Wrongfully expelled Mthatha pupils back at school

By Edmund van Vuuren MPL DA Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Education Six Grade 11 pupils from Gobizizwe Senior Secondary School in Ncise village near Mthatha finally got back to school on Monday following a seven-month fight and intervention by the DA after they were wrongfully expelled for allegedly arriving at school drunk. I am delighted that these pupils can finally get on with their quest for an education after losing out on an entire academic year. They have been denied access to learning due to the Department of Education’s shameful handling of the case and officials ignoring legislative prescripts. Service delivery renewal must be undertaken to eliminate embarrassing stories that tarnish the integrity of provincial government and the department. Service delivery in certain disciplines of school management and leadership must be unblocked through processes of effective monitoring by competent and capable officials regarding the implementation of policies, procedures and regulations. More resources in terms of human knowledge should be made available to struggling schools regarding policies to prevent unlawful incidents. I will continue to pursue this matter to ensure that punitive action is instituted against the school principal, chairperson of the School Governing Body (SGB) and the district education officer. The pupils were expelled in gross violation of the South African Schools Act and the empty promises made by the department at the expense of these learners are not actions that represent a government that cares. In contrast, the DA acts on its promises. I wish Sive Tom, Sizwe Manyifolo, Afika Pulula, Yandisa Nkanuka, Avuma Ncume and Sikelela Bam well with their education and future plans. Afika plans to be a policeman in order to make meaningful contributions to the fight against crime. For a picture, click here (Apologies for the quality of the picture) [END] ##################################################################################### Scanned by MailMarshal – M86 Security’s comprehensive email content security solution. Download a free evaluation of MailMarshal at www.m86security.com #####################################################################################

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Bad apples spoil good name of SAPS

By: Marshall von Buchenroder MPL DA Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Community Safety Serious crimes are being committed by members of the South African Police Service (SAPS). A total of 308 members in the Eastern Cape had criminal charges laid against them in the 2014/15 financial year for corruption, fraud, murder, negligent loss of a firearm, theft and a host of other indictments. Only seven members have been convicted. The SAPS is the last place where criminals should be lurking. It only serves to forfeit the public’s trust and tarnish the good name and reputation of hard working members of the SAPS who often work under trying circumstances. According to a reply to a legislature question I asked Safety and Liaison MEC Weziwe Tikana, the charges included 26 cases of corruption, 73 of fraud, 22 for allowing a prisoner to escape, 31 for drunk driving, 23 for the negligent loss of a firearm, 11 for rape and 11 for murder. Due to the nature of police work, there will be a certain level of temptation and opportunities to commit wrongs such as theft but under a DA government, psychometric testing would be done to ensure that new recruits are of the right calibre. If the SAPS are to enjoy the public’s full trust, the criminals in their ranks need to be removed. The DA will continue to monitor this issue and will ask further questions as to what steps are being taken to reduce the prevalence of crime in the SAPS. For a voice clip in English, please click here. [END] ##################################################################################### Scanned by MailMarshal – M86 Security’s comprehensive email content security solution. Download a free evaluation of MailMarshal at www.m86security.com #####################################################################################

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DA calls for more drug treatment centres in former Transkei

By: Veliswa Mvenya MPL DA Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Social Development Drug and alcohol abuse in rural areas of the former Transkei is on the rise due to various issues including the high poverty rate and lack of police services. We are calling on the Social Development MEC, Nancy Sihlwayi, to ensure that rehabilitation centres are established in the former Transkei and other rural areas in the Eastern Cape. When we visited Joe Gqabi district, the DA made a call to the department of Social Development to build a rehabilitation centre for that district because of the reports of drug abuse in rural areas from children as young as 7 years old. This is the case in other parts of the former Transkei as well. I submitted a question to the MEC around this issue; click here to view her reply. The MEC states that the Department has established a State Treatment Centre for children addicted to drugs and alcohol in Port Elizabeth. More treatment centres are needed to curb drug and alcohol-related issues which plague the Eastern Cape. This will help reduce the rate of alcohol and drug abuse as well as drug related deaths. We cannot afford to lose any more children. [END] ##################################################################################### Scanned by MailMarshal – M86 Security’s comprehensive email content security solution. Download a free evaluation of MailMarshal at www.m86security.com #####################################################################################

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FS ESKOM Municipal Debt: DA calls for urgent debate of public importance

By: James Letuka MPL DA Free State Provincial Legislature I have today formally written to the Speaker of the Free State Provincial Legislature requesting her to schedule an urgent debate of public importance for the next sitting to debate the collective ESKOM municipal debt in the province of almost R1,7 billion and the consequences that this debt has on the lives of our people. It is only through honest and vigorous debate that we can best identify the solutions to this massive problem. The DA maintains that ESKOM’s proposal to schedule punitive blackouts of eight hours during weekdays and six hours on weekends in defaulting municipalities in the Free State is unacceptable and unethical. Should ESKOM proceed with its plans it will have a severely adverse impact not only on the quality of life of our people, but would have a lasting negative impact on the economic outlook of the province as a whole. We have repeatedly called on COGTA MEC, Olly Mlamleli, to table and implement a strategy that would see constructive interventions within dysfunctional municipalities in the Free State. Instead, MEC Mlamleli has only played lip service to the massive problem that is the collapse of local governance under her watch. It is the DA’s hope that through this urgent debate of public importance, that the Legislature can resolve on a plan of action to deal with this looming crisis once and for all. [END] ##################################################################################### Scanned by MailMarshal – M86 Security’s comprehensive email content security solution. Download a free evaluation of MailMarshal at www.m86security.com #####################################################################################

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@ChrisHattinghDA: Eskom moves against NW Govt – vulnerable community paying

By: Chris Hattingh MPL DA Northwest Caucus Leader The North West Democratic Alliance has serious concerns with another failure of the North West Provincial Government. This time the NW Government failed to repeatedly pay their Eskom account for a North West Department of Social Development facility, The SONOP Home near Brits. The SONOP complex has 175 inhabitants consisting of elderly people, mentally ill as well as disabled people. This time the victims of the now notorious non-delivery of the NW Provincial Government is a particularly vulnerable community being left without electricity since the 23rd April. Efforts by the MEC for Social Development , Ms. Fennie Goalaolwe, to provide electricity with a failing generator with a lack of fuel is simply failing . The MEC for the North West Department of Public Works, Mr. Madoda Sambatha, responsible for the payment of the Eskom account simply shrugged it off stating that it was not his responsibility. The DA approached the NW Premier who undertook to restore the electricity to SONOP yesterday. That also appeared to be just empty promises. The DA calls on the North West Government to return to the basics, to serve its community that it was not only elected to serve, but also promised to serve. It unfortunately appears that the ANC’s own sectarian interests and personal interests continues to be a higher priority that the plight of the NW people . [END] ##################################################################################### Scanned by MailMarshal – M86 Security’s comprehensive email content security solution. Download a free evaluation of MailMarshal at www.m86security.com #####################################################################################

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DA vindicated by NCEDA developments

By: Adv Boitumelo Babuseng, MPL DA Northern Cape Spokesperson on Economic Affairs The Democratic Alliance has been vindicated by recent developments at NCEDA. During the tabling of the department of Economic Development and Tourism’s annual performance plan for 2015/16, the department revealed that the responsibility for the special economic zones will be shifted to NCEDA as of 1 May 2015. All of the current functions performed by NCEDA will be shifted back to the department. We call on the MEC for Finance to ensure that the shifting of functions go smoothly and that board members are appointed without any further delays. In effect, the department has decided to disestablish NCEDA. The new entity might still be called NCEDA, but it will have a new board, new staff and new functions. It will be an entirely new unit. We have warned that there is a senseless duplication of functions between the department and NCEDA. For the six years that NCEDA has been in existence, it has had an annual budget of roughly R5 million. The province has lost approximately R30 million in establishing an entity that was never capable of reaching its targets. While the department has previously denied the duplication of functions, it has now come to see that it is true and it has decided to streamline functions. The decision could have benefits for the province if it is managed properly. We have raised serious concerns about financial mismanagement at NCEDA before this decision was taken. The questions don’t go away because some functions have been re-allocated. We will continue to ask for transparency and accountability when dealing with public funds. [END] ##################################################################################### Scanned by MailMarshal – M86 Security’s comprehensive email content security solution. Download a free evaluation of MailMarshal at www.m86security.com #####################################################################################

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NC Social Development budget must translate into caring, self-reliant society

By: Isak Fritz, MPL DA Northern Cape Spokesperson on Social Development As different political parties, we are likely to have very different views on how best to use the budget. Yet we can all agree that we must support the department in achieving a caring, self-reliant society. The department has to be congratulated with the quality of the budget presentation. The DA notes that the department listened to the plea from the MEC for Finance that costs should be cut. If you look at Early Childhood Development, for example, you see that internal arrangements have been made to use savings for shortfalls. The Democratic Alliance knows that the department suffers from capacity constraints and so we welcome the fact that 28 social work professionals will be absorbed into the department in 2015/16. The department of Social Development plays a developmental role in our communities. In so doing, it transfers funds to Non-Profit Organisations. In the 2015/16 financial year, R202 million will be transferred to Non-Profit Organisations. This amounts to a third of the department’s total budget. As in previous years, neither the Annual Performance Plan nor the Strategic Plan indicates who the recipients are or what the money will be spent on. The provincial budget book is also silent on this issue. The Democratic Alliance does not seek to cast any aspersions on the work done by Non-Profit Organisations. Far from it. We know that Non-Profit Organisations are a valuable stakeholder in establishing a caring, self-reliant society. We believe that the outsourcing of government services to well-run, well-managed Non-Profit Organisations will ensure that communities get the full benefit. Let me use the example of the only Non-Profit Organisation mentioned by name in the department’s documents, namely Families South Africa. FAMSA plays a crucial role in the development of human capital and healthy human relationships, especially within families. As stated in the Freedom Charter – all people shall have the right to bring up their families in comfort and security. It is part of the DA’s social protection policy that families should be protected, especially where the protection of our youth is concerned. Of course we fully support the work done by FAMSA! We do not seek to suppress the work being done by Non-Public Organisations. We are simply seeking the accountability that the law requires when dealing with public funds. For example, section 38(1)(j) of the Public Finance Management Act requires that the head of the department must obtain a written assurance from any entity, including those organisations outside government, before transferring funds. This written assurance must state that the entity implements effective, efficient and transparent financial management and internal control systems. We are not getting a sense from the department that this requirement is being upheld – or that they are aware of this obligation. The budget presentation does not even provide us with the names of all Non-Profit Organisations who are set to benefit from public funds. The crux of the matter is that we cannot transfer public funds if we do not know who receives it and what will be done with the money. Section 215(1) of the Constitution is very clear that provincial budgetary processes must promote transparency and accountability. We have raised this issue before and we will continue to raise it until we receive satisfactory answers to our queries. Perhaps part of the answer will lie in the amount of R8 million, which was allocated from the national department of Social Development for the capacity building of Non-Profit Organisations. The DA believes we must use this funding to ensure that Non-Profit Organisations know what’s expected of them when it comes to accounting. It is welcome to note the increased funding made available to the Substance Abuse, Prevention and Rehabilitation program. The increase is partially attributed to the Substance Abuse Treatment Grant, which will inject R22 million this year into the construction of a substance abuse treatment facility. The construction of the facility, said to be operational in 2017, will definitely assist with delivering treatment and aftercare services to those who suffer from substance abuse. Yet the department’s targets for providing treatment and aftercare services remains very low. While the department reports that it had 82 871 clients accessing substance abuse services in 2013/14, it only targets 1 406 in 2015/16. Why are we reaching 80 000 fewer clients than before? It is alarming that the target of 1 406 is the joint number of clients to be reached by the department as well as Non-Profit Organisations. Given the levels of abuse and addiction in the province, this is simply not good enough. The Foundation for Alcohol Related Research, for example, was commissioned by the department of Social Development to do a study into Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. It found a prevalence rate ranging from 6% to 11% in Kimberley. We cannot make prevention of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome the responsibility of one entity or one department alone. It is the responsibility of us all. We welcome the joint initiatives from the departments of Social Development, Agriculture and Health to tackle this social ill. We need initiatives to be holistic in their approach. While undertaking research into Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, for example, the Foundation for Alcohol Related Research also worked to educate and inform communities about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy. It worked with the takeAWAY theatre group on performances that highlights the role of men in supporting their partners and sisters. We need this type of community projects. We need projects with a lasting impact and worth. Honourable Speaker, social problems like poverty, hunger, teenage pregnancies, alcohol abuse and Foetal Alcohol Syndrome in our communities is not only the department’s problem, but affects us all. As parents, community leaders, church leaders and members of this honourable house, we are all responsible for addressing the problems. The DA looks forward to working with the department to make a lasting difference for the most vulnerable people in our society. [END] ##################################################################################### Scanned by MailMarshal – M86 Security’s comprehensive email content security solution. Download a free evaluation of MailMarshal at www.m86security.com #####################################################################################

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@alanwinde: Western Cape Government trade visit paves the way for business partnerships with Angola

By: Minister Alan Winde Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities The Western Cape Government’s official visit to Angola has paved the way for 17 local businesses to establish trade partnerships with our African counterpart. Premier Helen Zille and Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, aided by Wesgro, this week led a business delegation to Angola to enhance relations between the two regions. Premier Zille and Minister Winde returned to the Western Cape last night, while 17 province-based businesses remained in Angola. Premier Zille said the two day visit had been very successful as both the Western Cape and Angola expressed a great willingness to explore investment opportunities between the regions. She added that the Western Cape and Angola were natural partners because they shared the Atlantic coastline, among other things. “The Western Cape is a willing partner and we hope businesses from our region will have an opportunity to contribute to Angola’s road and infrastructure development projects. The improved transport infrastructure (including freight and ports) is beneficial for trade between our two regions”, Premier Zille said. Minister Winde said that businesses from both regions participated in a business to business workshop to explore opportunities for collaboration. “South African retailers which have a presence in Angola have to source local produce in that country. We’re looking at ways we can work with Angola’s agricultural sector to develop partnerships around production. Yesterday, participating businesses visited Angolan retailers to further explore possible linkages. I am confident that following this visit, local business will have formed valuable networks and I am looking forward to receiving a comprehensive report-back when they return,” said Minister Winde. Minister Winde said the Western Cape’s award-winning wine industry was also showcased, with Wines of South Africa (WOSA) hosting a tasting for Angolan delegates. “The value of the Western Cape’s exports to all of our markets increased by 78% between 2009 and 2014.Angola is South Africa’s 13th biggest market for wine sales and through smart agreements, there is significant potential to increase the volume of wine we export to other African countries,” said Minister Winde. Since an official visit by Minister Winde in 2013, there have been numerous trade and investment missions led by the Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment Agency (WESGRO) to Angola. Angola is a key trading partner for the Western Cape. The value of the Western Cape’s exports to Angola was valued at over R2 billion in 2013. Over the past year, our province’s exports to Angola have increased by 30%. [END] ##################################################################################### Scanned by MailMarshal – M86 Security’s comprehensive email content security solution. Download a free evaluation of MailMarshal at www.m86security.com #####################################################################################

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NC Transport, Safety and Liaison Budget Debate

BY HON. PULE THOLE (MPL) DA Northern Cape Provincial Spokesperson on Transport, Safety & Liaison The safety of the people of the Northern Cape is very important especially in this day and age. We cannot allow our people particularly women and children to be victimized by notorious gangs, heartless rapists and murders. Our communities cannot be terrorized by merciless monsters. This is not the country we dreamt of 21 years ago. The National Development Plan vision 2030 envisions that people living in South Africa should have no fear of crime. They should feel safe at home, at school and at work. Women should be able to walk freely in the street and children should be able to play safely. This will require a concerted effort from all of us to play our part towards realizing this vision. If we do not all commit to this, then we will be failing the people of this province and this vision will remain just a DREAM!!! The department of Transport, Safety and Liaison is mandated to be “a leader in the creation and co-ordination of safe, secure sustainable transport and policing systems for a crime free Northern Cape Province”. It is responsible to lead the fight against crime and rally us all to achieve a crime free province. However many times we note short-comings in this department. We read of low staff morale and how tensions run high in the work environment. I do not want us to dwell in this, but MEC and you Honourable Premier please deal decisively with these issues in this department from all ranks. Strong action and decisive leadership is required from your side to restore confidence in this department. We all know what is happening, its public knowledge. Today communities are up in arms about the levels of crime. People are terrorized by gangs in the townships. This cannot be how we want our province to be. Though we applaud the communities to stand up against crime, taking the law into our own hands cannot be accepted. We must guard against acts of vigilantism and mob justice. The South African Police Service has a constitutional mandate to: ? Prevent, combat and investigate crime and ? Maintain public order amongst others. This they achieve by working with communities through the Community Safety Forums and the Community Policing Forums. The police should not abdicate their responsibilities to the community, theirs is to arrest these criminals who make our safety impossible. The department has been allocated a total budget just above R341million from the equitable share 2015/16. This allocation is limited and should be used for core mandates of the department. In his 2015 Budget Speech Finance MEC Hon John Block indicated that departments must develop and implement cost containment measures. This is a clarion call to this department, which often falls on deaf ears, to cut unnecessary expenditure, reduce inefficiencies and eliminate wasteful expenditure. We want to hear how will this department save and ensure these limited resources will be spent wisely. We want to hear how this department reduces its excessive irregular expenditure!!! The DA commends the department for their intensive campaigns in the Road Safety Education sub-programme. We see you MEC and your team on the roads leading efforts to raise road safety awareness across the province. The loss of lives on our province should be reduced. We note the decrease on road fatalities and the lowest in the country, but one death is one too many. For this reason the DA calls for a ZERO-Death toll over periods of high traffic such as during the Easter Weekend and the Festive Season. If our traffic officers perform their duties without fear or favor and turn away from corrupt practices and bribery then we can achieve full adherence to road laws and zero fatalities. Further the DA calls on the department to investigate corruption among law enforcement agencies who take bribes from unlawful road users and to investigate corruption in the issuing of driving licenses. Northern Cape traffic officers have been empowered with new breathalyzers and new speed test equipment. These must serve to cut road deaths to zero. We also recognize that this cannot be government’s responsibility alone, all road users must come to the party. Motorists and pedestrians must obey all road rules at all times and we will have safer roads. The department says learner transport operators will be critically evaluated over the medium-term and consultative forums with communities will be established to identify areas where cooperatives can be established to take ownership for the safe transportation of learners. This should be accelerated to ensure learner transport service runs efficiently and that learners are transported on time and in safe conditions. All contracts for service providers must be conducted following the standard tender procedures in line with the Public Finance Management Act and adherence to Treasury regulations. As such payments must be done following proper Supply chain management prescriptions to the book. Our towns are increasingly congested as a direct result of the lack of efficient and safe public transport. Taxis, which transport 75% of commuters in this province, are seen to be unsafe and passengers often become the victims of rivalry and internal feuding. Buses on the other hand, are operated only in the larger cities and are often unreliable and in short supply. The government is responsible for providing the services that are needed and for regulating the operation of the system. Overloading must be viewed in a serious light. Overloaded vehicles should be liable to be impounded for prolonged periods and in extreme cases or in the case of persistent offenders they must be confiscated. We propose that: 1. 1. The maximum permitted axle weight and length of heavy vehicles be reduced, 2. More weighbridges are made available in towns and cities so that drivers can verify their loads before departing on long journeys, 3. Fines and tolerances for overloading be standardized, with heavier punishments for habitual offenders, 4. Prohibition through legislation of certain hazardous and bulk goods, which should go by rail as opposed to road especially in the mining districts of our province, 5. And lastly SPEAKER abnormal loads must be restricted to movement over weekends when roads are generally less congested and their impact on traffic flow vastly reduced. In conclusion the DA joins the call with the majority of South Africans in condemning xenophobic attacks. I want to thank the MEC Martha Bartlett for her open door policy and willingness to engage with the opposition as well as availing herself for discussion in committee meetings of the legislature together with her team. We want our responsibility of oversight to the executive to be respected, it is our constitutional mandate and we owe it to the electorate. [END] ##################################################################################### Scanned by MailMarshal – M86 Security’s comprehensive email content security solution. Download a free evaluation of MailMarshal at www.m86security.com #####################################################################################

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Open books on NC learner transport contracts

By: Pule Thole, MPL Northern Cape Legislature Today I will write to the MEC of Transport, Safety and Liaison, Ms Martha Bartlett that she releases a detailed report regarding the awarding of contracts to learner transport operators. If she fails to respond within 14 days the DA will submit a PAIA (Promotion of Access to Information Act) application with the aim of resolving the on-going debacle in the learner transport services. The DA is concerned about the continued disruptions of learner transport services in the Dikgatlong municipal area. Media reports that learners have missed days of school after operators dumped them sighting overcrowding is not acceptable. With exams due to start in two weeks fast action is required from the department, this province cannot experience yet another situation in which our children miss school due to poor service delivery on the part of government. Despite assurances by the department that the learner transport function is running optimally clearly this is not the case. In the beginning of the 2015 academic year more than 200 learners had to miss their first days of school after bus operators left them stranded blaming the department for non-payment. The department has allocated R168million in the 2015/16 financial year for transport services which is R5million more from the previous financial year. Where are all these funds going to? The department must answer and open their books regarding the awarding of contracts to transport operators. [END] ##################################################################################### Scanned by MailMarshal – M86 Security’s comprehensive email content security solution. Download a free evaluation of MailMarshal at www.m86security.com #####################################################################################

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