SAPS clampdown on corrupt cops welcomed

By Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety:

I welcome the clampdown on corruption and criminality within the South African Police Service’s (SAPS’) ranks following the arrest of a Pinelands police officer who allegedly tampered with blood samples from drunk driving suspects.

This serves as an important warning to both police members and the public that there is no place for corruption, bribery or dodging responsibility for one’s actions this festive season.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility and as much as I encourage members of the public to report any officer they suspect of corruption or wrongdoing, I also support our police and law enforcement officers for their zero tolerance and dedication to help keep everyone in the province safe this festive season.

The Western Cape Government, through its oversight mandate, will support any actions taken by the SAPS management which will see corrupt and criminal cops face the full might of the law they happily choose to ignore.

We cannot allow a couple of bad apples to tarnish the good reputation of the SAPS and breakdown the public trust or relationship between the police and communities.

I urge all to remain vigilant this festive season, to prioritise your own safety, to report any and all criminality and to support all law enforcement agencies working non-stop to help keep everyone safe.

Staff and patients suffering under ‘sauna-like’ conditions at Stanger Hospital

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

THE DA has been reliably informed that doctors and nurses at Stanger Hospital are working under “sauna-like” conditions with patients “languishing in sweltering conditions” as a result of ongoing problems with air-conditioning.

Meanwhile top management are allegedly “chilling in their offices and not interested in the rest”.

The information comes via an impeccable professional source working within the hospital who has alleged that the Nursery, PRU and Casualty are also very hot with temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius.

According to our source the aircon units in the OPD and Pharmacy and theatre only recently received some attention after the latter was shockingly closed for two weeks.  Prior to then only emergency operations were performed due to the harsh conditions.

To add to this, there is currently no medical oxygen in the wall units, forcing the use of cylinders.  This has reached such a state that patients requiring life support have to be manually ventilated until alternate arrangements are made and patients transferred.

The situation at Stanger hospital has only been brought to the DA’s attention now.  However, hospital management has allegedly been aware of the problems for several months yet has failed to intervene.

This is not the first time this hospital has landed itself in hot water.

Last year KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo had to make several interventions.  Yet the same people remain at the helm, perpetuating the same mismanagement and still publically defending their stance.

The current conditions at Stanger Hospital are unacceptable. The people of KZN deserve better than this but change can only be achieved through the ballot box.

The DA has previously called on the MEC to place this hospital under administration to no effect.  We now request that he urgently reconsider our call. This hospital requires serious intervention.

Letter to the Editor – All the President’s Men

By Francois Rodgers, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Finance:

JACOB Zuma’s dismissal of Finance Minister Nene can only be described as absurd during the current challenging global economic times. Even more bizarre is that the President offered no substantial reason for this move.

It is evident that this is a Luthuli House decision based on power and in particular power surrounding the President. Again, it is nothing more than the President surrounding himself with “yes” men or “all the president’s men”!

It is abundantly clear that the President has no understanding of economics and the impact of his rash decisions will impact most on the poorest of the poor. The immediate reaction of SA’s rand following the announcement is a fine example.

But then this is a President who can’t differentiate between a thousand and a billion or a million when publicly speaking on finance.

Zuma’s new appointee, David van Rooyen, is mostly unknown in the financial market with most of his experience obtained in the field of municipal finance.

His subsequent Twitter comments send shivers down the spine – “not even my first day on the job and the rand is already at a record high! This gig is going to be a piece of Woolies red velvet cake#askiji” followed by “Everybody just chill. I got this”.

The astounding developments of the past few days will no doubt have a detrimental effect, not only on our country but also on investor confidence in KZN – this at a time when we least need it.

DA lays charges against Eastern Cape Health Department for occupational health violations

By Wilmot James MP, Shadow Minister of Health:

Today, on behalf of the Democratic Alliance (DA), I laid charges, at the Humewood Police Station in Port Elizabeth, against Dr Phumza Dyantyi, the MEC for Health in the Eastern Cape Government.

I was accompanied by Celeste Barker, MPL, the DA Eastern Cape spokesperson for Health and Franay van der Linde, Health representative on the PE Metro Municipality.

The charges relate to violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) 85 of 1993 as well as of the National Health Act at three of the department’s hospitals – Livingstone, Port Elizabeth Provincial and Uitenhage Provincial hospitals – for not segregating and storing medical waste according to best practice norms and standard operating procedures.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires an employer to create and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of employees as far as is reasonably practicable.

The National Health Act requires that all health care risk waste should be stored in accordance with the provisions in the SA National Standard.

But, at Livingston, Port Elizabeth Provincial and Uitenhage Provincial hospitals, the improper segregation and below standard storage of medical waste poses a public health risk to employees.

At recent unannounced visits to the three hospitals, I identified first-hand the following deficiencies:

None of the hospitals had:

  • a central storage area with an impermeable, hard standing floor with good drainage connected to a sewer;
  • a water supply for cleaning and disinfecting purposes, as well as a hand basin, hand soap and a hand towel;
  • proper and adequate personal protective equipment (gumboots, work uniform, elbow length gloves, mask and protective eye goggles; and
  • a spill kit (a facility where contaminated liquids could be rendered harmless) and a fire extinguisher (PE Provincial had one outside).

Additionally:

  • The storage area at Uitenhage Provincial was not locked or otherwise secured, nor was it adequate protected from the rain; and
  • The storage area at PE Provincial was unlit with no passive ventilation, and an infectious waste (red) bag was seen in an unsecured area.

The Eastern Cape visit further indicates that medical waste management is a crisis plaguing major state hospitals nationwide. Last month, during an unannounced visit to the National Hospital in Bloemfontein in the Free State and interviews with industry insiders in the medical waste removal business, it emerged that, there too, best-practise norms are being violated. This was my similar experience on a visit to two hospitals in Gauteng at the weekend and three in the Kimberley area.

The hospitals visited have seemingly breached Section 38 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, read together with Section 8 of the same act, in that they have, among other things, not provided and maintained ‘a working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of its employees’, as well as failed to take steps to eliminate or mitigate hazards in the workplace.

I have already written to Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to request a meeting with him to discuss the failure by hospitals to properly manage their medical waste in terms of the National Health Act and to ask him to explain how he will make hospitals nationwide compliant with the law when it comes to the management, “segregation” and disposal of medical waste.
The medical waste management is the sole responsibility of the department of Health.

The root of the problem is budget. None of the hospitals had a specially designed facility for dealing with medical waste (and indeed, Livingston and Uitenhage used temporary mobile containers utterly unsuitable for safe medical waste storage).
Legally compliant facilities funded out of a capital budget must be built at the three hospitals visited and all other hospitals that are not compliant and other deficiencies remedied as a matter of urgency. Improper medical waste storage is a ticking time bomb threatening public health and no government should tolerate it.

Photos and Captions below:

Livingstone Hospital

Photo 1 and Photo 2

Caption: Improper segregation and below standard storage of medical waste which poses a public health risk at Livingstone hospital.

PE Provincial Hospital

Photo 

Caption: A red bag indicating infectious waste in a general waste open area, either wrongly bagged i.e. General waste in an infectious waste bag or infectious waste in the right bag in an open area, in breach of regulations at PE Provincial hospital.

DoH must include community leaders in HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns

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

THE DA calls on KZN’s Department of Health (DoH) to urgently include community leaders such as religious and traditional leaders in programmes aimed at creating a better understanding of the many facets of HIV/ AIDS prevention which do not only involve issues of morality.

The call comes as the country marks a month of HIV and Aids awareness campaigns during December.  This, along with the beginning of the school holidays, will see an increased number of male medical circumcisions

The DA strongly advocates this practice in a bid to ensure that the fight against the pandemic of our time is stemmed.  There is considerable scientific evidence to suggest that MMC assists in curbing transmission although, on its own, should not be considered as wholly preventative.  We also welcome government’s call to use dual protection, one being condom use and the other circumcision however, further awareness of this is needed.

According to a recent parliamentary reply to the DA, during KZN’s last Male Medical Circumcision [MMC] campaign in June/ July this year, 13,265 recorded MMC’s were performed at healthcare facilities in 11 districts in the province.

The same reply confirms that there were no reported deaths in KZN, even from traditionally performed procedures, in stark contrast to the neighbouring Eastern Cape.  This is due to the training given to traditional surgeons by KZN Health which includes the identification of complications and the mechanism of referral should any arise.

Also worth mentioning is that all initiates going through the ritual in rural areas are screened for disease conditions such as HIV, TB, STI’s, Blood pressure and examinations for genital abnormalities. These traditional circumcisions are performed using sterile packs, one per patient and are performed under supervision.

The DA encourages other provinces to emulate KZN’s example by attending such camps so that practical examples can be taken back as a means of good practice.

Certainly, we have come a long way from denial, beetroot and garlic and showers but there is a long way to go still, not only to get another 3 million people onto ARV’s but to ensure that more importantly preventative measures are in place.

The “snip” will certainly go a long way in getting-to a zero infection rate.

Western Cape Health unveils emergency services plans for the festive season

By Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape Minister of Health:

Today, the Western Cape Health Minister, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, has revealed plans for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in the Western Cape to tackle the high occurrence of medical emergencies this coming festive season.

“As we begin the festive season, millions of holiday makers are on our roads, across the country and mostly into the Western Cape. Research has shown us that this period is one that demands reinforced emergency services due to the high number of road crashes and fatalities. The Western Cape in particular hosts many people from across the country and international guests and that is why it is crucial that we roll out EMS contingency plans. Emergency services are usually the first responders at any incident scene and based on our experience the three major emergencies are road crashes, drowning incidents and interpersonal violence related injuries often under-scored by alcohol consumption” said Minister Mbombo.

“We are urging the people of the Western Cape and incoming visitors to please exercise caution when using our roads and visiting our well-sought-after tourist attractions and destinations. As the leaders of the Provincial Strategic Goal 3 which aims to tackle social ills and increase wellness, it is incumbent on my department to raise awareness about the alcohol related harms like interpersonal violence and road crashes” continues Mbombo.

The Department of Health has put in place measures to ensure that our emergency personnel is well equipped to deal with the increased demand.

The following risks have been identified:

  • Road traffic injuries on dates when people are travelling on main routes;
  • Drowning and near drowning injury related incidents at our beaches; and
  • Interpersonal violence and injuries related to alcohol abuse.

Road Traffic Injuries

EMS will, on the dates where there is high volume of traffic, provide extended resources on the major arterial routes out of Cape Town including the N1, N2, N7, R62, R61 and R27.

All EMS Medical Rescue vehicles will be positioned on main routes throughout the Province for quick response and to alert road users to the dangers of speeding and drunken driving.

The N1 route will have rescue vehicle and ambulance response available in Beaufort West, Laingsburg and Leeu Gamka with both paramedic and Rescue Technician available. In addition, a twenty three seater bus will be located in Beaufort West to transport uninjured victims of public transport crashes.

The EMS management will perform routine checks on all our emergency vehicles to ensure that the equipment is in good working order.

Drowning and near drowning injuries

Metro EMS will provide medical support to beaches at Hermanus, Camps Bay, Gordons Bay, Monwabisi, Stranfontein and Muizenberg by supporting NSRI Stations 17, 2, 9, 16 and 10 respectively with Intermediate Life Support Emergency Care Officers on the dates that large numbers of people are expected at beaches. Traditional beach days have been identified as 25 December 2015, 26 December 2015, 1 January 2016 and 2 January 2016.

Interpersonal violence and injuries

EMS will place ambulances within striking distance of hotspots to facilitate rapid response on the dates where alcohol consumption and large scale partying is expected. From 20 December 2015 to 3 January 2016 there are usually ongoing parties across the province and usually interpersonal violence is prevalent.

In addition, there will be satellite operational points that will provide emergency services equipped with mass causality trailers, incident commanders and ambulances across the metro. Strategic areas will include the V&A Waterfront area more so on New Year’s Eve.

We are confident that the Western Cape Emergency Medical Services is well prepared for the upcoming festive season. I would also like to thank our dedicated women and men who forfeit time with their families to provide this essential service during this busy time.

Best meets worst in Gauteng transport department

By Justus de Goede, DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Transportation:

In his address on the tabling of the annual report for the Department of Roads and Transport, MEC Ismail Vadi provided additional detail on last month’s near-tragic incident on the Pretoria/Hatfield line of the Gautrain where a lorry ended up on one of the tracks.

Only ten days later have normal services resumed.

While the cause of the accident is still unknown, it was bizarre enough to raise questions around the mechanical causes.

While being grateful that a disaster was avoided, in large part thanks to the reflexes of the train driver, Gauteng residents must be thinking about the irony in this particular incident: the Province’s best, public transport system derailed by a component of probably the worst aspect of our transport systems, heavy road vehicles.

Those who listened to last week’s debate, would have heard the DA point out the disgraceful results obtained by heavy vehicles at just one Johannesburg testing centre where close to seventy per cent of vehicles inspected had serious defects.

Given these shocking results, the question becomes not will another incident happen, but when?

For years the safety record of heavy vehicles on Provincial roads has been sporadically discussed after major crashes, but no follow-up action ensues.

The MEC’s department should take the unpopular step needed to force transport operators, including bus operators, who flout vehicle safety and maintenance guidelines, to keep their vehicles out of service until they are once again roadworthy.

This is the very least that can be done to end the suffering and economic damage we see daily on our roads.

DA scores absentee Mayor Parks Tau 3/10

By Cllr Vasco da Gama, DA Johannesburg Caucus Leader:

It is almost five years since Parks Tau has taken office as Mayor of Johannesburg, but under his leadership the so-called world class African city has merely limped along, battling to provide residents with levels of service befitting of such a title.

For years inaccurate billing has remained a constant challenge, negatively impacting the city’s finances and ultimately delaying the roll-out of much needed maintenance and upgrade programmes throughout the city.

This crisis is exacerbated by a massive R1,2 billion tender for unapproved smart electricity meters which was awarded to Edison Power, whose chairperson Vivian Reddy has close ties to President Jacob Zuma.

Over the years housing and sanitation backlogs have left thousands of residents living their lives in undignified squalor, while the city simply takes no action against large scale corruption and non-delivery.

Every day Johannesburg residents are forced to cope with massive water losses, unreliable electricity supply, poor road infrastructure, failed job creation initiatives and an ever-slowing rate of service delivery.

Johannesburg should be a world-class city. It has the capacity and the people to achieve this goal, and residents want to see it shine as a caring city for all who live in it.

Johannesburg should become a model of service delivery and excellence in South Africa, a title currently held by Cape Town.

The DA has developed this report card to rate the performance of Mayor Parks Tau and Members of the Mayoral Committee (MMCs) to analyse each individual’s grasp of their portfolio, their service delivery track record, and their willingness to be held accountable.

Executive Mayor – Cllr Parks Tau

While the city stumbles from crisis to crisis, Mayor Tau uses every publicity stunt in the book to paint a picture of a Johannesburg which is far removed from reality.

Mayor Tau is ultimately responsible for the state of the city, but yet palms it off to others and dodges accountability every step of the way.

The recent Pikitup strike is a case in point, where the mayor prioritised the Africities Summit over rampant strikers and rubbish piles all over the city. He had to turn to provincial cooperative governance MEC Jacob Mamabolo to act outside his mandate to intervene and restore order.

True to form, the mayor has yet to pronounce himself on the fight against corruption, water losses, electric supply instability, and housing issues.

The fact is that residents have long ago realised that mayor Tau is merely a poster boy for the city, while he allows the proper running of the city to be hampered by ineffective spending, corruption and poor management.

Mayor Tau has not met any of his key performance indicators, is not willing to be held accountable, and continues to hold Johannesburg back from being a world-class city.

Score: 3/10

 

MMC for Finance – Cllr Geoffrey Makhubo

Since taking over the finance portfolio in 2011 from Mayor Parks Tau, Geoffrey Makhubo has been more hands-on than his predecessor ever was.

He scores well for attending Section 79 committee meetings, for listening to opposition input, and at times, accepting important suggestions.

However, he defends the indefensible, including the R1,2 billion smart electricity meters contract with Edison, which has caused major headaches for thousands of consumers.

Makhubo likes to paint a rosy picture, pretending all is well.

Yet the recent arrests of revenue employees and officials doing business with council show that he has not been able to beat corruption and build an effective financial management environment.

Score: 4/10

 

MMC for Economic Development – Cllr Ruby Mathang

Under the stewardship of Cllr Mathang, the local economic development department has failed to meet key targets, and the city has failed to facilitate a “one-stop, red-carpet” facility to attract investors.

Of particular concern is that Cllr Mathang’s written responses to questions arising from quarterly reports provide the bare minimum information, leaving proper oversight completely hamstrung.

The lack of detail on business process outsourcing (BPO) and the Johannesburg Broadband Network (JBN) are prime examples.

There is a huge gap in information about what the JBN will do and how it will be funded, which creates potential for corruption and mismanagement.

Despite numerous DA requests, members of the board of the Johannesburg Market have yet to address the Economic Development Committee and answer questions.

Score: 4/10

 

MMC for Housing – Cllr Dan Bovu

Housing MMC Dan Bovu pays lip service to critical questions.

His responses regarding the controversial 96/97 housing list are totally unsatisfactory; claiming that 5% of applicants will be housed, yet subsequent reports have contradicted him, noting that not a single house had been allocated.

The department has failed to meet its own targets, and according to the latest quarterly report, met only four out of its 14 Key Performance Indicators.

Very little effort is made to tackle corruption and improve monitoring of service providers contracted to provide housing. Overall, project management leaves much to be desired.

As a result, contractors deliver poor quality housing or in some cases abandon building sites, leaving the city with virtually no value for money.

Score: 2/10

 

MMC for Public Safety – Cllr Sello Lemao

The buck for the failures of the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) and EMS fire services stops with Cllr Lemao.

He has let down the people of Johannesburg, which has been rated one of the world’s most unsafe cities.

Complaints about corrupt JMPD officials are received daily, while traffic law enforcement appears to be limited to occasional after-hour road blocks and joint operations.

During the past year Public Safety Department has failed on many life-and-death service deliverables, such as the Joburg 10+ service, which remains ineffective in most wards.

There are major mechanical issues with EMS fire rescue fleets, with many fire stations ill-equipped and understaffed.

Firefighters are caught up in long-standing unresolved disputes with management, and morale is at an all-time low.

Score: 3/10

 

MMC for Transport – Cllr Christine Walters

Cllr Walters is one of the few well-performing MMCs and puts her colleagues to shame.

She lives up to her open-door policy, boasts a strong attendance record at meetings and is always willing to assist all councillors. Her written responses are timeous and thorough.

However, the story for the two transport entities in her portfolio, Metrobus and the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA), is the complete opposite. Management of both entities are reluctant to attend compulsory meetings and respond to questions unless Cllr Walters intervenes.

The JRA remains tarnished with allegations of corruption, supply chain manipulation and collusion. While motorists and commuters have to deal with potholes, broken traffic lights, and poor infrastructure, very little change seems to be in the offering.

Public transport remains a matter of concern. Metrobus struggles with a massive overdraft and low passenger usage, while staff recently went on strike over incorrect PAYE deductions.

Score: 6/10

 

MMC for Environment, Infrastructure and Service Delivery – Cllr Matshidiso Mfikoe

Arguably the portfolio which requires the strongest of personalities, proven leadership skills, and a track record of problem solving and negotiation – all of which are lacking in Cllr Mfikoe.

With the entities at the forefront of service delivery such as Pikitup, City Power and Joburg Water all part of this portfolio, the track records of these entities during the past years tell their own stories about Cllr Mfikoe’s poor performance.

Overall, this portfolio has underachieved on every one of its key performance indicators, evidenced by the regressing quality of service delivery and ever-growing maintenance backlog.

Score: 2/10

 

MMC for Development Planning – Cllr Ros Greeff

The potential for maladministration in Cllr Greeff’s department, which has a budget of hundreds of millions of rand, is incredibly high due to the lack of proper checks and balances.

The department is plagued by staff shortages and a lack of critical skills, and urgently requires a sense of professionalism.

Very few Key Performance Indicators were achieved and as such, the department has had to return R100 million in unspent funds which were destined for Mayor Tau’s “Corridors of Freedom” projects.

The questionable number of claim applications creates an environment for potential corruption with building inspectors.

Score: 3/10

 

MMC for Health and Social Development – Cllr Nonceba Molwele

Social assistance provided by the department is haphazard to say the least, and fails to build any solid foundation to empower those who need it most.

The social net it purports to provide has too many gaps to be effective in meeting the needs of residents.

Funding remains a critical shortcoming, but this requires political will and a commitment to the plight of the needy to fulfil.

This is echoed by Cllr Molwele’s reluctance to attend Section 79 committee meetings and her lackadaisical approach to oversight.

Score: 4/10

 

MMC for Community Development – Cllr Chris Vondo

The recent horrific murders and rape in Rhodes Park, Kensington highlighted the need for improved security in the City’s parks.

Cllr Vondo areas of responsibility include Joburg City Parks, the zoo, cemeteries, and open spaces, and these facilities remain poorly cleaned and maintained. In short Rhodes Park has become a poster of the department’s inability to provide residents with safe and relaxing recreation areas.

Score: 4/10

 

MMC for Corporate and Shared Services – Cllr Mally Mokoena

The departments are plagued by operational problems due to senior managers who do not take their work seriously, and are places where political patronage appears to reign supreme.

In one instance a list of bursary recipients included relatives of an ANC councillor – these were only removed by officials after the DA vehemently opposed their inclusion.

Since then, the DA has been eagerly awaiting a report reflecting that the names had indeed been removed, but to date none has been forthcoming.

In general, the department has failed to achieve many of their annual targets, and its budget was underspent – clear indications of a lack of skilled and competent professional staff to oversee project management and implementation.

Score: 5/10

 

Johannesburg requires dramatic intervention if the city is ever going to have acceptable levels of service delivery. It is clear that Mayor Tau and his MMCs are simply coasting along in the hope that people remain satisfied with a poor quality of life.

When one compares Johannesburg’s levels of service delivery, job creation initiatives, public safety plans, revenue collection and financial management with the DA-led City of Cape Town, it is abundantly clear that Johannesburg has a long way to go before it can call itself a world-class city.

During the past five years residents have seen for themselves how the gulf between Johannesburg and Cape Town has widened, and are ready to Vote DA in next year’s local government elections.

People know that where the DA governs, life is better.

Western Cape residents honoured for food security contributions

Western Cape residents who are making a significant impact on food security in their communities were honoured for their achievements this week.

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture hosted its Food Garden Competition in Suurbrak on 7 December.

Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, attended the competition, which is linked to World Food Day.

Launched in 2011, the initiative seeks to raise awareness around community participation in finding solutions to food security and hunger.

Fifty-nine household and community gardens entered the competition. Entrants were assessed on criteria which included garden practices, variety of crops, conservation measures and innovation.

Winners received cash prizes to further grow their gardens.

 

Please see below for the full list of winners:

 

Community garden:

Winner: Suurbrak Community Garden

Runner-up: Birds of Paradise

Second runner-up: Santa Community Gardens

 

Household food garden – Suurbrak

Winner: Vincent Kock

Runner-up: Surney Siegelaar

Second runner-up: Fransina Pretorious

 

Household food garden – Buffelsjagsrivier

Winner: David Mtusayi

Runner-up: Demond Pieterse

Second runner-up: Felix Titus

 

Special awards were given to Lisa Perold, Jan Sebybo, Morne Kellies and Floris Meloy.

 

Minister Winde said South Africa’s undernourishment level remains close to five percent. Minister Winde added that equipping residents with the skills they needed to produce their own food was key.

“Giving residents the tools they need to buffer their communities against food insecurity is an important focus for the Western Cape. This is why the Provincial Department of Agriculture supports household and food garden initiatives across the province. In this financial year, we have committed R12 million to a range of these projects.”

GAAL CEO must undergo disciplinary

By Jacques Smalle MPL, DA Spokesperson on SCOPA:

The DA will write to the Limpopo MEC for Transport, Mapula Mokaba Phukwane to investigate disciplinary steps against the CEO of Gateway Airports Authority Limited  (GAAL), Thulani Zulu with immediate effect.

In a reply to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) yesterday, the CEO revealed that the entity procured goods and services from more than 35 companies and worth more than more than R7 million without seeking their valid tax clearance certificates for the financial years of 2013/2014 and 2014/2015.

These companies include prominent IT, construction, travelling, catering, architects, security, media and vehicle providers. The money was regarded as  irregular expenditure by the Auditor General’s (AG) report released early this year.

In the 2013/2014 , the AG further discovered that :

  • The entity is the defendant in various lawsuits and pending legal cases to the tune of more than R3 million
  • fruitless and wasteful expenditure of more than R1.2 million incurred
  • Assets worth more than R124 million cannot be verified
  • Financial statements for auditing were submitted without proper records of procurements
  • No action was taken against any officials responsible for the irregular, and wasteful expenditure as required by the section 51 of the PFMA

The committee was openly dissatisfied with the CEO who continuously blamed most of AG’s findings on GAAL’s internal capacity constraints rather than taking responsibility.

The embattled CEO was lambasted by the committee and he was clearly unprepared and unwilling to accept the accountability for the mess at GAAL.

His competency to act as the CEO was questioned by the chairperson of the committee.

Failure to effectively manage an entity such as GAAL which ideally should boosts the provincial economy, is proof of the ANC cadre deployment failing without considering skills, experience and accountability of appointed persons.

The DA believes that taxpayer’s money should be used for the benefit of all people, not to the connected few.

The DA will continue to be proactive in seeking accountability for mismanaged state-owned entities.