DA Calls For Calm In Orlando Housing Protest

The DA is calling for calm in Mzihlophe following protest action that saw parts of the Soweto Highway being closed off due to violence.

The protestors are raising issue with the eviction of illegal land invaders from Mzimhlophe by the City.

The City of Johannesburg is taking steps, through its low-income housing programme, to ensure that residents are given access to housing as a matter of urgency.

Examples of the DA-led City of Joburg housing plans include R41 million more budgeted to electrify informal settlements, R219 million more allocated by Mayor Mashaba’s government to use in the purchase of property in the inner city for refurbishment into low-cost rental housing for 1164 families.

In order for the stated plans to be realised, residents need to refrain from violence and allow the City to proceed with the full implementation of its housing programme. The DA assures residents that progress in delivery of housing opportunities is being made by the DA-led government.

Mayor Mashaba has already made it clear that low-cost housing is one of the top priorities of his administration. Since taking office, he has issued over 2000 title deeds to homeowners in Johannesburg’s high-density suburbs.

The Mayor is fully committed to fulfilling his vision of a fair and caring city where the dignity of residents is prioritised.

The DA-led administration is calling on Mzihlophe residents to work with the City in addressing their concerns instead of resorting to violence.

 

 

Media Enquiries

Tsepo Mhlongo MP
DA Constituency Head: Soweto East
082 727 5496

Social Workers Strike Must Not Jeopardise Most Vulnerable In Society

The Democratic Alliance is shocked by reports that some striking social development workers in Gauteng are placing the neediest and most vulnerable members of society at risk.

According to reports, children at the Rearabilwe Centre in Ga-Rankuwa have been barricaded inside the centre for four days without access to food, denying them the ability to take their HIV-medication. There have been reports of instances of such maltreatment at other centres across Gauteng.

This inhumane treatment must be condemned in the strongest sense.

While the DA supports the rights of social workers to protest for better wages, the ill-treatment of those that are placed in their care cannot be condoned.

The DA will question Gauteng Social Development MEC, Nandi Mayathula-Khoza as to what steps her department has taken to address the current strike, and what emergency plans are in place to assist those who require the assistance of social workers.

 

 

Media Enquiries

Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Social Development
060 558 8297
Warren Gwilt
Economic Cluster Manager
073 601 6144
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Increased Library Capacity Must Be Prioritised

Madam Speaker,

This week and next as of the 13th – 21st of March 2017, South Africa celebrates National Library Week under the theme, “My Library, Your Library”.

SA Library Week was officially celebrated for the first time in 2002 and has become a very important date on the national calendar.

However, Madam Speaker, it is important to note that 845 public ordinary schools in Gauteng do not have fully stocked and functional libraries, denying learners the opportunity to broaden their knowledge base in subjects outside the school curriculum, as well as supplement their classroom learning.

Most of the schools without working libraries are in poor areas, and the DA is particularly concerned about the effects on the poorest of the poor – who have no other way of obtaining information and knowledge.

The current low level of education outcomes are not surprising. Gauteng’s poor will remain at a disadvantage and will continue to struggle to get jobs or some form of higher education if the capacitation of libraries is not prioritised.

MEC Panyaza Lesufi claims a number of reasons for this shortfall, such as budgetary constraints, school budgets not being ring-fenced for libraries and that schools built before 1994 were built without libraries.

The DA believes that the MEC’s arguments hold no merit, as the department has had more than two decades to wipe out the backlog. If anything, libraries are simply not a departmental priority and most recently, the allocations to the Community Services Library Grant were reduced as a result of slow spending patterns.

Madam Speaker, this house should support the call to increase the number of school libraries and community libraries in poor communities across the province.

 

 

Media Enquiries

Mike Moriarty MPL
DA Gauteng Provincial Legislature Chief Whip
082 492 4410

More Must Be Done For Illegal Miners

Madam Speaker,

Illegal mining activity across Gauteng continues to increase. Recently, the bodies of 14 dead miners were found in Benoni – a shocking discovery to say the least.

It is my observation it has become glaringly obvious that our current Government does not seem to take the safety aspect of illegal mining seriously.

The people that suffer the most are the poorest of the poor who risk their lives in order to put a plate of food on the table for their families. These miners find themselves at the bottom of the supply chain, with criminal syndicates who run the illegal trade in gold and other precious metals benefiting the most.

It is sad when poor and vulnerable lives are reduced to nothing more than statistics.

Illegal mining invariably equates to the loss of lives. Poor health and safety, stolen equipment, exposure to lethal gases and rock falls are not the only life-threatening aspects to these miners.

Gang violence, robbery and prostitution have also claimed their victims, as this Government’s policies have systematically failed to deal with illegal mining activities. Most frightening is the involvement of well organised criminal syndicates. These gangs are heavily armed, well-resourced and are brazen in their actions.

Illegal mining also negatively impacts South Africa’s economy to the tune of R6 billion per annum.

If illegal mining is not dealt with soon it will result in MAJOR criminal activity and resultant gang wars will be almost impossible to prevent.

The safety of innocent community members living around these mines are compromised on a daily basis. Excuses from SAPS, who claim they are not able to deal with these criminal activities is simply not good enough.

 

 

Media Enquiries

Michele Clarke MPL
DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Community Safety
060 558 8309

Deadline Not Met For Transfer Of Esidimeni Patients

The 45 day deadline by the Health Ombudsman looms today for moving more than 700 patients from unlawful NGOs to facilities where they will receive proper care and treatment.

In his report, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba recommended as follows:

“All patients from Life Esidimeni currently placed in unlawful NGOs must be urgently removed and placed in appropriate Health Establishments within the Province where competencies to take care of their specialized needs are constantly available, this must be done within 45 days to reduce risk and save life; simultaneously, a full assessment and costing must be undertaken.”

According to a statement last week by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa, only 63 patients had been moved from two NGOs.

The main alternatives for the patients are the Selby Park Clinic and re-opened Life Esidimeni facilities.

It seems that 20 unlicensed NGOs are still looking after hundreds of patients.

Life Esidimeni has indicated that it would take a number of weeks for them to safely accommodate a large number of the patients.

Ramokgopa has said that R495 per day is being paid for each patient at the private facilities, which amounts to about R15 000 per patient per month.

This is considerably higher than the R320 per day that was paid previously to Life Esidimeni, which amounted to R9920 per month for each patient.

It highlights once again the folly of former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in cancelling the previous contract with Esidimeni after a study by the Health Advance Institute in May 2015 found that this was good value for money.

I appreciate the care that is now being taken to involve relatives in the transfer to new facilities, but I am concerned that so many patients remain in unlicensed NGOs.

At least two more patients at these NGOs have died since the release of the Ombud’s report on 1 February.

We need more transparency about the reasons for the delay and a timetable for the transfers to be concluded as soon as possible.

 

 

Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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DA Gauteng Debates Human Rights Day

Speech by: Graham Gersbach MPL

“Three worlds in one Ward”

  • Ward 1 in Ekurhuleni is made up of 3 VDs in a highly secure complex of what will eventually be 7 gated estates, 3 working class bonded housing VDs inclusive of an Industrial township, 2 VDs of predominantly RDP housing projects and 1 VD that is an informal settlement.
    • Air pollution from the Elandsfontein industrial area and LG Landfill where delisted mining waste from Marikana is processed affects this Ward. This waste is a major contributor of perceived health problems and various court cases are pending.
    • The Tswelopele Extension 8 residents were relocated in 2007 across the Kaalspruit with the promise that their land was to be re-developed for them to then move back. Ten years later and nothing has been done to house them. The foot bridge connecting these residents to Mpumelelo Primary School where their children went to school was washed away in a rain storm and it took 5 years before a new bridge was built.
    • This is just scratching the surface of the problems resulting from a lack of service delivery, and all the residents of Ward 1 can rightly claim that government has failed in upholding their basic human rights.

The full speech can be obtained here.

 

Speech by: Adriana Randall MPL

“Lest we forget the injustices of the past, and of the present”

  • As we join today in discussing the celebration of Human Rights Day, we do so knowing that more needs to be done in advancing and protecting human rights in the province and the country.
    • With every right and freedom we enjoy today, comes responsibility. We cannot allow for the expression of hatred, racism, sexism, intolerance and any other injustice against our fellow human beings.
    • The DA will remember the 100+ psychiatric patients who died because the Gauteng Department of Health did not honour their responsibility in defending and protecting the rights of the most vulnerable, marginalised and forgotten in society.
    • We must continue the fight to see Madiba’s dream of a constitutional democracy founded on the values of human dignity, equality and non-racialism realised in South Africa.
    • We are stronger together, united in our diversity. This is a core value of the DA, and it should be for the rest of the country too.

The full speech can be obtained here.

 

Speech by:Dr Heinrich Volmink MPL

“Human rights cannot be sold-out for selfish political ends”

  • Today’s debate has reflected on the Bill of Rights. However, we have to ask the question: have these rights become a reality for our people?
    • As a health professional, I have had the privilege of serving our communities. In
so doing I have seen, first-hand, how the right to access healthcare
has often been denied because of state failure; whether that be in a shortage
of essential medicines or in the agonizing wait of long queues.
    • I would ask every citizen in our country and in this province to take heart: 
because 2019 is coming. And that year will usher in a DA-led
government in Gauteng that will protect all of our rights, including
those of the most vulnerable in our society

The full speech can be obtained here.

 

 

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Media Enquiries
Graham Gersbach MPL
DA Gauteng Spokesperson on SCOPA
060 556 4346
Adriana Randall MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC on Finance
060 556 4342
Dr Heinrich Volmink MPL
DA Gauteng Spokesperson on SCOPA
082 458 6867

Increased Library Capacity Must Be Prioritised

Madam Speaker,

This week and next as of the 13th – 21st of March 2017, South Africa celebrates, National Library Week under the theme, “My Library, Your Library”.

SA Library Week was officially celebrated for the first time in 2002 and has become a very important date on the national calendar.

However, Madam Speaker, it is important to note that 845 public ordinary schools in Gauteng do not have fully stocked and functional libraries, denying learners the opportunity to broaden their knowledge base in subjects outside the school curriculum, as well as supplement their classroom learning.

Most of the schools without working libraries are in poor areas, and the DA is particularly concerned about the effects on the poorest of the poor – who have no other way of obtaining information and knowledge.

The current low education outcomes are not surprising. Gauteng’s poor will continue to remain at a disadvantage and will continue to struggle to get jobs or some form of higher education if the capacitation of libraries is not prioritised.

MEC Panyaza Lesufi claims a number of reasons for this shortfall, such as budgetary constraints, school budgets not being ring-fenced for libraries and that schools built before 1994 were built without libraries.

The DA believes that the MEC’s arguments hold no merit, as the department has had more than two decades to wipe out the backlog. If anything, libraries are simply not a departmental priority and most recently, the allocations to the Community Services Library Grant were reduced as a result of slow spending patterns.

Madam Speaker, this house should support the call to increase the number of school libraries and community libraries in poor communities across the province.

 

 

Media Enquiries:
Mike Moriarty MPL

DA Gauteng Provincial Legislature Chief Whip

082 492 4410

 

Illegal Gauteng NGO Funding Transfers Requires Treasury Intervention

The DA tried to raise the matter of illegal funding transfers to NGOs by the Gauteng Department of Social Development in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, this morning, however, the Speaker, Lentheng Mekgwe, disallowed the Members Statement.

Last year, when the DA requested the financial information, the MEC of Social Development tried her best to block the DA from accessing the information. We had even submitted a PAIA to obtain the documentation.

The latest scandal to rock this administration, comes as no surprise as it is a symptom of a larger problem, which is the lack of financial internal controls and poor financial management within the Gauteng Provincial Government.

The Premier and Finance MEC, Barbara Creecy must to lead the way and positively influence the executive to honour their commitments and institutionalise internal controls and systems by upholding the prescripts of the Public Financial Management Act, thus ensuring the prevention of practices that lead to maladministration and corrupt activities such as money laundering.

NGOs are in desperate need of funding. If there was less corruption, there would be more money available to fund NGOs, instead of lining a few pockets.

 

 

Media Enquiries:

Adriana Randall MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC on Finance

060 556 4342

 

Yaseen Carelse

Social Cluster Manager

076 721 8613

 

South Africans Must Be Bold In Speaking Out Against Racism

Dear Madam Speaker,

The Anti-Racism Network South Africa (ARNSA) calls on all sectors of society to support Anti-Racism Week which started on the 14 March this week, and will run until the 21st of March, culminating with Human Rights Day and the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The word ‘racism’, Madam Speaker, is avoided in most social conversations and is easily used to shift blame toward another race about a situation or event.

Racism is a stereotype about all members of a particular race being the same as each other, possessing the same characteristics, abilities or qualities that distinguish it as superior to another race.

Madam Speaker, this house should support the Anti-Racism Network South Africa and all other state institutions working together to eliminate this evil in our society which seeks only to divide us and not to unite us all in our diversity.

We have a collective responsibility in this house to innovatively work together in seeking solutions on tackling racism within and throughout our organisations and send a clear message to “racists” that they have no place in our democratic society.

Madam Speaker, the lessons learnt from the past must never be forgotten. No form of injustice can be accepted in our society. Let us support Anti-Racism week by critically engaging in discourse which will see a better Province, a better South Africa and a better tomorrow.

I thank you.

 

 

Media Enquiries:

John Moodey MPL
DA Gauteng Provincial Leader

082 960 3743

Cradle Of Humankind’s Heritage Status May Go Extinct

Land Fragmentation and Land Development

The Gauteng Department of Economic Development must take swift action to prevent the Cradle of Humankind from losing its world heritage status.

Reports by the Cradle of Humankind Director, Mags Pillay to the Economic Development Oversight Committee that the heritage site is under threat due to land fragmentation and land development raises serious concerns about the department’s role in executing its functions as an environmental agency.

MEC for Economic Development, Lebogang Maile must liaise with Gauteng Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Housing MEC, Paul Mashatile to iron out spatial development and new housing projects ear-marked for the area.

While the need for housing and access to land is a pertinent issue, the Cradle’s scientific and tourism value should not be compromised.

The DA will actively work with all interested parties to ensure that the Cradle does not lose its world heritage status, nor that its tourism numbers decline.

 

 

 

Media enquiries:

Janet Semple MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Economic Development

082 462 8239

 

Warren Gwilt

Economic Cluster Manager

073 601 6144

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