#KZNRhino: Premier must release Task Team report as 2017 poaching figures eclipse those from last year

Democratic Alliance media statement by Ann McDonnell, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA)

 

#KZNRhino: Premier must release Task Team report as 2017 poaching figures eclipse those from last year

 

The Democratic Alliance today calls on KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Willies Mchunu, to release the long-awaited Task Team report on rhino poaching in the province in a bid to curb the mass killings of these magnificent animals.

The move comes after the recent release of the province’s latest rhino poaching stats by KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife. According to the entity, 218 rhino have been slaughtered this year to date – 37 more rhino than in 2016.

Our rhino are being wiped out and this is where the rubber has to hit the road, starting with the Premier. While the DA welcomes the recent arrests of some 150 poaching suspects, the problem is that they are seldom tried or convicted.

Poaching is a serious crime, not only against rhino, but also against KZN’s economy.

The ongoing case against alleged poaching kingpin, Dumisani Gwala, in the Ngwelezane magistrate’s court is a case in point after having been remanded countless times during the past five years on what appear to be spurious grounds.

This is not justice and the hard work of making arrests must be extremely demoralising to rangers in particular.

It is critical that the Premier release the results from the task team so that proactive steps can be taken to protect our rhino. The group comprises various experts, including members of the Justice cluster, who were brought in to look at the entire chain of the crime and there can be no doubt that they have valuable information to share.

It is therefore difficult to understand why this report, due for release in September, remains under wraps. The DA expects the Premier to act. Every day that passes is another day too late.

Bodies piling up as Pietermaritzburg forensic services go on strike

Democratic Alliance media statement by Dr Imran Keeka, MPL

DA KZN  Spokesperson on Health

 

Bodies piling up as Pietermaritzburg forensic services go on strike

 

The DA has been reliably informed that staff at the Forensic Pathology Unit in Pietermaritzburg have yet again downed tools with the result that at least 30 bodies are lying piled up, as a result of post-mortems not being performed.

According to our source, staff claim that even if they want to help bereaved families, they are at risk of their colleagues’ wrath and “will also end up in the cold room”.

The grievances of the mortuary staff are not new yet it is clear that KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo does not regard them as urgent. This despite ongoing interruptions to this critical service.

Last week, mortuary staff convened an urgent meeting with senior KZN Health officials, who did not bother to arrive. Their absence, in the face of a looming crisis, must be explained by the MEC who must also provide answers for his own lack of action in this regard.

Grieving families, who have spoken to the DA on the basis of anonymity, have made clear their anger at the MEC and his Department. More importantly, they have expressed how they are suffering while waiting to find closure, especially at this time of the year.

While the MEC has been quick to previously claim to be of assistance by doing post-mortems himself the question that must be asked is – where is he now? Clearly, he can’t be trusted to resolve any of the numerous crises within his own Department.

The DA has written to the Chairperson of KZN’s Health Portfolio Committee, Yusuf Bhamjee, to request that he commission a full report into what is going on in the province’s forensic pathology sector. We expect this to be presented at the next meeting of the committee.

In the interim, we sincerely hope that this action will lead to an immediate improvement in services so that the rights of those who are deceased are no longer violated and so that they can be laid to rest immediately in accordance with their rights and rituals.

It is unacceptable what citizens are having to endure under Dhlomo’s regime and it is ultimately KZN Premier Willies Mchunu who must be held accountable for leaving a failed MEC at the helm of such an important service delivery department.

DA KZN: Speaker must probe ‘thuggery allegations’ against Finance MEC Belinda Scott

Democratic Alliance media statement by Francois Rodgers, MPL

Leader of the DA in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature

 

DA KZN: Speaker must probe ‘thuggery allegations’ against Finance MEC Belinda Scott

 

The Democratic Alliance will today write to KwaZulu-Natal Legislature Speaker, Lydia Johnson to request an urgent investigation following serious allegations of unethical behaviour against provincial Finance MEC Belinda Scott.

The claims form part of an affidavit by South African Grooms Association (SAGA) Chairman, Mr C.M Simoto which has been handed to the DA.

According to the affidavit, Mr Simoto wrote to the KZN Gaming and Betting Board (KZNGBB) in November to raise concerns around Gold Circle’s licence renewal. The correspondence appears to have then been leaked to MEC Scott who then, according to the affidavit, contacted Mr Simoto instructing him to withdraw the letter and allegedly threatened him and his family.

These allegations vindicate the DA’s ongoing concerns around MEC Scott and Gold Circle, while her supposed actions reflect poorly on the MEC’s judgement. Not only is she interfering, she is apparently also pursuing her own private agenda.

Even more disturbing is how Mr Simoto’s letter ended up in the MEC’s hands and the claims of subsequent threats against him and his family. This is pure thuggery and if true cannot be accepted from any public representative, to say nothing of a member of the provincial executive.

The DA expects the Speaker to treat this matter with the seriousness it deserves and to ensure that it is the subject of an immediate investigation. We are committed to monitoring the outcome of the probe and to ensuring that there are consequences in the event that the allegations are proved to be founded.

Fruitless expenditure has become a norm in KwaNongoma

Democratic Alliance media statement by Mphathiseni Ndwandwe, Cllr

DA Nongoma Municipality Councillor

 

Fruitless expenditure has become a norm in KwaNongoma

 

Despite the denials by KwaNongoma Municipality officials after our exposè on the allegations of the double hiring of people for positions, the DA is in possession of an email by a Human Resources official in the Municipality where an instruction was given that all employees must be put on the municipality’s organogram. This email was sent last week after we raised concerns about poor management in the hiring of staff in the municipality.

This move proves our allegations that this municipality is near collapse are evidently true.

In many positions under this municipality, more than one person is hired for a position, resulting in 52.2% of the budget going towards remuneration, which is much higher than the 25% – 40% norm. The latest HR staff lists and organogram in our position show that more employees were hired between 2016 and 2017 with more than 6 people employed on 1st of November 2017 but are not on the organogram. The DA can now confirm that more than 100 employees in this municipality are not or does not appear in the organogram.

By spending money on salaries, the residents of this impoverished and underdeveloped municipality are once again denied much-needed service delivery by the Municipality.

Along with other mismanagement decisions, we were shocked to learn that the municipality has taken a reckless decision to rehire the skills audit company UMqondo Business College. This company was previously appointed by the same municipality to perform a skills audit, however, the company failed to perform as per agreement according to the report tabled before council week.

Whilst we support the skills audit, we are concerned by the rehiring of a company that has proven that it is not competent to the task and lacks capacity. It is concerning that the municipality wants to waste public funds paying this failed company once again.

The level of incompetence and disregard of public funds in this municipality is unacceptable and must be condemned. We will not sit back and watch whilst public funds, meant to change the lives of KwaNongoma residents, are being used on fruitless expenditures. We will continue raising the alarm on poor management without fear or favour.

The people of KwaNongoma deserve a new beginning and we will continue to fight for the residents to ensure they receive the services they deserve.

DA calls for MEC to decline Msunduzi MM appointment

Democratic Alliance media statement by Zwakele Mncwango

DA KZN Leader

 

DA calls for MEC to decline Msunduzi MM appointment

 

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Msunduzi has written to the MEC of Corporative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube Ncube, calling on her to put the people first and to decline the unlawful appointment of Msunduzi Municipal Manager Sizwe Hadebe.

The DA believes that local government laws were contravened to allow for this appointment and that the appointment is not in the best interest of the municipality. Our reasons for opposing this appointment are as follow:

  • The Acting Municipal Manager (City Manager) is mired in controversy in that he was seconded by the MEC without proper background checks;
  • His appointment was withdrawn in 2013 in the eThekwini Metro Municipality because of fraud and suspension while he was an employee of Ekurhuleni Municipality and there was no disclosure of the fact that he was facing disciplinary charges. This alone shows unethical behaviour and that he is dishonest and therefore can’t be trusted with public funds;
  • According to a notice published in the Government Gazette in June 2015, Adolph Slindokuhle Hadebe had applied for and been given authorisation by the Home Affairs Director-General to change his first name to Sizwe. It is concerning that he changed his identity after being exposed as corrupt;
  • His appointment began in June 2016, was extended to September 2016 and  thereafter extended by the MEC to December 2016. Since then it has been extended to June 2017 and then to November 2017, beyond the terms of office. In essence, he has been seconded to an acting position for 17 months.

We will never allow unscrupulous individuals to have access to hard-earned public money. The people of Msunduzi have for a long time been subjected to shoddy service by the cash-strapped municipality. It is time for the MEC to show true leadership by saying no to this process. The people of Msunduzi deserve better, they deserve a new beginning