GDID fails to meet job creation targets, while unemployment rate continues to increase

The Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development and Property Management (GDID) is constantly failing our residents by not meeting the job creation targets set and failing to complete much-needed infrastructure projects, while the unemployment rate continues to rise.

Every year, GDID commits to creating thousands of employment opportunities for our unemployed residents, yet they fail to deliver.

For the second quarter of the 2022/2023 financial year, GDID set a target of creating 10 642 employment opportunities but only created 3 640 as part of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

This is very concerning, as the construction industry is a key driver of employment opportunities and is pivotal to ensuring that our economy grows.

While the EPWP programme only provides temporary employment however it provides critical skills that are needed to find long-term employment, which assists in alleviating poverty.

In addition, more needs to be done to assist SMMEs in training areas of finance, completing tender documents and general administration.

The DA will directly engage with the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development and Property Management MEC, Lebogang Maile, to ascertain what measures is his department putting in place to ensure that they met all EPWP targets and complete the infrastructure projects within the stipulated timelines.

Furthermore, the DA is demanding that MEC Maile urgently outline plans to ensure that there are no delays in awarding of tenders. The department must also outline clearly how they will ensure that SMMEs are paid within seven days of receiving invoices.

Not only does this have a negative impact on the employment opportunities that can be created but also disadvantages our residents who are in dire need of public facilities.

The people of Gauteng deserve a government that is committed to creating employment opportunities, growing the economy, and making sure that there are sufficient public facilities like schools, clinics and hospitals.

R12m Sedibeng Municipality grant remains unspent, yet thousands of residents do not have title deeds

R12 million Sedibeng District Municipality grant meant for the transferring of the title deeds to the rightful beneficiaries in Sebokeng Extension 12 (Kanana), Johandeo, Evaton and Sicela remain unspent, yet residents are in desperate need of their title deeds.

It is unacceptable that residents continue to suffer without any document to prove that they own the houses. The rightful beneficiaries are being denied the security of tenure by the municipality.

This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Lebogang Maile, in a written reply to the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to MEC Maile, the municipality received R13 132 800 in the 2014/15 financial year and only spent R862 375. This money was spent on paying the service provider for transferring 884 title deeds.

MEC Maile states that the unspent grant was never sent back to the National Treasury and the money still reflects as an unspent conditional grant in the financial records of the municipality.

The DA demands that MEC Maile must engage with Sedibeng District Municipality to ensure that the R12 million unspent grant is used to ensure the transfer of title deeds to the thousands of residents who have long been waiting for the title deeds. We also demand to know why the money has been unspent, yet the residents are in dire need of title needs.

The DA will continue to put pressure on the department to ensure that all the rightful beneficiaries are issued title deeds so that they will have full ownership of their houses.

Hundreds of Protea South residents face eviction threats, yet there is no guarantee that they will be allocated housing

Hundreds of Protea South residents in Lenasia who have been residing in the area for decades are now facing eviction threats from the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements without any guarantee that they will be allocated housing.

It is unacceptable for the department to evict people without providing alternative accommodation as these people have nowhere to go.

Today, the DA held a public meeting with the concerned residents of Ward 10, Protea South who are living in fear of being evicted. According to the frustrated residents, in 2006, there was a resolution by the City of Joburg which confirmed that parts of the land in Protea South are dolomite and that the residents will be migrated to Roodepoort farm.

They also claim that in 2014 there was a court ruling that confirmed that the land in Protea South is not at high risk of dolomite and the resident can continue to build and live on it.

The residents are concerned that pressure is looming for them to be evicted, yet there have been delays in building houses for them at the Roodepoort farm.

Furthermore, they claim that there is an R60 million budget that was allocated for the Upgrading of Informal Settlement Program (UISP) which is meant to improve the lives of informal settlements residents.

The DA demands answers from the Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Lebogang Maile, on why the department is continuing with the evictions despite a court ruling.

While we acknowledge that dolomite is a life-threatening mineral and property risk, we suspect that this current government is using it as an excuse to gain access to the state coffers to enrich themselves. There is also a government building that will be constructed on the same land where people will be evicted, and we also demand to know who will benefit from this project.

The DA is not against protecting our residents from the risk of dolomite and other natural disasters; however, we are against the current government using service delivery issues as a cash cow.

We have engaged the residents of Protea South and have agreed to jointly go to the office of MEC Maile to seek answers patterning to the future of these residents. The DA will continue to stop the current government from benefiting at the expense of our residents who are in desperate need of dignified housing.

Come 2024, when the DA is voted into power, we will build adequate housing and provide Gauteng residents with title deeds.

Maile has no plans to support municipalities to procure electricity from IPPs

Our residents are once again suffering through another round of load-shedding simply because the State-Owned Entity (SOE) Eskom is just not up to the task of providing a regular supply of electricity to the country.

In addition, it is very worrying that the Gauteng Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) has no intention of assisting municipalities in the province to procure electricity from Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

This information was revealed to me in a reply to my written questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) to the MEC for COGTA, Lebogang Maile. According to the MEC, the department will not be providing any support to municipalities as Section 154 of the Constitution makes provision for municipalities to do this on their own.

However, given the current state of our municipalities especially the local and district municipalities, it would be prudent for MEC Maile, to provide any assistance they may need to procure additional electricity that will at least provide some protection from load shedding.

Procuring electricity from IPPs is of vital importance, especially since the MEC for Economic Development, Parks Tau admitted that around 122 500 jobs have been lost in this province to the continued load-shedding.

The DA is demanding that MEC Maile together with other municipalities follow the lead taken by the City of Johannesburg Mayor, Mpho Phalatse in holding an energy summit. This is crucial if we want our struggling municipalities like Emfuleni and Merafong to become financially more secure as a continued supply of electricity is crucial to keep the wheels of any economy turning.

Legal action not taken against officials implicated in ‘jobs for pals’ scandal in Emfuleni

The Emfuleni Local Municipality has misled the Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Lebogang Maile about taking legal action following allegations of the irregular extension of political appointees’ contracts in the Mayor, Chief whip, and council speaker offices.

These appointments were made weeks before the local government elections which the DA objected to and requested MEC Maile to investigate the matter. These political appointments were illegal as the officials were linked to the previous administration’s political term.

The DA has been informed by MEC Maile in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature that the investigation into the matter was never carried out because Emfuleni had taken legal steps to remedy the situation. The Emfuleni Mayor indicated that the council has resolved to approach the labour court to adjudicate the disputes over contracts of the staff in the political offices which were extended before the end of the previous political term of office.

Emfuleni has provided misleading information to MEC Maile as the suspension of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) was the only matter that was tabled in council and referred to the labour court.

The DA has been reliably informed that the CFO was suspended for among other reasons, extending the contracts of the officials’ weeks before the local general elections. However, the suspended CFO is alleging that he was following orders from the former mayor and former chief whip as he was the acting municipal manager at that stage.

The DA demands that MEC Maile initiate an urgent investigation into this matter to ascertain whether the issue of extending contracts of political appointees was referred to the labour court. Should it be found that Emfuleni misled the MEC those responsible should face severe consequences.

Giving jobs to pals is clear corruption and flouts all ethical practices within any organization hence consequence management must take place.

People suffer as Maile is distracted by the election battle

MEC Lebogang Maile’s Gauteng Department of Human Settlements has once again failed dismally to meet any of its housing services targets because he is distracted by the Gauteng ANC’s election battle.

Gauteng residents who are in desperate need of dignified housing and services continue to be exposed to terrible living conditions, yet MEC Maile who is supposed to deliver services has prioritised his political future.

Instead of focusing on ensuring that Gauteng residents have access to dignified housing and the upgrading of informal settlements, Maile has totally neglected his duties as the MEC for Human Settlements and COGTA.

This is evident through the department’s third quarter report for the 2021/22 financial year.

According to the department’s third quarter report for the 2021/22 financial year, the following targets were not met:

  • Zero townships were formalised against a target of 18
  • Zero serviced stands were procured from the private sector against a target of 1,000
  • Zero hostels’ projects were approved against a target of five
  • Zero hostels where construction was taking place against a target of seven
  • Zero family units were completed in hostel redevelopment projects against a target of 180
  • Zero informal settlements received interim support services against a target of 60
  • Zero informal settlements received phase two upgrading against a target of 15
  • Zero approved upgrading plans of individual informal settlements against a target of 20
  • Zero top structures were completed against a target of 70
  • Zero property transfers were completed against a target of 90%

Failure by this department to meet the above critical targets is concerning as there has been no progress on these targets since the beginning of the year.

This is a significant blow for hostel dwellers, informal settlements and township residents and is likely to raise social risks that could further see situations like the last year’s July unrest.

The DA demands that Premier Makhura must intervene as a matter of urgency and whip MEC Maile into line to ensure that his department delivers on its core mandate to the residents of Gauteng.

For far too long, MEC Maile has been given free reign at the expense of taxpayers’ money; it is high time that MEC Maile delivers what he is paid for. His attitude towards his work has resulted in his accounting officers doing as they please as they follow in his footsteps.

We also demand that Premier Makhura must set in motion a workable and implementable turnaround strategy together with timelines for holding this department to account.

The DA will continue to fight for the Gauteng residents to access housing services and dignified housing and for MEC Maile to be held to account.

MEC Maile succumbs to DA pressure to investigate the illegal extension of employment contracts for Emfuleni political staff

Following the public criticism of the Emfuleni Local Municipality by various stakeholders for advertising several political support office positions two weeks before the Local Government Elections, which were later withdrawn, there are now allegations that the process continued in secret and political staff members had their contracts extended before the elections.

There are allegations that those advertised positions were extended before the elections and raises great concern, considering that is illegal. The standard legal procedure requires the Emfuleni Local Municipality Human Resources Department to advertise the post after the election of the new administration which entails the Mayor, Speaker, and Chief Whip.

Failure by Emfuleni to follow the legal standards of employment recruitments indicates that the ANC wanted to secure jobs for their pals considering the nature these positions are party affiliated.

In response to my oral questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, virtual sitting, the Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Lebogang Maile stated that they treat these allegations seriously, and that they will investigate the matter to get to the bottom of the facts and accordingly ensure that the applicable legislation is followed to the latter.

He further highlighted that there is a new Mayor, Speaker, and Chief Whip in Emfuleni and there was no response readily available on the matter.

While we welcome that these allegations will be investigated, we will continue monitoring the recruitment processes in Emfuleni, as there are new political leaders to ensure that standard recruitment procedures are followed.

Emfuleni is where it is today because of cadre deployment. It is high time that the new ANC-led administration focuses on restoring service delivery and using municipality coffers wisely for the benefits of its residents instead of lining their cronies’ pockets.

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.

Tshwane judgement: Open letter to Premier Makhura

The Constitutional Court ruling delivered on Monday was a damning indictment on the petty political games that COGTA MEC Lebogang Maile was playing at the expense of the residents of Tshwane.

We call for the immediate suspension or firing of MEC Maile for putting the continuing DA service delivery to residents at risk in a poorly veiled attempt to discredit the DA and the work it was doing to uplift and improve the lives of people in Tshwane.

Before ANC administrators took over, DA-led Tshwane had a surplus of R297 million in the bank. By the time the administrators were removed we inherited a budget deficit of over R4 billion.

This cannot be allowed to be swept under the carpet like so many other attempts to sabotage the DA as it goes about fixing what the ANC broke. We say that the time for games is over, and those who think otherwise should find a career where their failures do not impact the lives of the most vulnerable.

Acting Justice Rammoka Mathopo’s judgement is very clear:

“This leads me to one conclusion: the provincial government misconstrued its powers and failed to apply itself to the issues faced by the municipality. It is clear to me that the dissolution decision should be set aside and that the municipality should be allowed to do its job. The dissolution decision falls to be set aside on the basis of offending the principles of lawfulness.”

Please allow the DA to do its job. Fire MEC Maile.

Hostel and informal settlements residents are forced to continue to live in appalling conditions due to MEC Maile’s department incompetence

Residents of the Madala hostel in Alexandra continue to live in appalling and inhumane conditions where the hostel structure has deteriorated into more disrepair, while the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements is consistently failing to meet its quarterly target of converting hostels into family units, approving of hostel projects plans, and providing interim service support to informal settlements.

The living conditions at hostels and informal settlements across the province are unsanitary and not suitable for human habitation.

There are inadequate or no drainage systems with no proper sanitation, leading to regular sewer blockages and resulting in raw sewerage flowing all over the place right outside where people live. There is also no regular refuse removal, with piles of uncollected refuse and litter creating a very dangerous health hazard for residents, while many parts of the informal settlements continue to go without electricity.

The department’s failure to meet its quarterly targets was revealed in the first quarterly report for the 2021/22 financial year.

The department failed to meet any of its targets set to convert three hostels into family units, phase two upgrading of five informal settlements, while 10 informal settlements did not receive National Support Programme assessments.

This indicates that no work was done for the hostels and informal settlements residents during the quarter under review.

They also failed to achieve its target of approving five hostel project plans with only two approved. Furthermore, they did not achieve its planned target of formalisation of 55 townships.

For the past years, Human Settlements has never achieved all of its set targets and has failed to spend on its allocated budget, which indicates that there is an urgent need for a complete overhaul of this department.

This is a clear indication that the current government has failed to provide dignified housing for our people and the only solution is to vote for change by putting the DA in power. The DA-led Gauteng government will provide a workable and implementable plan to run an efficient and effective department.

Strict timelines and penalties to contractors who fail to meet the deadlines will be implemented as well as consequence management for officials to ensure accountability, diligence, and commitment to the core mandate of the department.

The DA will continue to provide alternatives and solutions to resolve issues faced by this department and ensure that the living conditions of our people are improved. We will also continue to hound MEC Maile to ensure that there is operational accountability to better the lives of our people who are in desperate need of dignified housing and environment, so that delivery from this department can actually improve and residents can finally be provided what they deserve.

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