People suffer as Maile is distracted by the election battle

MEC Lebogang Maile’s Gauteng Department of Human Settlements has once again failed dismally to meet any of its housing services targets because he is distracted by the Gauteng ANC’s election battle.

Gauteng residents who are in desperate need of dignified housing and services continue to be exposed to terrible living conditions, yet MEC Maile who is supposed to deliver services has prioritised his political future.

Instead of focusing on ensuring that Gauteng residents have access to dignified housing and the upgrading of informal settlements, Maile has totally neglected his duties as the MEC for Human Settlements and COGTA.

This is evident through the department’s third quarter report for the 2021/22 financial year.

According to the department’s third quarter report for the 2021/22 financial year, the following targets were not met:

  • Zero townships were formalised against a target of 18
  • Zero serviced stands were procured from the private sector against a target of 1,000
  • Zero hostels’ projects were approved against a target of five
  • Zero hostels where construction was taking place against a target of seven
  • Zero family units were completed in hostel redevelopment projects against a target of 180
  • Zero informal settlements received interim support services against a target of 60
  • Zero informal settlements received phase two upgrading against a target of 15
  • Zero approved upgrading plans of individual informal settlements against a target of 20
  • Zero top structures were completed against a target of 70
  • Zero property transfers were completed against a target of 90%

Failure by this department to meet the above critical targets is concerning as there has been no progress on these targets since the beginning of the year.

This is a significant blow for hostel dwellers, informal settlements and township residents and is likely to raise social risks that could further see situations like the last year’s July unrest.

The DA demands that Premier Makhura must intervene as a matter of urgency and whip MEC Maile into line to ensure that his department delivers on its core mandate to the residents of Gauteng.

For far too long, MEC Maile has been given free reign at the expense of taxpayers’ money; it is high time that MEC Maile delivers what he is paid for. His attitude towards his work has resulted in his accounting officers doing as they please as they follow in his footsteps.

We also demand that Premier Makhura must set in motion a workable and implementable turnaround strategy together with timelines for holding this department to account.

The DA will continue to fight for the Gauteng residents to access housing services and dignified housing and for MEC Maile to be held to account.

Ekurhuleni, vote for the DA to get things done!

Note to editors: This is an extract summary of DA Ekurhuleni Mayoral Candidate, Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL’s, speech at Ekurhuleni’s “Let’s Get Things Done” rally.

The full speech can be downloaded here.

See pictures here here and here

Halala, DA, Halala!

Halala, Ekurhuleni, Halala!

Halala, 1 November, Halala!

We are about one week away from an election that is poised to change the landscape of Ekurhuleni.

Today we are in Reiger Park where people live without services, without dignity, and for many – no hope. An area that those in Green, Black and Gold have completely forgotten about.

If you don’t believe me, go look down the road at the site of Leeuwpoort Mega Housing Project!

This project was started in 2017 and should have provided 22 000 housing opportunities by 2024 for the people of Reiger Park and surrounds – but all there is to show for this project are two cranes that have never moved since the day they were delivered to the site.

The only thing mega about this project is the price tag. R2 billion to be precise.

Do you see R2 billion worth of development? There isn’t even one house on the identified land.

But I bet if you look in the pockets of the Cadres running this city – you’ll find these billions.

I have seen taxi ranks, industrial hubs, trading centres, development projects worth millions wasted. Our communities were not consulted with these projects and so no one is using these white elephants.

Monetary waste is but one aspect of the criminal nature of this government. The true crime is the oppression of our people – the missed opportunities to empower our people. The missed opportunity to deliver services to our people.

This is the real crime committed.

Our youth have lost hope and turned to drugs, alcohol for comfort. Unemployment has ravaged their futures.

I have seen our fathers and brothers – able bodied men, reduced to begging and turning to a life of crime just to make ends meet. In increasing circumstances, beating us women and our children to vent their frustrations.

I have seen our fellow mothers and sisters – strong women, turn to unthinkable acts in exchange for payment just to put food on the table.

Yet, the current Mayor would have us believe that this is a clean, safe, thriving city…

Are we living in a clean, safe, thriving city?

No, we are not.

There are over 1000 power outages in Ekurhuleni every single day.


Because the municipality has not invested in new infrastructure or maintained existing infrastructure.

In Phomolong, Tembisa, there is supposed to be a R70 million power station except that instead of a power station, there is an open field.

Yes, it’s a very expensive field. A power station would have increased power security for the communities of Ekurhuleni. Instead this project has lined the pockets of connected cadres.

Residents, you have the power to taste a City where people have dignified lives.

Together we can liberate ourselves from those who have taken us for granted: insulting our existence every day.

Real service delivery, real development and growth will take place under a DA-led administration.

Don’t take my word for it, even the national government agrees that the best run municipalities in South Africa are all run by the DA.

Where the DA governs, we keep the lights on.

Where the DA governs, we make sure that people have access to fresh water and sanitation.

Where the DA governs our cities create an environment conducive to economic growth so that much needed jobs for our people are created.

The DA will put you first, because you – residents of Ekurhuleni, are our most valuable assets.

You are the life blood of this city.

Ekurhuleni, I am here for you.

I am in your corner; I am your champion – I am your humble servant.

On 01 November, take up your power: this election is the last chance to rescue towns and cities from the destruction of the ANC, and stop the free-fall.

Millions of South Africans have used their power to vote the DA into government in places across South Africa because only the DA gets things done. And the 5 best run Municipalities are DA-run.

The ANC & EFF cannot be allowed to rise and work together. If they do, they will be able to change the Constitution and take away rights and protections we all enjoy. Only the DA is big enough to stop this threat, because only the DA is big enough to beat the ANC.

If every single opposition voter unites behind the DA and turns out to vote to stop the ANC & EFF can this be done.

It is only your vote that can hire the DA to fix Ekurhuleni.

This election is for you. To reclaim dignity. To hire the DA to get things done.

DA reveals R70 million unfinished Phomolong Substation; a testament to ANC failure in Ekurhuleni

Note to Editors:  Please find attached soundbite by DA Ekurhuleni Mayoral Candidate Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL

Today the DA protested at a Phomolong substation in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni, because after a R70-million budget, it remains a failed, unfinished, incomplete project – and the surrounding area constantly suffers power outages.

Across Ekurhuleni, over 1000 power outages are suffered each day due to ailing and dilapidated infrastructure.

All that can be shown for this Phomolong substation is a single top structure and an open piece of land.

Photo can be access here_ here_

I took the opportunity today to reiterate the DA pledge for Electricity Security in Ekurhuleni, if the DA is voted in to govern this Metro. The pledge entails:

  • We will incentivise Independent Power Producers (IPP’s) to feed energy back to the grid. This will be alleviating the dependency that this City has on Eskom.
  • Upon assuming office, the DA will professionalise the energy department by filling funded vacancies as a priority. We will increase capacity and reduce overtime expenditure.
  • The DA will ensure that there is proper maintenance for all electricity infrastructure in the City.
  • This will include implementing a smart stock control system within the energy department to ensure that parts are on hand when needed and that there is no shortage of stock.
  • The introduction of a performance dashboard will ensure that faults and outrages are attended to in time by alerting the energy department directly.
  • Performance monitoring and evaluation mechanisms will be used to track CAPEX project performance and hold officials and contractors responsible to account.

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) recommended the municipality employ 1500 staff  in the department, yet there are only 879 staff employed. There are well over 300 funded vacancies in the department.

It is incomprehensible that a municipality which battles with the volume of daily outages such as Ekurhuleni that funded positions for skilled technicians would remain vacant.

Compounded to this, the stores of the energy department are in disarray and no stock controls mechanisms are put into practice. When there are outages, across the municipality, replacement components are often out of stock and need to be sourced elsewhere.

This creates lengthy delays in responding to outages and extra financial costs.

Capital expenditure, as evidenced by this substation, is not spent wisely on new projects while contract prices are inflated.

In the last two financial years, the municipality has incurred R2.5 billion loss of revenue due to illegal connections while there has only been one arrest made in connection with these illegal connections.

If the ANC-led municipality was serious about providing residents with the services that they so desperately need, and spent its CAPEX prudently, there would be no need for residents to connect illegally to the grid.

Illegal connections are synonymous with a government that cares little for the plight of its people.

The lack of secure energy supply in Ekurhuleni will fast track job shedding where there is already a high 39% unemployment rate in Ekurhuleni.

The Phomolong substation stands testament to this ANC lead government taking voters for granted.

Yet, there is hope for the residents of Ekurhuleni as the DA has a plan to restore power back to the people.

Come 1 November, the DA will keep Ekurhuleni’s lights on.

While Joburg’s emergency services fail, DA ward candidate, DA activist come to the rescue of pregnant woman

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to DA Ward 58 Candidate, Waolea Minnaar, and DA activist Tarren Roodt for their heroic act in helping a displaced female deliver her baby in the Brixton cemetery yesterday. See picture here.

Despite the ambulance only arriving almost two hours after they were called, both Minnaar and Roodt stepped up beyond their duties as citizens, in helping a desperate woman with no immediate access to emergency services. At the time, the pregnant woman was living in the Brixton cemetery.

While waiting for the ambulance, another DA activist went to the Brixton fire station no more than approximately 200 metres away from the pregnant woman. The activist was allegedly told that only councillors can request fire trucks and ambulances. This was despite a desperate woman, needing urgent medical attention while firefighters are trained in this type of situation.

While ordinary citizens came to the rescue of this woman, the Johannesburg Municipality still has a responsibility to ensure responsive emergency services. The municipality’s fleet of ambulances has shrunk from 101 to 0, since the ANC took over in November 2019. This has been exacerbated by the ANC provincial government’s Provincialisation of Ambulances Programme, which saw the City’s Emergency Management Services’ (EMS) ambulance services come to a halt in June of this year.

At the moment, the provincial department of Health is the custodian of ambulance services in the City. In June 2019, the DA administration in Johannesburg delivered 42 brand new state-of-the-art ambulances to the EMS, boosting its fleet by 72% to 101 ambulances. This meant that each fire station across the City received at least one new ambulance, with the majority of new ambulances allocated to fire stations in townships. Just before the suspension of the ambulance services in June this year under the ANC government, the City was running at less than 10 ambulances per shift.

The Johannesburg Municipality needs to urgently apply for their own operating license, so that municipal ambulances can get back on the road, and assist those who simply cannot afford private medical care or ambulance services.

Once the DA is voted in with a majority in the City of Gold, we will make it a priority to get our ambulances back so that marginalised residents can have the care they deserve.

Residents of Alberton left to the mercy of criminals

Residents of Alberton, Ekurhuleni have been left to the mercy of criminals as a result of underperformance by the South African Police Service (SAPS).

Crime statistics for the first quarter of this year indicate that Alberton experienced a 45% increase in TRIO Crimes (residential robbery, car hijacking and business robbery) year on year.

Alberton is the third worst performing precinct in Gauteng for robberies at a non-residential premises with a 325% increase year on year and it is the fifth worst performing precinct for truck hijacking in Gauteng and the sixth worst country wide, with a 1000% increase.

Ekurhuleni’s 39% unemployment rate has exacerbated crime in the Metro, as the current ANC-led administration has done little to create an environment conducive to economic growth. In fact, under the ANC, the economy of Ekurhuleni has been plunged into a downward spiral.

Socio-economic conditions contribute to these sky-rocketing crime statistics.

The DA has a plan to ensure that the economy of Ekurhuleni is resuscitated and that our people do not have to turn to criminal activities to put food on the table. Our local government economic strategy contained in our manifesto prioritises sustainable growth and economic inclusion.

If Ekurhuleni works, our communities work.

To strengthen law enforcement in the municipality, the DA will initiate The Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP), which has yielded numerous successes in the DA run City of Cape Town.

This initiative puts more boots on the ground to assist the work of SAPS and strengthen by-law enforcement.

A DA-led Ekurhuleni Municipality will ensure that there are regular engagements with Police Station Commanders, the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department, Community Policing Forums (CPF’s).

Added to this we will engage with the Minister of Justice for the proper functioning of Municipal Courts.

Ekurhuleni only has 44% of its legally required fire stations

Ekurhuleni is a tinder box ready to burn as the municipality has failed to comply with the national minimum standards in terms of how many fire stations it should have for the population size of the municipality.

According to the South African National Standard (10090) Community Protection against Fire Code of Practise, Ekurhuleni is legally required to have 65 fire stations to keep residents safe, however the municipality only has 29 stations in operation.

According to a written reply in Council posed by the current DA Shadow MMC for Community Safety, Clr. Jaco Terblanche, the municipality also does not comply with the minimum response times.

The reply can be accessed here.

This comes as no surprise as the fire department currently has 75 funded vacancies for firefighters.

While the municipality is currently in the process of building two more fire stations, both are running far behind schedule and the cost of these has mushroomed beyond their respective budgets.

When these two fire stations are eventually completed, the municipality will still lag far behind the legally mandated minimum standard.

It is unacceptable that this ANC-led municipality has put the lives of its 3.9 million residents at risk.

Our people deserve to live in a municipality that prioritises their safety and makes sure that there is investment on crucial infrastructure projects.

Residents of Ekurhuleni cannot be placed in harm’s way because of the incompetence of Mayor Mzwandile Masina.

Under a DA-led administration, the finances of this municipality will be managed efficiently to ensure that capital expenditure projects run on time and that cost over-runs do not happen. We will also ensure that all funded vacancies are filled as a matter of urgency.

R70 million substation left to rot in Phomolong

The ANC-led City of Ekurhuleni has spent R70 million on the construction of a new substation in Ward 12, Phomolong, Tembisa – yet all there is to show for the project is a single building next to an open piece of land.

This station, which was to be completed in 2020, has been all but abandoned with no signs of work taking place.

In a municipality which averages well over 1000 power outages a day, it is inconceivable that a much-needed project such as this has been left incomplete.

Like many other wasteful projects which I have seen across Ekurhuleni, this substation stands testament to the service delivery that residents have received from this administration.

Sadly, it comes as no surprise that this substation has been left incomplete.

Like many of the other projects I have seen, from trading stalls for informal traders to incomplete housing projects, ultimately this substation stands a high chance of falling victim to vandalism and possible destruction by residents who feel aggrieved that their needs have not been attended to.

The millions of Rands worth of wasteful expenditure projects that I have seen that litter the landscape of Ekurhuleni is treasonous.

Under a DA-governed Ekurhuleni, tight fiscal controls will be put in place to ensure that public money is spent wisely.

As Mayor, I will make sure that those who have abandon projects are made to pay-back this money and that public servants who have allowed such wastage to take place are held to account.

A manifesto of promise to help make the City of Gold shine again

Note to Editors: Please find attached an electronic copy of the DA’s Manifesto for Johannesburg that was presented by DA Mayoral Candidate for Johannesburg, Mpho Phalatse and DA Federal Leader, John Steenhuisen during a live broadcast of the DA’s Johannesburg Manifesto launch here

Today, I launched my party’s manifesto for the City of Johannesburg that will ensure basic service delivery is put back on track and will help the City of Gold find its shine again.

I have spent the past month crisscrossing Johannesburg, visiting all regions and constituencies to hear first-hand accounts from residents who have unique service delivery challenges but have no help from a failing municipality.

In order to build a world-class city, basic services first have to be stabilised. Joburg has been neglected for too long – but this manifesto will be the instrument to turn things around and get the city working for all residents.

Every resident of this great Metro has a service delivery need, and every resident deserves for those needs to be solved.

This manifesto, a culmination of months of broad consultation between residents, subject matter experts, and Democratic Alliance (DA) public representatives, is a promise to the residents of Johannesburg; a declaration to implement the critical changes they so desperately need, and a promise to never abandon them. This is a blueprint for five years of good governance and I am here to implement these change for those full five years.

This manifesto can help reverse the damaged inflicted on the local economy by non-existent service delivery. While local governments are not responsible for the national economy, they still have a critical role to play in terms of offering sustainable, uninterrupted service delivery and ensuring clean and conducive environments for businesses to operate without more unnecessary hurdles. The DA wants residents in Johannesburg to have jobs and will fight tooth and nail to ensure the local environment is ripe for such job creation.

Together, with the right vision and manifesto, Johannesburg can start working again, and find the shine that has been lost for the past two years.

Etwatwa residents remain trapped in poverty while R60 million is blown on wasteful projects

The ANC-run Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality has blown a cumulative R60 million on two sites in Etwatwa, Daveyton to stimulate economic growth in the most economically depressed area in the municipality, but once again – like anything built by the municipality, both sites are inoperable white elephants.

I conducted an oversight inspection to these sights and was joined by Ward 26 DA Candidate, Ashley Nyaniso, Ward 109 DA Candidate, Clr Raymond Dlhamini, Ward 66 DA Candidate, Clr Kabelo Mahonko, DA Shadow MMC for Economic Development, Clr Senzi Sibeko and DA Constituency Head for Etwatwa/Daveyton, Mat Cuthbert MP.

The Barcelona Trading Centre, opened in 2016, at a cost of R6 million, was supposed to create a safe and dignified trading space for small businesses in the area.

However, the 21 units at the centre are vacant.

Speaking to traders who operate across the road – traders who should be situated in the centre, they bemoaned the lack of public participation as the site does not draw the foot traffic from the Barcelona Clinic opposite where they trade.

Intermittent and unreliable water and electricity supply has caused the site to be all but abandoned.

Taps are missing from inside the stalls, windows are broken and the site is adorned in litter.

See pictures here here  here and here

This was the same situation at the abandoned Etwatwa Business Hive that we visited.

At a cost of R44 million, the Hive was opened in February 2019, yet has never seen a single tenant.

The ceilings are falling in, the light fittings are coming off the walls and there is no water supply.

This site, which could easily support 100 businesses, stands vacant and unused.

Residents of the community have not been encouraged to make use of the centre – with many not knowing what the site was constructed for.

Like other costly white elephants in the municipality, these sites are wasted opportunities to stimulate local economies and rapidly reduce the spiralling unemployment rate in Ekurhuleni which now sits at 39%.

Local economies and local job creation are vital for the survival and upliftment of places such as Etwatwa.

Under the DA, every white elephant economic opportunity in Ekurhuleni will be revitalised to get our economy growing.

Economic stimulation is key to lifting our people out of squalor.

As Mayor, I will not sit by and let our people remain trapped in poverty and hopelessness.

The DA in Johannesburg will never walk away from entrepreneurs and small business owners

Today, On World Tourism Day, I travelled across all corners of Johannesburg, visiting many tourist hotspots where entrepreneurs and small business owners have endured great challenges due to the Covid-19 lockdown and poor service delivery from the Municipality.

I spent the morning visiting places such as Victoria Yards and the Maboneng Precinct. Both of these districts offer a safe space and platform for entrepreneurs and small businesses owners to thrive by showcasing their skills through goods and services to an open market.

However, on top of economically-destructive lockdown restrictions, residents have also suffered poor basic service delivery that creates further frustrating challenges for these business owners. Basic services like water and electricity are the key needs of many small businesses. Without them, a hair salon for example would simply not be able to serve customers and would therefore lose an income. Johannesburg residents have endured constant unscheduled power outages due to ageing infrastructure and the additional, unsustainable demand on substations from illegal connections. Water supply is fast becoming a full-blown service delivery crises in Gauteng, with Rand Water having recently disclosed that the province now has demand far exceeding supply, followed by the implementation of water restrictions to mitigate this looming disaster.

While local governments do not control the national economy, they still have a vital role to play in creating the environment for businesses to thrive.

Getting the most basic services back on track for all residents is a priority for the Democratic Alliance (DA). A DA-led Johannesburg would invest R20 billion rand on fixing, replacing and upgrading roads, bridges, water pipes, waste water plants and power grids. On top of this, we would fix water leaks within 24 hours and ensure a vast reduction in electricity outages. A DA government can also ensure a reliable waste collection service so that public spaces used by small business owners and entrepreneurs can remain clean and welcoming to customers and clients.

But this cannot be where service delivery ends. Small business owners like those who operate at Victoria Yards and the Maboneng Precinct need more support from the Municipality. A DA-led Johannesburg would ensure that there are more Opportunity Centres throughout the City to support businesses and encourage entrepreneurs, while also playing a crucial role in offering skills development for jobs and apprenticeship programmes for young people to gain valuable skills and work experience.

The DA already has the proven track-record to get things done in Johannesburg. Between 2016 and 2019, we replaced 325km of water and sewer pipes which reduced leaks from 29% from 19%.

The DA is the only party with a track record of delivery in government. We have shown time and time again that where we get a full mandate, we get things done for residents and businesses. While we govern fewer than 10% of SA’s municipalities, the five best-performing municipalities are DA-run. The best-performing metro and province are also DA-run.

The local elections on 1 November are a crucial opportunity for the people and businesses of Johannesburg to finally have a council that gets things done for them.