MTPA strike detrimental to Mpumalanga Tourism

By Anthony Benadie MPL, Leader of the Official Opposition:

Note to Editors: The following member’s statement was delivered in the Mpumalanga Legislature today by Anthony Benadie MPL.

Hon. Speaker;

The DA notes with concern the recent protest action taken by more than a 100 employees of the Mpumalanga Tourism & Parks Agency. Reports state that the disgruntled employees downed tools on Monday morning because the Agency had failed to pay their salaries. What is more unfortunate is that this is not the first time employee salaries have been delayed.

Hon. Speaker, how is it that government contracts workers to do a job, they do the job, and then they don’t get paid. This situation is rather baffling as we are only 2 months into a new financial year and already MTPA is experiencing financial difficulties. The MEC of the parent department (DEDT) has not even tabled his department’s budget, yet the entity is already experiencing financial woes.

Hon. Members, this is a red flag that could be indicative of further financial difficulties to come. The MTPA, under suspended CEO Mr Modipane, was actually on a trajectory towards managerial and financial improvement, but since the new MEC came into office, those gains are seemingly being reversed.

For MTPA to succeed, we need a strong and capacitated managerial team. A team that will not succumb to political pressure, but one that will be guided by the relevant legislation.

Hon Speaker, this strike undoubtedly has detrimental consequences for tourism in Mpumalanga. As such, the DA calls on MEC Kholwane to get his house in order, put the correct systems in place, and ensure MTPA fulfils its important mandate of Tourism Marketing and Biodiversity Conservation.

Most importantly, the MEC must ensure that all monies owed to staff are paid and that measures are in place to ensure that such an incident does not occur again.

I thank you.

Mpumalanga Health Department should learn from WC Health Department’s best practices

The following motion was delivered in the legislature today (on the 21st of May 2015) by DA Chief Whip Jane Sithole MPL.

Hon. Speaker, I rise to deliver a motion without notice on behalf of the Democratic Alliance.

The DA believes that quality healthcare is crucial to the well-being and dignity of all South Africans.

Noting Hon. Speaker that The Public Services Commission (PSC) announced its findings this week following an inspection on district hospitals and clinics around the country regarding the availability of medicines, medical equipment and general conditions.

Hon. Speaker, the DA in Mpumalanga is proud that the DA-run Western Cape Provincial Health Department fared best at its announced and unannounced inspections by the Public Services Commission (PSC).

What prides us even more is the fact that the Public Services Commission (PSC) found that the Western Cape Health Department distribution system (Cape Medical Depot) to be highly effective with the transportation of medical supplies.

I move that this house:

Congratulate the Western Cape Health Department for outperforming other provinces, especially on the Management of medicines, which includes the timely delivery of ordered medical stock.

Furthermore we must also congratulate the Western Cape Health Department for implementing 100% of the Public Services Commission (PSC) recommendations from 2009.

Again congratulations must be given to the Western Cape Health Department for ensuring that all health care facilities across that province are up to standard and that the delivery of medicines is timely.

In addition, Hon Speaker, this house must commend the Western Cape Health Department for regularly keeping buffer stock to ensure zero shortages of medicines.

I so move.

DA Welcomes Operation Hlasela in eMalahleni

The following member statement was delivered in the Mpumalanga Legislature today by the DA’s Chief Whip Jane Sithole MPL.

The Democratic Alliance welcomes operation Hlasela in eMalahleni Municipality, although it’s a little too late.  Operation Hlasela is aimed at eradicating illegal connections and stealing of electricity including illegal land invasion.

This week, DA Ward Councillor, Roy Cronje witnessed Operation Hlasela in action in Ward 20 where fines of over R150 000 were issued to perpetrators in just one afternoon.  Cronje even uncovered an illegal dagga / marijuana plantation at the back of one of the houses.  The dagga was removed and handed over to the SAPS.

Hon. Speaker, Illegal electricity connections, bypassing of electricity meters, overloading of meter boxes and unsafe electrical wiring are the order of the day in many communities and due to the municipality’s lax approach, this was allowed to continue with no consequences for a long time.

Public Representatives, especially Councillors should engage residents and encourage them to pay for services and make arrangements to settle their accounts with the municipality.

Hon. Speaker Illegal boarding houses, housing hundreds of people also contribute to electricity outages and sewer blockages that result in raw sewerage running into the streets and refuse bags pilling up. One of the houses was found with 25 backrooms build on one stand with one toilet shared by everyone living there.

There are also a lot of unsafe buildings that have no building plans and are not approved by the municipality. Some perpetrators were stopped with piles of bricks intended for building without obtaining the necessary municipal approvals.

Click here for pictures.

Hon. Speaker it is important for this house to note that all this was allowed to carry on to this extent due to the municipality’s complete inability to enforce its own by laws.

The majority of law abiding citizens are suffering due to these illegal activities that have affected the whole of eMalahleni.

The DA supports Operation Hlasela and we will continue to work with the Municipality to ensure these illegal and criminal elements are removed from our town and are dealt with to the full might of the law.