Western Cape mobility, an increasing success story

Robin Carlisle

Minister of Transport and Public Works

I welcome the Public Private partnership that has connected the R27 West Coast Road to the N7 route to the Olifants Valley and Namibia.

This R200 million initiative was made possible by the construction of the Potsdam/N7 interchange built by the Province and the M12 infrastructure built by the City. It was achieved by partnership, and without partnership this country will never develop.

Timeline:

  • In 2007, the WCG constructed the Potsdam/N7 interchange at a cost of R60 Million
  • In 2011 the City completed the M12 linking infrastructure at a cost of R65 Million
  • 2012, the City approved the subdivision application for the land to the east of Parklands – determining the position of the Sandown Road reserve and unlocking the development opportunities here
  • Garden Cities, Milnerton Estates and the Aska Property Group commissioned the construction of the Sandown Road Link including the road-over-rail bridge. The tender awarded for this link injected a further R64 Million into the infrastructure here. And during March this year, Milnerton Estates and Aska awarded a further tender for the extension of Parklands Main Road to the north so as to connect with Sandown Road.

This infrastructure investment, totalling R200 million, will improve the already high standards of the City of Cape Town and the Province’s road network. It will mean:

  • New routes through the suburbs
  • Link between the West Coast and the Northern Suburbs
  • Improved access to Cape Town International airport

The new road creates exciting opportunities and re-enforces many of those critical areas in which the City must make progress if it is to meet the needs of its citizens, too many of whom are unemployed and poor.

The road opens up a swathe of new territory  in the rapidly growing north west of the city, creating opportunities for housing, economic growth, and most of all, new jobs. Research shows that job creation is what our people want as the number one priority.

For our 350000 unemployed, our new freedoms are diminished, the hopes of 1994 are dashed and a new oppression is created. We must create jobs as if our national life depended on it – as indeed it does.

This new road has also meant the unlocking of the “Rivergate” development, that will offer mixed use commercial, industrial, institutional and residential opportunities, as well as see the expansion of the MyCiti service where a need for public transport has now been created. This new link is specifically designed to lock in with public transport, initially with MyCiti and later with rail. Despite many problems, we are steadily moving forward in the field of public transport – and again, the region cannot achieve sustainable growth without safe and effective public transport. MyCiti is beginning to spread its wings and will continue to grow in strength. Metrorail has improved its once woeful performance, and in 2015 the first of 125 new train sets will begin operating in Cape Town. The City of Cape Town has also established the first Transport Authority in South Africa, and has begun to create the linkage with its surrounding municipalities.

Sandown road will also take the pressure off the highly congested roads in the North West of the City.

Further afield, the City of George will begin operating the first non-metro public transport system in South Africa, to be operated by its current bus and taxi community and funded by the Provincial Government and National Transport Department, to the tune of some R500 million. In the fullness of time this will expand to a regional service connecting George with Knysna, Oudtshoorn and Mossel Bay.

Our Provincial surfaced roads are now very close to optimum standard. Some 93.5% of all kilometres travelled in the Province are on fair to very surfaced good roads, and that is better than many first world countries. The province has already met its 2014 target of reducing the maintenance backlog by 16%. All of this was achieved only through partnership – the most difficult of all undertakings but the most rewarding if persisted with.

Unemployment still too high in Eastern Cape

Bobby Stevenson (MPL)

Shadow MEC for Finance

The quarterly Labour Force Survey was released today by Statistics South Africa.

The unemployment rate in the Eastern Cape remains too high. The province has the second highest unemployment rate at 30,8 %, according to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey released by Statistics South Africa today (subs:  Tues, 29 Oct).   This was the same figure as in the previous quarter.  Only the Free State fared worse in the third quarter, where the unemployment rate is 34%.

The Eastern Cape is caught in a vicious downward spiral where people are leaving the province because of a lack of job prospects.  The result is that our equitable share is cut.  This is a double blow to the Eastern Cape as we lose talent on the one hand and the necessary funds to improve quality of life in the province on the other.  Drastic action is needed to turn the situation around.

Year-on-year, the Eastern Cape had the highest increase in unemployment, of 2%.

Rampant corruption and the consequences of cadre deployment are scaring off potential investors.

Anger with the current government is increasing as people feel that one needs to be connected to get a job, especially in the civil service.

The Eastern Cape has the highest expanded unemployment rate, of 44,3%.  The expanded unemployment rate includes people who have given up on looking for work, which represents 1, 059 000 people (aged 15-65).

Getting a job is the most important step on the ladder of opportunity.  It enables one to get ahead in life and escape the poverty trap.

What the Eastern Cape needs is strong political leadership to turn this province around.  Three crucial steps must be implemented t improve job prospects:   quality in the education system;  enhancing youth employment prospects by implementing the youth wage subsidy; and creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurs by cutting red tape and corruption and delivering basic services at attractive rates.

We need to optimise exiting economic opportunities in the province.  The recent labour unrest in the motor industry is a serious disincentive for foreign direct investment.

DA welcomes Social Development clean audit

Karen de Kock, MPL

DA Northern Cape : Spokesperson on Social Development

The DA welcomes the unqualified audit outcomes received by the Northern Cape Social Development Department for the 2012/13 financial year.

The department’s clean audit is a sign of what can be achieved when government heeds the constructive criticism of MPL’s, and choose to work together.

MEC, Chukelwa Chotelo, her Head of Department and a host of officials appeared before a joint SCOPA and Portfolio Committee meeting in the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature.

However the DA believes the department could be doing more, and must re-align their priorities and targets, such as;

? The province needs out-patient drug rehabilitation centres to address those already abusing substances.

? It isn’t enough to spend on awareness campaigns, spending must provide more safe-houses and social support to domestic abuse victims.

? Spending on Early Childhood Development Centres need to be better monitored against acceptable educational and development outcomes.

? The deprtment should be establishing Public-Private

Partnerships with the Economic Development Department and the private-sector, to address the unemployment crises in the province

The DA is already developing its draft green paper on its Social Protection Policy. The DA believes social grants are one effective way to help people escape poverty, and with targeted government assistance find gainful employment.

Sol Plaatje Mayor is drunk on power

Andrew Louw, MPL

DA Northern Cape : Provincial Leader

The Sol Plaatje Municipality Executive Mayor, Agnes Ntlhangula, owes the residents of Lerato Park, and Kimberley as a whole, an apology for her disrespectful and dismissive comments.

Residents of Lerato Park had staged a protest about the lack of service delivery in their area. They also alleged corruption in the allocation of new houses in the new Lerato Park Housing Development.

The DA believes these allegations deserve to be taken seriously and must be investigated.

According to media reports, Mayor Ntlhangula told residents to, “calm down and keep quiet, as everybody had a babbalas (hangover)”.

The DA condemns Mayor Ntlhangula’s statement. The Mayor has a Constitutional responsibility to address people’s concerns and take action. It is not right for the mayor to belittle legitimate concerns from a community.

Her arrogance seems to be in line with a growing trend amongst ANC politicians to laugh off serious concerns raised by South Africans.

From President Jacob Zuma saying that eToll critics are “thinking like Africans in Africa”, to Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane’s, “I don’t want your dirty votes” rebuke to the people of Bekkersdal, the ANC is showing that it does not care when people raise concerns.

The only way to deal with an arrogant party in power is to vote it out.

MEGA fails to deliver on premier’s bulk water promises

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza’s promise to deliver bulk water supply by 2014 has been torpedoed by the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA), as it cannot account for R20 million earmarked to steer the programme’s delivery in local municipalities.

Following the premier’s announcement in 2012 that MEGA would drive this infrastructure development programme on government’s behalf, R20 million was transferred to the entity to set the wheels in motion.

However, MEGA’s 2012/13 annual report shows that while the entity received these funds, it could not account for it, and that only R1,85 million was shown to be spent on special projects.

This comes as no surprise, and vindicates the DA’s position that following years of poor management and administration, MEGA would be unable to deliver on the premier’s promises, and that people will remain without water.

Furthermore, MEGA’s annual report paints a bleak picture of a government entity completely out of its depth and completely unable to deliver on its mandate of growing the province’s economy and creating jobs.

It was unable to deliver to on 68% of its planned targets (up from 58% for 2011/12), unable to give account of all its assets, and  unable to follow proper procurement procedures, resulting in a qualified audit opinion from the Auditor-General, leaving much doubt over CEO Boyce Mkhize’s ability to bring water to millions of Mpumalanga residents.

So as Mpumalanga’s citizens continue to wait for water, only one question remains: Should MEGA be trusted with the mammoth task of delivering on the premier’s ambitious plans?

The Eastern Cape is neglecting informal settlements

Dacre Haddon MPL

Spokesperson on Human Settlements

The provincial Department of Human Settlements does not know how many informal settlements there are in the Eastern Cape.

In reply to a question for written reply in the Eastern Cape Legislature, the MEC for Human Settlements, Helen Sauls-August, concedes that her department has had to hire researchers to determine how many informal settlements there are in the province.  The reply can be seen here.

This is a massive problem. The province needs to keep track of where informal settlements are, and how bad the backlogs are in these areas. This is necessary to budget for development and keep track of progress being made.

It is disgraceful that, after 20 years of ANC government in the Eastern Cape, the provincial government still does not know where the informal settlements are and how many of them there are. This is surely the first thing that needed to happen to plot a development plan for the province.

The harsh reality is that ordinary people are suffering due to massive development backlogs. Unfortunately, the provincial government hasn’t even begun to address the need for a proper development plan.

The only way to make life better is to properly identify the challenges and then systematically address challenges, step by step and in a measurable and quantifiable way. Figuring out where our informal settlements are and how many of them there are is step one in this process.

We will push for the immediate completion of this count. We need to get to the point where we stop analysing problems, and start finding solutions.

Limpopo Premier must axe all corrupt officials

Desiree van der Walt MPL

DA Limpopo Legislature Caucus Leader

The DA welcomes the suspension of former Premier Cassel Mathale’s Director General, Ms Rachel Molepo-Modipa. This decision was long overdue.

Ms Molepo-Modipa helped the former Premier to block investigations by the Department of Public Service and Administration. She helped to cover up the corruption and maladministration that crippled service delivery in Limpopo.

Five departments were eventually placed under administration following R2 billion deficits under her helm as the Director General in Limpopo.

It is good that she has finally been removed. But much more needs to be done.

The Limpopo government must now move forward to finalise the 300 other unresolved cases against senior officials in the Limpopo government.

The investigations must be completed, the guilty parties must be identified and they must be suspended. We need to clean the Limpopo government of all corrupt and ineffective officials.

The DA will be monitoring cases opened against all the suspended officials to ensure they are removed.

Proposed Ogobityhola Base Kapa March

Bonginkosi Madikizela

Minister of Human Settlements

Western Cape Government

The Western Cape Government respects the right of any individual or group to march, and to raise issues of legitimate concern with the relevant government authorities. However, it also incumbent upon the groups to provide details of their concerns, in order that government may respond appropriately.

On the 10th of October, a group called  Ogobityholo  Base Kapa, marched to the Provincial Legislature and handed over a memorandum, which I accepted on behalf of the Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille. I requested that more information be provided regarding the concerns raised for each informal settlement so that my department could establish what plans are in place for these areas and report back to the group. The group undertook to submit a revised memorandum that contained specific complaints to my office within a few days and this was publicly reported by the mainstream media, who were present to witness this agreement.  However, my office has yet to receive anything from Ogobithhola Base Kapa.

It is therefore concerning to note that the same group is planning to march again tomorrow,  30th of October, claiming that they have not received a response from my department. I made it clear to them that we cannot respond to vague statements and complaints but need far more detail from them if they want a proper response from our government.

I understand that some marchers have genuine grievances, which my department is committed to addressing but we cannot have a situation where political agendas detracts from these real issues. The fact that the leaders of the previous march have failed to submit a more detailed memorandum to my office, despite undertaking to do this, and have instead made threats to “shut down the CBD” suggests that this march is nothing more than political grandstanding, which undermines the legitimate frustrations in communities. I will therefore not engage with the group until the leaders of Ogobithhola Base Kapa show that they are acting in good faith and submit the more detailed memorandum, as promised.

Gauteng Premier’s office fails on vacancies, corruption and management

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Caucus Leader

Summary extract of speech by Jack Bloom MPL in debate yesterday on the Annual Report of the Gauteng Premier’s Office

According to the Auditor-General, the Premier’s Office has a clean audit but has two matters of emphasis. There was material under-spending of R9.9 million on Programme 3: Policy and Governance, and the office is being sued in four cases amounting to R6.374 million.

The big failure is monitoring and evaluation. This is why the Honourable Premier is frequently embarrassed when all her grand promises amount to nothing.

Why did her office not pick up sooner that progress on the youth jobs target is abysmal? Why are virtually all major projects like the Jabulani and New Natalspruit hospitals way behind schedule and grossly over budget?

The collapse of local government services in areas like Bekkersdal should have been picked up and acted on before things boiled over.

Strategic objectives can only be achieved with proper staffing, but 26% of senior management posts in the Gauteng Provincial Government are vacant. It is really shocking that one in four senior management positions are unfilled, many for a long time. Firm direction from the top is needed for service delivery, but this is sadly lacking in Gauteng.

Another area of failure is fighting corruption.

According to the Public Service Commission, the Gauteng Provincial Government has ignored 787 out of 1626 tip-offs received from the National Anti-Corruption Hotline. This means that no feedback at all was given in 48% of cases.

These statistics cover all tip-offs given from September 2004 to 8 October 2013. Only 601 cases have been closed, leaving 1025 cases outstanding.

The most devastating evidence of provincial failure comes from the official assessment of the Presidency’s Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation.

This department uses a Management Performance Assessment Tool to assess four Key Performance Areas. According to the 2012/13 assessment process, the results for Gauteng are shocking.

There was only 14% compliance with legal and regulatory requirements in Human Resource Management, which was the second worst of all the provinces.

Gauteng scored only 25% compliance for Governance and Accountability.

Financial Management was not much better, with 39% compliance.

This is conclusive proof using the ANC government’s own performance measure that the ANC is failing dismally in Gauteng. 

It shows that we have a very dumb provincial government that is badly letting down the smart people in our province.

And which province does this official government report show is the best on all measures? Yes, it’s the Western Cape, which is shown to be way better than all the ANC-run provinces.

So, Madam Speaker, the nation awaits the opportunity in next year’s elections to throw out a failed administration in Gauteng and replace it with a DA administration that will truly serve the people.

Speaker grants Bekkersdal debate

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Caucus Leader

I have received a letter from Gauteng Legislature Speaker Lindiwe Maseko in which she grants the DA request for an urgent debate on the violent situation in Bekkersdal.

The debate will take place in the Legislature on Monday 4 November 2013.

The DA welcomes this debate in which Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane will have to account for her failure to address the root causes of the protest action in Bekkersdal.

We believe that the Westonaria council needs to be placed under administration, and corruption allegations probed thoroughly.

It is deplorable that slow action by the provincial government has allowed the situation to deteriorate so badly that there has been death, injury and property damage, and matric pupils have to write their exams outside the township.