Cattle baron MEC compromised

By Jacques Smalle DA Limpopo Leader, DA Spokesperson for Agriculture:

The DA will today lay charges with the Public Protector against MEC of Agriculture Joy Matshoge who received cattle worth about R1 million from the Industrial Development Corporation Nguni Cattle Trust Strategy. Moreover, the farm on which the cattle now graze, Du Toitskraal, is also leased by the MEC from the department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

These projects are aimed at upliftment of emerging farmers and MEC Matshoge brazenly insists that she applied before she became the MEC and did so as any other previously disadvantaged person.

MEC Mathsoge is constitutionally mandated to high standards of professional ethics in her position. Not only did the MEC abuse her position for self-enrichment, she created a conflict of interest between her office and her private interest thereby severely compromising the integrity of government.

The DA believes that development projects like these should only benefit the disadvantaged poor and not the political elite.

The DA will also request the speaker of Limpopo Legislature to verify the MEC’s disclosure in the asset register.

Public Protector must investigate Phakalane Airways tender

By Pule Thole, MPL, DA Provincial Spokesperson on Transport:

Public Protector must investigate Phakalane Airways tender

It comes as no surprise that the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison’s intra-provincial aviation contract has been a failed project.

From the beginning of the contract the DA has been very concerned with the lack of transparency regarding the airline service.

The DA made numerous attempts to seek clarity on the details of this project. Any projects funded with state resources and taxpayers’ money should be open for public scrutiny.

I requested management reports regarding the intra-provincial aviation contract last year and submitted questions but the department failed to provide answers.

It is my responsibility as a public representative in the provincial legislature to play an oversight role over the executive and hold government accountable.

The DA has consistently raised the matter with the department and requested the full contract details entered between the department and the service provider Bevlink Aviation (Pty) Ltd trading as Phakalane Airways.

I also raised this issue at various stages in the portfolio committee meetings when the department made presentations to the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature.

The department has remained tight-lipped regarding details surrounding this project.

The 2013/2014 Annual Report of the department indicated that the department incurred irregular expenditure of more than R120 million of which R3 million was paid to Phakalane Airways.

The reduction in the number of flights on the airline service is a clear indication that the department failed to plan properly and taxpayers’ money has unsurprisingly gone down the drain.

This project joins the long list of failed government projects which amounts to millions of rands.

The DA has request the office of the Public Protector to investigate any mal-administration in the handling of this project and whoever may be responsible for this project to be held accountable. See attached letter:

Letter to the Public Protector

Public Protector lights a fire under Health MEC with 30 day countdown

Sizwe Mchunu, MPL

Leader of the DA in the KZN Legislature:

Yesterday, Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela issued a report releasing KZN Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo from alleged violation of the executive ethics code.

This after the MEC used Durban’s only emergency helicopter to attend a funeral in Hlabisa on 3 November 2012 – the same day that Asheen Maharaj needed to be airlifted to hospital but could not be as the helicopter was unavailable.

The probe is the result of a December 2012 request by the DA to investigate the MEC’s conduct.

The DA respects the Public Protectors findings.  However we remain firmly of the view that the use of this resource should be confined to medical emergencies – it should not be utilised in any way for administrative purposes.

The report may have let MEC Dhlomo off the hook but it also makes some damning statements in terms of the current contract between KZN’s Health department and the Red Cross Trust.

According to Advocate Madonsela, “the policy is inappropriate as there is a real risk of a person dying because of the emergency medical ambulance being unavailable while being used for administrative purposes”.

The report exposes that the current contract does not serve public interest, allowing for 30 free hours per month to be used for administrative purposes.

Being the only helicopter in the greater Durban area, this valuable resource cannot be used for anything else but to serve the people of KZN.

The DA applauds the Public Protector for putting pressure on the Department of Health to present an implementation plan within 30 days of the release of this report.

We will monitor these developments closely and ensure that the recommended interventions within the report are carried out.