NEWS & ANALYSIS

DA is turning local govts around – Solly Malatsi

Spokesperson says there is clear proof of improving quality of life where party governs

As ANC municipalities crumble, the DA is turning local governments around

7 August 2019

This week marks the three-year anniversary of the 2016 Local Government Elections when South Africans gave the Democratic Alliance (DA) a mandate for change and entrusted us with governing more than 30 municipalities across the country.

Where we have governed, we have excelled in providing services, creating jobs, keeping communities safe and rooting out corruption.

Where we govern, residents not only have clean running water, more homes, more jobs and a better quality of life, but DA governments are beating the odds in growing local economies in spite of a gloomy national economic picture:

- The most recent consolidated report by the Auditor-General (A-G) showed that, 13 or 72%, of municipalities with clean audits were DA-run – 12 in the Western Cape and 1 in Gauteng.

- The Quarterly Labour Force Survey report released last week, once again showed that the Western Cape obtained the lowest expanded unemployment rate in the country at 23.8% compared to a national rate of 38.5%.

The City of Cape Town, in the past financial year, generated R2.7 billion worth of investments, creating more than 4 700 jobs and at least 2 100 people were empowered with skills training.

- Last month, Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba, announced that preliminary figures showed that the City’s Department of Economic Development had facilitated more than R16 billion in investments to revitalise the inner city and cater to business. The multi-party government led by the DA, has also ensured that the City spent 91% in Capital expenditure, has a debt redemption fund valued at R2.5 billion, spent 100% of its Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) funding, and has long term assets to sufficiently cover long term liabilities.

- In Midvaal, despite being a relatively small municipality, Heineken and Ferrero Rocher have plants in the municipality because they can rely on it to keep the lights on and the taps flowing with water. Sedibeng Brewery has also made a R3.5 billion investment in the municipality which created 3 500 construction jobs.

- Kouga is set to become the first municipality in the Eastern Cape to roll out free, unlimited WiFi to the public following an in-principle agreement between the Council and Cell C.

These are not mere statistics, they are measures of improving quality of life. They show that the DA in government turns circumstances around, and keeps on steadily improving.

The ANC on the other hand has a different story to tell. From potholes and water shortages to polluted rivers and debris strewn streets, corruption, theft, neglect, nepotism - the ANC has shown that it cannot deliver basic, quality services to its residents.

The state of ANC-run local governments is appalling. And where the DA is in opposition, we spend every day highlighting these issues and fighting for better services for residents.

Some examples of appalling ANC failures we have raised just in the past few weeks include:

- The Mangaung Metro, under ANC governance, has had its credit rating slashed this week by Moody’s by a massive three notches, due to serious political mismanagement and risk of debt defaults. This is a shocking indictment on how the ANC governs metros and mismanages municipal finances.

- For the past two weeks, the Mogalakwena Municipality in Limpopo has descended into chaos as two ANC factions are at war for control of the Council – schools and businesses have shutdown as the Mayor is “in hiding” and failing to address the instability. At the same time the Municipality is spending almost R650 000 to send municipal officials to Zambia for a sporting event.

- In Taung, in the North West, ANC-card carrying members are alleged to be exclusively hired for the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPW) jobs, whilst those who are not affiliated with the ANC are overlooked.

- Tswaing Local Municipality, also in the North West, has been placed administration for the third time. Clearly the past two interventions, have not yielded any real results as it instead created further financial instability and a lack of service delivery.

- The Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality, in Free State has all but collapsed as the ANC-run municipality owes R4.5 billion to its creditors and has failed to pay Eskom debts since August 2017.

- In Limpopo, the DA has uncovered that a simply unacceptable 50% of promised houses have not been built by the ANC government in the past 5 years. Hundreds of thousands left without their homes, by the ANC.

- In the Eastern Cape, in Bedford, at Raymond Mahlaba local government, ANC factions and labour unions have clashed, shut down the town, completely stopped service delivery and burnt down the municipal store.

- In Ekurhuleni, the ANC government spends R3 300 a month per chemical toilet, in an outlandishly inflated contract, while a housing project for 29 houses in Tembisa remains unfinished and unusable with over 90% of the contract price R4.6 million, paid to the builder.

This stands in stark contrast to the DA’s record of getting things done.

Today we shine a spotlight on Kouga and Midvaal. These municipalities, under the capable leadership of Mayors Bongani Baloyi and Horatio Hendricks, have made significant contributions to the betterment of communities.

These two governments are being highlighted today because they are both DA-majority Councils. And both demonstrate what can be done when a DA majority is able to govern a local government.

Kouga – Delivered by Mayor Horatio Hendricks

Under the DA’s leadership the municipality is now more financially stronger than it has ever been. The collection rate increased from 72% in August 2016 to 94% in August 2019. The municipality's cash-on-hand almost tripled from R70 million in June 2017 to R214 million in June 2019.

The DA-led council also adopted an anti-corruption strategy and established a Financial Misconduct Disciplinary Board.

Kouga municipality implemented a borehole project to augment its water supply and secured R151.2 million in drought funding for ground water development and Water Conservation and Demand Management projects.

Thirty boreholes were drilled at Jeffreys Bay, Oyster Bay, Hankey and Patensie, with 12 delivering good yields and quality. Seven boreholes were drilled at Humansdorp. The test results are being awaited.

The municipality has also invested millions to upgrade its water and wastewater treatment works, benefitting thousands of households.

Under the previous ANC regimes, the building of new government-subsidised housing came to a standstill. This changed under the leadership of the DA when in 2017 work started on the top structures of 391 houses at Kruisfontein. Another two housing projects are currently underway and another seven are in the advanced planning stage.

When the DA took over in 2016, Kouga had almost 4000 household which still relied on a bucket toilet system. The DA-led municipality is currently in the process of eradicating more than 2000 bucket toilets through current housing projects, and has also launched a multi-year programme in the 2018/19 financial year to eliminate the use of buckets in Kouga entirely.

The regional landfill site at Humansdorp and Hankey waste site were upgraded, an official recycler was appointed, and new drop-off zones were opened at Jeffreys Bay, St Francis Bay and Oyster Bay. In addition, the municipality has started distributing wheelie bins to households to replace black bags. A total of 7 713 wheelie bins were delivered to Hankey, Patensie, Loerie, Thornhill and Humansdorp during 2018/2019, with the roll-out set to continue in the new financial year.

In 2016, the DA-led municipality inherited a vehicle fleet which was almost entirely broken. Only 4% of the fleet was fully operational. A fleet replacement plan has subsequently been implemented, by the DA, and at least 90% of the fleet is in operation daily.

We also became the first municipality in the Sarah Baartman district to launch an app-supported call centre for residents to submit service requests. A total of 35 201 service requests and faults were resolved through the Kouga Call Centre and Link service delivery app during 2018/2019. This is more than double the number of 17 298 that were resolved the previous year.

From 2017 to 2018 the DA-led municipality distributed an historic 1 827 title deeds. A 98-year-old resident from Patensie recently became the official owner of a home for the first time.

Tuli Wilson Tanda had been living on the property for more than 15 years, and only under the DA was it registered in his name in July 2019 for the first time.

The DA-led Kouga will be pioneering the first road made from plastic waste in Africa, a stronger and more durable alternative to traditional asphalt mixes. A total of 7 785 potholes were repaired during the 2018/2019 financial year and 32 roads and parking areas, totalling 140 977m², were resealed.

Kouga is poised to become the first municipality in the Eastern Cape to roll out free unlimited WiFi to the public. An agreement has been reached between the Council and Cell C.

To ensure the safety of both residents and visitors in Kouga, the DA-led municipality installed security cameras along the main beachfront of Jeffreys Bay, for the first time,  and spotlights were recently erected at the informal settlement in Donkerhoek and at the entrance to upper Vaaldam.

Midvaal  - Delivered by Mayor Bongani Baloyi

The DA-led Midvaal municipality is consistently rates as one of the best run municipalities, not only in Gauteng, but nationwide.

Midvaal was one of only 18 municipalities in the country, and the only one in Gauteng, to receive a clean audit for the 2017/2018 financial year, its fifth consecutive one.

The 2019 Good Governance Africa Government Performance Index ranked the municipality as one of the top ten performing municipalities in the country and the 2017/2018 findings of the Gauteng City Region Observatory’s Quality of Life Survey found that while overall satisfaction with service delivery in Gauteng is decreasing, the overall approval of the quality of services provided by Midvaal is steadily increasing.

Infrastructure investments include upgrades to the bulk electricity supply, a new reservoir, resurfacing and rebuilding of roads, bulk water pipe replacement and upgrades to the sewer pipelines. In the current political term, the municipality will spend:

- Over R95 million to improve water supply in Midvaal including Sicelo and other informal settlements;

- R21 million on electrifying Sicelo and R19.5 million on electrifying the RDP sections of Savanna City

- R43 million for tarring 23 km of roads in our municipality and R42 million to maintain our existing road network

This is why companies like Heineken, Ferrero Rocher, Paramount Trailers, New Hope, BSI Steel and Twin Boats have all chosen to establish and grow their businesses within the Midvaal municipality. Sedibeng Brewery alone has made a R3.5 billion investment, creating 3500 construction jobs, and is currently looking to expand its supply chain locally, through purchasing barley from 32 local farmers.

To date the municipality has:

- Allocated R6.6 million to train and provide opportunities for the youth in Midvaal.

- R1 million to equip young people with skills that would enable them to run their own businesses.

- R5.5 million identified across all our municipal departments to benefit graduates, particularly those who have completed the Kgatelopele training programme.

In this past financial year, the municipality appointed six youth-owned cooperatives under the primary contractor from the Kgatelopele companies. In the coming weeks the DA-led Midvaal municipality will also be launching the “Midvaal’s Sebenza Imbokodo Fund”, which will provide start-up capital for female- owned small-scale businesses in the informal sector and assisting them to take their business to the next level.

Midvaal will also be engaging young people through the “Just Start Programme” which aims to address the need for people to access available land to start their own agricultural and farming projects. In the current political term, the municipality will lease 300 hectares of land for agriculture, including 100 hectares to the youth.

Conclusion

Key, to our brand and our promise, is that change is tangible under the DA. This is our offer to South Africa.

It is clear that the DA’s unrivaled record of excellence in governance extends beyond the Western Cape.

By focusing on service delivery, infrastructure development, investment promotion and programmes to assist jobless young people, the record in Midvaal and Kouga has shown that the DA is the only party focused on expanding service delivery and breaking the hold of the unemployment crisis.

The DA is ready to take this message of delivery and jobs to the people of South Africa in 2021. Our governments offer the people of this country more than just talk shops, plans and summits.

Where the DA governs, people see tangible change.

When the DA says ‘we are the only party that can turn things around’ it is not just some empty slogan. We mean it because everywhere we govern, we have proven that we can turn things around.

Issued by Solly Malatsi, DA National Spokesperson, 7 August 2019