Water crisis: Gauteng schools negatively affected

By Khume Ramulifho MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education:

Water shortages and the current drought in Gauteng are having a negative impact on school nutrition (feeding scheme) programmes at schools across the province.

Class contact time is also being lost and examinations are affected as schools shut their doors due the lack of water supply and extreme weather conditions.

Asking learners to go home is not a sustainable solution as schools are a conducive environment for learning and benefiting from school programmes such as nutrition and sport.

Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, must ensure that adequate measures are in place to circumvent the impact the drought has on school programmes and examinations.

The MEC should implement an emergency strategy at matric examination centres across the province to ensure that there are zero disruptions, and that matriculants will be provided with drinking water in the event shortages.

Room temperatures at examination centres must also be monitored by the department to provide comfort.

Emfuleni’s service delivery failure leads to loss of life

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

The financially bankrupt, Emfuleni Local Municipality’s inaction when it comes to service delivery has now tragically lead to the drowning of a 12 year old child.

The child drowned at the abandoned bridge construction site of Zone 7  Sebokeng.  (Click here for photos of the site)

This project was intended to bring a tar road and a bridge to Zone 7, but was abandoned by the contractor who left a massive hole in the middle of the road.

This hole has not been covered or cordoned off by the municipality and there are no warning signs or lighting at the site.

DA Councillor Langa Radebe has been petitioning the Emfuleni municipality to cover the hole, but no action has been taken by officials to date.

The hole subsequently filled up with water and the 12 year old fell in yesterday and drowned.

This tragedy and the neglect by the municipality is nothing short of criminal.

In June, two females drowned in similar incidences in other areas and another two children lost their lives after falling into open manholes in Emfuleni.

The DA has raised before that the Emfuleni municipality is bankrupt. It is clear it is unable to deliver services and is not able to pay contractors working on projects in the municipality.

We again urgently call on the Gauteng Provincial Government to start the process to place the Emfuleni municipality under administration.

I will be visiting the family of the child as soon as the body has been identified to share my condolences and offer the DA’s support.

I will submit questions regarding this project to Gauteng MEC For Human Settlements And Co-Operative Governance And Traditional Affairs Jacob Mamabolo asking him to urgently request information from the Emfuleni municipality on the abandoned bridge project in Zone 7. Most importantly, who the contractor was, why the contractor abandoned the project and why the municipality has failed cover the massive hole to date.

It is critical that urgent action be taken to make this site safe, so that we prevent similar tragedies occurring in the future.

COGHSTA moratorium should not hamper service delivery

By Jacques Smalle (MPL), DA Limpopo Spokesperson on COGHSTA:

The DA cautiously welcomes the MEC of COGHSTA’s decision to effect a moratorium on vacancies in municipalities, however remains concerned that there are several factors that need to be addressed first.

This comes after a highly contested decision taken by the Municipal Demarcation Board to merge and de-establish municipalities.

The MEC needs to assure our communities that there will be a complete analysis of:

  • how many jobs losses the demarcation processes will cause
  • the impact on the organogram of the different municipalities
  • how the redistribution of capital assets will unfold

The MEC should identify and explain who will take over the existing debts of the de-established municipalities.

Most importantly, the MEC must address the impact this decision will inevitably have on service delivery.

Many of Limpopo’s municipalities are experiencing a severe shortage of crucial skills in critical posts and the filling thereof must be prioritized.

We urge the MEC to learn from the department’s previous mistakes this year when Mopani, Thulamela and Makhado municipalities’ workers had costly protracted strikes.

MEC Makhurupetje must avoid any labour protests by municipal workers through proactively meeting with the various labour unions which represent them.

Without full consideration of the above, the MEC will prove to have a complete disregard for the people of Limpopo.

The DA believes that municipalities are at the core of service delivery, it is only through accountability and transparent consultation with communities that the fruits of democracy can fully be realised.

DA appeals to MEC to prevent suspension of water supply to Sunday’s River Valley

By Vicky Knoetze (MPL), Zuurberg constituency leader:

Water supply to the Sunday’s River Valley will be suspended on 1 December unless outstanding debt of over R1-million is paid to the Lower Sundays River Water User Association by the local municipality. 

For a voice clip in English, click here.

For a voice clip in Afrikaans, click here.

It has come to the attention of the Democratic Alliance that the Sundays River Valley Municipality has failed to make payments to the Lower Sundays River Water User Association since July of this year. The outstanding debt amounts to R 1 005 569.45.

The citrus industry in the Sundays River Valley is the second largest contributor to the economy of the Eastern Cape.  Restricting or suspending water supply will not only infringe the constitutional right of everyone to have access to sufficient water, it will have a disastrous impact on the jobs of people in Addo, Kirkwood and Paterson.

The Sundays River Municipality has failed to respond to any correspondence from the Lower Sundays River Water User Association since July and has received a final notice to present written representation before  Friday (subs:  13 November 2015) with reasons and motivations as to why the Association should not restrict/suspend water supply from 1 December 2015 until the account has been settled in full.

According to the National Water Act this step by the Lower Sundays River Water User Association is well within their rights.

I have written to the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Fikile Xasa, to intervene to ensure that the account is paid, as a matter of urgency.

In a fair society, service to the people is at the heart of good governance.  Victimising the people of the Sunday’s River Valley for the failure of the municipality, is not the best way forward.

DA call for KZN municipal skills audit as Umkhanyakude is placed under admin

By George Mari, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on COGTA:

THE DA welcomes yesterday’s announcement by KZN COGTA MEC, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, that the Umkhanyakude district municipality has been placed under provincial administration in terms of Section 139 (1) b of the Constitution.

The MEC’s decision is the result of ongoing operational failures due to poor internal controls which have drastically affected service delivery levels.

The issues within uMkhanyakude municipality speak directly to the dangers of cadre deployment.

They also highlight the urgent need for KZN’s COGTA department to launch its long awaited skills audit within municipalities across our province.

The situation at uMkhanyakude is certainly not unique.

Recent oversight visits conducted by DA MPL’s to KZN municipalities have revealed a trail of destruction, with incompetence within municipal structures one of the biggest challenges.

The DA expects MEC Dube-Ncube to announce a launch date for the skills audit without delay.

We also expect her to present investigation findings into uMkhanyakude officials to the province’s COGTA portfolio committee at its next meeting.

The delivery of high quality basic services is the mandate of every municipality in this country.

Elected representatives who fail to fulfil their duty to the people must face the consequences.

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.

DA launches second pillar of NMB Vision: A Caring City where fairness prevails

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

The following is an extract of a speech delivered by Athol Trollip at an illegal dumpsite in Bethelsdorp in Port Elizabeth’s Northern Areas.

The second pillar of the DA’s vision for NMB speaks to the need for a caring city – this we launch in Port Elizabeth’s Northern Areas, where care from the Metro is desperately lacking.

This is a community long forgotten by an ANC that has only served itself.

A punitive 6% capital budget allocation for the Northern Areas is confirmation of the ANC’s total disregard this region and its people. Just 6% of the budget for this entire community is a scandalous punishment and shows a complete lack of care.

Refuse collection is sporadic at best. Areas like Kleinskool have been without refuse collection for 5 weeks, forcing residents to burn their waste on pavements.

Gangsterism and drugs continue to plague a community that is already struggling under the weight of shocking service delivery. Residents are forced away from opportunities by rampant crime, and for this the Metro is to blame.

Homes such as The Elizabeth Stuurman and Bethelsdorp Old Age Homes have been neglected to such an extent that many buildings are now a danger to residents rather than a place of sanctuary.

Residents claim that the current administration has promised to revamp the homes, but still they remain dilapidated – this is not a fair treatment of our most vulnerable citizens.

Municipality-run clinics are a disgrace, with insufficient staffing, regular stock-outs and crumbling infrastructure.

Corruption is the real enemy of fairness. We need a government that actually deals with this social-ill rather than only suspending officials on full pay or giving them golden handshakes. Suspensions don’t restore service, they just make good headlines.

A government that is actually committed to fighting corruption will show us the relevant charge sheets and will tell us when prosecution will take place.

Instead, we are left to guess what might happen to people like Roland Williams and Mpilo Mbambisa, who just slip below the radar, while on full pay. Williams and Mbambisa remain cared for, while the Metro doesn’t care for its residents.

This paints a picture of a community left to fend for itself. This is not real freedom, considering that our democracy was born over 20 years ago.

Therefore, a caring city, under a DA government, would ensure:

  • Weekly refuse collection for all communities.
  • A dedicated illegal dumping task team that cracks down on illegal dumping.
  • Public-private partnerships that allow for designated recycling and dump sites.
  • Metro law enforcement unit with anti-gang and anti-drug units, as has been successfully and effectively implemented in the City of Cape Town, under the DA.
  • Monthly audits and assessments of municipality-run clinics to monitor stock levels and staffing operations.
  • A review of the indigent database so that those who should be getting free service delivery actually get it.

In just two short weeks of this campaign I have already engaged personally with over 1000 residents in Nelson Mandela Bay. Residents of the Bay speak at pain about the urgency with which people want change. Change that starts real and reliable delivery. Change that actually stops corruption in its tracks. Change that creates jobs.

This change is now long overdue. The people of this Metro need not feel uncared for anymore – the 2016 elections will present an opportunity to bring change that delivers freedom and fairness for all.

I want to build a caring Metro that hears its residents, one and all. I want to create a government that is close to the people, accessible to the people, and among the people.

A caring Metro will be one that doesn’t turn away from its most needy residents and instead focuses on being well-run and forward-thinking.

Under the DA and with me as Mayor, this will be our reality. Together, we will turn Nelson Mandela Bay into the Metro we all know it can be: a caring city of hope.

Pictures can be found here.

(Note: In Picture 1, Athol Trollip is holding a used syringe found in the hands of a young toddler who was playing on the illegal dumpsite.)

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 Sterkstroom service delivery march blocked

By Kobus Botha (MPL), EC Midlands constituency leader:

A DA march for better services in Sterkstroom tomorrow (subs:  Wednesday, 23 September) has been blocked by the Inkwanca Municipality as permission would not be granted, for political reasons.

The fact that the cabal has halted our march to assemble peacefully and unarmed,  to demonstrate, picket and hand over our petition to the municipality for better service delivery is a clear sign that the ANC will do anything to hide their failed service delivery in Inkwanca, as Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle is due to be in Sterkstroom tomorrow.

While the DA wanted a peaceful march to demand better service delivery, disgruntled ANC members took to the streets today, dumping rubbish and burning tyres in Sterkstroom.  They are fed up with the lack of service delivery and accountability by their own local ANC-governed leadership.

The DA will not be deterred and will seek permission once more to march.  We will continue to march until service delivery in this municipality improves.    The municipal office in Sterkstroom has been open for only 18 days in the past three months and electricity outages are an on-going problem.

The ANC policies of cadre deployment are destroying opportunities for the residents of Sterkstroom.  Our struggle for freedom and fairness will continue.

The DA will not take to hooliganism and destruction of property as ANC members did today. Our protest march will be marked by peace, discipline and respect for fellow citizen’s rights and the rule of law.

Bad service delivery frustrates the poor in these “forgotten communities” on a daily basis.  It has the knock-on effect of thwarting economic development, which means jobs are not created.