DSD’s failure to follow proper procurement processes deprives thousands of poor learners of school uniforms

Thousands of underprivileged Gauteng learners will yet again be deprived of access to much-needed school uniforms due to the Gauteng Department of Social Development’s (DSD) failure to follow proper procurement processes.

The department was not honest when it claimed in a recent briefing that the Supply Chain Management tender was suspended due to the Constitutional Court Judgement on Preferential Procurement Processes Regulations, 2017.

However, the judgment was suspended for a period of 12 months, valid till 26 January 2023, allowing departments to continue with the procurement of contracts.

For this reason, the National Department of Social Development successfully secured 12 cooperatives to supply 6151 school uniforms in Gauteng through proper tender processes.

Five years in a row, Gauteng DSD has constantly failed to spend the budget for school uniforms and dignity packs because they cannot resolve the specifications and tenders to cooperatives.

In the previous financial year, 636,119 or 30.2% of dignity packs were distributed compared to the target of 2.1 million dignity packs. 1,463,881 learners did not access dignity packs.

151,797 or 65.4% of school uniform packs were distributed compared to a target of 232,098. This means that 80,301 learners were denied access to school uniforms.

Gauteng DSD must stop shifting the blame for its incompetence and do better to spend the department’s budget to serve our poor and struggling communities.

Learners across the province continue to suffer because this department lacks the political will to ensure learners have access to school uniforms and dignity packs.

The DA demands that the Gauteng MEC of Social Development, Mbali Hlophe, must put urgent processes in place to ensure that contracts are awarded to cooperatives for Gauteng learners to be supplied with uniforms come January 2023.

The DA will continue to fight and expose this department’s incompetency to ensure our children’s dignity is restored through the provision of dignity packs and school uniforms.

An alarming increase in child murders is a grave concern as a woman allegedly burns her new-born baby

The alarming increase in child murder cases across the country is a clear indication that the lives of children are in danger, yet the South African Police Service (SAPS) is ill-equipped, untrained, under-resourced and failing to ensure the safety of the children.

In a recent incident that was reported to the Democratic Alliance (DA) Councillor, Mariana Kruger, a woman in Vaal was allegedly caught red-handed, burning her newborn baby girl.

The local leader was allegedly caught by a recycler at the Tshepiso Smartising Dumping site and has since been arrested and charged with murder.

South Africa has a scourge of gender-based violence, and in most cases, the victims are innocent children.

The DA proposes that the Gauteng Department of Social Development prioritises reviving awareness campaigns on gender-based violence and child abuse to save our children.

In addition, rising unemployment and increase in food prices and cost of living are concerns as families can no longer afford to put food on the table, and children are now suffering due to starvation. Many families are relying more on the government for support.

Therefore, it is unacceptable that the Gauteng Department of Social Development constantly fails to spend its budget on poverty alleviation programmes. In the 2021/22 financial year, the department failed to spend R122 million, which could have been used to provide support to struggling families.

The safety and future of children are of utmost importance to the DA, and we will continue to fight to ensure that they are protected. The DA demands that the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Mbali Hlophe, must speed up the process of placing children into foster care and adoption to ensure their safety.

A capable DA-led Gauteng government will ensure that this department spends its entire allocated budget to benefit the province’s most vulnerable people. This will ensure that all our children are protected as residents will have access to social welfare services that will assist them in raising their children. We will also ensure that children are not denied their right to a caring home, as we will also reduce the backlog in foster care placement and adoption.

DA petitions DSD against the new NPO funding model

The Gauteng Department of Social Development’s (DSD) new Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) funding model will result in more suffering for thousands of needy people in the province, hence the DA is petitioning the department against the new funding model.

This new NPO funding model will also result in job losses, with many NPOs being forced to shut down because they are solely dependent on the department for funding.

Furthermore, this is an incompetent department that has constantly failed to spend its entire budget and achieve all its targets and will not be able to execute the mandate of the NPOs.

The department has indicated that it is reducing the NPOs funding and initiating an institutional realignment strategy with a focus on “building state capacity”.

This is unacceptable as it is designed to take over the function and roles of the NPOs sector in what can only be described as a socialist attempt to control social development and take control of the funding that comes from the National Treasury.

Furthermore, the department clearly stated that funding will not be historical and general, but rather be informed by the current priorities of the department.

This means that the funding of NPOs for the 2023/24 financial year will only be considered because their programmes are aligned with the department’s identified needs and according to the Institutional Review Project. However, the department is not providing clarity about the Institutional Review Project and what it means for the NPO sector.

There will be no adoption and no new foster care services that will be funded for the NPOs in the 2023/24 financial year. In addition, the indicators that were allocated only to NPOs will now be shared between the government and NPOs and in some instances will only be allocated to the government.

The DA will not allow this current government to destroy the lives of the needy by shutting down the NPOs. We will continue to fight to ensure that the new Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Mbali Hlophe, reconsider the effects of the decision made by the previous MEC Morokane Mosupyoe as it will have a huge negative impact on the needy people of this province who are dependent on NPOs for survival.

We call all the Gauteng residents to sign our petition to force the department to scrap the new NPO funding model.

We call all the Gauteng residents to sign our petition to force the department to scrap the new NPO funding model. To sign the petition please click here.

MEC Hlophe must urgently fix shoddy work at the Women’s Living Heritage Monument

As we celebrate Women’s Month, it is sad that the Women’s Living Heritage Monument in Tshwane is still not fully operational.

This Women’s Living Heritage Monument was erected to honour and commemorate our women who have played a pivotal role in the struggle against apartheid.

This state-of-the-art monument that cost over R200 million was completed in 2018 and almost R80 million has been spent on getting this facility operational.

To date, this monument continues to be non-operational due to shoddy work.

The DA conducted an oversight inspection at the monument and was shocked to discover that the roof is leaking, the lifts are not working, and the fire hydrants are not working.

See pictures here and here

The internal offices meant for the City of Tshwane are small and are not a conducive working environment.

Furthermore, we discovered that the statues of our nation’s female heroines were hidden in the kitchen and are not being used to teach the youth and tourists about our history.

This monument is not serving its purpose and its high time that the MEC of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR), Mbali Hlophe fix the shoddy work which is hindering this building from getting its occupational certificate.

We demand the MEC Hlophe prioritises fixing the shoddy work and ensures that an occupational certificate is obtained as soon as possible. This monument has huge potential to grow the local economy and create employment opportunities in the tourism sector.

MEC Hlophe neglects the skateboarding community

There are very few skateboarding facilities around the province where skateboarders can foster and hone their skills. Most of the places that exist are built and maintained by the skateboarding community themselves with no assistance from the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation.

The Gauteng Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture (SRAC) convened a meeting at the Johannesburg Stadium recently, along with Roller Sport South Africa and the Gauteng Sports Confederation to outline the department’s interest in developing and growing skateboarding in the province.

Those in attendance, representing skateboarding communities from every part of the province, were told that MEC Mbali Hlophe, was eager to grow and develop skateboarding in Gauteng as it is now an Olympic sport.

However, a written reply by the MEC in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature completely contradicts what was told to skateboarders in this meeting.

In her reply, the MEC states that skateboarding is not one of the recognised sporting codes supported by the department.

Individuals who participate in sporting competitions outside of the 16 recognised codes may apply for financial assistance, however, the department does not actively promote skateboarding.

The MEC further indicates that the department does not know how many public skateboarding facilities there are in the province – bizarrely stating that this is the responsibility of municipalities.

She also indicates that the department will not assist in building any public skateparks in Gauteng.

To give participants of this already maligned sport false hope is worse than giving no hope at all.

The DA will press the MEC to provide tangible plans and timeframes on what the department intends to do to grow skateboarding in the province. The skateboarding community is being led by the nose by a less than honest Gauteng government and does not deserve to be fed more empty promises.

MEC Hlophe spends R7 million on a three-hour celebratory event while Gauteng athletes and artist’s struggle

Many Gauteng artists and athletes have lost their livelihoods and have been forced into unemployment because of the Covid-19 lockdown, yet the Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR), Mbali Hlophe spent R7 million on a three-hour Gauteng Sports Awards event.

The DA has been reliably informed that the department has spent R7 million on the 2021 Gauteng Sports Awards despite the DA cautioning the department on excessive spending on this annual event. There was nothing spectacular about this event as guests were served a three-course meal with a soft drink or juice and only three renowned artists performed at the event.

The money spent on the Gauteng Sports Awards could have been used to provide the Covid-19 relief grant to 1166 athletes and artists at a rate of R6000 each.

For far too long, the DA has been calling on the department to reprioritize its budget to ensure that the money is allocated to render services to our people instead of wasting money on celebratory events.

In the 2019/2020 financial year, the department spent R9,494,000,00 on the Gauteng Sports Awards and, since the 2012/2013 financial year to the 2020/2021 financial year, it has spent over R61 million on this annual event. This ridiculous excessive spending by the department is unacceptable because we still have libraries across the province that do not have access to reliable internet. This money could have been used for service delivery and not for a one-day event.

While the DA supports the honouring of our athletes as it motivates them and inspires our youth to take part in sports, we do not agree with excessive spending on this annual event considering the suffering of residents during this time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This event can be held at any one of the many government venues or community stadiums available instead of paying for expensive venues and wasting money on food and beverages. The department can also hire local artists to perform to showcase their talents instead of hiring renowned artists.

The DA will not hesitate to hold MEC Hlophe to account for the department funds to be allocated according to priorities and for the benefit of all our residents, not a few individuals who have access to the department tenders. We also demand a breakdown of how R7 million was spent on this event considering that it was an in-door event and there is a limitation in terms of the number of people who can attend such events due to Covid-19 regulations.

Gauteng artists and athletes’ livelihoods ruined while MEC Hlophe wastes R105k on corporate gifts

 Instead of providing much-needed grants to artists and athletes who lost their livelihoods and were forced into unemployment during the Covid-19 lockdown, the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR) has increased its expenditure on corporate gifts by 1804% in the 2020/21 financial year. 

There are still many artists and athletes in the province who are struggling to make ends meet and the utter lack of consideration and sympathy by this department in terms of priorities is unacceptable. 

 This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Mbali Hlophe in a written reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to MEC Hlophe, the department has spent R105 725.00 on corporate gifts for the 2020/21 financial year, 19 times more than the R5553.00 spent in the 2018/19 financial year. 

Since the 2015/16 financial year, the department has only spent R5553.00 during 2018/19 and R105 725.00 during 2020/21, while there was no money spent in other financial years. In total, the department has spent R111 278.00 for the past six financial years.

This money spent on corporate gifts in the 2020/21 financial year could have been used to pay 17 athletes and artists R6000 each as part of the Covid-19 relief grant. It could have gone a long way to ease the pressure off artists and athletes during these trying time as the industry has been severely affected by the lockdown restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

While we understand the importance of corporate gifts, however, considering the social and economic impact of Covid-19, the department should not have overspent on corporate gifts and considering the suffering of residents during this time, the money should have been channeled in accordance with the department’s core mandate. 

The DA will not hesitate to hold MEC Hlophe to account for department funds to be allocated according to priorities. 

 It is high time that taxpayers’ money is spent wisely to benefit our people who are in dire need of financial support.



DA calls for a forensic investigation into MEC Hlophe’s R2,5 million DSTV Delicious International Food and Music Festival

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is not surprised to learn that the Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Mbali Hlophe is alleged to have directly influenced the department to spend R2,5 million on the DStv Delicious International Food and Music Festival.

The DA has been reliably informed that the DStv Delicious International Food and Music Festival was not budgeted for nor was it part of the department’s programme.

It is alleged that MEC Hlophe brokered the deal and directly negotiated with DStv. The meeting was supposedly held at a certain Sandton restaurant, with the owner of the restaurant also offered a tender to provide catering services without following proper procurement processes.

It is also alleged that the initial budgeting cost for the festival was R2 million and the R500 000 was only paid a night before the festival. The procurement was handled directly by the MEC and her office.

Furthermore, it is also alleged that the Future Thinkers is not an agency for DStv and that they were directly appointed on the MEC’s recommendations.

The DA tabled oral questions to Hlophe in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) with regards to the R2,5 million wasted on this festival, however, the MEC stated that it was a partnership between the department and the DStv Delicious International Food and Music Festival.

This raised suspicions and disappointment in that the MEC prioritized wining and dining while communities are in dire need of proper sporting facilities and equipment.

We call on Gauteng Premier, David Makhura to initiate an urgent forensic investigation into this partnership between the department and the DStv Delicious International Food and Music Festival.

The DA will also table questions in the GPL to ascertain whether this festival was part of the department’s programme and was budgeted for, to ascertain whether proper procurement processes were followed and whether the MEC and her office had direct influence in this regard.

Should it be found that Hlophe and her office are implicated and that proper procurement processes were compromised, they should be dealt with accordingly and those involved should pay back the money to the department.

It has now become a norm for ANC political heads to abuse their powers to solicit tenders to their cadres, friends, and relatives at the expense of the public funds.

MEC Hlophe spends millions on virtual events yet fails to deliver Covid-19 relief funding to Gauteng athletes and artists

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng notes with great concern that the Gauteng athletes and artists who applied for financial assistance from the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR) as part of the relief fund have not yet received these funds.

There have been unnecessary delays and excuses with regards to when these funds will be allocated to the rightful beneficiaries.

The applications for relief funding were opened on June 2020 and were closed on 26 June 2020 and the payment process was supposed to have begun in July 2020.

In October last year the department sent SMSs to all Gauteng Relief Fund applicants apologising to the applicants for the delays in processing their applications. The department also stated that the outcome of the Gauteng Relief Fund was in the audit phase.

The SMS also stated that the relief funding was supposed to be released on 30 September 2020 and will now be released by no later than 30 October 2020.

It is now 11 months of the national lockdown and thousands of Gauteng athletes and artists are still awaiting relief funding yet the Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR), Mbali Hlophe continues to spend millions on virtual celebratory events.

MEC Hlophe spent R429 985,00 on a Human Rights Day virtual programme and continues to spend on many virtual programmes yet she fails to provide relief funding to financially struggling Gauteng athletes and artists.

The DA calls on Premier David Makhura to initiate an urgent investigation to ascertain why there have been delays in processing these funds.

MEC Hlophe should be held accountable for these delays and should it be found that there is any element of corruption or officials are simply not doing their work then the Premier must hold the MEC accountable.

In addition, an urgent plan must be devised to ensure that these athletes and artists who have applied for relief funding are paid without delay.

Past experience has shown that where there are delays such as these, there is a corrupt element involved.

DA calls on MEC Hlophe to recover R480 000 spent on installation of low-quality burglar bars on only 15 windows at the Gauteng Archives Centre

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng notes the response by the Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR), Mbali Hlophe on the corruption exposed by the DA where R480 000 was spent on the installation of low-quality burglar bars on only 15 windows at the Gauteng Archives centre.

The MEC states that preliminary investigations have revealed that there was a parallel procurement of the service that was initiated over an existing contract with the main service provider at the time.

MEC Hlophe states that the officials that were found guilty of the illegal procurement and installation of surveillance cameras are also signatories to the payment of these exorbitant window prices. Some of these officials implicated in the window corruption scandal have been dismissed and others have resigned following the receipt of their suspension letters.

The department has engaged with law enforcement agencies for criminal charges to be laid against those implicated.

We will closely monitor the progress of this case to ensure that those implicated in corruption and criminality in stealing taxpayer’s money pay back every cent looted and face the might of the law.

The DA is concerned about MEC Hlophe’s lack of oversight of this department.

If the DA did not expose the rot in this department, such actions, and pronouncements by the MEC would not have happened.

We will write to the Gauteng Premier, David Makhura to raise our concern about a lack of focused oversight by the members of his executive who consistently fail to execute their oversight responsibilities in terms of the running of their departments.