Welcome to the Mpumalanga Provincial Government

Responses to questions for oral reply to the Premier

08 May 2018

  1. Hon. RJ Sithole, DA, to ask the Hon. Premier

    With regards to the Rapid Implementation Unit inside your Office, can the Hon. Premier please answer the following:

    • Question I:
      Can the Premier please indicate to the House when the unit was established, and divulge its actual mandate?


      The Unit was established in April 2013. The mandate of the RIU is to, among others;
      • Oversee the departmental plans for the delivery of projects
      • Monitor and fast track the delivery of all priority projects in the Province
      • Monitor the departmental plans and progress on projects delivery and decide on unblocking initiatives in cases of delays in the delivery of specific projects
      • Ensure that turnaround time in the actual delivery of projects is in line with the project implementation plans and
      • Report to the Executive Council on a regular basis on progress made.

    • Question II:
      How much money has the unit spent since its inception


      The RIU has long been discontinued and therefore there is no current spending attached to it. However during its existence the Unit had no capital projects budget. All what it was doing was to assist departments with capacity to deliver projects on time.

    • Question III:
      How does the unit identify which projects it would like to “hijack” (for a lack of a better word)?


      The work of the Rapid Implementation Unit was to provide support to specific sector departments in order to accelerate the process of implementation. It never hijacked any projects. Its function was largely to unlock bottlenecks which resulted in under spending by user departments on capital projects. I must say that one of the reasons why most, if not all, our big capital expenditure projects were completed on time is because of the capacity that the RIU provided to departments. However the question is now irrelevant as this Unit no longer exist.

    • Question IV:
      Does the unit always follow Supply Chain Management, PFMA and Treasury Regulation prescripts when looking for service providers?


      The Unit no longer exists however during its existence the Unit followed all legislated prescripts governing Supply Chain Management.

    • Question V:
      Can the Premier please share some of the successes that have been achieved by the unit?


      During the period when the RIU was supporting departments, we were able to deliver a number of large projects within specified period. Some of these projects include, but are not limited to, boarding schools like Emakhazeni, Ezakheni, Shongwe, Steve Tshwete, Nurses Accommodation at Rob Ferreira hospital, Clinics, Early Childhood centres, transport infrastructure like bridges, roads, pedestrian crossings and many other priority projects.

  2. Hon. JJ Skhosana, ANC, to ask Hon. Premier

    In 2014 the ANC decided to dedicate its Manifesto to Isithwalandwe Tata Nelson Mandela under the theme “Together we move South Africa forward”, it has been declared as a year of Nelson Mandela to honour Nelson Mandela and his true values:

    • Question I:
      Can the Premier broadly educate the people of Mpumalanga on the core values and principles Dr. Nelson Mandela represented in society?


      On Reconciliation / Forgiveness
      One Of Nelson Mandela’s core value was that on Reconciliation, He Never Believed that the Enemy Should Be treated as he had previously treated his People. Paying tribute to Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu” referred to Mandela as “An Icon of Reconciliation and Forgiveness, A Person of Very Considerable Magnanimity”. To Mandela, reconciliation was key towards a peaceful and prosperous democratic South Africa

      On Ubuntu / Selflessness/ love
      Nelson Mandela dedicated his life to fighting for the freedom of South Africans of all colors against the institution of apartheid. He spent twenty-seven years fighting from within prison, only gaining his freedom when his fellow South Africans could claim it as well. Faith, his spiritual development and his noble purpose can be views through the prism of Ubuntu: the African ethic of community, unity, humanity and harmony. This value is synonymous with selflessness to which Nelson Mandela was a strong believer of. uTata Mandela sacrificed the comfort of family. He never saw his children grow up. He became the father of the nation without being able to enjoy the simple pleasure of being a father to his children

      On Non-racialism / Respect
      A firm believer of non-racialism, Nelson Mandela referred to the constitution “As the Sacred Covenant” when the interim Constitution was adopted he said: "We enter into a covenant that we shall build a society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity – a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world."
      Against the advice of his lawyer, he gave a four-hour closing argument at his trial. In it, he detailed the sufferings of blacks under apartheid, and he denounced the system as degrading and inhumane. He told the court that his actions with the armed wing of the ANC had been in pursuit of a free, democratic society in which people of all races are treated equally. Nelson Mandela’s respect for all races in the country may be referred to as an “achievement with no precedent in history”

      On Integrity
      Not only was Mandela a firm believer of integrity towards human, but he also valued the application of integrity in not avoiding justice by manipulating institutions of state and undermining their independence

      On Freedom for all under the law
      Nelson Mandela walked the long road back to freedom which made every South African to be free and to live free. If there was ever a human being who united these values within himself- it was Nelson Mandela. These values of Freedom and equality have over the years become universal values. In His book Long Walk to Freedom Mandela stated, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

    • Question II:
      What are the critical programs the ANC-led government will undertake to honour our icon in the year of 2018 where we celebrate his life?


      Among many other programmes that our government has planned to honour and celebrate this icon, the department of Culture Sports and Recreation shall erect a statue of uTata Mandela, which will become a permanent symbol in memory of our founding father. Government is also planning to rename all buildings within the Riverside government precinct and have advised municipalities to also do likewise. Our government will also join all South Africans on July the 18th in celebrating the centenary of uTata’s birth.

    • Question III:
      Since we have come to almost the end of the 2014 Manifesto period, can the Premier outline the key developmental and service delivery successes made to the people of Mpumalanga in implementation of the ANC Manifesto goals?


      We have made tremendous progress in achieving what we had set ourselves to achieve since 2014.
      On the Economy and jobs
      Whilst the global economic growth has been stagnant and in some cases declining leading to a slow and sometimes negative national economic growth, as a province we have seen consecutive positive growth during the past few quarters. The mining industry has had a torrid time leading to huge job losses but this was off-set by a strong growth in the services sector, financial sector and in particular the agricultural sector. After years of consistent decline, the agricultural sector has been experiencing remarkable recovery adding more jobs and reducing the levels of unemployment. However, mining which has been declining due to depressed commodity prices remains a key driver of our economic recovery given its downstream value chain contribution and the impact it has on other sectors. We have seen improvement in the manufacturing sector which has a stronger stimulatory power to directly inject output in most sectors and drive industrial development of the province. Tourism has remained resilient and has created more jobs every year. We expect this industry to continue on an upward trajectory for the foreseeable future

      On Rural development, land reform and food security
      We have been successfully implementing rural development programmes focusing on meeting basic needs, land reform and rural enterprise development, supported by localized markets, and economic infrastructure. We have doubled our investment in agricultural infrastructure in support of small-holder farmer development, prioritizing areas that were neglected in the past. We have strengthen support for co-operatives in marketing and supply activities to enable small scale producers to enter formal value chains and take advantage of economies of scale. Through our nutrition scheme we are targeting public institutions like hospitals and schools as primary buyers of agricultural goods and support for small scale producers' access to municipal markets. Our Fortune 40 programme of involving young people into agricultural production is bearing fruit and will soon be expanded to draw more young people into agriculture

      On Human settlements and basic services
      Since 1995 South Africa has been building more than a million houses over a cycle of five year period. Today we are sitting at more than 6 million houses throughout the country. In Mpumalanga during the past four years we have built more than 28 000 houses and provided basic services and infrastructure in most of the existing informal settlements to ensure that our people have access to adequate human settlements and quality living conditions

      On Education and training
      On the Education front we have improved and expanded education and training by making Grade R compulsory, and further improving the quality of basic education up to the senior level. Whilst the number of those who passed matric may not have increased the quality of the results speaks volumes. More students are now passing with a university entrance for diplomas and degrees. Our TVET college sector has been expanded, with greater support for the needs of poor students. Hundreds of our young people are enrolled on artisanship training programmes. Our government has introduced free education for all deserving first year students and this will be expanded in future. We now have a thriving university in the province

      On Health
      We have strengthened and expanded the free primary health care programme, improving management of public health institutions upgraded our health infrastructure and medication availability has improved albeit with some challenges in other institutions. We have intensified our campaign against dreaded diseases like TB, HIV and AIDS and more people are now enrolled in the anti-retroviral programme. Our programme of ensuring that chronic medication is available and delivered closer to where patients live, which will benefit hundreds of thousands of our citizens, has started

      On Fighting corruption and crime
      We have intensified the fight against corruption in the public and private sectors through measures to restrict public servants from doing business and holding public officials accountable. These are the key areas that have been guiding us for the past four years emanating from the 2014 ANC Manifesto and we are confident that we have delivered on our promises. Everything that government does is work in progress.

    • Question IV:
      What are the major challenges faced by this administration and how will it navigate against those challenges beyond the current administration?


      Our biggest challenge is unfortunately that which we cannot deal with on our own. The high level of unemployment, youth unemployment in particular, is a serious cause for concern. Of the 28 per cent unemployed people in our province 70 per cent of them are young people between the ages of 15 and 35.
      We have seen levels of poverty dropping but the challenge of inequality remains stubbornly high. The economy of this province remains in the hands of the few who were previously advantaged. Economic transformation is too slow and it is common knowledge that the private sector has been reluctant to invest in our economy. However we believe that given the recent changes in the leadership of the ruling party and in government investment boycott by the private sector will be the thing of the past. There are programmes that we as government have put in place to deal with these challenges going forward.
      These include the skilling of our youth through artisanship, the social enterprise development programme that we have started, the nutrition scheme to support young and women emerging farmers, the bridging finance that we have arranged through Mega and Standard Bank. Other banks like ABSA are also joining us in providing finance to our people.

    • Question V:
      Our revered former Premier DD Mabuza has been at the helm of the Provincial Government since 2009 and has been appointed the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa. What are the great lessons, attributes and political admirations we can draw as from the inspirational record and the legacy of Hon. DD Mabuza as former Premier of the Province?


      There is no doubt that the former Premier of this province and now Deputy President of the Republic His Excellency DD Mabuza has performed excellently in providing strong and effective leadership both at political level and in government administration. Mpumalanga has seen stability, peace and remarkable progress under his stewardship.
      Of all the attributes and lessons that we all can learn from him is his burning desire for unity in action. He not only played a key role to unify this province but has done so at national level as well.
      His passion for the socio economic development of our people especially the education and training focusing on poor communities is unparalleled. His understanding of the key role played by good economic and social infrastructure has seen this province building schools, clinics, houses, roads, training colleges, the International Fresh Produce Market that is under construction, hospitals that have been renovated and others that are under construction the list is endless. We have seen him intervening and assisting municipalities that otherwise would have long collapsed. We will remain eternally indebted to his leadership and the contribution that he has made for us to be where we are today as a province.

  3. Hon. TS Khoza, ANC, to ask Hon. Premier

    The National Assembly Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) received a progress report on the implementation of forensic investigations that were instituted against a number of municipalities across the country:

    • Question I:
      Can the Hon. Premier indicate if we have municipalities in the Province and how many are they who are part of those affected by the forensic investigations as stipulated above?


      Yes 11 municipalities within Mpumalanga are affected and they are;
      • Thaba Chweu Local Municipality
      • City of Mbombela Local Municipality
      • Bushbuckridge Local Municipality
      • Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Local Municipality
      • Nkomazi Local Municipality
      • Emalahleni Local Municipality
      • Mkhondo Local Municipality
      • Thembisile Hani Local Municipality
      • Gert Sibande District Municipality
      • Ehlanzeni District Municipality
      • Nkangala District Municipality

      The cases that were being investigated related to allegations of fraud, corruption, procurement irregularities, misappropriation of funds and undisclosed / unauthorised interests.

    • Question II:
      Since the forensic investigations were instituted in 2009 by National COGTA, how have the municipalities in the Province improved their governance challenges over the years?


      • Since 2009, municipalities have developed anti-corruption strategies, plans and policies. These strategies, plans and policies are reviewed annually.
      • Municipalities have also established risk management and anti-corruption committees that are chaired by the Municipal Managers. These committees oversee the implementation of anti- corruption and risk management plans in the municipalities.
      • Municipalities have also appointed Chief Risk Officers to deal with issues of fraud and corruption.
      • Municipalities also receive regular training from COGTA, Provincial Treasury and SALGA on anti-corruption.
      • Municipalities regularly conduct anti-corruption awareness measures to officials and councillors.

    • Question III:
      In Mpumalanga, according to the 2016/17 Auditor General’s Report Prohibited Expenditure in Municipalities escalated from R9.679 billion to R12.109 billion from previous financial year due to slow progress in finalizing investigations and lack consequence management within our municipalities. What decisive action is the Premier taking to address this unacceptable situation?


      The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) has issued two letters, each letter directed to both the Executive Mayor and Municipal Manager as the Head of the Executive and Administration respectively to all the seventeen (17) affected local municipalities in the province, directing them to implement the following measures;
      • Start and finalize investigations of outstanding cases in relation to the Prohibited Expenditures of R 12.109 Billion within three (3) months.Where investigations are not concluded within the period of three (3) months, COGTA MEC will start such investigations after the expiry of the three (3) months period, which is end June 2018.
      • Where investigations have been concluded, the Municipality should consider the recommendations outlined on the report.
      • Where there are implicated officials on the above expenditures, disciplinary actions must be instituted within 30 days from the date of that report. Where no action is taken, the COGTA MEC will assist failing municipalities in order to comply with this process.
      • The municipality must provide monthly progress report not later than the 15th of each month on the status of the above expenditures.
      • The outcome of the investigations and progress made by the municipality in dealing with the prohibited expenditure balances as at 31 June 2017 must be disclosed and accounted for on the Annual Financial Statements and Annual Report for 2017/18 financial year which will be submitted for audit on 30th September 2018.
      • District Municipalities to monitor progress on the above matters and submit quarterly progress report to the MEC on the 15th of each month after the end of the quarter.

    • Question IV:
      Which Municipalities are the major culprits in these violations and what are the main reasons for such governance failures in our Municipalities?


      All the seventeen (17) municipalities in the Province have a fair share of contribution on the reported prohibited expenditures. After detailed analysis of the Audit Outcomes for the period under review, COGTA has identified the following as reasons for the Governance failures in our municipalities;
      • Prohibited Expenditures not adequately investigated by the Municipalities.
      • Lack of consequence management which led to violation of internal controls and non-compliance to laws and regulations including SCM processes.
      • Ineffective SCM processes and procedures which led to the Municipality’s Irregular Expenditures and Over-Commitment
      • Inadequate Oversight on Municipal Performance especially on SCM non-compliance
      • Instability and high vacant rate on key positions within Municipalities
      • Key positions occupied by incompetent personnel within the Municipality.

    • Question V:
      Can the Premier also update people of the Province on the progress government is making to fulfil the ESKOM debt agreement made with various municipalities in Mpumalanga?


      We have structured an intervention for support to address a number of challenges that were left unattended for years resulting in a spate of stubborn debt escalations. The deficiencies identified are originating from administrative gaps such as poor record keeping, misleading client databases, implementation of incorrect tariffs, collapsed billing and revenue collection mechanisms as well as funds not ring-fenced for payment to Eskom which is caused by lack of accountability and ineffective oversight. COGTA working together with the Provincial Treasury, the Office of the Premier, the District Municipalities and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) have joined hands with Vodacom with the aim of addressing the following:
      • Address the inability to bill correct consumption by installing smart meters,
      • Check the configuration of the meters with correct tariffs thereby implementing correct charges,
      • Investigate the Notified Maximum Demand (NMD) and the penalties that ESKOM is charging on monthly bills,
      • Generate additional revenue by targeting low hanging fruits such as payment from Large Power Users including business and Government institutions,
      • Assist in reviewing the contracts that were entered into with Eskom that have a bearing on non-technical distribution losses, and
      • Identify and assist in eliminating all illegal prepaid vendors that are operating within municipalities.

      It must be admitted that the myriad of challenges will differ from one municipality to the other and many of the challenges may take some time to resolve. We are, however, already seeing some good results in most municipalities where these interventions have started and have been able to avoid the interruptions by Eskom. Whilst the Eskom threats will still be with us for some time until the historic debts are finally paid, it is encouraging to see that the bold step taken to address the challenges with the expertise from the Vodacom Team is beginning to bear positive results.

      With these interventions in place, municipalities such as Govan Mbeki, Emalahleni, Thaba Chweu and Mkhondo are beginning to realize additional revenue generated from the results of these interventions and have been able to ward off disconnections. I must however warn that there are some challenges with the process where some communities are still not embracing this support and are constantly disturbing the good work done on the ground.

      In Lekwa municipality for example, there are still communities that are not supportive of the project and are rejecting the installation of smart meters. I am also aware that some municipalities have not adapted to the habit of ring-fencing funds for the payment of their bills.

      Instead, the funds collected are used for other purposes. We will be working even harder to ensure that these stubborn challenges are addressed and that the noble objectives of this project are met. The Office of the Premier has also retained legal experts to unblock all legal obstacles that the municipality or the project may encounter in dealing with these matters. We are destined to make it work so that these challenges are addressed once and for all.

  4. Hon. B Grobler, DA, to ask the Hon. Premier

    With regards to the recent case where you took the former Premier Mr Phosa to court on a charge of defamation of character, in relation to a report that fingers you as an Apartheid Spy and the subsequent judgement from said case, can the Premier please answer the following:

    • Question I:
      When you took the case to court, did you do so under your personal capacity (DD Mabuza vs M Phosa), or did you do it under the banner of the Office of the Premier (Premier Mabuza vs M Phosa)?


      The litigation was a private matter between the erstwhile Premier, in his personal capacity, and Mr. Phosa.

    • Question II:
      Where did the Premier seek legal opinion on the matter, was it from state lawyer, or his personal lawyer?


      The former Premier sought the legal opinion from his personal lawyer.

    • Question III:
      How is it that the Premier feels vindicated when he lost the case against Mr Phosa with costs?


      The court had put this matter to rest when it decided that the so called spy dossier had no owner or author and it just remained a smear campaign document produced by faceless authors for their narrow smear campaign agendas. At the core of this court case was the validity of the spy dossier.

    • Question IV:
      How much in total did a legal related matter cost the Premier in this case, and where did the Premier source the funds to pay the lawyer (Was it from his own pocket or that of the state.)


      This matter was brought to court as a private matter and therefore the legal cost are also a private matter between the former Premier and his lawyers. As for where the funds came from, just like all public representatives the Premier earns a monthly salary.

    • Question V:
      Seeing as the judgement indicated that Mr Mabuza should pay all of Mr Phosa’s legal costs, how much were said legal cost and where did the Premier source the funds to make the payment (Was it form his own pocket or that of the state.)


      Question falls away in light of the above response.

  5. Hon. BD Dube, ANC, to ask Hon. Premier

    Mpumalanga Government has proven itself to be having great interest in the development of our agricultural economy. The Marapyane Farmers Training Centre and the reopening of Elijah Mango College are in the centre of this positive development:

    • Question I:
      Can the Honourable Premier update us on the development of infrastructure at these Agricultural Institutions?


      With regards to the Marapyane Farmer Training Centre
      The infrastructure in Marapyane College is still sound and is receiving the required maintenance. The following are some key projects that were carried out in preparing the facility for its role as a farmer training centre;
      • Seven (7) students residence have been renovated and are now used to accommodate farmers coming in the centre for various forms of training,
      • Eleven (11) staff houses have also been renovated and are used to accommodate the youth that actively participate in the Mpumalanga Young Farmers Incubation Programme,
      • The entrance gate has been upgraded and is now fully operational to enhance the security in the premises,
      • The parking area of the hall has been paved to enhance the multi-purpose use of the hall by the training centre and the surrounding community visiting the centre, and
      • A service provider was appointed to provide general maintenance of the centre including student and staff residences.

      With regards to the Elijah Mango Farmer Training Centre
      The infrastructure at the Elijah Mango Farmer Training Centre is also sound, although showing signs of slight depreciation. The centre is currently used by the Department of Health and South African National Defence Force. The department plans to renovate the centre in this current financial year and has allocated budget. The engineers in the department are currently on the ground to finalise the scoping. The first phase of the refurbishment of the centre will commence in the second quarter of the 2018/19 FY with the recruitment and staffing in the fourth quarter.

    • Question II:
      How many small scale farmers are receiving training in these institutions, if any?


      In Marapyane, 52 farmers were trained in cotton production through a three-week comprehensive contact programme and are now engaged in another two weeks off site training where they put what they have learnt to practice. In addition 7 youth under Mpumalanga Young incubator Programme (Fortune 40 programme) are undergoing agricultural training in the same premises.

    • Question III:
      How many jobs are already created since the establishment of the Marapyane Training Centre in particular?


      In total 47 Job opportunities have been created through the operationalization of the Marapyane Farmer Training Center, the breakdown of which is as follows;
      • 10 local people have been employed as part of the infrastructure maintenance contract,
      • 26 local labourers were employed through the EPWP programme for the maintenance of the facility and grounds. Most of the employed are youth and they ensure that the facility is always presentable to the farmers during training activities,
      • 7 Job opportunities have been created through the Mpumalanga Young Farmer Incubator Programme that is linked to Marapyane Training Centre, and
      • 4 job opportunities have been created for the catering of the farmers.

  6. Hon. SPD Skhosana, ANC, to ask Hon. Premier

    Our government through the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Affairs, has a Technology Research and Development Program which is to provide agricultural research services and also give appropriate agricultural technology to improve productivity in both crop and animal production:

    • Question I:
      Can the Hon. Premier give us a progress report on the Nooitgedacht Research Facility in Msukaligwa Municipality?


      The research facility in Nooitgedacht in Msukaligwa has been refurbished to meet the accepted standards of a research facility. To date, the department has invested R25.4 million on infrastructure that includes construction of soil analysis laboratory, refurbishment of the research building, research mechanisation and perimeter fencing. This facility has started to bear fruits whereby farmers are receiving up-to-date research information that assist them in their day to day farming activities, such as soil analysis. This refurbishment of the infrastructure has also enhanced in curbing of theft, mixing of breeds and general welfare of the research livestock in the centre.

    • Question II:
      What is done to ensure technology driven Farmers Support activities, e.g. soil analysis laboratory and the development of key skills in special areas of research in agriculture?


      There are a number of technologies that are meant to ensure that farming in the province is technology driven. In the 2016/17 financial year, the province invested in the Soil Analysis Laboratory. What informed this investment was the need to ensure that fertilizer applications are informed properly through the correct soil analysis and that proper agronomical procedures are followed in ensuring that fertilizer applications are as per the soil need. The soil testing laboratory in Nooitgedacht boasts the latest analytical equipment and already the department has started analysing soil for key variable necessary to inform fertilizer applications, nutrient and contamination loads.

      The Geographical Information Systems and Mapping Technologies of the department ensure that farm planning is done using latest mapping technologies. This is supported by continuous investments into the latest mapping software and hardware, skilling of mapping staff and continuous international benchmarking to ensure that the province has the latest technologies. Mappings are guarantees that the spatial lookup of the provincial natural resource status, disaster situation and farm boundaries are a click away to the farmers.

      The province has also developed leading skills in the area of “species diversity mapping” and “veld management,” the technology which is given to farmers as Veld Condition Assessments (VCA). This technology, which has been developed and perfected over time is used to ensure that farmers are continuously advised on the correct stocking rates on their farms. Furthermore, the technology is used to advice farmers on the nutrient supplementation needs for their livestock. The province has produced a guideline booklet that is used by practitioners in the field for proper management of the veld resources.

      Through the aquaculture and fisheries programme farmers are given latest technologies and techniques for fisheries farming. These include aquaponics, which is a technique used to ensure concurrent farming of fish with its feed. The provision of this technology is necessary given that Mpumalanga is the only inland province with fisheries potential.

    • Question III:
      What do we expect to achieve from the Nooitgedacht Research Facility after its completion?


      In line with the international best practice and the practice of most of our country’s trading partners, the research centres, equipped with the latest technologies, will play a key role in aiding decision making in farming and farming support. The centres will improve their status as areas of demonstration to farmers for the latest farming techniques and technologies. This will ensure that the goal of the province in fighting poverty, inequality and unemployment is achieved with ease.

  7. Hon. SJ Masango, DA, to ask the Hon. Premier

    In keeping with protests which turned violent in eMbalenhle, Govan Mbeki during October 2017, can the Premier please answer the following questions:

    • Question I:
      Why did the community of eMbalenhle go into a violent protest, burning municipal property and the private property of former Municipal Manager?


      The main reasons for the violent protests by communities of eMbalenhle were caused by the hostile reaction to Eskom’s actions to intermittently cut-off electricity supply on a daily basis in the mornings and afternoons. This was subsequent to Eskom’s notification through its PAJA process that there shall be intermittent power outtages due to the debt owed to Eskom by the Municipality.
      Eskom demanded an immediate payment of R150 million and due to the fact that the last payment by the Municipality through its system fell over the weekend, which meant it could not meet the deadlines set by Eskom, this unfortunately resulted in the disruptions being effected by Eskom sparking an unprecedented violent protest that left serious damages in the municipal properties.

    • Question II:
      In keeping with municipal infrastructure, what was the total cost of damages to the municipality?


      The municipality lost assets to the value of R21,8 million which included:
      • Four (4) Municipal Office buildings
      • Office equipment and vehicles which included;
        5 compactor trucks, 5 trucks, 19 bakkies, 2 Graders, 2 suction trucks, 2 front loader TLB’s, 3 tractors, 1 roller, 2 cherry picker and 2 water carts.

    • Question III:
      Service delivery has been hampered by the burning down of municipal property. What mechanisms are there to restore the damage to the property?


      Following the unfortunate damages, the Municipality had subsequently submitted the insurance claims which were duly processed by the Insurance companies. To date a total amount of R 5,5 million for fleet and R9,5 million for the buildings were already paid over to the Municipality with only the office furniture claim outstanding.
      The process of refurbishing the two satellite pay points has reached practical completion. The refurbishment process had a completion target date of 30 April 2018. The contractor is now busy with minor snags so as to finally hand-over the completed works to the Municipality.
      In addition, the municipality has been sharing the limited resources and the community works equipment across the entire municipality (Bethal, eMzinobni, Trichardt, Secunda, Evander, Kinross, Leadra, Lebohang and Eendraght) to ensure that the essential services are rendered in the area of eMbalenhle.

    • Question IV:
      Since there are no pay points in eMbalenhle, has the municipality put in temporary pay points so that loyal customers can pay their debt?


      The municipality could not be able to put temporary pay points due to limited financial resources however, the communities have been urged to utilize other options like Easy Pay via Pick n Pay, Shoprite Checkers and Standard Bank whilst the process to finalize the refurbishment of the two affected satellite pay points is underway.
      It must be mentioned that some good and law abiding patriotic citizens have been paying their services at the main offices in Secunda. This is to be encouraged and we are grateful to such members of our communities that are a shining example by cooperating towards the payment of municipal services. We wish for this to be replicated in all sectors of our communities in the Province.

    • Question V:
      What mechanisms are there to prevent such from occurring in the future?


      The Municipality has improved its mechanisms for community engagements and communication. It is important for the Administration and Councillors to stay closer to the communities they serve. Notices, loud hailing and flyers are some of the mechanisms that have been working all the time which our people understand better.
      The internet connectivity is also the modern-day mechanism through the municipal portal that communities can gain access to the municipal matters, which has also proved to have worked in other municipalities. COGTA has been directed to ensure that these mechanisms are implemented and properly monitored to ensure that our communities are always abreast with issues that concern them.
      It is unfortunate that due to such misinformation, some members of the community were angered and agitated without ascertaining the facts on the status of payment of Eskom debt. Had such information been with the communities, the violent protest action would not have been necessary.

  8. Hon RJ Sithole, DA, to ask the Hon. Premier

    With regards to the implementation of the norms and standards for education infrastructure can the Premier please indicate the following:

    • Question I:
      To date how many schools in Mpumalanga have been provided with sanitation facilities and how many still need to be provided with sanitation facilities?


      To date how many schools in Mpumalanga have been provided with sanitation facilities and how many still need to be provided with sanitation facilities?

    • Question II:
      How many learners will benefit from the newly constructed sanitation facilities?


      There is currently a budget of R291 million set aside towards sanitation programme in 2018-19 to implement of 345 projects, 248 of these projects are emanating from the 2017-18 FY, 13 are new projects that will be planned, designed and constructed, whereas 84 will be planned and designed to be constructed in 2019-20 Financial year. It is estimated that about 215 754 learners will benefit from the sanitation facilities to be provided between 2018 and 2019, respectively.
      According to the developed Sanitation Programme which will be completed in 2022, it is estimated that a total of 22 041 toilet seats will be provided to schools as follows:
      • 2450 seats to be constructed in 127 schools where there are currently pit toilets,
      • Additional 10359 toilet seats in 1088 schools where there are acceptable facilities but are inadequate, and
      • The provision of 9232 toilet seats specifically for the Grade R learners in 1047 schools

    • Question III:
      What was the cost to construct the newly built sanitation facilities?


      The Department had since 2017-18, spent about R657 million towards the alleviation of sanitation challenges and backlogs.

    • Question IV:
      Are all newly constructed sanitation facilities in Mpumalanga schools fully operational? If not, why not?


      Not All sanitation facilities within Mpumalanga are functional which could be divided into two categories vis. Sanitation facilities not meeting the norms and standards as promulgated by Department of Education E.g. Plain Pit Latrines.
      The Province to date has 127 schools which are still using plain pit latrines. Unlike other Provinces like Gauteng and Western Cape, Mpumalanga is one of the provinces which is mostly rural where the nature and extent of infrastructure bottlenecks are intense and vast which is further deepened by limited resources to address such challenges.
      Additional, there are schools with constructed waterborne toilets which are currently not functional due to the scarcity of water caused by drying up of boreholes due to sinking water table as a result of decline in rainfall and perennial drought.

    • Question V:
      When does government foresee all newly constructed sanitation facilities to be fully operational in Mpumalanga Schools?


      The Department recently embarked in conducting assessment and costing the overall sanitation backlog in schools across the province. According to the Departmental Sanitation Infrastructure Plan which is also aligned to the Department of Basic Education directive, all sanitation backlogs have to be eradicated by 2021-2022. The timelines is an ideal case scenario which could only be realized when the total estimated budget is available. It is of critical importance to indicate that the Department needs an estimated amount of R2.234 billion to eradicate all sanitation backlogs, of which R1.4 billion remains unfunded.
      For the 2018-19 financial year, the Department has planned to implement 345 sanitation projects to the value of R291 million towards the alleviation of pit toilets and demolishing of pit toilets where suitable sanitation has been provided. From the 345, 248 of these projects are emanating from the 2017-18 FY, 13 are new projects that will be planned, designed and constructed, whereas 84 will be planned and designed to be constructed in 2019-20 financial year.

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