any improvement as payments are often made sporadically.

The Gauteng Government had in excess of R3 billion worth of invoices not paid within 30 days in September 2014, from just R82 million outstanding in July 2014.

This situation, it would appear, is getting worse, not better.

MEC Creecy needs to crack the whip across the board to sort out this situation.

It is unacceptable that there has been a decline under her tenure.

The DA will continue to hold the ANC accountable for its failure to pay suppliers, as it severely affects small businesses that are the drivers of much needed job growth in the economy.

Media enquiries:
Ashor Sarupen MPL
DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance
060 558 8303

Gauteng Budget Does Not Finance Premier’s Promises

Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy’s budget speech today was an attempt to steer the provincial budget ship in a new direction to reprioritise expenditure to new programmes as government tries to placate unhappy ANC voters.


However, many years of poor ANC policy and direction means that there is no more fiscal space to meet Premier David Makhura’s new promises.


MEC Creecy has made no attempt to announce efficiencies on salaries, and the DA believes that the wage bill may erode the ability of the government to fulfil its programmes should there be a public sector wage strike.


Furthermore, the MEC has tried to create value for money by mentioning certain reductions, no announcement was made on the use of consultants. This in effect means that government pays people to do the job that those it is already paying are supposed to do – putting more pressure on the fiscus.


While the DA welcomes certain reductions in administration fees and expenditure on venues and facilities, we note with increasing concern that travel and subsistence allowances have been reduced by only 1,5%, despite Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s call for a 7% reduction.


Of further concern is government’s advertising budget only being reduced by a paltry 0,5%. Will Gauteng residents see yet another flurry of billboards in the ANC’s black green and yellow proclaiming government successes as we head for the 2016 local government elections? Only time will tell.


So too is the announcement of an additional R45 million allocated to the Legislature’s public participation budget. What more convenient manner to bring senior provincial ANC politicians to the people without dipping into the ANC’s election budget.


The more one digs into the budget, the more evident it becomes that the ANC is in full campaign mode.


Development corridors should focus on economic development, industrialisation and the creation of jobs, not only on the delivery of houses. Housing development must be accompanied by economic opportunity, which this budget does not do.


Development corridors were announced as a way to bring economic transformation, today all we heard was houses without jobs. This while the total infrastructure spend is R13 billion including conditional grants‎, but a lot is refurbishment and social expenditure rather than economic infrastructure.


Scant attention is paid to township development, with very little plans or details on bringing business to townships. MEC Creecy only made available R140 million for this purpose, down 20 million from the R160 million promised in October last year, and nowhere near the R300 million promised by Premier Makhura last Monday.


While the 2015/16 Gauteng budget may have the hallmarks of an execution plan for the agenda of achieving transformation, modernisation and reindustrialisation, it in fact remains business as usual while the ANC tries to placate disgruntled voters.


Media enquiries:

Adriana Randall MPL

060 556 4342

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance


Ashor Sarupen MPL

060 558 8303

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance





Madame Speaker,


The honourable Premier told us that the focus will be on the economy. “Economy, economy, economy” – as it was emphasized. The plan for development corridors, in which the private sector was embraced as a partner – at least in words – is a sensible one. Our economic growth has been stifled and hampered by decades of underinvestment into infrastructure for job growth. Global experience shows that a country needs to invest at least 25% of its GDP into infrastructure to achieve economic growth and create jobs. South Africa barely invests 15%, which is just above the rate required to replace existing infrastructure. This is why, as our economy grew, we ran out of roads, rail, ports and energy to support an expanding economy, let alone spur job growth. The policy and legislative framework chosen by the ANC has stifled investment, and monopolies in transport, energy and telecommunications has deterred meaningful investment in our country – pushing investors elsewhere into Africa. Perhaps it’s time the ANC sat down with policy makers from growing African economies and realised that their fundamental approach to maintaining public and private monopolies, their approach to labour, their approach to regulation and their approach to taxation is fundamentally wrong. WE have just irrevocably damaged our investment prospects with the recent announcements around land, pushing more investment north.


Until these macroeconomic factors are corrected, the ten pillars advocated by the premier will remain talk. We need decisive action on those factors to achieve jobs and growth.


Let me give you an example of all talk and no action. The premier waxed lyrical about the aerotropolis in Ekurhuleni. This was first mooted in 2010. By 2011 it became a huge ‘programme’ of the metro – and I use the word programme loosely. Five years, hundreds of millions spent and billboards, advertising, marketing and consultants later, there is nothing. Nothing to show for it. Now, the premier speaks of it as though it’s a new innovation. At the rate things happen, and with the ANCs disdain for private sector investment and their constant calls for the building of a soviet economy – which ANC members in this house keep calling for – means that it will take decades for this programme to get anywhere. In the meantime, the ANC mayor and his mayoral committee will continue to spend hundreds of millions, as they have now done for half a decade, on overseas trips, advertising and consultants at a time when the ANC government is trying to tax and e-toll every cent out of the economy.


The promotion of monopolistic behaviour by the ANC is borne out in another programme announced that recently belies the Premiers lofty ambitions – the President had, in one swift stroke, set broadband back in our country and in turn damaging growth prospects by giving Telkom a monopoly on broadband roll out – contradicting the national policy on broadband. Its funny how there was a surge in Telkom share purchases ahead of the announcement and the share price has almost tripled. It’s not the economy, economy, economy – it’s the corrupt economy. Telkom had bid for broadband projects in two provinces, governed by two parties, and lost. Now they have made it clear they are opposed to those projects they lost out on – including the Gauteng Broadband Network. If you look at how fixed line broadband has been bungled in this country, how the government promotes monopolistic behaviour against the citizens and for cronyism.


To mask this, the ANC pretends there aren’t barriers to entry. The premier blamed racial monopoly capital instead. What the premier meant to use was the white monopoly capital straw man. The reason we don’t have black industrialists is because the ANC prefers taking shares in existing big firms to enrich its ruling clique from time to time, instead of decisively transforming the economic environment so that small black businesses can compete. There is always lip service to reducing red tape before introducing more. Provided there isn’t any delays and corruption, it would take 22 days to start a small business in South Africa if you jump through all the government hoops. In New Zealand, it takes 24 hours. This is where decisive transformation needs to happen. This situation exists not because of white monopoly capital, but the ANCs policies that protect its shares in business from competition.


While I want to wish the premier well, his parties calls for a soviet economy in this house last year and his parties hatred of private investment belies his words and the existing policy environment will not allow the premier to succeed. I believe the premier gets it, I really do – this Premier is the first person in the ANC I have heard say that we need to move welfare beneficiaries into jobs – but he speaks with wisdom that the rest of his party does not have. Until they realise that his approach needs major structural approaches, it is, sadly, just talk.








Contact: Cell 060 558 8303