Financial constraints may bring Gauteng Broadband Network phase 2 to a halt

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has learnt that the Department of e-Government has approached the Gauteng Infrastructure Funding Agency (GIFA) to assist in sourcing funding for the GBN Phase 2 project, valued at R2.8 billion, after it became evident that alternative sources had to be found to fund phase 2.

GIFA has a history of being incapable of bringing projects to a financial close and to the construction stage. One such example is the Kopanong Precinct Project, which has been in the making for the past 17 years at a huge cost to the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG).

Given GIFA’s track record it would appear as if the GBN phase 2 roll-out will take a long time to come to fruition.

It is also concerning that the departments’ current budget allocation will only be sufficient for the maintenance of existing sites and not for any new sites that have been planned for in the GBN Phase 2 roll-out.

This information was revealed during a Finance Portfolio Committee meeting held to discuss the e-Government Budget Vote. The department’s budget for the 2020/2021 financial year was adjusted downward to R1,416 182.00 from R1,422 111.00

However, according to the department they are in the process of trying to find an alternative budget for the project.

With unemployment and job losses at the highest levels ever seen in this country the delays in getting the GBN fully up and running will impact heavily on the recovery of the Gauteng economy.

Increased ICT production and use has contributed significantly to economic growth worldwide and could potentially lift the province out of its current stagnation.

Greater access to information and opportunities for collaboration can create job opportunities, transfer of skills and greater efficiency and transparency – something we as a province and a country desperately need.

The DA will be closely monitoring the roll-out of this project where needed will put pressure on GPG to ensure that this project is completed within budget and the set timeframes.

DA calls on MEC Nkomo-Ralehoko to investigate corruption in the Gauteng Broadband Network project

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling on the Gauteng MEC for Finance and E-Government, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, to investigate the allegations of corruption and non-compliance at the Gauteng Broadband Network project.

According to IT Web, it is alleged that the employees of the Gauteng Department of Finance and E-Government are flouting all supply chain management procedures, particularly tender processes.

The employees are accused of corruption, maladministration and nepotism.

47 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) were allegedly presented in the Gauteng Broadband Network project phase two report as the service providers, while only 7 SMMEs have actually been working on the project.

While, out of seven SMMEs, only four have been paid for their services rendered to the project.

It is completely unacceptable that companies, particularly small businesses that are battling to survive, are still not being paid within the 30 day period.

This is hindering the growth and sustainability of SMMEs in Gauteng.

It also has a negative impact on the province’s economic growth which is suffering as a result of high levels of unemployment.

We will write a letter to the MEC requesting her to institute an investigation into this project and the employees working on this project as a matter of urgency.

The DA will also table questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to ascertain the following: whether there is corruption in the project; if the proper tender processes are being followed; the exact number of SMMEs working on the project, whether they have been paid and the reasons behind the delays in processing their payments.

Should it be found that there is corruption in this project, then those implicated and who benefitted illegally must face the full might of the law.

GPG fails to meet GBN connectivity targets

by Mike Moriarty MPL – DA Gauteng Provincial Legislature Chief Whip

To date, only 1181 out of 3000 Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) sites have been connected to the Gauteng Broadband Network (GBN).

This was confirmed to me by Gauteng MEC for Finance, Barbara Creecy, in response to written questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to the MEC, the department has a shortfall of 489 sites that were to be connected in the 2017/2018 financial year. For the 2018/2019 financial year, the department plans to connect 850 additional sites.

Ensuring that government sites in Gauteng are connected to the GBN is important as many of our people cannot afford internet access at home.

Job seekers, especially the youth rely on this important service, so that they are able to find employment opportunities. Learners and students require internet access for projects and assignments.

In order to mitigate the risk of not meeting its targets, the department has requested the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) to commit to a rapid deployment strategy to be implemented so that the GBN Phase 2 service providers can be appointed.

We will closely monitor the rollout of this project to ensure that the GPG meets its targets of connecting multiple sites to the network. Come 2019, the DA will ensure that the people of Gauteng are not disadvantaged due to the poor implementation and mismanagement of key service delivery projects.

MEC Creecy Disconnected From Gauteng Broadband Project

Gauteng Broadband Network

Gauteng MEC for e-Governance, Barbara Creecy, is disconnected from the reality that the Gauteng Broadband Network has not reached all its intended end users, with some institutions still waiting for connectivity despite the instillation of equipment.

In reply to questions that I posed to the MEC in the Legislature about the roll out of the network across the province, Creecy indicated that all top 20 priority sites had been connected.

This is however not the case.

Although the Refilwe Clinic has been identified as one of the Top 20 priority sites, it has not been able to connect to the network since the installation of equipment on site some 6 months ago. The Refilwe Clinic manager informed me that the situation has become so dire that she has to leave her office and move to the Refilwe Community Hall to connect to the Tshwane Wifi to get her work done.

Connectivity Issues

When I raised this with the MEC, she shifted blame to the Department of Health, stating that her office is simply in charge of rolling out the hardware and that connectivity issues lie with the relevant departments who want to make use of the network.

This sudden shift in responsibility is an indication that MEC Creecy does not have her finger on the pulse of one of the Gauteng’s most costly – and most game changing project.

The DA will continue to keep a close eye on the roll out of the Gauteng Broadband Network so that it positively impacts on service delivery, and that residents of Gauteng receive value for their money.


Media Enquiries:

Adriana Randall MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC on Finance

060 556 4342

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DA Gauteng To Pose Questions To The Premier And Members Of The Executive

Tomorrow, Tuesday 27 September 2016, the Democratic Alliance Members of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature will pose questions for oral reply to the Premier and Members of the Executive (MECs).

Questions will include matters such as the Premiers delay in responding to PAIA (Promotion of Access to Information Act) requests, R30 million worth of claims against the newly established Department of e-Governance, irregularities at the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) and the roll out of the Gauteng Broadband Network.

Click here to view the questions.

Date: 27 September 2016

Time: 10h00

Venue: Gauteng Provincial Legislature, c/r of Helen Joseph and City Hall streets, Johannesburg.

Interviews will be made available on request. Members of the media are welcome to attend.


Media enquiries:

Warren Gwilt

073 601 6144

DA Debates 2016/17 Gauteng Department Of e-Governance Budget

Speech by: Adriana Randall MPL

 “Infant e-Governance has a long way to go”

  • Government in S.A. is the largest consumer of ICT goods and services. However, because of a gap in terms of a proper e-waste disposal policy, the challenge of e-waste accumulation is a ticking time bomb.
  • The most important pillar is that of citizen participation, promoting citizens from mere recipients and consumers of government services, to active participants and decision makers in line with Batho Pele principles.
  • Putting government on-line is one thing, making government websites functional and easy to use is quite another.

 The full speech can be obtained here.


Speech by: Ashor Sarupen MPL

“Little saving benefit from Gauteng Online”

  • We are still paying service providers for connectivity in many departments despite Gauteng Broadband Network (GBN) connectivity being available.
  • Another concern is the nature of the contract with Cloudseed for 3G connectivity to tablets. As schools are connected to the GBN, the need to use the 3G connectivity ends. Yet we now have a situation where we are paying twice for the same service where the GBN is online.
  • There is a serious risk developing in the Gauteng Government – which is the lack of transversal management and silo mentality that appears to persist. It means that the potential to save tens of millions of rands through IT solutions and the GBN is lost.

The full speech can be obtained here.


Media Enquiries:

Adriana Randall MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC on Finance

060 556 4342


Ashor Sarupen MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

060 558 8303

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Gauteng Cabinet Report Card: The Cracks Are Showing

Gauteng ANC Premier David Makhura and his cabinet have steered through another year in office, and it is becoming increasingly clear that “Team Gauteng” is not living up to its promise since taking office in June 2014.

Members of the Executive Council (MECs) are embroiled in investigations, entities have gone bankrupt, and programmes are failing, while Gauteng’s people are crying out for more bang for their buck.

While the premier continues to insist the opposite, allegations and counter-allegations abound that the move was designed to protect officials connected to former MEC Lebogang Maile.

MEC Bopape has been appointed MEC for Social Development, while MEC Faith Mazibuko has replaced her.

For the purpose of this report card, the two will be rated on their performance in their former portfolios.

The DA Cabinet scorecard is an analysis based on individual MECs’ grasp of their portfolio demands, leadership skills, approachability, and willingness to appear before oversight committees.

Premier David Makhura
Since the 2014 report card, the Premier’s score has dropped.

Despite being the first to acknowledge ANC arrogance in the implementation of e-tolls, he swiftly back-tracked and succumbed to political pressure from above, and in the process abandoned the people of Gauteng by not scrapping the project in its entirety.

And now, the provincial government has been forced to pay just over R120 million to keep e-tolls afloat.

There are more pressing needs in Gauteng than spending money on failed projects.

His ambitious talk of Transformation, Modernisation and Re-industrialisation of Gauteng are at risk of not getting off the ground during his term of office – evidenced by the fact that there has been an 18% increase in the use of consultants.

Without the necessary skills in his office, the premier will have a hard time to deliver.

His administration has failed to make any visible strides in the revitalisation of the Township economy – which is one of the key components of his ten pillar plan.

Equally the Premier has been vague on employment opportunities supposedly created by his flagship Tshepo 500 000 program.

To date, little tangible evidence of real jobs has been forthcoming, and replies to questions continue to be vague.

While action has been taken regarding alleged corruption in G-Fleet, and a forensic audit has been instituted in the Department of Sports, Heritage, Arts and Culture – only 3% of all government officials investigated for financial wrongdoing have been criminally prosecuted.

In a surprise move, Premier Makhura removed MEC Molebatsi Bopape from Sports, Heritage, Recreation, Arts and Culture (SHRAC), instituting an investigation into her tenure as MEC relating to corruption within the department.

The truth is that the “People’s Premier” who promised an activist government remain long on ambitious promises, but short on delivery.

Score: 6/10
Finance – MEC Barbara Creecy
During the past year, MEC Creecy has appeared to immerse herself in ICT and now speaks with the confidence of a subject expert.

However, on further probing, one discovers that the confidence lacks the technical detail.

She has had an acting HOD for the last year and only recently had her old Education HOD join her – someone who, despite management experience, also lacks the technical detail on a department completely related to ICT.

The department itself seems to be slowly picking up, meeting some targets and missing others.

The Gauteng Broadband Network is not the silver bullet it promised to be, with many centres not yet connected, and where facilities are connected, they have not switched over from their private service providers.

Problems with SAP upgrades meant that suppliers to government were not paid for a month this year.

The work of the DAV Centre still seems to be shrouded in secrecy despite its costs. So far, all we know is the failed Gauteng Online systems were open source and built by the DAV Centre.

However, the department does seem to be slowly shaping up into something resembling an ICT shared services department, but it still seems to be characterised by internal staff lethargy.

On aspects of accountability, responses to questions are deliberately vague, PAIA applications are frequently declined and avoidance still seems to be the order of the day.

Most alarmingly, officials in the department will not even assist with the most basic of information and won’t entertain entering into correspondence, out of fear of incurring the wrath of the MEC.

Score: 6/10
Social Development – MEC Faith Mazibuko
MEC Mazibuko has failed vulnerable members of society, and hopefully MEC Molebatsi Bopape will attack her new portfolio with vigour.

The Department, in its quarterly reports, do not show proper finances and shortcomings, they only indicate targets and what has been achieved.

The quality of the reports remains shoddy which severely hampers efforts by committee members to perform oversight and hold officials to account.

Many NGOs dependent on government grants are paid late, which compromises their ability to do their work, which is more often the work of the department.

With the rise in unemployment, the department is not doing enough to move people from welfare to working or sustainable livelihoods – especially among women and youth.

As was the case in 2014, there is still no relief and proper plans for people with disabilities, the elderly, and those who struggle with substance abuse.

Equally concerning is that there are no proper plans aimed at capacitating the growing number of non-compliant Early Childhood Development centres in the province.

The MEC has also failed to collect monies owing to the department from other departments and entities.

Score: 4/10
Health – Qedani Mahlangu
This department has shown some improvement in financial management, but still received a qualified report from the Auditor General.

Senior management posts have now been filled, including a competent new Head of Department.

According to the 2014/15 Annual Report, only 86 out of 160 targets were met (54%), and there has been little improvement in meeting targets this year.

Only one hospital (Steve Biko Academic) and only one clinic meet the required high standards set by the national health department.

Medico-legal claims now exceed R10 billion, and the department will pay about R200 million this year in court-ordered payments for hospital negligence.

Some building projects are still way beyond schedule, including the Randgate clinic in Randfontein, which was supposed to be completed in July last year, and the psychiatric ward at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital, which should have been completed four years ago.

Many patients still face long queues and waiting times for operations.

The much-vaunted “turn-around” of this department is very slow and has a long way to go.
Score: 3/10
Education – MEC Panyaza Lesufi
The MEC has done well in terms of school admission. Learners were successfully placed to schools at the beginning of the year, and Gauteng retained the number one position in terms of the 2014 Grade 12 pass rate.

The recognition of the best performing learners from disadvantaged schools by awarding bursaries to the top three is a great initiative.

This year saw the introduction of paperless classrooms as an innovative way to teach and learn, but connectivity and security of these assets remain a concern.

The MEC is open to allow Members of the Legislature to visit schools and is always approachable and ready to intervene where necessary.

The MEC is willing to listen to different views and respond immediately. He regularly conducts oversight visits to schools to see challenges for himself.

However, there are challenges that remain.

The MEC hasn’t dealt with corruption in an unequivocal manner – he made commitments to follow up on cases of corruption, but no follow-ups have been reported.

Overcrowded classrooms and high lerner/teacher ratios in historically disadvantaged schools remain a concern.

The MEC must realign districts and head offices to ensure sustainable support to schools, such as school furniture, sports, nutrition, scholar transport, intervention programmes, teacher development and school renovations.

School infrastructure still needs a proper project management

The department and the MEC at times remain vague at question time, providing unverified information on the number of schools, the supply of tablets, school upgrades, and school closures.

Score: 7/10

Community Safety and Security – MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane
The MEC has done little to curb the continuing high rate of accruals which impacts negatively on the service delivery of the department.

For the past 4 years there have been the same matters of emphasis from the Auditor General which indicates poor financial management – again, the MEC has not taken the initiative to turn the tide and improve the situation.

There is an overall lack of impact on the high levels of crime in Gauteng which affects residents on a daily basis – particularly the marginalised.

The department is not focusing on its constitutional mandate of oversight of the SAPS. This is highlighted by the fact that the majority of SAPS key performance indicators were not met over the past 12 months.

Another failing of the MEC is that even though the she knew the previous HOD was leaving the department prior to April this year, it has taken more than seven months to appoint a new HOD.

Corrupt practice around the logging of overtime is still rife and has not been addressed by the MEC.

Score: 3/10
Cooperative Governance, traditional affairs and human settlements – MEC Jacob Mamabolo

The department has, during the current administration, been unable to administer, roll out or effectively monitor its purpose and function as provided for in the constitution and the Housing Act – which is the provision of housing for the poor, and the establishment, development and maintenance of economically viable communities.

The MEC continues to refuse to implement conditions of court orders, such as the directive to provide accommodation for the residents of the N12 informal settlement in Ekurhuleni.

A commitment was made to carry out a transparent audit of housing lists and the allocation of houses.

To date no information has been received and the MEC has to provide answers in this regard.

The department incurred irregular expenditure of R2,6 billion for the 2014/15 financial year, little political will has been shown to rectify this.

Score: 2.5/10
Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development – MEC Lebogang Maile

Jobs still remain the number one priority for the Province, but the department seems unable or unwilling to set targets in this regard – and escapes having to produce tangible results.

There are many wonderful schemes but not much visible action.

An example would be the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis, which has been punted for many years, but the sod turning only occurred in the latter half of this year.

Other job creation hubs remain plans on paper or very poorly developed.

The major disappointment of the year was the declared bankruptcy of the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller, with an outstanding debt in unresolved loans of R100 million over the last 10 years.

The MEC did the right thing by placing a moratorium on any further loans but it should never have gotten to this point.

The MEC seems to lack any understanding of the importance of agriculture to job creation in this province

He appears to have little technical knowledge of his portfolio, and knows nothing noteworthy about agriculture and environmental matters.

Agriculture is still not seen as a key job driver and economic sector on its own.

This is evidenced by the results achieved in the annual report which has no impact whatsoever on the province’s economy.

Responses to oversight tools such as oral and written questions are dismal. The MEC reads from a script – he seems not to have an understanding of the answers written for him by departmental staff.

The way the department deals with the environmental impact of specifically water losses and mine tailings in the province is shockingly inadequate, and officials are happy to pass the buck on to the Blue Scorpions and Department of Mineral Resources, without playing any significant role.

The impact of the drought on the agricultural sector in Gauteng was expected in June this year but no contingency plans were put in place

MEC Maile clearly has no vision for Gauteng’s economic future and no plans to fix anything.

Score: 3.5/10


Infrastructure Development – MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza
The Department of Infrastructure Development continues to perform poorly.

It is unable to complete, on average, 40% of its annual targets. The result is that projects are not completed on time and within budget.

MEC Mayathula-Khoza is not prepared to publicly admit to the department’s poor performance, and aided and abetted by the Premier, spins and whitewashes reports of dysfunctionality.

During the financial year under review, the MEC allowed conditions of no consequences for poor performance to flourish.

Management failures on her watch include underspending on projects of client departments, inability to recruit professional staff and a lack of project management expertise.
Score: 4/10
Roads and Transport – MEC Ismail Vadi
MEC Ismail Vadi started out his tenure in office promisingly.

However, during the past 12 months the department has failed to live up to the grand expectations set by the MEC.

MEC Vadi is often vague and evasive about projects and programmes that are run by the department. He is non-committal and open-ended when answering pertinent questions in the house.

Once frank about e-tolls, the MEC has followed Premier Makhura and has now become complicit in foisting this unjust system on the citizens of Gauteng.

G-Fleet, the department’s vehicle rental entity, has gone from bad to worse under the MEC’s tenure, and is the worst performing entity in the Gauteng Provincial Government.
Score: 5/10
Sports, Heritage Recreation, Arts and Culture – MEC Molebatsi Bopape

Premier Makhura’s dissatisfaction with MEC Bopape’s performance says it all, but it is doubtful whether MEC Mazibuko, with her poor track record over the years, will have any positive impact on the department.

The Department’s annual performance has regressed from last year, with more findings being made by the Auditor General. Poor planning has resulted in targets constantly being reprioritised throughout the year.

The department failed to complete all planned library construction in the 2014/15 financial year, nor did it manage to maintain functioning community sports/creative hubs.

Poor financial controls have seen the department incur irregular expenditure to the tune of R88.4 million with one tender alone amounting to R68 million.

Instead of aligning the department’s priorities to deliver services, MEC Bopape rather enjoyed utilising the department’s budget to host events and take lavish trips overseas.

Score: 2/10
The Gauteng Cabinet report card shows how after its first full year in office, the public is looking for answers and want to see results.

By now Premier Makhura has certainly realised that grand plans and announcements require follow through.

While he and his executive are quick to announce grand schemes, a lack of political willpower, and in some instances, technical know-how, keeps Gauteng’s residents in the lurch.

As long as the premier does not walk his activist government talk, his promise of a Gauteng government that delivers will remain distant if he does not steer his executive in that direction.

Media enquiries:
John Moodey MPL
DA Gauteng Provincial Leader
082 960 3843
Willie Venter
Director: Communications and research
DA Gauteng
060 963 8260

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