Statement by Minister Debbie Schafer on the passing of MEC Grizelda Boniwe Cjiekella Lecholo

By Debbie Shafer, WC Minister of Education.

I wish to express my sadness at the news of the sudden passing of my colleague in the Northern Cape, MEC Grizelda Boniwe Cjiekella Lecholo.

In the short time that I knew her, she had to deal with some very difficult issues in her province, but was always cheerful and friendly.  It is a tragedy to lose someone so young.

My sincere condolences go to her family, friends, colleagues and the ANC.

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Western Cape female farmer named as one of South Africa’s best

By Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities:

A Western Cape female farmer, Tenjiwe Kaba, has been selected as one of the country’s top agri-entrepreneurs.

Kaba was named as one of the winners in the Female Entrepreneur Awards, which were held in Durban last night.

Last week, she won the subsistence producer category in the Western Cape leg of the awards.

She leads Moyo We Khaya, a community garden in Khayelitsha tended by women farming with vegetables. This group stood out for the excellent service they deliver to the community and for the inspiration they provide for other residents.

Speaking this morning, Kaba said she had big plans for her enterprise.

“I would like to thank the provincial and national Departments of Agriculture. They have given me this award and I am bringing it home to Cape Town. The next step for me is to get more land and start planting more vegetables such as sprouts and mushrooms. I want to start selling to restaurants and hotels. It is a big honour for me to able to motivate other women in the community.”

Kaba added that she would use her prize money to get premises for administration offices.

“We currently only have one container. I would like a space for us to do our admin and a kitchen.”

Minister Winde congratulated Kaba.

“Tenjiwe is a role model for residents and an excellent ambassador for the agricultural sector. She is playing an important role in food security and we need to celebrate her achievements. I am so pleased that Moyo We Khaya has received national recognition for the good work they are doing,” said Minister Winde.

The Female Entrepreneur Awards is a partnership between the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the provincial departments of Agriculture.

Now in its 16th year, it seeks to honour the sector’s leading women.

Tenjiwe Kaba

Minister Winde, with Tenjiwe Kaba and Joyene Isaacs, the head of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, at the provincial awards

 

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DA pleased with inaugural sport awards

By Safiyia Stanfley, MPL, DA Provincial Spokesperson on Sport, Arts and Culture:

The Democratic Alliance congratulates nominees and winners of the Inaugural Northern Cape Sport and Recreation awards 2015.

During the awards ceremony held at the Mayibuye Arts Centre last night the province’s athletes were recognized for their outstanding performance.

While the DA congratulates the winners, all nominees from the different 16 categories are equally remarkable and should continue to strive for excellence.

The awards will happen annually and every athlete will be recognized based on their performance going forward.

A special word of congratulation goes to Jose Pieterse for winning the Sports Men of the Year award as well as the Sports Star of Year.

These accolades should motivate him to be the best table tennis player at international level.

The DA also notes the effort from the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC) and all its partners for staging the first ceremony successfully.

We commend the department for staging this event and hope it can only get better in the next ones.

These awards should become another mechanism used to encourage and support sport development in the province.

The Northern Cape definitely has talent and we are proud of our young men and women’s achievement.

The DA want to see more sport federations being recognized, we cannot have a situation where only one federation is nominated in a category.

We call on all sport federations to get their house in order to be counted among the best in the future.

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DA extends condolences to Cjiekella and Lecholo families

By Andrew Louw, MPL, DA Provincial Leader in the Northern Cape:

The Democratic Alliance is shocked by the passing of the Northern Cape MEC for Education, Ms. Grizelda Cjiekella-Lecholo.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to her friends and family, especially her son and husband. Our thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones in this difficult time.

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Political game of mayoral-chess is not the answer to Mpumalanga’s service delivery woes

By James Masango, MPL, DA Mpumalanga Provincial Leader:

Political game of mayoral-chess is not the answer to Mpumalanga’s service delivery woes

Last month, the ANC fired four mayors from the eMalahleni, Lekwa, Dr JS Moroka and Thaba Chweu local municipalities, citing their incompetence to hold office as the reason for their dismissal. Strange, as it was the ANC who appointed them to begin with.

It is reported that the ANC’s provincial secretary said that the state of governance and political leadership left much to be desired in the wake of these Mayors.

To put it simply, the governing party has acknowledged that their lack of political leadership and failure to decisively deal with corruption is hindering their ability to deliver services and this is affecting the people of Mpumalanga. However, when one looks at the state of service delivery across the entire province, it is clear that if indeed the mayors where fired because of their incompetence, the ANC would have fired almost all the mayors in Mpumalanga.

In the last three financial years, out of 21 municipalities only Steve Tshwete local municipality has managed to achieve and maintain a clean audit. According to the Auditor General’s report, the worst performing municipalities in the province are eMalahleni and Thaba Chweu which have for the past three years, received disclaimer opinions. Mkhondo municipality has been on a downward spiral and has received disclaimer opinions for the past two financial years. With an unemployment rate of 35.9%, one of the highest in the province, it is clear that Mkhondo municipality also suffers from poor political leadership and is failing to deliver services as well as to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive in order to create jobs. Yet the ANC has left Mkhondo’s Mayor to continue the destruction of the municipality.

Ironically, Lekwa municipality is the only one of the four that seems to get better every year. Three years ago, the municipality received a disclaimer opinion which was followed by a qualified opinion. In the 2013/14 financial year, the municipality received an unqualified opinion with findings. While the municipality has been wracked with financial woes such as being unable to pay Eskom on time, it is certainly not amongst the worst performing municipalities. So what motivated the ANC to remove its performing Mayor in Lekwa?

Msukaligwa municipality received disclaimer opinions for two consecutive years. Their audit outcomes for the 2013/14 financial year has not been finalised. Along with persistent water and sanitation problems, this municipality also struggles with repaying its Eskom debt. It’s mayor stays in power at the pleasure of the ANC.

At 52.1%, Bushbuckridge sits with the highest unemployment rate in the province. More than half of its people cannot find work, no matter what they try. Even with the annual promise by Premier David Mabuza, of installing bulk water systems so that communities can access clean, potable water, many residents of this municipality still travel far to fetch water from streams that they share with animals. Bushbuckridge is also notorious for service delivery protests that often turn violent. And its mayor is still secure in the comfort of his office.

It is unclear how the ANC came to the conclusion that those four municipalities were the worst at delivering services when all across the province communities are crying out for basic services. What is clear is that the ANC’s political game of mayoral-chess is not the answer to service delivery. It is merely a game of power and control that will do little to improve the lives of Mpumalanga’s residents. Indeed, the ANC’s house of cards is tumbling in Mpumalanga.

It is only the people of Mpumalanga who can put an end to corrupt and ineffective leadership by taking back their power and voting in a government that truly puts them first. Rooted in the values of Freedom, Fairness and Opportunity for all, a DA government is the only government that will put the people first.

While in Mpumalanga the number of poor households increases year on year, the DA has proven time and time again that where we govern, life is better. According to Statistics South Africa, the DA-led Western Cape provides the greatest number of free basic services to the poor. And by far the highest percentage of indigent households receiving free water, electricity and sanitation are found in the Western Cape where the DA governs, because the DA truly cares.

This is the kind of quality service delivery which the DA will bring when we govern Mpumalanga.

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Desperate ANC breaking Legislature rules to oust Ramadwa

By Jacques Smalle MPL, DA Provincial Leader:

Yesterday, the Democratic Alliance caucus in the Limpopo Legislature had to walk out of the Provincial Legislature during a sitting after the ANC, broke the House rules in a crusade to oust Speaker Merriam Ramadwa.

The ANC bid to remove the speaker Ms Ramadwa was first dealt a blow at the programming committee when all the opposition opposed to their attempt to suspend the rules in order to effect the removal.

Again during the sitting the Deputy Speaker refused the legitimate request by the opposition parties to have the ANC’s notice of a motion to suspend being subjected to a secret vote.

If they were unanimous they would not have been so scared to subject their notice to a secret ballot.

This clearly illustrates that the ANC is faction ridden and this is likely to derail provincial governance.

The standing rules and orders under rule 120 clearly stipulates “once a division has been requested and supported by ten members or more, the bells must be rung and each members vote must be recorded.”

The ANC deputy speaker simply ignored this, broke the rules and wouldn’t recognize the objection – a clear violation of the constitution section 116(2)(b) that requires participation of proceedings of the legislature in a manner consistent with democracy.
The DA acknowledges that the ANC has the prerogative to lobby its members to elect their preferred speaker but that has to be done in accordance with the Legislature rules and the Constitution.

This means that a sitting must be convened to effect the removal of the speaker and that decision cannot be pre-determined at Frans Mohlala house in the hostile manner in which the ANC did yesterday. All of this was overseen by Noks Seabi, who is not a member of the Legislature.

The motion to effect this removal is a substantive motion which means that reasons must be given. The ANC wants to circumvent this because it knows that if it were compelled to give reasons, the rot within will be exposed.

We keenly await the next sitting of the Legislature to see for ourselves if the ANC’s motion adheres to the substantive requirement.

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South Coast sewerage spill: Municipal officials must face criminal charges

By Dr Rishigen Viranna, MPL, DA KZN Alternate Spokesperson on Health:

THE DA calls on KZN’s COGTA department to ensure that municipal officials responsible for the maintenance of two South Coast sewerage pump facilities – which this week spilled effluent into local river estuaries – face criminal charges.

The spills, which have led to the closure of Margate’s Main Beach and the Blue Flag Lucien Beach, come after years of failed maintenance by the municipality.

This week pumps at both the Bhilanhlolo River in Ramsgate and Nkongweni River in Margate began leaking sewerage into the estuaries at these two tourism towns.

Yesterday a decision to open the Margate estuary was taken at a meeting between the Ugu District Department of Water Affairs, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Ezemvelo.  This was in spite of opposition by the local community.

The move has caused the toxic effluent to flow on to local beaches, leading to closure of the Margate and Lucien beaches.

According to reports, the Ramsgate sewerage pump has supposedly been fixed.  However, no estuary rehabilitation has taken place.

The DA is extremely concerned by the situation.

These areas are hugely dependent on tourism for job creation and the end result could mean job losses.

The spill also poses a severe health danger to beach goers and local communities alike with the risk of diseases such as diarrhoea, gastroenteritis, hepatitis and cholera.

While the beaches have been closed the organic and inorganic toxins in sewerage can linger in the environment.   Unless an immediate clean up strategy is put in place, communities and tourists could be at risk for weeks after the visible effluent has dispersed.

The DA sincerely hopes that health education and a disease monitoring strategy will be enforced.

We also expect KZN’s Cogta department to act without delay and to ensure that the Department of Environmental Affairs urgently implements a clean-up plan before this year’s holiday season begins.

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Freeze in healthcare appointments will prejudice health delivery

By Jane Sithole, MPL, Spokesperson on Health:

The Mpumalanga Health department has been advised by the Budget and Finance Committee to stop employing much-needed healthcare professionals at various facilities in the province due to excessive debt in the Health Department.

This decision to freeze appointments calls into question Finance MEC, Eric Kholwane’s decision to withdraw the Health department’s curatorship after stating that the department was now financially stable – this drastic step proves that Kholwane was grossly mistaken.

The department is on record to the Health portfolio committee, in response to the 1st quarter performance report of 2015/16 that R253 million of the department’s debt has already been paid and the outstanding R104 million will be paid by 31 October 2015. Only thereafter will appointments be un-frozen.

Click here to view response.

According to the department’s Annual Performance Plan (APP) for this current financial year the vacancy rate for healthcare staff is 36.7%.

The department had previously been given the approval to fill 1571 positions in this financial year but only 692 posts had been filled as at 30 June 2015 – which is simply too slow to provide quality healthcare. All this while the department is excluded from the province-wide moratorium on filling all vacant funded and unfunded posts.

The stark reality of R357 million worth of accruals, is devastating when one takes into consideration the number of job opportunities lost.

The department could have employed the following healthcare professionals;

  • 1682 Grade 1 professional nurses, or
  • 1368 Grade 2 professional nurses, or
  • 1022 Grade 3 professional nurses, or
  • 597   Grade 1 Medical Officers, or
  • 514   Grade 2 Medical Officers, or
  • 389   Grade 3 Medical Officers, or
  • 724   Grade 1 Pharmacists

Many healthcare facilities across the province are understaffed which leads to community members having to wait many hours to be seen by tired and overworked healthcare professionals. This will only get worse as posts are now frozen from being filled.

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Maimane takes Vision 2029 Tour to the North West

Media Advisory:

This weekend, 29 – 30 August 2015, Democratic Alliance Leader, Mmusi Maimane MP, will be in the North West Province as part of the national Vision 2029 Tour.

Vision 2029 is the DA’s programme of action for building a better South Africa through 10 years of a DA National government, from 2019 – 2029. It is also an expansion of the Party’s Values Charter based on the values of Freedom, Fairness and Opportunity.

The Leader will be joined by the DA Provincial Leader, Joe McGluwa MP.

The weekend tour will take place as follows:

 

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Venue: Ikakgeng Stadium

Address: Lekgele Street, Potchefstroom, North West

Time: 15:30

 

Sunday, 30 August 2015

 

Venue: Ben Marais Hall

Address: Middel Street, Rustenburg

Time: 13:30

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DA complains to Press Ombudsman over slanderous report

By James Masango MPL, DA Mpumalanga Leader:

The DA has today laid a complaint with the Press Ombudsman against Mpumalanga News newspaper following an article in that newspaper today about a service delivery protest in Pienaar Township, Mbombela municipality, which incorrectly attributed fault to the Democratic Alliance, through untested hearsay.

The DA takes exception to the inaccuracies in the article. The DA was never given an opportunity to respond to the allegation, nor to put forward our position before going to print, which would be to completely deny and refute the allegations.

The DA in Mpumalanga has always enjoyed a healthy working relationship with Lowveld Media and its various publications, including Mpumalanga News. As Mpumalanga’s official opposition, we interact regularly with journalists on matters pertaining to the province. It is therefore surprising and unethical that when writing this one-sided report, Constance Sithole failed to contact representatives or spokespeople of the DA for comment and clarification.

The fact is that no matter what allegations flow from community members, Pienaar is an ANC stronghold and Mbombela municipality is governed by the ANC.

By publishing this article, Mpumalanga News has violated numerous sections of the South African Press Code but most notably, section 2.5 which states that “A publication shall seek the views of the subject of critical reportage in advance of publication; provided that this need not be done where the publication has reasonable grounds for believing that by doing so it would be prevented from publishing the report or where evidence might be destroyed or sources intimidated. Reasonable time should be afforded the subject for a response. If the publication is unable to obtain such comment, this shall be stated in the report”.

We believe that this article does not meet the test of ethical journalism and that it has directly contravened the Press Code. As such; we will be laying a complaint with the Press Ombudsman asking for an investigation into this matter.

The DA will seek remedy in the form of the Mpumalanga News issuing the Democratic Alliance a prominent printed apology accompanied by a retraction of the story, a published correction or a properly balanced explanation of their article.

The DA takes pride in our role as the official opposition holding the governing party to full account, as we strive to improve the lives of all residents in Mpumalanga and South Africa.

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