DA West Rand Leadership Election Results

We are delighted to announce the results of the Leadership Elections which took place at at the Democratic Alliance (DA) West Rand regional congress in Randfontein today.

This year, the Covid-19 pandemic has made it necessary to host congresses differently than in previous years. The congress proceeded at a hybrid venue, completely in line with the regulations.

The election results were compliant with all DA election requirements and rules. They were signed off by myself as presiding officer, as well as the candidates’ party agents who oversaw the voting process.

All individuals who observed voting consider the elections free and fair.

The results of the elections are:

Regional Chairperson
Julius Jacques

Regional Deputy Chairperson
Cilliers Ina

Regional Finance Chairperson
Blake Brian

Non-public representatives to Federal Council
Steenkamp Carl

We extend our congratulations to all elected candidates as we enter an exciting new chapter of Achieving Real Growth in Gauteng.

Gauteng’s Asbestos Schools Pose Major Health Risk For Teachers And Learners

Teachers and learners exposed to asbestos dust in Gauteng schools face major health challenges.

Most asbestos school buildings are deteriorated, panels are cracked, broken and exposed in classrooms.

At Randfontein Secondary School, the department merely built a wall right around the asbestos building, leaving the asbestos exposed inside the building.

This was revealed to the NCOP delegation on oversight at schools in the province, during the NCOP provincial week.

If the lives of learners and teachers were of paramount importance to the department, they ought to be moving swiftly in eradicating the asbestos school backlog.

When maintenance work disturbs asbestos matter, or they start to deteriorate over time, asbestos dust can enter the air and be inhaled. Exposure to the dust puts any person at an increased risk for mesothelioma, lung cancer and serious lung conditions.

The DA will submit a written question to MEC Lesufi, to ascertain exactly how many asbestos schools, their location and name, what financial provision will be made available to eradicate the number of asbestos schools in Gauteng by the 2017/2018 financial year.

The DA vows to hold MEC Lusufi to his commitment to eradicate all asbestos building schools in Gauteng in the next two years.

 

Media enquiries:

Jacques Julius

DA Member in the NCOP – Gauteng

083 420 1309

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Why Is Failed Contractor Not Blacklisted?

Anix Trading and Construction JV Mrazane

A company that caused a two year building delay by failing to complete the Randgate Clinic in Randfontein has not been blacklisted for further work by the Gauteng Provincial Government.

This is revealed in a written reply by Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development MEC Jacob Mamabolo to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Mamabolo, Anix Trading and Construction JV Mrazane was awarded a R36.8 million tender in September 2014 to build the Randgate Clinic.

The company was also awarded tenders in 2014 to do emergency repairs at Fred Clark Primary School for R8 million, and repairs at the Sizwile School for the Deaf for R19.7 million.

Randgate Clinic

The school repairs were done satisfactorily, but penalties were charged as they could not finish on time.

Their contract to build the Randgate Clinic was cancelled as they had cash flow problems which affected their performance, but they were still paid R7.8 million.

I am puzzled why Anix has not been blacklisted from further contracts as it was late for two projects and failed in a third project that has resulted in extra expense and delays.

The provincial government has a poor record in choosing contractors who often fail to do the job or underperform in other ways.

Failed contractors are sometimes given new contracts as well.

It would be good policy for companies like Anix to be barred from all further provincial work.

 

Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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Gauteng Cabinet Report Card: The Cracks Are Showing

Gauteng ANC Premier David Makhura and his cabinet have steered through another year in office, and it is becoming increasingly clear that “Team Gauteng” is not living up to its promise since taking office in June 2014.

Members of the Executive Council (MECs) are embroiled in investigations, entities have gone bankrupt, and programmes are failing, while Gauteng’s people are crying out for more bang for their buck.

While the premier continues to insist the opposite, allegations and counter-allegations abound that the move was designed to protect officials connected to former MEC Lebogang Maile.

MEC Bopape has been appointed MEC for Social Development, while MEC Faith Mazibuko has replaced her.

For the purpose of this report card, the two will be rated on their performance in their former portfolios.

The DA Cabinet scorecard is an analysis based on individual MECs’ grasp of their portfolio demands, leadership skills, approachability, and willingness to appear before oversight committees.

Premier David Makhura
Since the 2014 report card, the Premier’s score has dropped.

Despite being the first to acknowledge ANC arrogance in the implementation of e-tolls, he swiftly back-tracked and succumbed to political pressure from above, and in the process abandoned the people of Gauteng by not scrapping the project in its entirety.

And now, the provincial government has been forced to pay just over R120 million to keep e-tolls afloat.

There are more pressing needs in Gauteng than spending money on failed projects.

His ambitious talk of Transformation, Modernisation and Re-industrialisation of Gauteng are at risk of not getting off the ground during his term of office – evidenced by the fact that there has been an 18% increase in the use of consultants.

Without the necessary skills in his office, the premier will have a hard time to deliver.

His administration has failed to make any visible strides in the revitalisation of the Township economy – which is one of the key components of his ten pillar plan.

Equally the Premier has been vague on employment opportunities supposedly created by his flagship Tshepo 500 000 program.

To date, little tangible evidence of real jobs has been forthcoming, and replies to questions continue to be vague.

While action has been taken regarding alleged corruption in G-Fleet, and a forensic audit has been instituted in the Department of Sports, Heritage, Arts and Culture – only 3% of all government officials investigated for financial wrongdoing have been criminally prosecuted.

In a surprise move, Premier Makhura removed MEC Molebatsi Bopape from Sports, Heritage, Recreation, Arts and Culture (SHRAC), instituting an investigation into her tenure as MEC relating to corruption within the department.

The truth is that the “People’s Premier” who promised an activist government remain long on ambitious promises, but short on delivery.

Score: 6/10
Finance – MEC Barbara Creecy
During the past year, MEC Creecy has appeared to immerse herself in ICT and now speaks with the confidence of a subject expert.

However, on further probing, one discovers that the confidence lacks the technical detail.

She has had an acting HOD for the last year and only recently had her old Education HOD join her – someone who, despite management experience, also lacks the technical detail on a department completely related to ICT.

The department itself seems to be slowly picking up, meeting some targets and missing others.

The Gauteng Broadband Network is not the silver bullet it promised to be, with many centres not yet connected, and where facilities are connected, they have not switched over from their private service providers.

Problems with SAP upgrades meant that suppliers to government were not paid for a month this year.

The work of the DAV Centre still seems to be shrouded in secrecy despite its costs. So far, all we know is the failed Gauteng Online systems were open source and built by the DAV Centre.

However, the department does seem to be slowly shaping up into something resembling an ICT shared services department, but it still seems to be characterised by internal staff lethargy.

On aspects of accountability, responses to questions are deliberately vague, PAIA applications are frequently declined and avoidance still seems to be the order of the day.

Most alarmingly, officials in the department will not even assist with the most basic of information and won’t entertain entering into correspondence, out of fear of incurring the wrath of the MEC.

Score: 6/10
Social Development – MEC Faith Mazibuko
MEC Mazibuko has failed vulnerable members of society, and hopefully MEC Molebatsi Bopape will attack her new portfolio with vigour.

The Department, in its quarterly reports, do not show proper finances and shortcomings, they only indicate targets and what has been achieved.

The quality of the reports remains shoddy which severely hampers efforts by committee members to perform oversight and hold officials to account.

Many NGOs dependent on government grants are paid late, which compromises their ability to do their work, which is more often the work of the department.

With the rise in unemployment, the department is not doing enough to move people from welfare to working or sustainable livelihoods – especially among women and youth.

As was the case in 2014, there is still no relief and proper plans for people with disabilities, the elderly, and those who struggle with substance abuse.

Equally concerning is that there are no proper plans aimed at capacitating the growing number of non-compliant Early Childhood Development centres in the province.

The MEC has also failed to collect monies owing to the department from other departments and entities.

Score: 4/10
Health – Qedani Mahlangu
This department has shown some improvement in financial management, but still received a qualified report from the Auditor General.

Senior management posts have now been filled, including a competent new Head of Department.

According to the 2014/15 Annual Report, only 86 out of 160 targets were met (54%), and there has been little improvement in meeting targets this year.

Only one hospital (Steve Biko Academic) and only one clinic meet the required high standards set by the national health department.

Medico-legal claims now exceed R10 billion, and the department will pay about R200 million this year in court-ordered payments for hospital negligence.

Some building projects are still way beyond schedule, including the Randgate clinic in Randfontein, which was supposed to be completed in July last year, and the psychiatric ward at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital, which should have been completed four years ago.

Many patients still face long queues and waiting times for operations.

The much-vaunted “turn-around” of this department is very slow and has a long way to go.
Score: 3/10
Education – MEC Panyaza Lesufi
The MEC has done well in terms of school admission. Learners were successfully placed to schools at the beginning of the year, and Gauteng retained the number one position in terms of the 2014 Grade 12 pass rate.

The recognition of the best performing learners from disadvantaged schools by awarding bursaries to the top three is a great initiative.

This year saw the introduction of paperless classrooms as an innovative way to teach and learn, but connectivity and security of these assets remain a concern.

The MEC is open to allow Members of the Legislature to visit schools and is always approachable and ready to intervene where necessary.

The MEC is willing to listen to different views and respond immediately. He regularly conducts oversight visits to schools to see challenges for himself.

However, there are challenges that remain.

The MEC hasn’t dealt with corruption in an unequivocal manner – he made commitments to follow up on cases of corruption, but no follow-ups have been reported.

Overcrowded classrooms and high lerner/teacher ratios in historically disadvantaged schools remain a concern.

The MEC must realign districts and head offices to ensure sustainable support to schools, such as school furniture, sports, nutrition, scholar transport, intervention programmes, teacher development and school renovations.

School infrastructure still needs a proper project management

The department and the MEC at times remain vague at question time, providing unverified information on the number of schools, the supply of tablets, school upgrades, and school closures.

Score: 7/10

Community Safety and Security – MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane
The MEC has done little to curb the continuing high rate of accruals which impacts negatively on the service delivery of the department.

For the past 4 years there have been the same matters of emphasis from the Auditor General which indicates poor financial management – again, the MEC has not taken the initiative to turn the tide and improve the situation.

There is an overall lack of impact on the high levels of crime in Gauteng which affects residents on a daily basis – particularly the marginalised.

The department is not focusing on its constitutional mandate of oversight of the SAPS. This is highlighted by the fact that the majority of SAPS key performance indicators were not met over the past 12 months.

Another failing of the MEC is that even though the she knew the previous HOD was leaving the department prior to April this year, it has taken more than seven months to appoint a new HOD.

Corrupt practice around the logging of overtime is still rife and has not been addressed by the MEC.

Score: 3/10
Cooperative Governance, traditional affairs and human settlements – MEC Jacob Mamabolo

The department has, during the current administration, been unable to administer, roll out or effectively monitor its purpose and function as provided for in the constitution and the Housing Act – which is the provision of housing for the poor, and the establishment, development and maintenance of economically viable communities.

The MEC continues to refuse to implement conditions of court orders, such as the directive to provide accommodation for the residents of the N12 informal settlement in Ekurhuleni.

A commitment was made to carry out a transparent audit of housing lists and the allocation of houses.

To date no information has been received and the MEC has to provide answers in this regard.

The department incurred irregular expenditure of R2,6 billion for the 2014/15 financial year, little political will has been shown to rectify this.

Score: 2.5/10
Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development – MEC Lebogang Maile

Jobs still remain the number one priority for the Province, but the department seems unable or unwilling to set targets in this regard – and escapes having to produce tangible results.

There are many wonderful schemes but not much visible action.

An example would be the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis, which has been punted for many years, but the sod turning only occurred in the latter half of this year.

Other job creation hubs remain plans on paper or very poorly developed.

The major disappointment of the year was the declared bankruptcy of the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller, with an outstanding debt in unresolved loans of R100 million over the last 10 years.

The MEC did the right thing by placing a moratorium on any further loans but it should never have gotten to this point.

The MEC seems to lack any understanding of the importance of agriculture to job creation in this province

He appears to have little technical knowledge of his portfolio, and knows nothing noteworthy about agriculture and environmental matters.

Agriculture is still not seen as a key job driver and economic sector on its own.

This is evidenced by the results achieved in the annual report which has no impact whatsoever on the province’s economy.

Responses to oversight tools such as oral and written questions are dismal. The MEC reads from a script – he seems not to have an understanding of the answers written for him by departmental staff.

The way the department deals with the environmental impact of specifically water losses and mine tailings in the province is shockingly inadequate, and officials are happy to pass the buck on to the Blue Scorpions and Department of Mineral Resources, without playing any significant role.

The impact of the drought on the agricultural sector in Gauteng was expected in June this year but no contingency plans were put in place

MEC Maile clearly has no vision for Gauteng’s economic future and no plans to fix anything.

Score: 3.5/10

 

Infrastructure Development – MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza
The Department of Infrastructure Development continues to perform poorly.

It is unable to complete, on average, 40% of its annual targets. The result is that projects are not completed on time and within budget.

MEC Mayathula-Khoza is not prepared to publicly admit to the department’s poor performance, and aided and abetted by the Premier, spins and whitewashes reports of dysfunctionality.

During the financial year under review, the MEC allowed conditions of no consequences for poor performance to flourish.

Management failures on her watch include underspending on projects of client departments, inability to recruit professional staff and a lack of project management expertise.
Score: 4/10
Roads and Transport – MEC Ismail Vadi
MEC Ismail Vadi started out his tenure in office promisingly.

However, during the past 12 months the department has failed to live up to the grand expectations set by the MEC.

MEC Vadi is often vague and evasive about projects and programmes that are run by the department. He is non-committal and open-ended when answering pertinent questions in the house.

Once frank about e-tolls, the MEC has followed Premier Makhura and has now become complicit in foisting this unjust system on the citizens of Gauteng.

G-Fleet, the department’s vehicle rental entity, has gone from bad to worse under the MEC’s tenure, and is the worst performing entity in the Gauteng Provincial Government.
Score: 5/10
Sports, Heritage Recreation, Arts and Culture – MEC Molebatsi Bopape

Premier Makhura’s dissatisfaction with MEC Bopape’s performance says it all, but it is doubtful whether MEC Mazibuko, with her poor track record over the years, will have any positive impact on the department.

The Department’s annual performance has regressed from last year, with more findings being made by the Auditor General. Poor planning has resulted in targets constantly being reprioritised throughout the year.

The department failed to complete all planned library construction in the 2014/15 financial year, nor did it manage to maintain functioning community sports/creative hubs.

Poor financial controls have seen the department incur irregular expenditure to the tune of R88.4 million with one tender alone amounting to R68 million.

Instead of aligning the department’s priorities to deliver services, MEC Bopape rather enjoyed utilising the department’s budget to host events and take lavish trips overseas.

Score: 2/10
The Gauteng Cabinet report card shows how after its first full year in office, the public is looking for answers and want to see results.

By now Premier Makhura has certainly realised that grand plans and announcements require follow through.

While he and his executive are quick to announce grand schemes, a lack of political willpower, and in some instances, technical know-how, keeps Gauteng’s residents in the lurch.

As long as the premier does not walk his activist government talk, his promise of a Gauteng government that delivers will remain distant if he does not steer his executive in that direction.

Media enquiries:
John Moodey MPL
DA Gauteng Provincial Leader
082 960 3843
 
Willie Venter
Director: Communications and research
DA Gauteng
060 963 8260

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Carletonville Testing Centre Turning Motorists Away

The Merafong municipality’s failure to maintain equipment at the Carletonville Testing Centre is forcing motorists to travel 40 km to the next nearest centre in Randfontein.

The machine used to test brakes at the centre needs to be re-calibrated, but the municipality has stonewalled the approval of the R15 000 payment required to do so.

Amid the already tumultuous financial situation the municipality finds itself in – it is now losing an estimated R50 000 to R100 000 a month in unperformed roadworthy tests.

The DA is particularly concerned over the impact this would have on road safety in the area, as well the local economy.

Not every vehicle owner will be able to travel to Randfontein due to cost constraints and limited time off from work, potentially increasing the number of unroadworthy vehicles on the roads.

Quality service delivery should not be curtailed because a municipality refuses to acknowledge the long-term income benefit from a short term outlay.

The DA will engage with Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi and request that he ensure Merafong fast track this payment.

 

Media Enquiries:

Ina Cilliers MPL

DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Merafong

060 556 4344

West Rand Metro: MDB Shelves Merger

MDB Demonstrate Independence

The DA is delighted by the announcement of the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) to postpone its decision on the possible merger of the Mogale City, Randfontein, Merafong and Westonaria municipalities into a single metropolitan municipality until after the 2016 local government elections.

The decision is a marvellous victory for democracy, and the DA is pleased to see the MDB demonstrate its independence by not conceding to the whims of national government.

The DA is of the view that the MDB should not have been forced to apply their minds on the creation of a West Rand Metropolitan municipality at this stage, and with it being this close to the local government election, Cooperative Governance Minister Pravin Gordhan jeopardised the poll with his late proposals.

West Rand Has Great Potential

In fact, the DA strongly believes no demarcation change proposals should be made or entertained within two years of an election taking place.

The DA has long held the view that there are other means to achieve financial stability, economic growth and investment in the West Rand and elsewhere, and that other legislative means should first have been followed to build capacity in under-performing municipalities.

The West Rand area has great potential, which does not require government by a dominant ruling party to achieve this.

Local choice should always be respected and residents and the ANC may well see a change in government in one or more West Rand municipal councils after next year’s elections.

Better Quality Of Life

The DA is committed to provide alternative good governance, better service delivery and economic upliftment in the West Rand, and we will go to every effort to bring the DA difference to the lives of residents.

It is a well-known and accepted fact that where the DA governs, life is better – and a better quality of life awaits everybody should they cast their vote for the DA in the 2016 local government elections.

 

Media enquiries:
Alan Fuchs MPL
DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Mogale City
060 558 8313

Residents Say #NoToWRMetro

Proposed Formation of a West Rand Metro

During the past four days residents of the Mogale City, Merafong, Randfontein and Westonaria municipalities united with the DA in our opposition to the proposed formation of a West Rand Metro.

During this time, the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) hosted public participation meetings in the four municipalities, and heard about the virtual collapse of service delivery, financial and administrative mismanagement, and massive levels of municipal debt in three of the four municipalities.

Capacity Building in Local Municipalities

The DA and residents made it clear that the merge would be detrimental to people’s quality of life, as the lack of administrative capacity would continue while levels of service delivery would rapidly decline.

The overwhelming sentiment at the meetings was that national and provincial government should first exhaust all other legislative means to build capacity in each of the four municipalities, before investigating the possibility of a metro.

In support of the public’s overwhelming rejection of the proposed metro and research that illustrates the negative impact it will have, the DA will intensify our efforts to prevent its formation.

Expanded Public Works Programme Workers

Despite the ANC’s blatant abuse of municipal resources to bus in Expanded Public Works Programme workers to fill seats at these public hearings – it is clear that this plan is neither feasible nor amenable – and goes against the wishes of the people.

Sign our petition opposing the proposed West Rand metro here.

 

 

Media enquiries:

Solly Msimanga MPL

DA Gauteng Provincial Chairperson

060 558 8308

NCOP Week Day 2: DA Gauteng to Carry Out Alternative Oversight Visits

Tomorrow, 23 July 2015, DA Gauteng Members of Parliament, DA Members of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, DA West Rand councillors, activists and volunteers will carry out oversight visits to municipal service delivery crisis points in the Randfontein and Westonaria local municipalities.

These visits are in response to the refusal of the National Council of Provinces to visit sites where municipalities experience severe service delivery capacity shortcomings.

 

Randfontein

Date: 23 July 2015

Time: 08:00

Venue: Droogheuwel water tower, Randgate, Lazaar extension

Contact: Cllr Alwyn van Tonder – 082 593 0313

 

 

Westonaria

Date: 23 July 2015

Time: 08:50

Venue: Donaldson Dam near Mohlakeng followed by a visit to the cattle breeding project nearby.

Contact: Cllr Piet de Jager – 083 627 5105

 

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

 

Media enquiries:

Jacques Julius MP

DA Gauteng Member of the NCOP

083 420 1309

 

Evert du Plessis

DA Gauteng West Rand Regional Chairperson

082 870 2768

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West Rand Metro: Efficient Service Delivery is Key, Not Centralisation

Proposed West Rand Merger

Representatives of the ANC on the West Rand continue to push for the formation of a new Metropolitan Municipality, despite those in higher office within their own structures admitting the municipalities in question are dysfunctional and bankrupt.

During the 2015/16 budget debate for his office, Gauteng Premier David Makhura clearly stated that: ”The merger of municipalities cannot be a panacea to poor management and poor leadership…”.

Furthermore, Section 24 of the Municipal Demarcation Act stipulates that when board re-determines a municipal boundary it must take into account:

  • The provision of democratic and accountable government for local communities;
  • The provision of services to these communities in an equitable and sustainable manner; and
  • The promotion of social and economic development.

Research and factual evidence indicates that such mergers have a negative impact on service delivery and people’s quality of life.

The Tshwane Experience

Tshwane’s merger resulted in increased rates hikes, yet it still struggles with a debt burden of over R1 billion – and only received R20 million from national government towards the costs of the merger.

The West Rand will not be exempt from this process.

While some in the ANC claim that those opposed to the merger are missing an “opportunity to be futuristic”, the DA firmly believes that this merger will be severely detrimental for West Rand residents from all walks of life, that service delivery will further decline, and that the quality of life will suffer.

Effectively Administered Municipality

The DA’s objection to this merger proposes a future where the existing municipalities of Randfontein, Mogale City, Merafong and Westonaria are administered efficiently and cleanly by municipalities that are close them and readily available to serve their needs, and where residents are provided with equal opportunity to be the masters of their own future.

Sign our petition opposing the proposed West Rand metro here.

 

Media enquiries:

Solly Msimanga MPL

DA Gauteng Provincial Chairperson

060 558 8308

Conviction Rate in GP Domestic Violence Cases Dismal

Bekkersdal and Randfontein Police Stations

During recent oversight visits to various police precincts across the province, it has become clear that domestic violence is an increasing concern in most of our communities.

Following requests from Bekkersdal and Randfontein residents, I submitted questions to Gauteng Community Safety MEC, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, to establish the state of such cases in these areas.

The replies show a high number of cases with very low conviction rates. In Randfontein alone, 511 domestic violence cases were reported in 2014/15 with only 13 successful convictions, while in Bekkersdal, there were no successful convictions despite 155 reported cases in the same year.

Sadly, these two police stations reflect the state of domestic violence across the province with community after community raising their concerns with us.

Successful Conviction

A successful conviction is largely reliant on good police work and many Gauteng residents are not receiving this service from the officers assigned to their safety.

Domestic violence tears apart not only families but the very fabric of our society.

I will be writing to MEC Nkosi-Malobane to discuss ways in which domestic violence policing can be strengthened.

Those who suffer abuse at the hands of those closest to them deserve the closure and safety that a successful conviction brings.

 

Media Enquiries:

Michele Clarke MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson: Community Safety
060 558 8309

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