R9 billion in irregular expenditure by Gauteng departments puts service delivery at risk

Gauteng residents continue to suffer through the ineptitude of the provincial government which is constantly failing to clamp down on irregular expenditure, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

This information was revealed this week at a two-day breakaway held by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA).

According to the report that deals with the Public Finance Management Act Provincial Audit outcomes, irregular expenditure to the tune of R9,73 billion was incurred, while fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounted to R378 million.

The following departments are the top offenders when it comes to irregular expenditure:

• Health- R2,57 billion
• Roads and Transport- R2,48 billion
• Education- R812 million
• Infrastructure Development- R340 million
• e-Government- R413 million

The main reason for the large amount of irregular expenditure and fruitless and wasteful expenditure is due to non-compliance with Supply Chain Management (SCM) processes.

This is very concerning as it means that loopholes exist within the system for potential corruption to occur.

The DA proposes that to clamp down on non-compliance with the SCM, officials who circumvent the SCM process must face consequence management. In a situation where the same officials are found to be contravening the policy and procedures put in a place, formal disciplinary hearings must take place. The impunity for floating processes and violating policy must end.

If these efforts are intensified by the current government, public funds will be managed correctly, and we will not see a repeat of the recent Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) scandal.

A DA government will ensure that the SCM policies that are in place are followed, and if any official disregards these directives, they will face immediate disciplinary action.

Taxpayers’ money should be spent transparently and meticulous records of where every cent is spent must be kept accordingly.

Makhura dumped before facing DA MONC

Reports in today’s Sunday newspapers suggest that Gauteng Premier David Makhura has been fired and is about to be replaced by MEC Panyaza Lesufi.

This move does not surprise the DA as Makhura has lost the support of his own party in Gauteng. This means there was a good chance he may have been voted out as the Premier as a result of the DA Motion of No Confidence (MONC) submitted to the Gauteng Legislature recently.

The DA already received support from various opposition parties for the MONC and we also expected some of Makhura’s own colleagues to vote against him if a secret ballot was to be allowed.

Makhura has become known as the no action Premier. Full of promises but very empty on delivery. The DA has built a very strong case as to why Makhura is unfit to continue as Premier of Gauteng as he continues failing to arrest corruption in his administration, curb crime and stimulate economic growth in the province.

The DA does not expect a better performance from MEC Lesufi who is mooted to replace Makhura. He will try and start off with a bang, but that will be the only action we can expect from him. Gauteng residents can expect more of the same from Lesufi as he will be a hamstrung premier who will not be allowed by his party to act against corruption. He would ultimately have to answer to a PEC controlled by his rival, MEC Lebogang Maile, rendering Lesufi a lame duck premier.

The only way to deal with constant failing ANC premiers is by voting the ANC out of power in Gauteng in 2024 and replacing it with a capable DA government.


DA to continue with its fight to ensure that a motion of no confidence in Premier Makhura is tabled

Gauteng residents continue to suffer poor basic service delivery from the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) under the leadership of Premier David Makhura.

Under his leadership, Gauteng residents have only been made promise after promise with no tangible solution to their basic needs being met.

Since taking office, Premier Makhura has promised to ensure that job opportunities are created, that the township economy is revitalised and that the current housing backlog which is over a million is addressed. However, none of the above promises has materialised.

Therefore, we will continue to put pressure on the Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s (GPL) programming committee to put our motion of no confidence (MONC) in Premier Makhura on the agenda of the next GPL sitting.

Makhura has become known as the no-action Premier. Full of promises but lacking in delivery. The DA has built a very strong case as to why Makhura is unfit to continue as Premier of Gauteng as he continues failing to arrest corruption in his administration, curb crime and stimulate economic growth in the province.

The DA remains committed to seeing our MONC in Makhura despite speculation that he may be removed. We believe that Makhura needs to answer to the people of Gauteng for his underperformance which he must do during the MONC debate.

Furthermore, the DA does not expect a better performance from MEC Lesufi who is mooted to replace Makhura. Gauteng residents can expect more of the same from him as he will be a hamstrung Premier who will not be allowed by his party to act against corruption. He would ultimately have to answer to a PEC controlled by his rival, MEC Lebogang Maile, rendering Lesufi a lame duck premier.

The only way to deal with constant failing ANC premiers is by voting the ANC out of power in Gauteng in 2024 and replacing it with a capable DA government.

Premier Makhura must act on Tembisa Hospital corruption

The below speech was delivered by Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health at a DA picket outside Tembisa Hospital today.

See pictures here, here, here and here

It is nearly three weeks since strong evidence was made public that murdered whistle-blower Babita Deokaran was scared for her life after identifying R850 million in possibly fraudulent payments by Tembisa Hospital last year.

These contracts are all under R500 000, which means they don’t have to go out on tender and can be signed off by the CEO of Tembisa Hospital, Dr Ashley Mthunzi, who took over in April last year.

At least one ANC big wig, Mr Sello Sekhokho, scored three contracts worth R2.3 million.

Much of what was bought was grossly overpriced.

Examples include 2000 hand towels bought for R230 each, and 100 fancy leather armchairs for R500 000, which works out at R5000 a chair.

Meanwhile, patients at this hospital suffer because of overcrowding, and the shortage of staff and equipment.

Why leather armchairs when this hospital is short of beds?

Something is seriously wrong here, but what is the response of the Gauteng Health Department?

Implicated people should surely be suspended and a high-level investigation done to find out what is really happening.

But nobody has been suspended and there is no investigation. It smells like a cover-up.

The DA has called for the suspension of the Department’s Chief Financial Officer Lerato Madyo, who authorised fishy payments that Babita tried to stop.

We now call for the immediate suspension of Dr Ashley Mthunzi, the CEO of Tembisa Hospital.

That is why we are here today.

I am reminded of the Life Esidimeni tragedy when Premier David Makhura failed to dismiss Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu when she first revealed deaths of mental health patients in reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

It took more than four months before she was forced to resign after the devastating Health Ombudsman’s report.

Premier Makhura, you failed then, and you are failing now!

I have a message for Premier Makhura:

You are failing Babita’s family. You promised that you would clean up corruption, but you are doing nothing about the new evidence.

Premier Makhura, your silence is deafening.

People are dying in our hospitals because massive amounts of money are stolen and wasted.

As we did with Life Esidimeni, the DA will not not stop until everything is exposed and justice is seen to be done.

Gauteng Health abandons West Rand Hospital after R700m spend

The Gauteng Health Department does not intend to use the Anglo Ashanti Hospital in the Far West Rand despite spending about R700 million refurbishing and briefly staffing it.

This is revealed by Acting Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Nkomo-Ralehoko: “The Department has since terminated the lease and has no intention to continue with the project. There is no planned work for the financial year and in future.”

This is a shattering admission of a massive waste of money that should have been spent on improving existing hospitals that desperately need more staff and equipment.

This hospital was donated by the AngloGold Ashanti mining company to assist in treating Covid 19 patients, but R500 million was spent to refurbish it even though the lease was never finalised, nor was the building transferred to the department.

Only 147 Covid patients were treated at the hospital since it was Premier David Makhura partially opened it in May last year.

It was supposed to have 181 ICU beds, but none of these were completed and only 56 ordinary beds were available for patients.

Originally they were going to spend R50 million on it for Covid patients, but the Gauteng Command Council mysteriously took a decision to upgrade the project to ICU beds. This was a stupid decision for a hospital far from major population centres.

It is no surprise that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is investigating possible corruption in the refurbishment contracts for the hospital.

It’s another big fail that justifies the DA’s motion of no confidence against Premier David Makhura who is unable to curb corruption and wasteful spending.

The DA will continue to press for full accountability in this matter, including prosecutions for anyone implicated in corrupt contracts.

DA challenges Premier Makhura to honour the memory of Babita Deokaran and respond to Tembisa Hospital corruption

Today I delivered the following Member’s Statement at a sitting of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature which challenges Premier David Makhura to honour the memory of murdered whistleblower Babita Deokaran by acting decisively against the corruption she uncovered at Tembisa Hospital: 

Babita Deokaran was murdered on 23 August last year. 

Six people have been arrested and their trial is continuing, but we need to find out who ordered them to kill her. 

The clearest indication came last week from a News24 investigation of her emails and WhatsApp messages. 

These show that she feared for her life because she was stopping a surge of payments by the Tembisa Hospital to suspicious companies. These companies included three owned by senior ANC member Sello Sekhokho, who is currently the Treasurer-General of the ANC’s Ekurhuleni region.

 You would have thought that the Gauteng Health Department would have done their own investigation of her emails and messages, but instead there appears to have been a cover-up. 

Before her death, Deokaran requested the Chief Financial Officer Lerato Madyo to do a forensic audit of the Tembisa Hospital payments, but this never happened.  

It appears that Madyo did not inform the Acting Head of Department about this request, and covered up what was happening at Tembisa Hospital. 

It is more than a week now and the CFO has still not been suspended, and we hear no word from the Department about action to uncover corruption at Tembisa Hospital. 

I am reminded of Premier David Makhura’s failure to immediately suspend or dismiss former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu when the deaths of Life Esidimeni patients became known after she replied to my questions in this House. 

She remained Health MEC for more than four months before she was forced to resign after the devastating report by the Health Ombudsman. 

And what is Premier Makhura doing about this now? His own office agreed with the appointment of CFO Madyo after the highest scoring candidate was disqualified for not meeting the requirements of the post.

 The silence from the Premier and the Health MEC is deafening. 

Babita Deokaran’s family are saying that she was failed by those in power. 

Her death must not be in vain. The truth must come out no matter how discomfiting it may be to those who run this province.


Maile illegally intervenes in motion of no confidence against ANC Rand West Mayor

It is very disturbing that the tabled motion of no confidence against the ANC Mayor of Rand West City Local Municipality, Gladys Khoza will no longer go ahead because the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Lebogang Maile has decided to call for an “urgent meeting” to discuss a possible intervention.

The council sitting notice was served to councillors last week and a motion was submitted last month which was supposed to be debated and voted upon tomorrow, 27 July. The fact that MEC Maile has called for an “urgent meeting” is once again a way of trying to illegally intervene with council business which he does not have a legal right to do so.

It is known that the ANC lost a ward in Bekkersdale in the recent by-elections, Maile therefore acutely aware that there they do not have the numbers to defend the motion if it is processed tabled. Hence MEC Maile has decided to abuse his office to play party politics and continue to protect his own comrades.

This so called “urgent intervention meeting” could have taken place on any day of the previous week or even today but is so unsurprisingly taking place on the day when Council is meeting. This is also yet another way attempt to keep a failing Mayor in office. Instead of MEC Maile concentrating on his own work he opts to rather get involved in party politics.

The DA is demanding that Premier David Makhura intervenes in this matter urgently and fires MEC Maile for overstepping on his core mandate. This is not the first time that MEC Maile has overstepped, in 2019 he illegally placed the Tshwane Metro Municipality under administration. The DA proceeded to take the matter to court and won the case while he lost at every court in the country.

It is unfair that our residents are put in a position where they are unable to get the basic services they rightfully deserve as they religiously pay their rates and taxes. The DA will use all the mechanisms at our disposal to ensure that this motion of no confidence goes ahead.

DA supports nurses in Gauteng

The Democratic Alliance has sympathy for the frustration of nurses that led to yesterday’s march by the Democratic Nurses Organisation of SA (DENOSA) to Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s office.

They are right to be aggrieved by poor working conditions and short-staffing, which places unbearable strain on nurses who are the backbone of a decent health system.

It is inexcusable that there are unfilled nursing vacancies, and many newly-qualified nurses are unemployed after completing their community service.

DENOSA has also highlighted the late payments to suppliers which resulted in food and other shortages in hospitals.

And how can there still be nurses who are not being paid their salaries?

Despite projections of a huge future shortage of nurses, Gauteng is training too few nurses, and then fails to employ many of those who have qualified.

Premier Makhura promised eight years ago to “urgently” turn around the Gauteng Health Department with its non-stop scandals. It’s time he delivered!

Premier Makhura: Make all SIU reports public tomorrow

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is calling on Premier David Makhura to make the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) reports public tomorrow.

There are a number of SIU reports that Premier Makhura has promised to make public, but to date, we are still waiting.

Tomorrow would be the ideal time for these reports to be released, as Premier Makhura will be releasing the Gauteng Province’s State of Integrity and Anti-Corruption report.

A reply to the DA’s questions tabled last year regarding the SIU reports indicated that the Premier would make a consolidated report available by June 2021, while at a committee meeting, he said that this will happen at the end of the year.

However, the individual reports would not be made public, which covers all alleged corruption that may have taken place since March 2014.

If Premier Makhura is serious about running a government that is honest and accountable to the electorate he will release the consolidated report along with all the individual completed immediately.

By releasing all the SIU reports consequence management can take place and all officials and politicians implicated can be held to account.

Makhura is shielding his likely successor from housing delivery failures

The Gauteng Department of Human Settlements was allocated a budget of R1.5 billion for the fourth quarter of the 2021/2022 financial year and spent R2.2 billion, subsequently incurring 147% (R713.3 million) in over-expenditure. This while achieving zero targets in terms of delivering housing.

This is a result of Premier Makhura’s failed promise to implement performance assessments for members of his cabinet, thereby shielding his likely successor MEC Lebogang Maile from housing delivery failures.

This Department’s failures were revealed in its fourth quarterly report for the 2021/2022 financial year.

It is distressing to learn that there is no valid reason for this expenditure while ordinary citizens of Gauteng are still in desperate need of dignified housing.

The department has zero performance on half of its targets below:

• Procured zero serviced erven from the private sector compared to the target of 4,162 as part of its Rapid Land Release Programme (RLRP);
• Zero housing subsidies through FLISP (the first time you use the acronym, please write it out) compared to the target of 367;
• Zero houses received subsidies through FLISP compared to the target of 8 in its hostel development;
• Zero family units completed in hostel re-development programmes;
• Zero approved individuals’ informal settlements upgrading plans prepared in terms of the National Upgrading Support Programme (NUSP) compared to the target of 20;
• Zero hectares of land acquired for relocation of category B2 and category C settlements; and
• Zero informal settlements upgrade in situ compared to the target of 170.

This is a disgrace because there are officials employed who continue to draw salaries every month, yet there is no work done.

Gauteng residents are in dire need of adequate housing to improve their quality of life and uphold their dignity. Our people are tired of being exposed to inhumane and unsanitary living conditions.

Where is Premier Makhura as the custodian of the province to perform oversight on the work of the various departments?

Three years ago, the Premier promised to implement performance assessments for members of his cabinet, but to date, this has not been done.

The DA has constantly requested that Makhura must implement performance assessments for MECs to prevent such failures as reflected in this quarterly report. MEC Maile continues to do as little as possible and there is no accountability for poor performance. We will continue to put pressure on Premier Makhura to hold his cabinet to account for their department failures through the implementation of performance assessments.

Gauteng residents need houses now. They are tired of empty promises, and misuse of provincial coffers and the DA will continue to fight for accountability and delivery of houses.