Gauteng residents need a government that will invest in infrastructure projects to improve service delivery

In the DA’s Vision, the government enables an economy that creates jobs, elevates people out of poverty and provides opportunity for all South Africans. A government can do this by investing heavily in infrastructure projects that improve service delivery, thereby uplifting the lives of our people through better schools, better health services and better transport systems.  

That’s why WesGro in the Western Cape has succeeded in raising more than R5billion in foreign direct investment through which 3000 new jobs were secured, far exceeding its targets.  

But if we compare this performance to that of the GIFA, the funding agency that is kept alive by part of budget vote 14, you can only but feel disappointed.  

Each year, the GIFA provides a list of its projects. Some disappear from one year to the next. Some projects re-appear a year or two later. Very seldom do projects reach the point where construction work begins, bringing hope of jobs and more capacity for service delivery. 

In our quarterly and annual reports, not only do we see missed targets but also losses like R4.69m due to fruitless and wasteful expenditure.  

The wage bill of this entity has skyrocketed and increased by R4 059 000 to R30 625 000.  

The Finance Committee recently engaged with clients of the agency. We heard about delays upon delays and the supportive voices could point out R5-6 million of sponsorship of feasibility studies here and there and the tabling of the odd spreadsheet every now and again.  

My impression was that those clients were grateful for the money, believing at some stage that there would be public-private partnerships that would give the headache of infrastructure financing and construction to someone else. But very little has been seen of these much-anticipated partnerships. GIFA ascribes this failure to “lack of appetite in the market”.   

Thus, they invariably turn to DBSA. Colleagues, the client departments could have just picked up the phone to DBSA themselves. Frankly, the GIFA’s resources could be better applied elsewhere.  

But where Gauteng fails Western Cape succeeds. I strongly urge that we follow their example and see that our people get jobs, better schools, health facilities, roads and housing.  

I thank you.  

GPL Speaker rules failure of health services, water and electricity supply not urgent

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) is dismayed that the Speaker of the Legislature, Ntombi Lentheng Mekgwe has used a trivial technicality to prevent two urgent DA debates, one on the water and electricity crisis in the province, and a second debate on the failure of the provincial government to reopen the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg. Evidently, the Speaker deems that the suffering of people denied health services, water and electricity to be not urgent. This is bizarre in view of the raging Covid pandemic and the bitterly cold weather.

The first debate, proposed by DA MPL, Nico de Jager, and if agreed to by the GPL, would see the provincial government call on national government to declare all substations, electrical water reservoirs and water towers across the province as national key points. This move would allow municipalities to isolate electricity supply to electrical water reservoirs and water towers to ensure they are protected from load shedding and prevent further breakdowns that result in days-long water outages. Residents are already subjected to constant Eskom rolling blackouts, on top of unplanned power outages due to ageing and unmaintained infrastructure, but with such a move by the provincial government, the water supply would be stabilized, and residents would be able to maintain personal hygiene, especially during the Covid-19 third wave.

The second debate, proposed by DA MPL Jack Bloom, is on the failure of the provincial government to reopen the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital since its closure on the 16th April. Since then, cancer patients needing chemotherapy and radio therapy have gone without much-needed treatment, or had to struggle seeking treatment from neighbouring hospitals. Kidney patients requiring dialysis have also found themselves without any help. The failure of the provincial government to reopen Charlotte Maxeke has put a severe strain on the province’s efforts to combat the third wave of Covid-19, as the ICU beds in Charlotte Maxeke have still not been made available.

Agreeing to our first debate would get the province one step closer to ensuring a stable water supply to hospitals like Charlotte Maxeke and Rahima Moosa, where shortages were experienced just this past week and patients forced to used half a litre of water to wash and drink.

However, instead of allowing these two critical debates to go ahead, the Speaker cited a trivial technical rule, of which she has the power to overrule, and further stating that it would not be healthy for the GPL to remain in session for so many hours due to Covid-19.

The Speaker’s reasons are selfish and shortsighted. Residents of Gauteng are subjected to water and electrical outages that last up to a week. Extending today’s sitting of the GPL for a few more hours would not cause harm to anyone, especially considering we are conducting the day’s business through a hybrid model, with social distancing and health protocols followed in the House, while other Members are connected virtually from their homes.

Even then, if there was such a concern for safety, the Speaker could declare the debates to go ahead on a fully virtual sitting of the House later today.

The residents of Gauteng are suffering constant electricity outages with municipalities battling to keep up with the breakdowns caused by Eskom load shedding. It is time that the ANC in the GPL stop acting so selfish in their duties, wake up, and realise the true situation on the ground. They have the means to change the situation.

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Whatever happened to government for the people?

Madam Speaker

I predict that future generations will read about the e-Tolls saga and wonder why leaders in public office saw fit to curse the people of the country’s most wealthy province for so long with a scheme that carried great cost with so little benefit.

The apologists for e-Tolls will shout out an indignant response saying, “What about the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP)?”. But they are either confused or dishonest. The GFIP does not equal e-Tolls. There were certainly other ways to finance the GFIP, such as 10 cents per litre portion of the fuel levy, where the roads would have been paid off ages ago.

Whatever happened to “government for the people?” The truth is, the people of Gauteng do not want e-Tolls.

If you look at SANRAL’s annual reports, you will see that ETC, the collection agency for e-Tolls, is only able to collect 22% of the budget income for the tolling system. That means 78% of the road users refuse to pay. Again I say, the people of Gauteng do not want e-Tolls.

In the same reports you will see that the amount of money paid via e-Tolls in 2019 was R688m. In 2020, this had declined to R660m.

Elsewhere in the reports, the Costs of Admin shows that about R570m per years goes towards collection – in other words, this ends up not going pay off the road but straight to ETC, the collection agency. If you do the math, this means that the cost of collection is 84%. Whereas cost of collection of fuel levy would have been zero – lutho – dololo- niks. What language must I use so that the Minister of Finance can understand?

So how do you explain why this ANC government persists on using a scheme whereby only 16% of the money collected goes to paying off the roads when another method would ensure 100% paid is used to repay the costs?

There is only one explanation that would make any logical sense: there must be a financial reward gained by a decision maker(s) in government in order to keep the contract going. There is a word for this. It’s corruption. There is nothing else that can explain the mad determination to keep e-Tolls going, particularly after ETC’s contract ended, only to be extended again and again.

Mr Premier, thank you for supporting us. But it is the outcome that counts. In this respect, your posturing, specifically in election years, counts for nothing. The e-Tolls are still with us.

Another rise in xenophobic sentiment and violence demands a response now

The video clips are disgusting.

A security camera across the street from the bus stop captures yet another senseless hateful act of xenophobia. An 84-year-old Chinese woman who was sitting, waiting patiently for a bus is knocked to the pavement with a flying kick from a young man. In another incident, a 65-year-old Filipino woman is kicked in the stomach by a passer-by and repeatedly stomped in the head, as she lies defenceless on the pavement.

The videos are identified as recorded somewhere in the United States. There has been a reported upsurge in random unprovoked attacks on Asian-Americans. Indeed, there are many of such clips circulating on social media.

This begs the question, “Why?”

There does not seem to be any easy answers.

Social scientists would point to the increasing anger among jobless communities and a belief that somehow China’s emergence as a global economic giant has created the impression somehow that “these people” are to blame.  This is not an acceptable justification, but it might serve as an insight into the thinking of those who perpetuate such hate. Not only is this reasoning not supported by facts, the reaction to the “problem” cannot add a single job to the American economy so nothing is achieved, except for a rise in fear and conflict and with it, the greater likelihood of more unemployment.

But how could the attackers have reached their irrational conclusions? We do not know for certain, but surely the recklessness of some in the “Make America Great Again” camp, explain the violent nature of the anger?

Donald Trump’s insistence on repeatedly referring to Covid as the ‘China Virus’ and ‘Kung Flu’ was intended to deflect accountability away from his own failure to respond appropriately to the global pandemic and redirect it towards an external “threat”. This is an age-old political trick, ably defined in Anne Appelbaum’s book, “Twilight of democracy”. We are seeing the consequences of his words.

In Appelbaum’s book, she unpacks the rise of right-wing leaders in a range of countries on the back of anti-foreign rhetoric. When these leaders start to fail, the viciousness of the rhetoric rises both in tone and substance. There is only one objective: whip up anger of potential supporters, and turn an opponent into an enemy in order to secure sufficient votes to stay in power, despite the failures of the government under that leader.

In such societies there is an increased resort to caricature, even in less obvious ways. In America, not only have Republicans resorted to Sinophobia, their number one news outlet, Fox News has had the habit of referring to the former President as Barack Hussein Obama. But they never refer to the Republican Senator as Rafael Edward Cruz. Go figure.

Could it happen here?

I doubt that anyone would contest that South Africa is prone to xenophobia. The outbreak of violence in 2008 is clear evidence. The sporadic incidents throughout the years since then indicates that it lies just under the surface and has never gone away.

Like America, there are leaders that have no qualms against using rhetoric to inflame emotions. Regrettably, they achieve notoriety and success because media rewards them with attention and people reward them with votes. But their recklessness is harmful, to say the least. After all, if Mr Malema says, “cut the throat of whiteness” then it cannot be surprising that there is an increase in violent attacks.

Our politicians and their activists are quick to resort to stereotypes that directly or indirectly ridicule opponents on the basis of nationality or ethnicity. When the former Johannesburg Mayor designated one of his deputies, Cllr Michael Sun to receive a memorandum from a crowd assembled outside the Council Chambers, was it really necessary for the leader of that crowd to refer to him as “Fong Kong” because he is of Chinese descent? Certainly not. But the emotive reaction from the crowd in support was sickening and sinister.

More recently, the ANC appointed a South African citizen originally born in China as an MP. Social media was abuzz with disparaging posts. You may take a subjective view and justify satire and parody as legitimate forms of criticism. In this case you can even explain that it was a criticism of the government’s absolute dependence on a foreign communist regime. But if there is a potential for stirring racial hatred, then it is best that you criticise clearly and avoid racial stereotypes.

Make no mistake. The objective is simple. Intimidate your opponents and their supporters into silence. But in the process, if there is risk that the morons in our society will seize the reckless statements as moral permission to commit violence, then the line has been crossed.

It is an indictment on our politics that these are the tools of our trade. Indeed, when one questions such tactics you are told that politics is not for sissies and you must grow a thicker skin. But how does that save us from the risk of violence?

Justification for insults and counter-insults include two primary responses – “I was only joking” or “We have freedom of speech”.  A disparaging joke trivialises the intrinsic prejudice and mistreatment of the target and is destructive. Freedom of speech does not allow one to falsely shout “fire” in a crowded cinema. Both responses cannot justify placing people in harm’s way.  The better options are rationality, not emotion, buttressed by institutions that will fairly and effectively penalise crimen injuria. To an extent we still have those in South Africa. Let’s use those instead of fanning flames.

If ever there was a time for leaders to condemn racial inflammatory statements, surely it is now. If ever there was a time for citizens to reject leaders who capitalise on ethnic and racial tropes, surely it is now. If ever there was a time when our institutions needed to fairly and effectively penalise recklessness, it is now.

#NotFitToGovern: Premier Makhura we cannot keep supporting you because you sing a good song

Madam Speaker, 

When I was young there was a song by Roberta Flack that contained the lines: 

“I heard he sang a good song, I heard he had a style”. 

When Hon. Makhura began his term as Premier in 2014, he sang a good song, and indeed he had a style. 

In each of the subsequent years of 2015, 2016, 2017 and so on, people applauded the Premier because he sang a good song and had a style. 

But over time, people have discovered the song keeps sounding the same: the same challenges have remained – from e-Tolls to corruption – the same promises kept being made. 

Mr. Premier, we can’t keep supporting you simply because you sing a good song and you have a style. We can’t get excited about hearing the same old, same old. 

Mr .Premier, surely you understand that you are measured on outcomes, not on effort? 

Mr Premier, you can’t say, “My Office is doing well”, even when the SIU says there is at least one crook in your office.  You are accountable for the success or failure in the department of Health; you are accountable for the success or failure of Infrastructure Development, and indeed every department under the oversight of every member of your cabinet. 

In 2014, the Honourable Premier pledged that “fraud and corruption are prevented and detected early in the value chain to prevent losses.”  We also heard that there would be an “urgent turnaround” in the Gauteng Health Department. 

These promises have been repeated in one form or another, year after year. 

And when the Covid-19 crisis hit, the corruption networks profited and the Premier reluctantly fired former MEC Bandile Masuku, after the fact. Where was prevention “early in the value chain”? 

Mr. Premier, you made promises. Not just once. These promises have proven to be empty. 

Firing is one thing. What about prosecution? 

While health workers risked their lives with inadequate and sub-quality Personal Protective Equipment, parasitic Gauteng employees enriched themselves. 

Corruption and irregularities included the R2 billion spent on urgently needed infrastructure to create new beds. Of the beds that the Premier boasted about these were, in various instances, in the wrong places. 

Moreover, when beds where provided, there often wasn’t enough staff. 

We saw scenes such as Steve Biko Hospital, which was overwhelmed with tents in the parking lot. 

The latest Auditor-General’s (AG) report shows that beside the usual financial mismanagement, there has been a rise in irregular expenditure last year and a regression in audit outcomes. 

Corruption Watch has found that corruption is four times more likely to occur in Gauteng than in similar-sized provinces such as Kwa-Zulu Natal. 

Madam Speaker, I could go on regarding the failures to achieve outcomes. These would include failure to properly oversee local government with examples such as Emfuleni and Merafong; Failure to ensure jobs are delivered through infrastructure development and the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller; Failure to apply consequence management for poor performance and corruption. But time does not permit me to do so. 

Honourable Premier, you said it in your own words: “We have lost the trust of the people”. In so doing, you have acknowledged and declared that you are not fit to govern. 

Madam Speaker, colleagues, please vote in support of this motion. 

I thank you. 

DA to present their Getting Gauteng Back on Track Pack

On Monday, 22 February 2021 at 13:00, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, Solly Msimanga MPL, will discuss the performance of Premier, David Makhura’s government over the past year as well as break down the party’s Getting Gauteng Back on Track pack, ahead of the State of the Province Address (SOPA) this week.


The past year has been an immense challenge for the residents of Gauteng. The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown have placed both health and economic hardships on South Africans. The DA’s Back on Track pack will contain fundamental solutions for each provincial department to implement that will improve service delivery for the residents of Gauteng. 


Msimanga will be joined by the DA Chief Whip in the Legislature, Mike Moriarty MPL


Members of the press will be able to join the briefing via Zoom and will have an opportunity to ask questions to the panel. Those wishing to join can contact Charity Moyo on 074 787 3166 or Dorianne Arendse on 072 717 8275 for the Zoom login details. 


Details of the briefing are as follows:

Date: Monday, 22 February 2021

Time: 13:00


#MakhuraNotFitToGovern: DA calls on Speaker to arrange Special Sitting for MONC

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has written to the Speaker of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL), Ntombi Lentheng Mekgwe to request that a special sitting of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature be held as a matter of urgency to debate the Motion of No Confidence (MONC) in Premier Makhura that was submitted on Friday to the GPL.

The DA is calling for the immediate removal of Premier Makhura because he has been implicated in a number of PPE corruption scandals.

If this province is serious about the delivery of services to its residents in a clear and transparent manner, the Speaker of the GPL will adhere to the DA’s call for a special sitting to be held.

It cannot be business as usual when the public purse has been looted by government officials and when tenders for the supply of goods and services is not done in an open and transparent manner.

The DA cannot allow a Premier who has been implicated in corruption to continue to hold office any longer and he needs to be removed immediately.

The same vigor that was applied to the dismissal of MEC Masuku for his involvement in corruption must be applied to Premier Makhura.


DA notes the arrest of Tshwane councillor for alleged rape

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng notes the arrest of the DA Ward 8 Hammanskraal PR Councillor, Kenneth Nkosi.

Nkosi handed himself over to the police after a warrant of arrest was issued for an alleged rape incident.

We are cognisant of the seriousness of the allegations against him, hence our decision to proceed with an interim suspension from all Caucus, Council and Federal activities pending the outcome of the investigation.

Should Nkosi be acquitted he will be reinstated and if found guilty his membership with the DA will be terminated in terms of our Federal Constitution.

The DA is committed to upholding the rule of law and the constitution, and condemns any form of violence against women and children.

DA enjoying exceptional growth in Gauteng and gearing up for 2021 elections

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is thrilled to report that the party is enjoying exceptional growth in its membership in Gauteng, with over 26 000 valid members.

The energy and passion we are seeing amongst our members bodes well for the upcoming elections and the growth in our numbers is a clear sign that the people of Gauteng are desperate for change.

The DA has held successful branch annual general meetings (AGMs) all over Gauteng, despite the challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic, as a crucial element of building a substantial political base for the party’s 2021 local election campaign.

Branch AGMs allow the party to elect branch executives as well as delegates to higher structures in order to elect the Party’s leadership.  The newly elected branch committees will immediately start campaigning towards the 2021 elections and drive the message of the DA to every corner of Gauteng.

We will continue to provide a platform for hope and change to the millions of residents in Gauteng.

With service delivery collapsing throughout Gauteng, it is imperative that the DA wins the election next year so that it can get the administration back on track and enable the province to survive and prosper.

The DA has a proven track record for turning around the fortunes of a province, as evidenced by the party’s achievements in successfully governing the Western Cape for the past 11 years with successive clean audit outcomes and good governance.

The residents of Gauteng deserve the same opportunity to thrive and prosper.

Khula DA! Khula!


DA opposes bloated GP budget

The DA notes that the Gauteng Legislature portfolio committee on Finance is unanimous in its criticism of the Gauteng Infrastructure Funding Agency (GIFA) .
We have criticised GIFA in the past and nothing has changed to change our standpoint that, as an agency, it is expensive and provides no meaningful value-add when compared to say, going to the DBSA and getting a loan.

In the last quarterly report, the agency gloated about achieving its targets, but in truth it achieved targets that had been missed in the quarter before.
The report of the Portfolio Committee says:
“Since 2017/18 FY GIFA planned to release 2 projects to the market, on the contrary no project has ever been released to the market to date”

What are they doing? In that same period, we paid this agency about R200m! In the same report the committee said that it was concerned about the lengthy process for GIFA projects to reach the implementation stage and wondered if GIFA’s feasibility studies were credible, hence they do not elicit interest from investors.

The committee report says further:
“The Portfolio Committee further noted with concern that despite funding of projects through alternative funding being one of GIFA’s mandates, such funding has not been forthcoming”
I would point out that your provincial government has paid out over R600m to this agency since its original inception. In that time, what was the value of infrastructure projects financed through the efforts of this agency? A billion? 2 billion?

When you measure the cost of this agency’s work relative to the financing of the projects it should be no greater than 0,5%. What has been the cost of this agency? 10%? Probably more than 30%!
This agency costs too much! The Committee says shut it down! Yet we are budgeting another R68.8 million for its existence.

The Treasury is responsible for addressing billions of rands worth of accruals. But the lack of consequence management from the Premier and his Executive Council regarding failure to do simple paperwork to get people paid, especially in the Department of Health means that these costs will continue to inflate the cost of service delivery by the Gauteng provincial government.

It is safe to say that the cost of government in Gauteng is bloated beyond what it could be and should be. GIFA and accruals are evidence of this.

The residents of Gauteng are paying for the costs of this bloated government. Hence, we cannot support this budget.