DA to host 2023 Gauteng East Regional Congress

The DA will host its 2023 Gauteng East Regional Congress tomorrow, Saturday, 22 July 2023. This congress marks another occasion on which democracy will be celebrated. With almost 300 delegates casting their votes for key party positions, the party seeks to ensure a constitutional right to fair and open elections.

Attendees of the congress include current DA Gauteng Leader, Solly Msimanga and other senior political figures in Gauteng. At the Regional Congress, various leadership positions for the DA Gauteng East Region will be contested and a race for key positions within the party will be decided by a democratic vote.

The positions that will be elected on the day are as follows:

  • Regional Chairperson;
  • Regional Senior Vice Chairperson;
  • Regional Secretary;
  • Regional Membership Chairperson;
  • Regional Training Chairperson;
  • Regional Finance Chairperson;
  • Regional Delegates to the Provincial Executive Committee; and
  • Regional Delegates to Federal Council

Internal elections are a testament to any party’s conviction to their own, and the South African constitution. South Africans deserve better, and with the 2024 elections around the corner, effective public representation and a commitment to constitutionalism will be more important than ever.

Members of the media are hereby invited to attend the event of which the details are below:

Date: Saturday, 22 July 2023

Time: 9:00 – 14:00

Venue: Barnyard Theatre, Emperor’s Palace

There will be opportunities for interviews and photographs before, during and after the congress.

DA welcomes the resignation of Thapelo Amad and announces Dr Mpho Phalatse as the candidate for Mayor

The DA welcomes the resignation of Thapelo Amad as mayor of Johannesburg. It is clear that during his short time in office, Amad fell far short of the requirements for the position.

It is disappointing that Amad, another puppet mayor, was manipulated by the ANC/EFF/PA coalition of corruption for their personal gain. By supporting Amad as mayor the ANC/EFF/PA sabotaged service delivery and placed their personal interests above the interest of Johannesburg residents.

They suspended investigations into corruption, that had been initiated under the DA multiparty coalition, and re-instated officials accused of corruption.

Amad was forced to resign before a motion of no confidence to remove him would almost certainly have passed at the Council meeting on 25 April.

This meeting has been postponed till 2 May, when a new mayor will be elected.

The ANC/EFF/PA coalition does not yet have a “compromise candidate” to replace Amad, and behind the scenes horse-trading for positions has commenced, ignoring the interests of residents of Johannesburg. The DA will nominate Dr. Mpho Phalatse as our mayoral candidate. Dr. Phalatse has a proven track record and an understanding of the needs of the people of Johannesburg.

Called upon to serve, Cllr Ald. Campbell led with dedication to get Ekurhuleni back on track

The DA in Gauteng expresses our gratitude to Cllr Ald. Tania Campbell, now Leader of the Opposition in the Ekurhuleni City Council, and congratulates her on the achievements of the Multi-Party Coalition government she led since the 2021 Local Government Elections.

A motion of no confidence in Ekurhuleni’s Multi-Party Coalition government, brought opportunistically by the ANC-EFF coalition of corruption and its minor puppet parties, was passed earlier today, 126 votes to 91.

The Multi-Party Coalition government, led by Cllr Ald. Campbell in its efforts to turn the tide of decades of failure and neglect, prioritised throughout its time in office solutions to loadshedding, services delivery, and the eradication of corruption within the city.

Contracts with 47 Independent Power Producers (IPPs) were signed, 26 solar IPPs initiated, as well as several gas-based energy projects. Upon completion, these initiatives will add 358 Mega Watts of electricity by 2024, R6.5 billion worth of investment, and will lead to the creation of 2 500 job opportunities.

The Multi-Party Coalition government also focused on providing access to basic services such as water and electricity to households from the most socio-economically vulnerable. Illegal connections and tampered and bypassed meters were removed, and almost 6km of new pipelines were laid to ensure access to water.

Under the Multi-Party Coalition government, 70km of Ekurhuleni roads were rehabilitated. Over 500 square meters of potholes were filled and the pothole backlog of the City significantly reduced.

To avoid a fiscal cliff that would have seen the poor suffering the most, the Multi-Party Coalition government implemented effective and necessary measures that prevented the fiscal collapse of Ekurhuleni.

In vital mitigation of the effects on the poorest of the fiscal restraint measures required by the national government, an extensive Debt Rehabilitation and Reward Incentive Scheme to provide immediate reprieve to residents was initiated, resulting in a financial commitment of over R30 million.

The DA in Gauteng thanks Cllr Ald. Campbell for her dedication and service to the residents of Ekurhuleni and echoes the gratitude she expressed to the Multi-Party Coalition and administrative officials who sought to serve the people of Ekurhuleni despite the enormity of the challenges of dealing with decades of failure.

Whether from government, fighting for service delivery against a politicised civil service, or from the opposition benches in Council, fighting for the residents of Ekurhuleni, the DA’s commitment to getting the City of Ekurhuleni back on track will not flag.

Cllr Ald. Tania Campbell’s full remarks in reaction to the passage of the motion are available here.

ANC-EFF-PA coalition of corruption shamelessly sabotages service delivery in Ekurhuleni

The DA in Gauteng condemns the sabotage of service delivery in the City of Ekurhuleni by the ANC-EFF-PA coalition of corruption who today voted to block millions of rands worth of urgent service delivery solutions.

The DA and our Multi-Party Coalition partners sought to pass the City’s Adjustment Budget that would have made R21 700 000 available to fix, maintain, and expand the City’s fleet of refuse trucks, R36 700 000 to deal urgently with loadshedding through agreements with independent power producers (IPPs), and R19 170 000 to deal speedily with potholes and streetlight repairs.

Rather than fighting for residents and service delivery solutions alongside the DA to get the Adjustment Budget passed, the ANC-EFF-PA alliance, aided by accomplices in the NFP, ATM, IRASA, the AIC, and the PAC, have betrayed the residents of Ekurhuleni.

The consequences of this service delivery sabotage will fall hardest on the residents of the City. It is now clearer than ever before that we face either a DA-led future of service delivery solutions to get long-dilapidated municipalities back on track, or a future where the ANC-EFF-PA coalition of corruption uses everything from state capture to cadre deployment to patronage to capture that which the voters of our country have sought to deny them: the power to loot and leech while South Africans languish.

Will new taxes be imposed on taxpayers to pay for e-Tolls?

The deadline for the scrapping of e-tolls has been delayed due to the Gauteng Provincial and National governments not reaching an agreement on how the outstanding debts for the construction of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) will be settled.

Rumours abound that there will be an additional Gauteng-only fuel levy, increased driver license and vehicle license fees, increased casino taxes, and even retaining certain tolls.

The DA rejects these additional taxes outright.

It has been reported that the outstanding debt for the GFIP construction costs stands at R43 billion, of which the Gauteng Government must repay R12,9 billion. Concerns have been raised about these figures as the government has contributed over R22,4 billion towards e-tolls to Sanral since 2012, according to OUTA.

Gauteng committed to paying the e-toll debt and a further R2 billion for the maintenance of the highways over the next three years and refunding motorists who paid e-tolls almost R7 billion.

Shockingly, the Gauteng government agreed to this deal without knowing beforehand how it would be able to pay its share. The DA maintains that the imposition of e-tolls in Gauteng was a national decision and that the national government should foot the entire bill.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi also committed that the current budget allocations in Gauteng will not be affected and that additional funds will be raised to fund these commitments. However, it is unclear how he plans to do it.

Clearly the plan to replace e-tolls with another form of tax on Gauteng residents is so that the Gauteng government can cover its newly acquired liability towards the scrapping of the system. It is the only way additional revenue can be generated, to the detriment of residents. This is not what the residents of Gauteng want.

It is also likely that the R12,9 billion liability will be much more than the current amount as the Gauteng provincial government wants to pay the liability off over the long term. This repayment plan will attract further interest and cause the liability to balloon. The R12,9 billion is already inordinately high.

The DA believes that an alternative solution should be sought to reduce the liability on both the Gauteng government and the residents of Gauteng. The province cannot afford further pressures that inhibit economic growth. The DA believes that under expenditure by government departments should be utilized to pay towards the e-toll loans as a starting point. The current very high taxes on fuel can also be used to contribute towards the repayment of loans. These are just two proposals that do not require any additional taxes.

The DA will continue to keep holding the Gauteng Government accountable for its commitment to scrap e-tolls and ensure that Gauteng residents are not burdened with any new taxes.

#GautengWaterCrisis: DA engages with SAHRC over water complaint

Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng had a fruitful engagement with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) regarding the complaint we lodged with them over the current water crisis.

When stage six loadshedding was implemented towards the end of September, our water reservoirs were unable to fill up sufficiently to supply residents with clean water.

Since then, the situation has worsened and has prompted the DA to embark on a series of oversight inspections of water reservoirs in the province to assess the situation.

The Gauteng population is increasing on a daily basis, yet the daily capacity of Rand Water remains constant because the infrastructure remains the same.

This has a negative impact on the supply of water and the increased demand means that more pressure is being put on the water infrastructure which has also not been maintained properly.

During our meeting with the Provincial Commissioner for the SAHRC, Zamantungwa Mbeki we once again highlighted the need for an intergovernmental task team to be established to look into the supply of water to our residents.

Our municipalities need assistance from National Government concerning resources to keep up with the current water demand and the increase in population in the province. It is not fair that municipalities are expected to continue supplying water without an increase in project specific budgets.

In addition to this Rand Water has not been maintaining its electrical infrastructure which is also impacting its ability to supply water to Gauteng residents.

Furthermore, the DA is urging our residents to continue to use water sparingly and to adhere to the water restrictions that have been put in place by municipalities.

The DA will be keeping a close eye on the progress of our complaint. We are hopeful that with the intervention of the SAHRC, the government will establish an intergovernmental task team to look into ways of ensuring that all residents have access to water on a daily basis.

Scrapping of e-Tolls remains a hollow promise while motorists continue to suffer

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi today addressed a press conference to explain how the scrapping of e-tolls in Gauteng will be implemented. Unfortunately, his press conference left too many questions unanswered which means that e-tolls are here to stay for now.

At the heart of the Premier’s problem lies the question of how the Gauteng Provincial Government will generate the additional revenue required to pay off its 30% share of the e-toll debt. In addition, the provincial government will have to take on an additional unfunded burden of paying for the maintenance of these highways. It does not make sense that it takes over this burden when Sanral is better positioned to conduct maintenance on its roads. Especially considering the province’s inability to maintain its own roads.

The DA welcomes his assurance that money will not be taken from other provincial departments and that the e-toll system will not be used to generate this required revenue. Since 95% of the Gauteng Provincial Government’s revenue is dependent on income from National Treasury, and the remaining 5% is already committed towards the province’s budget, it is hard to determine where the additional funds will come from. This is the one crucial question that Premier Lesufi keeps evading.

He promises a new revenue model, but what that is, is not explained. The Premier needs to provide clarity about what exactly this new revenue model entails. Will it be a new provincial tax imposed on the already overburdened residents of Gauteng? We cannot afford to replace e-tolls with another form of taxation, the only way for the government to raise revenue.

The DA fully supports the efforts to scrap e-tolls in Gauteng, but the promise needs to become concrete action. We will continue to push Premier Lesufi for answers, and we will not rest until e-tolls are truly scrapped, in an equitable manner that would not cause any additional burden to the residents of Gauteng.

R61 million spent on managers without performance agreements in Gauteng Premier’s office

The Public Service Commission has denounced the payment of R61.6 million to senior managers in the Gauteng Premier’s Office whose performance was not assessed because they do not have performance contracts.

According to a PSC presentation that was tabled at yesterday’s meeting of the Gauteng Legislature’s Oversight Committee on the Premier’s Office and Legislature (OCPOL), this money was paid to 10 senior managers in the past two years.

Comments by the PSC include the following:

• The PSC denounces non-compliance with the Public Service Regulations, particularly by the senior managers in respect of not finalising their performance agreements and non-assessment of their actual performance.

• This conduct by the senior managers promotes lack of accountability and consequence management; as well as lack of sound governance in the department.

• Senior managers are the custodian of state resources and supervisors to the other officials in the department. Senior managers cannot effectively and efficiently look after the state resources, if they are not contractually obligated to do so.

• The department spent a total of R 61 606 026paying salaries of the senior managers who were not held accountable for their performance, in the past two financial years

This is a huge amount of money spent on staff who probably do nothing to justify annual salaries that range from R1 million to R2 million.

Performance agreements with senior managers are supposed to be concluded by 31 May each year and assessed for each performance cycle. But one-third of the senior managers in the Premier’s Office did not have performance agreements.

This reflects poorly on former Premier David Makhura. I suspect these managers were cadre deployments to keep factions in the ANC happy.

Premier Panyaza Lesufi is likely to add his own buddies to his office at the expense of the taxpayer.

The DA strongly opposes cadre deployment that is the ruin of our public service, which needs competent people who can do what they are paid to do.

Gauteng’s potential is blighted by a bloated and incompetent provincial government that will only improve when the ANC is voted out.

#Let’sGetGautengMoving: DA to assess measures put in place to deal with load-shedding at Kempton Park Traffic Department

On Wednesday, 26 October 2022, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport, Fred Nel MPL, and the DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Roads and Transport, Evert Du Plessis MPL, will conduct an oversight inspection at the Kempton Park Traffic Department.

The DA has received numerous complaints from members of the public about this traffic department, especially around the fact that they close their doors during loadshedding because they do not have a backup generator.

This will add further to the driver’s licence backlog that currently exists in the province. This situation is also being made worse by the fact that currently, the only machine that can print the driver’s licence card is once again broken.

Currently, there are just over 400 000 drivers who are still to renew their licences.

The media is invited, and there will be an opportunity for interviews and pictures.

Details of the oversight inspection are as follows:
Date: 26 October 2022
Address: Zuurfontein 33-Ir, Kempton Park
Time: 10am

Premier Makhura should return to Gauteng to deal with the load-shedding crisis

Gauteng residents are being subjected to at least 10 hours of load-shedding per day, this happens while Premier David Makhura is currently out of the country on an overseas trip.

If Makhura was a true leader, he would have cut his trip short and returned to the province to deal with this crisis.

The higher stages of load-shedding have an extremely negative impact not only on small businesses but also on big businesses that cannot afford to have a generator running for most of the workday so that they can continue trading.

Furthermore, State Owned Entity (SOE), Eskom has indicated that power supply will remain a constraint for most of the week and, this will undoubtedly have an impact on the supply of diesel in the province and may lead to a shortage.

This, in turn, will lead to production losses if there is a shortage of fuel to keep the lights on.

The DA demands that an urgent meeting of the executive must be called so that the following measures can be put in place to deal with the current blackouts:

• Increased police visibility to safeguard our infrastructure and curb cable theft
• Ensure fuel security so that the province does not run out of diesel
• Government and the private sector need to implement flexible working hours to spread peak loads over a longer period to conserve electricity

While waiting for Premier Makhura to return from his trip, the Acting Premier Panyaza Lesufi must outline to the residents of Gauteng the emergency plans that are in place to ensure the safety and security of the residents during load-shedding.

Gauteng residents deserve a government that will prioritize the economy and have a plan of action in place to protect residents from load-shedding through Independent Power Producers (IPPs). This will ensure that the wheels of the economy in this province keep turning.