DA calls for intense and arrogant investigation

Jacques Smalle (MPL)

DA Limpopo Provincial Leader

The Democratic Alliance in Limpopo calls on police authorities to embark on an intensive investigation into the recent random killings in the Seshego Area.

Recent discoveries of dead and decomposed bodies in the Area has sent shock waves across Polokwane. This happens at a time when the nation mourns the life of national soccer player Senzo Meyiwa.

The DA believes that the same vigour employed by police in pursuing high profile cases must be applied in resolving local murder issues. Currently, the murder rate in Limpopo has increased by 3.8%, at least according to national crime statistics release last month.

We strongly condemn these killings of three men and one woman whose remains were dumped in a shallow stream near Lethuli phase one, particularly when we are approaching the sixteen days of activism against women and child abuse.

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DA KZN: Premier’s helicopter flip flies in the face of Nene’s cost-cutting talk 

Francois Rodgers, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Finance

THE DA in KZN will today submit a written parliamentary question to the Office of the Premier to establish precisely why Premier Senzo Mchunu used a helicopter to travel to and from the recent Legislature to the People in uMzimkhulu.

The Premier’s decision to make use of this mode of transport flies in the face of National Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene’s recent commitment to cut all unnecessary expenses within government structures.

Clearly Premier Mchunu did not get the memo.

Despite having a fleet of luxury vehicles, drivers and a security detail at his disposal he instead chose to fly to the event.

The DA expects him to have a very good reason for doing so.

Our parliamentary question will question the cost of this particular jaunt and call for a complete breakdown of all flights and their associated costs undertaken by the Premier since his inauguration.

As KZN’s official opposition party, the DA is committed to ensuring that every cent of taxpayers’ money is spent as it should be.

It is unacceptable that funds should be blown in such a manner while there are citizens of this province that still live without basics such as water, sanitation and electricity.

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STATS SA: Free State continues to shed jobs, highest unemployment rate in SA

Roy Jankielsohn

Leader of the Official Opposition in the Free State Provincial Legislature

The Free State has retained its place as the province with the highest unemployment rate in South Africa and key labour intensive sectors continue to shed jobs..

According to the recent STATS SA Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) the official unemployment rate in the Free State is 34.5%. Unemployment according to the expanded definition currently stands at 40.9%. According to the expanded definition, out of a total working population of 1 858 million people, approximately 1 182 million people are not working.

The breakdown of the economically inactive population in the Free State is:

  • 399 000 people are unemployed;
  • 705 000 people are not economically active in any way:
  • 78 000 people have given up looking for employment altogether.

There is an encouraging show of marginal employment growth during the third quarter. The province did manage to create around 10 000 jobs, but significant job losses have been recorded in labour intensive sectors:

  • Agriculture shed 8 000 jobs;
  • Utility services shed 1 000  jobs;
  • Mining lost 1 000 jobs;
  • Employment in private households lost 9 000 jobs.

Over the last two years we have seen the Free State deteriorate rapidly on almost all socio-economic indicators. The province is now officially the second worst governed province in South Africa teetering on the brink of a total financial collapse. The delivery of basic services such as water is becoming sporadic and local municipalities are unable to pay their ESKOM bills to keep the lights on.

Our hospitals and clinics are dilapidated, poorly stocked with medicine and unable to perform surgeries.

Despite this terribly frightening economic outlook, coupled with poor governance, the ANC-led government of Premier Ace Magashule continues to function in denial, unable to tackle the problems in the Free State head on.

Premier Magashule and his administration lack the vision and political will to implement sound policies that would attract investment and spur economic growth, which would result in the creation of thousands of new jobs.

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DA concerned with the high spiraling crime incidents in the Northern Cape

Pule Thole, MPL

DA Provincial Spokesperson on Transport, Safety and Liaison

The DA is concerned with the rising crime incidents in Kimberley and surrounding areas as seen in recent weeks. This is despite the Northern Cape being hailed as “the safest province in the country”.

Community members are terrified and apprehensive at the lack of police action and absence of arrests as is the case in Windsorton and many others.  Everyday headlines rock the papers about violent crimes taking place in various communities.

Crime affects us all irrespective of our political affiliations, colour of our skin and our social class therefore a concerted effort is needed to address this social ill that is ravaging our communities.

The police should be capacitated and resourced to deal with crime more adequately and effectively. We cannot sit and watch as our communities are terrorized daily by heartless criminals, all of us need to join hands with law enforcement agencies to beat crime head-on.

In my capacity as a Member of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) and member of the portfolio committee on safety it is my responsibility to ensure that the Safety department is held to account to adequately respond to this situation and lead us in the fight against crime.

The department is specifically required to lead the fight against crime in this province and it cannot be business as usual.  Section

206(3) of the constitution determines that the department (a) monitor police conduct, (b) oversee the effectiveness and efficiency of the police service including receiving reports on the police service, (c) promote good relations between the police and community, (d) assess the effectiveness of visible policing and (e) liaise with the national police ministry with respect to crime and policing in the province.

I have requested a special meeting with the MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison Martha Bartlett to raise this issue collectively with all other relevant stakeholders and address it as a matter of urgency. I have also written to the Chairperson of the portfolio committee on safety Hon Gladys Oliphant to request her to summon the department to brief us on their action plans to deal with this matter.

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Traffic authorities issue warnings as pay day weekend fatalities on the rise

Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works and Provincial and City Traffic Authorities

Pay day weekends continue to be a major concern for road safety authorities. Pay Day Blues refers to Code Blue, which means a fatality emergency services communications. Since the launch of our first Pay Day Blues campaign last month, we have continued to see very high levels of road death and injury over these weekends.

In September, we announced that the worst weekend death toll of the year was 26, which occurred on the main July pay day weekend, from Friday 1st – 3rd of August.

That depressing record was broken almost immediately. September’s main pay day weekend, from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th saw 31 Pay Day Blues in the Western Cape. 16 of those fatalities were vehicle occupants whose bodies were recovered outside the vehicle, a sure sign of not being buckled up.

This October Transport Month, the figures have been grim, with 83 people killed on the road so far.

Weekend figures this month have been:

  • Weekend 1, Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th :12
  • Weekend 2, Friday 10th – Sunday 12th : 7
  • Weekend 3, Friday 17th: – Sunday 19th : 13 (partial pay day weekend, eg Western Cape Government).
  • Weekend 4, Friday 24th: – Sunday 26th : 17 (partial pay day weekend, due to 25th falling on the Saturday).

This coming weekend will be the Pay Day Weekend for the majority of salaried workers in the province. We are thus issuing the following advice to road users:

  • Do not mix alcohol and road use. Driving or walking on the roads while intoxicated is a quick way to an early grave. Use public transport if you intend drinking alcohol. Remember that we will be on the roads all night all weekend, and you could end up in jail if you choose to get behind the wheel after drinking.
  • If you are travelling in a vehicle, always wear your seatbelt, in the front and back seats – this one second step doubles your chance of surviving a crash. You can also avoid a R1000 fine.
  • Never exceed the speed limit.
  • Exercise extreme caution while driving during the following times:

o   Friday nights, from 6pm until midnight.

o   Saturday mornings, from 6am until 10am.

o   Saturday nights, from 6pm until 4am.

o   Sunday afternoons, from 3pm until 9pm.

Pay day means more money available for people to travel, shop and visit loved ones, but it also means more money available for the purchase of alcohol. Greater mobility and greater access to alcohol are reflected in spikes in the death rate over pay day weekends. While further data analysis is required to isolate all of the factors involved, the public are warned please to exercise extra caution over this time.

Please follow us on Twitter, @WCGovSafelyHome and follow #PayDayBlues.

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MEC Nwedamutswu must stop contaminated food supply in schools

Jacques Smalle (MPL)

DA Limpopo Provincial Leader

The DA is seeking an urgent meeting with MEC for education, Thembisile Nwedamutswu , to discuss the contaminated food that is being distributed to schools across the province through the schools nutrition programme.

Once again , more than 300 learners from Hlakudi Primary school in Tafelkop around Sekhukhune district were rushed to Groblersdal and Glen Cowie Hospitals after eating samp and beans during lunch break yesterday.

They were all complaining about stomach cramps after eating the food and five of them are still in a critical conditions and are expected to be released either today or tomorrow. They found stones and pieces of glass in their food.

Last week, more than 50 learners from Mashegoana Primary school in Hlakano village (Lepelle Nkumpi Municipality) were also rushed to a local clinic after developing skin rash after eating expired tinned fish and beans from the feeding scheme.

We insist and reiterate that the department blacklist all service providers responsible for delivering “unfit” and expired food to various schools across the province.

The continuous delivery of contaminated food to our schools is a clear indication that the department does not have measures in place to assess and verify the quality of food delivered to all our schools.

The DA is deeply concerned about the series of incidents occurring in various schools. We are urging the department to stop ordering food from these service providers as it is a matter of time before their food kills our learners.

The DA wants MEC Nwedamutswu to provide us with a comprehensive report explaining measures that she has taken since the outbreak of this contaminated food crisis across the province.

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DA congratulates top Western Cape athletes

Ricardo Mackenzie MPP

DA Western Cape Spokesperson for Cultural Affairs and Sport

On Wednesday, 29 October 2014, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport honoured 50 athletes from the Western Cape for their sporting achievements throughout the year. These athletes all achieved either gold, silver or bronze medals in their respective sporting codes on a national or international level between April 2013 and September 2014.

The DA welcomes the honour bestowed upon these athletes, especially in the Western Cape as sport contributes to social cohesion in the province. It is important to encourage the youth and communities to engage in positive sporting activities. This engagement has proven to be a powerful mechanism in combatting social ills within our communities and affords youth opportunities to excel, despite the many challenges they face on a daily basis. This, in turn sparks a sense of achievement and optimizes social behaviour and in effect promotes social cohesion, which is indeed lacking in some parts of our country.

With much pride, the DA congratulates the following athletes in their respective sporting codes:

Cycling:

  • Eugene Soule, who represented South Africa at the Malaysia World Junior Track Champs in June/July and was the Western Province Junior Champion with 6 medals
  • SJ De Bod, winner of the U18 Cape Argus Cycle Tour, South African Road Junior Champ and 3 gold medals at the Malaysian Grand Prix
  • Matthee Maroesjka, 8 gold and 1 silver at the South African Track Champs. 2 bronze and 1 silver representing South Africa in Malaysia.

Chess:

  • Donovan Van Den Heever and Denise Frick, who both participated in the Zone 4.3 African Champs in Namibia

Badminton:

  • Mr SM Noone who won 2 bronze medals at the All Africa Champs in Uganda

Kickboxing:

  • Ashley Simpson – bronze kick light junior, SA Wako Junior Cadet and Junior World Champs in Italy.
  • Josh Cloete- bronze K1 junior, SA Wako Junior Cadet & Junior World Champs in Italy
  • Gregory Gans and Kirsten De Wit, who both won bronze low kick junior, SA Wako Junior Cadet and Junior World Champs in Italy

Judo:

  • Gert Gouws and Stefan Erlank, who both won gold at the African Judo Championship in Mauritius and participated in the 9th Kata Tournament in Malaga Spain.

Gymnastics:

  • B. Van Niekerk – Represented South Africa at the African Champs Indo Pacific Champs and the 2nd African Champs
  • Hawksley, who represented South Africa at the African Indo Pacific Champs, was the champion in her level and 1st at the Indo Pacific Games
  • Kelly, who finished 1ST at the Indo Pacific Champs in the Mens Tumbles.
  • L. Lawrence, who is a Junior Olympic Artist Gymnast and won silver African Champs Team All Round. She also won the Western Cape Champs in her level.

Swimming:

  • S. Kruger, who won 7 medals at the World Masters Swimming Champs.

Open water Swimming:

  • Rudolf Visser, who is the top Western Province open water swimmer, won Robben Island 2014 and represented Western Province at the South African National and FINA Junior World Open Water Swimming Champs in Hungary.

Surfing:

  • Dylan Frick – 3RD SA Open SUP Wave Riding, Ranked 10th in the 2014 Stand Up World Series, finished 1ST at the Roma Spain Long Distance, 2014 Open Downwind Race Champ

Bowls:

  • JK, Roebert, gold medal winner at the 2014 Warwick SA Bowls Nationals, Semi-finalist at the Warwick SA Bowls Men’s Singles 2014, gold medal winner at the WP Men’s Bowls Marriot and winner of the WP Bowls Specsaver pro ‘10’ in June.

Netball:

  • S. Lekalakala, manager of the SA Protea team 2013, Manager of the WP A-team, VC of the Western Cape Provincial Sports Federation.
  • Manzomthombo Senior Secondary School, who was a Ministerial nomination and won gold at the African Champs Netball Tournament

Lifesaving:

  • K. Flanagan, who participated in the International Ladies Open, numerous 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in individual and team event and WP Surf Lifesaving Champs.
  • RR De Morny, WP Champs gold medal beach sprints, represented SA at Rescue 2014 in France, World Title Holder in Beach Flags in Australia 2012.

Golf:

  • Herman Loubser, SA no.1 Junior July, SA no.1 u17, represented SA in Italy and China. He has also won 5 junior tournaments and has 4 top finishes in National Men’s ranking tournaments.
  • Andrew Van de Merwe, represented SA in Japan at the World Junior Championships. He is 3rd in the German Masters.

Comrades:

  • Catherine Carr, Ministerial nomination, and also the youngest women runner at comrade’s marathon.

Boxing:

  • Luyanda Khwankwa, WBF World Champion Boxer in Straw weight Division.

Rugby:

Sebastian Prim, participated in 7s Rugby and won Gold at the Commonwealth Games 2014.

The DA is exceptionally proud of these athletes and notes that it is essential to harness the sporting talent of emergent athletes. We encourage the youth in our communities to look up to these athletes as positive role models. These athletes are living proof that even though confronted with gangsterism and substance abuse such as the scourge of tik, there exists alternative lifestyles through sport. In order to promote sports to achieve social cohesion in the province, I will be engaging with the relevant role-players to enhance sports developments in the Western Cape.

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DA KZN:  Empangeni Clinic a beacon of hope

Dr Imran Keeka, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Health

AN oversight visit to the Empangeni Clinic has revealed a facility that is a beacon of hope within a largely dismal public health care system.

Yesterday’s unannounced visit by the DA showed that this clinic is spotless, with the cleaning company contracted adhering to specifications.  Housekeeping is good, staff are motivated, morale is high and absentee levels are low.  Medical equipment is working and there is enough stock of medicines including vaccines.

Importantly, the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) – designed to improve management of children at primary care level in order to reduce the number of deaths in children – is established.

The result is no queues and happy patients.

It is impossible to ignore the fact that this facility stands in stark contrast to the many other KZN public health institutions visited by the DA in recent months.

It is also impossible to avoid asking the question – why can’t every clinic in KZN function in this optimal manner?

The DA believes it is a question of proper clinic management, quality staff and a will to serve the people.

Clinics serve a vital role, particularly in outlying and poorer communities.  They are often the only option too.

The DA expects KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo to look to Empangeni as a model of excellence and discuss with them what sets them apart from the rest.  We also expect him to look at innovation imported from the Western Cape and other successfully run health institutions.

Clearly, such management deserves not only recognition but duplication.

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Minister Schäfer launches new tool that maps NGO work in Western Cape schools

Debbie Schafer, MPP

Western Cape Minister of Education

I am very excited to announce a new initiative in the Western Cape that will further develop and enhance the partnerships we have with civil society in improving the quality of education in this province.

The Western Cape Education Department and Bridge, a non-governmental organisation, have developed a new tool for mapping NGO work in Western Cape schools.

 

The new system will make it possible for the WCED and civil society to work together and to use their resources as effectively and efficiently as possible, where they are needed the most.

The new online system is the first of its kind in the country. The WCED and Bridge have developed the system as a World Design Capital 2014 project.

Bridge works nationally to facilitate and support participation by NGOs in education and supports more than 700 organisations in education in the Western Cape.

We, alone as Government, cannot guarantee a better life. Each of us has a role and specific responsibilities. That is why the Western Cape Government has adopted the slogan “Better Together” to capture and convey its message to the people of the Western Cape.

As a government, we are always open to discussing and exploring the ways in which partnerships can be forged to improve access to quality education in this province. These partnerships include NGO’s who are involved in a wide range of activities, including school leadership, teacher and youth development, HIV support, drug awareness, sport, cultural activities, and language and maths tutoring, among many others.

The WCED is investing R16.4-billion on core education in our schools this year, which includes massive investment in textbooks, teacher development, IT infrastructure and strategies to improve language and maths performance, retention rates and the quality of our matric results. However learning does not only happen during school hours.

Parents, communities and civil society also have crucial roles to play in supporting education and youth development, especially after school hours and in the broader community.

NGOs are already providing a lot of this support.

A concern of ours has been that this support is often unequally distributed, both in terms of the kind of support provided and the concentration of effort.

We also often don’t know where NGOs are providing this support, and what impact they are having.

Therefore in order to streamline our efforts and to improve this partnership the WCED and Bridge began discussing ways in which to coordinate efforts by NGOs. Today is the culmination of that process.

The database was designed in collaboration with the Centre for e-Innovation (CEI) in the Department of the Premier and will benefit both the WCED and NGOs working in the education sector.

The WCED will benefit by obtaining a better understanding of which organisations are working in which areas, and what issues they are addressing.

NGOs will be able to use the database to find out where they could best provide their services, and what kinds of services are most needed.

NGOs will also be able to use the database to share ideas and learn from each other.

The system will map the participation of NGOs in schools across the province, and the kinds of work they are engaged in, using a geographic information system (GIS).

The WCED and NGOs will therefore be able to see at a glance where NGO support is most needed, and to check whether or not certain interventions are concentrated in any particular area, whilst not depriving other areas.

Bridge will manage the database on behalf of our partnership. This will include encouraging NGOs to capture their information and verify the data.

The new system which is now live and can be found on the Western Cape Government website (http://educollaborate.westerncape.gov.za). We appeal to all NGO’s to register on the database so that we can collaborate more effectively for the benefit of our learners.

It is envisaged that the system will help enormously to ensure transparency and cooperation in education, and will provide an excellent addition to the range of instruments we are developing to improve the quality of education using information technology.

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Lack of action re-ignites Kirkwood violence

Vicky Knoetze (MPL)

Zuurberg constituenncy leader and Shadow MEC for Roads and Public Works

Protestors are once again burning tyres and blocking roads in Kirkwood.

The DA believes that this renewed violence has been sparked by a lack of action with regards to a thorough investigation into the irregular expenditure of R84.5 million by the Sunday’s River Valley Municipality.  What is the ANC trying to cover up – what are they trying to hide?

More than 30 days have passed since protest action in the peaceful town of Kirkwood brought the town to a standstill in September.

Protest action was sparked by poor service delivery, failing infrastructure and the fact that R84.5 million was written off by the council as “irrecoverable”.

Shortly thereafter an agreement was reached between provincial government and the protestors that a period of 30 days would be allowed for provincial government to make investigations into the irrecoverable funds.

The 30 days period expired on 23 October 2014 and the MEC for Cooperative Governance, Fikile Xasa, promised to meet with the people on Sunday, 26 October 2014.  This meeting did take place but the people are now demanding to see premier Phumulo Masualle.

It would also appear that no concrete investigation into the R84.5 million that was written off has taken place.

The DA calls on the Premier and MEC to avail themselves and engage with the residents of Kirkwood.  Immediate action must be taken.

The situation in Kirkwood is a perfect example of how the ANC government has neglected the people once again, how the ANC government has broken its promises to the people and is showing complete disrespect to the people.

This community is rising up to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the government of the day.

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