Gauteng’s environment is in decay

Democratic Alliance statement by
Graham Gersbach MPL
DA Gauteng Committee Member: Standing Committee on Public Accounts

Madame Speaker,

We recognise the need to create a viable township economy in pursuit of the creation of sustainable human settlements with employment opportunities where people live.

We also recognise the need to use investment in infrastructure to stimulate growth and employment.

However, the creation of yet another state bank is neither a solution to these challenges, nor a viable option.

We already have the Land Bank, Development Bank of South Africa and Industrial Development Corporation which are established sources of funding. In addition, the Post Office has already started the process towards registration of the Post Bank as a state bank with a commercial banking licence.

International research shows that public sector banks have performed poorly according to financial measures such as returns on equity or assets, the extent of non-performing loans, and expense levels.

The provincial state bank of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Ithala Bank, does not fill one with optimism. KZN invested R300 million in Ithala Bank a few years back with virtually no return on that investment. That same investment in an internship programme would have created significant employment through skills development, as we have done in the Western Cape. Ithala Bank is still waiting on a commercial licence, which given its track record I’m sure will never happen.

We therefore oppose the creation of a Provincial state bank.

Rather than focusing on the creation of yet another provincial entity to employ cronies and cadres, we need to focus creating an environment in which we develop township entrepreneurs. This could be more effectively be achieved through opportunity vouchers as seed capital to start businesses or partially subsidise studies. Entrepreneurs create their own employment and employment for others. We can enable these opportunities by supporting entrepreneurs through existing financing channels, not by embarking on more wasteful expenditure.

The Gauteng Provincial Government already undertakes financing transactions and business support through GIFA, GEP, and GDDA – the past performance of which merely highlights the fact that this is not a Provincial Government’s area of specialisation, and that a Provincial state bank would be yet another vanity project. Public-Private partnerships with existing Commercial Banks could achieve the same outcomes through subsidisation of interest rates.

I urge the Premier to consult with the Western Cape on the excellent measures put in place to finance and support entrepreneurs – particularly those in the township economy.

Another area where the Gauteng Provincial Government is failing is in environmental protection. We cannot grow as a province, we cannot industrialise, and we cannot transform without making the environment a priority. Food security, access to drinking water, and a clean living spaces are crucial to the future prosperity of Gauteng.

The quality of life for all residents of Gauteng is negatively impacted by increasing levels of air and water pollution, and a lack of planning around critical issues such as waste management and acid mine drainage. In a water-scarce country, the pollution of our groundwater, rivers and dams is criminal. The silence of the ANC and the GPG in these matters is deafening.

Total change is required if the environment, and the township economy is to thrive. Only the DA can deliver such change.

DA debates SCOPA Report on Agriculture and Rural Development

The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by DA Gauteng Spokespersons for Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA), Graham Gersbach MPL and Heinrich Volmink MPL, during a debate on the SCOPA Report on the 2016/17 Annual Reports of Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Speech by

Graham Gersbach MPL

“AG could not verify department’s expenditure”

  • While this Department might have received a financially unqualified audit opinion, it remains one of those yet to achieve the goal set in 2009 of clean audits with no findings whatsoever.
  • The Auditor General found the main root causes for many of the findings in the audit opinion for this department in the year under review to be: (a)Officials lacking skills to prepare accurate financial and performance reports. (b)Slow responses by the Accounting Officer and Senior Management in addressing root causes and implementing action plans.
  • Included in these findings are: Poor record keeping that placed limitations on the scope of the Auditor General’s work due to a regression in the usefulness and reliability of the information provided in Programme 2 Agriculture, and Rural Development and Programme 3 Environmental Affairs.
  • 2085 hectares protected/rehabilitated to improve agricultural production; 8235 households benefiting from agricultural food security initiatives; 6000 individual household gardens were supported; 8023 hectares worked by GDARD tractors and 3621 hectares cultivated for food production in communal areas and land reform projects, could not be verified by the Auditor General.
  • What this really means is that we don’t really know if the monies allegedly spent during the financial year under review was spent nor who the beneficiaries really were.
  • Included in this list are approximately 770 “ghost” recipients of money for home garden projects whose ID numbers could not be verified by the Department of Home Affairs. GDARD needs to investigate this with urgency, as such forms of corruption cannot be tolerated.
  • Supply Chain Management remains a weakness mainly due to poor management controls.
  • Payments were made before receipt of goods and services in contravention of TR. (c) amounting to R43.8 million.
  • Irregular expenditure for the current year amounted to R9.5 million resulting in a closing balance of R75.4 million.

The full speech can be obtained here.

Speech by

Heinrich Volmink MPL

“Department fails to manage expenditure effectively”

  • On the surface, the Annual Report of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development gives an impression of progress. However, a closer inspection shows serious deficiencies.
  • The amount of agricultural produce that Gauteng imports from other provinces is still far too high.
  • The rate of local farmers producing food for local markets in Gauteng is still far too low.
  • The skills that our farmers have in commercial farming is still far too inadequate, with still too many constrained to subsistence farming which has little economic benefit.
  • I am of the view that the food security initiatives such as food gardens for households and schools should rather be rendered as a holistic social security intervention, not to be managed by the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, but by social services. This will allow the department to concentrate on the commercial sector throughput of small and emerging farmers instead of continually dishing out seeds to household gardeners.
  • What is even further cause for concern with regards to the figures are the questions raised by the Auditor-General. Indeed, the AG indicated that the reporting on some of the crucial targets relating to the Agricultural and Rural Development Programme, as well as the Environmental Affairs Programme, were simply not reliable.
  • The AG also raised serious concerns about the Department’s ability to manage its expenditure effectively. This includes the failure of necessary steps taken to prevent irregular expenditure to the tune of R29 million, as well as payments made before receiving goods and services (in contravention of Treasury regulations) to the amount of just under R44 million.
  • We, therefore, call for urgent action to be taken on behalf of those working in the agricultural sector and, ultimately, for the households across Gauteng who deserve, and need, food security.

The full speech can be obtained here.

DA debates SCOPA report on Gauteng Roads and Transport

The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by DA Gauteng Spokespeople on SCOPA, Graham Gersbach MPL and Paul Willemburg MPL, during a debate on the SCOPA report for the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport.

Speech by
Graham Gersbach MPL

“A balance should be maintained between construction and maintenance of roads”

  • In The longer we delay new roads and refurbishments the more we will spend on maintenance;
    • The Department should not be wasting money defending claims when they know that they are likely to lose a case. Do not throw good money after bad defences; and
    • The DA will follow up as to the timelines for the introduction of electronic monitoring and reporting systems within this department.

The full speech can be obtained here.

Speech by
Paul Willemburg MPL

“MEC Vadi must start cracking the whip in his department”

  • The Auditor General highlights unreliable reporting, especially around figures of achievements in Programmes 2, 3 and 4;
    • This Department contributed R2.37 billion, the bulk amount of the R5.3 billion in Irregular Expenditure incurred in the Gauteng Provincial Government; and
    • The PFMA is very clear about the misuse/misconduct of finance and needs to be complied with. Any form of non-compliance is non-negotiable.

The full speech can be obtained here.

DA debates SCOPA report on Gauteng Department of Health

The following speeches were delivered today in the Gauteng Legislature by DA Gauteng Member of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Dr Heinrich Volmink MPL and DA Gauteng Member of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Graham Gersbach MPL during the debate on the SCOPA report on the Gauteng Department of Health.

Speech by
Dr Heinrich Volmink MPL

“Gauteng Health department unable to exercise effective financial policies”

  • When the clinical risk to patients isn’t management properly, the results can be devastating – in fact they can cost lives, as we’ve seen in the tragedy of Life Esidimeni.
    • More specifically, as an unbudgeted liability, the Department faced claims of just under R22 billion in litigation. Of this amount R18.6 billion was for medico-legal matters (up from R14.1 billion in the previous financial year). This is staggering as it represents an increase of over 30% in medico-legal claims which, of course, include allegations of medical negligence.
    • The World Health Organization has described health as “…a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.” This should, indeed, be the goal for every citizen in every community in our province. But this will require the translation of public funds given into efficient, effective, appropriate and accessible health services.
    The full speech can be obtained here.

Speech by
Graham Gersbach MPL

“Gauteng’s health network on the brink of collapse”

  • The department had vacancy rates in excess of 10 % in respect of Medical Practitioners, Medical Specialists, Pharmacists, Professional Nurses and Staff Nurses while the vacancy rate for Student Professional Nurses is 30.2 %.
    • The long wait for Policy and Procedure on Ill-Health Leave and Incapacity Retirement (PILIR) impacts on key personnel who have to be replaced whilst still receiving their salaries until such time as Incapacity Retirement is applied for which in some cases can run into years.
    • This department needs to arrest its rabid spending to ensure that services are rolled out to patients and not needlessly wasted because the department is falling apart.

The full speech can be obtained here.

Gauteng Government struggling to comply with the law

Premier David Makhura made much fuss about the 2016/17 audit outcomes of the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG). However, at close inspection, not much progress has been made as there are numerous similarities to the previous year’s outcomes, and in some instances the GPG has performed worse.

Of the 16 provincial government departments, 7 departments received unqualified audits, while the remaining 9, despite having unqualified audits, had issues flagged that concerns the Auditor General.

This is the same outcome as the previous financial year.

Irregular expenditure in 2016/17 amounted to R5.4 billion, up from R3.9 billion in the previous financial year. Of this, 97% was incurred by the departments of Health, Education, Human Settlements, Roads and Transport and Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SRAC).

The main drivers behind the irregular expenditure are procurement deviations, contravention of supply chain management regulations, the awarding of irregular tenders and the excessive overtime.

Fruitless and wasteful expenditure follows the same pattern as this figure increased from R23.6 million in 2015/16 to R37.9 million in 2016/17.

The Department of Human Settlements made up for the lion’s share of this amount at R31 million. The reasons as provided by the department are due to interest and charges on court orders and repairs done to damaged infrastructure.

Two departments, Education and SRAC accounted for the total GPG unauthorised expenditure, at R80.9 million and R17.9 million respectively. This figure would be higher across the board, however many departments simply incur more accruals to avoid unauthorised expenditure.

The growing irregular, fruitless, wasteful and unauthorised expenditure, mostly by the same departments who are repeat offenders, is a clear indication that this ANC-run administration does not have the capacity to arrest the problems facing departments.

What is needed more than debates and hot-air about what ought to be done, is stern and swift action to prevent this problem mushrooming and spiralling out of control.

Stricter measures need to be enforced with Accounting Officers to ensure legal compliance, systems must be installed to track and monitor overtime, and departmental bloat needs to be slashed to reduce the wage bill.

These steps are only but a few to be taken, but they require the political will to do so. This administration has long lost its will.

In 2019, the DA will make strides in ensuring that GPG departments are walking on the right path to ensure that a prosperous and efficient civil service exists in Gauteng.

DA Gauteng Debates Human Rights Day

Speech by: Graham Gersbach MPL

“Three worlds in one Ward”

  • Ward 1 in Ekurhuleni is made up of 3 VDs in a highly secure complex of what will eventually be 7 gated estates, 3 working class bonded housing VDs inclusive of an Industrial township, 2 VDs of predominantly RDP housing projects and 1 VD that is an informal settlement.
    • Air pollution from the Elandsfontein industrial area and LG Landfill where delisted mining waste from Marikana is processed affects this Ward. This waste is a major contributor of perceived health problems and various court cases are pending.
    • The Tswelopele Extension 8 residents were relocated in 2007 across the Kaalspruit with the promise that their land was to be re-developed for them to then move back. Ten years later and nothing has been done to house them. The foot bridge connecting these residents to Mpumelelo Primary School where their children went to school was washed away in a rain storm and it took 5 years before a new bridge was built.
    • This is just scratching the surface of the problems resulting from a lack of service delivery, and all the residents of Ward 1 can rightly claim that government has failed in upholding their basic human rights.

The full speech can be obtained here.


Speech by: Adriana Randall MPL

“Lest we forget the injustices of the past, and of the present”

  • As we join today in discussing the celebration of Human Rights Day, we do so knowing that more needs to be done in advancing and protecting human rights in the province and the country.
    • With every right and freedom we enjoy today, comes responsibility. We cannot allow for the expression of hatred, racism, sexism, intolerance and any other injustice against our fellow human beings.
    • The DA will remember the 100+ psychiatric patients who died because the Gauteng Department of Health did not honour their responsibility in defending and protecting the rights of the most vulnerable, marginalised and forgotten in society.
    • We must continue the fight to see Madiba’s dream of a constitutional democracy founded on the values of human dignity, equality and non-racialism realised in South Africa.
    • We are stronger together, united in our diversity. This is a core value of the DA, and it should be for the rest of the country too.

The full speech can be obtained here.


Speech by:Dr Heinrich Volmink MPL

“Human rights cannot be sold-out for selfish political ends”

  • Today’s debate has reflected on the Bill of Rights. However, we have to ask the question: have these rights become a reality for our people?
    • As a health professional, I have had the privilege of serving our communities. In
so doing I have seen, first-hand, how the right to access healthcare
has often been denied because of state failure; whether that be in a shortage
of essential medicines or in the agonizing wait of long queues.
    • I would ask every citizen in our country and in this province to take heart: 
because 2019 is coming. And that year will usher in a DA-led
government in Gauteng that will protect all of our rights, including
those of the most vulnerable in our society

The full speech can be obtained here.



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Media Enquiries
Graham Gersbach MPL
DA Gauteng Spokesperson on SCOPA
060 556 4346
Adriana Randall MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC on Finance
060 556 4342
Dr Heinrich Volmink MPL
DA Gauteng Spokesperson on SCOPA
082 458 6867

DA Debates Gauteng 2014/15 Roads & Transport Annual Report

Speech by:  Neil Cambell MPL

“Concerted and proactive departmental efforts key to achieving road safety targets”

  • The underfunded Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport must prioritise projects by value for money
  • Tough dialogue must take place in order to deal with taxi violence, flouting of traffic laws, operating licence delays and taxi subsidisation on the agenda.
  • The DA is pleased with planned revitalisation projects as rail must become the backbone of passenger and freight transport.
  • Arbitrary bus contract renewals must stop and a real route and subsidy needs-analysis and longer contracts which allow bus recapitalisation must start.
  • To obtain a licence many would-be drivers bribe officials who allow untested drivers loose on our roads while un-roadworthy vehicles are passed by corrupt testers

The full speech can be obtained here.


Speech by: Justus de Goede MPL

“Public transport crucial to efficient Roads & Transport department”

  • The Province has to take the lead in assisting municipalities to cope with rising demand for services.
  • Gauteng has a backlog of 10 000 transport operating licences and officials have lost hope with no catch- up plan.
  • The Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works has invaluable lessons and support for the Gauteng Department, however all these efforts will be in vain without the necessary commitment and dynamism from leadership.
  • At the root of taxi violence is a tangled history of incompetence, corruption and open contempt for the law.
  • Public transport is essential to this province and it is very concerning that a Committee visit to a Johannesburg testing facility revealed that almost 70% of heavy vehicles tested had potential lethal flaws.

The full speech can be obtained here.



Speech by: Graham Gersbach MPL

“Residents need accessible ways of reporting road infrastructure issues”

  • The residents of Bonaero Park, Bredell and neighbouring suburbs have expressed their thanks for the on-going rehabilitation of the lighting at the Atlas Road off ramp.
  • The department should strengthen relations with municipalities in order to provide a simple and accessible process of reporting road infrastructural issues.


The full speech can be obtained here.




Media enquiries:

Dr Neil Campbell MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport

082 387 2540


Justus de Goede MPL
DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Roads & Transport

060 558 8305


Graham Gersbach MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Roads

060 556 4346

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Debate On The Introduction Of Mandarin In Gauteng Public Schools

Note to editors: The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by the DA’s Khume Ramulifho MPL and Solly Msimanga MPL and Graham Gersbach MPL during a debate on the introduction of mandarin in Gauteng public schools.


Speech by
Khume Ramulifho MPL

“Focus on the priorities in education, not politics”

  • Education must empower individuals so they can utilise their talents in exploring opportunities aimed at promoting and developing our nation.
  • 75% of our schools are dysfunctional, The DA holds the view that this government must focus on measures to move 75% of our schools from being dysfunctional to schools of excellence.
  • When are we going to promote our own languages and embrace our diversity not in words but in actions.

The full speech can be obtained here.


Speech by

Solly Msimanga MPL

“Promote SA’s indigenous languages first, before introducing Mandarin”

  • Everyone has the right to receive education in the official language or languages of their choice in public educational institutions where that education is reasonably practicable.
  • Our communities such as the Khoi, nama-Khoi and indigenous San languages have been lost and the Department of Basic Education didn’t step in and try to protect and preserve almost ancient African languages.
  • The DA will request the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) to probe the viability and practicability of teaching Mandarin in our schools.

The full speech can be obtained here.


Speech by

Graham Gersbach MPL

“SA’s got a special case of “mandarin””

  • In principle there is nothing wrong with teaching a foreign language but we should concentrate on teaching at least 3 of our official languages at every school before we try to add another foreign language.
  • The DA believes we need to get the basics in our education right first and ensure all are able to access education in all our official languages.
  • If we are not able to accommodate our African languages in all our schools how can we practically now add Mandarin to the curriculum.

The full speech can be obtained here.


Media enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education

082 398 7375


Solly Msimanga MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Sports

060 558 8308


Graham Gersbach MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Roads

060 556 4346

[Image source]

DA Gauteng Shadow Cabinet Portfolio Allocations

Shadow Cabinet

The DA in Gauteng has made slight amendments to its shadow cabinet to better serve the needs of the people of our province.

We believe that by doing so we aligned caucus members’ skills and competencies more closely with their portfolio requirements – so as to ensure that oversight over Premier David Makhura’s Cabinet is carried out in a more thorough and effective manner.


The Shadow Cabinet is as follows:

Caucus leader and Leader of the Official Opposition

John Moodey MPL


Arts, Culture, Sports and Recreation

Shadow MEC: Paul Willemburg MPL

Spokesperson: Kingsol Chabalala MPL


Community Safety and Security

Shadow MEC: Kate Lorimer MPL

Spokesperson: Michele Clarke MPL


Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements

Shadow MEC: Fred Nel MPL

Spokesperson Housing: Mervyn Cirota MPL


Economic, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development

Shadow MEC: Janet Semple MPL

Spokesperson – Agriculture: Ina Cilliers MPL

Spokesperson – Environment: Janho Engelbrecht MPL



Shadow MEC: Khume Ramulifho MPL

Spokesperson: Solly Msimanga MPL



Shadow MEC: Adriana Randall MPL

Spokesperson: Mike Moriarty MPL



Shadow MEC: Jack Bloom MPL

Spokesperson: Dr Neil Campbell MPL


Infrastructure Development

Shadow MEC: Alan Fuchs MPL

Spokesperson: Janho Engelbrecht MPL



Spokesperson: Ashor Sarupen MPL


Oversight Committee on the Premier’s Office and the Legislature

Spokesperson: John Moodey MPL

Spokesperson: Jack Bloom MPL


Public Accounts (Scopa)

Spokesperson: Glenda Steyn MPL

Spokesperson: Paul Willemburg MPL

Spokesperson: Graham Gersbach MPL


Roads and Transport

Shadow MEC: Dr Neil Campbell MPL

Spokesperson: Graham Gersbach MPL

Spokesperson: Justus de Goede MPL


Social Development

Shadow MEC: Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL

Spokesperson: Ashor Sarupen MPL



Spokesperson: Lebo More MPL



Media enquiries:

John Moodey MPL

082 960 1743


Willie Venter

Director: Communications and Research

060 963 8260

Budget Vote Speeches: Roads and Transport

Note to editors: The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by the DA’s Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport, Neil Campbell MPL, Spokesperson for Roads and Transport, Graham Gersbach MPL, and Spokesperson for Roads and Transport, Justus de Goede MPL, during the 2015/16 Annual Budget Debate on the Department of Roads and Transport.


Fair and efficient transport system not yet a reality for majority of Gauteng residentsDA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport Neil Campbell

Speech by: Neil Campbell MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport
  • Despite assurances from the department that their funds will be well spent perusal of the budget will show that this is not so.
  • The failure of the department, yet again, to spend their budget last year highlights the fact that the public are not being treated fairly.
  • Most projects are running behind schedule as a result of poor contract management or because the wrong contractors were awarded tenders.
  • Substantial expenditure is earmarked for non-tolled alternative routes but if Phase 2 of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project is introduced, in spite of total rejection of e-tolling by the public, very few alternate routes will remain.

The full speech can be obtained here.



A multitude of opportunities lie at the end of a better Gauteng road networkGraham Gersbach DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Roads

Speech by: Graham Gersbach MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson Roads and Transport
  • Whilst the R6.6 Billion Budget of the Roads and Transport Department represents 7 % of the Provincial Government Budget of R95.39 billion the Department spends about 17 % of the infrastructure budget.
  • Despite being the smallest province geographically, Gauteng has almost 25 % of Municipal Urban Roads and streets in the country and these roads and streets represent almost 75 % of the roads and streets in Gauteng.
  • The maintenance of all roads in Gauteng is crucial for creating the opportunities for growing the National Economy which is the only hope for reducing unemployment.

The full speech can be obtained here.



Efficient and extensive public transport key to economic freedom for allJustus de Goede DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Transport

Speech by: Justus de Goede MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson Roads and Transport

Efficient and extensive public transportation networks are key to unlocking economic freedom for all in Gauteng, yet this goal continues to remain elusive.

  • The budget does not address a vital element of transport in the province; with three contiguous Metros and inseparable transport links, surely a Transport Authority is an absolute necessity and not a luxury.
  • The state of public transport in our municipalities, in particular the Gauteng Metros, is very concerning; in at least two of them, bus services have been allowed to implode, and in Tshwane, the municipality is about to commit a major traffic planning error around the BRT system, which will have to be reversed at great cost.

The full speech can be obtained here.


Media Enquiries:


Neil Campbell MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC: Roads and Transport
082 387 2540

Graham Gersbach MPL
DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Roads and Transport
060 556 4346


Justus de Goede MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Roads and Transport
060 558 8305