Airport road cast in dark while e-toll gantries burn bright

Dr Neil Campbell MPL

Spokesperson on Roads and Transport

The lights on the R24 airport road running from Eastgate to OR Tambo International are again not working, a problem that has persisted for more than two weeks this time. Last year these lights were not on for an inordinate amount of time and they are once again off. When questioned about this last year Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi stated that the lights were out due to his department’s non-payment of services to the Ekurhuleni metro.

The Ekurhuleni Metro later dismissed this explanation stating that they had not disconnected the R24 lights due to non-payment, rather they claimed cable theft could be the problem. This was never confirmed or denied.It is a sad fact that the masts on which the lights are mounted are very close to the road and no barrier fencing or bollards are in place which has resulted in numerous accidents and several fatalities.

Last week I wrote to the MEC requesting an explanation for the fact that the lights are not working, and was told by two officials in the Department that they would investigate. As a precaution, enquires were made to see if Ekurhuleni had cut the power – they had not. While the R24 has no lights the N12, which partially shares a common path with the R24, is brightly lit, as is the non-functional overhead e-toll gantry.

After the initial response promising action I have heard nothing and this dangerous stretch of road remains hazardously unlit. The MEC must immediately sort out the lighting problems on the R24 once and for all to avoid further accidents and casualties, as has recently been the case.

Failing to meet deadline borders on lack of service delivery

Joe McGluwa MP

DA Deputy Leader in North West

Reports the last two weeks by both the Provincial Working Committee (PWC) of the African National Congress (ANC) and the ANC Youth League of the Ngaka Modiri Molema region (ANCYL) on their failure to register a Ward Candidate for the by -election in ward 14 at Tswaing should be blamed on the lack of service delivery in Delareyville.

No amount of excuses or spinning regardless from which office will change the disappointment and consequences of the failure to register a candidate not only on time but without a bank guaranteed cheque in our new democracy. While it has become commonly known that the ANC is failing the people of the North West in general and the people of Delareyville in particular the DA will never ignore them.

Where the DA governs we put the people first.

It is really sad to see how this town (Delareyville) has been neglected. President Zuma and ANC Leaders has visited the North West to discussed numerous problems two months ago. Under the ANC residents became used to poor or non-existent service delivery. In Ngaka Modiri Molema district people sleep outside the traffic department offices to queue for learners and drivers licences. In Ottosdal, Sannieshof and Delareyville, the absence of water is a norm, Atamelang (part of Delareyville) was recently for six months without water.

This is not a question of blaming it on apartheid over 18 years; it’s a question about blaming it on the prolong and widespread factionalism within the NW ANC that stands in the way of service delivery. The people of Delareyville have every right to be angry with the ANC who has failed to comply with a simple criterion in registering a candidate for the Ward. And should the ANC attend the Local Party Liaison Committee (LPLC) meetings at the IEC this would have never happened. It is clear that people they put in power care more about themselves, and getting rich, than about serving them.

The DA in 2011 won the Ward from the ANC and is more likely to retain the ward with the ANC who is disqualified. The only two parties to participate in the by-election is the Democratic Alliance and the African Peoples Convention (APC).

More money for MEC’s staff than school infrastructure in Limpopo

Desiree van der Walt MPL

DA Limpopo Spokesperson on Basic Education

The DA believes Limpopo Education MEC Dickson Maseloma’s consistent neglect of public schools’ infrastructure has now reached alarming proportions. MEC Maseloma allocated a mere R997 million for school infrastructure development in the entire province. This sharply contrasts with a R1,1 billion budgeted to pay for the MEC’s support staff. This comes swift at the heels of Limpopo’s controversial Adjusted Budget Bill which sought to shift R78 million from Ordinary Public Schools Education meant to build schools in order to pay for salaries.

The DA plans to contest the education budget when it reaches the legislatures education committee. These budget allocations come in the midst of a school infrastructure crisis in Limpopo. Recent DA visits to schools in Mankweng revealed shocking conditions of learners being taught under trees because promises of school buildings never materialized. The budget is a clear indication that the Education Department cares little about building and repairing schools for the learners of Limpopo. Clearly the department’s mission to “ensure equitable and efficient allocation and utilization of resources” is only valid to the extent that salaries for officials are paid.

Everything else such the department’s core mandate to build schools for our learners can be compromised in the process. This is in the context of the department’s officials failing to deliver textbooks on time and overcrowded or collapsing school buildings in the province. Where the DA governs in the Western Cape, education budget is prioritised for the department’s main mandate; the provision of proper education under conducive environment.

DA launches interactive on-line Map

Helen Zille

DA Leader

The Democratic Alliance will today launch a new online platform to give members of the public unprecedented access to all of our public representatives. Members of the public will now be able to access the name and contact information for the DA Councillor and DA Member of Parliament assigned to their area through an online search platform using this link:

The search tool can be found on the DA’s website under the “our people” link on the toolbar. Members of the public will simply have to select their area on the map of South Africa, or type in their address, and the system will provide them with the contact details of the relevant DA public representatives.

We are working to make our public representatives as accessible as possible to their constituents. We are doing this because we know that public representatives should serve the people who elected them in relation to the functions of government. I encourage all South Africans to get in contact with their DA public representatives, and report any service delivery problems they are experiencing. An active citizenry is as important as an effective government in making life better for all.

Learners forced to pay R70 for toilet paper in Limpopo

Jacques Smalle MP

DA Limpopo Provincial Leader

Learners at Toronto Primary School in Mankweng, Limpopo, are compelled to pay R70 a month for toilet papers and cleaning staff at the school, letters in the DA’s possession show. The decision was conveyed to parents at a meeting over the weekend after the school was unable to pay the cleaners.

The school has more than 1 500 learners and the cleaners are responsible for toilets and the whole school yard. The cleaners were no longer getting their monthly stipends due to lack of financial support from the Education Department and the school is regarded as a no fee school. This payment for the basic need of toilet paper is unacceptable as the school is in a rural area that has an escalating rate of unemployment.

The DA believes that this is not the only school in the province experiencing funding shortages from the Education Department. We demand to know why the Education Department is not supporting these schools financially to half the burden that the parents are carrying of paying operational matters for their children. We want Education MEC Dickson Masemola to be held accountable for not implementing the norms and standards for school funding.

The DA demand MEC Masemola’s immediate intervention at this school and others experiencing the same similar crisis.

DA to put KZN Premier on the spot over Sadtu go-slow

Tom Stokes, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Education

The Democratic Alliance will, during a sitting of the KZN Legislature on Friday, question Premier, Zweli Mkhize, over how the provincial ANC leadership plans to confront head-on a go-slow by teacher union, Sadtu. In addition, the DA will ask the Premier how many hours of teaching time were lost during the past year as a result of strike action and whether he and his cabinet believe that teacher unions should have the right to strike. According to Rule 107 of the provincial Legislature, members of a political party may pose oral summary questions to the Premier at the end of each financial year.

The questions are aimed at testing whether the Premier has addressed the most important issues of the previous year. Sadtu’s denial of a “go slow” amid claims that its members will teach for the required seven hours and no more are perplexing given that the Employment of Educators Act and conditions of service requires that they work beyond the seven hours of teaching.

The answers we receive from the Premier on Friday will show whether the provincial leadership has the political will to take a stand against Sadtu. They will also tell us whether the cabinet fully realises the devastating impact that Sadtu’s ongoing meddling is having on future generations. The DA expects the Premier and his cabinet to denounce Sadtu’s actions. We expect the Premier to have a strategy in place – one which deals swiftly and harshly with any teacher union member who disrupts teaching time. The ANC leadership in KwaZulu-Natal cannot be seen to support a political game being played at the expense of learners.

DA will fight e-tolling Bill in the NCOP

Elza van Lingen, MP

DA Leader in the NCOP

Transport Minister, Ben Martin’s confidence that the e-tolling bill – the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill – will be passed through the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) without a fight is presumptuous.

The DA in the NCOP is gearing up for the fight against this unnecessary Bill and will do as much as possible to ensure that it does not become law. Minister Martins told journalists at a Media Briefing yesterday that: “E-tolling is on track. It has been to Parliament and now it’s waiting approval by the National Council of Provinces to be implemented. I suggest you get your e-tags now so you can get a discount.”

The Bill is problematic in that it would create the world’s most expensive toll collection system, be an additional tax, and allow for construction of e-tolls anywhere in the country without the approval of Parliament, municipalities and Provinces. We simply cannot approve legislation that will give SANRAL and the Department of Transport carte blanche to do as they please without hearing the views of the public first.

My colleague, Herman Groenewald who sits on the NCOP Portfolio on Public Service Committee, will write to the Chairperson of that committee, Mtikeni Sibande, and call for, as was the case with the Secrecy Bill, additional Public Hearings on the Bill. The NCOP needs to listen to concerns of South Africans who are opposed to e-tolling before the Bill is approved.

The NCOP is not a rubber-stamp for National Assembly and Cabinet decisions. It is a separate house that must consider all legislation on its merits.

ANC refuses to acknowledge authority of the judiciary

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition

Note: The following member’s statement was delivered by James Masango to the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature on 9 April 2013.

Mpumalanga’s government under the stewardship of the ANC continues to refuse to acknowledge the authority of the courts and the separation of powers. According to a Lowvelder report on 29 March, Mr Irwin Mabuza of Kamabuza Investment claims that the Department of Health and Social Development refuses to pay him for services, apparently because the money in question (which was removed from his account) was returned to treasury.

This is the second instance where a government department refuses to adhere to a valid court order and uses intentional delaying tactics to avoid paying claims against it. The ANC as custodians of the Constitution must remember that our democracy has a clear separation of powers between the executive, the legislative and the judiciary, specifically introduced to prevent the abuse of power. The DA will continue to remind the ANC of that responsibility as long as it refuses to acknowledge it.

R500k Audi for Aganang Speaker

Jacques Smalle MP,

DA Limpopo Provincial Leader

The DA has established that Aganang Municipality in Limpopo has purchased an Audi Q5 worth more than R490 000 for the Speaker, Noko Ntswewa without council’s approval. This is despite the enormous backlog of service delivery within the municipality.

Aganang is one of the most rural and poorest municipalities in the country where residents still collect firewood to cook and use donkey-carts to fetch water. The Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) section 16 indicates that there must be a written quotation that stipulates the condition of the purchase of goods or services but in this case this did not happen. The Council was not notified about the purchase and the tender was not even advertised which is a clear violation of MFMA regulations.

The Municipality received a disclaimer audit opinion from the Auditor General for the last three year financial years. The DA urges Municipal Public Account Committee (MPAC) to summon the CFO and ask how was this purchase processed without the council’s approval.

Textbook amnesia in Limpopo MEC’s budget

Desiree van der Walt MPL

DA Limpopo Spokesperson on Basic Education

Limpopo’s Education MEC Dickson Masemola presented no solutions to the textbook or infrastructure crisis in his budget speech today. The MEC’s lack of leadership is a worrying sign that the R23 billion budget announced today will not be used to improve the quality of our learners’ education. This speech sidestepped the very pressing delivery concerns faced by our education system: the failure to make sure that textbooks are delivered on time and infrastructure problems faced by most of our public schools. Of this R23 billion, 83% (R19 billion) is budgeted for the compensation of employees including those officials of the department who are responsible for bringing it down.

Budgetary considerations for the department’s main mandate, which is the provision of good quality education have been relegated to the side. In fact nowhere in his speech did the MEC even acknowledge the fact that for the past two academic years, his department has failed to deliver textbooks on time to the learners of the province. This was largely due to politically connected middlemen who inflated the costs of delivering textbooks. These tender irregularities account for the department’s financial problems and explain its disclaimers for the past 5 years under MEC Masemola. Contrasts the meagre R997 million allocated for school infrastructure development and R1, 1 billion for MEC Maseloma’s support staff.

This is notwithstanding the fact that examples abound in the province of overcrowded classrooms and dilapidated buildings. Masemola’s speech once again illustrates his insensitivity towards the problems faced by our learners. He should have been made to vacate this position.