Speech by Jack Bloom MPL in debate of SOPA

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Health Spokesperson

Madam Speaker, I have to say that I was impressed by the Honourable Premier’s maiden address.

He was frank about the anger of people in this province on various issues, and forthright about what he proposed to do about it.

But we have heard much of this before. Five years ago, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane also talked about the need for speedy change to meet the needs of the people. She called it Kuasheshwa.

The Honourable Premier gave his address a short distance away from the Natalspruit hospital.

This hospital is on a dangerous sink hole and so a new hospital has been built to replace it in Vosloorus.

It was supposed to open more than five years ago, but has been endlessly delayed by the general incompetence that plagues all major projects in this province.

Earlier this year, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane told us that it would open in July, but we have now been told that it will officially open in the next 100 days.

This probably means a September date or even later.

It’s just a continuation of the failed promises of a provincial government that has been run by the same political party for 20 years.

The Honourable David Makhura is the sixth premier of this province from this same party, for which he served a long time as provincial secretary.

He cannot run away so easily from the poor track record of the ANC in government in this province..

This is why the Gauteng Heath Department remains crippled despite three years of a proclaimed “turnaround” process.

The Honourable Premier now promises an “urgent turnaround”.

But he then puts in charge the same MEC who started the last so-called turnaround, without too much result.

I do not doubt the Honourable Premier’s good intentions. But each new ANC premier comes in trying to clean up the mess left by the previous premier, with mixed results.

We have heard it all before. Why is it that our new premier has to talk about stabilizing finances of the Gauteng health department? Why are all the other well-known problems still there, including long queues and waiting times?

I applaud the emphasis on listening and communicating with people, including unannounced visits to hospitals, police stations and other public institutions.

The late Helen Suzman used to say “go see for yourself”.

This is always worthwhile, but it’s actually a bit strange for a government not to have systems in place to pick up glaring problems in the first place.

I wish to ask what happened to the e-Maintenance Pilot Project that the Honourable Qedani Mahlangu announced in August last year at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

This was supposed to be a user-friendly way for maintenance problems to be logged by the public, and attended to in good time – minor breakdowns within 24 hours, and major breakdowns within 7 days.
It is obviously a big flop because the Health and Infrastructure Development MECs have both made visits to Baragwanath hospital, and said they were shocked at conditions there, including open sewage flows and equipment problems.

The Honourable Premier’s favourite word is “radical”, which he repeated 29 times in his speech.
This word means going to the fundamental root of the problem.

I put it to him to him that the reason all these promises of renewal and change made by former premiers have not worked is that there is a fundamental systemic problem with ANC rule.

It’s the three C’s – Cronyism, Cadre deployment and Corruption. They are all inter-related. We are shamefully barred in this House from using the words Alex and Mafia joined together, but it is the root of much of the corruption that holds back the true potential of this province (note: former Speaker Lindiwe Maseko has ruled that the words “Alex Mafia” may not be used in debate”, a ruling that the DA regards as unconstitutional).

I ask myself – can the leopard change its spots?

This is the Goliath that our David must slay.