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'Poor Municipal Audit Outcomes Signal an Inability to Comply'

Date Released : 04/11/2016

The PSAM says hard questions need to be asked about why municipalities are still not following the correct governance procedures.

Open Budget Survey 2017

Date Released : 29/08/2016

The 2017 Open Budget Survey (OBS) is underway. The OBS is the world’s only independent, comparable measure of budget transparency, participation, and oversight.

Alicedale finally set to get RDP houses

Date Released : 18/08/2016

Alicedale in Makana municipality will soon receive its first low-cost government housing development in 20 years with the construction of 338 units. The town, a railway junction between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown, has not received a government housing development since 1996 due to a long- standing stalemate over land rights between the national Department of Public Works and Makana municipality.

Life of Squalor while home used as clinic

Date Released : 23/07/2016

PORT Elizabeth woman with a disability has been living in squalor for the past six years while the RDP house built for her, and on which she had pinned all her hopes for a better life, was being used by the government as a clinic.

Rental Housing in Focus

Date Released : 24/06/2016

Finding decent, well- located and safe accommodation for rental in Grahamstown is almost an impossible task. Rent is too damn high in this city even for the so-called ‘middle class’. Thus most people who are in the ‘GAP market’ end up taking rental accommodation in the poorer neighborhoods in Grahamstown East. Studies on housing affordability suggest that when housing costs exceed 30% of the household income it becomes unaffordable.

Fixing the houses

Date Released : 10/06/2016

Over the years we have become accustomed to stories about RDP houses that crack and threaten the lives inside them merely a few years after being built. News about sub-standard quality housing has become so frequent that people have begun to expect it. “Well, no surprises there”, one would causally joke at reports of houses falling apart.

Housing List Myth

Date Released : 20/05/2016

In 2013 the Grocott’s Mail reported that the then mayor of Makana Municipality, Zamuxolo Peter, confirmed allegations of corruption in the allocation of RDP houses in Extension 10. The former mayor was quoted to have said: “council had investigated the matter and discovered that the field workers had scratched names off the list and replaced them with those of friends and relatives”. Last week, Grocott’s Mail published the story of the housing lists march led by UPM which took place on the 12 May 2016 in Extension 10. The article noted, once again, that “many of the residents claim that last minute changes were made to the lists, that their names were removed and their houses given away or sold to other people whose names did not appear”.

E Cape to invest in major projects to boost economy

Date Released : 04/03/2016

The Eastern Cape government says it will implement some cost cutting measures and invest on major projects to stimulate economic growth in the province.

PSAM Researchers provide analysis for EC SOPA 2016

Date Released : 19/02/2016

PSAM researchers within the The Monitoring and Advocacy programme (MAP) in PSAM attended and provided analysis for the Eastern Cape State of the Province (ECSOPA) address for 2016 which was delivered by the Premier Phumulo Masualle.

Taxpayers' money must not be used to buy votes

Date Released : 16/01/2016

In an unprecedented move, municipalities have been warned not to splurge their budgets on activities that are aimed at campaigning for votes.

EC Drop in Matric Results no Surprise

Date Released : 09/01/2016

This year’s drop means the province is the worst performing province for two years in a row.

MEC backs dredging appeal

Date Released : 05/12/2015

A LEGAL appeal against a provincial government decision to deny permission to dredge silted Kowie River canals and dispose of the spoil in nearby sand dunes has succeeded.

Confusion over writing of ANAs

Date Released : 01/12/2015

Confusion over the Annual National Assessments (ANA) reigned in East London yesterday as some schools admitted to having written the tests while others said they were waiting for pupils to return before they could be completed.

DA official in hot water over shops remark

Date Released : 29/10/2015

A DA councillor has landed herself in hot water after she allegedly told a meeting on xenophobic violence in Grahamstown that foreigners should have fewer shops.

The police appeal to the people of Grahamstown on Xenophobic Attacks

Date Released : 26/10/2015

The police appeal to the people of Grahamstown

Open letter following xenophobic looting in Grahamstown

Date Released : 22/10/2015

A special meeting of civil society organisations and popular movements was held today, Thursday, October 22, 2015 and convened by the Unemployed People’s Movement and the Rural People’s Movement (RPM) in Grahamstown to deliberate on the xenophobic looting, its impact and implications with a view to find lasting and peaceful resolution in defence of human and fundamental rights of the people.

BCM cuts power to ratepayer renegades

Date Released : 12/10/2015

THE four-year free ride for Buffalo City’s nine ratepayer renegades has ended. Power to the boycotters was promptly cut on Friday, within hours of the Dispatch hitting the shelves with an article that said they had been diverting their rates payments into a private bank account.

Zuma asked to stop EL rate boycott

Date Released : 09/10/2015

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has been asked to help ensure that nine ratepayers from Beacon Bay go back to paying their rates into Buffalo City Metro’s coffers

SIU probe into E Cape education limited to one tender

Date Released : 21/09/2015

After the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) announced that it would be launching a probe into the troubled Eastern Cape education department, the Mail & Guardian discovered that it would only be probing one incident: the awarding of a tender to the Siegesmund Trust

E Cape DA calls for local municipality to be dissolved

Date Released : 10/09/2015

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, has called on the provincial Co-operative Governance MEC, Fikile Xasa, to dissolve the Makana Local Municipality council

SA’s budget still transparent, but devil is in lack of details

Date Released : 10/09/2015

THE newly released Open Budget index for 2015 is widely seen as the global measure for national budget transparency, so it is an important achievement for SA to have remained one of the top performers.

New Mayor Illegal says DA

Date Released : 31/08/2015

Local government watchdog PSAM says if the DA's allegations about how Makana's new Mayor was appointed are true, the Council's Speaker should declare her incumbency null and void.

Open Budget Survey 2015

Date Released : 21/08/2015

On 9 September 2015 the PSAM will participate in the release of the 2015 Open Budget Index (OBI) . The OBI is an assessment of budget transparency and oversight in 102 countries and the PSAM undertook the study of South Africa on behalf of the OBI.

Qualifications amnesty has UDM unhappy

Date Released : 05/08/2015

UDM bosses in the Eastern Cape have distanced themselves from a proposal to grant amnesty to civil servants who have fake qualifications.

Give ‘fake’ civil servants amnesty, UDM tells Bhisho

Date Released : 04/08/2015

MEMBERS of the UDM caucus at the Eastern Cape legislature are calling on premier Phumulo Masualle and the ANC government to give amnesty to all civil servants who declare they have fake qualifications.

Letter to SA gov questions fitness to lead Open Government Partnership in Oct

Date Released : 27/07/2015

In terms of transparency and openness, the South African government has fallen a-foul with many organisations and institutions in the past for not revealing information

Zimbabwe FSAM Alumni Meet

Date Released : 16/07/2015

On the 9th of July, past Zimbabwean participants of the PSAM Fundamentals of Social Accountability Monitoring course met for the first time in Harare.

MEC’s financial interests remain secret.

Date Released : 01/07/2015

Durban - An MEC and six MPLs in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature have not declared their financial interests two months after the April deadline.

Special Investigations Unit to probe Eastern Cape Education

Date Released : 03/07/2015

The troubled education department will be probed but there are doubts this will make any difference.

Special Investigations Unit to probe Eastern Cape Education

On June 24 President Jacob Zuma signed a proclamation authorising the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate what has been described as South Africa’s worst education department.

But sources question whether this latest intervention in the Eastern Cape will bring change to the real cause of the collapse: feeble leadership and the forces undermining it.

Read: A timeline of what happened in the Eastern Cape education department to warrant an investigation by the SIU

The SIU has been tasked with probing allegations that include serious maladministration, improper or unlawful conduct by employees, and unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money by the department, the presidency said last week.

These problems have manifested in tender irregularities, unpaid teachers, vacant teacher posts, teacher strikes, fluctuating leadership, and court action over furniture, transport for scholars and inappropriate infrastructure. This situation has had a devastating effect on pupils, many of whom walk tens of kilometres to schools that are built of mud and have insufficient teachers.

The rot reached a destructive enough level to warrant several interventions and investigations, including a section 100 intervention in 2011 in which the basic education department took over the province’s administration.

The public protector looked into the failure to provide workbooks on time in 2012 and 2013, a problem caused by the lack of “functional co-ordination structures” in the province.

The auditor general’s 2014-2015 report said the department was being investigated by the police and the Hawks over irregularities in contract management for furniture and catering at school hostels.

But none of these actions has had a significant effect.

An attorney for the Grahamstown-based Legal Resources Centre (LRC), Cameron McConnachie, said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s leadership in terms of her section 100 intervention “has gone unnoticed on the ground”.

“Of the six priority emergency areas Motshekga cited as reasons for intervening, only one – school nutrition – has seen significant improvement and that was not because of the intervention,” McConnachie told the Mail & Guardian.

“The other areas are still a shambles: scholar transport is in crisis, with thousands of children left out, thousands of teacher posts remain vacant, improving infrastructure and the eradication of mud schools is years behind schedule, and there is very little evidence of planning, accountability or financial management.” He said it was arguable that education in the province was the same or possibly worse than it was four years ago.

The LRC has at least four court actions against the department.

The education researcher for the Public Service Accountability Monitor, Zukiswa Kota, said the weak administrative systems of the department were “so pronounced as to have essentially proved resistant to national interventions and several high-level ‘turnaround’ strategies and the section 100 intervention is perhaps the best example of this”.

“While there were some pronounced changes, some of the fundamental problems persist, particularly those pertaining to financial management, personnel and leadership.”

She said, while the executive leadership in the form of the executive committee members remained stable, the relative instability in the post of the superintendent general “continues to pose administrative challenges for the department”.

In 2013 superintendent general Modidima Mannya walked out early on a three-year contract. Departmental head Mthunywa Ngonzo was suspended in the same year over allegations of mismanagement of a R46-million school furniture tender.

Problems created by a weak and unstable leadership were exacerbated by the “ongoing tensions between the South African Democratic Teachers Union and the department”, said Kota. It created “administrative tumult”, an example being the “initial welcome and subsequent ousting of the ‘corruption-busting’ Mannya”, but has resulted in delays at the expense of teaching and learning. She said no change would come because of “slow, delayed, weak disciplinary action that is neither effective in ensuring improved management nor enough of a deterrent”.

“Leaders like Mannya [who] have taken decisive action against fraud and corruption in the past [have received] inadequate support and even hostile responses.”

SIU spokesperson Ayanda Maki said the investigation would start when Zuma published the signed proclamation. “We are in the process of planning the investigation team, the approach and thereafter [we] will be able to advise of time frames.”

Neither the provincial nor national education departments responded to the M&G’s questions.

Source mg.co.za/article/2015-07-02-special-investigating-unit-to-probe-eastern-cape-education 

Victoria John

Last Modified :Fri, 03 Jul 2015 09:43:17 SAST

Agency terminates ‘Illegal’ toilet Deal

Date Released : 23/06/2015

Dark clouds now gather over Amathole’s R631m Siyenza tender. The original contract used by the Amathole District Municipality (ADM) as a basis to award a R631-million sanitation tender to the controversial Siyenza Group has been terminated.

Time is running out

Date Released : 05/06/2015

The Makana council approved the Budget and Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for 2015/2016 at a Special council meeting on Friday 29th May 2015.

Video profiles PSAM’s PAIA efforts

Date Released : 11/06/2015

“Thanks to the South African History Archive (www.saha.org.za), the following video profiles the efforts of the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM) to acquire the Rapid Assessment Survey

PSAM Researchers Present Paper at HSRC Conference

Date Released : 26/05/2015

PSAM Researchers Thabani Mdlongwa and Thokozile Mtsolongo presented a paper entitled Civil Society in the Public sphere-The experiences of MCSC and ECHAC at the recently held 5th African Unity for Renaissance Conference at the University of Johannesburg (Soweto Campus) from the 22nd-25th of May, 2015.

PSAM Researchers attend Workshop of Makana Workstreams

Date Released : 20/05/2015

PSAM Researchers attended the Workshop of Makana Work streams organised by Rhodes University at the Graham Hotel on Wednesday 20th May.

SAHA Conducts PAIA Training Workshop in Makana

Date Released : 16/05/2015

The South African History Archives (SAHA) , SAHA recently conducted a Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (PAIA) workshop on Saturday 16th May 2015 for community members in Makana muncipality.

Human rights need effective planning.A Crisis of Legitimacy.

Date Released : 20/03/2015

A basic condition for service delivery that contributes to rights realisation is effective planning, budgeting and oversight, and in this regard the evidence for Makana is bleak

Ironman disruption averted after traffic cops paid R3.6m

Date Released : 26/03/2015

AN INTERNATIONAL embarrassment was averted at the 11th hour yesterday when the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality coughed up R3.6-million to pay traffic officers who had threatened to disrupt the Ironman triathlon in Port Elizabeth on Sunday by blocking the routes.

Big need to bolster the ECD centres.

Date Released : 17/03/2015

THE Eastern Cape government was falling behind in rolling out early childhood development centres (ECDs) at schools. This was among areas of concern raised in a report issued by an Eastern Cape watchdog, the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM).

Makana council set to lift lid on Kabuso.Yako confirms damning report to be made public

Date Released : 14/03/2015

THE damning final forensic report on the shocking state of Makana Municipality will finally be released to the public and at least some of those implicated may soon find their heads on the chopping block.

Auditor General to give Public Lecture at Rhodes -19th March

Date Released : 13/03/2015

The Auditor General– Mr. Kimi Makwetu will give a Public Lecture at Rhodes University on the 19th March.

HIVOS and PSAM Facilitated an E.Cape Brokering Engagement session.

Date Released : 11/03/2015

HIVOS and PSAM recently facilitated an Eastern Cape brokering and engagement meeting with various stakeholders on the 11th and 12th of March as part of the Making All Voices Count (MAVC), Programme.

Allocation of R105bn for housing welcomed

Date Released : 26/02/2015

THE Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and the municipality have welcomed Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s budget allocation of R105-billion for housing and associated bulk infrastructure requirements for the 2015-16 financial year.

Makana rescue was invalid

Date Released : 28/02/2015

THE five-month-old provincial intervention into the administration of the dysfunctional Makana municipality has been declared null and void after procedural requirements were reportedly not followed.

State blows R30Billion on Consultants

Date Released : 23/02/2015

National and provincial government departments have spent more than R30?billion on consultants in the past financial year.

Support Promise for Makana

Date Released : 26/02/2015

Two more experts, including an engineer, will arrive in Grahamstown next week to boost the gargantuan task of rebuilding the city's infrastructure

Hands Off Yako, Say Institutions. Administrator ‘on right track’

Date Released : 27/02/2015

GRAHAMSTOWN rallied behind Makana municipal administrator Pam Yako when parliament’s National Council of Provinces (NCOP) came to town to check the progress since she took over.

Oversight Visit to Makana Municipality by NCOP (Parliament).

Date Released : 23/02/2015

The Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs of the (NCOP) will have an oversight visit to Makana Municipality on Wednesday 25th of February 2015.

Zimbabwe Lesson Learning

Date Released : 23/02/2015

PSAM Zimbabwe partners Community Working Group on Health (CWGH), Southern Africa Parliamentary Support Trust (SAPST) and Zimbabwe Women's Resource Center and Network (ZWRCN) recently met and held a reflection and learning workshop.

PSAM Researchers attended the Eastern Cape State of the Province (SOPA) address.

Date Released : 20/02/2015

PSAM Researchers attended the Eastern Cape State of the Province (SOPA) address on the 20th of February 2015.The address was delivered by the Premier Phumulo Masualle

Infrastructure needs billions invested

Date Released : 09/10/2014

Ageing framework requires urgent fix to avoid huge disaster BILLIONS need to be invested in fixing and maintaining South Africa's ageing infrastructure to avoid a water catastrophe in the near future.

MEC may have to pay legal fees from her own pocket

Date Released : 20/10/2014

A judge in the South Gauteng High Court (SGHC) has ordered the current MEC for Health in Gauteng, Qedani Mahlangu, to appear before her.

Corruption: We’re gatvol

Date Released : 05/10/2014

Until it becomes “embarrassing to be caught with one’s hand in the cookie jar”, South Africa is never going to beat corruption.

Tighter rules against municipal graft

Date Released : 22/09/2014

The government has introduced measures to ensure that there is national and provincial oversight over the process of investigating and disciplining senior municipal officials and councillors who are suspected of financial misconduct or criminal activities.

The shock report Grahamstown hid from the minister

Date Released : 20/09/2014

Town boss flees mob in same week as Gordhan demands reasons for council's water mayhem.

Demand for probe of ECape municipality

Date Released : 08/09/2014

A local government watchdog in Grahamstown is demanding an investigation into allegations of maladministration and corruption that have led to the collapse of the Makana Municipality in the Eastern Cape town.

Call for urgent provincial intervention for Makana

Date Released : 19/08/2014

Rhodes University’s Public Service Accountability and Monitoring (PSAM) have called on the provincial government to make an immediate intervention in Makana Municipality as provided by the Constitution when a municipality fails to carry out its duties.

PSAM calls for BCM officials to go

Date Released : 03/07/2014

A WATCHDOG organisation yesterday called on the Buffalo City Metro mayor, her deputy and other elected

Workshop aims to empower activism

Date Released : 22/05/2014

LEGAL minds from around South Africa will converge on Grahamstown this weekend for a workshop on strengthening student activism at Eastern Cape universities.

Makana after the elections - time to deliver

Date Released : 20/05/2014

The dust has settled after the 2014 National Elections and the African National Congress (ANC) has been voted into power for the next five years both nationally and provincially, in the Eastern Cape.

Makana Councillors declare interests

Date Released : 07/03/2014

Councillors and senior municipal employees of Makana municipality released their declaration of interests on 3 February. This declaration details financial interests and any business interests that they or a close family member may have.

Accountability is for life not just for voting time

Date Released : 19/03/2014

THIS year has a retro 1994 feel about it – that year South Africa experienced a mush- rooming of political parties, with campaigning taking place at every corner of the country, and political parties promising voters heaven and earth. The majority of South Africans were to vote for the first time, and many parties wanted to win their votes.

Makana Municipality makes small strides in the right direction

Date Released : 28/05/2014

Makana municipality has started 2014 on an encouraging note and is making little strides to clean up its tarnished image and get down to the real business of providing quality service delivery for the citizens of Grahamstown.