JOBURG HOSPITAL LIFTS STILL BROKEN

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Health Spokesman

Just what does it take to do a relatively simple thing like fix the lifts at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital?

I visited there yesterday and found that lifts at two of the five blocks at the hospital are still broken despite endless promises they would be replaced.

This affects pregnant women and children as the maternity and children’s wards are located in these blocks.

All four lifts at Block 2 are broken, and another three lifts at Block 1, where the goods lift can still be used.

Staff at the maternity ward told me how they had wheel patients through other blocks in order to get to a working lift to take them to a ward on another floor. This could take as long as 40 minutes.

I first raised the alarm about these broken lifts in November 2010. A year later, Infrastructure Development MEC Bheki Nkosi visited the hospital and promised that all the lifts would be maintained in working order.

It is an utter disgrace that patients and staff still suffer from broken lifts at this flagship hospital.

I challenge MEC Nkosi to visit the hospital again and give a firm deadline in the very near future for all the lifts to work.

DA To Push For Urgent Oversight Visits to Collapsing KZN Hospitals

Makhosazana Mdlalose, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Health

THE Democratic Alliance will push for members of the KwaZulu-Natal Health portfolio committee to conduct an urgent oversight visit to Addington Hospital, following ongoing claims that the hospital is in crisis with up to 250 patients receiving severely compromised health care and doctors being forced to breach protocol in an effort to save lives.

According to media reports, elective surgeries at the hospital have been cancelled, while, the renal unit is alleged to be filthy and chaotic. The reports also claim that essential surgical instruments, theatre drugs and other vital resources required to run the unit are depleted.

The DA views these allegations as extremely alarming. The chaos stems from the dismissal of several senior managers and supply chain staff, released following allegations of fraud and corruption. While the DA welcomes this intervention, it should never come at the risk of disrupting essential hospital services. The big question is – why were there no interim measures to replace these personnel? The Health Department knew that there was a lengthy audit to be completed. Why did they not second staff from other properly functioning hospitals, instead of watching as this once proud health institution collapses?

KwaZulu-Natal’s health department appears to be at a loss over both Addington and King Edward VIII hospital. But the allegations and counter-allegations that exist between the department, doctors and patients need urgent attention. The DA is committed to ensuring that the province’s health oversight body visits these hospitals to determine exactly what is going on and to establish what corrective measures the department is taking to reduce any further disruption to services.

DA Welcomes Decision on Former Royal Household CEO

Sizwe Mchunu, MPP Leader of the Democratic Alliance in the KZN Legislature / DA KZN Spokesperson on the Royal Household

THE Democratic Alliance in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature welcomes a decision by the Royal Household Trust board, which will see former CEO, Nkululeko Luthuli, expected to pay back funds allegedly spent on personal objects, along with other irregular expenditure totalling R3?million.

The Board’s decision comes two weeks after the DA issued a statement calling for Luthuli to be held accountable for the misappropriation of funds.

We would hope that this decision marks a step towards addressing problems within the Trust, one of which is continuous over-expenditure. The Board needs to ensure that targets are set and then met and begin developing an entity which is self-sustaining and profitable – rather than one which is completely reliant on provincial taxpayers’ money.

DA Tells Business Briefing Lamola’s Talk Is Bad for Jobs

Anthony Benadie MPL

DA Leader in Mpumalanga

The Democratic Alliance has told a business briefing this morning in Mpumalanga that ANCYL Deputy President Ronald Lamola’s reckless statements hurt business and jobs.

Anthony Benadie, DA Mpumalanga Leader said: “In this province we are asked to choose between extremists from both sides of the political spectrum. We need a constructive middle ground that cares about business and jobs, and put an end to the general decay.”

Calls by Lamola to make Mpumalanga ungovernable were wrong even though there is no service delivery in the province. Change is made at the ballot box, not with violence.

The DA called on business to work towards backing a credible alternative to the divided ANC. The party cannot use the money available for a youth wage subsidy to create jobs for young people because of internal divisions.

The DA laid criminal charges against Lamola on Sunday for statements made about violence.

DA Welcomes Teacher’s Discharge From Service

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition.

The DA welcomes the decision by the MEC for education, Ms Reginah Mhaule, to permanently discharge the teacher who allegedly beat a seven-year-old Grade 1 learner in Tonga recently.

While it may have taken long to reach, the DA is absolutely convinced that MEC Mhaule and the department’s decision was the right one, and sincerely hopes that the South African Council of Educators will endorse the MEC’s request to have said teacher removed from the educators roll.

The DA further hopes that the South African Police Service will treat the criminal investigation with the urgency it deserves, and by doing so, bringing closure to a family who are still suffering from this terrible loss.

The DA hopes that MEC Mhaule’s message of zero tolerance to corporal punishment will be received loud and clear by all learners and teachers throughout the province, and calls on anyone with information to report it to the nearest authorities.

Questions Raised Over Msunduzi Billing Tender

George Mari, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA)

REPORTS that the Msunduzi municipality failed to adhere to Supply Change Management (SCM) procedures, awarding a lucrative tender for a SMS/MMS billing service without the contract going out to tender, should set alarm bells ringing.

On 19 June the provincial COGTA portfolio committee conducted an oversight visit to Msunduzi to check on the progress of this municipality. Representatives of the DA were present when the Municipal Manager announced that a new SMS/MMS billing system would be introduced in a bid to improve debt collection – a moved welcomed by the DA.

At no time did the Municipal Manager bring to our attention the fact that the contract for this billing system had not gone out to tender and that it had been awarded under Section 36.

The Municipal Manager’s lack of transparency is a major concern made all the worse by the fact that one of the municipality’s strategies is to improve financial administration through proper supply change management. Deviation from this process has been cited as one of the main reasons for the rampant fraud and corruption, which led to the municipality being placed under administration.

The oversight visit further revealed that Msunduzi’s debt currently stands at around R899 million, with approximately R542 million of that being over 90 days. This is a huge threat to the municipality’s sustainability. The Municipal Manager did inform portfolio committee members that government debt was an ongoing problem. The DA will submit written parliamentary questions to both the province’s COGTA and Finance MEC’s requesting that the provincial Treasury develop and implement a debt management system for historic debt that remains uncollectable.

While some overall improvements were noted during the visit, concern has been expressed in the following areas;

– Water loss. Little is being done to address the huge losses through theft and leaks. Capital must also be sourced to address the ageing infrastructure.

– Staff shortages within critical vacancy areas. The Infrastructure Implementation Department has only one manager.

– Lack of skilled and effective Traffic Police. There remain officers who are still not cleared of previous transgressions, including a skills gap to establish whether they are fit for purpose.

– Forensic investigations and action against errant officials needs to be concluded to ensure clean governance. All disciplinary matters have not been concluded.

While Msunduzi may have moved out of the crisis phase and onto a more stable level, there is much work to be done before it can move into a recovery phase and, with it, a financially viable situation.

DA WILL QUESTION EDUSOLUTIONS CONTRACT IN GAUTENG

Khume Ramulifho, MPL

DA Gauteng Education Spokesperson

The Democratic Alliance in Gauteng will ask formal questions to Gauteng Education MEC Barabara Creecy about the role played by the controversial Edusolutions company in Gauteng schools.

This company has a dismal track record in Gauteng since 2002 when it was contracted to distribute stationary and textbooks to government schools and in 2009 it was re-awarded contracts in the province to supply books and teaching materials. However it supplied unwanted materials to Gauteng schools as well as charged exorbitantly high prices, for example R13.87 per pencil.

The DA believes that Minister Motshekga made another blunder by appointing EduSolutions to supply text books in Limpopo. After six months of schooling, learners in Limpopo still don’t have text books, yet despite these serious delivery problems, the minister has rejected the DA’s offer to deliver text books to learners in the province.

It is also reported that the same company is failing to supply books in Kwazulu Natal.

The DA will probe whether the EduSolutions contract in Gauteng was fairly awarded and whether we are getting good value for money and service delivery. It is really suspicious that this company gets contracts in so many provinces despite a failure to perform.

We need to know whether there is any corruption involved in this matter.

TOO MANY STAFF AT GAUTENG HEALTH OFFICE

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Health Spokesman

Staff at the Gauteng Health Department’s head office have ballooned from 1100 in 2008 to 1796 in 2011. This is a more than 60% increase in three years.

This huge increase is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Ntombi Mekgwe in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng legislature.

The number of deputy directors at this office has soared from 118 in 2007 to 180 last year. A deputy director earns about R500 000 a year, so the increase in their numbers costs more than R30 million a year.

According to Mekgwe “the increase in staff is attributable to service delivery imperatives”.

If this is so, then why has the health service actually worsened during this time?

The department is top heavy with unproductive people, many of whom have been transferred there after failing to performing in a hospital job.

Non-performers should be fired, rather than moved to head office.

The head office needs to be slimmed down so that as many people as possible are at hospitals and clinics to improve health care in the province.

GAUTENG LIQUOR BOARD IGNORES COURT ORDERS

Dr Gavin Lewis MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesman: Economic Development

It is scandalous that the Gauteng Liquor Board (GLB) has reportedly ignored court orders concerning the issuing of liquor licences to businesses.

Mr Marius Blom, a Pretoria lawyer, is threatening to send the new liquor board head, Mr Bally Chuene to jail if the Gauteng Liquor Board (GLB) continues to ignore over 23 applications for license and court orders, including one from the Pretoria High Court. Some of these applications apparently date back three years.

In 2011-2012 the multi million rand Gauteng liquor industry was thrown into turmoil by a six-month moratorium placed on the granting of new liquor licenses. The intended purpose of this was to clear up corruption in the process and to facilitate a move towards a new electronic system to speed up and smooth out the liquor licenses renewals and applications system.

But this all seems to be to no avail.

Three questions for Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Ms Qedani Mahlangu , arise from this;

1. Why is one of her agencies allowed to flout the rule of law in South Africa, in an increasingly lawless political environment?

2. Why is the new liquor licensing system not working, after the considerable disruptions to the Gauteng liquor industry, leading to revenue (and employment) losses in this important tourism oriented sector? and

3. As the Democratic Alliance has warned against in the past , why does the Gauteng government continue to appoint cadres such as Mr Chuene, himself under a considerable cloud with extensive fraud allegations against him, the “new broom” that is already apparently failing to sweep clean the Augean stables of a notoriously corrupt and inept regulatory system that is the Gauteng Liquor authority?

And finally for the industry itself, in these times of high unemployment, can we afford this sort of botched mediocrity much longer ?

SECURITY FEARS AT HELEN JOSEPH HOSPITAL

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Health Spokesman

Staff at the Helen Joseph Hospital in west Johannesburg feel insecure as various attacks have occurred there recently.

In December last year, there was an attempted rape of a medical intern.

In January, another intern was assaulted by a patient. And in April, this same patient assaulted a doctor who was so traumatised she stayed away from work for two weeks and was then transferred to another hospital.

Staff are not happy with the security at this hospital. There needs to be a separate section where patients with violent tendencies can be kept.

Protection from violent patients is a burning issue at Gauteng hospitals, particularly at casualty where many patients are drunk.

This is highlighted by the recent attack on patients and an intern at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

We need to get better value for the more than R150 million spent every year on security at public hospitals in Gauteng.