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 marches over poor service delivery the Emfuleni Local Municipality

By Hendrik Schmidt MP, Constituency Leader: Emfuleni South:

Today, the Democratic Alliance lead a march to protest against poor service delivery in the Emfuleni Local Municipality. In particular, the DA and Emfuleni residents protested against the high percentage of water being lost in the municipality on a daily basis, especially at a time when the country is experience its worst drought in 23 years.

According to a report released by the Auditor-General, the Emfuleni Local Municipality lost just over 31 million kilolitres of water during the 2013/14 financial year, which resulted in a loss of R175 million. This also represents a 34.1% loss of the total water purchased by the municipality during that year.

This loss is also equal to 12.6 million water tanks, with a capacity of 2500 litres each, being wasted.

To make matters worse, it is estimated that the municipality lost the same amount of water in 2014/15 and this trend will continue during the current financial year.

This water could have been used by people, many living in poorer communities in the area, for drinking and other day-to day uses. It is unacceptable that the Emfuleni municipality has let it go to waste.

Once of the main reasons for these high water losses is because the municipality has failed to maintain and upgrade critical water infrastructure over the past few years.

Council reports reveal that there is a:

  • 6 billion storm water infrastructure backlog;
  • R723 million backlog when it comes to the maintenance of waste water treatment plants; and
  • 1 billion sanitation backlog.

This is over and above R4.2 billion that is required to address the road maintenance backlog in the municipality.

It is clear that the Emfuleni municipality is in a financial crisis, which is affecting its ability to deliver the most basic of services to residents. It’s liabilities exceed its assets and if it was a private company it would have been forced to close to its doors a while ago.

It is critical that the current mess in Emfuleni is addressed and more importantly, that the criminal wastage of water is stopped.

The DA has therefore submitted a memorandum to Municipal Manager Sam Shabalala demanding that the Emfuleni municipality immediately implements an action plan to upgrade and maintain aging water infrastructure and ensure any water and sewage leaks are fixed as soon as they are detected.

The DA is committed to ensuring that where we govern, all residents have access to water, which is their basic right.

When the DA won the City of Cape Town from the ANC in 2006, one of the most important tasks was fixing the badly maintained water infrastructure. Today after 9 years of DA government the Western Cape has the lowest amount of water leaks in the country, at 16.4%.

The DA is committed to bringing change to Emfuleni. Change that stops corruption and ensures public money is spent on service delivery.

We therefore encourage residents to register for the upcoming local elections and to vote the ANC out of Emfuleni in 2016.

Lack of water supply leads to schools burning down and displaced learners; DA will press for alternative classrooms

By Dr Tutu Faleni, DA North West Spokesperson on Education:

The Democratic Alliance expresses great shame upon the Tswaing Municipality for its failure to supply water to the community of Kopelang near Delareyville, which has now resulted in four schools being burnt down during violent protests last week in fires which could not be extinguished.

The community turned to violent protests and has burnt down the four schools and one clinic to express their dismay with the poor basic services they receive. More than 1000 learners are now displaced, and this includes matric pupils who will start with their final exams in a few weeks’ time.

The DA condemns any form of violence but we are deeply concerned that communities might turn to such desperate measures to get their message through to the local government who otherwise turn their backs on suffering communities.

The Democratic Alliance was informed, on Friday 2 October during a community meeting, that the local ANC councillor has lost touch with the community and that he often avoids attending community meetings aimed at resolving the water crises in the community.

The DA furthermore rejects the undertakings made by the Premier during his visit to the community of Kopelang on 2 October that he will attend to the community’s grievances – why should Premier Mahumapelo be believed now when his government has neglected this community remorselessly. The DA will follow up on the promises made by the Premier to the community, and will hold him to account.

Over 1000 learners are currently displaced without a classroom and therefore the DA will write a letter and appeal to the MEC for Education Ms Wendy Matsemela to immediately secure alternative learning spaces for schoolchildren whose classes have been burnt down.

The DA believes education is the key to improved quality of life. It empowers individuals to obtain a fulfilling jobs, contribute to the economy and utilise your talents to the full.

The DA will monitor the teaching –learning situation at the planned matric camp to ensure that Grade 12 learners from Kopelang receive the much needed tuition and support to enable them to succeed in their final exams.

Tswaing unrest: While Mayor benefits, community is neglected

By Councillor Piet Miga, DA Councillor, Tswaing:

The Democratic Alliance in Tswaing is concerned that again violent unrest that erupted in the North West, this time in Ward 4 Tswaing, (Kopela, Doornlaagte, Diretsane, Thawane and Geluk) yesterday.

Residents here have been battling for many years to get Premier Supra Mahumapelo and the mayor Caeser Mogatusi to attend to their grievances.

The community has in desperation turned to violent protests and has burnt down three schools and one clinic to express their dismay with the poor basic services they receive. At least 1 370 learners are no affected, and this includes matric pupils who will start with their final exams in a few weeks’ time.

At lunchtime on Wednesday the unrest was already spreading to the adjacent villages. Main roads in the area were barricaded and motorists couldn’t travel between Mahikeng on the N18, interlinking to the N14 at Sannieshof, due to unrest in Deelpan.

The residents expressed their anger and said Ward 5, where the Mayor resides, receives good service delivery but the rest of the community is neglected.

Poor services are leading to a stagnation of the local economy, and jobs are being killed by government failure to develop the area.

The DA condemns any form of violence and criminal activities, but we are deeply concerned that communities might turn to such desperate measures to get their message through to the local and provincial government who otherwise turn their backs and ignore communities.

The crime statistics that were released earlier this week show a marked increase in the number of violent protests in South Africa. The police documented 2,289 violent demonstrations by communities demanding better housing, education and other services in the year through March 2015, up from 1,907 the year before.

The DA will write a letter to the Premier today, asking him to arrange an urgent community meeting where he, as well as role-players from the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality, the local municipality and all relevant Provincial Departments actively engage to find solutions and bring calm to the villages.

Mogale City crushes service delivery hopes of informal settlements

By Alan Fuchs MPL, DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Mogale City:

The protest action this week by thousands of Munsieville informal settlement residents over lack of electricity and decent services comes as a result of broken promises.

As far back as 2009, Mogale City Executive Mayor, Calvin Seerane said that challenges existed in terms of meeting the 2014 deadline of the eradication of informal settlements.

While a database had been created in 2010 and informal settlement residents had been informed of plans to relocate or upgrade their settlements, nothing much has changed.

To this day people continue to live in poor conditions without electricity and proper sanitation, and protesters have threatened to make Mogale City ungovernable if their demands are not met.

It is simply not justifiable to raise people’s hopes, only to have them crushed by an inability to implement.

While residents of Tudor Shaft informal settlement were recently informed that processes to facilitate their relocation had been approved, the DA believes that only a portion will be moved before the 2016 local government elections.

Residents will not receive quality services when municipalities try to crisis manage its past delivery failures.

Quality service delivery comes as a result of proper planning and execution, which is a hallmark of DA-led municipalities across the country.

Midvaal, Gauteng’s only DA-led municipality, every year scores the highest in the province in financial management, meeting service delivery targets and improving people’s quality of life.

As Gauteng and the rest of South Africa counts down to the 2016 local government elections, the Midvaal story can become reality in every municipality, because where the DA governs, life is better.

DA helps cops to probe ANC’s Cliff Mohloana of Lethuli Secondary School

By Jacques Smalle MPL, DA Limpopo Leader:

The DA has today provided Polokwane police with tangible proof of crime instigation as part of the charges investigated against Luthuli Secondary School SGB Chair – Cliff Mohloana. Case number 480 Polokwane SAPS.

This follows after he led a violent protest march of learners and parents from the school to the department of education and further led them to gaining illegal access to Laerskool Pietersburg Noord at Thursday 17 September at 12:45.

The group assaulted eight of the school’s learners under and Mr Mohloana subsequently posted on social media his (CLICK HERE) support and justifications for his inhumane actions. CLICK HERE

The DA is not surprised by the ANC-supported Mohloana’s behaviour, after he together with a group of ANC-branded SGB members disrupted my oversight visit to the school last week and completely disregarded MEC Kgetjepe when he attempted to intervene telephonically.

The DA’s Vision 2029 envisages schools as sacred institutions of learning where our children are guaranteed safety and intellectual growth, they are not on any terms sites of political struggle or warring factions.

We trust that the provincial SAPS will treat the criminal charge laid with the seriousness it warrants.

This will inevitably send out the signal that violence would not be tolerated at schools especially when vulnerable learners and communities are led astray to drive individual ANC –driven political agendas.

Zebediela service delivery protests show up ANC failures of government

By Jacques Smalle MPL, DA Limpopo Leader:

The Democratic Alliance Limpopo denounces acts of arson that saw three school’s offices reduced to ashes in Volop outside Zebediela, as part of an ongoing service delivery protest in the area. A learner at Madibo High School has been killed by the protests, and this death saddened and shocked us.

The DA understands and sympathizes with the plight and frustrations of people in the area. But we discourage the burning of schools and other vital community infrastructure.  These are intended to uplift communities; they cannot be destroyed.

The DA is concerned that these protests have severely disrupted learning and teaching.

Learners have been walking up and down the streets hoping to see the reopening of the school, without any certainty.

Lepelle-Nkumpi municipality is being systematically destroyed by the ANC government and it is the people who must suffer as a result.

Infighting and factionalism mean that there is no stable government.

Where the DA governs, service delivery records and governance outcomes show commitment to spending public money for the people. We believe government must be more responsive to the needs of the people, and must spend money on people’s improvement.

Mr Premier you cannot sit and take your time to react to protests while innocent people end up trapped and dying as a result.

The Limpopo government must account for increasing protests and increasing violence. This will not change until people vote out Mathabatha’s government, and vote in a party with a record of good service delivery that cares for all people.

The DA wants to bring change to Limpopo, and will do with support from the people.

Premier David Mabuza must urgently intervene in Sabie crisis

By James Masango MPL, Spokesperson on CoGTA:

Premier David Mabuza must urgently intervene in the violent service delivery protest action currently taking place in Sabie. This action compromises tourism in one of Mpumalanga’s popular tourist attraction and might also lead to job losses.

Protests in the small tourist town which is situated in the Thaba Chweu Local municipality, started in June this year where residents are demanding among other things the following:

  • Immediate halt of current water and electricity cut-offs carried out by the Thaba Chweu local municipality,
  • Immediate scrapping of debts incurred during Apartheid regime and arrears which apparently piled up due to a “false and fraudulent” billing system,
  • Return of land to municipality which is alleged to have been unfairly expropriated by forestry firms as the only alternative to address housing challenges in Sabie,
  • Permission for people to occupy and make use of all identified sites as stated in the Integrated Development Plans for Sabie,
  • Immediate return of land sold out to private developers who reportedly failed to further develop the land as initially envisaged,
  • Immediate halt of illegal, unfair, and unlawful appointments within the municipality,
  • Immediate upgrading of all informal settlements as outlined in the National Development Plan,
  • The truth behind the occupied lands of the informal areas in Sabie to be revealed and the mismanagement, manipulation of various projects that benefits a few.

What concerns the DA the most is that, while residents are protesting, businesses and schools are also affected which compromises the education of our children and the economy of the town. This town depends mostly on tourism and the protests forces businesses to close doors.

The residents are also accusing senior Thaba Chweu municipal officials of spearheading unlawful practices which include nepotism and maladministration, amongst other things.

The Premier and CoGTA MEC, Refilwe Mtshweni, must ensure that the situation in Sabie is dealt with immediately. We cannot afford to add onto the current statistics on job losses in the province.

More protest action against ANC-run NMB shows need for a new government with a new vision

By Athol Trollip, DA Mayoral Candidate: Nelson Mandela Bay:

Nelson Mandela Bay is descending into increasingly violent protests by desperate residents who have been neglected by the ANC.

The people of Nelson Mandela Bay have become the victims of an ANC government of broken promises with the incumbent Mayor, Danny Jordaan, having simply picked up where his deposed predecessors broken promises have left off.

Protests in the past 24 hours in Missionvale and surrounding areas confirm the desperate need for a new government with a new vision for our Metro. People in Nelson Mandela Bay are angry and frustrated at being left behind, and being neglected.

Last week, I presented the DA’s plan for our first 100 days in office, in contrast to Danny Jordaan’s failed attempt to turn Nelson Mandela Bay around. The people of Missionvale protesting for better service delivery reveals exactly why this ANC government must go, and a new vision for Nelson Mandela Bay must be delivered.

Housing protests are now a monthly occurrence here, with residents from Walmer, Missionvale and Motherwell regularly forced to take extreme measures to get attention to their plight. Our people are being left behind, and are being overlooked by this part-time administration.

With a waiting list of 38 000 housing units and a further 40 000 units identified for rectification, people in Nelson Mandela Bay have every right to be upset with this ANC government. Plans to only build 1293 housing units this financial year are entirely insufficient, inadequate and unfair. The vision for a better Nelson Mandela Bay can clearly not be delivered by the current government.

The Metro needs a new government with a new vision, where housing is delivered in a well-coordinated and ordered manner, unlike the projects seen by the DA last week in Daleview and Missionvale. The DA’s turnaround plan to put a stop to failed RDP projects is as follows:

  1. Immediate forensic audits on all supply chain anomalies and immediate prosecution of any official found to be side-stepping due process.
  2. Contractor and SMME screening to guarantee qualifications, capabilities and competence and prevent unsuitable contractors getting tenders.
  3. Zero-tolerance to political interference or political interference.
  4. Immediately ban government officials from doing business with the NMB government.
  5. Working according to strict standard operating procedures with the Provincial Government, and National Department, to ensure no deviations and no withholding of housing funds.

At 11am on the 12th September 2015, the DA will launch our campaign and will propose a vision to see Nelson Mandela Bay returned to a glorious Metro of delivery and rising opportunity.

The DA is set on winning Nelson Mandela Bay at next year’s elections to restore service delivery and to improve the lives of all residents who can and should live in a well-run city.

Vuwani unrest: DA calls for calm

By Jacques Smalle MPL, DA Provincial Leader:

The DA condemns the looting of shops as well the closure of schools in Vuwani as the community unrest continues protesting against the proposed inclusion into a newly demarcated Malamulele Municipality.

Last night , angry residents of Vuwani opted to loot and burn the local shops and disrupts the smooth running of the schools as the community continues to protest against the proposed inclusion into a newly demarcated Malamulele Municipality.

This follows the support and promises made by the ANC that Malumulele will get its own Municipality. Due to pressure by the ANC , the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) pronounced that Vuwani will be amalgamated with Malamulele and be renamed the Malamulele-Vuwani Municipality without following due public process.

The angry community want to be excluded from the merge and opts to remain with Makhado Municipality as they are concerned about poor services from the newly proposed municipality. The violence is as a results of false expectations and not following a transparent and due processes to establish this municipality.

It is unacceptable for protestors to shut down schools and prevent people from going to work.

All these protests across the province could have been avoided and it’s a clear indication that people are tired of empty promises and demands basis services to be accelerated but the government continues to fail them.

Our DA Values’ Charter states that a government must be accountable to the people and must reflect the will of the people and that elected representatives must be directly accountable to the people.

We are deeply concerned about the school’s closure due to service delivery unrest and the department’s failure to enhance security measures at our schools.

The DA will try to engage with the residents of Vuwani, to direct their efforts at a proper complaint against the municipal demarcation board and to lodge their objection to the MDB decision.