Why is Gauteng Health no longer recording hospital-acquired infections?

The Gauteng Health Department used to record infections that patients got in hospitals, which are largely caused by poor hygiene, but now says that they do not record these infections.

Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa says in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature that “there is no syndromic recording, only laboratory based data of all positive cultures is kept” and that “from the laboratory results register there is no differentiation of origin of infection.”

The technical name for hospital-acquired infections is nosocomial, which refers to infections that are caught in hospitals, often caused by organisms that are resistant to antibiotics.

Two years ago the department disclosed in a reply to my questions that there were 1533 hospital-acquired infections from 2012 to 2014 and this caused 20 deaths.

Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital was the worst hospital for infecting patients, with 376 patients getting nosocomial infections in 2014, and 13 died, mostly babies from Klebsiella pneumonia.

I have no doubt that there are still hundreds of nosocomial infections in Gauteng hospitals that could be prevented with better hygiene, but these are no longer being recorded.

It is essential to monitor these infections so that prevention efforts can be targeted at the problem areas.

I suspect that the department may be covering up these infections as they could lead to huge medical liability payments.

Ramokgopa says that the department is following World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines in curbing nosocomial infection which is caused by the following factors: Microbial agent, Patient susceptibility, Environments and Bacterial resistance.

Some hospitals do very well in this area, such as Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital which only had 8 nosocomial infections in 2014, which shows that infection rates can be kept down with proper care.

Proper monitoring and effective interventions are needed to ensure that patients do not get infections while in hospital.

SAPS not doing enough to prevent crime, drugs and gangsterism

The DA calls on both Gauteng Department of Community Safety MEC, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane and Provincial Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Deliwe de Lange to urgently intervene to ensure residents’ safety and to fight crime in Brixton, Langlaagte and Sophia Town.

The Gauteng Provincial Legislature Community Safety Portfolio Committee held a community engagement in these areas, and we discovered that drug dealing, gangsterism and crime is rife in these areas and the police are not doing enough to prevent it.

Despite the fact that there are police stations in these areas, the community claims that SAPS is failing to fight crime and to enforce the laws.

The communities are living in fear of their lives. They no longer report crime as they have no confidence in the police and are on many occasions threatened by the gangsters.

There is no police visibility in these areas.

SAPS is failing in its responsibility to prevent, combat and investigate crime, as well as to create a safe and secure environment for all people in South Africa as enshrined by the constitution.

The DA believes that it is the responsibility of the SAPS to prevent anything that may threaten the safety or security of any community and to ensure criminals are brought to justice.

We will hold both MEC Nkosi-Malobane and Provincial Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Deliwe de Lange to account to ensure that police do their duty of preventing and combating crime in these areas.

The ANC-led government has failed to prevent crime and to protect people from being the victims of crime.

The DA-led City of Johannesburg Coalition have initiated the recruitment of 1500 more JMPD officers, increasing the force by 50%, to change the fact that our residents are in fear while criminal operate with impunity. The K9 Narcotics Unit, which we established soon after coming into office, has successfully affected hundreds of arrests, seizing hundreds of kilograms of drugs.

The constitutional mandate of policing, deterring crime and investigating criminal activity lies with the South African Police Services (SAPS) and national government.

In 2019, when the DA is voted into power, we will increase the number of operational SAPS members, ensure that new SAPS members are appropriately trained, improve recruitment practices and improve shift management systems to ensure that the highest levels of service delivery are achieved.

Turf wars bloodbath in Greater Westbury requires urgent intervention

Over the last few days, at least seven people have been shot, four of whom have died, in the greater Westbury region, which encompasses Newclare and Coronation. Despite this, there appears to be no increased level of policing in the area. This is unacceptable and more visible policing and investigative resources need to be placed in the community. If Sophiatown Police Station is unable to do this, resources should be brought in from elsewhere.

On Monday, the SAPS was called to the scene of a shooting only to arrive two hours later. Furthermore, according to members of the community, the SAPS then left, leaving the body of the deceased in the street and only returned four hours later with a mortuary van. This shows the complete inability of the Sophiatown SAPS to handle a murder crime scene. A scene should be protected and properly investigated for forensic evidence and any body should be appropriately removed as soon as forensics are complete. Leaving victims lying in the open is traumatic for family and community members.

The issue of drugs and gangsterism has been an ongoing issue in this community. Community members have previously protested against alleged inaction from the SAPS and some members of the police being in the pocket of gang lords. No tangible action has been taken in this regard.

The community are desperate for assistance and an acknowledgement of the severity of the problem. They feel as if they have been forgotten and that nobody cares. They are too scared to come forward with information as their families are threatened with violent repercussions should they do so.

Provincial Police Commissioner, Lt. General Deliwe de Lange, and Community Safety MEC, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, should, as a matter of urgency, petition the Police Minister for the re-instatement of the Specialised Gang Units to ensure crimes of this nature are properly investigated. This would be a priority under a DA-led government.

The continued lack of action by the ANC government in these matters shows they have no will to protect the people of Westbury/Newclare who are facing danger every day.

No water, desks or chairs at Diepsloot schools

The DA calls on Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to urgently intervene at three schools in Diepsloot that are severely affected by water and sanitation challenges and a shortage of desks and chairs.

During my recent visit to three schools in the area, Paradise Bend Primary School, Diepsloot Primary School and Diepsloot Secondary School No. 2, l was shocked by the unsanitary and inhumane conditions that the learners are exposed to on a daily basis.

These schools are being affected by a low water pressure system, so there is barely a trickle of water emerging from the taps.

The schools’ toilets are not functioning as there is no water for flushing. Learners are relieving themselves at the back of the classrooms which is unhygienic and poses a health danger to these learners.

Paradise Bend Primary School’s infrastructure is old and dilapidated. The school is using mobile classrooms and needs to be rebuilt with brick and mortar.

The same goes for Diepsloot Secondary School No. 2 which is also using mobile classrooms. There are no smart boards in grade 11 and 12 classrooms due to the necessary infrastructure not being available in mobile classrooms. Some classrooms do not even have electricity connections.

This school is also facing a severe shortage of chairs and some learners are sitting on broken chairs without all the legs.

Access to water, sanitation and electricity is a basic human right as guaranteed by our constitution. It is deplorable that learners struggle to access such basic necessities while MEC Lesufi boasts about the state of school infrastructure in Gauteng Schools.

We need to realign our priorities to ensure that the basics are in place in all our schools.

MEC Lesufi must ensure that the schools’ water pipes are connected to the City of Johannesburg’s water system.

We will submit questions to establish the MEC’s plans to ensure that chairs are delivered to Diepsloot Secondary School No. 2, get plans on when Paradise Bend Primary will be rebuilt and when will all these schools get running water connected to municipal infrastructure.

Gauteng Tourism Authority legal fees triple in 2016/17

According to the Gauteng Tourism Authority’s (GTA) annual report, legal fees have tripled from R94 064.00 in 2015/16 to R371 583.00 in the 2016/17 financial year.

Coupled with this, the GTA’s liabilities have increased from R18 579 086.00 to R32 305 737.00 in a single year.

This information makes it is clear that the agency has entangled itself in a number of legal matters that have caused unnecessary costs to the residents of the province – and taken away funds from programmes that should be stimulated to grow tourism in Gauteng, as well as stimulating job growth.

Gauteng has huge potential for tourism, especially considering that Africa’s busiest airport is located within the boundaries of the province, with thousands of local and foreign travellers arriving every day.

Given the current high rates of unemployment in the province, particularly amongst the youth, tourism development should be a key driver to counter joblessness and open up doors of opportunity to those who are out of work.

Unfortunately, this has not been the case and the cost of legal battles will only hamper the growth of this sector.

The DA will probe what these legal fees have been incurred on and what plans the agency has to mitigate and contain future legal action that may be taken against it.

Sexually transmitted diseases soar in Gauteng

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have increased dramatically in Gauteng in the last two years, with more than 500 000 patients treated last year in public hospitals and clinics.

According to a written reply by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature, the STIs treated in 2015 and 2016 were as follows:

Ramokgopa says that the 20 – 29 age group is the most affected, and that more females are attending public health facilities than males. The reasons are attributed to social, behavioral and biological factors.

It is disturbing that STIs like syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea have increased so sharply. While they are curable, their presence increases the risk of HIV-infection.

More efforts are needed to highlight what can be done to prevent STIs, and to provide swift effective treatment to prevent an epidemic amongst young people in particular.

DA Gauteng congratulates Mayor Baloyi

The Democratic Alliance in Gauteng congratulates Midvaal Mayor, Bongani Baloyi, on making the list of the 100 Most Influential Young Africans 2017.

This accolade is testament of the innovative and citizen-focused leadership of Mayor Baloyi.
Midvaal, the DA’s first Municipality in Gauteng, has always stood out, and this is due to the hands-on and deliberate leadership of Mayor Baloyi.

In the last financial year, Midvaal was the only Municipality to achieve a clean audit, while ANC-led municipalities failed in this regard. Despite its size, Midvaal has worked to attract massive investment and subsequently bring unemployment below the national average. Furthermore, the Municipality has worked to ensure that quality services are delivered to all residents.

Mayor Baloyi, the country’s youngest Mayor, epitomises the idea that the time is now for young people and that the youth are capable to lead when they given the opportunity to do so.

Mayor Baloyi stands tall as a positive example to all South Africans, young and old.

DA action forces municipality to keep the lights on

Following a picket by the DA last week outside the Merafong municipal building the embattled ANC-led Merafong municipality has made a hasty payment to Eskom to avoid load shedding.

This followed the municipality’s failure to honour its arrears payments arrangements for the R129.5 million that it owed the power utility.

However, Merafong is nowhere near to turning their financial woes around.

During a council sitting last week the Merafong Council was asked to condone irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounting to more than R11 million and R16 million respectively.

This wasteful expenditure was in respect of interest on arrears accounts like Eskom, Rand Water, Telkom and many more. Furthermore, deviations from the Supply Chain Management Services amounting to R1.8 million had to be condoned because provisions of the Supply Chain policy of Council had not been followed.

Deviations are a recurring problem dating as far back as 2012. In forensic audit reports in the DA’s possession damning findings have been made against municipal staff members, yet no action has been taken.

It is unsurprising that the West Rand District Municipality (WRDM), which is also in very serious financial trouble, is pushing for the establishment of a Metro Council which will be made up of all the local municipalities in the West Rand.

In moving towards this goal the Merafong Council adopted a shared services agreement with the WRDM which includes the provision of bulk services in terms of Section 84 (1) of the Municipal Structures Act despite there being no public participation on the matter.

It appears the ANC is trying to force the formation of a metro by stealth, again leaving the people behind in favour of their political party agenda.

The DA opposed all the above items in Council and demanded that our opposition be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

We will continue our campaign to fight for the people of Merafong and to compel Gauteng Cooperative Governance MEC Paul Mashatile to intervene and use the Constitution to bring about a financial recovery plan for the Municipality.

We will table a motion in Council that a ring-fenced account be created for the payment of utilities so that the people’s money meant to pay for water and electricity reaches Eskom and Rand Water. We will seek an urgent meeting with MEC Mashatile to lay out the way forward.

Still no repairs to mouldy Joburg Provincial Clinic

Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa says that the Jeppe Street provincial clinic in inner city Johannesburg will re-open on 1 October, but no building work whatsoever has taken place there since it closed in April this year for renovations.

I discovered this when I visited the clinic last week to see how the renovations were going. The door was locked and a hawker outside told me that nothing had happened to the clinic since it was closed.

See photos herehere and here.

The Department of Infrastructure Development is responsible for hiring contractors and Infrastructure Development MEC Jacob Mamabolo says in a recent written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature that the refurbishment of this clinic is on track to be completed by October this year at a cost of R396 000.

But this is obviously not going to happen, which seriously inconveniences more than 2500 patients every month who have been diverted to the Hillbrow Community Health Centre.

The clinic was closed in April following my visit to this clinic which exposed the terrible conditions that led to it being shut down for repairs.

The roof is defective and the dampness has led to a smelly mold on the walls, see photo here.

This poor condition is despite R2 million spent by previous contractors to fix the clinic a few years ago.

It shows the incompetence and false promises of the Infrastructure Development Department which is notorious for choosing poor contractors who fail to do the job.

MEC Ramokgopa and MEC Mamabolo are both out of touch with what is really happening at this clinic, making false promises about repairs while patients suffer.

SA Meter Taxi Association makes major positive move

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the announcement by the South African Meter Taxi Association (SAMTA) this past weekend that the e-hailing app YooKoo Ride will be made available to all metered taxi drivers.

This positive step is an exact reflection of a recommendation made last week at a mobility summit, jointly organised by the DA and the Freidrich Neumann Foundation (FNF), at which a panel discussion of the Uber/metered taxi confrontation concluded that any taxi driver had the right to create his or her own app, to level the playing field in this unpleasant situation.

Hopefully, this signals the beginning of the end of the stand-off between these two public transport modalities, which has claimed too many lives and endangered the lives of both commuters and drivers. To this end, the MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, has done little to end the turf war between e-haling and meter taxis.

The DA believes that a free market encourages innovation and economic growth, and no one should have a monopoly on a product or service.

The DA welcomes the win-win solution, which should benefit transport operators and commuters alike.