GDE failing learners with special needs at Nokuthula Special School

Learners at Nokuthula Special School are being denied a decent learning experience due to the Gauteng Department of Education’s failure to respond to critical infrastructure problems. This was discovered during the Democratic Alliance’s oversight inspection at Nokuthula Special School.

Among a long list of concerning infrastructural issues, Nokuthula Special School has 12 classrooms that are not being used due to the damage they endured during a hailstorm in 2022. The ceiling boards are falling off, the fire hydrants are not working, there is flooding due to a poor drainage system, and the geysers and roof are leaking.

The infrastructural challenges at this school are a result of shoddy workmanship. The school’s retainer wall next to a classroom housing learners with severe disabilities has collapsed. This insecure wall puts the learners and the residents of apartment buildings next to the school in danger of injury or death.

When the DA brought up the appalling conditions at this school to the Department of Education and its MEC last year, we were told that the structural issues would be fixed by September 2024. Even though it is still within that window of time, the fact that there is no visible progress in this regard is concerning.

The DA will be tabling questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to the Department of Education and Infrastructure Development to ascertain why urgent issues such as inadequate drainage and malfunctioning fire hydrants are not resolved.

Learners with disabilities deserve to be treated with the same respect as any other learner. As the DA, we shall not rest until all learners, including those with disabilities, have a positive and enriching learning experience.

Infrastructure projects neglected: GDID incurred R48 million in fruitless and wasteful expenditure

Gauteng residents are being deprived of much-needed infrastructure like schools, libraries, and clinics because the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) has incurred fruitless and wasteful expenditure to the tune of R48 million.

GDID paid the landlord of the Game building in the Johannesburg Central Business District (JHB CBD) R8,3 million while this building was being renovated and not occupied.

Furthermore, R39,8 million was also incurred as fruitless and wasteful expenditure due to a court settlement paid to a service provider for supplying oxygen at hospitals.

This points to poor planning on the part of GDID, and instead of using the money to ensure that critical infrastructure projects are completed on time and within budget, they are spent on unplanned line items.

For a long time now, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has been highlighting the fact that this department lacks the proper leadership and skills needed to manage infrastructure projects that will benefit the residents of the province.

The DA will continue to put pressure on the MEC for Infrastructure Development, Lebogang Maile, to ensure that this department is whipped into shape and starts delivering on its core mandate within the specified time frames and budget.

City of Johannesburg forces residents to choose between food and water

Note to Editors: Please find an English soundbite by Cllr Nicole van Dyk here, and an Afrikaans soundbite by Nico de Jager MPL, here

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Johannesburg is today calling on the Executive in the City to urgently intervene at Johannesburg Water. This, after residents have been facing severe water shortages.

The fact of the matter is that Johannesburg Water is responsible for the reticulation of water as received from the bulk supplier, who is Rand water. If that proves impossible for whatever reason, they still have a constitutional obligation to ensure their clients have water. That has not been happening, nor will it happen under the hapless leadership of the Doomsday Coalition.

Johannesburg Water is well aware of the reservoirs that are problematic, some reservoirs, like the Chloorkop Reservoir, can only supply water once it is more than 80% full. While the City cannot be held to account for Rand Water’s Failure, they certainly can be for Johannesburg Water’s failure to make provision for issues they are well aware of. Worryingly, Chloorkop is not the only problematic reservoir, but the South Hills Water Tower regularly leaves Johannesburg South high and dry.

When the MEC for CoGTA reveals that we’ve spent R2.4 billion on renting water tankers, one can only ask if that money can’t be spent in a better way to ensure that assistance is available when needed? The answer is that it can be, however, the Doomsday Coalition lacks both the political will and the skill to address these issues.

Without precautions being taken, residents in Johannesburg, especially in areas like Klipfonteinview are left to fend for themselves. Residents have been forced to choose between buying food, or buying water. We will not relent in our fight to ensure that these issues are addressed. If the mayor is truly unable to fulfil his duties, it would be best if resigns.

Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve water pipeline project must be completed to create more job opportunities

The Democratic Alliance (DA) demands that the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) take immediate action to complete the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve waterline pipeline project.

This project will provide water to the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve and surrounding communities and much-needed job opportunities. The nature reserve is a valuable asset to the region and must be properly protected and managed.

The water project has been delayed by over 10 years due to several failures by the GDID, including awarding the contract to an unqualified company, lack of monitoring, and failure to take corrective action when problems were identified.
During an oversight inspection of the nature reserve, it emerged that the contractor and subcontractors affected by the delays have not been paid, which is unacceptable. These contractors have been waiting for ten years to be paid, which has put a strain on their businesses, making it difficult for them to continue operating.

A subcontractor is owed more than R61 million and GDID has only paid R9.6 million to the subcontractor. GDID is refusing any further engagement with the contractor, who has since gone out of business. The interest payable on the arrears over 10 years far exceeds the original amount. This constitutes gross mismanagement and fruitless and wasteful expenditure. The subcontractor upheld their end of the contract but GDID has failed and as a result the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, an asset worth over R2.1 billion, is a shadow of its former glory. Many much-needed jobs were lost because of its closure because there was no water available.

The DA will continue to pressure GDID to speed up the completion of the project and ensure that all contractors and subcontractors are paid the outstanding monies.

Gauteng municipalities spend billions on water tankers, leaving less money for service delivery

Gauteng municipalities spent R2 367 014 126,30 over five years on hiring water tankers, funds which could have been used to improve service delivery. This information was revealed in a reply to the Democratic Alliance’s questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Mzi Khumalo.

Since 2018, the following amount of money has been spent on renting water tankers:

Rand West R0,00
Mogale City R260 285 713,84
Merafong R9 365 748 ,41
Lesedi Local Municipality R3 732 400,00
Joburg R306 381 951,36
City if Ekurhuleni R135 326 540,44
Tshwane R1 661 287 520,65
Total R2 367 014 126,30

This year, Mogale City stopped renting water tankers and procured their own. The DA demands that MEC Khumalo urgently intervene in this situation and assist municipalities in procuring their own water tankers to save costs.

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, it became evident that having access to clean drinking water is essential to prevent the spread of Covid and other water-borne diseases.

Through all the mechanisms in place, we will apply pressure on the MEC to assist municipalities in formulating a plan that ensures that more money is made available for procuring resources for basic service delivery instead of outsourcing.

Rand Water plant failure leaves Gauteng residents’ taps dry

Gauteng residents dependent upon the Zuikerbosch Rand Water Treatment Plant will again have limited to no water after yesterday’s breakdown in plant equipment. Rand Water says they experience equipment failures at the Zuikerbosch treatment plant because of load-shedding and power dips.

The latest outage will affect the following systems:

• Zwartkopjes System
• Eikenhof System
• Mapleton System
• Palmiet System

Reservoirs that receive their water from the Zuikerbosch plant, including Alexander, Berea, South Hills, and the Commando systems in Joburg, as well as areas in Tshwane and Ekurhuleni, will be affected.

It is unacceptable that Rand Water continues to use load-shedding as an excuse for their lack of maintenance on their infrastructure.

For a long time now, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has been calling on Rand Water to regularly maintain their infrastructure and put adequate security measures in place at their reservoirs and pumping stations.

It cannot be that after all these years of the country experiencing load-shedding, Rand Water can still not provide backup electricity at their pumping stations. It is high time that Rand Water takes responsibility for their infrastructure and stops blaming load-shedding for its woes.

The DA will continue to put pressure on the Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Mzi Khumalo, to engage with Rand Water on this issue and ensure that all municipalities produce a water disaster plan.

DA to hand over donations to families of the victims of Boksburg gas tragedy

Today, Friday, 21 July 2023, the Official Leader of the Opposition in Gauteng, Solly Msimanga MPL, the DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Community Safety, Crezane Bosch MPL, the DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Community Safety, Ruhan Robison MPL, the DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nico De Jager MPL, and the DA Ward 21 PR Councillor, Cllr Alta De Beer, will hand over money and food to the families of the victims of the nitrate oxide gas leak at the Angelo Informal Settlement in Boksburg.

Two weeks ago, 17 people died, and more than 16 were injured due to a nitrate oxide leak from a gas cylinder used by illegal miners to clean gold dust.

The DA, in partnership with a donor, will assist the victims’ families in repatriating the bodies of the deceased to their respective countries in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

The victims’ families are in desperate need of financial assistance to transport their deceased family members to their countries for dignified burials.

The DA will continue to engage with the Mozambique Consul General to assist the families of the victims.

The media is invited, and there will be an opportunity for interviews and photographs.
Details of the oversight visit are as follows:
Date: 21 July 2023
Time: 09:00 am
Address: Angelo Informal Settlement, Boksburg, Johannesburg East.

Gauteng MEC urged to address lack of water coordination as parts of the province remain dry

Today, I have written to the Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Mzi Khumalo, about the lack of coordination of water tankers to areas in Gauteng that still do not have water.

Large parts of Gauteng are still without water after the 58-hour planned maintenance by Rand Water.

The recent maintenance conducted was to upgrade Rand Water’s infrastructure. The lack of involvement from the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) to ensure that municipalities are well equipped to ensure that its residents have access to water during Rand Water’s infrastructure maintenance is of great concern.

High-lying areas in the province still do not have a water supply, and it will be days before the system fully recovers.

Areas that are still experiencing no water are Crosby, Roodepoort, Randburg, and Mogale.
In Mogale, retirement villages are still without water because tankers have not been sent out in a coordinated approach. All the water tankers are being directed to Kagiso, while the rest of the town has no water.

The DA is encouraging all municipalities to procure their own water tankers like Mogale City did under the leadership of the previous Mayor, Tyrone Gray. This resulted in huge savings in costs. Instead of spending R59 million on leasing water tankers, they procured their own for R25 million for 12 tankers.

However, while the maintenance work done last week is critical, a comprehensive strategy is needed when doing this work so that our residents are not left without water.

Furthermore, the implementation of stage six load-shedding last week has also further impacted water reticulation. This is not only because of the maintenance work carried out by Rand Water but also because municipalities do not have generators on site.

The DA is demanding that a water disaster plan be put in place by all municipalities and presented to MEC Khumalo so that we do not have a repeat of what is currently taking place.

DA to visit families of victims of the Boksburg gas leak tragedy

Tomorrow, Tuesday, 11 July 2023, the Official Leader of the Opposition in Gauteng, Solly Msimanga MPL, the DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Community Safety, Crezane Bosch MPL, the DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Community Safety, Ruhan Robinson MPL, the DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nico De Jager MPL, the DA Germiston Constituency Head, Michele Clarke MP, and the DA Ward 21 PR Councillor, Cllr Alta De Beer will visit the families of the victims of the gas leak at Angelo Informal Settlement in Boksburg.

Last week, 17 people died, and more than 16 were injured due to a nitrate oxide leak from a gas cylinder used by illegal miners to clean gold dust.

The DA will visit the victims’ families to share our heartfelt condolences. We will also engage with the surviving victims and the community to establish the challenges brought by illegal miners in the community.

We will also assess whether there is police visibility in the area, and we The DA will continue to demand a workable strategy from the Gauteng Provincial Government to deal with illegal mining in the province.

The media is invited, and there will be an opportunity for interviews and photographs.

Details of the oversight visit are as follows:

Date: 11 July 2023
Time: 08:00 am
Address: Angelo Informal Settlement, Boksburg, Johannesburg East.

DA to conduct oversight inspection at Provincial Disaster Management Centre in Midrand

Today, 10 July 2023, the Official Leader of the Opposition in Gauteng, Solly Msimanga MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nico De Jager MPL and Cllr Annette Deppe will be conducting an oversight inspection of the Gauteng Provincial Disaster Management Centre in Midrand.

The Provincial Disaster Management Centre is mainly responsible for coordinating disaster events and is the primary unit for disaster management in the province, providing support to the National Disaster Management Centre, Metropolitan and District Disaster Management Centres.

The Provincial Disaster Management Centre has been allocated R42 606 000 for the 2023/2024 financial year. The DA will assess the Provincial Disaster Management Centre’s readiness should there be a total collapse of the electricity grid and any other major disasters.

Furthermore, we will also be determining what level of support this facility provides to municipalities, especially during seasons when there is a high risk of flooding and fires.

The media is invited, and there will be an opportunity for interviews and photographs.

Details of the oversight visit are as follows:

Date: 10 July 2023
Time: 10:00am
Address: 11 Janadel Avenue, Riverview Office Park, Block B, Halfway House, Midrand