MEC Kholwane’s departments are practising “Selective Disclosure”

By Bosman Grobler MPL, DA spokesperson on Finance:

The Mpumalanga Department of Finance’s denial that an amount of R315 000 was paid to MEC Eric Kholwane for the 2014/15 financial year, simply isn’t supported by the departments own records. With Kholwane’s annual salary of R1.771 million plus R315 000 which is a total of R 2.086 million in remuneration for the MEC, sets him as the highest earner in the Mpumalanga executive.

The denial by the Department comes after the DA exposed the MEC’s non-compliance with President Jacob Zuma’s salary proclamation for the upper limit of salaries and allowances for Premiers, MECs and MPLs.

The Finance department has alleged that the R315 000 disclosed in the 2014/15 Appropriation Statement was the salary for the former MEC of Finance Madala Masuku.

If this is truly the case, then why was the salary of the former MEC of Economic Development and Tourism Pinky Phosa not also disclosed in the 2014/15 Appropriation Statement for the Department of Economic Development?

The omission of the salary of the former Economic Development MEC from the Appropriation Statement raises further red flags. MEC Kholwane’s departments are practicing “Selective Disclosure” with their financials. If they haven’t disclosed the former MEC’s salary, what other expenses have they failed to disclose?

This is a clear indication that there are some dodgy accounting practices occurring in Kholwane’s departments.

The DA still maintains its views that MEC Kholwane violated the Presidential proclamation, and we shall await a response from the Auditor General, so as to get some credible clarity.

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DA’s SCOPA report on 2014/15 Department of Health annual performance

The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by the DA’s Glenda Steyn MPL and Paul Willemburg MPL during the SCOPA report 2014/15 annual performance of the Department of Health.

Speech by
Glenda Steyn MPL

“Department of Health diagnosed as terminally ill”

  • How can it be, in the 21st century, in this technological age, that the Gauteng Department of Health has inferior patient records and information systems?
  • The Department acknowledges that they experience regular system interruptions which results in backlogs in capturing patient records. This is a problem for which solutions were developed not only in the last decade but in the last millennium.
  • The slow rate of improvement can never keep up with an ever growing population and the speed at which medical science moves. Are we, the residents of Gauteng, fated with an inadequate public health care system for the next 20 years?
  • The only way we can save this department is with a change of government. Roll on 2019!

 

The full speech can be obtained here.

Speech by

Paul Willemburg MPL

“Lack of political will impairing the improvement of the department”

  • Year after year we are told of the wonderful measures and interventions that have been put in place to improve the situation.  The buzz phrase ‘Turn-around-Strategy’ has been bandied about so many times that one wonders if officials in this Department know which way they are facing.
  • Medical Liabilities in the year under review amounted to R71 million; up from the R42 million in 2013/14 and R10 million in 2012/13.
  • We still find that invoices are not paid within the legislated 30 days amounting to approximately R556 million.

The full speech can be obtained here

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DA debates Gauteng 2014/15 health Annual Report

The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by the DA’s Jack Bloom MPL and Neil Campbell MPL during a debate on the Gauteng Health Department.

Speech by
Jack Bloom MPL

“Gauteng health department on the verge of sinking”

  • In the period covered by this Annual Report, only 86 out of 160 targets were met, which is 54%.
  • Steve Biko Hospital is the only hospital in Gauteng that is assessed as being compliant with the non-negotiable extreme measures to prevent unnecessary harm or death.
  • R157 million was spent last year on settling court actions for medical negligence, and the figure this year is likely to be higher still.
  • Medico-legal claims rose by R3.5 billion from R6.6 billion to R10.1 billion.
  • We have enrolled more than one million people on anti-retroviral therapy in the last ten years, but only 700 000 are currently still on treatment.

The full speech can be obtained here.

 

Speech by

Neil Campbell MPL

“Departmental targets mean nothing if there is no delivery”

  • The AG is concerned by the many Departmental late payments to suppliers amounting to over a billion Rand.
  • Of the 160 set targets in the Annual Performance Plan, only 55% were achieved.  However, no monetary savings were noted so we overpaid for what was attained.
  • The ongoing problems associated with Community Healthcare Workers including non-payment of stipends, provision of infection control measures and career pathing must be addressed.
  • On numerous occasions the DA have called for a reliable computer system for the Department which must deal with patient informatics and be a reliable financial tool.

The full speech can be obtained here.

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ANC is no longer the majority in Tlokwe Municipality

By Cllr. HJ Moolman, DA Caucus Chairperson, Tlokwe, Potchefstroom:

The Democratic Alliance in Tlokwe, Potchefstroom welcomes the unanimous ruling in the Constitutional Court today, that the results of the 18 September 2013 by-elections be set aside.

This means the current 29 ANC councillors will be reduced to 21 and they therefore will no longer hold the majority in the Tlokwe Municipality.

This ruling also allows the DA to bring a motion of no confidence against the Mayor Kgotso Khumalo and Speaker Berei Segetso.

This ruling proves that voting irregularities has no place in a democracy as free and fair elections are fundamental.

The DA agrees with Judge Edwin Cameron’s belief that we cannot afford to betray those who fought so hard for a democracy: “Many people struggled and fought to secure the right to vote. Many lost their lives, were imprisoned or banned.”

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Gauteng Premier and MECs to face questions for oral reply

Media Advisory:

Tomorrow, 1 December 2015, DA members of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature will pose oral questions to Gauteng Premier David Makhura and Members of the Executive Council (MECs).

A number of issues will be covered, including the Public Service Commission’s recent report on the State of the Public Service in Gauteng, the impact of the drought and water crisis on the province, as well as the investigation into Emfuleni officials taking bribes from artists.

Click here to view the DA’s questions.

Date: 1 December 2015

Time: 10h00

Venue: Gauteng Provincial Legislature, Johannesburg.

 

There will be opportunities for interviews and photographs. Members of the media are welcome to attend.

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Health MEC must urgently establish EMRS task team

By Dr Imran Keeka, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Health:

THE DA last week called on KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, to urgently create a task team to address ongoing unhappiness amongst Emergency Medical Rescue Services (EMRS) staff.

The appeal was made in the form of a motion tabled on Friday last week during the last formal sitting of the KZN Legislature.  This, after EMRS staff staged a protest outside the parliamentary precinct on Thursday last week, threatening to further extend protest action across the province in the days ahead if their demands are not met.

 

MEC Dhlomo must take full responsibility for this situation. It is a travesty that the issues of Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD) and overtime have been ongoing for more than five years with no resolution in sight.

MEC Dhlomo’s failure to address these has resulted in untold suffering, prolonged response times to emergencies on top of the already long waiting times and possibly even death.

In addition to the suffering, there is an enormous expense to the department as the services of private ambulances have to be used to fill the vacuum created by striking staff.

 

The DA calls on the MEC to create a task team to address the concerns as a matter of urgency.  Failing which, and if there are any deaths, he must be prepared to accept complete responsibility and leave office. Lives are precious and not dealing with issues that can cost lives is unacceptable.

 

We also urge EMRS staff to behave responsibly.  While they have every right to legally protest, they must remember they provide a critical service and that any action they take must never compromise a life.  This must not be misconstrued as diminishing the importance of their needs.

EMRS staff should also know that labour law does not allow for their salaries to be halved as they claim.

 

The DA encourages EMRS staff to work with any task team formed to finally bring this protracted matter to a close.  We expect the MEC to find the will and determination to make this happen

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DA debates Gauteng 2014/15 Human Settlements Annual Report

The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by the DA’s Fred Nel MPL and Lebo More MPL during a debate on the 2014/15 Annual Report for the Department of Human Settlements.

Speech by
Fred Nel MPL

“Gauteng housing requires radical makeover”

  • The current format of RDP housing contributes towards urban sprawl and increased infrastructure maintenance costs for municipalities.
  • Currently the department is unable to administer, roll out or effectively monitor its purpose and function as provided for in the Constitution and the Housing Act by providing housing for the poor and the establishment, development and maintenance of economically viable communities.
  • Gauteng requires sound policies implemented in a well-managed and responsible manner, address spatial development inequalities as a result of our past, and promotes economic growth that creates jobs.
  • Gauteng’s rapid urbanisation requires the creation of densified communities, private sector incentives and proper social and economic integration.

The full speech can be obtained here.

 

Speech by

Lebo More MPL

“Non-delivery leaves Gauteng residents destitute”

  • The Department needs to produce the list of beneficiaries of over 50 houses it claims to have built in Sokhulumi. The department’s annual report says that the houses had been built, but when the portfolio committee went there it didn’t see any.
  • The ANC itself admits that: “we promised people in the beginning of the financial year, through annual targets, that we will uplift you – yet we have failed to achieve these promises”.
  • Gauteng’s people need hand-ups and not hand-outs.

The full speech can be obtained here.

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DA debates Gauteng 2014/15 cooperative governance Annual Report

The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by the DA’s Fred Nel MPL and Lebo More MPL during a debate on the Gauteng Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements Department.

Speech by
Fred Nel MPL

“Local government is the engine room of service delivery”

  • No performance assessments were done during the year under review.
  • The ICT strategy remains uncompleted and as an important backbone of modern strategic implementation.
  • Intergovernmental relations remain an area of lip service rather than concrete implementation of the legislative framework.
  • Too many of the department’s strategic objectives are dependent on outside bodies, mainly municipalities, to implement.

The full speech can be obtained here.

 

Speech by

Lebo More MPL

“Gauteng COGTAHS department asks more questions than provides answers”

  • Paying service providers within 30 days is still a problem that needs to be sorted out.
  • Small and emerging businesses find it tough to survive in an environment where they are expected to continuously render services whilst payments are forever delayed.
  • The DA believes in a government that is efficient. A government that responds to the needs of the people.

The full speech can be obtained here.

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DA preparing to govern Nelson Mandela Bay: Good Governance Conference address by Athol Trollip

By Athol Trollip, DA Mayoral Candidate: Nelson Mandela Bay:

Note to Editors: The following is an extract of a speech delivered today by DA Mayoral Candidate for Nelson Mandela Bay, Athol Trollip, at The Mayoral Conference: Growing Good Governance at the Bayworld Conference Centre, Nelson Mandela Bay, attended by Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille and Mayor of Midvaal, Bongani Baloyi.

Growing good governance is our priority in Nelson Mandela bay, given the terrible state into which this Metro has been allowed to fall under this ANC government. Nelson Mandela Bay needs a bold new vision that can restore hope and bring real change to the Metro.

After engaging with thousands of residents during my 60 wards in 60 days tour, I am appreciative of the immensity of the task at hand, and I am ready to tackle it head on.

Since September I have been with the people of every single ward of Nelson Mandela Bay, out of my commitment to being in 60 Wards in 60 Days. I have kept this promise, and have found inspiration in the people of this Metro who are calling out for change.

I am the first to acknowledge that things are better now than they were pre-1994, but our democracy affords us the capacity to expect more from government. We have to demand better services, more jobs and corruption-free administration, because we deserve it.

In Nelson Mandela Bay, we have been subjected to broken ANC promises for far too long. 21 years into democracy, we should not have a housing backlog of 70 000 units. In 2015, we should have well maintained roads, an excellent crime-fighting metro police force, weekly refuse collection in every ward and a comprehensive public transport system that keeps our Metro moving.

Instead, we have a pile of broken promises that keeps growing and a public purse that keeps shrinking.

DA governments around the country focus on providing excellent basic service delivery. In the Western Cape, 76% of the budget is spent on poor communities. There are more services delivered to people than in any other province, despite a 46% growth in population since 1996. With the highest access to water at 99.1%, flush toilets at 91.6% and electricity at 93.4%, the Western Cape is simply leagues ahead of any other province. And therefore it is critical that Helen Zille and Patricia de Lille are in Nelson Mandela Bay today, to share their governance expertise.

The story of governance in Nelson Mandela Bay is sadly quite different under the ANC than where the DA governs. Today there are still huge parts of the Metro that go without this most basic of services.

To make this bitter pill even more difficult to swallow, we never had enough rubbish trucks to service the Metro to start with, so the promise to actually collect refuse was simply a cheap publicity stunt by Danny Jordaan that never stood a chance of materialising.

Where the DA governs, our institutions and robust processes ensure transparency, accountability and efficient delivery of governmental projects and services. Rooting out corruption in the public service is a key priority for the DA.

Good governance requires a zero-tolerance approach to corruption, the political will to tackle the problem seriously and the strengthening of institutions charged with oversight.

This ANC NMB administration has attempted to convince us that it is tough on corruption. Instead, we see those implicated in fraud and corruption walking away scot-free and with huge pay-outs and golden handshakes.

Will the other officials who are currently suspended also be treated this way, now that this precedent has been set? This is not corruption-fighting. Conversely, corrupt individuals are actually being protected and insulated from accountability.

The City of Cape Town loses the least amount of water of any Metro across the country, as Patricia de Lille confirmed for us here today. The Metro of Cape Town regularly wins awards for its water conservation efforts and techniques, justifiable considering that the city’s water loss figures are a full 15 percentage points below the combined average water loss nationwide.

In July, the people of Uitenhage and Despatch were promised a solution to their ongoing water supply crisis, but again Danny Jordaan failed to deliver. This tragic crisis was going to be placed on the Mayor’s hypothetical “dashboard”. To this day, millions of litres of water still run from over 600 leaks in this area. Vast portions of certain communities often go without water for weeks at a time.

Due to a slashed maintenance infrastructure budget and years of utter negligence, the Metro now loses the most amount of water of any Metro across the country at a staggering 45 billion litres per year.

Earlier this year the City of Cape Town, already supported by an effective metro police force, launched an anti-gang unit to combat growing gangsterism on the Cape Flats. This stabilisation unit arrests 1000 suspects every month and is already making huge inroads into fighting gangs in Manenberg, Ottery and Hanover.

With worsening gangsterism and crime, NMB is in desperate need of a local law enforcement operation. Instead for the last 10 years the ANC in NMB has only been talking about a metro police, and still there is no plan to operationalise this necessary law enforcement measure. The truth here is that there are no metro police officers in NMB and no budget this financial year to fund the operation.

The Midvaal local municipality, represented here today by its Mayor Bongani Baloyi, with the fastest growing local economy, has the lowest unemployment rate of any municipality in Gauteng at just 26% on the broad definition. Major investors such as Heineken and Ferrero Rocher provide stable economic growth and job opportunities for local residents, because the DA has welcomed these investors in and made it easy for them to grow through incentives and government rebates.

With unemployment in NMB at 36.6% and youth unemployment at 47.3%, it is abundantly clear that this ANC government is failing to stimulate significant economic growth, which the DA will change.

Good governance, founded on integrity, commitment and honesty must be a priority, and the learnings from Helen Zille and Patricia de Lille today will inspire a DA government in Nelson Mandela Bay toward those ideals. The heart of government is in efficiency and competency, and the DA is ready to deliver those in NMB.

Today, the DA has brought excellent examples of good governance here to Nelson Mandela Bay.

The DA is ready to implement these best practices from Cape Town and the Western Cape in this Metro. As we march towards the 2016 local government election, the DA looks forward to delivering real hope that ushers in an era of true freedom, fairness and opportunity for a Metro that is in desperate need of change.

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Mpumalanga Finance MEC earns more than his Premier

By Bosman Grobler MPL, DA spokesperson on Finance:

Mpumalanga Finance MEC, Eric Kholwane has earned a whopping R2.086 million in the 2014/15 financial year, compared to Premier David Mabuza’s salary of around R1.9 million.

This was revealed in the 2014/15 Annual Reports for Kholwane’s two departments which are Finance and Economic Development.

The report indicates that Kholwane, who is also a member of the South African Communist Party (SACP), drew a salary of R 1.771 million from the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, and a further R 315 000 from the Finance Department, bringing the total to R 2.086 million.

This is in total violation of the Proclamation by the President of the Republic of South Africa in the determination of the upper limit of salaries and allowances of Premiers, MECs and MPLs. The upper limit is currently R 1.734 million for MECs.

(Click here for both the departmental financials and the Proclamation)

The MEC’s four month stint as the curator of the Health Department cannot be used to justify his ‘extra pay’.

MEC Kholwane is not new to controversy, a few months ago he was suspended as an SACP member pending an investigation into his failure to deliver on the communist mandate. Despite his suspension, Kholwane remains a member of the executive.

Such actions remind us of the words of former SACP Leader Chris Hani on 29 October 1992 when he said, “What I fear is that the liberators emerge as elitists, who drive around in Mercedes Benz’ and use the resources of this country to live in palaces and to gather riches”.

The DA has written to the AG, requesting him to investigate Kholwane’s salary and the violation of the Proclamation by the President.

The DA will continue to hold the executive to account for expenditure of public funds. Our principles of Freedom, Fairness and Opportunity will ensure that in all that we do, we always put the country first.

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