DA calls on Education MEC to account for misspent millions

Democratic Alliance media statement by Dr Rishigen Viranna, MPL

DA spokesperson on Education

DA calls on Education MEC to account for misspent millions

 

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is deeply alarmed by the latest Auditor-General’s findings which show that KwaZulu-Natal’s Depart of Education (DoE) misspent millions, with almost R20 million in wasteful and fruitless expenditure and more than R4 billion in irregular expenditure.

Despite an annual budget of more than R50 billion, this Department, under MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane remains under immense financial pressure. This makes it all the more important that every single rand is spent prudently.

To add to this, the A-G also highlighted in his audit that ‘effective and appropriate steps were not taken to prevent irregular expenditure’. This leaves the budget open to corruption. The majority of this irregular expenditure was found to be from the National Schools Nutrition Programme tender that was set aside on the basis of allegations of corruption.

This financial misconduct has a direct impact on learners, educators and individual schools within KZN. Our province’s schools are already severely underfunded in terms of departmental funds transferred to schools as Norms and Standards, with the DoE admitting in its 2018/19 Budget, that it needed R752 million to meet the national norm.

Currently, the Department funds the poorest schools – those that fall within Quintiles 1, 2 & 3 – at R955 per learner. This is way below the national recommendation of R1 243 per learner. These funds are used for maintenance of schools, paying municipal bills, security, textbooks and stationery.

These funds are also supposed to be in support of our poorest learners who go to No-Fee schools. Yet due to the massive mismanagement of funds, the Department has wasted more than R4 billion in irregular expenditure and alleged corruption. This is money that should have been transferred to schools to improve the conditions of our learners and teachers. Instead many remain in a deplorable state due lack of maintenance, with some schools having their electricity and water cut due to non-payment.

The A-G’s findings have again highlighted how little this failed ANC government cares about the interests of both learners and teachers in KwaZulu-Natal. The DA expects MEC Dlungwana to account to the province’s Education portfolio committee for his failure to properly monitor funds within his Department.

Education is the best tool to empower our future generation to escape from the poverty trap. The DA will continue to fight for learners to get the funding needed to create educational opportunities and we will continue to fight against corruption and mismanagement within the Department of Education.

Failing ANC fiddles while Cato Crest public protests escalate

Democratic Alliance media statement by Thabani Mthethwa, CLLR

DA EThekwini Chief Whip

thabani mthethwa

Failing ANC fiddles while Cato Crest public protests escalate

The Democratic Alliance and aggrieved members of the Cato Crest community, met with the Cato Manor South African Police Services following a week of violent protests. The Cato Crest community has been plagued with a series of public protests which saw the destruction of both private and public infrastructure.

The spike in public protests and riots are said to be perpetuated by the illegal selling of plots which contribute to the increase in the number of informal dwellings in the area. Cato Crest has for a few months now been experiencing violent protests by people who want to illegally occupy land. The violent protest action has resulted in municipal property being destroyed and municipal vehicles burned just two weeks ago.

During Thursday and Friday’s protest, there were attempts to burn the community hall, library and the local clinic. During those moments Cato Crest was a battlefield between the land invaders and Metro Police, resulting in the damage of the private property innocent law abiding citizens.

Just last night scholars from Wiggins High School had to be brought to safety as a classroom and a learner’s car was set alight. During all this Ward 29 councillor’s office was set alight while windows to the community hall were vandalised.

Making matters worse, the local clinic has not been open to the public since attempts to burn it to the ground were made during last week’s protest. This is now affecting scheduled consultations with residents and the delivery of healthcare which is a constitutional right violated.

An idea that was echoed by the ANC now not only affects those who are against land grabs but also the very same ANC public representatives who without fail call for expropriation without compensation in every council meeting when the opportunity arises. Reckless remarks about land that now only divide us a people as opposed to uniting us for amicable solutions.

Cato Manor SAPS will be motivating for the deployment of Public Order Policing to control the situation as they have expressed their concerns of being understaffed and under-resourced.

Residents of EThekwini need a solution for the housing challenges they are facing. Residents of EThekwini need access to quality long lasting jobs that will enable them to afford quality housing. The Democratic Alliance is the only party with a proven record to speed service delivery and that basic services.

Our people cannot be hostages in their own homes, and will not be held at ransom by a handful of vigilante who feels they are above the law. The destruction of property in the quest for access to housing and other services only takes us numerous steps backs. There are better ways to address a number of concerns. At this stage, the situation in Cato Crest needs the intervention of provincial government.

In building One South Africa All, the 2019 general elections is an opportunity for citizens to make a decision between continued corruption or better services. The call is for residents of Cato Crest to refrain from damaging property to project their dissatisfaction but rather follow due process by voting against corruption.

We will be monitoring the situation and will continue to engage with residents for an amicable solution, that has the best interest of all at heart.

KZN SAPS ban: DA holds break-through meeting with Acting Commissioner

Democratic Alliance media statement by Zwakele Mncwango, MPL

DA KZN Leader

KZN SAPS ban: DA holds break-through meeting with Acting Commissioner

 

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has today held a breakthrough meeting with KZN SAPS Acting Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Mkhwanazi, following the recent alleged banning of public representatives, including Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPLs), from access to SAPS stations in the province.

Last month the Acting Commissioner issued a circular to all SAPS station and cluster commanders in which he stated that MPs and MPLs should not be allowed access and that parliamentary portfolios committees must first obtain permission from the Provincial Police Headquarters before inspections.

Following today’s meeting with the Acting Commissioner, the DA is able to announce the following resolutions:

-Political party structures are prohibited from conducting oversight visits at SAPS facilities.

-Members of the Provincial Legislature and Parliament can continue to conduct oversight visit as part of their Constitutional obligations. These are set out in Sections 55(2), 114(2) and 206(3) of the South African Constitution. These oversight inspections may be announced or unannounced and;

-The Acting Police Commissioner will ensure that all cluster and station commanders would be advised of this.

One of the Acting Commissioner’s biggest worries relates to security at SAPS stations. The DA understands this concern and it has been agreed that when MPs and MPLs conduct their oversight inspections they should present their Legislature IDs to the most senior person at the SAPS facilities.

In addition, the DA will engage with the Speaker’s Office to ensure that all public facilities are provided with a list of Members details. We will also request that the Speaker’s Office look at ways in which the current card system can be improved upon in order to prevent the use of fraudulent identification.

Today’s meeting is a landmark one. It shows what can be achieved through communication and teamwork. It is also a victory for the people of KZN who deserve to know how professional their police force is.

Most notable throughout this entire episode is KZN Community Safety MEC, Mxolisi Kaunda’s silence. This is representative of a failing ANC that does not believe in transparency.

The DA remains committed to fighting for a safer South Africa where people know they have the protection of an honest and professional police service.

DA welcomes firing of eThekwini Legal Head

Democratic Alliance media statement by Nicole Graham, CLLR

DA EThewkini Caucus Leader

 

DA welcomes firing of eThekwini Legal Head

 

The Democratic Alliance in eThekwini welcomes the dismissal of eThekwini Legal and Compliance head, Gideon Phungula.

Phungula was found guilty of racism, gross dishonesty and hate speech last week and was sanctioned on Friday. The ruling, in the possession of the DA, speaks extensively to Phungula not feeling answerable to the City Manager but rather to certain politicians. This has been a key concern of the DA. How could a legal head have been appointed for political gains, and by whom was this done?

The ruling also speaks to Phungula’s use of derogatory racial slurs against Krish Kumar and other Indian colleagues. The DA had reported this matter to the Human Rights Commission, and fervently rejects racism of any sort.

Phungula’s exit from the city cannot be the end of this matter. The Democratic Alliance has written to City Manager, Sipho Nzuza, demanding to know just how Phungula was employed.

Phungula’s own admissions show that senior administrative posts are being given to those doing the ANC’s dirty work and that politicians are clearly involved.

The DA believes that a full investigation needs to be conducted by the City Manager to clearly indicate which politicians were involved in hiring Phungula and for what purposes. They too must be taken to task for this. The DA believes that this ruling is an important step in unravelling the kleptocracy of the ANC’s Zandile Gumede in eThekwini, who Phungula repeatedly spoke of in his recordings.

The DA stands for accountability and performance. This municipality will not succeed until the right people and doing good work for the right reasons. For years, eThekwini’s Legal Unit has been in a complete state and has been costing ratepayers hundreds of millions.

We will closely monitor the appointment of a new head and continue fighting for real change that builds One South Africa for All.

#KZNHealthCrisis: MEC cannot run from the truth

Democratic Alliance media statement by Dr Imran Keeka, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on  Health

#KZNHealthCrisis: MEC cannot run from the truth

 

Today’s KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health (DoH) media briefing – designed to excuse the numerous and ongoing failures on the part of MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo and his Department – must be seen for the crisis management that it is.

The MEC has a poor track record when it comes to being upfront about healthcare in KZN, in particular when it comes to the ongoing Oncology crisis. However, there are some matters he simply cannot run away from.

Today the DA can reveal that;

  • Addington Hospital’s Dr Nokwanda Zuma – paraded earlier this year by the MEC as the saviour of KZN’s oncology crisis – has resigned effective from the end of November.  Dr Zumashould be free to choose her own future and pursue the dreams and opportunities she believes will allow for her development
  • Dr Omran El-Koha, an oncologist from Grey’s Hospital, has also resigned. To the best of our knowledge, he has already left South Africa to pursue his career abroad.  The DA wishes Dr Omran well.

The DA expresses its gratitude for the time both these doctors have dedicated to the service of the citizens of KZN. We wish them both well in their future endeavours.

This situation leaves the province in an even more precarious state when it comes to oncology services. Meanwhile, it is increasingly clear that National Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s recent comment – that the provinces oncology crisis is over –  is completely absurd. The DA strongly condemns his reckless haste. We regard this as a purely political move aimed at protecting the image of a failed ANC MEC – one who has violated the rights of patients to access oncology services.

Today, the DA expects MEC Dhlomo to ensure that he is not economical with the truth, particularly when the facts are there for all to see. In fact, the DA would go so far as to say that this MEC should no longer be trusted to provide any credible information because, like the apartheid government, his information is selectively distributed and every attempt is made to keep matters hidden instead of ensuring transparency and openness.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) report into the province’s oncology crisis was a tool to remedy the situation, with firm directives on what needed to be done. The DA has always been of the view that any corrective process to turn KZN health around, must start with firing MEC Dhlomo.

The DA’s call to fire MEC Dhlomo is not a lone voice. It is one echoed by civil society and various organisations. The question is – what is Premier Willies Mchunu waiting for? More suffering and death? Minister Motsoaledi and his ANC leadership can no longer continue to protect this MEC.  Their complicity in the deaths of some 530 people must be punished at the ballot box next year.

The DA offers functional healthcare services where we govern. We also deliver clean governance, with the Western Cape the only provincial health department to consistently ensure clean audits.  We want to offer this to the people of KZN after next year’s election.