Kannaland disaster – Donson must be accountable

By Masizole Mnqasela MPP, DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Local Government, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Local Government in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament:

The troubles at the Icosa-led Kannaland Municipality run deeper than the R12m debt that it owes to Eskom.

The municipality is failing to establish a growth-enabling environment. Revenue generated from economic growth will enable the municipality to pay its dues, such as the Eskom debt. The Executive Mayor, Jeffrey Donson, has regrettably damaged relationships with the local agricultural sector and business community in general. There is a chronic breakdown of trust between business and the Municipality. This is the number one indicator to the challenge in job creation in the area.

The majority-poor population in Kannaland are the victims of this mistrust between the municipality and the private sector. They are in need of the jobs that could otherwise be created.

Mayor Donson chooses to blame the R12m Eskom debt on the poor residents of Kannaland. Despite the fact that the indigent make use of prepaid electricity meters. They too pay electricity and in fact, they constitute the majority of those who pay up front.

This has been confirmed by the Democratic Alliance Constituency Head in the Kannaland region, Zelda Jongbloed MP, who says “the vast majority of people in Kannaland, use pre-paid electricity meters.”

The responsibility for the R12m Eskom debt simply rests on the municipality, for which the Mayor is accountable. This raises serious questions on how the Icosa-led Kannaland Municipality is spending the people’s money. This explains why Mayor Donson avoids accountability.

In addition, Mayor Donson has suggested that the DA has been inciting the people of Kannaland not to pay their electricity bills. This is absurd. The Democratic Alliance is a constitutional party and does not endorse lawless behaviour.

This municipality has failed to adhere to the provisions set-out in Section 152 of the Constitution, which clearly stipulates the fundamental duties, and responsibilities of a local municipality. Kannaland Municipality has also failed to adhere to the provisions of the Local Government Municipal Property Rates Act 12 of 2007.

In a bid to hide his inability to govern, Mayor Donson has ignored numerous calls made to him by the Standing Committee on Local Government in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament (WCPP). He is ducking accountability for the poor governance that the people of Kannaland are subjected to.

On July 21-24 in 2015, the Western Cape Provincial Parliament and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) went on a service delivery Oversight Tour in Kannaland. Public hearings were held as part of the statutory mandates of parliament, to ensure that quality and responsive governance is taking place on the ground.

Despite sufficient notice being given regarding this visit to Kannaland Municipality, Mayor Donson absconded from the deliberations. The Mayor does not deem the Western Cape Parliament and the National Parliament as partners in promoting Intergovernmental Relations.

Mayor Donson considers Kannaland as an Island. We cannot allow it to continue. As parliament, we have a duty to contribute to a dignified and lifestyle for all communitites. Kannaland is no exception. We will not abdicate our responsibility towards the poor and marginalised. We will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that we bring stability to the economy of Kannaland.

The people of Kannaland deserve a municipal-government that will establish a job-creating environment and turn the tide towards good governance. People in this area should have access to job opportunities, like in all other Municipalities, rather than being subjected to a government that ignores their cries. Kannaland will finally be free from the chains of deprivation, stagnation and poverty. A government that cares is all that the people of Kannaland needs.

DA steps in to clear Kwazakhele roads

By Ngqura Constituency Office:

A picture of the Ward 19 clean up can be found here.

Caption: DA Ngqura Constituency Leader, Nqaba Bhanga MP, and various DA activists remove rubble from a street outside Ward 19 Councillor, Koko Jacob’s home.

Yesterday, the DA’s Ngqura Constituency office, led by Consituency Leader, Nqaba Bhanga MP, took to the streets of Ward 19 in Kwazakhele to clear hazardous debris.

This debris has been obstructing and causing danger to passing cars for close on two years.

ANC Ward 19 Councillor, Koko Jacobs, has for too long failed to do the necessary work to ensure that service delivery is rolled out effectively in this forgotten community.

Change is coming to Nelson Mandela Bay this year and with it a new era of world-class service delivery and job creation.

Lekwa municipality face consequences after ignoring DA proposal

By James Masango MPL, DA Spokesperson on CoGTA:

Planned power cuts in Lekwa municipality by Eskom could have been avoided, only if the ring fencing of ratepayers’ monthly electricity payments which was adopted in council on 29 January 2015 was implemented.

Last year, when Eskom announced that it would cut bulk electricity supply to 20 municipalities in the country which owed the cash-strapped utility R3.68 billion in unpaid power bills, the DA had already put forward a proposal to the council in Lekwa to ring fence ratepayers’ electricity payments. This concept was successfully adopted.

In May last year, the municipality signed an agreement with Eskom to make monthly payments in order to service its debt. But the municipality defaulted on the agreement since October 2015.

According to Eskom the municipality owes the utility over R206 million which has been outstanding and escalating since 2011. The utility has given the municipality until 4 March 2016 to make written submissions indicating why it should not disconnect their electricity supply on 11 April 2016.

The proposed ring fencing of ratepayers’ monthly electricity payments was meant to avoid the money being used to fund the operational budget of the municipality, and instead pay Eskom.

It is unacceptable that the municipality has ignored to execute a council resolution. This is once again a clear indication that the ANC led government does not put the interest of the people first.

The municipality’s leadership has proved that it is incapable to deal with its finances resulting in poor to no service deliver to the community of Lekwa.

According to the Accountant General, as of March 2015, Mpumalanga municipalities were in arrears to Eskom (outstanding debt) to the amount of R 1.847 billion.

MEC for CoGTA, Refilwe Mtshweni must place the municipality under administration with immediate effect.

The people of Lekwa and Mpumalanga at large must realise that they have the opportunity to elect a government that delivers better services, cuts corruption and creates jobs. It is crucial for them to know that they have the power to bring about change in their communities.

Municipal “go-slow” strikes continue: MEC is silent

By Jacques Smalle MPL, DA Provincial Spokesperson COGHSTA:

The DA is deeply concerned that Limpopo Cooperative Governance MEC, Makoma Makhurupetje is turning a blind eye and failing to act on the ongoing municipal “go slow” strikes in two municipalities that has left residents without water and electricity since November 2015.

More than 500 employees including those providing essential services such as the provision of household water and electricity downed their tools, leaving dams and reservoirs unattended.

The employees of Vhembe District Municipality are protesting against the municipality’s failure to pay them subsidies that was a condition attached to their transfer from the Department of Water Affairs to the municipality in 2005.

The disgruntled employees also demand that the appointment of the municipal manager to be reversed and the Political Management Team removed from office.

In Greater Letaba Municipality , workers also downed their tools due to the non payment of over time incentives. More than 500 households in Duiwelskloof are without water and electricity since December 2015 due to the “go slow” strike.

The DA written to MEC Makoma Makhurupetje seeking an urgent meeting with her to discuss the go slow strikes that hamper service delivery in the affected municipalities.

The MEC’s failure to intervene is a clear indication that she does not care about Limpopo residents and these poor governance and recklessness displayed by the MEC is unfortunately hitting the poorest the hardest.

The DA now calls upon Premier Mathabatha to take decisive decision and to engage with the workers to resolve their grievances to normalise service delivery in both municipalities.

Kannaland Municipality must own up to R12m Eskom debt-disaster

Masizole Mnqasela MPP, DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Local Government, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Local Government in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament:

Kannaland Municipality owes Eskom an unpaid bill of about R12m. Eskom has given parties until 12 February 2016 to make written submissions to prevent the power supply being cut.

In my capacity as the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Local Government in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, I will write to the Executive Mayor of Kannaland Municipality, Jeffrey Donson, calling on him to submit a plan on adhering to the payment agreement that is currently in place with Eskom.

If Mayor Donson fails to do so by close of business on Friday 22 January 2016, I will lay criminal charges against him for mal-administration.

The Kannaland Municipality, as governed by the Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (ICOSA), is ducking accountability by simply asking for an increase in its equitable share from National Treasury. At a time when the national fiscus is taking serious strain, it is up to the political leadership to innovate sustainable models of administration.

The 25 000 residents of the Kannaland Municipality, who stand to lose their power supply, are being let down dismally by ICOSA. The ICOSA-led Kannaland Municpality must be wholly accountable for this mess and they must come to the fore with sustainable solutions in the interest of its electorate.

Emfuleni Fire Brigade on a go-slow due to wage dispute

By Kingsol Chabalala MPL, DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Emfuleni North:

The Emfuleni Local Municipality Fire Brigade has gone on a go-slow and have parked their fire trucks in front of the local council gates, blocking the entry for members of the public and municipal officials.

This comes as the Fire Brigade has not been paid their overtime and are now demanding payment before services can continue.

This “strike” adversely affects service delivery in the municipality which is already struggling to deliver good quality services to the residents of Emfuleni.

Just last year, the municipality was found to have paid-out inflated costs for services delivered to companies ripping-off the municipality, but it now seems it can barely pay for its own services.

The action by the fire brigade cannot be condoned nor can the non-payment of overtime by the municipality be allowed to continue. Both parties are fault.

The DA calls on Gauteng MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs, Jacob Mamabolo to intervene and resolve the spat between the municipality and the fire brigade.

The residents of Emfuleni are fed up with the mediocre services delivered by the municipality and will in the upcoming local government elections take to the polls to vote for a DA government that is capable of delivering quality services to the people.

(Click here to view images of the strike).

Waterval Boven burning: ANC infighting blamed for flare up

By James Masango MPL, Leader of the Opposition:

The Democratic Alliance calls for an immediate intervention by Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza to stop the violent service delivery protest in Waterval Boven. The protest is allegedly instigated by ANC members who want to discredit their own councillors.

The service delivery protest started on Wednesday last week where the residents blockaded the N4 with burning tyres, stones, and tree trunks. They are accusing the local municipality of providing them with dirty water and shortages in housing.

According to independent observers, the protests are instigated by two ANC members who want to discredit their own councillors in the eMakhazeni municipality ahead of the local government elections.

The protest action continued this week where on Wednesday (last night) a young man was fatally shot and another one injured after they allegedly attacked a police officer. According to the police, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) is investigating the death of the young man.

Today, in retaliation to the death of the young man, residents burnt down the local fire station, community hall, three municipal vehicles and the municipal building. Important municipal documents and computers were also burnt in the building.

It is blatantly obvious that the ANC does not care for the community and public infrastructure in Waterval Boven. Their infighting for positions must not interfere with the functioning of the municipality.

DA plan to help businesses create jobs in Bertrams

By Jack Bloom MPL, DA Joburg East Constituency Head:

At a media event today in Frere Road in Bertrams, DA Joburg East Constituency Head Jack Bloom and DA Councillor Victor Penning proposed a plan to assist local businesses in Bertrams to create more jobs.

Bertrams is an old suburb in east Johannesburg near the inner city.

It is a mixed residential and business area, but is in need of law enforcement and upgrading which will assist in creating new jobs (the same applies to neighbouring Lorentzville and Judith’s Paarl).

Many businesses currently provide a variety of jobs in the area, and new owners are renovating properties.

It is an accessible area with much potential. Business clients are put off, however, by the crime and grime.

The following five measures will uplift the suburb and make it a better environment for businesses to create jobs:

  1. Enforce city by-laws to prevent over-crowding, illegal dumping and general deterioration in the area e.g. about 100 people live in three houses in Frere Road which are crammed with backyard shacks.
  2. Provide decent city services to ensure that the area is clean and maintained.
  3. Fix up the persistent billing problems which cause problems for businesses in the area e.g. frequent threats to cut electricity for alleged non-payment.
  4. Effective action by the local police to bring down the high crime level. The Nandos Head Office has 267 employees, and has reported about 10 serious crime incidents since mid-November last year, including assaults, thefts and attacks on cars. The current station commander at Jeppe police station needs to be replaced as he is perpetually absent and ineffectual.
  5. Consultation with a Bertrams Business Forum (to be formed shortly with the assistance of Ward Councillor Carlos da Rocha) in resolving local problems and making the area more business friendly by cutting red tape.

Business wishing to join a Business Forum, which will include Lorentzville and Judith’s Paarl, should contact local businesswoman Julia Ackermann at (083) 4513535 or kunstler@global.co.za

The DA’s plan to help businesses create jobs in Bertrams can be replicated in similar areas throughout Johannesburg, which will happen if the DA wins the local government elections this year.

Mogalakwena water crisis: DA to lay a charge with HRC

By Beyers Smit (MP), DA Constituency Head for Mogalakwena:

The DA is planning to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission after Mogalakwena Municipality Mayor , Parks Sebatjane failed to provide satisfactory explanation on how the continuous water crisis in 179 villages will be addressed.

The DA met with Mayor Sebatjane yesterday and acknowledged that he is aware of the water crisis but claimed that the crisis is beyond the Municipality’s ability to handle.

These villages have been without water since October 2015 but the Mayor indicated that only seven water tankers are operational out of the eight while four of them are still to be delivered.

The Mayor failed to commit and give time frames with no immediate solution to the life threatening crisis.

Failing to seek assistance from the National Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation is a clear indication that the Mayor is failing the residents of Mogalakwena.

This means that all these affected residents will continue to risk their lives by sharing water with animals from the river beds.

This is a proof that our people are being neglected by this ANC government.

Depriving people of clean drinking water is a violation of human rights.

We will proceed with the signing of petition campaign and march to the municipality to submit the signatures and other grievances to the Mayor.

The DA will further submit a motion to the Minister of Water Affairs , Nomvula Mokonyane when parliament resumes for her immediate intervention to resolve the crisis.

DA plans to help businesses create jobs in Bertrams

Bertrams is an old suburb in east Johannesburg near the inner city.

It is a mixed residential and business area, but is in need of law enforcement and upgrading which will assist in creating new jobs.

DA Constituency Head, Jack Bloom MPL and Ward Councillor Carlos da Rocha invite the media to meet business owners who will explain how the incompetence of the Johannesburg City Council prevents them from creating more jobs that will assist everyone in the area.

The DA will also present a plan to increase Bertrams’ job-creating potential should the DA win Johannesburg in the local elections that are due to be held this year.

Date: Thursday, 14 January

Time: 11:00

Venue: Katherine House, 33 Frere Road Bertrams (between Queens and Viljoen streets)

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