Another Premier of no-action was installed by the ANC, while service delivery continues to decline

Gauteng residents can look forward to more of the same type of service delivery from Premier Panyaza Lesufi.

Today at a special sitting held at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL), Lesufi was elected as the new Premier for the province.

As the Democratic Alliance (DA), we do not expect Lesufi to do anything different. Gauteng residents will continue to suffer under the leadership of the ANC.

Corruption will continue unabated, and there will be no value for money when tenders are awarded.

Just like Makhura who was unable to execute and implement policies in place that will better the lives of our residents, Lesufi will also be blocked by his political masters and will not be able to make strategic decisions that will benefit the residents of our province.

If Lesufi is committed to changing how the provincial government does things, he will ensure that all lifestyle audits are completed before the end of the year and that officials implicated in the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) tender scandal are brought to book.

Furthermore, if Lesufi is really committed to building a non-racial and non-segregated Gauteng he should publicly denounce his previous divisive statements around the Afrikaans language in schools.

Service delivery will continue to suffer under the leadership of the ANC-led Gauteng government.

Our residents have the power to change the current ANC government and vote for a capable DA government in 2024, which will deliver better services and improve lives.

Lesufi will also be a Premier of no action, leaving Gauteng residents without proper service delivery

Tomorrow, Gauteng residents will be given another Premier who is unable to ensure open and transparent governance in this province.

Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, has been nominated by the ANC to stand as the Premier candidate for the ANC.

Following the resignation of Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, a special sitting will be held at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) to elect the new Premier.

There is nothing new that Lesufi will bring to the residents of Gauteng as he has been part of Makhura’s cabinet that failed to fulfil all the service delivery promises made to our residents.

Here are some of the service delivery failures by MEC Lesufi:

• MEC Lesufi has failed to take any accountability for the R431 million wasted on the decontamination of the schools that led to an investigation by the Special Investigative Unit (SIU).
• The placement of learners through the online system fails to place all learners timeously leading to valuable learning and teaching time being lost as thousands of learners continue to miss months of schooling.
• Failed to eradicate asbestos in schools across the province, and our learners are exposed to learning conditions that are not conducive to learning.
• Few schools have been built in the province leading to overcrowding at the current schools.
• MEC Lesufi supports the BELA Bill which if passed in its current form will remove the power of School Governing Bodies (SGB) to determine admissions and language policies and will also curtail the local communities’ ability to oppose the policy changes.

If these failures by the MEC Lesufi are anything to go by, nothing much will change for the residents of Gauteng. They will continue to endure poor basic service delivery from a government that is only concerned with enriching themselves. For the ANC, the party comes before the citizens of the country. Lesufi will be prioritising the ambitions of his cadres ahead of the service delivery needs of the Gauteng public as ANC eats from the trough before they are booted out in 2024.

The residents in this province deserve a DA government that is capable of delivering the services they promise and at all times, acts in the best interest of our residents.

I have been nominated by the DA as its Premier candidate to provide an alternative to the residents of Gauteng. The DA remains committed to governing in an open and transparent manner and ensuring that every cent that is spent is valuable for money and is properly accounted for.

Open letter to Premier Makhura: Hold Maile accountable for illegally placing Tshwane under administration

Dear Premier Makhura,

Over a week has passed since the Constitutional Court ruled that a member of your ANC government executive breached the law, acted unlawfully and took a most serious administrative action outside of the very law which he swore to uphold.

In the week that has passed, you have done nothing to hold MEC Lebogang Maile accountable for his unacceptable conduct and grave actions.

You are personally protecting and defending a law-breaker.

There is no higher court than the Constitutional Court, and the finding against your MEC is on a matter fundamental to his role in your government. The MEC is responsible himself for the relationships between governments in the Province, and it is on this which he has been ruled out of order by the Constitutional Court.

Where is the accountability, and where is the responsibility for MEC Maile breaking the law?

It is clear that the MEC intended only to misuse his powers to undermine the DA governance of the City of Tshwane, and his unlawful conduct was clearly designed to stop the progress that the DA had begun to make.

That is a devastatingly political ploy by MEC Maile, and even without the Constitutional Court ruling against him, you should have taken action.

Just yesterday, you and MEC Maile visited Emfuleni Local Municipality which has been under administration since 2018, there is clear maladministration, Eskom attached its municipal bank account and the Sheriff attached its municipal vehicles. Yet no further intervention has been forthcoming from your administration.

Premier Makhura, one can only conclude that you are protecting and defending Maile for your own cynical political reasons.

The people of Gauteng deserve a government that responds when the highest Court in the land makes serious findings against it.

For this reason, I challenge you, Premier Davide Makhura, to fire MEC Maile within 7 days.

You have 7 days to do so, else you make a mockery of the highest court in South Africa.

The ball is now in your court.

Yours sincerely,

Solly Msimanga
DA Gauteng Leader.

Gauteng’s Northern Corridor: Another failed promise by Premier Makhura

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has learnt that there are no pharmaceutical companies permanently operating from the Northern Corridor of the province, despite an undertaking by Gauteng Premier, David Makhura to do so in 2014.

In response to questions the DA tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, the MEC for Economic Development, Parks Tau, indicated that the Northern Corridor, is considered the hub of research, development and innovation.

But since 2014, when this was first mooted by Premier Makhura, nothing has been done by government to ensure that this corridor becomes fully operational.

The MEC claims that several companies have been assisted through incubation, but only lists four names, and does not adequately explain what assistance was received through the establishment of this corridor.

It is deeply concerning that to date no tangible effort has been made to develop and establish the pharmaceutical industry in this region.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, a world class pharmaceutical company located in the northern corridor would have been a game-changer for vaccine manufacturing, ultimately saving thousands of lives lost to the coronavirus.

The lengthy delays we currently face in the procurement of a vaccine could have been avoided had this ANC-led government lived up to the promises it made over seven years ago.

This pharmaceutical corridor is yet another example of the myriad of failed projects, ranging from aqua cities to Special Economic Zones, that have been dreamed up – but not implemented by Makhura’s failed administration.

#MakhuraNotFitToGovern: 28 months and still no report on the Bank of Lisbon fire fiasco

28 Months after the Bank of Lisbon fire fiasco, Premier David Makhura is yet to release the report on the criminal investigation into the matter.

There have been unnecessary delays in releasing this report despite the DA laying a charge against three Gauteng MECs and the heads of four provincial government departments for the neglectful actions that led to the death of three firefighters and numerous injuries suffered by others in the fire that broke out.

This is yet another reason why Premier Makhura is not fit to govern Gauteng.

The Premier clearly does not want to govern this province in a clear and transparent manner.

If there is nothing to hide, then the Premier must release the findings of the criminal investigation into the Bank of Lisbon fire. At the time of the Bank of Lisbon fire, then MEC Jacob Mamabolo indicated that the building was only 21% compliant.

The reason for lack of safety standards in Gauteng’s building assets is that the Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) does not possess the skills nor resources to implement the legislation required to maintain the conditional integrity of the infrastructure.

Premier Makhura is well aware of this and in terms of his oversight role, he should have taken cognizance and proposed remedial action. Instead, he denies his own oversight responsibility, as he has done in the case of the Life Esidimeni deaths and the Gauteng PPE corruption scandal.

Who is running the show? With whom does the buck stop? The Premier’s lack of accountability and oversight has caused death and misery. It is time for him to go and hand the baton to someone who can be trusted by the people of Gauteng.

Further work stoppages at Kopanong hospital Covid-19 wards

Gauteng Premier David Makhura promised last year that there would be 300 extra beds at the Kopanong Hospital in Vereeniging to assist with the Covid-19 epidemic in the Vaal area, but there has been another work stoppage this week that has further delayed this project.

According to local DA Councillor Elize Aucamp, the contractors came back on site on 7 January after not working for a number of weeks, but stopped work again on Tuesday this week.

Photographs of the site can be seen here, here and here.

The project started on 29 June last year using Alternative Building Technology (ABT), and then Health MEC Bandile Masuku said that it would be completed by 31 October 2020. The provincial government later claimed it would be finished by 30 November, but last week Premier Makhura said that legal action was being taken against the contractor after work had “ground to a halt.”

According to a recent presentation to the Gauteng Legislature’s Health Committee, the project is 70% complete and is scheduled to be completed by 31 March this year.

This is yet another failure by the Gauteng Infrastructure Development Department, which has a history of poor implementation of projects, choosing bad contractors which leads to missed deadlines and wasted money.

The tragedy is that hospitals in the Vaal area are struggling with the influx of Covid-19 patients, putting lives at risk.

Note: Clr Elize Aucamp can be contacted at Tel: 082 875 6212

Will Gauteng’s six new hospitals be built speedily within budget?

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the announcement by Gauteng Premier David Makhura in his State of the Province (SOPA) address last week that six new hospitals will be built in Gauteng in this decade.

My concern is that the Gauteng provincial government has a poor track record in building health facilities – it usually takes double the estimated time and double the budget.

Failed promises about hospital building have been made before e.g. former Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi promised a new hospital in Soshanguve six years ago.

It is estimated that about 2000 extra hospital beds are needed for Gauteng’s growing population, and new hospitals need to be in places where patients are currently grossly under-served.

Tembisa Hospital has the worst overcrowding which will be alleviated if the Kempton Park hospital is re-opened as well as the promised hospital in Diepsloot.

Upgrading Lilian Ngoyi Clinic to a planned 556 bed hospital will take the strain off the Chris Hani Baragwanath and Bheki Mlangeni hospitals in the Soweto area.

A Daveyton hospital has long been promised as well as a new hospital to replace the decrepit Jubillee hospital.

A new hospital is also needed in the Heidelberg area.

Six new hospitals will cost about R9 billion. Government will need to find this money and make sure that costs don’t balloon because of corruption and inefficiency.

I doubt that the Gauteng Infrastructure Development Department has the ability to build these hospitals without delays and cost over-runs, so innovative arrangements involving the private sector should be sought.

ANC-led Gauteng Government refuses to account to residents

Gauteng Premier, David Makhura and his cabinet continue to evade accountability and show their disdain for the residents of Gauteng by refusing to explain how many of their 100-day promises have been achieved.

During his State of the Province Address (SOPA), the Premier made numerous promises and commitments that he and his executive would achieve within their first 100 days.

These 100 days have long come and gone, yet the public are none the wiser as to what this administration has achieved.

During a Legislature sitting last week, I asked the Premier to elaborate on what has been achieved. Citing an ambiguous technicality in the Legislature’s standing rules, he refused to answer the question and directed the Speaker to withdraw my question.

The Speaker, despite her office requiring neutrality, did the Premier’s bidding to shield him and the ANC from scrutiny.

Today, similar questions were asked of each MEC, each of whom duly dodged the questions by referring us to the Premier.

It has become a pattern under Premier Makhura that both he and his MECs refuse to be held to account.

It is clear that this ANC-led government has absolutely no idea of what accountability is. Some of their promises included:

  • Police stations that have the highest number of reported crimes will be visited
  • CEO vacancies at all hospitals will be filled
  • A 4th Industrial Revolution Panel will be established

As the official opposition in Gauteng, it is our responsibility to hold the executive to account through the legislative mechanisms at our disposal, like asking questions.

Today’s display emphasises that this administration only serves its own agenda.

The DA will continue to ask questions in the Legislature to determine the progress made by Premier Makhura and his cabinet.

It is our job to ensure the needs of the residents, not cadres, are put first.

GP Premier’s Office exceeds budget by 102% due to Life Esidimeni payments

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is shocked to learn that the Office of the Premier (OOP) incurred unauthorised expenditure of R5.9 million.

This information is contained in the annual report for the OOP for the 2018/2019 financial year.

According to the report, the OOP reported unauthorised expenditure of R5,9 million under Programme 1, which resulted in the programme over spending on its allocated budget of R294,9 million.

The OOP says the unauthorised expenditure was due to payments made to the Life Esidimeni claimants. The verification process was only finalised towards the end of the financial year.

According to the department they committed to prioritise the Life Esidimeni payments and the claims were then processed for payment during 2018/2019 financial year.

However, there should have been a better plan in place to ensure that unauthorised expenditure did not occur in the OOP.

The DA will be tabling questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to ascertain why they did not have the payments made in the new financial year and if Gauteng Provincial Treasury did not set aside any money for the claims to be paid.

Gauteng Premier’s Office fails to create work opportunities for the youth

The Office of Gauteng Premier David Makhura has failed to meet its set targets for job creation for economically excluded young people in the province.

This was revealed in the Office of the Premier’s annual report for 2018/2019. According to the report the Office had set a target of enabling 36000 economically excluded young people through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) accessing paid work done on a temporary basis. However, only 3544 young people were employed.

According to the annual report the reason for not employing more youth, was due to delays in the roll out of enhanced EPWP under the Gauteng@work programme.

In addition, the Office of the Premier also set a target of employing 15000 economically excluded young people into long-term, full-time or contract jobs, but they only managed to employ 10968. This target was not reached because of extended delays in realising placements through the Youth Employment Skills (YES) programme.

Furthermore, the target of assisting 4000 economically excluded young people to establish and operate a new enterprise/franchise was also not met. Only 2118 youth were assisted.

I will be tabling questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to ascertain whether these projects are long-term and sustainable.

It is unacceptable that the Office of the Premier has not met the targets set for creating work opportunities for the youth in Gauteng.

This programme in the Premier’s Office is important as it gives the youth important skills and knowledge needed to access permanent employment.

The DA will be closely monitoring the interventions that the Office of the Premier is putting in place to ensure that all their targets in assisting the youth with skills and work opportunities are met.