Mpumalanga health MEC ignores HRC deadline

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition

Mpumalanga health MEC Candit Mashego-Dlamini has ignored the Human Rights Commission (HRC) deadline to formulate and submit a comprehensive departmental response to improve health care in the province.

The 31 March deadline has come and gone, despite MEC Mashego-Dlamini’s response in the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature on 11 March that the department has responded.

The department has also not lodged an appeal, as the 45-day deadline to do so expired in February.

It is clear that the MEC and the department have done nothing to improve health care in the province, instead choosing to ignore and disregard a Chapter 9 institution with a mandate of protecting and upholding the rights of the people.

Access to health care is guaranteed by the Constitution, and a DA-led government will transform hospitals and clinics in our province into places of healing, where people will receive care and quality treatment.

Our health policy is specifically targeted to increase the number of professional medical staff, to decentralise virtually every budgetary, procurement, maintenance and staffing functions to hospital CEOs and clinic managers, thus improving staffing, medicine supply and building infrastructure maintenance in health facilities.

By ignoring the recommendations of the HRC, MEC Mashego-Dlamini has effectively put herself and her department above the supreme law of our country, mistakenly thinking that the department could dictate the terms of delivery.

Yet, years of poor management, gross maladministration and the failure of the MEC and her many predecessors to take decisive action against non-performing HODs, lie at the root of the problem, completely paralysing the department’s ability to deliver on its mandate.

Only the DA cares about the health and well-being Mpumalanga’s citizens, and by voting DA on May 7, the dream of an efficient and caring health sector will become a reality for each and every one.

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DA’s plan to crush corruption in the Northern Cape

Andrew Louw MPL

DA Northern Cape Premier Candidate

Under Zuma’s ANC, corruption in the Northern Cape is rampant.  Government leaders such as John Block, Alvin Botes and Yolande Botha face allegations of criminal charges, yet they remain in charge of government spending.

Corruption undermines both the quality of service delivery and slows down economic growth. Corruption steals from the poor.

As a result of the current administration’s apathetic approach to corruption, it is siphoning money away from public spending.

–        John Block, Alvin Botes and Yolande Botha are alleged to have received kickbacks worth millions of rands in the Trifecta scandal, for which they are currently facing criminal charges in the Kimberley High Court. This is R69 million that could have gone towards improving service delivery and creating a conducive environment for economic growth.

–        Premier Sylvia Lucas became the “Fast Food Premier” after using her government credit card to purchase over R50 000 worth of fast food during her first 10 weeks in office. This is R50 000 that could have gone towards improving service delivery and creating a conducive environment for economic growth.

Where the DA already governs, we have cut corruption and waste, so that money is directed at service delivery.

All tender processes are open to the public in the Western Cape and the Provincial Government also adopted the Ministerial Handbook with no frills.

The DA’s priority in the Northern Cape would be to cut corruption and create jobs.

To fight corruption the DA will:

  1. Limit political interference.

There must be a clear separation between party and state in all three spheres of government. People will be appointed on merit and not through cadre deployment.

  1. Improve accountability.

This means holding public servants legally accountable for their jobs. This would include disciplinary actions. This would prevent officials from resigning and being appointed in another department in order to avoid previous charges, as is the norm in this province.

  1. Strengthen anti-corruption institutions.

The current corruption unit is dysfunctional and the DA will put more resources to strengthen our fight against corruption.

  1. Take a stand against corruption & maladministration.

The DA would pass a provincial law, making it illegal for public servants to do business with the state, thereby limiting opportunities for corruption, as we have done in the Western Cape.

  1. Curb spending on perks for politicians.

Gone are the days of government issued credit cards. The Northern Cape took centre stage last year with “Fast Food Premier” Sylvia Lucas. The DA Government will implement the austerity measures initiated by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Part of the measures to cut corruption in the province is to eliminate the opportunity for corrupt activities to occur. For the Members of the Provincial executive, this would mean strict adherence to an updated Ministerial Handbook for the Northern Cape.

The DA in the Northern Cape has been fighting for tighter control measures on Executive spending since 2012.

We have all heard stories of excessive spending by provincial MEC’s on lengthy stays at five-star hotels, and the purchasing of expensive vehicles and throwing lavish parties. When questioned on spending taxpayers’ money in this way, many of them refer to the current ministerial handbook produced by the National Department Public Service and Administration and say “the handbook says I can”. This is a real bad story to tell.

The DA does not condone the flamboyant spending by MEC’s which the current ministerial handbook allows.

This is a poor excuse for abusing taxpayers’ money.

Today we present the DA Government in Waiting’s “no frills” provincial ministerial handbook for when we take office after elections 2014. If it were to be implemented, MECs would be bound by these tighter rules and regulations.

This initiative will help ensure we put a stop to excessive spending that benefits politicians at the expense of the people.

The following table indicates where the DA’s proposed Northern Capes ministerial handbook has reduced the scope for excessive spending, comparing it to what is stipulated in the national ministerial handbook:

AREA OF EXPENDITURE NORTHERN CAPE MINISTERIAL HANDBOOK NATIONAL MINISTERIAL HANDBOOK
1. Disclosure of Gifts & Hospitality Any gifts or hospitality received that exceeds R350 must be disclosed Any gifts or hospitality received that exceeds R500 must be disclosed
2. Restriction of ownership of interests in certain business entities A Cabinet Member may not have a business interest in any entity conducting business with the Provincial Government if the Cabinet Member himself or herself or together with one or more:

(a) family members of the Cabinet Member;

(b) partners or other business associates of the Cabinet Member; or
(c) other Cabinet Members;

directly or indirectly owns or controls more than five per cent of the shares, stock, membership or other interest of that entity.

(this brings the handbook directly in line with our recently adopted Business Interests of Employees Act)

No such rule exists in the national handbook.
3. Accommodation and subsistence expenses incurred by members and debited to the State Accommodation and subsistence expenses should be kept as low as possible by making use of hotels that have reasonable tariffs. As a rule, five star hotels must be avoided. Accommodation and subsistence expenses should be kept as low as possible by making use of hotels, which suit the status of Members, but that have reasonable tariffs. There is no rule on avoiding five star hotels.
4. Official vehicles 1. The total purchase price of the vehicle chosen by the Member may not exceed 40 % of the inclusive annual remuneration package of the Member.

 

2. The total purchase price per vehicle must include VAT, accessories, extras and a motor maintenance plan offered by the manufacturer.

 

3. Members are at liberty to choose appropriate vehicles of lesser value in the interest of spending efficiency.

The total purchase price of the vehicle chosen by the Member may not exceed 70 % of the inclusive annual remuneration package of the Member.

Guidelines 2 & 3 are not in the national handbook

5. Use of rental vehicles Only Group D (1600 cc and automatic) vehicles may be rented at airports unless it is impractical for the required purpose as determined by the Member. There is no limit on the type of vehicles Ministers can rent.
6. Domestic and International flights 1.Domestic Flights: members should use economy class

 

2.International Flights: members should use economy class when travelling less than 8 hours for official purposes, For flights (departing Cape Town) longer than 8 hours, Members may utilise business class.

1. Domestic flights: members are entitled to business class travel

 

2. International flights: members are entitled to first class travel

7. State sponsored Credit Cards No departmental sponsored credit cards may be obtained in the name of a Member. Ministers may obtain a departmental sponsored credit card with the express authorisation of the DG or relevant accounting officer.
8. Security measures at private residences No direct payment to Members for security measures to be installed. The Provincial Department of Public Works to be solely responsible for the installation of security measures. Provincial contribution to be reviewed annually to correspond with the changing costs of security systems. Direct payment made to Members for security measures implemented at private residences. Provincial contribution to be reviewed every 5 years to correspond with the changing costs of security systems.

Under a DA government, any member of the public will be able to use this handbook to hold the Provincial Executive accountable for the way in which they spend taxpayer’s money.

Voting DA on 7 May 2014 is a vote Together For Change and against corruption in the Northern Cape.

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Gauteng MEC’s insult costs R 350 000

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Caucus Leader

An insulting remark by Gauteng MEC Faith Mazibuko to a mother of triplets cost the Gauteng Provincial Government R350 000 after the matter went to court.

This is revealed by the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development in response to my application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).

As reported in the Sowetan newspaper on 11 December 2009, Mazibuko told Ms Lerato Radijeje (38), a poor mother of seven-month-old triplets, to keep her legs closed and stop having children. The front page report was headlined “MEC Faith Mazibuko tells poor mother of triplets ‘Keep your legs closed’ “.

Ms Radijeje lives in a shack in Weiler’s Farm south of Johannesburg. She was insulted by then Infrastructure Development MEC Faith Mazibuko when she applied for social assistance at Pontsong clinic in De Deur in the Vaal.

Radijeje was quoted as saying “I tried to explain my situation but she told me that I should ‘close up’. I do not know what she was trying to say. What was I supposed to do to my babies? Abandon them?”.

Radijeje sued Mazibuko (who is now Community Safety MEC) and the Gauteng Premier for R2 million, and the settlement amount of R350 000 was made an order of the court and paid on 18 November 2013.

This amount was kept secret from the Legislature by current Infrastructure Development MEC Qedani Mahlangu who claimed that the settlement was confidential, but I got the information after a successful PAIA request.

The money was paid from the Department’s “Professional Fees” (Legal Fees) budget.

It is outrageous that taxpayers have paid for Mazibuko’s grossly insensitive words. It should not have been covered up and she should have been publicly rebuked by the ANC and the ANC Women’s league.

Mazibuko should publicly apologise and pay back the money spent on this settlement.

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Rhino horn theft – MTPA in crisis, disband board: DA

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga economic development MEC Yvonne Phosa must immediately disband the board of the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA), following the removal of CEO Jacques Modipane.

According to DA sources, Mr Modipane was removed last week by acting board chairperson Clarah Ndlovu, in what appears to be a knee-jerk response to the theft of rhino horn from the MTPA earlier during the week.

It is alleged that Ndlovu appointed COO Edward Twala to preside until 6 May. It cannot be forgotten that Twala was at the MTPA helm when the agency received a financial disclaimer from the Auditor General.

Modipane has been trying to instil good, clean corporative governance in the agency, and his sacking has caused MTPA staff to go on strike this morning, demanding his reinstatement. It is alleged that his sacking is a mere smokescreen to protect certain individuals from being fingered in the rhino horn theft saga.

Modipane’s removal and the imminent replacement of MEC Phosa after the elections will have a devastating impact on this investigation, and leaves the DA in no doubt that certain forces are at play to ensure that the entire rhino horn theft scandal will be swept under the carpet after 7 May.

To this end, the DA will write to the MEC demanding she disband the board with immediate effect, pending a high level investigation into the corporate governance of the board, as well as the rhino horn theft.

The MEC must act before all role players are removed from the MTPA and replaced with pawns and puppets.

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DA will ensure full investigation into blue light bully killing in the Eastern Cape

Athol Trollip MPL

Eastern Cape Provincial Leader

The DA will demand a full investigation into the death of a pedestrian who was mowed down by the blue light bullies of Eastern Cape Rural Development and Agrarian Reform MEC Zoleka Capa last week.

The family contacted the DA to ensure that there is not cover-up in this matter and those that are responsible for this ghastly deed are brought to book.

It is alleged that MEC Capa’s Audi Q7 collided with Nomvume Dabula (77) in the Mount Frere CBD last Wednesday (23 April).

My colleague in the legislature, who sits on the Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security, Bobby Stevenson, will be tabling a set of parliamentary questions about the incident.  On the face of it this a a clear case of negligent and reckless driving.  A case of culpable homicide should be opened.

The blue light bullies are not above the law.  They are not permitted to drive at excessive speeds.  The MEC must take note that her position does not excuse her and her brigade to break the law.  In the DA-led Western Cape we have introduced legislation to curb blue light brigades.

MEC Capa has a social responsibility as a public representative, elected by the people, to be an example of how a responsible, law-abiding citizen should act.  Her claims that she was not in the vehicle at the time, does not make her less culpable in this tragedy.  She should not have allowed her convoy to drive at excessive speed.

We are shocked and horrified by this unnecessary death of one of our citizens and extend our deepest sympathy with the family of Mrs. Dabula.

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SABC continues to side-line DA from elections coverage

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

With days to go to the 2014 national and general election the SABC once again side-lined the DA from a live election debate.

The SABC’s Morning Live show hosted a live debate during an outside broadcast from the Inyaka Dam in the Bushbuckridge local municipality, and only requested the ANC, COPE and APC to participate.

The debate gave provincial cooperative governance HOD and ANC national assembly candidate David Mahlobo more than enough airtime to explain away the severe water shortages in the Bushbuckridge municipality. This while his department has still not brought water to the people of Lillydale, more than two years after violent protests and promises that it would be delivered October 2012.

The fact is that the ANC is under severe pressure in Bushbuckridge. Internal struggles and tender rigging have completely collapsed the municipality’s ability to deliver services, and after more than a year of being under Section 139 administration, the people are worse off than ever.

While the SABC continues to be his master’s voice, the people of Bushbuckridge are rapidly realising that only the DA is able to deliver a better life, and on 7 May, the people will send a clear message to the ANC that their time in government is running out.

Change is coming to South Africa, and there is no amount of SABC bias that can prevent it.

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DA will soldier on in Baviaans Municipality

Athol Trollip MPL

Eastern Cape Provincial Leader

Unequal and disproportionate budget allocations to the Baviaans Municipality continue to cause major shortfalls which has placed the DA on the back foot in terms of service delivery.    This is one of the travails of being an DA-led municipality within an ANC-led provincial administration.  It is doubtful that the same budget constraints would have existed if this municipality was under the leadership of the ANC.

The problems in the DA-led Baviaans Municipality have been caused by a budget shortfall. The incorporation of Rietbron and other hamlets of the ECDMA region by the Demarcation Board without the necessary budget to service this area have placed enormous constraints on the municipal budget.

Despite various interactions with the MEC for Local Government, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, this municipality has only received some interim financial relief.  But the shortfalls remain and Baviaans continues to receive a disproportionately small allocation compared to the size of the municipality from the equitable share budget.

However the DA will soldier on the Baviaans Municipality and will not be overcome by difficulties placed in our way by the ANC-administration.  In fact, this municipality has eradicated the bucket system in the towns of Willowmore, Steyterville and Klipplaat;   Baviaans won the Local Government Vuna-award for 2013/14 for the performance in Local Economic Development (LED); vacancies in the municipality are less than 1% and there are no persons in acting posts; and Steytlerville was recently named the Eastern Cape winner for the “Town of the year” competition of Kwela and Kyknet.

The actions by the ANC simply makes the DA more determined than ever to win more municipalities in the Eastern Cape, come the 2016 municipal elections.

The people of South Africa deserve efficient government and the DA-led Western Cape government has proven that change is possible.

Such change, for jobs and good governance can be set in motion on May 7 in the Eastern Cape, by voting DA.

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Broken Cat Scanner at Leratong Hostpital

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Health Spokesman

Patients’ lives are at risk at the Leratong Hospital in the West Rand because the CAT Scanner has been broken since last week.

The problem is that there is no maintenance contract for this scanner, which has broken down before.

The scanner is particularly needed to do quick diagnosis of critically ill patients.

Emergency patients at Leratong are now taken to the Rahima Moosa hospital in Johannesburg to do CAT scans, but transport delays put patients’ lives in  danger. It can take hours to requisition an ambulance and then another hour to drive to Rahima Moosa.

It seems there is no end to the continuing problem of broken machines at Gauteng state hospitals.

The need to fix Gauteng’s ailing hospitals is an important issue that should feature high in voters’ minds on election day.

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MEC must investigate MTPA rhino horn theft

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga economic development, environment and tourism MEC Yvonne Phosa must launch a high-level investigation into the theft of 40 rhino horns from the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA).

The theft occurred despite reports that the MTPA had been warned about being a target more than four years ago, and following an internal investigation, absolved inidividuals accused of having ties to smuggling syndicates.

The fact is that word of the stock-piles existence has spread in recent times, making the MTPA a sitting duck. Given that the MTPA is unable to manage its fixed and movable assets, Mpumalanga’s parks and wildlife, and its finances – it was only a matter of time before its stockpiles were targeted.

The question is how seriously the MTPA took keeping the rhino horn safe, and what measures it had in place when the theft occurred. While the criminal investigations must take its full course, the MEC must determine what happened and ensure that a departmental finding on the allegations of the heist being an “inside job” is made.

Any MTPA official that is found to have – even remotely – assisted in the execution of the heist, must be fired and face the full might of the law.

The DA will write to MEC Phosa requesting her to launch this investigation as a matter of urgency, and considering that she will be leaving the Provincial Legislature after 7 May, she must ensure that the new MEC is properly briefed on the matter to ensure consistency in the investigation.

We simply cannot allow that a change of political leadership sees this serious incident swept under the carpet.

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Together, Let’s win the Northern Cape

Andrew Louw MPL

DA Northern Cape Premier Candidate

Today, we launched the final phase of the DA’s posters for the Northern Cape provincial elections and welcome more than 50 new DA members from the Gongong community in Barkley West.

The new DA members have realised that the ANC of Jacob Zuma is not the same as that of Mandela and Mbeki and have made the change from the ANC to the DA to stand Together For Change and Together For Jobs.

The posters, in addition to our on the ground campaigning, are aimed at getting as many residents who are registered to vote, to go out and vote DA on 7 May 2014.

Both events are uniting the support for the DA in the province around the shared goal: Together, Let’s win the Northern Cape.

The choice for voters in this election has become an increasingly clear one. On Election Day they have the opportunity to stand together for change and together for real and permanent jobs with the DA.

The 2014 election results will go down to the wire in the Northern Cape, as the race is effectively only between the ANC and us. These posters are aimed at delivering an important message to Northern Cape voters with just over 2 weeks to Election Day, we can win the Northern Cape.

The new members of the DA family in Gong Gong are tired of the lack of service delivery. They are struggling with no electricity, battling with housing issues and are fed up with corruption in the province.

Each poster the DA puts up on the streets of the Northern Cape is a reminder to the corrupt ANC of Jacob Zuma and John Block, that their days in government are numbered.

The DA will intensify its election campaigning, and continue to win hearts and minds of residents. Together, let’s win the Northern Cape.

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