No bail for faeces dumping accused welcomed

Ivan Meyer MPP

Leader of the DA in the Western Cape

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the decision by Magistrate Kotze in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court yesterday to not grant bail to the nine men who were arrested for dumping human faeces at Cape Town International Airport on Tuesday.

The quick response of the SAPS on Tuesday and subsequent arrest of the nine, including the main agitators in the form of the ANC’s Loyiso Nkohla and Andile Lili, is welcome.

We trust that justice will now take its course in this matter.

The truth of the matter is that Cape Town is the leading sanitation services provider in South Africa. Of the 1.3 million households in South Africa with no sanitation at all, none are in Cape Town. Of the 88 127 bucket toilets identified by national government across the country only 0.4% are in the Western Cape. And it is precisely in an attempt to get rid of these for once and for all, that the DA-led City of Cape Town is providing additional portable flush toilets.

The DA will continue to do everything possible to deliver for residents where we govern.

ANC Task Team ruling Aganang

Jacques Smalle MP

DA Limpopo Provincial Leader

Aganang Municipality is in the final stages of reinstating it’s former Municipal Manager, Ramakuntwane Selepe to his position despite his bad managerial record.

This is happening under apparent instruction from the ANC’s Limpopo Task Team.

Selepe’s contract was originally not renewed last year in August. The municipality received disclaimer audit opinions from the Auditor General (AG) for 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 financial years respectively under his tenure.

According to documents in DA’s possession, the ANC’s Regional Task Team represented by Lehlogonolo Masoga want to impose Selepe back into the municipality even though the council wants a new person who is capable of managing delivery in the municipality.

Under Selepe’s helm as the Municipal Manager , the municipality regressed from a qualified AG report to a disclaimer over the last five years.

This indicates a lack of managerial and leadership skills and accountability. In the last financial year (2011/2012), the municipality incurred wasteful expenditure of R4 million, R19 million for irregular expenditure and a further R15 million that he cannot account for.

The municipality is one of the poorest and rural municipalities in the country with a huge service delivery backlog including water, proper sanitation, electricity and roads.

The decision by the task team to reinstate him is a clear interference in government matters and shows a disregard for procedures and laws that need to be followed.

No political structures should put demands to council to appoint their preferred candidate but rather allow the correct procedures to be followed in filling up that position.

The DA is urging the MEC for Cooperate Governance, Clifford Motsepe to intervene in this regard and ensure that there is transparency. We cannot allow individuals to be appointed while they are not suitable for the post.

NW Cabinet Reshuffle – Criminal charges and incompetency overlooked

Chris Hattingh MPL

DA Leader in North West

The NW DA has noted the long overdue NW cabinet reshuffle and once again is appalled, not only by some of the appointments, but also by the phony motivations provided by Premier Modise.

The Premier dismissed Louisa Mabe from her cabinet, just more than a year after she was removed from the Finance portfolio to put NW Education back on track. This was allegedly because of Mabe’s involvement in R16million irregularities. This motivation sounds hollow given that the MEC for Public Works and Roads, Raymond Elisha, remains in the cabinet even when his Department is implicated in tender irregularities, maladministration and Supreme Court cases involving hundreds of millions – as a result his Roads maintenance and construction function had been abdicated to the National Department.

The reasons provided for the dismissal of the former MEC for Social Development, Mosetsanagape Mokomele-Mothibi included  her abuse of member’s privileges in attending the ANC’s Mangaung conference using public funds, should normally be applauded. However by the Premier’s own admission four other members of her Executive – Magome Masike, Raymond Elisha, Louisa Mabe and Motlalepule Rosho – did exactly the same during the Mangaung Conference.  Masike, Rosho and Elisha did not even get a slap on the wrists, nor did they repay the abused funds.

Premier Thandi Modise’s statement that her focus in the reshuffling is on “accelerating service delivery and entrenching good governance” sounds hollow if the appointment of the new MEC for Local Government is considered. Manketsi Tlhape was the former Mayor of Tswaing, before she left under a cloud the Tswaing Municipality and administration collapsed, was put under a Section 139 administration, a HAWKS investigation and a forensic investigation was also launched. In addition a widespread withholding of rates and taxes in reaction to the Tswaing maladministration, non-delivery and abuse of public funds was implemented.  The outcome of these investigations, true to the NW standard of non-accountability and secrecy, still remains a closely guarded secret.

After the 2011 Local Government elections, Tlhape was tagged by the ANC to become the Ngaka Modiri Molema Municipality’s Executive Mayor – however the NMMDM ANC Councillors, based on Tlhape’s unsuitability for public office, defied ANC instructions for more than two years by refusing to elect her into that position.

The appointment of Manketsi Tlhape as the NW Member of the Executive responsible for Local Government is an insult to the people of the NW, all increasingly victims of collapsing Local Government service delivery – something that Tlhape has become synonymous with.

It is clear that the reshuffling has more to do with political repositioning than service delivery. The new cabinet continue to lack credibility, expertise and with less than a year left of the current term will certainly not be able to change the appalling NW delivery and accountability crisis.

Housing beneficiaries left wanting due to outdated municipal systems

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition

A lack of control and administration systems to manage housing beneficiaries will only aggravate Mpumalanga’s alarming housing backlog which is currently at crisis point.

The provincial department of human settlements admitted to the portfolio committee on human settlements that there are no monitoring systems to manage neither beneficiary applications nor waiting and deregistration lists, as these are done at municipal level where there is a serious lack of oversight.

According to the department, municipalities do not have the capacity to effectively compile and execute beneficiary lists which are still being done and kept manually. To make matters worse, many are discarded when new councillors take office.  This unsurprisingly has not only led to a hoard of complaints from housing beneficiaries, but also to a massive backlog in the handing over of title deeds.

The DA finds it absurd that government entities are still using manual database systems in the 21st century. Furthermore, it is intolerable and distressing that councillors are allowed to simply disregard previous lists based on biased opinions and political and personal benefit.

In 2009 national government publicly announced that the housing beneficiary list crisis would be addressed through the National Housing Needs Register to which all municipalities had to adhere to. This would be the only official register from which prospective beneficiaries would be drawn to ensure credibility and accuracy. From the department’s most recent reports it seems as if Mpumalanga did not follow this mandate.

The DA will write to Human Settlement MEC, Andries Gamede, requesting an explanation into this matter as well as what the department intends doing to overcome this predicament. We also want a report on exactly how many beneficiaries are believed to have been affected by this problem.

The DA believes the only way to rectify the problem, is for provincial government to implement an open and efficient beneficiary administration system. A standard, transparent and fair selection process must be employed across all municipalities and a municipal database support programme must be created. This programme will establish an up to date, public housing demand data-base that is synchronised with all relevant stakeholders.

The provision of housing is fundamental for poverty alleviation and every South African must be given a fair and equal chance to acquire it and secure the opportunity of a better and brighter future.

DA Limpopo escorted by the police out of Legislature

Desiree van der Walt MPL

DA Limpopo Legislature Caucus Leader

Democratic Alliance Members of the Legislature were today escorted by the police out of the legislature precinct after being illegally chased out by the Speaker Mr. Rudolph Phaala.

This came after MEC Radzilani responded to my colleague’s Mrs. Kennedy debate on Safety and Security, and said that we did not contribute positively but merely opposed.

I said that the MEC was talking “nonsense”.  When the Speaker said I should withdraw, I refused.

We remain resolute that there is nothing un-parliamentary about the use of this. It simply means there is no sense in what the member was saying.

In fact there is indeed no sense in what the MEC said.

The DA has, among many other things, submitted a private members bill called Limpopo Community Safety Bill.

This bill is a positive contribution to make Limpopo a safe province and if implemented would make policing more effective.

The MEC has failed to respond to our call at least to debate this bill.

By chasing us out of the Legislature, the Speaker Mr. Phaala stifled debate and acted in a very undemocratic member.

The DA will be reintroducing the Limpopo Community Safety Bill once more to the relevant portfolio committee.  This will once more challenge MEC Radzilani to see who is not doing a thing.

Sheriff attaches Gauteng health furniture

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Health Spokesman

It is really shameful that the sheriff of the court has attached furniture from the Gauteng Health Department’s head office because of non-payment of a R750 000 medical negligence claim.

On 26 March this year, the South Gauteng High Court ordered the Department  to pay R750 000 to Ms Queen Mpinga as an interim  payment pending finalisation of her injury claim for damages  after she lost her left leg as a result of negligent treatment which she received at the Pholosong Hospital in November 2006.

She needs the money urgently as she has been unable to work as a self-employed vendor, and cannot easily move around as she does not have suitable prosthetics.

The following furniture has been attached:

400 computers

600 desks

800 chairs

50 printers

50 filing cabinets

The sheriff attached this furniture on 13 June, and it will be removed on 13 July in order to be auctioned off unless the department pays up.

The Department has a bad history of late payments for court orders. It should respect the court and pay promptly as Mpinga needs the money urgently.

Too many clerks, too few core staff to deliver the goods

Bobby Stevenson MPL

Chief Whip and Shadow MEC for Finance

The Eastern Cape government is on track to being nothing more than an employment agency unless drastic action is taken to turn the situation around.  The Eastern Cape is spending too much on clerks and administrators and too little on core staff such as doctors, nurses and teachers.  The problem is not just how much we spend on personnel but the type of personnel.

An accepted norm for the distribution on salaries is 60% for core staff and 40% for support staff. In this province the ratio is the wrong way around. We spend a whopping 70% on support staff and only 30% on core staff. This means instead of spending funds on doctors, nurses and teachers, we have too many clerks and administrators.

The problem is also compounded by the high proportion of the provincial budget that is spent on personnel.  As a percentage of equitable share, the Eastern Cape’s budget for personnel will rise over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF period – the next three years) from 76.7% to 78%. Similarly, as a percentage of the whole budget – when we include conditional grants — it rises from 64.9% to 66.7%. This means that when it comes to equitable share we only have a discretionary budget of 22%.

The R59, 257 billion provincial budget for 2013/14 is totally skewed in favour of consumption which compromises the efficiency of service delivery. This is a key problem in the Eastern Cape:  we don’t have core staff to actually deliver the goods and not enough funds for infrastructure such as our crumbling roads network.

This is a result of years of jobs-for-pals-appointments and cadre deployment.  This is a ticking time bomb which is the root cause of the slow pace of service delivery in the Eastern Cape.

The DA believes that the organograms of all departments must be reviewed to ensure that expenditure is directed towards core staff and not support staff.  The ANC needs to tackle this political hot potato with a sense of urgency if we are to turn this province around.

The function of a budget is to assist in creating an environment that is conducive to creating jobs, reducing poverty and improving service delivery.

A DA-led provincial government would ensure we change course away from jobs-for- pals-budgets to budgets that are more conducive to creating economic growth.

Thousands of learners take part in the 2013 “Winter School” programme

Donald Grant MPP

Minister of Education Western Cape

There are only 123 days to go before the start of the 2013 National Senior Certificate (NSC).

This year, a total of 48 954 full-time candidates have registered for the 2013 NSC. There are therefore 3 393 more full-time candidates than last year.

The Western Cape Government would like to ensure that as many of these candidates write and pass their NSC, and have therefore arranged for additional tutoring and lessons at some of our schools in order to help improve individual school and learner results.

One such school is Esangweni Secondary in Khayelitsha. This morning I visited the school to meet the learners and their tutors taking part in the 2013 “Winter School” programme.

This year 216 high schools will be participating in Grade 12 “winter school” programmes over the June/July holiday period.

Many of the programmes on offer will be taught by tutors selected by the WCED.

In some schools, curriculum advisors will be supporting and assisting individual school programmes.

The WCED has also arranged for additional resource materials to be developed to complement the lessons being presented.

The “Winter School” programme of the WCED will complement existing programmes at high schools in order to improve performance, particularly at our underperforming schools.

An underperforming school is a school with a pass rate of under 60% in the National Senior Certificate examinations.

The Western Cape Government has in a period of four years managed to reduce the number of underperforming schools progressively from 85 schools in 2009 to 26 in 2012. In 2013, we hope to reduce this number even further.

To this end, and in the interests of the learners at these schools, we will continue to implement our plan, which includes a targeted and sustained strategy to support underperforming and struggling schools.

In 2010 a number of strategies were introduced including the following:

  • Ensuring that all Grade 12 learners have textbooks in at least 6 core subjects.
  • Providing Grade 12 learners with the study guideline “Tips for Success” that provides advice on how and what to study for each subject, the structure of exam papers and how to manage study time.
  • Providing learners with previous examination papers.
  • Regular school visits by officials for curriculum support and monitoring.
  • Meetings with learners and parents.
  • Motivational talks by our district directors and staff.
  • Follow up sessions with learners with irregular school attendance.
  • Tutoring of learners over week-ends and holidays by experienced teachers with a record of high learner achievement.
  • Subject specific support to educators to improve curriculum delivery.
  • A Telematics project which broadcasts lessons via satellite in selected subjects to 144 schools after school and over weekends.
  • Personal mentoring by teachers of learners at risk.
  • Providing learners with safe homework and study spaces.

This year’s plan is more focused in that each district has developed an improvement plan to meet individual school needs, as well as, to incorporate some of the successful initiatives above.

Each education district has conducted an analysis of the 2012 NSC results which has been discussed with each of the 26 schools. This also included an analysis of the new Class of 2013 – examining the Grade 11 results of every learner and subject.

Schools have been required to submit their performance targets and their individual improvement plans for the year on the electronic “School Improvement Plan” (SIP). These targets and plans are being monitored quarterly and, where required, the Department is providing appropriate, differentiated support to teachers and school management teams.

Each district has submitted “focus areas” in which they have identified and are specific to each school.

Some of these “focus areas” are;

  • Monitoring the use of textbooks
  • Capacitating School Governing Bodies
  • Weekly progress reports
  • Lesson observation in specific subjects
  • Monitoring of curriculum compliance and pace.
  • Training of Subject Heads of Department to improve their curriculum management skills.
  • Developing the examination setting skills of educators.
  • Improving marking and assessment skills of educators
  • “Lead teachers” to meet with teachers in their subject fields to discuss best practice in planning, methodology and assessment.
  • Learners ‘at risk’ to receive individual support such as counseling, target setting and study plans.

The ‘Winter School’ programme is just one of many interventions by the WCED to help support and assist our Grade 12 learners this year.

This morning learners at Esangweni Secondary in Khayelitsha were being provided additional lessons in Mathematics. I was encouraged by their enthusiasm and am hopeful that the interventions that have been implemented at this school this year, together with the efforts of the teaching staff and learners, they will produce improved results in the 2013 NSC examinations.

The turnout of learners from Esangweni Secondary for the “Winter School” programme is an encouraging step in the right direction and I wish each candidate success in the examinations.

123 days is not a long time, but each of these days is valuable.

Learners must use this time wisely and maximize the time available on their study timetables till their exams at the end of October.

Through the combined efforts of all learners, teachers and parents, as well as support from the Department, I am confident that we can improve learner performance in the NSC examinations.

Communities continue to live in deplorable conditions due to poor government oversight

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition

The Mpumalanga department of Human Settlements continues to subject the province’s people to dismal and inhumane living conditions and wasting taxpayers money due to its failure to conduct efficient oversight and deliver complete, decent RDP housing projects.

During a visit to Harmony Hill in Sabie in the Thaba Chweu Municipality, the DA’s James Masango was shocked to see hundreds of people using water-filled buckets to flush their toilets as the toilets in their RDP houses are not functioning and were never connected to a sewage system.

In an attempt to address the problem, residents dug a make-shift sewage system just a few metres underground to which all the sewage runs into when their toilets are flushed. This not only poses serious health risks, but also exposes them to appalling living standards.

The DA is shocked by these findings, which are not new to the province with communities in the Mkhondo and Govan Mbeki Local Municipalities experiencing similar problems. We also fail to understand how the department can allow for RDP houses to be built without first ensuring that such houses are supported by basic service infrastructure.

This reiterates the department’s dismal service delivery performance and the government’s irresponsible behaviour in decision making when it comes to tenders for RDP projects. It also accumulates to wasteful expenditure as the department will now have to pay another contractor to finish the job.

With the view that drastic action needs to be taken to rectify this problem, the DA will write to Human Settlements MEC, Andries Gamede, requesting him to investigate the situation and find a speedy solution.

It is simply preposterous that almost two decades into democracy, people in this province are still living under such shabby conditions. The people of Mpumalanga must start receiving what is rightfully theirs – and with decent housing being a basic human right the time to start receiving it is now!

Transport, Safety & Liaison MEC Jack must suspend HOD

Harold McGluwa, ID MPL

DA Northern Cape – Provincial Chairperson Spokesperson on Transport, Safety & Liaison

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling for newly appointed MEC of Transport, Safety & Liaison, Mac Jack, to show leadership, and to suspend the Head of Department (HoD), Stephen Jonkers, in light of the serious charges he faces.

It is unacceptable that the HoD, who is facing charges of corruption and contravening the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), remains in office, even as he makes court appearances and investigations against him continue.

The DA is concerned that the provincial government is showing a complete disregard for good governance principles, and ultimately the people of the Northern Cape. How is it possible that a HoD accused of corrupting the department they manage, remains in his position?

On the one count the HoD is accused of allegedly receiving a kickback of R260 000 from the owner of a bus company to which he awarded a 5-year contract worth R10-million. In another charge, he stands accused of giving three bus companies contracts worth in excess of R25-million without going out to tender. The contracts were for the provision of subsidised transport services in the Springbok and Barkley West areas.

It is unacceptable that in a province where 440 523 residents do not have access to subsidized transport, those who do, are given transport services whose operators have been appointed through allegedly illegal means.

The list of provincial government politicians and senior officials who have been arrested and are in our courts facing serious charges has grown. This is a seriously poor reflection on this current administration.

We are again calling on the Department to do the right thing and place the HoD on immediate suspension, and to initiate its own internal disciplinary measures.