Gauteng bill puts Gautrain agency on wrong track

The DA only supports the amendment of the bill insofar that it allows the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) to undertake rail infrastructure projects and managing rail operations as well as associated public transport services like feeder systems.

However, the DA cannot support the amendment bill in its current form as it potentially affords the GMA wide ranging powers in terms of public transport in the province which could lead to a conflict with the yet be established Gauteng Transport Authority.

Of specific concern is the statement contained in the Memorandum on the Objects of the Amendment Bill which stated that: “the Agency may then also be able to even facilitate the establishment of the Transport Authority”. This in our view is a potential conflict of interest.

We cannot allow for a situation where a transport operator can assist in establishing the exact Agency that must regulate it. This will cause inherent bias that could discriminate against competing transport operators.

The DA believes the GMA has the potential to become a provincial rail operating authority and would welcome amendments to the Act that could bring this about.

It is important that the GMA remains focused on its core business and steers away from getting involved in planning and managing public transport in the province.

The Department of Roads and Transport possesses this capability already and delegating these responsibilities to the GMA would be a duplication of duties and a further wastage of taxpayer’s money.

There is no doubt that the expertise contained within GMA can make a major contribution to integrated transport planning in the province but this should not become its main focus.

DA Gauteng debates Motion on Virtual Spatial Mapping

The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport, Fred Nel MPL and DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Petitions, Lebo More MPL, during a debate on introducing spatial mapping models for Gauteng City Region programmes.

Speech by

Fred Nel MPL

“Gauteng’s current spatial planning initiatives built on sand”

• In a fast-developing province like Gauteng we need every planning tool we can get to ensure the proper development of Africa’s economic powerhouse. The motion refers to the challenge that apartheid spatial planning and development has left us with today and the DA is equally committed to eradicate this legacy;
• We need to get low-income workers closer to their jobs so that they can spend less on transport and spend more time with their families;
• Gauteng needs to prioritise its economic focus. The world around us is changing and we need to make an honest assessment as to whether Gauteng is future proof with regards to its planned economic development; and
• It is time for the Gauteng Government to modernize, we need to become a truly smart province that utilises technology as an indispensable partner in our socio-economic and spatial development initiatives.

The full speech can be obtained here.

Speech by

Lebo More MPL

“Virtual mapping of the province should be conducted inclusively”

• The Gauteng City Region Observatory collects and stores useful data, conducts surveys, develops new data sources and GIS mapping and analysis. Data is then converted into innovative products, which must include virtual modelling for a modernised government;
• Why do we want to decide what is to happen, with regards to spatial planning, without the inputs of those that we say we represent? and
• The Gauteng City Region includes all municipalities in the province, it is therefore imperative that the Provincial government works together with all local government structures in order to effect meaningful change which will see lower-income households and small businesses in the province succeed.

The full speech can be obtained here.

Bekkersdal, Merafong: DA Lodges PAIA Application for Forensic Reports

The DA in Gauteng has submitted an application in terms of the Public Access to Information Act (PAIA) requesting the forensic investigation reports into financial irregularities at the Westonaria and Merafong municipalities.

The application comes as a result of the Department of Cooperative Governance’s refusal to divulge the findings of a report by the Auditor-General into corruption in Westonaria, which prompted widespread protests in Bekkersdal – as well as an independent forensic investigation into financial irregularities in Merafong.

In 2014, the Auditor General launched a probe into corruption allegations against officials of the Westonaria municipality and Bekkersdal Urban renewal project after widespread protests.

To date, the contents of this report are not known.

A similar situation has been playing out in Merafong, where a Phandahanu Forensics and Rebahale Consultants forensic investigation report into financial irregularities in the municipality is being deliberately withheld by Gauteng Cooperative Governance MEC Jacob Mamabolo for “confidentiality” reasons.

Another forensic report conducted last year looked into the alleged issuing of 21 tenders that were awarded without proper procurement policies.

Gauteng’s municipalities are in deep crisis, and the ANC-led government must live up to its promises of fighting corruption, make known the contents of forensic reports into corrupt activities.

By covering up reports, it exposes its own hypocrisy in the fight against corruption, and its blatant disregard for transparent governance will only further anger residents and communities who demand answers.

Misuse of municipal funds is unacceptable and responsible officials must be brought to book.

The DA will continue to expose corruption and maladministration until the ANC stops protecting its cronies.


Media Enquiries:

Fred Nel MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Cooperative Governance

083 263 2427

[Image source]

Ekurhuleni ANC About-Turn on Music Festival Raises Concerns

Back-peddaling by the ANC in the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM) on whether to spend R90 million to host the World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD) has highlighted the metro’s inability to exercise legislative and financial compliance.

Last week it was revealed that the ANC-led mayoral committee in the EMM took a decision to host the WOMAD festival rather than allocate the R90 million on poverty alleviation and improved service delivery.

It has now been revealed that the ANC has decided to pull out of this festival due to “short notice” and inadequate planning.

However, EMM officials claim that certain contractual agreements are already in place to host the festival.

If agreements are in place, despite this item having never appeared before a full sitting of the EMM council, the item will be in breach of the Municipal Systems Act and Supply Chain Management policies.

This failed attempt at hosting a music festival could trump the disastrous Tribe One festival that cost residents of the City of Tshwane R70 million last year.

In a time of rigid and frugal fiscal policy measures, it is a slap in the face of the poor and the most desperate members of society.

Gauteng MEC for Local Government, Housing and Traditional Affairs, Jacob Mamabolo, must intervene and investigate the ANC executive committee in Ekurhuleni and its nefarious dealings before the situation is beyond salvation.

A failure to do so will see more public funds wasted in a metro with a chequered history of service delivery and one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

Media Enquiries:

Fred Nel MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC of Co-operative Governance
083 263 2427

[Image source]

Ekurhuleni’s R90 million music festival alienates residents

The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM) would do well to take heed of the disastrous Dinokeng Tribe One music festival that failed to take place in Tshwane last year, before it commits to spending R90 million on the World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD).

The Tribe One festival, which was cancelled at the last minute, at a cost of Tshwane R70 million, was footed by residents of Tshwane.

This money would have been better used to uplift the lives of those in poor communities.

Similarly, the proposed R90 million spend on hosting WOMAD in Ekurhuleni would be more beneficial if it were to be directed at increasing service delivery.

Last year, Gauteng experienced catastrophic water shortages – with Ekurhuleni being one of the hardest hit areas.

R90 million would be better spent on repairing dilapidated infrastructure to ensure that residents of Ekurhuleni are not treated as second class citizens.

Wisely spent, this money would have a knock on effect – creating jobs in a Metro that has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

It will be the act of an irresponsible administration that chooses to spend an exorbitant amount of money on a music festival while those in desperate need of services and jobs remain neglected.


Media Enquiries:

Fred Nel MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC of Co-operative Governance

083 263 2427

[Image source]