West Rand Metro: Premier Makes An About-Turn On Merger

Gauteng Premier David Makhura today made an about-turn on his previous position of the viability of a West Rand metro – instead singing the praises of the formation of a city region.

During question time in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today, the premier chose to toe the ANC line by claiming that the formation of a West Rand metro would be to the benefit of the people, and that it would be another step closer to the Gauteng City Region.

However, reality dictates otherwise, as one cannot expect one healthy and three lame horses to pull a cart as effectively as four healthy horses.

The fact is that one cannot fix poor performing municipalities by merging them into larger metropolitan areas without building the professional capacity of officials.

Instead of pushing for the establishment of a metro, the provincial government and district municipality should use the mandate of the Constitution and municipal legislation to assist municipalities where necessary – and improve service delivery and people’s quality of life.

Furthermore, the premier completely ignored the R1,5 billion outstanding debt burden and massive infrastructure decline in the four local municipalities, nor could he provide any guarantees over who foot the bill of streamlining and coordinating systems once the merge has been completed.

The Premier should have told the people of the West Rand that his government would first address poor accountability, lack of administration and poor financial management in the four municipalities.

The DA will continue with our efforts to ensure that service delivery and quality of life take precedence over poorly conceived ideas.

 

Media enquiries:

Solly Msimanga MPL

DA Gauteng Provincial Chairperson

060 558 8308

DA Moves to Stop Illegal Tshwane Land Auctions

The land auctions announced by the City of Tshwane municipality to take place tomorrow (24 March 2015) should be stopped as they are not legal.Fred Nel DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

In a reply to me last week from the Gauteng MEC for COGTA it transpired that the City did not follow proper public participation processes to determine whether the properties it intended to sell are necessary for current or future municipal service delivery.

Public Not Properly Consulted

It is my view that the public and other stakeholders were not properly consulted to determine whether the land to be auctioned was necessary for municipal service delivery.

At least 11 of the properties are currently zoned as public open space and selling it off could find the City in contravention of its own Spatial Development Framework (SDF), which requires a minimum number of public open spaces required for the city’s population.

In the light of the City’s densification policy, public open spaces are a critical design element.

Click here to view the list of properties on auction (Pdf, 15Mb).

Land for Education and Low Cost Housing

One of the properties offered for sale is currently zoned for education purposes. The report that served before the council to seek approval for the sale of the properties did not indicate whether the Department of Education would require this property for future use as a school.

Properties currently zoned for housing are also among the list, which may impact on the Gauteng government’s plans to deliver housing to the poor.

Land for low cost housing is already scarce and by selling it off land Tshwane worsens the situation. It also goes against Premier David Makhura’s plans to use state owned land to spark development and growth.

Two of the properties are currently zoned as transport hubs and one property earmarked for sale was required as a future transport hub.

Disqualification

There is also concern that some of the properties have rivers, streams and fountains, and may be ecologically sensitive, which disqualifies them from being sold.

It also seems as if the projected prices properties may fetch as presented to the Tshwane Council, were heavily inflated – as many were based on future value after development had taken place.

Current value may be much lower than purported by the Tshwane municipality.

To this end I wrote to Gauteng Cooperative Governance MEC Jacob Mamobolo to urgently intervene in terms of his powers as provided for in the Municipal Systems Act.

In the meantime, the DA will compile a submission to the Office of the Public Protector to investigate the legality of the Tshwane land auctions.

 

Media enquiries

Fred Nel MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

083 263 2427

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Gauteng Hospitals Owe R2.9 million on Over-priced Diesel

Gauteng hospitals owe R2.9 million to companies that supply diesel for boilers, tractors and back-up generators.

This is revealed in a written reply by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.Jack Blom DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

Companies Owed

The Gauteng Health Department buys diesel from a number of companies in terms of a contract by National Treasury.

The following companies are owed money:

  • Kiarah Chemicals cc                     R936 835
  • One Line Project Solutions cc          R491 150
  • Kebaratile General Trading             R29 227
  • Afric Oil Pty Ltd                             R373 219
  • General Energy Systems Pty Ltd     R1 065 358

 

I am aware of cases where late supply of diesel has led to generators failing after power cuts, and boilers with no steam to provide heat and sterilise surgical instruments.

Discounted Rates

I am also concerned that the department pays R12.38 per litre of diesel, which is a bit more than you would pay at a local garage.

Surely a discount rate could have been achieved as part of the diesel tender?

This is yet another example where the department is getting poor value for money and there are supply disruptions because of non-payment.

The department should pay its bills and ensure a reliable diesel supply for hospitals.

 

Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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John Moodey to Present the True State of Ekurhuleni Metro

This morning DA Gauteng Provincial Leader, John Moodey, DA Ekurhuleni Caucus Leader, Cllr Fortune Mahano and DA Ekurhuleni caucus members will brief the media over the true state of the Ekurhuleni metropolitan municipality.

 

The briefing will take place outside the Wanneburg Clinic in the informal settlement of Makause near Primrose, Germiston, where the DA will present its policy alternatives in the run up to Executive Mayor Mondli Gungubele’s State of the City Address on Wednesday.

 

 

Date: Monday, 23 March 2015

 

Time: 09:30

 

Venue: Wanneburg Clinic, Pretoria Road, (between Bus and Mimosa Roads) Primrose

 

Click here to view map.

 

 

There will be ample opportunity for interviews and photographs. Members of the media are welcome to attend.

 

 

Media enquiries:

Cllr Fortune Mahano

DA Ekurhuleni Caucus Leader

072 451 2645

 

Angela Barnes

DA Media Liaison – Ekurhuleni Caucus

083 701 9972

 

John Moodey to Present the True State of Ekurhuleni Metro

True State of Ekurhuleni

Tomorrow, Monday 23 March 2015, DA Gauteng Provincial Leader, John Moodey, DA Ekurhuleni caucus leader, Cllr Fortune Mahano and DA Ekurhuleni caucus members will brief the media over the true state of the Ekurhuleni metropolitan municipality.

The briefing will take place outside the Wanneburg Clinic in the informal settlement of Makause near Primrose, Germiston, where the DA will present its policy alternatives in the run up to Executive Mayor Mondli Gungubele’s State of the City Address on Wednesday.

Event Details

Date: Monday, 23 March 2015

 

Time: 09:30

 

Venue: Wanneburg Clinic, Pretoria Road, (between Bus and Mimosa Roads) Primrose

 

Click here to view map.

There will be ample opportunity for interviews and photographs. Members of the media are welcome to attend.

 

 

Media enquiries:

Cllr Fortune Mahano

DA Ekurhuleni Caucus Leader

072 451 2645

 

Angela Barnes

DA Media Liaison – Ekurhuleni Caucus

083 701 9972

 

Gauteng Transport MEC Victimises Whistle-blower

Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport (GDRT) MEC, Ismail Vadi and Head of Department (HOD), Ronald Swartz are condoning attempts by senior management to silence a whistle-blower who has attempted to expose corrupt and collusive John Moodey DA Gauteng Provincial Leaderactivities.

Irregularities

According to DA information the whistle-blower has attempted to report sever financial irregularities to both the MEC and HOD, only to find himself having being suspended.

The whistle-blower alleges how he had uncovered what appears to be the irregular appointment of one senior official, but also how this official and the person who allegedly colluded to ensure her appointment, irregularly awarded tenders to the value of  R19.5 million.

The whistle blower alleges that the tenders were awarded in contravention of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), Treasury Regulations and department financial controls.

Investigation and the Lack of Political Will

After no action was taken by the HOD, this matter was raised with the MEC, again to no avail.

This matter has been the subject of a Public Service Commission investigation, a report which the whistle-blower claims has been ignored by the MEC and HOD.

Once again, we are exposed to the nefarious workings of officials employed in departments throughout Gauteng and the lack of political will to tackle these issues head on.

What is of utmost concern is that when officials attempt to do the right thing, they are maligned by those in the upper echelons of power.

Gauteng Premier, David Makhura’s much lauded approach to corruption needs to be put to task in instances such as these.

The DA will follow this case up with both the Premier Makhura and MEC Vadi as a matter of urgency.

 

Media enquiries:

John Moodey MPL

DA Gauteng Provincial Leader

082 960 3743

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Gauteng Premier Vague on Corruption Investigations

Janet Semple DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Economic Development
Janet Semple, MPL DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Economic Development

The “People’s Premier” David Makhura – who initially commenced his term of office by making all the right noises on corruption, has finally started to show his true colours.

Despite promising the people of Gauteng that the cornerstones of his administration would be transparency and openness, the Premier has retreated to the tried and tested mantle for which the ANC is notorious – obfuscation and half-truths.

In his responses to questions on corruption investigations since he took office in June 2014, the premier undertook to respond in writing and in full.

However, the written response was kept deliberately vague, only stating that 43 investigations have been initiated, and that 17 had been concluded.

As for details over the 17 concluded investigations, Premier Makhura resorted to using broad ambiguous strokes in an attempt to pacify the opposition.

No mention is made of action taken following the outcome of investigations – only, that “relevant departments would implement recommendations”.

No mention is made of which departments were affected and what recommendations were made.

Click here to view the response.

It is quite clear that the premier’s response was crafted in such a manner so as not to transgress any of the Legislature’s Rules of Order, while at the same time protecting his government from closer scrutiny.

To this end the DA will submit follow-up questions to his office demanding the full particulars of each investigation, including departments concerned, investigation reports as well as their recommendations. We will also ask the premier to provide us with full details as to whether affected departments have implemented those recommendations, and if not, why not.

The DA will continue to hold Premier Makhura and his government to account until each and every corrupt official has been brought to book.

 

Media enquiries
Janet Semple MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Economic Development
082 462 8239

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Police programme to root out criminal cops unlawful

Project 1448, an initiative by the Department of Community Safety in Gauteng to root out police members with criminal records, was shut down as it was deemed unlawful.

This was revealed by Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, during a sitting of the Gauteng Legislature.

Currently there are 271 South African Police Service members in Gauteng who continue to perform active duty despite having been convicted of committing criminal offences.

Of these, 248 have been convicted of committing serious crimes.

This situation cannot be dealt with effectively if initiatives that are instituted to tackle such matters are flawed from the outset.

The MEC indicated that there are currently cases in court, and that the situation is beyond her control.

However, what is in her control is to call for closer scrutiny and background checks of SAPS recruits to ensure that the dedicated men and women in blue are not tarnished by nefarious characters.

The DA will continue to monitor these cases and ensure that those police officials who have convictions are removed from the system.
Media enquiries:
Michele Clarke MPL
DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Community Safety
060 558 8309

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Gauteng Premier Refuses to Participate in Parliament’s Human Rights Day Debate

The DA today wrote to Gauteng Legislature Speaker Lenteng Mekgwe questioning Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s refusal to send a provincial delegation to the joint sitting of Parliament for a debate on Human Rights tomorrow.Moriarty-Mike1-240x300

Apparently, the premier based his decision on cost concerns.

The DA is highly concerned over the Speaker’s support of the Premier’s decision, as Rule 37 of the Rules of Order designates the function of appointing special delegates to the Programming Committee and not the premier.

If the Premier was not available to lead the delegation, then somebody else could have led, especially as there are plenty of important human rights issues in Gauteng, including the matter of xenophobia.

It is foolish to suggest xenophobia was not a factor in the violent looting that occurred recently, as it is without question that the victims were predominantly people from abroad.

The victims too were entitled to human rights, and the riotous behaviour that occurred arose from a mind-set that foreign citizens are a legitimate target.

This can be described in one word: xenophobia. And this is a violation of human rights.

There is an obligation on national government and cabinet ministers to address this matter with all due seriousness, especially those of International Relations and Home Affairs.

And while national government dithers, Gauteng citizens bear the brunt.

Premier Makhura and the provincial government must do everything possible to prevent national government action or inaction from prejudicing the rights of Gauteng’s people.

Clearly premier Makhura is not prepared to challenge his national counterparts in an appropriate forum such as the National Council of Provinces.

By not debating on Thursday this province is missing an opportunity to hold national government to account for its failure to safeguard the rights of people in Gauteng.

This clearly shows that the ANC in Gauteng is not willing to fully defend our citizens in the face of their national colleagues: not on xenophobia and not on e-tolls.

To this end, the DA requested the Speaker to make the necessary arrangements to have this matter discussed in the Programming Committee and to obtain guidance from the Legislature’s legal advisors.

 

Media enquiries:

Mike Moriarty MPL

DA Chief Whip in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature

082 492 4410

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Illegal Weapons Linked to Increased Mining Violence

The DA condemns the deaths of seven people, including a one-year-old child during Saturday evening’s shooting in Crystal Park on the East Rand. The incident is alleged to be linked to warring illegal mining syndicates.

According to reports 15 suspects armed with what is believed to be stolen pistols and rifles are said to still be at large.

Illegal mining coupled with the illegal possession of firearms has seen a dramatic increase in violence during the past year.

While we welcome the investigation by police, the DA calls on Gauteng Police Commissioner Lesetja Mothiba to devise an “Illegal mining master plan” for a holistic approach to every aspect of this violent problem. Far too many innocent lives are lost due to illegal mining activities, and police are not suitably trained nor efficiently equipped to deal with this matter.

The urgent need for speedy police reaction to illegal mining cannot be ignored. The fact that 15 suspects – who are armed with illegal weapons – are still at large poses a great threat to society.

 

Media Enquiries:

Michele Clarke MPL

DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Benoni

060 558 8309

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