West Rand Financial Recovery hinges on failed officials for its success

The Democratic Alliance has reviewed the draft financial recovery plan proposed by the West Rand District Municipality.

The draft highlights a number of financial failings and key areas of poor governance that has resulted in the municipality finding itself in the perilous state that it is now in.

Chief among these are the complete disregard for the rule of law and financial controls.

The report recommends a number of measures to arrest the malaise that has crept into the administration in the hopes that this will stem the tide on rot that has become firmly entrenched.

This will not be the case as the officials that are primarily to blame for the municipality’s collapse are, according to this report, those who will be responsible for implementing this recovery plan.

The DA is cognisant of these recommendations; however, it is our view that the following steps be taken to restore good governance and accountability to the residents of the municipality:

The Municipal Manager and CFO are to be replaced with competent staff who are able to properly implement the FRDP; The system of delegations must be overhauled; By-Laws must be reviewed and properly promulgated; The Mayoral Committee must be reduced to 5 members to match the number of departments; Section 79 committees be established for Finance and Corporate Governance. Staff complement costs must be reduced to stay within the framework of 25% to 40%; Cost estimates of all key activities must be provided together with the source of the funding, Eg. Provincial Treasury Assistance or Grants; If a loan must be considered, a funding model should form part of this Financial Recovery Plan; Priorities of the FRP should include a) Strategic Leadership – the competence of the Municipal Manager and the Chief Financial Officer, b) Institutional stabilization and c) transformation; All conditions set by Provincial and National Treasury must be included in the document.

Failure to implement the steps listed above will result in this plan becoming just another ineffectual document that has little to no impact on improving the lives of the people of the West Rand.

The DA has submitted its inputs inline with the 7 June 2019 deadline for comments and will gladly assist either the provincial government or the municipality to ensure that this plan gives affect to good governance and changes the fortunes of the residents of the West Rand.

For far too long have residents who reside in non-Metro municipalities been treated with disdain by the ANC.

Myself, Merafong Constituency Head, Ina Cilliers and DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Finance, Adriana Randall MPL, have drafted a report on the failings of ANC district and local municipalities in Gauteng. This report suggests how to move forward to ensure that the people of Gauteng’s “forgotten” communities are afforded the service and dignity that they deserve.

The Ugly truth behind the Gauteng Crime Stats

by Kate Lorimer MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Community Safety

With an increase of 18,3% in sexual assaults, murder up to 4233 over the year (11,56 per day), the highest
rate of taxi murders (110) and the murder of 28 police officials, the crime statistics in Gauteng do not paint a rosy picture.

Gauteng police stations feature prominently in the top 30 stations for a number of crimes ranging from murder (9 stations),
Assault GBH (17 stations), Carjacking (21 stations) residential robbery (15 stations) etc. Some of the most problematic stations being
Jeppe, JHB Central, Ivory Park, Orange Farms, Honeydew and Temba.

The province had 246 cases of mob justice, an ugly and unacceptable indicator that communities are frustrated with the
crime situation and the seeming lack of action by the police.

If the ANC are to even begin to take our crime problem seriously and put the people first, they must do the following:

Ensure access to real-time Crime Statistics to understand the crime problem and plan properly.
Increase the budget spent on the safety of each South African from R 1500 by reducing the amount spent on protecting VIP’s (R9,1million per VIP)
Employ, properly train and resource more police who are truly committed and see policing as a calling rather than a cash cow.
Devolve budgeting down to station level to ensure specific local conditions are catered for.

The ANC’s failure to create an integrated criminal justice system that investigates crime, captures perpetrators, gets them to court
and convicts and sentences criminals consistently is reason enough to choose the DA as an alternative in 2019.

SAPS lags in the identification of women’s bodies lying in mortuaries

by Kate Lorimer MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Community Safety

Of the 47 unidentified female bodies lying in state mortuaries across Gauteng, the majority have not been checked against the list of missing persons by the South African Police Service.

Twelve of these bodies have been lying in mortuaries for over 4 months and a number of those for 9 to 12 months.  The rest are anything from a few days to 4 months.

These figures were revealed in questions asked in the Gauteng Legislature by Gauteng Health MEC, Gwen Ramokgopa.

This means that at least 12 families are unaware that a family member who may have been reported missing to the SAPS, is lying in a mortuary.

It is inexcusable that the SAPS are not doing their job and expediting the identification of bodies through fingerprinting and through comparison with lists of missing persons.

I will be asking further questions of the SAPS to establish whether there is a consolidated list of missing persons in Gauteng or only lists for every station area?

A consolidated list that is updated weekly should be available as missing persons are not always found in the area they went missing.

Not treating these women and their families as a priority denies them their dignity in death.

Community Safety needs a paradigm shift

By Kate Lorimer MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Community Safety

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered during the 2018/2019 Budget Vote for the Department of Community Safety

Madam Speaker, the prospect of change is upon us in Gauteng.  It is time for a paradigm shift in how we do things.  Year after year at budget time, those of us in the opposition benches struggle to think of what to say.  Why?  For two reasons: Firstly because the budget is a fait accompli presented to the various portfolio committees after the fact.  We ask the public to attend meetings and give their input, but it changes nothing.  No department changes its budget after it has been presented to its oversight committee, no matter how valuable or credible the input may be.  This province only approves its annual budget 2 to 3 months after it has already been implemented.  This legislature and the citizens of Gauteng are purely a rubber stamp for a “done deal” presented by the executive and their departments.   In the proverbial sense it closes the stable door after the horse has already bolted.

Secondly, we struggle because nothing ever changes in terms of programmes or strategies or targets or the inevitable blinkered thinking.  Departments don’t seem able to critically evaluate the success and added value of their programmes and targets and then make necessary changes.

Well, next year there will be a change, the ANC will be smaller and sitting on this side of the house and the opposition will be sitting on that side of the house and will be governing Gauteng either in partnership or with a complete majority.  Then, as in the Western Cape, we will ensure that the committee inputs and the budget debates are concluded before the start of the new budget year.  This ensures that only an approved budget is implemented.  Input from committees into the budget process will be encouraged and critically evaluated with a view to including them in the budget before it is presented for approval.

The department of Community Safety will also experience change with a change in government.  More focus will be placed on fewer more meaningful interventions that fulfil the constitutional mandate of the Province to improve community police relations through improving police performance.

There must be a change in attitude towards the issue of missing women and children.  Between April 2017 and May 2018, 472 children under the age of 16 went missing.  Unfortunately 4 were found dead and 32 ranging from 3 years old to 16 years old, have never been found. 32 families have no idea whether their children are alive or dead. Sophiatown, Soshanguve, Benoni and Daveyton are the areas where most children have not been found.  This should form the basis for specialist interventions in these areas.

Between January and October 2017, 597 women were reported missing and only 151 were found.  Where are the other 446 women?  These shocking figures were revealed in an answer to a question.  If they are true they paint an horrific picture of life for women in Gauteng.

All the efforts of the department should be focused on implementing measures that assist the SAPS to do their job better and to ensure that cases of missing women and children are prioritised and publicised and that specialist task teams are created to ensure these cases are properly investigated and shepherded through the court processes to ensure convictions.

In many cases people known to the family, or family members are implicated in missing persons cases.  Often a history of domestic violence has been recorded.  When are the Department of Community Safety going to change the way they think and understand that a manual system of tracking domestic violence cases does not add value?  Until one tracks offenders and victims electronically across police station, cluster and Provincial boundaries, the SAPS will not be able to be truly effective in tracking down potential suspects in missing women cases.

If we do not change how we look after SAPS members, their performance will be affected due to burnout and even fewer cases will be concluded with successful convictions.

A recent question asked in the National Assembly regarding psychological debriefing of SAPS members claims that mandatory Multiple Stressor Interventions are to be offered to all operational members going forward. In Gauteng there is 1 psychologist, 12 psychometrists and 12 Registered counsellors available to conduct debriefing for members.  Bearing in mind there are probably around 26 000 operational SAPS members in Gauteng, this is a laughable figure.  Even when supplemented by another 216 Psychologists through POLMED.

When visiting the FCS unit in Katlehong recently, one of the complaints of the members was that they never received psychological debriefing even though they consistently have to deal with a high volume of extremely violent cases against the most vulnerable of victims.  This is unacceptable.  Investigators cannot work under such conditions and be expected to produce consistent convictions.  This matter should be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Madam Speaker, it seems the SAPS does not know what it is doing as far as Gauteng is concerned.  First we are told Lt. General de Lange has been asked to leave, no reasons given! Rumours then abound that Minister Cele’s friend Mzwandile Petros is to be brought out of retirement and will be the Provincial Commissioner.  Now we hear that General de Lange will remain.  This type of irrational behaviour demotivates SAPS members and destabilises and undermines command. There is clearly a lack of leadership in the top echelons of the SAPS and the Ministry of Police.

So, change should not be made for change’s sake or because it serves a narrow political agenda, but rather because change will bring new opportunities, new ideas, a new vision and a new DA government.

SAPS management is chaotic and undermines command structures

by Kate Lorimer MPL – DA Shadow MEC for Community Safety

The recent debacle of the removal and re-appointment of Gauteng Provincial Police Commissioner, Lt. General Deliwe de Lange shows that the top management of the SAPS and the Ministry of Police are in disarray.

First, we were told Lt. General de Lange had been asked to leave, yet no reasons were given for her removal.

It then unofficially emerged that Minister Bheki Cele’s friend Mzwandile Petros, who was Gauteng Police Commissioner from 2010 to 2013 was to be brought out of retirement to replace Lt. General de Lange.

Now we hear that General de Lange will remain.

This type of irrational behaviour demotivates SAPS members but, more importantly, it destabilises and undermines command and authority of senior officers.

If the ANC is truly serious about addressing the serious crime situation in Gauteng and in South Africa they must get their house in order and act decisively without damaging operational command and control structures.

The people of Gauteng deserve SAPS leadership that inspires confidence and works to keep communities safe. Only a DA-led government can bring the kind of change that Gauteng needs.

DA calls for SAPS management to disclose details of instruction to remove De Lange

by Kate Lorimer MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC on Community Safety

The Democratic Alliance is shocked to learn that Gauteng SAPS Commissioner Lieutenant-General, Deliwe de Lange, has been instructed to leave her post.

This is concerning as the people of Gauteng have not been furnished reasons for the sudden instruction for the Provincial Commissioner to vacate her post two years before her planned retirement.

Gauteng is plagued by crime and we cannot afford a situation where there is a leadership vacuum in SAPS. The people of Gauteng confronted with rising crimes such as cash-in-transit heists, mall robberies, murders and attempted murders.

I am concerned that this move further undermines the stability, and overall effectiveness, of the province’s police service.

Such organizational flux puts the lives and safety of all our people at risk.

I am calling on the MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, to liaise with her counterparts at a national level to appoint a new Commissioner as a matter of urgency, and to ensure that the proper vetting procedures are followed.

Gauteng needs a Police Commissioner who puts the people first and is committed to eradicating corruption at all levels of SAPS.

The people of Gauteng deserve order and safety in their Province. The people of Gauteng deserve the change where the SAPS is well-resourced, equipped, trained and professionally staffed. Only the DA can deliver this kind of change.

DA concerned about Eden Park police station robbery

by Kate Lorimer MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Community Safety

I am shocked to learn that the Eden Park police station was allegedly robbed of firearms last night by a group of unknown men. It is unacceptable that police stations are now becoming targets for criminals.

This shows that there are no checks and balances in place to ensure the safety of our police officers and members of the public who expect a police station to be a safe place.

The theft of firearms means that these are now in the hands of criminals, and will be used to perpetrate further acts of crime.

I will be writing to the Provincial Police Commissioner, Deliwe de Lange to ask if there is CCTV footage available and if there are any CCTV cameras installed at police stations.

Crime in South Africa has reached crisis levels and it would seem that not even police stations are exempt.

Unlike the DA it is clear that the ANC does not have the will to restore order in the country.

Police stations must be provided with the necessary security so that our police officers and the public are kept safe at all times.

SAPS allowing ANC to abuse state resources

by Kate Lorimer MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Community Safety

The ANC in Johannesburg has abused state facilities by holding a meeting with party branding at the Cleveland Police Station, Johannesburg.

This was brought to my attention by DA Councillor Neuren Pieterson and DA MPL Jack Bloom.

Click here, here, here and here for photos.

Police stations are neutral territory and are supposed to be places of safety.

ANC Councillor Allison Roberts, who was the keynote speaker at this event, as well as the Station Commander must be brought to book for this incident.

Yesterday, at the Ward 85 by-election in Florida Park, a SAPS vehicle was spotted delivering food parcels to ANC activists.

Given that the MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane’s attitude that she and the ANC can do as they please with SAPS resources, I will be taking this matter up with Gauteng Premier, David Makhura.

SAPS are supposed to be non-partisan and the blatant abuse of their services by ANC office bearers not only abuses public funds, but also detracts from the mandate of SAPS which is to combat crime.

The DA will not allow this incident to be swept under the carpet.

Only one Gauteng police station has a drug testing kit

by Kate Lorimer MPL – DA Shadow MEC for Community Safety

I am shocked to learn that only one police station in the whole of Gauteng has a drug testing kit.

This was revealed by the MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane in a written reply to questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

The MEC indicated that currently only the Krugersdorp police station has a drug testing kit.

These drug testing kits are important as they help police identify suspects under the influence of narcotics.

Substance abuse, especially the use of drugs by our young people, is a serious problem in our communities.

I will be tabling questions to the MEC for Community Safety to ascertain the following:

  • How many police stations have requested drug testing kits;
  • How long will it take for these drug testing kits to be delivered;
  • How many drug testing kits are made available to each police station that have requested the kits;
  • Where stations have been issued with drug testing kits, what impact has this had on substance abuse in the community?
  • Where members of the community have tested positive for drugs, what assistance has been offered to help these community members?

Communities cannot be held to ransom because police lack the resources that are needed to fight the ongoing battle against drugs.

As the DA we believe that we can only win the fight against drug abuse if we use every tool available at our disposal. Poorly resourced police stations cannot be used as an excuse for why drug dealers still roam our streets.

Premier Makhura ducks Constitutional responsibility

by Lebo More MPL – DA Gauteng Petitions Committee Member

Despite portraying the ANC-led Gauteng Government as a people-centred body, Gauteng Premier David Makhura has shirked his responsibility when dealing with the complaints of Gauteng residents who have petitioned his government for better service delivery.

In reply to DA questions regarding the ANC government’s responsiveness in dealing with petitions, Makhura simply brushed the question aside and indicated that petitions are dealt with by the Gauteng Legislature.

While the Gauteng Legislature receives residents’ petitions, it then re-directs them to the relevant department as well as the Premier’s office.

It is highly unlikely that the Premier does not know anything about the petitions backlog, nor is it likely that he has no idea about what petitions have come past his office and the offices of members of his executive council.

Petitioning government is enshrined in the Constitution and is a mechanism by which residents can hold government accountable. Gauteng has its own Petitions Act which clearly spells out the importance of this tool.

The ANC in Gauteng may hide behind smiling billboards boasting about service delivery, but the truth is that thousands of complaints remain unsolved and there appears to be no appetite to resolve issues.

The DA will question each MEC as to the progress of petitions that have been submitted to them.

Accountability is critical to good governance, something which the ANC is dismissive of.