Residents denied their service delivery with GIFA just another cash cow for Gauteng Government

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is deeply concerned that the Gauteng Infrastructure Financing Agency (GIFA) is not capable of assisting municipalities in sourcing funding needed to complete important projects that will improve service delivery, such as water and electricity stability, and create job opportunities for the residents of Gauteng.

During a recent presentation to the Gauteng Finance Portfolio Committee, it was revealed that the affordability in municipalities where these projects are to be undertaken, where GIFA is only able to provide technical advice to municipalities and assist with feasibility studies, while funding such projects remains a very problematic issue.

According to the presentation, two projects that are supposed to be completed include the Tshwane Alternative Waste Treatment Technology project which was initiated in 2016, and the Sedibeng Government Accommodation, which was initiated in 2014. However, these municipalities have indicated that funding remains a challenge. It is clear that projects undertaken by GIFA take a long time to get off the ground and be completed.

A prime example of this is the Ekurhuleni Waste to Energy project. The project was initiated in 2015 when the Waste Management Department wrote a letter to GIFA, requesting financial assistance for a feasibility study into Alternative Waste Treatment Technologies. In 2018 it appears as if GIFA stopped communicating with the municipality on this and only picked up on it again in 2021.

It is clear that GIFA is just another entity created by the Gauteng Provincial Government to waste taxpayers’ money as it is unable to provide value for money and takes close to seven years before any project gets off the ground. These projects should be directly administered by the municipalities, and not through GIFA.

Furthermore, the DA believes that this entity should be integrated into the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development and Property Management, as this department already provides the infrastructure needed to government departments. These are the same sentiments held by all the members of the Finance Portfolio Committee, yet the MEC for Finance, Nomantu-Nkomo-Ralehoko indicated that this will not happen.

A DA provincial government would ensure that municipalities across the province would be equipped to manage and complete these projects on their own, so that residents do not have to suffer, waiting on bureaucratic red tape to get the services they deserve.

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Lesedi Municipality advertises for bidders for aerodrome project despite project being handed over to GIFA

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng notes with concern, that despite the Heidelberg Aerodrome Project being handed over to the Gauteng Infrastructure Finance Agency (GIFA), the Lesedi Municipality has gone ahead and put out a tender for the project.

In an advertisement placed in the City Press Newspaper on 11 October 2020, the municipality put out a tender calling for proposals for the design, planning, development and management of the Aerodrome to the value of R80 million.

In a reply to written questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL), the MEC for Finance and e-Government, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko indicated that GIFA was not involved in the issuing of the tender and referred the question as to why this tender was issued back to the municipality.

It is concerning that the municipality has gone ahead and advertised for proposals for the Aerodrome when the process for the procurement for this project was legally handed over to GIFA through a resolution of Council.

It would appear that despite this being done, this government entity and the municipality does not know what the other is doing when it comes to this project.

Furthermore, no budget has been set aside for this project as a feasibility study must still be completed according to the MEC.

This parallel process of obtaining proposals for the development of the Aerodrome by the municipality is wrong and is a waste of taxpayers’ money, considering that another entity has been given the mandate to run the project.

In addition, the DA has always maintained that municipalities should not rely on GIFA to run their projects as this entity has a history of not completing projects on time. Projects like this should be run by the municipality.

However, we cannot have a situation where a project has been handed over to GIFA but is still being advertised by the municipality for possible bidders as this is a duplication of services.

I will be tabling further questions through the municipality to ascertain what informed this process, who has paid for the placement of the advert and why there is a parallel process being run.

Gauteng Infrastructure Finance Agency failing to implement much-needed

The Gauteng Infrastructure Finance Agency (GIFA) is failing on its mandate to implement much-needed infrastructure projects to revitalise Gauteng’s economy. Judging from its track record, it appears that it has no idea of the progress of the projects that fall under its purview.

In the 2013/14 financial year, the establishment of a West Rand Airport was initiated by GIFA and in the 2014/15 financial year was listed as one of 6 projects where feasibility studies had been completed.

On 19 January 2018 a tender notice was issued for the appointment of a transaction advisor to undertake a feasibility study on this proposed airport, despite one having allegedly been completed three years earlier.

It is evident that this project never got off the ground, and brings into question the accuracy of reporting of other projects where feasibility studies have allegedly been completed.

Gauteng Premier, David Makhura since taking office in 2014, has gone to great pains to stress how his government is taking steps to encourage the development of new mass infrastructure projects in the province.

To date, of the numerous projects envisaged by this administration, only two projects – the Cedar Road upgrade as well as the Library and Archive Centre – have reached construction phase.

What is abundantly clear is that while the Premier talks a good game, his government’s inaction speaks louder than words.

What is required is a government that is serious about delivery, one will make use of expertise and people fit-for-purpose to ensure that the economy of Gauteng is resuscitated.

The DA will probe the readiness of GIFA projects and ensure that this administration is held to account for its short-comings before a competent DA government is elected into office in 2019.