Sunday, April 17, 2011

Durban's Budget

April 15 2011

Much of the 2011/12 budget, which has increased from last year’s R25.9bn, would go towards beefing up the metro police force and hiring thousands of new staff.
But to pay for all this increased expenditure, ratepayers would have to dig deeper into their pockets.
The cost of water will increase by 7.5 percent for residential properties and 12.5 percent for businesses, while electricity, because of tariff hikes by Eskom, was set to go up by 19.8 percent from July, never mind we had and increase of water and electricity of 9.5 percent and 25 percent respectively!!!

Sanitation, rates and solid waste and cleansing have each been increased by 6.5 percent.

The DA’s Dean Macpherson said that the already high rates and fees for electricity and water usage were “unattractive” to new residents and businesses.
“This policy of continuing to take from those who are easier targets (who can afford the increase) is what will destroy the city,” he said.
“How dare we ask for more money when we can’t manage our own debt,” he asked, referring to the municipal debt owed by residents totalling R4.3bn.
It seemed, Macpherson said, that the municipality was short on economists and oversupplied with populists.
The Minority Front agreed with Macpherson.
“Increasing tariffs will not resolve problems, but will add to the burdens of an already burdened ratepayer base,” said the party’s Patrick Pillay.
The DA and MF did not approve the budget. 
The overall budget comprises a R23.5bn operating budget that would ensure that the city was able to deliver services to communities, and a R5.1bn capital budget “to ensure that we continue with our infrastructure projects”, Mayor Obed Mlaba said in his speech to council members. 

Mayor Obed Mlaba
These infrastructure projects included the allocation of R230m for the rehabilitation of houses in so-called R293 areas (areas in which low-cost housing was built by the apartheid government), and the upgrading of hostels.
The eThekwini Municipality had succeeded in building an average of 16 000 housing units over the years, he said.
And even though health care was not the focus of the municipality, the budget for this had been increased by R21m to R368m because KwaZulu-Natal had the highest HIV/Aids infection rate in the country, and also to try to prevent the spread of tuberculosis.
Job creation would also be the focus of the municipality in the coming financial year, said Mlaba. 
“We will be revisiting the municipality as an ‘incubator’ for fresh graduates.”
The workforce would be increased by 23 588 positions, he said, with the Parks and Recreation department seeing the biggest increase.
The budget for the Metro Police, meanwhile, has increased by R126m to R525m.
Macpherson, clearly unhappy with the budget, invited the council to follow in the footsteps of the DA in the Western Cape, saying the party had taken over a cash-strapped municipality and turned it around.
The ANC’s Nigel Gumede said the budget was “more than enough” and that the municipality had made achievements “beyond (its) targets”.
The IFP’s Mdu Nkosi expressed concern at the high cost of electricity.
“It’s already too expensive for many to be able to afford it,” he said. He also called for an independent audit on the municipality’s resources.
Mlaba mentioned in his speech that although the effects of the global recession still continued to be felt, eThekwini was fortunate to have been “cushioned” from its full impact because of its success in hosting the Soccer World Cup.

However, this was disputed by members of the opposition. Pillay said the Moses Mabhida Stadium was a “nightmare” for ratepayers because they had to pay for its maintenance

Minister of Sex and Lies

Minister in sex and lies scandal

Minister of Provincial and Local Government, Government of South Africa, South Africa (2008 - present)
Chairperson, Gauteng Peace and Stability Sub-Committee, African National Congress, South Africa (2007 - present)
Chairperson, Gauteng ANC Peace and Stability Sub-Committee , South Africa (2007 - present) 
Director - 2010 FiFA World Cup LOC, South Africa
Sector: Sport.
Minister of Provincial and Local Government - Government of South Africa, South Africa, Pretoria
Sector: Government & Public Administration (2008 - present)
Member - Political Committee of the ANC NEC, South Africa
Sector: Government & Public Administration (2007 - present)
Minister - Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Government of South Africa, South Africa
Sector: Government & Public Administration
Member - Constitutional Review Committee, South Africa
Sector: Government & Public Administration
Member - Land and Environmental Affairs, Government of South Africa, South Africa
Sector: Government & Public Administration
Select Committee On Land and Environmental Affairs
Member - Joint Standing Committee on Defence, South Africa
Sector: Government & Public Administration
Member - Committee On Members and Provincial Legislative Proposals, Parliament of South Africa, South Africa
Sector: Government & Public Administration
Member - Committee On Public Services, Parliament of South Africa, South Africa
Sector: Government & Public Administration
Member - National Council of Provinces, Parliament of South Africa, South Africa, Gauteng
Sector: Government & Public Administration

Sicelo Shiceka, the embattled cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister, is caught up in an unravelling web of sex, ­scandal and ­deceit.

City Press has been shown a list of names said to be current and former lovers of Shiceka, who has been on sick leave since February. BUT STILL RECEIVING HIS SALARY?? I PRESUME.....

Three sources close to Shiceka have spilled the beans on his affairs with a string of women, some of whom he fathered children with.

The minister also has a live-in partner and an estranged wife.

Most of the women with whom Shiceka allegedly had romantic ­liaisons denied it when contacted, but confirmed knowing him.

One of the women with whom Shiceka has fathered a child is Free State public works MEC Sisi Mabe, in whose presence Shiceka collapsed during a visit to Bloemfontein in February. 

A source close to Mabe said she rushed the minister to a local hospital and “camped at the hospital for days, sleeping on the benches”.

Mabe did not respond to our questions this week.

The three sources close to Shiceka confirmed that his department had seen an exodus of female ­employees. Other women were afraid to visit his office, they said.

City Press was also shown SMSes believed to have been sent by one of Shiceka’s lovers, who is unhappy with his “control freak” ­behaviour and “empty promises”.

When contacted, the woman laughed and asked whether City Press was “going to make me ­famous”. She would neither confirm nor deny the affair.

It has further emerged that Shiceka enjoyed an improper relationship with a top North West ­official at a bankrupt municipality whom he allegedly protected from being fired.

City Press was told it was unlikely that Shiceka would be fired by President Jacob Zuma because he was seen as being part of a powerful Gauteng ANC faction which ­includes ANC Women’s League president Angie Motshekga; her husband, ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga; and former housing MEC Dan Mofokeng.

This group swung Gauteng behind Zuma at the 2007 Polokwane conference.

ANC and government insiders said Zuma treated Shiceka “like a favourite son”.
They likened the ­relationship to that of former ­president Thabo Mbeki and Manto ­Tshabalala-Msimang, Mbeki’s late health minister.

Sources said Shiceka had ­fathered a string of children, some of whom lived with him.

Parliament’s ethics committee this week announced an investigation into Shiceka for alleged abuse of public office, and has referred ­allegations of wasteful spending to the Public Protector.

Shiceka was exposed last week by the ­Sunday Times, which said he had spent more than R300 000 visiting his former girlfriend, who was serving a two-year sentence in a Swiss prison.

It also said he spent R6 400 000 in taxpayers’ money on luxurious hotel accommodation, in just one year.

This week Shiceka denied the ­allegations against him, saying he was the ­victim of a smear campaign by two ­unnamed former employees whose contracts had not been ­renewed: “There are two women whose contracts have ended.

They have vowed and threatened to go down with me.

I do not abuse abafazi (women),” was all Shiceka was ­prepared to tell City Press in a ­telephone interview.

His spokesperson, Vuyelwa Vika, said: “Minister Shiceka is on sick leave. Your questions would ­require us to consult him, but unfortunately he has been given leave to recuperate and as soon as he is well enough to resume his duties he will be in a position to guide and advise on the questions.

“The minister will cooperate fully with the office of the Public Protector to respond to the allegations made about him in the media.”

A source privy to the affairs told City Press the minister’s mistresses regularly complained about inadequate attention from him, and his philandering.

“It is a power thing. He sees them as sex objects. The problem with some of these women is that they like good things,” the source said.

City Press is in possession of a commission report marked “Top Secret” and presented to former North West premier Maureen Modiselle last August.

It describes an “improper relationship” between Shiceka and Nana Masithela, the chief financial ­officer of the bankrupt Madibeng municipality.  (Pictures unavailable)

Cosatu Report 

The report, compiled by a ­company hired to investigate graft in the municipality, claims ­Masithela accompanied Shiceka on a trip to Belgium last year and also visited him in Cape Town.

Top officials tell how Masithela threatened anybody in Madibeng – based in Brits and with a yearly budget of R1 billion – who dared to oppose her, saying that Shiceka was “protecting” her and she was untouchable because he had ­deployed her to the ­municipality.

On Friday Masithela invited City Press to a meeting to discuss her relationship with Shiceka, but she failed to keep the appointment. 

Corruption Costs R 45 Million

Corruption costs E Cape health R45m


Fraud and corruption by officials and service providers have cost the Eastern Cape health department at least R45m in the past few years, it said on Monday.

A recent investigation by PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that the fraud and corruption was related to contracts and tenders, said department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo.

"The investigation revealed firstly that there was fraud and corruption totalling R13m for an air ambulance contract," he said.

An amount of R14m meant for the maintenance of medical facilities and new building activities was also lost.

"We also have an amount of R18m related to tender procurement, where at least eight officials would allegedly award tenders to their own companies."

35 companies involved

Kupelo said 35 companies were believed to have profited.

The investigation started last year and involved activities spanning a few financial years.

"All cases have been referred to the police and the officials involved have either been suspended or resigned," he said.

Eastern Cape Health MEC Sicelo Gqobana had also ordered a forensic investigation into the Port Elizabeth medical depot responsible for the distribution of drugs to the province's health facilities.

This, after he was informed of corruption at the depot which led to delays in the distribution of drugs and an overall shortage of medication in hospitals and clinics.

"Courier companies contracted to distribute medication were [reportedly] responsible... as they would collect deliveries or orders from the depot and keep the orders in their own depots," Kupelo said.

"As a result, depot staff were inundated with calls about orders that had already been dispatched," he said.

Kupelo said depot staff alleged that courier companies were delivering drugs meant for other health facilities to hospitals and clinics that had not placed an order.

Facilities that had placed orders would often receive incomplete orders as a result. 

Sicelo Shiceka Builds Emperor's Palace

Shiceka builds emperor's palace in SA's poorest village

Apr 17, 2011

Sicelo Shiceka, the minister in charge of local government, is building a new house in his home village of Ingquza Hill - in the poorest district of the Eastern Cape, where residents this week protested against the failure to deliver services such as water, electricity and sewerage. 

The lack of delivery is not affecting Shiceka. The Sunday Times has established that:
  • Municipal trucks have been laid on to ferry water to the building site for the new house - while no water is delivered to most of the community;
  • A R32-million tarred road is being routed past his house - while thousands of residents in the area don't have even dirt roads to reach their villages; and
  • His house will be among the first to be electrified.

This week, angry residents protested outside the offices of the Ingquza Hill municipality in Flagstaff, demanding mayor William Ngozi's head. 

Executive Mayor
Cllr William Ngozi

Mail:PO Box 14, FLAGSTAFF, 4810
Street:135 Main Street, FLAGSTAFF
Tel:(039) 252 0648
Fax:(039) 252 0699

"There are no roads, no taxi ranks, no street lights and no development. We blame the municipality," said protest organiser Sharon Marillier, who sent a grievance letter to Shiceka as the minister in charge of municipal affairs. It's just corruption - corruption and fraud. They are eating our money." 

This week, Shiceka became the first minister since 1994 to be probed by parliament's ethics committee, following an exposé in the Sunday Times about how he used taxpayers' money to fund his lavish lifestyle. 

The public protector has been asked to investigate his spending R335000 on a trip to Switzerland to visit his girlfriend in prison; R640000 in one year to stay in the One & Only hotel with a handful of staff, including his "father figure/sangoma"; and more than R160000 in eight months flying his extended family around the country. 

These revelations come as Shiceka's department appears to be losing control of local government. 

Nineteen municipalities have been placed under outside administration because inept or corrupt local councils have been fired. 

This week, municipal riots intensified ahead of the local government elections, and police beat and shot dead a protester in Ficksburg in the Free State.
According to recent research by the Development Bank of SA, Shiceka's home village, Ingquza Hill, lies in the poorest district municipality in the poorest province, the Eastern Cape.
Most residents have no running water and sanitation, roads are poor or nonexistent, and housing is in a shambles. 

But local authorities have "coincidentally" devoted their energies to making sure Shiceka's family home is well taken care of. 

A building contractor on the new road and two community leaders said they had seen council trucks delivering water to his building site. 

Municipal official Mkuseli Nomandindi confirmed on Friday that he had authorised the water deliveries. "It's not a problem to supply water there, even for a building site. I was just following instructions," Nomandindi said. His manager, a Mr Boyo, declined to comment. 

Not far away, in the same municipal district, an 83-year-old pensioner, Dambazana Nomlala, interviewed this week, has to rely on her grandchildren to walk 1km to fetch water from a sluggish stream. Two years ago, she lost power to her house when "tsotsis" cut the cable. Then a flood, exacerbated by a badly built council road, left gaping, irreparable cracks in her home. Now she squats with relatives. "All municipalities are bad," she said. "They have done nothing for us since 1994 - nothing." 

The new R32-million tarred road being built to the Ingquza Hill memorial includes a branch that runs past Shiceka's driveway. A school a stone's throw from the house was the only site in the municipality selected for a big-screen TV for the World Cup, and the immediate neighbourhood is one of the first being electrified. 

SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) CEO Nazir Alli confirmed this week that the road was routed past Shiceka's house, but said this was "a coincidence". Sanral is implementing the Ingquza Hill road project, identified as a priority by the local municipality. Alli said: "The project was never discussed with the honourable minister Shiceka. (He) did not play any role in the initiation, planning and implementation of the Ingquza Hill project." 

Municipal spokesman Simpiwe Thobela said Shiceka's good fortune in being on the route was "a coincidence", as was the fact that his house was in one of the first areas to be electrified. Shiceka also "had nothing to do with" the municipality's decision to place its only World Cup viewing screen in the school closest to his house. "It's just a coincidence." 

He confirmed the council had supported the road's route "for symbolic reasons".
"The road in question creates the necessary access to the heritage site of the 1960 Ingquza Hill massacre of innocent AmaMpondo by the apartheid regime," he said. 

But this is contradicted by a traditional leader with jurisdiction over the affected community, who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation. 

"We don't have a road connecting my people - the people of Ingquza - to that monument. Instead, Shiceka makes it go past his mother's house." 

Thobela said this complaint came as a "big shock", as no one had raised it at public meetings. The traditional leader said Thobela was "lying". 

"I have complained several times, but they always say, 'In the next budget, in the next budget.'" 

Madodebhunga Faku, another senior local chief and spokesman for the royal family, confirmed Ingquza community members had complained that the road went past Shiceka's house, but did not serve them. He added: "Where some of the people live there is no road at all." 

Shiceka's helicopter flips in the days before the Ingquza Hill memorial launch, attended by President Jacob Zuma, also fuelled resentment. "When he landed in his helicopter, people said, 'This is a big larney,'" said Faku. "Even (Swazi King) Mswati doesn't do that. Shiceka is living the high life - like an emperor." 
Shiceka's spokesman, Lokile Molefe, referred detailed questions to acting Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nathi Mthethwa, who said: "These questions are personal and they need his personal attention." Shiceka was off sick, he said. "At some stage, minister Shiceka has to answer those questions himself," Mthethwa added.