MEC Dhlomo should be arrested, not KZN’s forensic pathology workers

Democratic Alliance media statement by Dr Imran Keeka, MPL

DA Spokesperson on Health

MEC Dhlomo should be arrested, not KZN’s forensic pathology workers

 

The Democratic Alliance calls on KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Willies Mchunu, to urgently respond as the crisis within the province’s mortuary sector gathers momentum.

As of last night, the DA was aware of 40 bodies waiting for post-mortems at the Gale Street mortuary and a further 27 at the Phoenix facility. This horrific situation is a direct result of Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo’s ongoing disregard for workers’ grievances.

While some post- mortems are being conducted at Gale Street, staff say they will completely stop work on Monday despite threats of arrest from the MEC if they do this. Other facilities have meanwhile confirmed that they will continue with their go-slows.

The DA has also been reliably informed that the MEC allegedly granted permission to a prominent family in the Pietermaritzburg area to enter that city’s mortuary -armed with a range of weapons – to collect the body of their loved one and take it to Durban for a post-mortem. This is not the first time the MEC has entertained thuggery.

Earlier this week, MEC Dhlomo presented a report to the KZN provincial Executive Council (EC) regarding the forensic pathology crisis in the province. To date, the Premier has been unresponsive apart from a statement in which he expressed the Council’s consternation. This is ironic given that this exact problem was in fact engineered by a member of that Council – MEC Dhlomo.

While the DA has not had sight of the report, we suspect that MEC Dhlomo would have laid blame at the door of the forensic pathology workers. If this is the case then his actions are truly appalling. In fact, it is the MEC’s ongoing attempts to shift the blame that should really shock the EC.

The DA has also been reliably informed that a meeting with the National Health Department and union representatives, attended by provincial representatives due to MEC Dhlomo’s absence, did not see any solutions reached. It is also an insult that while the MEC seeks intervention from the National Health Department for the deadlock he has created, his own Acting Health HOD claims that the province can in fact resolve its mortuary issues.

The MEC’s threats to have staff arrested if they do not go back to work is not a solution. Instead, he must address the workers’ pay grade translation that was agreed upon some 8 years ago and commit to improving their working conditions. Failure to do so will see ongoing protest action from this sector.

In the interim, the question Premier Mchunu must answer is this: why is he not holding his Health MEC to account for his ongoing severe lapses in leadership?

It is not forensic pathology workers who should be arrested, it is MEC Dhlomo. It is the MEC who must be dealt with. If the Premier will not fire him then the MEC must do the right thing and resign.

KZN Cabinet report card: ‘Empty suit’ Premier fails to deliver, account

by Zwakele Mncwango, MPL - Leader of the DA in the KZN Legislature
Report

Today’s annual KwaZulu-Natal Cabinet report card by the DA indicates an overall decline as an ‘empty suit’ Premier and 86% of his failing ANC Executive and their Departments record either no improvement or a regression in terms of performance levels.

According to the DA’s assessments:

  • The average score for the Executive was an ‘E”;
  • The Premier and his Acting Premier barely missed an ‘F’ – an indictment against the failing ANC leadership in this province;
  • A total of seven Departments regressed in terms of performance;
  • Those MECs who scored the worst marks and which showed no sign of improvement from last year are at the helm of some of KZN’s most critical service delivery Departments;
  • Six Departments remained the same as in 2017, showing no sign of improvement; and
  • Only two – the Office of the Speaker and Human Settlements, showed any improvements this year.

The reports are proof that governance in KZN has been relegated to a tick-box exercise by the failing ANC, which has forgotten its responsibility to the very people that elected them to these positions. Instead, what we have is a so-called leadership which is more interested in driving their own personal party agendas.

This untenable situation has been allowed by a Premier who has shown a lack of strong leadership or guidance and who has allowed ANC factionalism to have a devastating impact on the efficacy of the provincial government.

The Reports also highlight the lack of accountability within the KZN Legislature on various levels during 2018.

Notably, the Premier failed to hold his MECs to account for their lack of poor attendance at Sittings, TLTP’s, Hearings and portfolio committee meetings. Despite the fact that many MECs were absent more than they were present, the Premier does not seem to care and allows them to come and go as they please.

MECs also showed the same disrespect for the Auditor-General’s recommendations with less than 20% attending the Scopa Mid-term hearings into the finances of various Departments. With an attitude like this, the A-G’s announcement, just days ago, of an overall regression in provincial government departments’ finances during 2017/18, comes as little surprise.

Most significantly, the Premier has failed to hold his Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo and CoGTA MEC, Nomusa Dube-Ncube to account despite both having severely violated the rights of KZN’s people to proper service delivery.

Compounding Cabinet’s poor performance is the lack of urgency in responding to written parliamentary questions – a critical oversight tool for opposition parties. The Office of the Premier – which is supposed to lead by example – was one of the worst offenders, only replying to 33% of all DA questions. The worst offender however was Premier-in-Waiting, EDTEA MEC Sihle Zikalala who answered 32% of the DA’s questions.

Within his own Department, the Premier has also failed to address serious issues raised in forensic investigations within his own Department along with the Moerane Commission Report which is gathering dust on a forgotten shelf.

The irony of the Legislature slogan – a People Centred Activist Legislature – is not lost on the DA. Nor is it lost on the people of KZN. The failing ANC in this Legislature does not care about the people it is supposed to serve.

The failing ANC-leadership in this province has and continues to make a mockery of this Legislature. Critically, it has failed and continues to fail the people of KZN by not delivering on its mandate to improve and to address issues of the past through service delivery and job creation.

In 2019, the people of KZN have the power to bring about change when they go the ballot box. The kind of change that will release the true potential of our province and which will see the installation of a government that cares about the people and which will build One South Africa for All.

 

DA to petition Parliament to hold Bheki Cele accountable for Stanger 1.4% conviction rate

Dean-Macpherson

Democratic Alliance Media Statement by Dean Macpherson MP – DA ILembe Constituency Head

DA to petition Parliament to hold Bheki Cele accountable for Stanger 1.4% conviction rate

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will submit a petition to National Assembly Speaker, Baleka Mbete to hold Police Minister, Bheki Cele accountable for his steadfast refusal to address the crisis unfolding in Stanger after the DA revealed that the Police could only obtain a 1.4% conviction rate for murder, rape and robbery which was only beaten by the 0% conviction rate for hijacking in the last financial year.

It has now been 80 days since the DA requested the Police Minister to visit Stanger and address this failure by his police officers to protect the community. It has been more than two weeks since the DA marched with residents to the police station demanding Cele comes to Stanger, a request which he has arrogantly not acceded to.

This comes against the refusal of the Stanger Police Station to come to the rescue after a man was attacked on his farm and according to the man, the police station hung up four times after pleading for them to come to his rescue.

Eventually, a private security company arrested the attacker, handed him over the police station only for the attacker to be released a short while later.

It is becoming abundantly clear that the Minister, the police and the failing ANC simply don’t care about the criminal paradise that Stanger has become.

That is why we will now hold the Minister accountable through the Police Portfolio Committee and get to the bottom of why Minister Cele has such disdain for the people of Stanger as well as demand a turnaround plan from the Police including our request for the entire station management to be fired.

Communities such as Stanger require an honest, a professional and well-trained police service to protect them from criminals. What we see in Stanger today could not be further from this and the DA will not rest until heads roll.

DA saddened by the killing of a local businessman

Democratic Alliance media statement by Katheleen Naidoo, CLLR

DA Mandeni Councillor

 

DA saddened by the killing of a local businessman

 

The Democratic Alliance would like to send condolences to the family of the late Skyton Recycling owner at Mandeni Arnold Watkins who was brutally murdered last night. It is alleged that he was attacked at his home and shot with his own gun.

 

The high crime levels in Mandeni are a reflection of the whole country. Under the ANC government, South Africa is a dangerous place and our citizens are preyed upon on daily basis. Communities live in fear.

The DA is deeply saddened by this loss. Watkins was a longtime resident of Mandeni and was always willing to lend a helping hand to his community. The DA will be visiting the family to pay our last respect.

eThekwini Mayor blocks question on Fan Parks spending

Democratic Alliance media statement by Nicole Graham, CLLR

DA Ethekwini Caucus Leader

 

eThekwini Mayor blocks question on Fan Parks spending

 

The Democratic Alliance is deeply concerned about Mayor Zandile Gumede’s conduct in today’s eThekwini Executive Committee Meeting. After a presentation from Durban Tourism about the Soweto Derby Fan Parks at the weekend, which cost the city R3.6 million, a number of questions were asked by the DA.

 

The questions included a detailed request for the costs of the fan parks, particularly the beachfront venue which cost R3 million. We also requested details as to why the venues for the township fan parks had changed from what was agreed by the EXCO previously.

 

The company who approached the municipality for partnership reportedly called Comfort Fuze, doesn’t seem to have much online presence or track record. Company details were also requested by the DA.

 

Officials reported that Eyadini, one of the venues added on, made over a million rand on Derby Day. If this is the case, the DA questioned why they should be getting further municipal support.

 

The Mayor refused to allow officials to answer the questions, merely stating that she trusted them. She refused to allow DA Councillors to ask to follow up questions or get to the bottom of this matter.

 

Whilst the DA support the idea of the fan parks and encouraging tourism, there are too many unanswered questions about this item. Whilst the DA’s attempts at getting answers were thwarted by the Mayor, we will be following up with the municipal manager to ensure accountability.