#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. 

Makhura prioritised party over province, at the expense of service delivery

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng looks forward to the debate and vote on our motion of no confidence (MONC) against Premier, David Makhura in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature tomorrow, 2nd March 2021.

As the Official Opposition, it is critical for the DA to represent the residents of Gauteng who have been negatively affected by Makhura’s failed government. Further to this, the DA has a duty to hold those in government to account when they do not deliver on their promises.

Over half of the promises Makhura made in his first 100 days in office, remain unfulfilled. These include failing to lease land and unutilised buildings to businesses that would result in job creation; failing to build a partnership with the Taxi industry and municipalities to transform taxi rank facilities to become vibrant economic nodes in all townships and CBDs; and failing to fill all hospital CEO posts.

This clearly demonstrates that Makhura was a man of all talk, but no action. Instead of delivering on his promises to the people of Gauteng, Makhura and his government delivered scandal after scandal.

Years after the horrible tragedy at Life Esidimeni, 81 claimants had still not been paid their compensation by November 2020; over 18 months since the Bank of Lisbon Fire, the Premier has still failed to release the investigation report; and last year alone saw widescale Personal Protective Equipment tender corruption, wasteful school deep cleaning expenditure, and the continuous systemic collapse of municipalities like Emfuleni and Merafong.

The only tangible explanation that one can draw from this disaster of a term for Makhura is that governing for the people of Gauteng was never his primary objective.

The evident case in point was the illegal dissolution of the Tshwane Municipal Council last year. Never before have we seen a Provincial Executive move so quickly to illegally remove an opposition party from government. All the while, this government continued to work at a snail’s pace in addressing failing municipalities where the ANC governed. The worst of this is that Makhura did not act in accordance with spirit of the Constitution or for the residents of Tshwane by stopping the dissolution, but instead encouraged it. This resulted in more wasteful expenditure by section 139 administrators, who left the municipality in a worse state compared to when they seized control. It took a High Court ruling to prove how government compromised the Constitution by instituting an illegal intervention.

Makhura’s only objective since the start of his term, was to serve his party over the province. Every decision and action has been considered with the ANC first in mind. The residents cannot have a Premier who operates as such. This is why the DA’s MONC is critical. It is the first democratic step in holding this failing Premier to account.

Makhura’s admission that public trust is lost is a concession of #NotFitToGovern

Premier, David Makhura’s State of the Province Address (SOPA) today was nothing short of a whitewash, loaded with ambiguity to cover up his own government’s failures. 

Makhura started his address with the Covid-19 pandemic that has been dominating the lives of South Africans the past year.  While the Premier stressed the need of building pandemic-proof institutions for the future, it is still quite obvious that his own government still needs tender corruption-proof institutions.

The Premier emphasised on the pain and suffering brought upon by the pandemic, but did not completely acknowledge that such pain and suffering was exacerbated by his own Health Department’s irregular and corrupt procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the profound delays in building field hospitals before the first wave.

The enthusiastic accolade for the healthcare workers of the province was warmly welcomed, but was a serious reminder about the need for the provincial government to procure even more vaccines, especially for healthcare workers and other vulnerable residents.  The Premier’s goal to have 67% of the provincial population vaccinated, especially within the year, is total pie in the sky. If PPE procurement was ravaged by corruption, the Premier cannot expect the people of Gauteng to still trust his government in rolling out such a bold and ambitious target. 

It’s critical for the Premier to understand that his government cannot reasonably rely on only two centres for vaccination, as it will only hamper the process. The electronic vaccination system requires urgent improvement, with far more vaccination centres.

While Makhura finally acknowledged that poor road infrastructure implementation is due to incompetence, he fell short of recognising that such incompetence is evident in all departments involved in infrastructure development, as the public sector simply lacks the resources and expertise to delivery on these projects.  This has been a direct result of prioritising cadre deployment over effective service delivery. 

Makhura spent considerable time discussing the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone and the promising job creation that will materialise.  Unsurprisingly, he did not acknowledge that this project is a result of confidence in effective Democratic Alliance (DA) governance, as it did not appear overnight but has been in the pipeline since 2017, when the DA was governing the nation’s capital city.

While DA good governance was brought up, Makhura’s own government has not been the shining example.  The fact that he spoke about improving governance with ethics, integrity and accountability across the province, is simply an insult to Gauteng residents. The question is, where was that approach when he encouraged an illegal dissolution of the Tshwane Municipal Council last year that compromised the spirit of co-operative governance and cost taxpayers so much money?

Further to this, Makhura tried to paint a positive image of the Vaal Tourism industry that is built on the Vaal River, and includes water sports and waterfront properties.  Yet the river becomes more and more polluted each day, making any dream of a fully functional tourism industry in the area more and more of a pipe dream. 

In addition to this, the Vaal River Special Economic Zone is laughable. No one will want to invest in a municipality with no service delivery and has had a mayoral vacancy for six weeks, while MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Lebogang Maile is still waiting for the municipality to respond to his department’s report, despite having already granted three extensions. A South African Human Rights Commission report concluded that the sewer spillage in the Vaal River is an abuse of human rights.  All the while Emfuleni having been under intervention by the provincial government – an indictment of the Makhura administration’s failures.   

And lastly, once again Makhura brought up the issue of lifestyle audits of the Provincial Executive.  Naturally, he laid the blame for delay with the State Security Agency but could not admit his own shortcoming of having failed to initiate these lifestyle audits at the beginning of  the term in May 2019.  It was only after the explosion of PPE and Covid-19 related corruption in the province, that these lifestyle audits were given the go ahead. 

Makhura’s admission towards the end of his speech that the people of Gauteng have lost trust in his government is a total concession that he is no longer fit to govern, and that credibility in this administration can never reasonably be gained again. 

ANC unlawfully refuses to schedule DA motion of no confidence in Premier Makhura, indicates split ANC caucus

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is apalled that the ANC in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) have unlawfully refused to schedule the DA’s motion of no confidence (MONC) in Premier David Makhura, to a debate and subsequent vote.

Late last month, the DA tabled a MONC in Premier Makhura after it was revealed that his office had directly influenced the appointment of service providers for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) last year.

Further to this, Premier Makhura and his government have affected governance failure after failure since the start of their term in May 2019, and blatantly demonstrated a lack of political will to root out corruption and build a capable provincial government.

The obstruction by the ANC of a constitutionally-recognised mechanism is an insult to the system of participatory democracy that the voters elected us to uphold in 2019.

Further to this, refusing to schedule the DA motion, citing that the motion must first be deliberated by the Whippery of the Legislature, undermines the Rules of the GPL by hampering a Member to participate in the business of the Legislature that is consistent with democracy.

Such legal opinions on the matter that support our view have already been furnished to the Speaker of the Legislature, Ntombi Lentheng Mekgwe.

The decision on the DA’s motion very clearly indicates a split ANC caucus. If the ANC was certain they held the majority of votes to defeat the motion, they would respect democracy and allow the debate and vote to go ahead.

One only needs to remember the explosion of PPE and Covid-19 related corruption in the province last year, the failure of the Premier’s office to implement 86% of forensic investigation recommendations from the previous financial year, and the inability of Makhura to release the Bank of Lisbon fire criminal investigation report, to recognise that Makhura is indeed no longer fit to govern.

Just like the illegal and politically-driven Tshwane Municipality Council dissolution of last year, the DA remains on the right side of the law and will continue to fight for a MONC debate and vote in the GPL. Mahkura must, and will, be held accountable.

DA welcomes judgement against ANC on MONC secret ballot

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng notes the North Gauteng High Court’s judgement which sets aside the failing African National Congress’ (ANC) application to declare as invalid the Speaker of Tshwane’s ruling to conduct the vote of no confidence in the Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Mr. Solly Msimanga, through an open ballot.

The judgement found the ANCs argument to be ‘fatally defective and not convincing’ and the ANC has been ordered to pay the legal costs of the respondents.

These findings relate to the Motion of No Confidence which was tabled by the failing ANC on 22 August  2018. This motion was subsequently defeated in an open ballot on 27 September 2018. However, the failing ANC argued that the meeting held on 27 September was invalid and illegal, and that the refusal by the Speaker to conduct a motion of no confidence against the Executive Mayor was irrational.

The court has vindicated our assertion that the ANC’s application was a desperate, last-ditch attempt to validate its frivolous motion of no confidence in Mayor Msimanga.

Residents of Tshwane and voters in Gauteng should be aware that this judgment also reveals that the failing ANC has never had any real basis to smear the good name of Solly Msimanga, as they do. Indeed, they have been horribly exposed as being highly desperate to regain control in order to resume the corruption that abounded prior to them losing the election in 2016.

However, we will not be deterred in our work and will continue serving the people of Tshwane. While the ANC focuses on political games in the City, our first priority will always be service delivery and putting the people first.