I will not be silenced on Gauteng corruption and misgovernance

This morning I was maliciously removed while speaking on the debate of the Premier’s State of the Province Address (SOPA) at a virtual sitting of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

During my speech I was cut off and informed on my computer screen that “Someone removed you from the meeting.”

I rejoined the meeting virtually and tried to continue but I was removed several times and could not finish my speech.

I raised this with Speaker Ntombi Mekgwe and she said it would be investigated.

It is clear that someone did not want me to finish my speech exposing Premier David Makhura’s lack of accountability for corruption and misgovernance in the Gauteng Health Department.

Makhura has failed to stop massive corruption multiple times. He made the wrong appointments and failed to do the oversight that would have prevented the scandals in which lives were lost and money was stolen.

I will not be silenced in exposing how Makhura is not fit to govern.

The speech  can be accessed here,

Gauteng Speaker refuses debate on urgent health MEC appointment

I am disappointed that Gauteng Legislature Acting Speaker Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane has turned down my request for an urgent debate today on the need to appoint a new Health MEC as soon as possible.

In my motion I noted that Bandile Masuku was placed on special leave on 30 July 2020 and dismissed as MEC for Health on 9 October 2020. Jacob Mamabolo was appointed as Acting Health MEC while still performing as MEC for Roads and Transport.

My motivation for this debate is that it is vitally important to have a new Health MEC as soon as possible to take critical decisions with undivided attention concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and a myriad of health challenges and backlogs.

Another factor is that there are many high-level positions at the department that need to be filled urgently, including Head of Department, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Director: Supply Chain and Asset Management.

I wanted to call on Premier David Masuku to appoint a new Health MEC by the end of this week, but the Acting Speaker’s decision has protected him from accounting to the Legislature in this matter.

According to Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, she did not deem the matter as urgent as there is no timeline for the appointment of a permanent MEC and the present Acting MEC is doing well in the job.

This is a partisan argument instead of an objective decision to allow the debate so that the Premier can make his own case for delaying the appointment.

It is unclear why Makhura has not yet appointed a new Health MEC even though his own political party has called for this post to be filled urgently. I hope it is not because he wishes to reinstate Bandile Masuku as Health MEC if he is ultimately cleared of corruption in connection with the PPE contracts. It is already clear that Masuku failed in not preventing this corruption in the first place.

Makhura needs to tell us when he intends to fill the Health MEC position which should not be held hostage to internal ANC divisions on this critical matter

DA Speeches: Debate on the gender-based violence motion

Note to Editors: The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s virtual sitting today at the debate on the gender-based violence motion. 

 

Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL All talk with no action from Gauteng Provincial Government with regards to gender-based violence

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Social Development

060 558 8297

 

Crezane Bosch MPL Gauteng Provincial Government should prioritize ending gender-based violence to ensure safety of women and children

DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Social Development

066 010 1035

 

Michael Shackleton MPL DA’s Private Member Bill only solution to curb the scourge of gender-based violence in South Africa

DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Community Safety

066 043 0155

DA Gauteng protest against the Speaker in the Gauteng Legislature sitting over ANC’s abuse of power

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature protested in today’s House Sitting because of the ANC’s attempt to subvert the rules of the Legislature to suit their own agenda.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had tabled a motion regarding the insourcing of cleaning staff in the Gauteng Government, a move which the DA is not against, as we did this in the City of Johannesburg and Tshwane. We raised the points that a proper system needs be put in place where there won’t be corruption, cadre deployments and nepotism.

The ANC wanted to change the motion un-procedurally, which  the DA voted against, as did other opposition parties. Yet the ANC, who fear losing ground to the EFF, attempted to subvert legislative mechanisms to “amend” the motion during the Sitting.

 If a motion is voted down, it must be reworked and re-submitted in the House at a later date. It cannot be dealt with in the same Sitting in which it was voted down.

 The ANC have throughout this lockdown period attempted to subvert the rules of the House to drive their own agenda.

The Speaker, who is supposed to be impartial, has done the bidding of the ANC Caucus in the Legislature to refuse any DA motions to be tabled despite these complying with the rules of the institution.

Today’s blatant disregard for due process once again highlights that the ANC cares not for the people or procedure, but rather its own skin.

The DA has sought legal counsel on the impartiality of the Speaker, and today’s attempted coup in the House only reiterates our claim that the ANC is not for the people of this province, they are against them.

The DA will request that today’s fracas be investigated by the Legislature’s integrity commissioner as the wanton disregard for the rule of law by the ANC cannot go unchecked.

 

 

Tshepo 1 Million programme should be prioritised by Premier Makhura for the 2020/2021 financial year

Madam Speaker,
Premier David Makhura
Hounarable Members
Fellow residents of Gauteng


Ke a le dumedisa


We are finding ourselves currently in uncharted territory, where millions across the world finds themselves living in fear induced by a virus that is determined to bring the world to its knees, while taking many lives in the process. Madam Speaker, we can say that South Africa, like many other countries on the continent has had an opportunity to react much quicker in somewhat slowing the spread of the virus, unlike most Western and Eastern Countries. This doesn’t mean that we should start celebrating. In fact, the worst is still upon us and calls for visionary leadership reciprocated by a cooperative citizenry, if we are to emerge on the other side.
We need firm action where people put themselves and those around them in danger by not following regulations. We need to do all that we can to save as many lives as possible.
Let us also thank the men and women on the frontline who are working tirelessly to ensure our safety and good health, while putting their own lives on the line.
One of the saddest realities highlighted by this pandemic, is how many of our people still live under the cruel shackles of poverty. Desperate families who are struggling to feed themselves are now more than ever asking for intervention from leaders. The haves, have a choice on whether to take their children back to school or continue with online learning, while the have-nots have no choice as it is either their children go back to school or don’t get education for the rest of the year. This also happening on the back or parents thinking on whether to forage for food, or stay at home and face starvation.
Businesses on the other hand is begging for the economy to start moving again, for them to survive and to keep the labour force employed.
Madam Speaker,
Amartya Sen in Development as Freedom states that “What people can positively achieve is influenced by economic opportunities, political liberties, social powers, and the enabling conditions of good health, basic education, and the encouragement and cultivation of initiatives”.

The Economic opportunities are becoming less and less for many in our province, Premier. Every year, without fail, you Sir announces during the State of the Province Address (Sopa) that the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) will focus on creating job opportunities for the unemployed in the province. With specific focus on the youth, women and people living with disabilities. This is usually done through the Tshepo 1 Million programme or through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

While you Sir constantly brags about the successes of the Tshepo 1 Million programme, the quarterly reports for this department during the last financial year paint a very different picture about how successful the Tshepo 1 Million programme has been. Every quarter there are job creation targets that are not met. For the 2019/2020 financial year the programme, the Office of the Premier failed to meet its target of training 200 000 economically excluded youth as part of the Pathways to Earning through the Tshepo 1 Million Programme. Only 127 426 economically excluded youth were placed.

Madam Speaker,

This trend within the Office of the Premier is extremely concerning, given the current unemployment rate in a province that is seen as been the economic hub of the country. And yes, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed the way in which we do things, however we cannot have a situation where the pandemic is used as an excuse as to why job creation targets are not going to be met for the next financial year. Programmes like Tshepo 1 Million are important as it provides our youth with opportunities to find jobs or to start their own small businesses, especially at time when the country and rest of the world are dependent on using technology to do business. Therefore, it is imperative that government embarks on training programmes that will equip our people with skills, particularly the youth as this will help them seek out sustainable job opportunities.

We propose that government become more friendly to business and ensure that partnerships with the private sector are entered into, enable the abortion of, and ensure that youth who do not have skills are to adequately given valuable on-the-job training as apprentices and interns, thereby giving them an opportunity to broaden their knowledge base and open the door to acquiring a permanent job.

Madam Speaker,

Today we have a “new normal” where we are forced to embrace the 4th Industrial Revolution. Last year, the Premier committed to establishing a 4th Industrial Revolution Advisory Panel, which appears to be just a pipe dream of Premier Makhura. When asked about the progress made in this regard, it was found that this panel is yet to be established.

Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic it is extremely concerning that no progress has been made in this regard. Having a panel in place that is able guide government on best practice is extremely important as this will go a long way in assisting SMMES and our youth in embracing the use of technology. In addition, this panel will also give government guidance on how best to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the digital industrial revolution in order for the economy to grow. This in turn will ensure that the right environment is created for businesses to be able to offer the unemployed sustainable job opportunities.

Madam Speaker,
This is extremely important for our youth, as they will be equipped with digital innovation skills, that is needed in today’s age of modern technology. Gauteng cannot be left behind in the digital revolution as the way in which business is done by both government and the private sector is indeed evolving.

Our proposal is that government would ensure that an advisory panel of such a nature is established as a matter of urgency and that quarterly meetings are held to assess government’s use of new technology that could assist in streamlining government services.

The DA sincerely hopes that during this financial year, the Office of the Premier will ensure that the 4th Industrial Revolution Advisory Panel is established as a matter of urgency. This is the only way in which we can ensure that government is constantly updated about changes in technology that would assist in growing the economy of Gauteng, which will then boost job creation efforts in the province.

Madam Speaker,

The Office of the Premier is supposed to be the crank that pulls and pushes all the pistons which are the departments, to ensure that the engine is moving forward. It doesn’t help that the office is performing better, if ultimately the departments aren’t following suit.

Premier, If we are to reach that which Amartya Sen describes as Positive achievement in the Development as Freedom, then the engine that is Gauteng Government needs to fire on all cylinders, and that calls for you to get all departments in line and do so quickly. The people of the Province demands that of you and all of us.

DA calls on Gauteng Department of Health to make a decision about Kempton Park Hospital

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has learnt that the Gauteng Department of Health is considering a range of options with regards to the future of the abandoned Kempton Park Hospital building.

This was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Health, Bandile Masuku in a written reply to the DA questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

According to MEC Masuku, there were three options which included the following:

  • Renovation of the existing hospital and re-opening it as a district hospital;
  • Renovation of the existing hospital as Folateng Hospital and,
  • Demolition of the existing buildings and building a compliant District Hospital.

The MEC indicated that the Folateng Hospital proposal was rejected by the private health sector in Kempton Park and a decision was taken to renovate the existing hospital buildings and convert them to a district hospital.

The estimated cost for the demolition of the hospital is R127 729 665,36 and the estimated cost for the new District Hospital is R1 569 850 810,52.

The DA calls on MEC Masuku to make a decision as a matter of urgency as Tembisa Hospital is struggling to service people from Kempton Park and neighbouring suburbs.

If this hospital is refurbished and re-opened it will help to ease pressure at Tembisa and Edenvale Hospital respectively which are currently overcrowded and unable to render adequate health services to our people.

Overcrowding at Tembisa Hospital has resulted in the death of the 10 babies which is an example of how the hospital is struggling to cope.

I will continue to put pressure on the MEC for Health, Bandile Masuku to ensure that this hospital is revamped and re-opened as people in this area are in dire need of this facility.

Unemployment the biggest challenge facing Gauteng

Honourable members, fellow South Africans

The single biggest challenge facing Gauteng is unemployment, the latest figures of the number of unemployed people in Gauteng sits at above 2 million people. Gauteng, once the land of gold, a province many flocked to for economic opportunities has gone backward. Unless something drastically is done, it will soon be the province of unemployment and poverty. Our unemployment rate sits above the national average at 31%.

Honourable members, unemployment in our province is not a natural phenomenon, it is man-made, it is as a result of bad leadership, incorrect policies adopted and a lot of sloganeering with little substance to show. We have an aptly named department of Economic Development that has done very little to develop the economy of the province in order to address the challenges of unemployment and poverty suffered by our people.

If one was to take the annual report of the multitudes of the unemployed and underemployed people of our province, very few would believe that indeed the economy of the province is working for them. Granted, the department has on paper performed well because the bar has been set so low that the department can achieve 94% of its targets when the provincial economy is not growing and unemployment is rising.

The recently released GDP figures indicates that the economy of the country has contracted, mainly due to decline in manufacturing, mining, Agriculture, Transport and communication. Gauteng was once leading in the production of gold thus boosting the provincial economy, but the last few years have seen a decline in the output from the gold mining sector. It is no coincidence that most of our gold mines are in the worst performing municipalities of the province in the West Rand. There is a direct correlation between bad governance and economic output. Gauteng suffers from bad leadership.

We have a serious anomaly in this province, the department that is tasked with economic development is performing “well” with every indicator of development going in the opposite direction. How is it possible to have a department of economic development said to be performing when the economy of Gauteng is not developing?

The department through the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) is supposed to be leading entity in enterprise development and support but for a long time it has failed to perform this important function. GEP is more internally focused rather than assisting the many entrepreneurs Gauteng has to offer.

The targets that have been set are so low but they still fail to meet them and, in some instances, suppliers are paid before goods are delivered. The economic future of the province lies in the hands of Small enterprises and it needs an agency or entity that will focus on this important task. GEP continues to fail to propel enterprises, in some instances it is seen as a stumbling block to enterprise development.

Another area of misalignment is the low figure given to GGDA for Foreign Direct Investment and Domestic Direct Investment. The target set are so low that they don’t make a dent to the unemployment crisis facing Gauteng, it is as if the figures are set so low only to ensure people receive their bonuses rather than assisting the people of Gauteng. We must at all times remind ourselves and department officials that neither of us should be here to serve our jackets, we are here to serve the people of Gauteng.

Honourable members, if we all agree that we are faced with an unemployment crisis in Gauteng, we must also agree that the measurement tools for this department should be economic growth and decline in the unemployment rate. The department can never be said to be performing when our people remain unemployed. There should be no bonuses paid if the unemployment rate is still rising. Let’s together work to reduce the unemployment and poverty rate amongst the people of Gauteng.

Ndza Khensa

Why we walked out of the Life Esidimeni debate – DA

The tragedy that is Life Esidimeni will continue until justice has been done. This is by no means frivolous. Any action that brings people to account is not frivolous. Dismissing this call for accountability is frivolous.

The ANC cannot escape accountability by attacking the DA. They say we are displaying insensitivity to the families of the victims. Actually, the families of the victims of the ANC’s so-called Marathon Project will receive justice when those responsible for their loss sit in jail and not in luxury. The families of the victims will only receive some comfort when those responsible for their pain pay for their crimes, even financially where permitted by law.

The DA’s Jack Bloom tabled a motion that called upon the Premier to extract costs from Qedani Mahlangu and two officials for their part in causing the deaths of 144 people in the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

The motion can be viewed here.

There is a law called the Apportionment of Damages Act. It is through that law that the taxpayers of Gauteng can recover some of the money needed to pay out compensation to those impacted by the ANC’s so-called Marathon Project. The ANC says that our motion was illegal. How can the application of law be illegal?

But it is clear that the ANC needs to shield Qedani Mahlangu. They don’t want her penalised in any way because she knows too much about the corruption of those still in office. They will protect her at all costs so that she does not blow the whistle on them.

We witnessed this yesterday in the debate on our Life Esidimeni motion as follows:

  • We witnessed the worst form of heckling ever seen in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.
  • One of the EFF speakers was completely inaudible because of the sustained noise coming from the ANC benches.
  • The ANC heckling induced counter-heckling from the other parties.
  • The Speaker took an inordinately long time to bring order and only intervened at the demand of the DA’s Chief Whip.
  • But even then the Speaker chose to call to order the individual hecklers from the opposition parties and did not single out the noise-makers in the ANC.
  • Eventually, she appealed to her ANC colleagues to allow the EFF speaker to speak.
  • But this limp-wristed action was too much for half the ANC caucus who went off to the coffee lounge until the end of the EFF speech.
  • But worse was yet to come:
    • The Speaker illegally ruled out the possibility of a vote in this matter, even though this was a decision of the Programming Committee
    • Clearly the ANC did not have the numbers to defeat the motion and so the Speaker aided and abetted her comrades in subverting democracy.
    • Attempts to raise a point of order in this regard were met with disruption and insults

The Speaker and the ANC rejected a serious attempt to bring to justice to those impacted by Life Esidimeni and reduced the democratic proceedings to a sham. That’s why the DA protested. That’s why the DA walked out.

But we will not leave it here. We have already initiated processes to overturn the Speaker’s ruling. The guilty ones can run, but they cannot hide. If needs be, we will go to Court.

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.

The Department of Human Settlements Annual Report an account of shameful governance

Madame Speaker,

As a country we seem to have lost the important human value of shame. While shame is often looked down upon as negative in modern society, historically it is a human characteristic that has inspired change in behaviour, as well as pushed human beings to better themselves. It is unfortunate that in South Africa today that this value has been lost and appears to be completely absent within the ruling government. 

The Department of Human Settlements Annual Report for 2018/19 is an account of the most shameful governance. For those involved in the leadership and management of the department, such failures should weigh heavy on them. They should cast down their heads in shame for the fiasco that is their performance in the financial year 2018/2019.

Madame speaker, the report by the Auditor General indicates that what the department has presented in terms of their performance has been largely untruthful. The department has not been able to provide sufficient evidence that management has properly accounted for several functions, including transfer of payments, capital work in progress or giving sufficient evidence for compensation of employees.

Madame speaker, the auditor general found no evidence for the claim made by the department on:

  • transferring 9,755 post-94 properties to qualifying beneficiaries,
  • The number of new properties transferred to qualifying beneficiaries
  • Number of hostels maintained,
  • Number of housing disputes resolved.

The department received a disclaimer of audit opinion, but alas, despite this audit opinion, as is common in governments led by the ANC, consequences are not to be expected. What can we expect: blame shifting, excuses and obfuscation.

Madame speaker, the Gauteng City region is fast growing as millions of South Africans escape ANC’s failed governance in other provinces to get some semblance of a dignified life in the economic hub of the country. The government of this province is aware of the growing demand for housing as a result of the influx of migrants, whether from within our borders or outside. We see the mushrooming of informal settlements and the clashes between Gauteng residents over land, yet this department has still managed to underspend across all programmes exposing an unwillingness to deliver.

Underspending by this department raises questions over its financial planning ability. It raises questions on whether the department has the right personnel with the right qualifications to deliver on the mandate required by the citizens of this province.

The department blames some of its failures on illegal invasions and occupations. The department offers no solutions to dealing with this criminal conduct leading us to conclude that it will be business as usual for the ANC to turn a blind eye to unlawful behaviour

Madame speaker, the value of shame, is most valuable when there are consequences for one’s actions. The AG was unable to find any appropriate audit information that disciplinary steps were taken against officials who had incurred irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure in previous reporting periods. 

Asking the leadership of this department whether it has any sense of shame would be rhetorical as the AG’s findings provides us with a clear answer that it does not. What about the Premier of this province? Does he look at the performance of this department with pride?

Gauteng residents should see through the performance by department of Human settlements that the offer from theANC government is zero delivery, zilch accountability and dololo consequences for failure.