Gauteng Premier Endorses Oversight Visits but Problems Remain

Problems Still Hindering Oversight Visits

I am pleased that Gauteng Premier David Makhura has endorsed oversight visits by public representatives to hospitals and other institutions, but problems of access hinder this activity.Jack Bloom DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

Makhura was responding today to my questions at a sitting of the Gauteng Legislature when I asked if he approved of security guards who rudely barred me and Neil Campbell MPL from the new Natalspruit Hospital on 2 April this year.

An audio recording of this confrontation with security guards is available on request.

He said that he did not approve of public representatives being harassed when they do oversight work, but security guards at hospitals did have to be alert to unauthorized visitors.

Makhura also said that individual oversight visits should be subject to a protocol as not all areas in a facility could be visited for genuine security and operational reasons.

Unannounced Visits

My concern is that I have been barred from three hospitals in the last nine months because Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu has instructed officials not to give me access unless her office or the chairperson of the Legislature’s Health Committee has approved.

Unannounced visits by public representatives are endorsed by the Constitution and are a vital part of democracy.

I hope that Premier Makhura instructs MEC Mahlangu to ensure that hospital management allows free access for oversight by members of the Legislature, no matter how embarrassing this might be in uncovering poor conditions that need to be improved.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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Gauteng commuters at risk of being left stranded

The DA calls on Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi to engage with Transport Minister Dipuo Peters and ensure that Gauteng commuters will not be left stranded from 1 April.Campbell-Dr-Neil1

Yesterday afternoon, Putco bus company distributed letters to commuters informing them that routes from Mamelodi to Pretoria’s CBD as well as southern, northern and eastern suburbs would be suspended as of 1 April.

Bus services in Kathorus (Ekurhuleni) and Meyerton (Midvaal) will also be affected.

Click here to view the letter.

Putco has been receiving government subsidies for decades to provide affordable transport to the people of Gauteng along predetermined routes.

Over the years, government’s subsidies did not keep pace with operating costs and route expansions, nor did they provide Putco with contractual security by only renewing contracts for one year in certain instances – or on a month-to-month basis in others.

The upshot of this was that Putco undercapitalised in new vehicles, with a detrimental effect on commuter and road safety.

The fact is that government slowly caused Putco’s demise, and will be forced to face the wrath of thousands of angry commuters less than 20 days from now.

MEC Vadi’s proposal to use municipal services as a stop-gap measure may provide short-term relief, but the poor state of repair of those vehicles will only escalate commuters’ dissatisfaction.

While it remains critical that commuters are not left stranded, MEC Vadi and minister Peters need to meet with Putco, discuss routes and costs associated with their operation, and hammer out new contractual agreements and their subsidies in as short a time as possible.

Gauteng’s economy cannot afford to lose thousands of man hours every day due to poor government planning.


Media enquiries:

Dr Neil Campbell MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport

082 387 2540


Gauteng Transport Department Powerless Against Corrupt Officials

The CEO for the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport (GDRAT), Mr Roland Swartz, has admitted to the Gauteng Legislature’s committee of inquiry in to taxi licensing that the department has had no capability to investigate or prosecute corrupt officials.

Swartz stated to me that his department had been unable to prosecute or convict any official in the Department’s Transport Operating License Administration Bodies (TOLABs) – the organ for controlling taxi routes and operating licenses – despite acknowledging that the TOLABs are rife with fraud and corruption.

He stated that recently a fraud and corruption unit had been established, but that it had yet to secure any convictions.

The department has relied purely on whistle-blowers to identify corrupt officials, but when individuals did report instances of corruption – at much risk to themselves, reported cases had not resulted in any prosecutions.

Swartz admitted that the systems his department has to rely on, which are run by the National Department of Transport, are woefully slow, inadequate and unable to effectively deal with the flow of applications in Gauteng.

The Auditor-General has often commented on the inadequacy of these systems.

Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi must engage with National Transport Minister, Dipuo Peters, to ensure that the systems are fully operational and responsive.

If left unchecked, corruption in this department will continue unabated.


Media enquiries:

Dr Neil Campbell MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport

082 387 2540

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Phansi nge E-tolls.

Friends and Fellow Democrats,

We are here today to voice our objection to the tolling of the existing Gauteng highways via the exorbitantly expensive e-toll method.

We agree that the highways have been improved so why are we not happy to pay these tolls?

Firstly, there remains uncertainty about exactly how much money will be generated by these tolls. It is also uncertain as to how much of that money will go overseas and who exactly will benefit from the profits. Is it only the Austrian company Kapsch or are ANC big-wigs also in line to augment their bank accounts?

Secondly, we are opposed to any government plan which requires the motorists of Gauteng to pay billions of Rands in collection costs when the alternative fuel levy route will cost nothing. We support the raising of funds via a national fuel levy which is ring-fenced solely for transport needs. Those in other provinces who state that they should not pay for Gauteng road upgrades must understand that Gauteng is the guinea pig regarding e-tolls and that should it succeed here e-tolls will soon ring all cities. At present their highways are paid for by the fiscus and we find it unfair that only Gauteng roads are not funded by national government.

Thirdly, we note with regret that the victims of apartheid spatial planning will pay relatively more in fuel levies because they cover greater distances. However this is also true for the proposed e-toll collection method as those in outlying areas will pass under more gantries. In fact, until the inequalities of apartheid are eradicated, those in former townships will pay more whichever method is used unless the e-tolls are paid for by national government or scrapped.

Fourthly, the alternative method proposed by the e-toll advisory panel, which was vehemently rejected by those who attended the consultative forum at Gallagher’s recently is based on:

  • A retained but reduced e-toll component which has been rejected by the majority of Gauteng motorists.
  • An increase in motor vehicle license fees. This suggestion must be rejected because licenses have been used to generate money for the fiscus which does not fund roads. Recent increase in licence fees have outstripped inflation by large percentages and although the DA is not married to a user pays principle the ANC is, and this stealth tax catches everyone with a vehicle in Gauteng. Strangely out of province and foreign vehicles escape this tax. Yesterday a provincial gazette was distributed which seeks to increase licence fees yet again.
  • Increased tyre tax. This is another stealth tax which can be increased at will and which defies the user pays principle.
  • Another suggestion that the South African Revenue Service and the electronic National Traffic Information service data bases should be combined must be rejected because eNatis is fatally corrupt and will contaminate the SARS system. It also infringes tax confidentiality which is unconstitutional.

The advisory panel states that it costs R6.25 billion per annum to run the e-tolls which cost R20 billion all-in to build. How is this possible? If we use the example of a 20 year house bond of R 1 million we would not be required to pay back R 312500 annually. Yet the government and its agent SANRAL, with superior bargaining and purchasing power is happy to force its citizens to pay this ridiculous amount annually. Are state lawyers useless or are connected cadres getting even richer?

Friends, SANRAL now admits that it paid more that it should have for the Gauteng Freeway upgrades. We told them this years ago but they denied it. SANRAL is making noises about reclaiming money for overpayment but why did it not question this when the cost was quoted.

SANRAL was chastised by the panel for not adequately informing the public. They are still not informing us.

We reject e-tolls because they are more costly than they need to be.

We reject e-tolls because we were inadequately consulted and then ignored before the system was introduced.

We reject e-tolls because they harm the Gauteng economy. 

We reject e-tolls because government does not practice cost containment but profligacy and thinks that citizens can just continue paying unfair taxes.

Phansi nge E-tolls.

Viva democracy.

John Moodey to Stage Picket Calling for Provincial Referendum on e-tolls

Tomorrow, Wednesday, 4 March, DA Gauteng Provincial Leader John Moodey MPL, accompanied by Neil Campbell MPL, Solly Msimanga MPL and Khume Ramulifho MPL will stage a picket outside the Office of Gauteng Premier David Makhura in response to the premier’s failure to call for a provincial referendum on e-tolls during his State of the Province Address.

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Date: 04 March 2015

Time: 10:00

Address: Office of the Premier, 30 Simmonds Street, Johannesburg.


There will be ample opportunities for interviews and photographs. Members of the media are welcome to attend.


Media enquiries:

Tanya Heydenrych

Provincial Media Officer