DA uncovers sanitation shock in Tswaing School

Joe Mcgluwa MP

Constituency Head: Tswaing

A DA Councilor in North West was greeted by shocking conditions on his visit to a local school in ward 15 Leretletsi High School in Letsopa, Ottosdal.

The toilet facilities to serve the 550 students of the school are not working for more than 8 months now. The main reason is the shortage of water supply to the school. During school hours student are forced to get entry through holes in the security fence, walking across a busy main road and use the open field. The staff’s toilets are containers full of water placed to flush the toilets. No maintenance of these facilities is being done.

According to the Principal, Mr. TH Mohohlo, this problem has been reported to Mr JA Mothupi a Member of the Portfolio Committee of Parliament for that district, Mr. JA, Mothupi. To date nothing has been done on the matter and the lack of water is the main cause of the problem says Bennie Groenewald a DA councilor in the Tswaing municipality.

The Democratic Alliance last week launched their Provincial Growth and Jobs campaign in the North-West Province.

The constituency head and Shadow minister in the Presidency MP Joe McGluwa together with the Caucus leader Carín Visser and Councillor Bennie Groenewald, will be visiting Leretletsi Lesedi Secondary school in Ottosdal as part of the DA’s Education for Jobs campaign.

The DA is working towards a better education for all South-Africans and should the DA be elected into power in the NW in 2014 we would make education a priority and implement the successful approach of the Western-Cape Education Department.

Councillor Carín Visser Caucus Leader in Tswaing Local Municipality and Constituency Chairperson of Ditsobotla, Ventersdorp and Tswaing stated that their plan is to facilitate engagement between the North-West business and potential partners in neighboring towns to assist them. The Tswaing community is a poor community and children without a decent education are likely to be denied job opportunities.

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DA tackles KZN MEC over allegations of “Manase- style” cover-up in uThukela

George Mari, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA)

THE Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal has called for answers from provincial COGTA MEC, Nomusa Dube, following claims that the ANC-led uThukela District Municipality is deliberately withholding the release of a forensic audit into the municipality’s affairs, allegedly withdrawing the audit results from a council meeting.

The DA regards the claims as serious and we expect the MEC to establish whether this is indeed the case. If founded, the MEC cannot afford to ignore this. They are reminiscent of a similar situation – that of eThekwini municipality – where the full contents of the Manase forensic audit remain hidden from public view, almost a year after the review was completed.

Denying access to documents that are in the public interest must not be allowed to become a trend within KZN municipalities. In addition, the role of oversight by opposition parties must not be thwarted in this manner.

In the interim, we have submitted a parliamentary question to the MEC. We want to know;

– Whether the MEC commissioned the Uthukela forensic investigation and when? – Who conducted the Investigation? – What is the total cost of the Investigation? – What were the findings of the report? – Were any councillors or officials implicated in any way in either the investigation or the report? If yes, who are they?

We expect clarification from the MEC and we expect her to treat this issue with the gravity it deserves.

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Climate change won’t wait for bigger budgets

Gerda Moolman, MPL

DA Northern Cape: Spokesperson of Environment & Conservation

The Democratic Alliance will write to acting Premier Grizelda Cjiekella to ascertain the importance prescribed by government towards creating a sustainable environment. In light of the super storm in New York, and increasing climatic and weather related disruptions across the globe, the DA is concerned that a severely restricted budget is affecting the Northern Cape Department of Environment and Conservation’s ability to mitigate the potentially devastating effects of climate change in the province.

According to the AG’s report, the department failed to achieve almost half of its planned targets in the 2011/2012 financial year. The AG conceded that the achievement of certain targets was influenced by external factors that are not within the control of the department. It appears that the primary such factor is limited financial resources. In fact, according to the department, zero climate change mitigation and adaptation projects were implemented due to budget constraints. This is deeply disturbing considering that climate change is expected to result in higher temperatures, more sporadic rainfall patterns and frequent drought which will negatively impact on all sectors of the economy.

The department consistently gets the smallest budget of all provincial departments, receiving less than one percent of the provincial budget, despite it being one of the better performing departments, having received eight consecutive unqualified audits and this year again narrowly missing a clean audit. On top of this, the environmental sector is the only one not to receive a conditional grant. The minimal funding of this department speaks volumes about provincial government’s attitude towards our environment.

It appears that provincial government doesn’t comprehend the fact that without sustainable measures in place to protect our environment, a number of other sectors including our natural heritage, agricultural production, water resources and effectively our economy, are under threat. In fact, focus on the green economy, which could potentially stimulate economic opportunity in a province already ravished by high levels of poverty and unemployment, will also be severely stunted. The DA hopes to secure a commitment by the acting Premier towards greater emphasis on protecting our environment to which we can hold her and her cabinet accountable.

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Cop car shortage hurts Gauteng war on crime

Kate Lorimer MPL

Spokesperson on Community Safety

Gauteng police are short of 689 vehicles required for it to perform its functions effectively in the province. The lack of vehicles is most pronounced in the Johannesburg metro, which needs 356, followed by 224 in Tshwane and 178 in Ekurhuleni.

The lack of police vehicles significantly reduces the ability of Gauteng police to combat and investigate crime. This reduces visible policing efforts aimed at limiting the opportunity to commit crime through police patrols, undermines the response capacity of police and weakens investigative and detective work.

It was further revealed in response to my written question that Gauteng police only have 46.76% or 3 816 of the required hand radios at stations. Effective communication between police officers when in pursuit of criminals is negatively affected, limiting their ability to call for back up or warn others of potential threats.

Of further concern is the drastic shortage of pepper spray in the province with only 19.78% or 1 614 of the required number in the entire province.

Given the order by the South African Police Service (SAPS) that rubber bullets may not be used, this leaves very little means available to counter violent protests and strikes with the least possible use of excessive force or violence.

I will submit a follow up question to the MEC to determine what the SAPS is doing to ensure that the optimal number of vehicles and other equipment required by police is present at all stations for them to effectively do their job and keep Gauteng citizens safe.

Delays in properly equipping the SAPS endanger both the lives of police officers and Gauteng residents and undermine efforts to combat high levels of contact and violent crime across the province.

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CORRUPTION TIP-OFFS IGNORED IN GAUTENG

Statement by Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Caucus Leader

The Gauteng Provincial Government has finalised only 524 (37%) out of 1417 tip-offs from the National Anti-Corruption Hotline (NACH). Feedback was received in 54% of cases, and the rest were simply ignored.

These shocking figures are from the Public Service Commission report presented yesterday (Tuesday 30 October) at a meeting of the Gauteng Legislature’s Oversight Committee on the Premier’s Office.

According to the PSC, the low percentage of closed cases dates from September 2004 when the NACH was started, and “confirms that there is a lack of capacity in departments to effectively investigate and conclude cases of alleged corruption.”

The Gauteng Roads and Transport Department received the highest number of corruption tip-offs, but only closed 184 (39%) out of 474 referred cases. The Education Department closed only 24% of 213 referred cases.

Responses of other departments were as follows:

Local Government and Housing – closed 37% of 293 referred cases Health and Social Development – closed 50% of 269 referred cases Community Safety – closed 34% of 93 referred cases Finance – closed 24% of 38 referred cases Agriculture & Rural Development – closed 58% of 12 referred cases Infrastructure Development – closed 0% of 9 referred cases Sports, Arts, Culture & Recreation – closed 17% of 6 referred cases Economic Development – closed 20% of 5 referred cases Office of the Premier – closed 0% 0f 1 referred case

There is an appalling lack of action on corruption tip-offs in Gauteng. This is partly because of incompetence, but probably also because investigation would hit top-level ANC politicians.

Premier Nomvula Mokoyane claims to be fighting corruption, but these figures show that she is failing dismally.

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Tatane findings – Free State needs a coalition of Constitutionalists

Patricia Kopane MP

DA Leader in the Free State

The Human Rights Commission’s finding on the brutal killing of Andries Tatane makes it clear that a coalition of Constitutionalists is needed in the Free State to advocate for the basic rights of communities.

The findings are an important first step towards truth and healing. We trust that the courts will now see justice done in this matter.

The Free State has seen 52 service delivery protests this year to date. These numbers will increase as government continues to fall short of people’s need for basic services.

Now more than ever, the people of the Free State need to decide what direction we want our province to take.

We have a choice between the ANC’s path of rights violations and failing services, or the constitutional path where government delivers according to the basic human rights afforded to all citizens.

As the newly-elected Leader of the DA in the Free State I am making a public commitment to work with all like-minded constitutionalists toward an alternative government in this province.

We cannot allow another election cycle to pass without uniting around the basic rights of our communities. Andries Tatane’s activism and bravery must serve as a guide to us.

In the coming weeks and months we will work towards the goal of making this political realignment possible.

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DBE must answer for losing R7.2 billion for mud schools

Annette Lovemore MP

DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) must be held accountable for losing a R7.2 billion grant to address schools infrastructure backlogs.

This money should have been used to replace mud schools, but National Treasury was forced to re-allocate the funds after the DBE failed to spend it.

The failure to spend this money for the purpose allocated is a national disgrace. There are 400 mud schools in the Eastern Cape alone. Learners all over South Africa are still taught in structures that are damp, cold and do not have basic necessities such as water, electricity and hygienic toilets.

The infrastructure backlog programme was highlighted in a court settlement concluded by the Legal Resources Centre in February last year on behalf of seven mud schools in the Eastern Cape.

In February this year the DBE made a commitment that 49 mud schools would be replaced with new buildings by August. They missed this deadline and extended it to November.

The reallocation of this money has now jeopardised the further targeted replacement of 100 schools in 2012/13 and 346 schools in 2013/14.

It is unacceptable that funds will now be reallocated as a general infrastructure grant to provinces – rather than being earmarked to address school infrastructure backlogs.

How can we reverse the legacy of apartheid education if our government can’t spend its money on giving all our learners the opportunities they need to succeed in life?

I will formally request that Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga explain to the Portfolio Committee how R7.2 billion earmarked for improving school infrastructure can go unspent. I will demand that she answers to us, to the court and to every learner in rural Eastern Cape attending an unsafe mud school on exactly how the promised 49 schools this year, the promised 100 schools in 2012/13 and the promised 346 schools in 2013/14 will be delivered.

Minister Motshekga, in a recent address to the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU), said “we’re prepared to boil the ocean for better education”. Instead of preparing to boil the ocean, the Minister would be better advised to ensure her Department builds schools – it’s much easier and would actually benefit learners.

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Mandela Metro motorists urged to report stray animals

Pine Pienaar MPL

Shadow MEC for Roads

Motorists in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro are urged to report stray animals that are left to graze on dangerous roads around in the city.

Animals that are left to graze on the curbs of busy roads in the Port Elizabeth area pose an extreme danger to motorists. At least five or six fatal accidents occur in the city per month which can be linked to animals being on the roads.

This week I stood witness as a vehicle narrowly missed a cow while I was photographing cattle grazing on the Rocklands Road.

I have today submitted questions for written reply to the MEC for Transport, Thandiswa Marawu, to find out what measures her department has in place to control this problem.

While I appreciate the work being done by officials of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropole to control the animals during the day, a major problem occurs after hours, when there is not enough manpower to impound stock such as cattle, donkeys and goats.

I urge members of the public to make use of the 24-hour emergency number, 079 490 0540 to report stray animals on roads in the Metro.

There are thoroughfares such as Rocklands Road that are notoriously dangerous. We must do everything in our power to avoid loss of life. Short term solutions must be found to curtail the use of road verges for grazing until the government can come up with a sustainable fencing programme in the area.

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Deadline looms for NPA

Sizwe Mchunu, MPP

Leader of the DA in the KZN Legislature

THE NPA has just one week left to hand-over the record of decision to the Democratic Alliance detailing why fraud and racketeering charges were dropped against high-profile KZN politicians.

This follows the DA’s Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application for the records after charges were withdrawn against KZN Speaker, Peggy Nkonyeni and provincial ECOD MEC, Mike Mabuyakhulu for their role in the Intaka purification scandal. The scandal involves several other high-ranking KZN officials and politicians from other provinces.

On 26 September, the NPA confirmed receipt of the DA’s application. The NPA has 30 working days to respond to our request. Today marks one week until the 6 November deadline. Given the precedent set by the courts in the DA’s battle to obtain the record of decision for President Zuma’s corruption case, we expect full compliance from acting KZN Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Moipone Noko, to our application.

Both Mabuyakhulu and Nkonyeni are senior office bearers elected by the people of KZN. It is not only opposition parties that have a right to know why these charges have been dropped. The role of oversight also belongs to the citizens of this province, who deserve to have a government with integrity and credibility. That Mabuyakhulu and Nkonyeni’s names are now being bandied about as possible replacements for the role of the provincial Premier, should Premier Zweli Mkhize take up a national role after Mangaung, is outrageous.

As far as the DA is concerned this matter is far from over and both parties still need to prove that they are beyond reproach. Should the NPA fail to divulge the records, as requested, the DA will take further action in a bid to overturn the decision.

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Western Cape leads in basic service delivery, employment & education

Alan Winde MP

Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development & Tourism

The 2011 census results released today reveal that the Western Cape has the lowest unemployment rate in the country, the best basic service delivery and the most people with access to education.

According the StatsSA Census 2011 Statistical Release, at 21.6% the Western Cape has the lowest narrow and expanded (29.3%) unemployment rate in South Africa.

The results also reveal that the Western Cape leads in the provision of a number of basic services: * 99.1 per cent of Western Cape residents have access to piped water both inside and outside the yard * 91.1 per cent Western Cape residents have refuse removal * 93.4 per cent Western Cape households have electricity * 96.9 per cent Western Cape residents have toilet facilities

In terms of access to education, over 97.3 per cent of Western Cape residents have access to schooling.

Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde said: “I commend all Western Cape Departments and municipalities for working tirelessly to ensure that more and more residents of our Province have access to basic services, job opportunities and education.”

“This is not the time for us to rest on our laurels, we are going to work even harder to push towards reaching our target of100% basic service delivery for all. Together with all Western Cape Departments, the Western Cape Provincial Treasury will fully interrogate the results of the Census with the view of possibly requesting that National Treasury allocate our Province a more favourable Equitable Share. We will further examine the manner in which we allocate our budget to ensure that it is apportioned to the areas that the Census reveals require our attention.” Minister Winde added.

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