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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DA calls for urgent debate on failure to reopen Joburg hospital

I have today requested the Gauteng Legislature Speaker Ntombi Mekgwe for an urgent debate in the Gauteng Legislature on the failure to reopen the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital (CMJH).

The hospital was closed after a fire on 16 April, but it has not reopened despite an assessment that most of the building is structurally sound, and the pressing need to save the lives of patients who require specialist care.

Senior doctors have called for safe sections of the hospital to be reopened as soon as possible, but it is unclear why this has not happened despite promises by the provincial government.

Patients who are most affected include cancer patients who need chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and kidney patients who require dialysis.

It is critical that the ICU beds at CMJH for Covid-19 patients are available for use as soon as possible as we face a devastating third wave of the epidemic.

The Gauteng public health system is in crisis as other hospitals are crowded with hundreds of CMJH patients.

There needs to be accountability for the failure to speedily reopen this 1000-bed hospital, as it is causing immense suffering to patients and will lead to deaths the longer it is closed.

The debate on this matter will go ahead at the sitting on Tuesday if Speaker Mekgwe grants my request that it be considered as a matter of urgent public importance.

This will hopefully pressurise Premier David Makhura to give a clear answer on the opening of the hospital.

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#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.


Gauteng Speaker bending the rules to shield Premier Makhura from scrutiny

ANC Speaker of the Gauteng Legislature, Ntombi Mekgwe, has abandoned the principles of her office by shielding Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, and former MEC for Health, Qendani Mahlangu, from scrutiny by reneging on a commitment to allow the DA to bring a motion before the house which seeks to hold both Premier Makhura and Mahlangu to account for their roles in the Esidimeni tragedy.

The DA tabled this motion in order to refer the Premier to the Integrity Commissioner to establish if he breached the Code of Conduct and Ethics by misleading the House and the Arbitration Hearings by claiming he never knew that Life Esidimeni patients were being sent to NGOs, despite evidence to the contrary, including the proceedings of the sitting on 15 March 2016.

On 16 February 2018, in a programming meeting with the Speaker and Chief Whips from political parties represented in the Legislature, the motion was proposed and it was agreed that it would be put on the agenda for today’s meeting.

In today’s programming meeting, the Speaker denied there was any such agreement in the previous meeting.

The Speaker indicated that this may be brought back to the discussion table sometime in April 2018.

If this is the case, by the time this motion appears on the schedule for a Legislative sitting the Life Esidimeni Arbitration panel will have made its recommendations based on inaccurate testimonies by both the Premier and Mahlangu.

This motion is an important step in ensuring that those who were responsible for this inhumane and painful tragedy are not shielded and are held to account for their role in the cruel deaths that resulted from the indifferent attitude of ANC politicians.

The DA will fight to ensure that this constitutional mechanism is not abused by the ANC in a desperate attempt to absolve themselves of any wrong doing.

Justice must be served and the constitutional mechanisms to ensure this must not be thwarted by those who put their political party before the rights of ordinary South Africans.

Legislature Speaker Denies Motion To Debate Thuggish ANC Behaviour In Joburg

The Speaker of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, Ntombi Mekgwe, denied the DA’s request to debate a matter of urgent public importance this morning, following yesterday’s disruption by the ANC at the Johannesburg City Council.

Protestors stormed the council chamber and were threatening councillors and city employees while trashing furniture, laptops and smashing glass doors. Police had to resort to the use of stun grenades to disperse the mob.

Those who attended the meeting were left shaken and traumatised by the level of violence and destruction they had witnessed. Many, fearing for their lives, hid in cupboards and empty offices until the police arrived.

The agenda of these protestors were politically motivated to disrupt the business of the council.

Their actions were undemocratic and informed by a campaign of “un-governability” synonymous with protests in municipalities led by the DA in coalition governments in the province.

By denying this debate of public importance, the speaker is accepting that lawlessness and “un-governability” campaigns of the ANC will prevail.

The Speaker has once again supressed freedom of speech and has shown her bias towards the ANC. The residents of Johannesburg and the province have a right to debate matters such as these as it directly affects service delivery.

Despite the thuggish behaviour of the ANC and their affiliates to deter the DA from governing, the DA yesterday passed its very first successful budget adjustment in the council.

With this budget adjustment passed, the DA can now implement its plans in the city to uplift communities, cut corruption and deliver much needed quality services which the residents of the city deserve.




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