Thembisile Yende: Policing resources are affecting the Springs community

I will write to the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety to inquire whether there are any plans to address the spate of crimes against women in Springs in Ekurhuleni. I will ask whether there are sufficient visible policing patrols and what the police to population ratio is for the Springs area.

Following the mysterious death of an Eskom employee, Thembisile Yende, the autopsy report has revealed that Yende suffered bruises on her neck. This suggests that she may have been strangled to death and points to yet another act of femicide.

One man and four women are due to appear in the Springs Magistrate’s Court today following their having been charged with human trafficking. The alleged perpetrators were arrested after the police raided a brothel in Springs.

A woman, who endured her second gang-rape in Springs, has come to the fore stating that the justice system is failing her. Her alleged perpetrators have been released while the investigation commences.

These instances are only a few examples of the ongoing crimes against women. It seems that local police are unable to meet the need in fighting and preventing crime in Springs.

Criminals believe that they are free to commit lewd acts of crime against women because they fear no recourse. We encourage community members to report crimes to local police officials as they play a crucial role in the fight against crime. However, it is only through adequate policing by means of patrols, visible policing and sufficiently manned stations, that we will see a real decrease in crime.

The shortage of police resources in Gauteng is having a marked impact on women in the Springs community. The DA wants answers from the Gauteng Government as to what it plans to do to address these crimes.

SAPS Task Team The First Step In The War On Illegal Mining

Illegal Mining Turf Wars

The DA notes the recent announcement of the formation of a task team to investigate illegal mining activities in Gauteng, and we hope this is the first of a number of steps to put an end to this scourge on our communities.

According to reports, the announcement comes in the wake of a recent shoot-out between two warring factions of 200 and 500 illegal miners over control of an abandoned mine in Grootvlei, Springs.

To date 19 people have died due to turf wars between gangs of illegal miners. In July, siblings were hospitalised from stray bullets in a turf war over an abandoned mine in Ekurhuleni.

Specialised Police Units

While the task team is a welcomed decision, more definitive steps are needed to protect our communities from this lawlessness. The fact that large groups of illegal miners are armed with automatic weapons – with minimal arrest success – is a serious concern to law-abiding citizens who have lost loved ones as a result of open warfare between rival gangs.

Gauteng communities cannot continue to live in fear, as armed criminals walk freely among. To this end, and specialised police units are needed to put a stop to this.

As a result of this spiralling crisis, the DA has resubmitted a motion for debate calling for such units in the Gauteng Legislature.

The DA will continue to push for the establishment of specialised units until people in our communities can go about their daily business without living in fear.


Media Enquiries:

Michele Clarke MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Community Safety

060 558 8309

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Three bodies erroneously released from Gauteng state mortuaries

Three bodies erroneously released from Gauteng state mortuaries

Gauteng state mortuaries released three bodies erroneously in 2013 and 2014.

This information is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

Gauteng Legislature

The three cases were as follows:
• Springs mortuary – body released wrongly on 10 July 2013;
• Ga-Rankuwa mortuary – body released wrongly on 24 April 2014; and
• Pretoria mortuary – body released wrongly on 20 November 2014

In the Springs case, a final written warning was issued to an employee for misconduct.

In the other two cases, the employees were charged with misconduct and disciplinary proceedings are still proceeding.

These three cases are disturbing but mercifully few.

Diepkloof mortuary

There is a danger of body parts being stolen for various purposes, as in the one case reported of body parts stolen at the Diepkloof mortuary on 24 October 2013, which involves a disciplinary case that has still not been finalised.

It is immensely traumatic for family if the body of a loved one is released erroneously to someone else, and there must be firm discipline and controls to prevent any further cases.

Media enquiries:
Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health
082 333 4222


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Why Name Far East Rand Hospital after Ruth First?

Far East Rand Hospital

Premier David Makhura is officially renaming the Zola-Jabulani Hospital tomorrow, the first of three proposed new names for hospitals in Gauteng, but the most puzzling one is the plan to name the Far East Rand Hospital after Ruth First.Jack Bloom DA Constituency Head - Johannesburg East

According to a written reply by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature, the Far East Rand Hospital Board wrote a letter to the MEC in 2008 proposing the name change and “several meetings were held with the members of the hospital board, community of Springs, Kwa-Thema, Tsakane and Daveyton.

Furthermore, staff members (including labour unions), members of the religious forum were consulted.”

Names Submitted for Consideration

The following five names were submitted to the Office of the MEC for consideration:

  • Flamma Mzamane – a professional nurse;
  • Violet Phoswayo – a social worker;
  • Margaret Gazo – a political activist;
  • Ruth First – a political activist; and
  • Dr Lancelat Gama – medical doctor.

Mahlangu says that the hospital board “felt that the name Far East Rand explains the geographic location of the hospital and does not reflect the history of the area.”

Ruth First

Ruth First was an anti-apartheid scholar and member of the SA Communist Party together with her husband Joe Slovo. She was born in Johannesburg and has no readily apparent link to the Far East Rand area.

My concern is that in virtually every instance (Steve Biko Hospital is an honourable exception) the Gauteng Provincial Government renames a hospital after an ANC-linked activist, often with little real consultation.

The FAR Hospital is in the ward of DA Councillor Dean Stone who was not consulted at all with regard to the renaming, unlike ANC councillors who were involved in the Zola-Jabulani and New Natalspruit Hospital name changes.

Public Participation

Nobel Prize winning author Nadine Gordimer is the most famous Springs-born personality, and should have been considered, especially as her name could be used to raise donor funds internationally for the hospital.

The public participation process in renaming the Far East Rand hospital was very selective and inadequate. My view is that a further process should be embarked on that includes names like Nadine Gordimer with a strong local connection.

There is a strong case for hospitals to have a geographical name, but there must be genuine public consultation if they are to be renamed.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Constituency Head – Johannesburg East

082 333 4222

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Gauteng Premier Must Take a Stand Against Xenophobic Attacks

The DA calls on Gauteng Premier David Makhura and provincial ANC leaders to publicly stand up and condemn attacks on foreign residents in the country, before it spirals out of control.Solly Msimanga DA Gauteng Provincial Chairperson

Following days of xenophobic violence in KwaZulu-Natal, foreign business owners in the Johannesburg CBD yesterday fell victim to widespread and seemingly coordinated attacks.

According to local reports, attacks are currently under way in KwaThema, near Springs on the East Rand.

Coordinated Xenophobic Attacks

Of particular concern is the seemingly coordinated nature of the attacks and almost total lack of police intelligence to prevent it from occurring.

South Africa prides itself on a Constitution founded on a shared respect for the human rights of all persons, and it is up to each and every one of us to strongly condemn acts of violence against our fellow humans simply because of their origin.

While the cause of the xenophobic violence may have been fanned by remarks of certain senior leaders, Premier Makhura, his Cabinet and the provincial ANC as a collective must take a stand, and condemn xenophobia in the strongest terms.

South Africa Owes those Nations

Premier Makhura, many African nations opened their arms to the ANC during the struggle for a free and democratic South Africa.

Those nations trained, fed, clothed, sheltered and provided financial support to the liberation struggle at great peril to themselves – and South Africans today owe those nations and their people a great debt of gratitude.

It is the duty of every South African to stand up against xenophobia and build a South Africa where everyone feels safe and at home.

To this end, the DA calls on the Premier to liaise closely with the police and municipal law enforcement agencies and do everything possible together to prevent further looting and violence.


Media enquiries:

Solly Msimanga MPL

DA Gauteng Provincial Chairperson

060 558 8308

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DA Marches Against Drug Abuse in Daveyton

On Saturday, 28th of March 2015, the Democratic Alliance staged a protest march against the rising incidents of drug abuse and associated criminality in Daveyton.

DA activists marching against drug abuse

Over 300 DA members and supporters marched several kilometers from to the Daveyton Police Station to hand over a memorandum to the South African Police Service, demanding ‎that the Narcotics Bureau be reinstated to deal with drugs and crime intelligence around drugs, as well as more frequent raids of drug dens and visible policing around schools to keep drug dealers away.

The march was a peaceful occurred without incident, and was pre-approved with SAPS along an agreed route, as the DA is a party of the rule of law and supports the rule of law.

The DA will continue to demand that specialised policing units be reinstated to deal with specific crimes and will be pursing the issue through the various councils, legislatures and parliament.

The DA in Daveyton will be running a month long campaign on drug abuse with the community.


Media Enquiries

Ashor Sarupen MPL

DA Constituency Head – Springs / Daveyton

076 334 5147