Tshwane can’t afford an insolvent ANC-EFF puppet mayor

Tshwane’s new ANC-EFF puppet mayor, Dr Murunwa Makwarela, must come clean on his insolvency status before he makes any decisions of consequence, including the appointment of a mayoral committee.

Makwarela is the sole councillor of the Congress of the People (COPE), a small party who has now been co-opted by the ANC and the EFF to serve as a cover for their effective coalition.

Last week the Democratic Alliance (DA) was informed by a member of the public that Makwarela had been sequestrated in the Gauteng High Court in 2016.

Although insolvency is itself not a scandal, an unrehabilitated insolvent is barred by the Constitution from holding public office.

Such a person is also not permitted to serve in any other role that requires fiduciary responsibilities, such as a trustee or a director of a company.

This provision exists for good reason: how can we entrust the governance of a city or any other corporate entity to a person who has no control of his own financial affairs?

We immediately wrote to the city manager of Tshwane to ask that he establish:

  • whether Makwarela had obtained a rehabilitation order (automatic rehabilitation only happens after ten years); and
  • whether this rehabilitation order had been obtained prior to Makwarela’s election as a councillor on 1 November 2021.

We are also writing to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to ask that they conduct their own investigation into the matter.

It is important to note that Makwarela would’ve been required to complete an IEC Annexure 4 return prior to his election as a councillor.

This form includes a declaration that the candidate is ‘not disqualified for standing for elections in terms of the Constitution or any applicable legislation’.

The residents of Tshwane are tired of the political games played by the ANC and the EFF to render the city ungovernable.

The last thing they now need is a mayor who cannot assume responsibilities for the office to which he has been elected, and so the DA calls on Makwarela to be honest with the public.

DA to assess the poorly maintained R101 Road in Tshwane

Today, Friday, 28 October 2022, the Democratic Alliance (DA), Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport, Fred Nel MPL, the DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Roads and Transport, Evert Du Plessis MPL and DA Ward 96 Tshwane Councillor, Ge Breytenbach, will be conducting an oversight inspection to the R101 road in Tshwane.

The volume of traffic has increased tremendously because it is the main road linking Hammanskraal and the Tshwane CBD. In addition, heavy-duty trucks also use this road to avoid the toll road putting added strain on the road surface.

This road is in terrible condition, and motorists using this road routinely have their tyres damaged. There is also a high number of pedestrians who use this road.

During our oversight inspection, we will also determine if any work has been done to upgrade this road and if new road markings and signs have been erected.

Date: 28 October 2022

Time: 9am

Address: R101, Bonaccord Spar

DA to assess the poorly maintained R101 Road in Tshwane

Tomorrow, Friday, 28 October 2022, the Democratic Alliance (DA), Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport, Fred Nel MPL, the DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Roads and Transport, Evert Du Plessis MPL and DA Ward 96 Tshwane Councillor, Ge Breytenbach, will be conducting an oversight inspection to the R101 road in Tshwane.

The volume of traffic has increased tremendously because it is the main road linking Hammanskraal and the Tshwane CBD. In addition, heavy-duty trucks also use this road to avoid the toll road putting added strain on the road surface.

This road is in terrible condition, and motorists using this road routinely have their tyres damaged. There is also a high number of pedestrians who use this road.

During our oversight inspection, we will also determine if any work has been done to upgrade this road and if new road markings and signs have been erected.

Date: 28 October 2022
Time: 9am
Address: R101, Bonaccord Spar

EFF members blockade Gauteng Health Tshwane offices

The Democratic Alliance is alarmed that EFF members have blockaded the Gauteng Health Department’s Tshwane district office and forced 200 staff out of their offices.

Trouble started three weeks ago when about 40 EFF members sat in the lobby of the Fedsure building in Tshwane’s inner city and harassed health staff.

Things became increasingly difficult, and since Thursday last week the 200 staff members have had to be relocated elsewhere to try and do their work.

The Tshwane district office services 77 clinics, and their work has been severely disrupted. Newly hired clinic workers won’t get paid this month if the human resource unit cannot get access to their offices.

Both the department and the landlord have laid criminal charges, but the police have not been visible in removing them.

The EFF members are demanding jobs and refuse to leave, some of them sleeping overnight in the building.

On Monday, this week the EFF’s Gauteng Chairperson Itani Mukwevho allegedly arrived at the building and demanded that security let them in to the health department’s offices. He was allegedly abusive when they refused.

Mukwevho is also an MPL and is the EFF Leader in the Gauteng Legislature.

This appalling behaviour by the EFF is unacceptable. It is cruel to make false promises about jobs to their supporters, and patients in Tshwane clinics suffer because of their disruption of the district office.

The department cannot be forced to provide jobs to members of any political party. Whatever jobs there are should be advertised and people appointed on merit.

The DA will be taking this up with the police to ensure that the health staff can do their jobs without threats and hindrance.

The lack of resources at Boschkop SAPS is negatively impacting police visibility

Note to Editors: Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Crezane Bosch here.

The lack of human and physical resources at the Boschkop Police Station in Tshwane has greatly impacted its ability to provide visible policing that will protect residents and prevent crime.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) recently conducted an oversight inspection at this police station and engaged with the management of the station and the CPF to discuss the challenges they are facing that are impacting negatively on the functionality of the station.

This station has jurisdiction of approximately 300 square km and 50 000 residents, yet it only has one single vehicle and two motorbikes for visible policing and only 86 of the 106 allocated members. This leaves this station with a 20% vacancy rate.

Two days ago, another farm murder occurred, adding to the high spike of farm attacks in the area which begs the question as to how the police are expected to be visible with just one vehicle.

Boschkop consists of mostly informal settlements and farms, and it is not practical for police officers to have only one vehicle for visibility in those areas. Without the necessary resources, the station is unable to do visible policing within this rural and farming community.

Moreover, the cells in the station have been closed after a suspect escaped and have not yet been repaired or maintained. There is no space or holding cells for any suspects who get arrested. The detainees are now being transported and charged at Garsfontein station which is a further 20kms away.
This shows that this police station is in dire straits and unable to implement its core mandate.

The DA has identified numerous challenges affecting police service delivery at Boschkop Police Station. We will be submitting a range of questions in this regard to the MEC of Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko to probe why there is a delay in the filling of vacancies at the station, repairing of the broken vehicles and a lack of support from the provincial and national police departments.

The safety of our residents is of utmost importance hence the DA will continue to put pressure on the current government to ensure that all our police stations are well equipped with the necessary resource to fight crime.

Tshwane residents suffer ongoing water crisis due to Rand Water’s incompetency

The residents of Tshwane are now suffering because of the ongoing water crisis in some parts of the city due to the non-functioning of pump stations that feed water to certain reservoirs.

Most areas in the east of Pretoria have been without water since Saturday, 5 February 2022. Some of the areas affected are Moreleta Park, Constantia Park, Erasmuskloof, Pretorius Park, Olympus, Zwavelpoort, Wilds, Woodhill, Garsfontein, Faerie Glen, parts of Mamelodi and Kungwini.

The water interruptions are because of power failures from Eskom’s power station that supplies electricity to Rand Water. The power failure occurred on Saturday and resulted in Rand Water not being able to supply any water to numerous reservoirs, and the reservoirs were also unable to pump water through to certain areas. This situation affected the water supply to the residents of Tshwane and Ekurhuleni.

Electricity was restored and the reservoirs had started pumping water, however, there was another electricity trip on Wednesday. The trip was fixed, and Rand Water has stopped its pumps from distributing water in some areas in Tshwane. Rand Water is currently filling up water in the reservoirs to a level that is high enough before they start providing water to Tshwane and other affected areas.

The City of Tshwane’s resources is currently stretched, following the flooding over the weekend as the local disaster management unit had to use all the resources that they had, and additional support is vital from the province in a crisis such as this.

The City does not have sufficient water tankers to provide water to all the affected residents without the assistance of either Eskom or Rand Water. This is leaving the majority of the east of Tshwane residents without water.

The DA strongly believes that water is a necessity and access to water is a Constitutional right and as such all-government stakeholders must ensure access to water for all residents. Since this issue originated from a problem from a national entity, we believe that it requires both national and provincial intervention as a matter of urgency.

The DA has written to the Premier, MEC for COGTA, HOD for COGTA, Provincial Disaster Management and the CEO of Rand Water to urgently assist the City of Tshwane with provincial water tankers to distribute water to the affected areas. We also requested that the Premier’s office should assist in ensuring that Rand Water is held financially accountable for failing to provide water.

 The DA is also asking for an urgent report from Rand Water to provide us with details on the following:

• What are the reasons behind water interruptions in some parts of Tshwane?

• Why has the water supply not been restored and when will it be restored?

• What support is Rand Water providing to the City of Tshwane to ensure that residents have access to an uninterrupted water supply?

• Will Rand Water be providing water tankers to the affected areas, or will they be assisting the City of Tshwane to pay the water bills if Tshwane had to outsource water tankers to supply water to the affected areas?

• Why there was no disaster plan in place in a case like this to be able to ensure that the residents have access to water?

• How do you intend to prevent water supply interruptions again and ensure such incidents don’t occur in the future?

The DA will also request the municipality to do an investigation and fact-finding mission on the functioning of the reservoir pressure pumps, maintenance and disaster management plans to prevent similar events like these in the future.

We further appeal to Rand Water to improve their communication and ensure that up to date information is sent to the municipalities to keep the communities informed. Rand Water must also ensure that water is restored in all the affected areas so that residents can have access to water as is their basic human right.

Constitutional Court rules in DA’s favour and affirms that the ANC power grab in Tshwane was unlawful

The DA welcomes the dismissal of Gauteng Cooperative Governance MEC Lebogang Maile’s appeal and the long-awaited Constitutional Court judgment on placing the City of Tshwane under administration.

The Constitutional Court’s ruling vindicates the DA’s stance that MEC Maile’s decision to dissolve Council and place the City of Tshwane under administration was unlawful.

It was obvious from the court judgment that the ANC’s action to put the City of Tshwane under administration for a period of eight months, from March 2020 to October 2020 was a politically motivated power grab on the part of MEC Maile.

There was no justification for removing elected DA councillors from their positions and replacing them with administrators who left the City in chaos and near financial ruin.

The Constitutional Court has affirmed the original judgment by the Gauteng North High Court in April 2020 and the ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal in October 2020, affirming the following: “The running of the City of Tshwane by an unelected administrator is the very antithesis of democratic and accountable government for local communities, enshrined in s 152(1)(a) of the Constitution”.

The court’s order properly ensures that the councillors duly elected by the citizens of Tshwane in 2016 are allowed to resume their rightful constitutional role, powers and responsibilities.
The order gives effect to the rights of voters and preserves the autonomy of local government and it cannot be faulted.

For months the residents of Tshwane suffered under unelected and unlawfully deployed ANC administrators imposed by MEC Maile.

In just eight months, they brought the city to its knees, collapsing service delivery and incurring a R4.3 billion deficit.

During their tenure critical operations effectively came to a stop.

The City was totally unresponsive to the needs of its residents as their legally elected representatives had been removed from office.

After the City was placed under administration it became clear that there were major fractures within the ANC in Tshwane as their councillors contacted the DA to take the decision to court to have it overturned so they could return to their jobs.

For 8 months we fought in the courts to protect the rights of our residents and we succeeded, such that at the end of October 2020 we were able to return to the office. We immediately started work to stabilize the city’s finances and restore basic operations and service delivery.

This judgment is a victory for the DA, but more so it is a victory for the residents of Tshwane, our Constitution and local governance.

This ruling has ensured that our Constitution is protected and upheld and that the separation of powers between different spheres of government is entrenched.

Today’s judgement by the Constitutional Court will set an important precedent to protect municipalities from unlawful power grabs to drive political agendas.

The DA will ensure that MEC Maile is personally held to account for all legal costs and for wasting taxpayers money. MEC Maile must also be fired for his role in this.

The perilous state of chaos and mismanagement that we inherited in October 2020 is a direct result of the ANC’s unlawful actions and the incompetence of the administrators he deployed to the city.

Premier David Makhura should also use this court judgement as a learning experience, and demonstrate his seriousness about consequence management.

Residents of Tshwane deserve remedial action for the suffering they incurred during this period of the unlawful administration.

The DA was the only party that stood firm during this period of unlawful administration and fought against the ANC-led provincial government’s unlawful power grab.

We will always stand for the rule of law and fight for the rights of residents, and we will win because the DA gets things done.

Destroying our heritage sites incites hatred and disregards our rainbow nation

As the nation celebrates Heritage Day, we challenge all South Africans to unite despite our differences, to learn from each other and rebuild our nation.

South Africa is a richer place because of our diversity and heritage sites are a unifying force to help us build our nation. The diversity of our beliefs, culture, and language is what sets us apart as South Africans.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) condemns in the strongest terms the EFF ‘s picket for the removal of the Paul Kruger statue as part of celebrating Heritage Day. These actions disregard the importance of our heritage and incites hatred amongst different cultures and races.

It is unacceptable for the EFF to use this symbolic day to call for destruction and racial division within our country instead of bringing our people together.

Destroying this statue will not heal the nation from the injustices of the past. For the nation to succeed we must learn from the past and each other’s history.

Now is not the time to break down, remove or destroy, but to unite, learn and rebuild.

The DA is the only party that is diverse and big enough to bring people together and we believe that we should create more open spaces for additional statues and heritage sites, where we can come together to reflect on our past and focus on our future.

The DA in Tshwane has worked hard in our campaign, wards, and city to ensure that we have regular clean-up campaigns at all our heritage sites such as the Solomon Mahlangu Square, Church Square, Komjekejeke Cultural Village, Voortrekker Monument, the Synagogue, parks, and cemeteries.

Together through these campaigns and visits to our cultural heritage sites, we champion the preservation of all cultures and their heritage in our country.

South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity we can win as a nation. Now is the time to come together as we build a caring society with an active citizenry.

Local Government Elections are coming up! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

Echoes of Life Esidimeni after missing Kairos Centre patient found dead: MEC in denial

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is heartbroken to learn about the unfortunate death of Shane Jordaan (30) and two other mentally ill patients of the Kairos Centre in Cullinan, Tshwane.

Jordaan, a mentally impaired patient, went missing from the Kairos Centre on 4th June under very questionable circumstances. His body was later found dumped in a ditch close to Cullinan.

According to the information from the Kairos Centre management, he climbed over a 6-foot wire fence to escape from the centre – a clear indication that a lack of security and proper observation of all patients provided the opportunity for Shane Jordaan to disappear.

The DA has been reliably informed that Jordaan is the third patient from this centre that has died in a space of one month, yet the Gauteng MEC for Health, Nomathemba Mokgethi is defending the centre, claiming that it is well maintained with a homely atmosphere.

The MEC states that her department had regular visits to Kairos to inspect the premises and they were happy with the conditions shown to them. The department also claims that Jordaan’s family has not visited him for at least seven years which is incorrect according to Jordaan’s mother.

The disappearance and eventual discovery of Jordaan’s body, more than a month after he disappeared and the death of other two mentally ill patients brings up memories of the Life Esidimeni tragedy, where 144 patients died due to the provincial Department of Health’s negligence.

Provincial departments who fund institutions to look after mentally ill patients are responsible for ensuring that these facilities are regularly scrutinised so that parents and families can sleep without distress, knowing their loved ones are receiving the best possible care.

The Health Department has a responsibility to conduct regular monitoring and evaluation of all the centres that are funded by the state to ensure that vulnerable people are taken care of and receive the best care that they deserve. It is evident that they have failed miserably in this regard, with patients not being given the treatment and care they are entitled to.

The DA will continue to hound MEC Mokgethi to ensure a completely open and transparent investigation is conducted on what caused the death of three mentally ill patients at this centre. This is not a matter that the DA will allow to be swept under the rug, and the department will need to come clean about the apparent negligence on their part.

Further to this, the DA will be laying criminal charges against Kairos Centre for negligent conduct at the Cullinan Police Station. We also demand to know the cause of death of all three patients and should it be found that there were elements of neglect and negligence, those responsible should face severe consequences of their irresponsible actions.

ANC in denial about poor ambulance service in Tshwane

The Gauteng Health Department and the ANC in Tshwane are misleading residents about the poor state of ambulance services as a result of provincialisation, and are making baseless accusations that the DA wishes to profit from a private emergency service provider.

Residents frequently complain about slow ambulance response times, and these have worsened since the City of Tshwane had to stop using its own ambulances because the provincial government failed to extend the city’s operating licence for emergency services.

The City of Tshwane has responded to about 37 322 emergency calls since July 2018 when the province withdrew from its agency agreement with the city because of provincialisation.

But the city’s 73 ambulances and 24 other emergency vehicles now stand idle because it is not legal to operate without a licence from the province.

It is estimated that the city has about 770 000 citizens who qualify for free treatment and transport by the City Emergency Medical Services. This includes the unemployed, pensioners, children under six years of age, and maternity, tuberculosis and terminally ill patients

I have written to Premier David Makhura to intervene urgently to ensure that an operating licence is issued to ensure that the city’s emerging vehicles can be used.

He needs to concede that the provincialisation of ambulances has been poorly handled as it has led to the disuse of ambulances owned by the three metros in Gauteng.

Unlike Tshwane, the ANC-run city of Ekurhuleni has not applied for a licence to run their ambulances, and response times there have plummeted.

Only 41 Johannesburg city ambulances still operate whereas there used to be more than 90 ambulances previously.

It is essential that all available ambulances and personnel are used to provide a decent emergency service, especially during this Covid-19 pandemic.