Frequent Uitenhage blackouts crippling industry and destroying jobs

Athol Trollip, DA Mayoral Candidate: Nelson Mandela Bay:

With the entire Uitenhage and Despatch area once again without power today, industry is at a standstill and jobs are being lost, because the NMB government does not care enough to build and maintain sustainable infrastructure.

The DA is committed to combating the rampant unemployment crisis in NMB and condemns this electricity infrastructure crisis that continues to paralyse our industry.

Without an adequate maintenance infrastructure budget, municipal electrical equipment cannot be serviced regularly, which leads to persistent and avoidable power outages under this ANC government.

The DA has consistently called for the formation of sub-councils to improve service delivery and technician response time to a forgotten part of the Metro, but nothing is being done by a local government that does not care.

The Metro’s industrial sector, most of which exists in Uitenhage, is the economic industrial hub of Nelson Mandela Bay and as such needs to be protected from shutdown.

This ANC administration must account for its short-sighted and negligent failures in electricity infrastructure maintenance and supply.

I have written to the ANC MAYCO Member for infrastructure and engineering, Andile Mfunda, asking for an immediate intervention plan to prevent future blackouts. The DA will also present alternative budget solutions to remedy the electricity crisis during the municipal budget process.

The DA will urgently table a motion in council to have a sub-council established so that the people and industry of Uitenhage and Despatch can receive equal and fair service delivery.

Change is coming to NMB, and with it a new era of freedom, fairness and opportunity that delivers better services and reliable electricity infrastructure for all people living in this municipality.

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Leratong Hospital: Gauteng Infrastructure Department undermining citizens

By Alan Fuchs MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Infrastructure Development:

Service delivery at the Leratong Hospital in Mogale City is in decline as a result of overcrowding due to a lack of infrastructure.

This was revealed during a follow up Infrastructure portfolio committee oversight visit to the hospital.

Staff, who are afraid to speak out due to victimization by management, indicated that both the casualty and medical wards need to be doubled in size to meet demand and the standard of services required.

No progress has been made to the upgrading of the dilapidated nurses home. In addition the hospital still has too few technical staff to preform maintenance and there are insufficient IT support resources to effectively implement the e-maintenance system

It was also revealed that the installation of lifts took two years to complete and that the project to install a new boiler had come to an abrupt standstill after being only 75% complete.

In addition, five mini theatres are standing idle.

The use of these facilities would contribute towards reducing the overcrowding as patients could have minor procedures performed there as opposed to being admitted to the wards.

Hospital staff indicated concern over the number of legal cases that arose from allegations of negligence during child birth, as well as the poor attitude of nursing staff towards patients.

The private sector has stepped in to the void and offered to refurbish infrastructure that should have been refurbished by DID. The CEO of Leratong Hospital indicated that the private sector had carried out work to the tune of R15 million.

DID has once again failed residents of Gauteng by not upgrading and maintaining critical infrastructure placed in its care.

The DA will continue to provide robust oversight in order to ensure that our people receive the services they rightfully deserve.

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Mpumalanga government is failing learners

By Cllr Muso Kubheka, DA Youth Mpumalanga Chairperson:

The ANC government in Mpumalanga is failing learners in ensuring that schooling is accessible.

The Infrastructure Backlogs implementation plan report signed off by Education MEC Reginah Mhaule on 7 April 2015, gives an overall confirmed condition of schools in the province. The report states that 92% of all schools in Mpumalanga need between 11% – 100% of their structures replaced, and could cost approximately R20 795 018 000.

It is evident that the department has many challenges to deal with classroom backlogs. There are schools whose amount of learners have increased rapidly and are in dire need of classrooms, there is currently a need for 3369 classrooms in this province.

Construction of a school worth R44 Million in Middelburg which was scheduled to begin in April this year has also been delayed. This is not the only project that has seen the department dragging its feet.

A boarding school in the Nkangala District is behind schedule. For this project, the department has only managed to spend 12% of the first quarter’s infrastructure budget for the 2015/16 financial year, and although the term ends in March 2016, it is unlikely that this project will be completed as planned.

Education is an important vehicle to ensure opportunities exist for the youth to empower themselves, yet the department is excluding learners form the opportunity for a better education. Under the ANC government, the doors of learning has become shut for learners with not enough classrooms and schools being built to provide accessible education to all learners.

A DA government in the province would ensure that more schools and classrooms are built to ensure accessible education to all learners.

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Mpumalanga’s white elephants continue to guzzle state funds

By Bosman Grobler MPL, Spokesperson on Public Works, Roads and Transport:

Properties purchased for two of the provinces much anticipated capital projects have been standing bare without even a hint of development, despite having already consumed over R237 million.

If all had gone well, the Cultural Hub (CH), which was to be built in Mbombela municipality and the High Altitude Training centre (HATC), which was to be erected in Emakhazeni municipality would have stimulated Mpumalanga’s economy, created jobs and encouraged the development of local talent and entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, these projects have just become numbers on the long list of projects promised by Premier David Mabuza, that never materialise.

The DA visited these sites in 2013 and again this past week to establish if any progress had been made but all we found was vacant land.

Click here for pictures.

According to the department of Public Works, Roads and Transport’s annual report for 2014/15, a decision was taken to stall all the plans for the HATC and to reduce the scope and plans for the CH due to budgetary constraints.

This begs the question of what happened to the money that was allocated year after year for the construction of these projects because there is currently no visual evidence of either of these projects seeing the light of day anytime soon.

Instead of investing in projects that are so marred in controversy that they are unlikely to benefit the citizens of Mpumalanga in the near future, the DA calls on the provincial government to make use of the land in ways that would immediately address the province’s needs.

The DA would also like to see the land in Emakhazeni being used for RDP housing and a medical centre. We want the land in Mbombela to be used to build a medical training centre linked to the University of Mpumalanga to assist the province with the shortage of medical staff.

Enough time and money has been wasted on feeding the government’s white elephants. It is time to use the resources of this province to uplift its residents and to put an end to service delivery woes.

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Construction site of new R35 million psychiatric building at Paarl Hospital to be visited by Ministers Mbombo and Grant

Media Advisory:

Today, Tuesday 10 November 2015, the Western Cape Health Minister, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo and the Transport and Public Works Minister, Mr Donald Grant, will visit the construction site of the new Psychiatric building at Paarl Hospital.

The construction of this facility is a direct response to the need for a dedicated Psychiatric Ward at the Hospital. This infrastructure will assist in managing the high number of psychiatric patients at this facility.

The Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW) is responsible for the construction. The project team from DTPW will show Minister Grant and Minister Mbombo around the construction site and provide a progress update.

 

This R35 million facility will feature:

  • A brand new 30 bed ward
  • Day areas for living and rehabilitation
  • Outdoor areas
  • Consulting rooms
  • Service areas

There will be opportunities for interviews and photographs.

 

Date: 10 November 2015

Time: 11: 00

Venue: Paarl Hospital New Psychiatric Building, 40 Hospital Street, Paarl (Meeting at the Administration Block of the Hospital before proceeding to site).

 

Please indicate your intention to be in attendance for security purposes.

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Cape Town International Airport In The Dark

By Lennit Max, MPP, DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Transport and Public Works:

I have today written to the Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters, to investigate what the cause of the fire at the sub-station was. The DA is very concerned with the lack of maintenance by Eskom in the Western Cape.  Three weeks ago on the 6 October 2015, it was reported in Die Burger that a delay in up-grading the Philippi distribution station could lead to a black out of the entire Cape Flats area,  affecting thousands of people.

Today is a reminder of what postponing necessary maintenance can cause. The economic impact of the power outage in parts of the Cape Town International airport will be quite significant as we also understand that surrounding areas have also been affected by the power outage.

This further reiterates how incompetent the government led parastatal has been in ensuring that all power stations are routinely maintained and hazards are deal with effectively.

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Investment in infrastructure is an investment in growth and jobs

By Masizole Mnqasela, MPP, DA Western Cape Spokesperson Local Government:

While 5 745km of the 6 499km network of roads in the Western Cape is already in good condition, R2.77 billion has been allocated to the construction and maintenance of roads in the province.

I commend the DA-led Western Cape Government for putting the people first, and understanding the value of infrastructure maintenance and removing delays for capital replacement projects, thereby allowing for maximum benefit of public goods.

Building and renovation of schools remain a key priority. The Eersterivier Primary School Project which commenced on 23 April 2014, was handed over on 26 May 2015, and has 28 classrooms while enrollment is currently underway for 2016, when the R55 million school will become operational.

Similarly, a solid and extensive broadband optic-fibre communications network, allows for a rapid and free flow of information. And through this project, the Western Cape Government aims to improve ICT access to 70% by 2019.

Wi-Fi hotspots around the province will integrate and expand public internet access. The Citizen Internet Champions training projects upskills communities with regards to digital literacy. E-skills platforms also to provide communities with appropriate e-learning programmes.

The DA-led Western Cape Government is committed to investing in building the capacity for growth, where it governs. This is in line with the DA’s vision 2029, as adopted at the May 2015 Federal Congress.

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Metrorail Transport readiness a priority for the peak season

By Lennit Max MPP, DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Transport and Public Works:

Metrorail trains have been delayed more than usual as a result of the torching of carriages at the Cape Town station this week.

I have today written to the Western Cape Regional Manager of Metrorail, Richard Walker, to urge him to do everything possible to ensure that damaged carriages are repaired in time to address commuters needs during the peak summer season. I also call on the Railway Police and Metrorail to work speedily in pursuing those responsible, some of whom might be Metrorail employees.

The crippled Metrorail service will cut off access to opportunities to those who need it most. As we head into the peak season for tourism in the Western Cape, job-seekers need a reliable mode of transport to get to work. We can hardly afford to drag the repair process out for months.

It is of utmost importance that we work together to restore and improve the commuter rail transport system in the province.

Metrorail in the Western Cape is already a battling service, which is plagued by violent crime. We must ensure that the needs of commuters are met and that people can get to work and children can get to school, without fear of being attacked.

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R277 million Gansbaai to Bredasdorp road to unlock economic potential in Overberg region

By Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works:

I am honoured to be here today, during October Transport Month, to celebrate the completion of the upgraded Gansbaai to Bredasdorp road. This project, and many like it, will serve as a constant reminder of our ongoing commitment to delivering key infrastructure to all regions in the Western Cape, thereby triggering the realization of the area’s economic potential.

This project is a R277 million project that spanned a construction period of 32 months. At the end of the project consisting of three phases, we have a total of 62.6kms of high quality, surfaced road connecting the community of Gansbaai to Bredasdorp and surrounds.

The project consisted of the construction of a new and wider surfaced road to replace the old gravel road that existed before. The project also consisted of:

  • The upgrading of the stormwater system,
  • The upgrading of the historic towns of Elim and Baardskedersbosch,
  • The construction of a new bridge over Uilenkraals,
  • The construction of two low water causeways

With benefits imminent for the community in the future, there were certainly benefits during the project, with many of our empowerment targets met and surpassed.

Of the total contract value, 10.11% (R18.9 million) was dedicated to local labour, with an additional R23.1 million (12.4%) earmarked for HDI enterprises. Ensuring local community benefit is a defining characteristic for all projects undertaken by the Department of Transport and Public Works. This is in line with our mission to deliver infrastructure and services that promote socio-economic outcomes and safe, empowered, and connected communities.

Elim has become known for the export of fynbos, and as an emerging area in the production of wine. Both industries will benefit greatly from this upgraded road and improved infrastructure.

Economic indicators have shown that the Overberg economy had previously experienced a sharp drop from 7.6 per cent in 2008 to 0.8 per cent in 2009. It rebounded later to 5.2 per cent in 2011 but tapered off again to 2.1 per cent in 2013. The Overberg economy averaged at around 2.9 per cent in 2014, and is expected to grow further this year. This road will undoubtedly help in kick-starting the economy of the region, and see various industries flourish in the near future.

We will continue to do our part to plan, construct, rehabilitate and maintain the provincial road network, as a valued and strategic asset of this government. Our R2.77 billion budgetary allocation for road construction and maintenance in this financial year alone, 2015/2016, is testament to how much value we place on this crucial asset.

With the project having now been completed, I am sure that many residents and businesses in the area will look forward to the many benefits that will come their way. I should like to thank the project team and contractors for their dedication and commitment to service delivery excellence, as well as our partners who have also worked tirelessly to ensure the project is a success. We cannot stress enough the importance of roads in this region and in South Africa in general. The obvious benefits drive our continued investment in road planning, construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance.

My department will continue to dedicate resources to constructing, refurbishing, and maintaining roads that change the lives of many for the better. This is a commitment we dare not shy away from.

Lincoln de Bryn, Mayor of the Overberg District Municipality, Reverend D Dietrich, Minister Grant, and Nicolette Botha-Guthrie, Mayor of the Overstrand Local Municipality, flanked by municipal officials and guests

Newly surfaced Gansbaai to Bredasdorp Road

 

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Many Gauteng schools won’t be ready in January 2016

By Khume Ramulifho MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, and

Alan Fuchs MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Infrastructure Development:

These remarks were delivered today by the DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho MPL and DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Infrastructure Development, Alan Fuchs MPL at an oversight visit to three schools under construction in Braamfischerville.

In reply to DA questions, the MEC for Infrastructure Development, Nandi Mayathula-Khoza, indicated that there are 16 new schools under construction while 3 schools have not commenced with construction due to land ownership challenges.

These schools include one inclusive school namely Nokuthula Special School to be built in Marlborough. Only one out of the 16 schools is likely to be completed and ready for the next academic year.

The DA was barred entry from inspecting Moses Kotane primary school. Seen from a distance, the school has a long way to go before it can accommodate any learners.

The DA urges both departments to create a project management dashboard to track progress and monitor the completion of all capital projects to ensure completion as scheduled.

Regular quality assessments must also be conducted to ensure that our learners and teachers are safe in and out of the classroom.

The DA will continue to conduct inspections to ensure that infrastructure budget is utilized and projects are completed on time.

This will avoid scenarios observed at Noordgesig Primary and Itereleng LSEN schools where the department made claims that the schools projects were completed while there was nothing done at all.

Construction of schools in the Province are of vital importance to ensure each and every learner has the opportunity to lift him or herself out of poverty through upskilling and educational empowerment.

Not buildings schools on time are an injustice to the community of Braamfischerville and Gauteng at large.

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