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.

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I challenge Supra: Come clean about Police meddling in Fransman case

By Joe McGluwa (MPL), DA NW Leader:

The DA in the North West Province is concerned about allegations that Premier Supra Mahumapelo tried to interfere with the investigation of a sex crime charge against the ANC Western Cape Leader, Marius Fransman.

Premier Mahumapelo’s spokesperson has confirmed that the Premier enquired about the investigation and that “he was satisfied with the information received and the law should take its course”. The Premier has no mandate or legal standing to “satisfy himself” about criminal charges against senior members of his party.

Had Supra not been “satisfied” what would he then have done about the case?

The Premier must come clean on what he intended when contacting the Police Commissioner about the Fransman charges. His conduct sails very close to the wind of political interference in police work.

Therefore, today I will write to North West Speaker Susan Dantjie submitting urgent written questions on what Premier Supra and the Provincial Commissioner spoke about, what they agreed to, whether there was an agenda for the telephonic meeting and to request access to the minutes of the meeting.

If the Premier was “satisfied”, he clearly was given details of the case and the criminal charges against Fransman, and this must have been minuted for the meeting to have been above board.

Marius Fransman’s continued occupation of high office in the ANC is undermining the fight against sexual and domestic abuse in South Africa.

The DA Western Cape Leader Patricia de Lille has called for Fransman to be immediately suspended by the ANC, and I join her in this call.

We also call upon the SAPS to boldly investigate this case, not to allow politicians to interfere and to see justice done.

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DA asks Labour Minister to investigate ‘slave labour’ of Ace’s Cuban engineers

By Roy Jankielsohn, Leader of the Official Opposition in the Free State Provincial Legislature:

The cohort of Cuban engineers employed by Premier Ace Magashule continue to live in guesthouses across various municipalities while they have not taken up active duty since their arrival in May last year.

As such the salaries, travel and accommodation costs to fund Magashule’s Cuban employment scheme amounts to wasteful expenditure since not a stitch of work has been done.

Moreover, the DA has it on good authority from the Cuban employees that they were told to keep quiet and are not to complain. Some Cubans are showing signs of depression as a result of remaining idle. What is more shocking is that the Cubans have indicated to us that they only receive R8 000.00 per month of their salaries while the balance is allegedly paid to the Cuban Government. This amounts to Human trafficking (slave trade) by the Cuban Government in collusion with the Free State Provincial Government. The DA believes that this is contrary to South African Labour legislation and is in fact criminal.

The total cost to the public purse for employing these 45 Cubans in the Free State over a period of three years is estimated to be almost R110 million.

Individual accommodation inclusive of meals is estimated to be around R180 000.00 annually and a total of about R24 million over their contract period, while salaries of the minimum amount per person of R569 537.00 per annum amounts to a total just short of R77 million and traveling expenses to and from Cuba over three years totals R7,5 million over three years.

In a bid to relegate the costs of funding the Cubans, the Free State Provincial Government last year instructed municipalities to carry these costs. Meanwhile, the many hydraulic engineers employed now at municipalities to build houses are not qualified for this job. Municipalities that are struggling to deliver basic services, such as water and sanitation, simply cannot afford this additional cost while receiving no benefit.

Guesthouse owners who accommodate these engineers have also raised concerns about the lack of, or late payment, by the government of boarding and lodging charges.

I have today written to the National Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant, requesting her to investigate what we perceive to be unfair labour practise by the Free State Provincial Government.

The DA maintains that engineers and architects could have been recruited locally at a lower cost to taxpayers while at the same time creating employment for South African professionals. Meanwhile, speculation is rife over where the excess of almost R64 million in salaries over three years will disappear to. Allegations of collusion between Cuban and Free State authorities over these funds are rife.

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Luxury R2,3 million Merc sees Ace one step closer to turning the FS into a Banana Republic

By Roy Jankielsohn, Leader of the Official Opposition in the Free State Provincial Legislature:

The purchase of a R2,3 million luxury Mercedes-Benz S600L (V222) at a cost of R2,3 million including R52,000 in extras such as a panoramic sunroof and entertainment centre is the latest indication that the ANC-led Free State Provincial Government under the premiership of Ace Magashule is turning the province into a Banana Republic.

This latest spending spree comes merely three weeks after Premier Magashule delivered six brand new Mercedes-Benzes, at a cost to the public purse of R3,2 million, to Free State Traditional Leaders, in a bid to extend his patronage network.

The justification for the purchase of this latest Mercedes-Benz S600L in that the vehicle will be used by foreign diplomats and politicians when visiting the Free State just does not make sense. Foreign diplomats and politicians visiting the Free State would be far more impressed by effective and accountable governance, the rule of law and an environment conducive to investment opportunities, and not by a flashy luxury car.

In fact, nothing screams Banana Republic more loudly than transporting foreign dignitaries in a luxury Mercedes Benz while the people of the Free State have to suffer poor service delivery, poverty and unemployment. Such a vehicle reflects a government that has poor priorities and will abuse foreign investment and aid for patronage and personal purposes.

The provincial government is in fiscal denial over its serious cash flow problems, specifically relating to the departments of Education, Health and Social Development. In addition, the Free State is currently experiencing the worst drought in decades while the province have to contend with a water crisis brought about by the ANC-led government’s non-existent water management capabilities and deteriorating water infrastructure as a result of a lack in maintenance.

This R2,3 million could have gone a long way towards alleviating the impact of the drought and water crisis in our hard-hit rural communities.

The people of the Free State will continue to suffer under an uncaring government who are more concerned about impressing foreign politicians and diplomats, than about delivering effective services, sound governance, and creating an environment conducive towards investment.

The DA calls on the people of the Free State to reject the continued abuse of power and public funds by the ANC and their cronies, come election day next year, and to vote for the DA who is the only party in government that delivers for all, that drives back unemployment, that uplifts people from poverty and that empowers individuals to become proud, productive and successful citizens.

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Ace gives Mercs to FS Chiefs instead of water and feed to drought stricken communities

By Roy Jankielsohn, Leader of the Official Opposition in the Free State Provincial Legislature:

Premier Ace Magashule yesterday handed over six brand new Mercedes-Benzes, at a cost to the public purse of R3,2 million, to Free State Traditional leaders. This is nothing but delivering on the promise Magashule made in April earlier this year in a bid to extend his patronage network.

During a time where the Free State suffers under the yoke of the worst drought in decades, an ever escalating water crisis and crippling unemployment, Premier Magashule opted to purchase luxury German sedans in a bid to secure rural votes for the ANC next year.

The R3,2 million spent on these cars could have gone a long way to assist victims of the drought with the delivery of much needed livestock feed and water to alleviate the suffering of rural communities.

In April, the DA called on Free State traditional leaders to reject Magashule’s offer for new luxury cars and place the needs of our impoverished people above their own, as what can be expected from good leaders.

At the hand-over ceremony, King Lelika Moloi, Chairperson of the House of Traditional Leaders, stated that receiving these vehicles is their “right” and rejected allegations that these vehicles serve as a bribe to ensure their support for the ANC in next year’s municipal elections.

And so it has come to pass that traditional leaders in the Free State have abandoned their responsibilities to the people who continue to suffer in poverty and depravation. Free State traditional leaders have now joined the ANC’s closed-crony society of ‘haves’ while the masses of ‘have-nots’ continue to grow.

The DA calls on the people of the Free State to reject the continued abuse of power and public funds by the ANC and their cronies, come election day next year, and to vote for the DA who is the only party in government that delivers for all, that drives back unemployment, that uplifts people from poverty and that empowers individuals to become proud, productive and successful citizens.

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DA scores Supra a failing “F” in Cabinet Report Card

By Joe McGluwa (MPL), DA North West Leader:

The Democratic Alliance in North West is concerned with the performance of the Premier and his MEC’s after their year-end assessment result reveals great gaps for improvements in serving the people of the province.

A summary of their performance conducted by the DA indicates:

  • Premier Supra Mahumapelo: Besides indicated in shady business deals and being responsible for millions of irregular expenditures under his management, communities took to the streets burning schools and clinics to show their dismay with the NWPG. We score him an F. See our full score card here:  https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B8628xENpk6SbWIyZkt4WGk2OUk&usp=sharing
  • Susan Dantjie Speaker of the NWPG gets a B for performance in 2015. The Speaker has a 74% attendance rate. The Speaker seems impartial. She is very lenient towards the members of the ANC, compared to those of the opposition. When rebuking members of the ANC as well as the opposition one can easily sense a difference of tone in her address.
  • Wendy Nelson also receives a B as MEC for Finance, Economy and Enterprise Development. She has a 91.3% attendance rate and she was an active participant during sittings. Her Department received an unqualified audit without findings.
  • Collen Maine, former MEC for Local Government and Human Settlements scores an F-. Hopefully he will be more successful in playing ANC politics than when he was a MEC who were controversial and ineffective to say the least.
  • Magome Masike, MEC for Health scores an F- and it would be pleasure to see him get as exciting about his portfolio and the people of North West as he gets by buying expensive cars. .  The purchase of his luxury car costing R920 000 has caused a stir in the Province.  This vehicle was reportedly paid for with funds originally awarded to purchase medical vehicles and equipment.
  • Wendy Matsemela the MEC for Education scores an F. Her department was put under administration and the poor delivery of education in the province is worrying. Her department is in the spot light for all the wrong reasons.
  • MEC Maketsi Thlape from Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development is reportedly very close to Premier Supra and allegedly more effective to assist and empower those who are ANC connected than to come up with ideas to develop and grow our rural areas. She scores an F-
  • MEC Madodo Sambatha responsible for Public Works and Roads lack of experience has left this department in shambles. The result of his governance is evident in the state of our infrastructure in NW. He scores an F- and we think it is time he should be fired.
  • Gaoage Molapisi MEC for Safety and Security scores an F- . This is the man in the forefront of the controversial High Frequency Bus Service in Mafikeng. He continues to push for the introduction of this service in total disregard of extensive consultation. Because of his antics, taxi association and other stakeholders brought Mafikeng to a standstill in total rejection of this Service.  He has also turned a blind eye to the mismanagement and the looting of assets and other resources at the North West Transport Investment Group.
  • Fenny Gaolaolwe is the MEC for Social Development better known as the North West’s Mrs. Hamper, has climbed the ranks of the ANC under a cloud of controversy.  She is a clinical example that cadre deployment is not the answer to an effective government.  While remaining as MEC in this position her department has underspent a shocking R35.7-million. Although the Premier stated that he merely executed the ANC’s decision by appointing her, we believe that Chauke would have been a better decision. She scores an E.
  • MEC Tebogo Modise is the MEC for Art, Culture and Traditional affairs scores an E. Modise is not new to this Legislature.  However, she has been shifted around from department to department.  She became a victim and has previously been sacked from Thandi Modise’s cabinet in 2012. Our Libraries should form a critical part in society.  Modise has found herself in an embarrassing moment where R400 000 was rolled over to the next financial year for the construction of Maquassi Hills Library.  Due to the legacy in the department, libraries are in a pathetic state.
  • MEC Desbo Mohono scores a D for her performance on Tourism. The biggest challenge for Mohono is to keep her department accountable for the failure to spend their entire budget.  Irrespective of the task team they appointed, they still faced communication issues with the department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development.  The MEC must address this lack of communication.  A total of R46 million in unspent funds is set to be returned to National Treasury, which will have a negative impact on tourism – one of the pillars of the Provincial economy.

The DA will continue to keep the Premier and his team accountable. They are in service of the people of the province. Our suffering communities can no longer suffer under the hands of under-achievers and therefore the DA will use all legislation and procedures to call them to account. Where the DA govern MEC’s are held to high standards to ensure a well-managed public service with excellent basic services, as prescribed in the Constitution.

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Zuma must appoint a new Premier for Mpumalanga

By James Masango MPL, Leader of the official opposition:

While ANC President Jacob Zuma is in Mpumalanga today trying to sort out his party’s squabbles between its members, he must take this opportunity to identify and appoint a new Premier for the province.

According to reports Zuma is in the province today to deliver the keynote address during a provincial ANC gala dinner ahead of its upcoming provincial leadership elective conference.

The current out of sight Premier David Mabuza, is clearly unable to execute his mandated duties in parliament and the province. This comes after the Premier again cancelled his scheduled and last answer session in the Legislature yesterday, 3 December 2015.

Prior to this Mabuza was unable to perform his duties due to ill health for almost 2 months. The province cannot continue with an absent Premier.

This province needs leadership that will advance the cause of the poor, someone that would ensure that service delivery is their number one priority.  President Zuma must stop putting his interests first, and that of the ANC.

The ANC government needs to be replaced with a DA government. A government that will always put South Africa first, a government that will deliver services and create jobs. A DA government that will build a society based on freedom, fairness and opportunity for all.

It is time for change, people must use their power and vote for new public representatives to represent them in council next year.

Under a DA government we will ensure that we listen to the people and that we put their interests first.

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Premier DD Mabuza is out of sight again

By James Masango MPL, Leader of the official opposition:

Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza has again ditched his scheduled and last answer session in the Legislature tomorrow, 3 December 2015. This is an indication that the Premier is clearly still not in a position to resume his responsibilities.

The cancellation of tomorrow’s sitting came as a surprise when the Deputy Speaker yesterday in the House, indicated that the next sitting would be on Friday 4 December 2015, and not tomorrow when Mabuza’s questions are scheduled.

Recently huge festivities were held at the legislature to welcome Premier Mabuza back to his office after being out of action for almost 2 months due to ill health.  During that time the Premier was unable to perform his parliamentary duties and information on his status was withheld.

The cancellation of tomorrow’s sitting is an indication that the ANC had put up a façade when the premier returned to his office, as he is still unable to carry out his mandated duties in parliament and the province as a whole.

The ANC must appoint a suitable Premier for Mpumalanga, someone that would advance the cause of the poor, someone that would ensure that service delivery is their number one priority.

Mpumalanga is one of the poorest regions with the worst record of service delivery and yet the ANC continues to undermine the rights of the people in this province, by not providing the right leadership.

Public protests in the province have reached an all-time high, and have become increasingly violent as residents continuously complain about the lack of electricity, water, poverty and general human misery.

The status quo will not change with Mabuza at the helm. He must make way for new leadership and stop undermining the people of Mpumalanga.

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DA debates Gauteng Premier’s 2014/15 Annual Report

The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature on 01 December by the DA’s Jack Bloom MPL and Justus de Goede MPL during a debate on the 2014/15 Annual Report for the Office of the Premier.

Speech by
Jack Bloom MPL

“Wheels of delivery slow to turn in Premier’s office”

  • It is a sad comment after 21 years of single party rule in Gauteng that there is still not a fully staffed premier’s office to do its vital work in leading this province.
  • There were 122 cases of financial misconduct, mostly for theft, fraud and corruption, but guess how many officials face criminal charges for this. Only four officials, which is a prosecution rate of 3 percent.
  • Another drain on resources is the former Premier’s Official residence in Bryanston. R4.2 million has been spent on it since May last year when the current premier decided not to live there.
  • Honourable Premier, it is inexcusable to continue to pay money on this white elephant which should be sold as soon as possible.

The full speech can be obtained here.

 

Speech by

Justus de Goede MPL

“Premier Makhura: A man of plans, but of little action”

  • The Ntirhisano Rapid Response War Room has, according to the report, merely recorded “complaints dealt with efficiently”. In contrast to the hot line, where figures are produced for results, there is no further information on the nature or quantity of these resolved complaints.
  • The Gauteng Infrastructure Coordinating Committee and in particular its offshoot, the Technical GICC, is supposed to streamline intergovernmental relations, yet there is no indication in the report back of what the meetings actually produced.
  • I do notice that the Premier has been in Tshwane several times, notably in Mamelodi, where I often find myself. I hope that he is speaking frankly to the Executive Mayor about matters like the Metro’s rapid transit system and smart electricity meters.

The full speech can be obtained here.

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Gauteng premier has no political will to fight corruption

By Mike Moriarty MPL, DA Chief Whip in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature:

Gauteng premier David Makhura today tried to spin his way out of questions demanding why so few government officials were criminally charged for financial misconduct, while others remain largely unpunished during the 2014/15 financial year.

The DA quizzed the premier over findings by the Public Service Commission (PSC) that only 3% of provincial government officials involved in 122 cases of financial misconduct amounting to R67 million are facing criminal charges.

In his reply, the premier claimed that criminal charges could only be pressed once internal disciplinary and appeals processes were finalised, despite promising on numerous occasions that he would take a tough stance on corruption.

The premier is wrong. If criminal conduct is suspected, criminal charges must be laid, and police must investigate.

There is no legal precedent that forces government to complete internal procedures before pressing criminal charges – unless the premier doubts the police’s ability to sufficiently investigate such charges.

The premier also completely misinterpreted the PSC’s findings by claiming that 3% of the 122 were successfully prosecuted, when in fact only criminal charges were pressed.

While trying to paint a picture of his administration being at the forefront in the war on corruption, the picture that emerged was that of a premier ill-prepared and out of touch with reality.

Today the truth finally emerged. Premier Makhura does not have the political will to fight corruption and cannot deliver on his promises of the past 17 months.

The question now is how many other promises will be broken.

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