MEC Creecy Must Come Clean About GP Money Laundering Scheme

Gauteng Finance MEC, Barbara Creecy must come clean about the provincial government’s money laundering scheme which involves tranches of taxpayers money being transferred to registered NGO’s – only for these funds to be siphoned off to non-accredited NGO’s.

This practice, brought to the attention of the DA by the A Re Ageng NGO, has seen the provincial government shift millions of rands through “conduit” NGO’s to organisations that are not accredited – and who may not be performing the work which they claim to be doing.

This exercise was used by the provincial government to transfer funds to NGO’s during the Esidimeni tragedy which claimed the lives of more than 100 mentally ill patients.

This practice is a violation of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), and needs to be investigated as a matter of priority so as to safeguard the public purse from abuse and theft.

Recently, one such “conduit payment” to the tune of R5 million was intercepted by fraudsters who used the money to make off with 40 000 litres of diesel. This R5 million was part of a R42 million tranche to be transferred via this “conduit” scheme.

The Gauteng ANC-led provincial government is often heard preaching about transparent and open governance, but time and time again, they prove themselves to be nothing more than hypocrites.

Vulnerable residents of Gauteng are placed at risk by non-accredited and non-compliant NGO’s who do not have the skills nor the capacity to provide them with the assistance they require. This is exacerbated when these NGO’s are aided and abetted by the provincial government’s underhanded tactics.

The DA will write to Finance MEC Creecy demanding that National Treasury be allowed to scrutinise the provincial governments’ practices and rule on what steps must be taken to safeguard Gauteng’s finances.

 

 

Media Enquiries

Adriana Randall MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Finance
060 556 4342
 
Warren Gwilt
DA Economic Cluster Manager
073 601 6144

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Gauteng’s Infrastructure Maintenance Budget Slashed By R1.5 Billion

The Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) has reduced its budget for the maintenance and repair of public infrastructure in 2016/2017 by more than 60% of what it spent in the 2015/2016 financial year – equating to a reduction of more than R1.5 billion.

The justification for this decision needs to be explained by the department in light of the fact that the creation and maintenance of infrastructure has been highlighted by the Premier as a key driver to contribute towards the stimulation of Gauteng’s economy.

Gauteng MEC for Finance, Barbara Creecy, has indicated that “efficient infrastructure allocations aim to support the recovery of the regional economy and employment creation”.

Maintenance is different from the building of new infrastructure in that the DID is aware of all its building assets that currently exist, as well as any new assets that will be built during the course of the next financial year.

It therefore seems reasonable to suggest that armed with this information, the department should be able to accurately determine the amount of money required to maintain these assets.

If there are no additional sources of finance for maintenance, one must assume that assets, which are already in a poor state, will further deteriorate.

What exacerbates the issue of insufficient budget is the fact that the maintenance department has too few skilled officials to manage the work and to gain the maximum benefit from the computer systems installed for this purpose.

These dynamics together with DID’s poor record of appointing skilled contractors will inevitably result in a deterioration of assets and increase the likelihood of events such as the collapse of the roof at Charlotte Maxeke hospital.

Media Enquiries

Alan Fuchs MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Infrastructure Development
060 558 8313

MEC’s Budget Fails To Tackle Gauteng’s Problems

Well-connected political elite continue to prosper at detriment of ordinary citizens

Gauteng Finance MEC, Barbara Creecy’s 2017/18 budget is out of tune with the tough economic climate faced by millions of Gauteng’s residents – and will continue to perpetuate a system where the well-connected political elite will continue to prosper at the detriment of ordinary citizens.

MEC Creecy indicated that Gauteng’s share tax income has diminished due to constraints placed on National Treasury – but instead of working smart with less, no tangible cost containment measures have been put in place to curb exorbitant expenditure on travel, catering, advertising and events, despite the statements in her speech.

The much publicised open tender system has not been rolled out effectively enough to combat tender fraud. Only R9.3billion spread across 38 tenders have undergone the open tender system – the majority remain behind closed doors, and this is nearly three years after the launch!

Administration needs to do more with less

While the ring-fencing of R12.5 billion for infrastructure projects is welcome, it must be noted that there has been a drastic cut to the infrastructure budget for roads. This at a time when the first phase of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project has reached the end of its lifespan, and no inclusive transport plans have been made available other than the announcement to expand the Gautrain. The MEC’s silence on e-Tolls is telling after the Premier washed his hands of the issue in his State of the Province Address.

In the previous financial year, the ANC-led administration put aside R100 million rand to bolster its election support through what it labelled “voter education”. Given the recent Life Esidimeni debacle, it is disheartening that the same emphasis could not be placed on ring-fencing funds to assist mentally ill patients.

While the increased funding to Health and Education is most welcome, it arises from the need to pay last year’s bills with this year’s money however this money could have been used to address current challenges. Service providers must be paid on-time, in line with legislation and new schools must be completed to spec, within budget and on time.

MEC Creecy spoke about the increased need for cooperation between the private and public sector, yet she down plays the fact that the ANC, under President Jacob Zuma is slowly eroding private property rights – a point that will deter investment.

This administration needs to do more with less for the people of Gauteng, but until those who operate behind the scenes – who manipulate tenders, inflate costs and collude are brought under control, residents of the province will not benefit from this budget.

 

 

Media Enquiries:

Adriana Randall MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC on Finance

060 556 4342

 

Ashor Sarupen

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

060 558 8303

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Gauteng Budget Needs To End Wasteful Spending And Create Jobs

Gauteng Government Irregular Expenditure

On Tuesday, 7th March 2017, the Gauteng MEC for Finance, Barbara Creecy, will present her budget speech outlining exactly how the provincial government will be spending, or rather misspending, our hard-earned money in the year ahead.

What the province sorely needs is a frugal spending plan that slashes extravagances such as lavish catering menus, as seen at the State of the Province address a couple of weeks ago, travel, entertainment and advertising and focuses instead on the serious service delivery backlogs in key areas such as education, healthcare and infrastructure development.

For the period under review, the Gauteng government incurred irregular expenditure amounting to R4 billion, unauthorised expenditure totalling R12 million (all incurred by the Department of Sports) and fruitless and wasteful expenditure of R29 million. This is just another part of the culture of corruption where the same service providers benefit from government tenders over and over again.

Also, the MEC must finally bring an end to the problem of paying last year’s bills with this year’s money. This amounts to billions of rands and eats into a budget that is supposed to bring better service delivery and a better life for all. These are the so-called “accruals”.

Below are the critical areas which MEC Creecy needs to focus on in her budget so as to improve the lives of Gauteng’s residents and to enable the province to prosper:

Education

The start of the 2017 school year was an unmitigated disaster with 58 000 unplaced children in the province despite R3bn allocated to the department for finishing 12 new schools, upgrading 26 existing schools and the rehabilitation of 123 existing schools. The department built 936 classrooms in public ordinary schools compared to the target of 1 100 classrooms. Furthermore, 306 instead of 450 Grade R classrooms were built. The departmental targets set for examinations and education-related services was not achieved. Of the seven conditional grants that the department received, there was under expenditure in three, namely:

  • National School Nutrition Programme- R347 thousand
  • HIV/AIDS- R1.7 million
  • OSD for education sector therapists- R3.2 million

The departmental targets set for examinations and education-related services were not met.

Infrastructure Development

Infrastructure development within the province has the power to drive social change, create jobs, support businesses and improve the lives of Gauteng residents. With roughly 300 000 people moving to the province every year, it is essential that infrastructure projects are completed on time, within budget and meet quality criteria. The department had 64 targets under the Public Works programme of which 33 were not met; these included critical projects such as the number of new schools completed and the number of schools which have been converted into smart schools.

The department owes R61 million to various service providers and other state institutions for services received in the previous year which points to a lack of financial controls and realistic budget planning.

It is imperative that the departmental budget is correctly allocated so as to unlock the infrastructure potential of Gauteng and fast-track back-dated projects.

Economic Development

We spend over R1bn each year for little or no return; the department has yet again failed to achieve key economic infrastructure targets such as:

  • Initiation of the Gauteng ICT Park-Nasrec SEZ;
  • Construction of JMPD bulk infrastructure at Airport City IDZ;
  • Construction of the Nissan Incubation Centre;
  • Refurbishment of 5 industrial parks in townships – none were refurbished.
  • Establishment of 2 industrial parks in townships – none were established.
  • Completion of a feasibility study for the green technology incubation centre in the western corridor.

Clearly there needs to be less money spent on conferences and vanity projects and more spent on the completion of critical projects which would stimulate the economy and effectively grow small businesses.

Community Safety

With 65.3% of Gauteng inhabitants having increased their home security in the last two years, it is clear that the majority of us still do not feel safe in our province. And rightly so – serious crimes such as murder and hijackings are still commonplace. Yet despite this, the department underspent by R 21 352 million as positions remain vacant and more than 40 Gauteng police stations are underperforming when compared with the 2015/2016 crime statistics.

The irony is that while MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane splurges on Streetwise Twos for prisoners, a third of our traffic police unit are staying home on full pay because there aren’t enough patrol cars for them to do their jobs. Community Safety alone had lawsuits amounting to R52 million which could have been better spent on crime fighting measures and interventions.

The department needs to start spending its budget on its citizens’ core needs if it hopes to create a safe province in which people feel free to travel, walk the streets and let their children play in public places without the fear which haunts so many of our daily routines.

Health

Overall, the Gauteng Department of Health underspent by R472.5 million; legal claims against the department have grown by R3.8 billion in the last year to an astounding total potential liability of R16.5 billion – R13.45 billion of this is for medico-legal claims, R1.6 billion is for civil claims, and R1.5 billion for premature termination of contracts. Yet the Gauteng Department of Health is yet to make the budget adjustments that will enable it to respond to the findings and recommendations of the Health Ombudsman’s report on the death of the 94 Esidemeni psychiatric patients.

About 1‚900 patients were removed in June last year from the Life Esidimeni homes after the department ended its contract with the Life hospital group to save R200-million a year. The Gauteng Department of Health is now spending more on some psychiatric patients than it did when they were housed at Life Esidimeni care homes; this shows the consequences of ineffectual attempts by our provincial departments to cut costs on priority areas, such as healthcare for our most vulnerable groups.

 

MEC Creecy needs to review her budget priorities, and allocate budget to the province’s critical areas while eliminating inefficiency and cutting non-core spending on frivolities. The DA’s vision for Gauteng is that of a prosperous province that delivers better education for a better future for our children, more jobs, better healthcare and reduced crime. In so doing, the people of Gauteng will enjoy a better life. When Gauteng works, South Africa works.

Please note: DA Finance members will be available for interviews on the 3rd floor DA boardroom of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature immediately after the budget speech has been delivered on Tuesday the 7th of March.

 

 

 

Media Enquiries:

Adriana Randall MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC on Finance

060 556 4342

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DA Gauteng Cabinet Scorecard: Premier Makhura Failing To Keep His Promises

The Gauteng Provincial Government under the leadership of Premier David Makhura, has this year had to wade through difficult political waters whilst continuing to carry out its Constitutional mandate to the province’s 13.5 million residents.

The damage meted out to the country by the continuous scandals around President Jacob Zuma, saw the Gauteng Provincial ANC attempt to distinguish itself from the mother body and offer itself as the true, untarnished version of the ANC. This was not possible as intrinsically Zuma and the ANC are one in the same.

Years of cadre deployment, the mismanagement of funds and failed service delivery projects could not hold back the electorate’s disproval of the party, which was reflected in the party’s losses of the Johannesburg Metro, Tshwane Metro and Mogale City.

It is evident that the promises made by Premier Makhura in his inaugural State of the Province address in 2014 have not yielded the results required to radically transform the inequalities and hardships faced by millions of the provinces residents.

The DA Cabinet Scorecard is an analysis based on the individual MEC’s grasp of his/her portfolio demands, leadership skills, approachability, willingness to appear before oversight committees, and quality of written and oral responses to DA questions.

 

Premier David Makhura

As the head of the Provincial Government, ultimate responsibility for failures of the performance of the administration lie with him.

Regarded as a man of action, the Premier has failed to live up to his title. Recommendations by the Public Service Commissioner that action should be taken against corrupt government officials amounted to slaps on wrist, with no criminal action perused against offenders.

Similarly, his failure to fire Health MEC, Qedani Malhangu, after the death of 37 mental health patients further reiterates the point that Premier Makhura is a man of charisma, but when it comes to tackling difficult issues, he has a hard time keeping to his word.

Inequality and social ills such as the housing backlog and violent crime continue to rise in the province, despite the Premier’s plans for a “radical” overhaul Gauteng’s socio-economic structure.

The results of this year’s local government elections reflect that the ANC in Gauteng has lost touch with people on the ground, and that the provincial administration is not performing as well as they perceive themselves to be doing. Alternatively, they are aware of the reality that faces them and are simply trying to paper over the crevasses.

Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 42 questions to the Premier, of which 18 went unanswered.

Score: 5/10

 

Finance – MEC Barbara Creecy

Gauteng Finance MEC, Barbara Creecy, has a critical role to play in ensuring that the day to day business of the provincial government is carried out effectively and efficiently.

MEC Creecy has become less transparent since initially taking up her post in 2014. Despite the fanfare created about the open-tender system, established to create transparency in the government tender process, documentation for tenders is often deeply embedded in departmental websites – or is outdated when found. This project cannot be called anything other than lip-service.

Staff in her department have been instructed to not respond to requests from the DA, making oversight a difficult and frustrating task. It begs the question – does the MEC have something to hide?

As the head of e-Governance, the ITC arm of the provincial government, Creecy has been seen to take an arm’s length approach to projects and their resultant shortcomings. This has been evident in the challenges faced with the Gauteng Online sites which are mired by connectivity problems, leaving clinics, schools and government institutions unable to provide quality services to residents.

Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 24 questions to the MEC of which 14 went unanswered.

Score: 5/10

 

Infrastructure Development – MEC Jacob Mamabolo

It was with some relief that MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza was replaced by Jacob Mamabolo in February 2016.

The department’s poor performance this year lies squarely at her feet and not Mamabolo’s. Client departments who were reliant on the Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) for the roll out of classrooms, clinics, libraries fell behind on their Annual Performance Plans due to the weak political leadership under MEC Mayathula-Khoza.

Current MEC, Jacob Mamabolo, acknowledges problems and attempts to resolve them with officials. While Mamabolo has not been in place long enough to make a huge impact in terms of the performance of the department, his receptiveness to engage and act has resulted in some improvement.

It is important that Mamabolo maintains his vigour, as the task that lies ahead is huge. To address the high levels of unemployment and stimulate the provincial economy, it is imperative that this department unlocks the infrastructure potential of Gauteng and fast tracks back dated projects.

Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 53 questions to the MEC of which 16 went unanswered.

Score: 6/10

 

Economic Development, Agriculture, Rural Development and Environmental Affairs – MEC Lebogang Maile

As the engine of South Africa’s economy, Gauteng is strategically placed to take the lead in creating a more inclusive and diverse economy that meets the needs of the provinces 13.5 million people.

While some initiatives have been mooted by MEC Lebogang Maile, such as the Township Stock Exchange and the procurement of goods and services from township businesses, the economy of Gauteng still remains fragmented. Neither of these initiatives have had the impact they were expected to have had.

Black businesses and emerging start-ups still face cumbersome red-tape and cannot access market places which would ensure their success. This is largely due to the impotence of many of the innovation and incubation hubs set up by the department that simply do not offer the requisite knowledge or skill sets to budding entrepreneurs.

Often neglected, but critically important is the work this department is supposed to carry out regarding agriculture and the environment. The department’s response to the current drought has been knee-jerk rather than proactive, which has had a disastrous impact on the agriculture sector in the province.

Little regard is given for the environment, as requests to provide feedback on Environmental Impact Assessments more often than not go ignored. This has been evidenced in the steam rolling of the mega-tailings dump proposed for Kalbasfontein on the West Rand.

Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 85 questions to the MEC of which 48 went unanswered.

Score: 5/10

 

Community Safety – MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane

Gauteng continues to remain a one stop shop for criminals. The failure by MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane to take steps to introduce smart policing and effective oversight measures have left residents of Gauteng at the mercy of gangs, hi-jacking syndicates, armed robbers and murders.

The consistent failure by the South African Police Service to meet Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is a clear indication that the department’s constitutional mandate of oversight is being ignored.

Financially the department is faring better with accruals having being dealt with and showing some financial improvement, as well as having a new HOD who is providing more accurate reports on the department’s performance.

However, there is continued under expenditure on the Civilian Oversight Programme as well as the implementation of many small programmes that do not relate to the department’s core mandate.

Road fatalities remain high due to the MECs apparent lack of political will to improve road safety through the Gauteng Traffic Police.

Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 65 questions to the MEC of which 28 went unanswered.

Score: 5/10

 

Roads and Transport – MEC Ismail Vadi

MEC Ismail Vadi has rarely been seen at legislature oversight committee meetings, and when he has attended – he generally leaves early.

Cited in Premier David Makhura’s white elephant e-Toll review panel report, was the repeated emphasis that Gauteng is in dire need of cost effective, reliable public transport. MEC Vadi’s fixation with expanding the Gautrain network, when cost effective public transport is virtually non-existent in the province, speaks volumes to the mis-direction of the MEC’s priorities.

This is highlighted by the constant confusion and disorganization of provincial bus subsidies which frequently threaten commuter’s plans to get to and from work.

Unnecessary delays between his department and municipalities to formalise street light and road maintenance agreements as well as the huge roads maintenance backlogs remain a cause of concern.

The MEC is often quick to blame to the National Department of Transport for many of the short-comings of his department, yet despite numerous recommendations from the DA that he should engage Minister Dipuo Peters on these issues, the MEC remains silent.

Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 67 questions to the MEC of which 19 went unanswered.

Score: 4.5/10

 

Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements – MEC Paul Mashatile  

MEC Paul Mashatile was deployed to this position to play politics – it is clear that his focus is not on the effective and efficient delivery of basic services and roll-out of housing in the province.

Cheap politicking has no place in the provincial government when hundreds of thousands  of Gauteng’s citizens are living in squalor, awaiting proper homes, adequate sanitation and electricity and ownership through the delivery of long awaited title deeds.

The department of human settlements is nearing financial collapse and during his tenure, R908 million was sent back to National Treasury, money which was allocated for housing delivery.

MEC Mashatile has made numerous utterances about placing DA Municipalities under administration, because the ANC has not yet accepted the outcome of the Local Government Elections, he even went as far as encouraging the community of Nellmapius to disrupt the Tshwane Council meeting in October this year.

The municipalities of Lesedi, Merafong and Emfuleni continuously fail to provide services to their residents and implement sound financial management procedures.

The MEC would do well to spend his time on ensuring that his department can fulfil its constitutional mandate of service delivery. The department cannot go another year failing to deliver its mandate – ultimately keeping the provinces most marginalised trapped in the cycle of homelessness.

Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 240 questions to the MEC of which 141 went unanswered.

Score: 3/10

 

Health – MEC Qedani Mahlangu

Events of 2016 have proved that MEC Qedani Mahlangu is not fit to hold office.

She should have resigned or been fired over the 37 known deaths of psychiatric patients transferred hastily to unsuitable NGOs after the cancellation of the contract for Life Healthcare Esidimeni which looked after about 2000 patients.

Her continued evasion of this subject, and her defiance on the matter makes her appear more complicit than a simple by-stander in a failed project.

She has also bungled the payments of Community Health Workers by handing over their administration to the SmartPurse Company which many CHWs objected to. This has seen the loss of about 2000 CHWs, which has adversely affected the provinces primary health care.

Premier Makhura is equally to blame for this situation. His initial appointment of MEC Mahlangu and his subsequent inability to do the right thing by relieving her of her duties has jeopardised Gauteng’s primary healthcare network.

A professional individual is needed to replace Mahlangu to ensure that residents of Gauteng receive quality, dignified healthcare.

Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 142 questions to the MEC of which 48 went unanswered.

Score: 0/10

 

Education – MEC Panyaza Lesufi

Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, is more responsive to challenges in his department than most of his fellow MECs.

He is willing to engage openly with the opposition, even if his solutions are not always befitting the challenges at hand.

His piloting of the online school enrolment process for grade 1 and 8 learners has been relatively successful despite initial challenges to the system. The number of Matric bachelor passes in the province have gradually increased during his tenure.

However, Lesufi still battles to deal with the basic challenges facing his department like providing running water, electricity and sanitation to some schools in the province. His department’s inability to identify how many asbestos schools there are in the province, and a detailed plan of action to immediately address this, continues to place the health and safety of learners and teachers at risk.

The failure to comply with the National Department’s Norms and Standards to reduce the cost of building new schools continually sees project running over cost – wreaking havoc with the department’s budget.

The MEC has also failed to take the lead on the cash-for-jobs syndicate where SADTU union members have been implicated offering cash rewards for SGB’s and officials to ensure that their preferred candidates are selected for teacher, deputy principal and principal positions.

MEC Lesufi can do more in his department, but must get the basics right and stamp out corruption decisively.

Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 104 questions to the MEC of which 34 went unanswered

Score: 6/10

 

Social Development – MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza

MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza deployment to the department earlier this year was met with anticipation, as it was hoped that she would breathe fresh air into the department.

However, the trend set by her predecessor, Faith Mazibuko, has remained.

The biggest concern with this department is the lack of transparency. The department does not submit documents showing actual transfers to all NGO’s and NPO’s in the province, this is coupled by the continual late payment of these organisations. This has created a situation where  a number of NGO’s and NPO’s are on the verge on closing down, which will leave people destitute or create  overcrowding the ones that remain open.

Social workers and auxiliary social workers around the province work in terrible conditions. They handle many case load and therefore struggle to give case the quality attention it deserves. In some places social workers work in open plan offices yet they counsel people who need to be given confidentiality.

Like in previous years the MEC has still not provided comprehensive plans for people with disabilities, the elderly and those struggling with substance abuse.

Most concerning is that there is no real plan to capacitate the growing number of non-compliant Early Childhood Development centres in the province.

MEC Mayathula-Khoza has still not put in place a payment schedule to collect monies owing from various departments to the Department of Social Development.

This is coupled by the fact that financial documents presented in various documents are often inconsistent. In some cases, instead of presenting targets and actuals, only percentages are indicated.

Gauteng’s most vulnerable and marginalised will continue to remain so if the MEC does not pull the financial state of this department into shape and support the staff it employs to create a more holistic, caring environment.

Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 46 questions to the MEC of which 12 went unanswered.

Score: 5/10

 

Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture – MEC Faith Mazibuko

The department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture (SRAC) has been in a state of flux this year since the suspension, and later firing of Molebatsi Bopape, who was replace Faith Mazibuko as MEC.

While Gauteng Premier, David Makhura took the right action against the former Head of Department, for meddling in supply chain management processes, MEC Faith Mazibuko has not endeared herself as the current leader of this department.

SRAC was the only department in the GPG portfolio to have shown regression by incurring unauthorised expenditure. Irregular expenditure for the 2015/16 financial year doubled from R88.6 million to R194.4 million.

Long outstanding projects of this department, such as the Provincial Archives Centre in Kagiso and additional libraries across the province are still outstanding.

These failures have been pinned on the Department of Infrastructure Development. Recently MEC Mazibuko launched a scathing attack on MEC for Infrastructure Development, Jacob Mamabolo, claiming that her department’s failures rest squarely at his feet.

SRAC needs to for a better partnership with DID to ensure that it delivers on its mandate. It also needs to implement stronger financial controls to ensure that it spends its budget on correctly.

Legislature oversight: The DA posed a total of 71 questions to the MEC of which 23 went unanswered

Score: 3/10

 

It is clear that there is much room for improvement across the board, and that Premier Makhura’s dream of a Gauteng government that delivers will remain distant if he does not show the political will necessary to take action against corruption and stand up to his masters in Luthuli House for the good of the people of Gauteng.

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Media enquiries:
John Moodey MPL
DA Gauteng Caucus Leader
082 960 3843

Warren Gwilt
DA Gauteng Legislature
073 601 6144

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Gauteng Finance MEC Must Table Provincial Financial Statements By Month-End

Consolidated Provincial Financial Statements

Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy has until October 31 to make the province’s consolidated provincial financial statements available for public scrutiny – which the DA firmly believes belies the true state of the province’s financial performance.

The Public Finance Management Act makes it clear that this report must be tabled in the Legislature, something which has not happened since March 2014.

Under the watch of Premier David Makhura and Finance MEC Barbara Creecy, the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) has been lauded in some quarters as affecting “game-changing” strategies to enhance government services.

GPG’s Finances

However, after going to great lengths to retrieve the consolidated financial statements for the 2014/15 financial year – which was not tabled by end October 2015, the DA can reveal that the GPG’s finances are all but sound and received a qualified audit opinion from the Auditor General.

The AG found that that the GPG racked up billions in accruals, legal liabilities, and fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

Click here to view the report.

According to the report, R2.22 billion worth of accruals have been outstanding for longer than 30 days.

This has a massive impact on service delivery and deals a heavy blow to the budget process, as delayed payments are rolled over to the next financial year.

Delayed payments also take their toll on service providers who cannot get by without secure cash flow.

Township Economy

With Premier Makhura announcing that the GPG would support the Township Economy by procuring goods and services from the informal sector, the GPG’s current payment record will be the deathblow for many small to medium service providers.

Fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounted to R416 million in 2014/15, up 66% from the previous year’s R166 million. These funds could have been used on underfunded programmes, such as student bursaries, drought relief and support to NPOs.

The DA looks forward to MEC Creecy tabling the report within the next 11 days so as to provide a true reflection of the real state of Gauteng’s financial affairs.

 

Media Enquiries:

Adriana Randall MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Finance

060 556 4342

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Fiscal Crunch Hits Gauteng Housing, Health And Agriculture Grants

ANC National Government Failure

The failure of the ANC national government to effectively manage the country’s finances is filtering down to Gauteng, with the Provincial Government seeing a reduction in the grants it receives from National Government for service delivery cut by massive amounts over the next three years.

The following departments would see reductions in grants:

  • The Human Settlements Development Grant will be reduced by R1.6 billion in the 2016/17 Financial Year;
  • Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme Grant reduced by R210 million over the next three years; and
  • Health Facility Revitalization Grant reduced by R365 million over the next three years.

This will greatly impair the provincial government’s ability to deliver on its promises to provide housing and upgrade human settlements as outlined in by the Premier during the tabling of his office’s Annual Report last week.

In 2015/16 the Gauteng Human Settlements Department underspent on its grant and as a result under-delivered on its housing promises.

Agricultural Support Needed

The Premier pointed out in the same speech that he was unhappy with the performance of the Human Settlement department. This reduction will further impair the provinces performance in terms of housing.

Furthermore, in light of the severe drought, agricultural support is needed now more than ever in Gauteng to ensure that the sector remains viable. Drought has been cited as one of the reasons the South African economy is struggling.

The Gauteng province is similarly under pressure to ensure that its healthcare facilities are able to accommodate the needs of over 13 million people in the province, and the reduction in this grant will severely impact the provinces ability to deliver quality healthcare.

As much as the ANC in Gauteng tries to distance itself from President Jacob Zuma and the failings his administration, they are still one party with the same governing philosophy, and their ability to govern Gauteng is impacted by the President’s failings.

Gauteng Provincial Budget

The Gauteng Provincial Budget for the 2015/16 financial year does not plug these essential gaps, but the ANC government in Gauteng has still seen fit to ensure that there was a flurry of pre-election billboards marketing the provincial government and the premier.

Despite losing out on grants, the province still saw it fit to spend R100 million on ‘voter education’ for the local government election.

I challenge Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy and Premier Makura to take the approach adopted by DA Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga and slashing spending on lavish parties (such as the State of the Province Address) and unnecessary travel and getaways masked as department “study tours” and “strategic breakaways”.

I further challenge the ANC government in Gauteng to slash advertising in favour of service delivery.

 

Media enquiries:

Ashor Sarupen

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

060 558 8303

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Gauteng Finance MEC Misleading The Public On Open Tender System

Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy

Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy has been misleading the public about the Open Tender System, by stating that the province is the only government in the world that has such a system, and challenged the DA to implement such a system.

Her assertions are factually incorrect.

The Open Tender process involves opening up the various committees that award tenders in government departments to public and media scrutiny, in order to improve transparency and minimise the possibility of corruption in the process.

Since MEC Creecy announced this system would be adopted in Gauteng, it has been implemented at a snail’s pace in Gauteng, and eight provincial government tenders have been adjudicated in an open, fair and transparent manner since 2014.

Gauteng government websites provide little detail about where one can attend these meetings to observe – in effect creating an open process only for those who have access to the information.

Bid Adjudication Committee

In contrast, the DA first pioneered the open tender system in the City of Cape Town on 1 July 2006, immediately after taking office – where all meetings of the committees involved in the awarding of tenders (the Bid Adjudication Committee) were opened to the public and media.

Since its inception in 2006 – R15-billion worth of tenders every single financial year have been awarded in an open, fair and transparent manner.

The DA-led Western Cape provincial government followed suit in 2009, and the policy has been a mainstay of the DA’s election manifesto in 2009, 2011, 2014 and 2016 as one of our key corruption-busting measures.

The City of Cape Town also boasts the best figures for awarding tenders to BBBEE compliant firms, since the DA does not continuously empower the same individuals over and over based on party membership and links to the ruling elite.

State capture does not happen under DA administrations.

Transparent, Open Government

The DA takes transparency seriously, as openness is more than just opening meetings to the public.

Access to tenders is equally important – all tenders and quotes above R2000 are advertised on the City of Cape Town website and companies registered in a given tender category receive a text message whenever a new tender is listed, to maximise the number of bids received.

The Western Cape Provincial Government has adopted a similar approach.

If the ANC is serious about transparent, open government, I challenge MEC Creecy to immediately open all the bid adjudication and bid evaluation committees in every Gauteng Government department to the public and media.

No tender should be awarded in secret, unless the ANC in Gauteng still have something to hide.

I further challenge the MEC to be an honest politician and not claim easy victories or bragging rights that she and the ANC do not deserve.

The DA pioneered and maintains the open tender system where we govern and will continue to use it as part of our comprehensive toolkit to combat corruption.

 

Media enquiries:

Ashor Sarupen

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

060 558 8303

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ANC Misusing Public Funds To Electioneer

Independent Electoral Commission

Gauteng Finance MEC, Barbara Creecy, has budgeted R100 million of provincial funds to drive up voter registration in the province – despite the Independent Electoral Commission receiving R1.5 billion a year from tax payers to do so.

With a tighter budget this year due to an ailing economy, it would be more conducive if these funds were used in Gauteng Provincial Departments in financial trouble – particularly the Department of Health which owes R1.4 billion in accruals and has not been able to pay suppliers on time.

ANC Lead Government

Another way in which this money could have been more productively spent would have been to further increase the drought assistance package – short of an estimated R120 million.

Instead, the ANC lead government has embarked on vanity campaign which is more like an effort to promote the Premier and the ANC rather than the election itself.

This is a blatant abuse of public funds to bolster the ANC’s election campaign.

 

Media enquiries:

Ashor Sarupen MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

060 558 8303

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Housing Budget: Diminished Funds, More Demands

With a backlog of nearly 1 million houses in Gauteng, the Department of Human Settlement’s budget for the 2016/17 financial year was slashed by nearly a R1 billion.

In 2015/16 the department received a budget of R5.9 billion, this year it will only receive R5.8 billion.

Due to the departments failure to effectively roll out housing, the National Department of Human Settlements pulled the plug on R980 million worth of funding, which in the previous financial year could have built 7 567 houses.

Human settlements is the only department in the Gauteng Provincial Government that did not receive an increase in its budget.

Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, along with Finance MEC Barbara Creecy and MEC for Human Settlements, Paul Mashatile must lobby national government with a turnaround strategy to ensure that this grant will be re-allocated.

The department cannot go another year failing to deliver its mandate – ultimately keeping the provinces most marginalised trapped in the cycle of homelessness.

 

Media enquiries:

Mervyn Cirota MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Human Settlements

060 558 8312

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