Investigation recommends that Kairos Centre’s licence be revoked, yet they are still operating

It is extremely distressing to learn that the Kairos Centre in Cullinan, Tshwane is still operating even though an investigation has found that there are no adequate systems in place to ensure the safety of the mentally ill patients in their care.

This is a clear indication that the lives of the most vulnerable are in danger as there is no constant monitoring to ensure their safety and that they do not endanger themselves and others around them.

This information was revealed to me by the MEC for Health, Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi, in reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to the MEC, there are currently no proper reporting systems in place where families or users can report concerns, complaints, or issues such as a visitors’ book or handover book.

Furthermore, the Kairos Centre files are not within the required norms and standards and to this end, there was no evidence in the file of negative behaviour or incidents, such as the regular absconds or suicide indications.

This is sheer carelessness and points to the fact that this centre does not take its duties and responsibilities seriously. In addition, the MEC also indicates that the absconding of two mentally ill patients was not reported to the district, families, or police and that the contact details of the family were not kept up to date.

The investigation into the Kairos Centre came as a result of the Democratic Alliance (DA) raising the alarm about the five patients who died at the Kairos Centre. Subsequently, this centre was then investigated for negligence.

The DA will continue to put pressure on the MEC for Health to ensure that the issues of negligence at the Kairos Centre are addressed as a matter of urgency. Furthermore, we demand that the recommendations made by the department are implemented, failing which this centre must be closed immediately and its license be revoked.

Five patients have died at Kairos Centre in two months, yet the department is still dragging its feet in implementing the recommendations. The DA will continue to fight to ensure that mentally impaired patients are treated with the dignity they deserve.

Another NPO is left in the lurch, young girls continue to suffer abuse

Despite the Gauteng Department of Social Development promising to conditionally register the New Life Centre (NLC) in Midrand, this NPO is still not registered and has not yet received any formal communication and funding from the department since 2017.

This centre which caters mostly for young girls who are victims of human trafficking, orphans, children of sex workers and victims of sexual assault is struggling to provide necessary care due to a lack of funding.

This shocking information was discovered by the GPL Social Development portfolio committee during an oversight inspection at the NLC.

NLC was established in Hillbrow in 2005 to aid and empower young girls who are lured into prostitution. In 2017, NLC moved to President Park in Midrand and applied for registration and funding from the department.

It has not yet received any feedback from the department concerning its’ registration and funding applications.

The DA has since learned that the department came to remove all the girls and called their sex worker parents to come and collect their children. This is unacceptable, as it was done without evaluating the home environment and determining the safety of these girls.

Within a few days of experiencing various forms of abuse, most of the girls called the NLC founder in tears and begged her to come and fetch them from their parents and as they wanted to return to the centre.

Legally, the department may have been correct as the centre is not registered, but it compromised these girls morally and ethically by placing these girls back in the abusive environment from which they originally came. The department should have found an alternative shelter to house these girls.

If the DA was in government in this province we would have communicated with the founder in 2017 and immediately ensured there is funding available for this critical NPO to take these abuse children out of their abusive environment. When the DA is in power, we will not ignore or leave NPO’s in such a state of neglect or return the children to such a negative environment.

The safety and well-being of these young girls is of utmost importance to the DA, and we demand that a proper evaluation be conducted by the department’s social workers.

These young vulnerable girls deserve a conducive environment that caters for them, and the DA will fight to ensure that the NPO gets the needed funding as soon as possible before it is forced to close down and the vulnerable children are forced to be returned to very unfavourable and debilitating circumstances.

Children’s rights to essential services continue to be undermined

Children’s rights to access essential learning equipment and shelter continue to be undermined by the Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD).

In the face of Child Protection Week, children continue to suffer due to the DSD’s constant underspending on its allocated budget for the programmes meant to deliver welfare services to children.

South Africa may be celebrating this week, yet there is nothing to celebrate, while children who are solely dependent on the government for survival are failed by the very same government on which they rely.

Year after year DSD celebrates children, while it has failed to meet its target of placing children in foster care.

According to the department’s fourth-quarter report for the 2020/21 financial year, only 16 811 children were placed in foster care compared to the targeted 17 654. The department also failed to meet its target of providing psychosocial support services as only 48 122 children accessed the service compared to the target of 71 092. 1342 children were provided with non-centre-based services compared to the target of 1902.

In addition, while 172 717 children were targeted to be registered for Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes only 156 940 were registered, 201 of 281 children with disabilities were registered in ECD programmes and only 105 919 children accessed registered partial care facilities compared to the target of 157 150.

This department is failing our children and one week of Child Protection Awareness is not enough. All children deserve to benefit from government programmes and not a selected few individuals.

Therefore, the DA demands that this department must ensure that the most vulnerable in our society, particularly the children, do not suffer by ensuring that targets are met for children’s programmes.

We also urge all stakeholders to work together to stop the cycle of neglect, abuse, violence, and exploitation of children. However, to protect our children this department must ensure that it meets its target for foster care placement and other psychosocial support services that our children need.

Our children are the future of this country hence they must be protected, and the DA will do everything to ensure this happens.

#NoFutureBudget: 2022/2023 does not do much to improve basic service delivery to Gauteng residents

HYBRID HOUSE SITTING – Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Gauteng residents are in desperate need of a province that has a growing economy which offers a conducive environment to attract private sector investment. This can only be done if our government is serious about rooting out corruption within its ranks.

Many of our girl children miss school for days because they do not have access to sanitary towels. The Gauteng government does offer some assistance in the form of dignitary packs, but the harsh reality is that it is not distributed to our girl children in need.

Access to dignified housing remains a key challenge for our residents in the province. Many of our residents are still living in backyards and do not have access to proper basic services like sanitation and electricity.

While this budget on paper caters to the needs of our residents, there is however no hope for the future of our residents as it will not be spent on the programmes that are intended to uplift and provide dignity to our residents.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng delivered its position on the 2022/23 budget votes for the Office of the Premier, Department of Social Development, Department of Human Settlements and Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).

Below are the speeches delivered during today’s budget vote debates in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL):

Office of the Premier

Gauteng residents can no longer afford to foot the bill for corruption. It is high time that the anti-corruption frameworks translate into action.

See speeches here:


Department of Human Settlements

Human Settlements budget fails to set out a plan for a better future

See the speech here:

Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
Gauteng residents continue to suffer as municipalities continue to regress

See the speech here:

Department of Social Development

Gauteng residents continue to suffer while the Department of Social Development can’t pull itself together

See speeches here:

Department of Social Development misses dignity packs target yet again, Gauteng learners left to suffer

Girls still miss days of schooling or use unhealthy materials during their menstruation because of the Gauteng Department of Social Development’s failure to meet its target to distribute dignity packs to learners across the province. 


This department’s incompetency can no longer be tolerated as female learners’ dignity continue to be trampled on when it should be protected.


According to the department’s fourth quarterly report for the 2021/2022 financial year, only 636 119 dignity packs were distributed to learners compared to the target of 2.1 million which is equivalent to 30, 2 percent.


This is unacceptable and indicates that most learners that are in dire need of dignity packs did not access them due to the department’s failure to meet its target in this regard.


Furthermore, only 151 797 (65.4%) of school uniform packs were distributed compared to the targeted 232 098.


This is an unfortunate failure by the department as Covid-19 should have spurred it on to exceed its targets considering that its mandate is to alleviate poverty and provide essential support to the vulnerable members of this province. 


Considering that many people have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many parents are unable to afford to buy sanitary pads and school uniforms for their children and they are solely dependent on this department to assist. 


This is a crucial time when the department needs to prioritise providing dignity packs and school uniforms to Gauteng learners.


Therefore, it is not acceptable that the department blames its underperformance on Covid-19 and the lockdown regulations. Covid-19’s arrival caught this department with their pants down.


For far too long, the DA has been demanding the establishment of a database with the addresses and contact details of the beneficiaries of the dignity packs and school uniforms. This will ensure that all learners registered on the database have access to this critical service.


The DA will continue to exert pressure on the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Morokane Mosupyoe, to establish a database for all the learners benefiting from the dignity packs and the school uniform programme.


Education is a basic right, and no child deserves to miss a day of schooling because of menstruation or not having a proper school uniform. It is high time that this department delivers on its core mandate of assisting the vulnerable people of Gauteng.


Mohlakeng Old Age Home empty, yet employees continue to draw salaries

The R43.5 million Mohlakeng Old Age Home in Rand West has been standing empty and gathering dust for almost six years with no beneficiaries while the Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD) has employed staff members who continue to draw salaries monthly.

Elderly people in Rand Wes, who currently suffer from socio economic problems, a lack of housing and poor support systems in the community, are in desperate need of adequate facilities.

To make matters worse, the DSD has spent R43 523 018.26 building Mohlakeng Old Age Home and it has yet to be issued with an occupancy certificate as the building does not comply with the Occupational Health and Safety standards.

This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Morakane Mosupyoe in a written reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to MEC Mosupyoe, the construction of this facility started in 2010. The initial cost was R39 440 232.00 which was adjusted to R43 523 01.26. The annual cost of the furniture was R2 979 512.00 for the 2012/2013 financial year. The facility is designed to accommodate up to 56 elderly people.

MEC Mosupyoe states that this facility was never opened or utilised and there were no beneficiaries admitted due to the unavailability of an occupancy certificate.

Furthermore, in November 2020, the DA tabled written questions to the former MEC for Social Development, Nomathemba Mokgethi with regards to the Mohlakeng Old Age Home.

According to Mokgethi, the construction of this facility was completed on 31 July 2016. It was launched on 26 April 2019 and the employees started working on 1 August 2019. Initially, they employed 24 staff members, of which 14 staff members left the facility for new opportunities. The cost of the salary bill for the staff since the opening is R1 051 759 98.00. In addition, the facility received R1 333 425.00 from the department for nine months.

This is yet another example of the vast waste of money by the department employing staff in a facility with no residents.

The DA will be tabling follow-up questions in the GPL to ascertain how many employees are still employed at this facility, how much has been spent on their wage bill and what the scope of their work is. We will also ascertain the progress with regards to the DID in fixing the infrastructure glitches and ensuring that the building is compliant with the occupational health and safety standards, and when an occupancy certificate will be issued.

The DA will continue to push for accountability in this matter. The department must be held accountable for wasting taxpayers’ money by employing staff members while there are no beneficiaries and no work to be done. DID must also account for its failure to comply with the occupational health and safety standards when constructing this facility.

We will also fight to stop the abuse of taxpayers’ money and ensure that the vulnerable elderly people in Rand West are accommodated at this facility as they continue to suffer due to the shortage of elderly facilities in the area.


72 Tswelopele’s frail and disabled patients have nowhere to go as DSD fails to provide alternative accommodation

72 of Tswelopele’s frail and disabled patients are now suffering as they have been left without food, adult nappies and toiletries and have nowhere to go as the Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD) is failing to provide alternative accommodation.

Tswelopele Frail Care Centre was set to officially close its doors on 31 March due to severe financial challenges which resulted in this institution being unable to pay its rental fees. DSD was made aware of the severe financial challenges facing this centre and made a commitment that it would relocate the 72 patients before the official closing date of the centre. This has not happened, and the patients are now starving as there is no food left for them.

The centre is now struggling to provide adult nappies, toiletries, and cleaning materials as they do not have money. This centre has cancelled all its service provider contracts due to its official closure and must now request for reconnection of some services for which they have to pay penalties.

The department consulted with the management and staff members at Tswelopele as well as the family members of the patients and promised that there were alternative facilities for the relocation of the patients and to date, it has not yet happened.

Delays by the department to relocate these patients to alternative facilities shows that this department has no empathy for the destitute that are solely dependent on the government for survival.

The continued suffering of these patients who are not being relocated to alternative facilities will result in another Life Esidimeni tragedy as these patients will die of hunger and a lack of access to proper health care.

The DA is demanding answers from the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Morakane Mosupyoe with regards to when these patients will be moved and where will they be moved to. We have tabled questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) to ascertain whether the department had properly planned for the closure of Tswelopele as well as the relocation of its patients to other alternative facilities.

We will continue to put pressure on MEC Mosupyoe to ensure that her department speeds-up the process of relocating these patients to ensure that they receive all the necessary care they deserve.

Gauteng ECDs continue to suffer as DSD fails to disburse the Covid-19 stimulus package

Maphindis Day Care Centre in Mpilisweni section, Thokoza, Ekurhuleni is struggling to provide children with balanced meals and to sustain its operations due to the Gauteng Department of Social Development’s (DSD) failure to pay out the Covid-19 Early Childhood Development (ECD) Stimulus Package.

ECDs continue to suffer while children starve, yet the department has received R77 million from the ECD Employment Stimulus Relief Fund which is supported by the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme.

This centre is one of many ECDs across the province that are struggling to sustain their operations due to financial constraints.

Maphindis Day Care Centre has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic as most of its funders have pulled out. Parents cannot afford to pay the ECD fees for their children as many have lost employment during this period. The centre is now dependent on food donations and a little money received from a few parents that can still afford to pay for the ECD fees. This centre is also struggling to pay for its operational costs and to ensure that children have access to all ECD basic educational needs.

The department received the money in October 2020, and to date, it has only paid out R37 million to the ECDs across the province which is equivalent to 48 percent of the total money.

This was revealed by the Gauteng Department of Social Development MEC, Morakane Mosupyoe while responding to my oral questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

This money is meant to help the ECD services recover from the loss of income because of the pandemic and not for the department to keep in its coffers.

Furthermore, ECD facilities are mainly run by women and therefore the slow disbursement of this stimulus package perpetuates the suffering of women.

The DA will continue to engage with the affected ECDs and put pressure on the department to disburse the money. We will also be writing to the Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s Social Development Portfolio Committee Chairperson, Refilwe Kekana to call for an urgent meeting with MEC Mosupyoe and the HOD to explain to the committee the reasons behind the delays in disbursing the ECD stimulus package.

Failure to spend this money is a serious crime to those that need it the most as it will be returned to the treasury. The DA will fight for this not to happen.

72 frail and disabled patients have nowhere to go as Tswelopele officially closes due to DSD’s failure to rescue the centre

72 frail care and disabled patients have nowhere to go and will now be homeless with no access to proper nursing care as Tswelopele Frail Care Centre will officially be closing its doors on 31 March due to the Gauteng Department of Social Development’s (DSD) failure to rescue this centre.

This Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) based in Hillbrow, Johannesburg will be shutting its doors after operating for 17 years providing 24-hour residential frail care, social work services, respite care and safety beds.

This centre also offers learning opportunities for the auxiliary social work and nursing auxiliary students and academic final year medical students.

In addition, 55 staff members of Tswelopele will be left jobless with no income to sustain themselves and their families.

This is a great loss to the community as well as students and aspiring students in this field as they will not have an accessible centre for them to do practical work.

Tswelopele is faced with a severe financial challenge and is unable to pay its rental fees and R3 million is now outstanding. They have been engaging the department requesting assistance since 2019. Tswelopele has only once received feedback from the department after a year of acknowledging their email and the department promised to revert back with a solution. There was no further correspondence from the department despite several requests from Tswelopele.

This centre is receiving a subsidy from the department and can no longer afford the rental fees. It is now forced to shut down and alternative accommodation is needed urgently to house 72 frail care and disabled patients.

Surprisingly, the DSD receives quarterly reports, six-monthly reports, and monthly claim forms from Tswelopele, yet has never once tried to intervene or assist them with their financial challenges. This indicates that the department is failing in its responsibility to monitor and evaluate services rendered by the NPOs and NGOs.

Tswelopele was just left to die a slow death by the department.

Once again, the department has shown that it has no empathy for the destitute that are solely dependent on the government for survival. It is sad as the department constantly underspends on its budget and hundreds of thousands of Rands that are returned to Treasury could have been used to rescue NPOs and NGOs in dire need of financial assistance.

The DA demands that DSD provides training workshops to the NGOs and NPOs across the province in financial management to assist them on how to manage their finances as most of them are facing severe financial challenges. The department should also workshop them on the services and support they are offering to NPOs and NGOs so that they can be aware as most of them are unaware as to what the department can and cannot do.

The DA has engaged with Tswelopele management to ascertain how they can be assisted and to ensure that the department intervenes.

We have written to the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Morakane Mosupyoe and the Head of Department (HOD) to ask for their urgent intervention and to ensure that 72 frail care and disabled patients are offered alternative accommodation.

We will continue to monitor where these frail care and disabled patients will be relocated to. We want to ensure that the Life Esidimeni tragedy, where 144 patients died due to the government’s negligence does not happen again.

Gauteng residents continue to suffer due to the Department of Social Development’s constant under spending

The Gauteng Department of Social Development has been constantly underspending on its allocated budget whilst the vulnerable residents of Gauteng continue to suffer. To be honest – this department has been caught with its pants down when Covid-19 arrived on our shores.  Underspending by R438 million for such a crucial department is a criminal offence. Social Development used to be a department that I thought many did not pay attention to but with the Covid-19 pandemic, I understood truly how crucial its role is. 

Premier, I listened with full concentration as you delivered the State of the Province Address on Monday. In the beginning, you said you would be honest and mention the successes but also acknowledge the shortcomings of your government and I listened attentively. None of the shortcomings were mentioned.

During the Covid-19 period, the department was forced to act on impulse and accommodate homeless people. Then they promised that they would develop a much-needed homelessness strategy and even allocate R84 million to this plan. 

A promise was made and presented to the portfolio committee, it is now February 2022 almost 2 years since Covid-19 came and there is no strategy presented to the committee. The Minister of Public Works donated six buildings to this province to be used as shelters – again nothing has come of these buildings. 

The young and vulnerable people of this province were denied much-needed dignity packs as well as school uniforms. On paper without thorough analysis, one would be made to believe that the department is meeting its targets but what is happening is that the department keeps on rolling over funds from the previous year. 

Let me remind this House that living with albinism or having a monthly period is not a choice. At this moment, I would like to pay respect to the late Kuli Roberts – a fighter for people with albinism.

When will cooperatives be transitioned into businesses that are incubated so that they can bid fairly for the work that they do? For almost four years, the department has told the committee that they are busy appointing a company that will sub-contract cooperatives. This is not happening because this is the area in which the department is failing dismally. 

In 2014, I found the same cooperatives on the database – no growth but solely dependent on government, now that government due to treasury regulations cannot finance cooperatives, they are struggling to stay afloat, and some are closing their doors. 

Whilst the department is getting clean audits, many NGOs that work for this government continue to get late payments. 

Yes, finally the monitoring and evaluation was started in the department, but they don’t seem to understand how to capacitate NGOs to ensure that they are compliant, or the department doesn’t know how to maintain compliance with regards to NGOs.

Either way, the beneficiaries and staff employed by these NGOs are the ones that suffer.

The ECD stimulus package would have gone a long way to cushioning the ECD sector, but the department was not ready to spend that money. 

Honourable premier, you made a promise on Monday to the people of Gauteng that you will release the SIU reports. From the Social Development perspective, I am waiting to see the outcome of the conduit payments investigations where to this day nothing has happened – a person went missing!

In conclusion, the Gauteng Department of Social Development needs a more effective and proactive monitoring and evaluation unit that develops compliant solutions to assist the welfare sector. This will ensure on-time payments for NGOs so that the vulnerable are protected and there is continuous empowerment of NGOs to ensure that treasury requirements are complied with. The department poverty alleviation programmes also need to contribute to job creation or entrepreneurship in this province. This is urgent and we demand an emergency response. 

I thank you!