Extra pressure on Gauteng Health after court judgement

The Gauteng Health Department faces extra financial pressure after the Constitutional Court ruled against its bid to pay off a multimillion-rand medical negligence claim over time, rather than pay it in one lump sum.

The case concerned a R23.3 million payment to a boy who is now seven years old who suffered brain damage from negligence when he was born at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. R20 million of this was earmarked for future medical expenses which the department wanted to pay as these arose.

On Tuesday this week, the Concourt upheld the rulings of lower courts that the once-and-for-all rule of common law prohibited a pay-as-you-go arrangement and that it would be inappropriate for the common law to be developed in this case.

I find it strange that the ConCourt said that the department had failed to provide sufficient evidence that paying out negligence claims in a lump sum would put strain on the health department’s budget.

This shows the gross incompetence of the Department’s lawyers as such evidence could easily have been provided.

The law must be respected, so the Department is now faced with paying this claim and other multi-million claims in a single installment, rather than trying to evade the law and having a Sheriff of the court confiscate furniture to force payment.

This ruling highlights the urgency of resolving the Department’s dire financial situation in a sustainable manner as well as effective measures to reduce medical negligence that leads to large claims.

DA horrified at shootout and unrest at Thelle Mogoerne Hospital

I condemn the shootout and continuing unrest at the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital (New Natalspruit) in Vosloorus.

Three security officers were allegedly shot by police and three others arrested yesterday after a standoff between two security companies.

A contract has been given to a new security company for the hospital, but guards from the old company pitched up and clashes ensued.

Police had to use rubber bullets to disperse the security officers. See video taken here.

Disruptions continue at the hospital which has suffered continuing problems because of poor management.

Emergency patients were diverted last week to other hospitals as medical staff downed tools because they felt unsafe as there was no security as the security guards had not been paid.

I am horrified at this violence at a hospital which should always be a place of tranquility where patients get healed.

The security company issue has been badly handled by the department.

There are deep-seated management problems at the hospital that need to be fixed as soon as possible.

It is totally unacceptable that shots should ever be fired at a hospital.

Team DA is mobilising to govern Gauteng

The following statement was delivered today by DA Gauteng Provincial Leader, John Moodey, during the introduction of the newly elected DA Gauteng Regional Chairpersons.

Good morning fellow South Africans,

Thank you for taking the time to be here this morning to engage with myself and my colleagues seated around this table.

As you may know, our provincial congress will be taking place later this month and it’s all systems go to a robust, healthy and democratic event.

In the build-up to our provincial congress, the various regions around the province have held their AGMs over the past two weeks to democratically elect chairpersons whom they have deemed fit to steer these regions on an upward trajectory towards Election 2019.

Each one of the individuals seated with me has come through the ranks of the party and espouses the values of the DA and shares the vision that the DA has for a better Gauteng when we take office in 2019.

In order to achieve the goal of ushering in a new beginning for Gauteng’s residents, it is imperative that the voices of our people, from Hammanskraal to Evaton, Dunnotar to Randfontein are afforded the opportunity to be heard.

But beyond being heard, they deserve the best guidance and leadership that we as an organisation have to offer.

Seated before you ladies and gentleman are hardworking DA members who have been chosen by their peers in peaceful democratic manner, based on their competency and dedication to the DA cause.

With me today are:

· Cllr Selby Thekiso – Ekurhuleni Regional Chair;
· Dr Heinrich Volmink – Johannesburg Regional Chair;
· Cllr Able Tau – Tshwane Regional Chair; and
· Mayor Bongani Baloyi – Vaal Regional Chair.

In 2016, we dealt a major blow to the nefarious syndicate undermining our constitutional democracy.

The ANC fell below 50% in Gauteng.

They lost Johannesburg and Tshwane to an electorate crying out for real change, for competent governance and a sense of hope.

In Midvaal, we gained more ground from a constituency that has felt the real, positive effects of a DA government.

Even in the ANC heartland of Ekurhuleni, the party no longer has a stranglehold on power and grasps at slight coalition.

In the municipalities that we govern, real change is taking place.

It is now the responsibility of those elected into leadership positions to pick up the baton from their predecessors and continue the work the DA is renowned for and to take the parties offer to a broader audience.

As the Gauteng Provincial Leader, I put my faith in these chairpersons to take the party in their regions and collectively in the province toward victory in 2019.

We will face challenges, we will have many hurdles to clear – but I am certain that through each person here the DA promise of freedom, fairness and opportunity will preserve and reform a province that has been eroded through those who care only for themselves.

Tambo Hospital is unsafe and needs to be replaced

The Tambo Memorial Hospital in Boksburg does not comply with safe building standards and needs to be replaced.

This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to a Ramokgopa “most areas” of the hospital contravene the Occupational Health and Safety Act because of the age and the dilapidated state of the structure.

Photos can be seen herehere and here.

She says that “the hospital has been subjected to conditional assessment and recommended for replacement. In the meantime statutory maintenance is being done.”

The bad state of the hospital building is very worrying for the many patients it serves in large parts of the East Rand, including Boksburg, Benoni, Kempton Park and Germiston.

It is ironic that a hospital named after Oliver Tambo is in such a bad state as we commemorate his 100th birthday.

A new hospital would cost about R800 million and take many years to build.

This is what happens when maintenance is neglected for too long.

Patch up jobs are all that can be done now, and we must hope that this suffices to protect patients in a building that fails legal safety standards.

Another tragic rural murder underpins the need for specialised units

The senseless murder of Mr Willie Barnard on his farm just outside of Merafong once again highlights the urgent need for rural safety units to be re-established to keep those who live outside of urban areas safe.

Just yesterday, the DA raised the issue of rural safety in the Gauteng Legislature, calling on Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, to liaise with the Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, to re-establish these units to keep isolated communities safe.

Two suspects were apprehended by the local CPF in connection with Mr Barnard’s murder, while the response from SAPS was nonchalant.

MEC Nkosi-Malobane must ensure that all SAPS members are trained and briefed on the nature of rural crimes. Although Gauteng is a mostly urban province, there are vast tracts of it that are rural and in dire need of better policing.

This ANC-led government is doing the people of Gauteng a disservice by not implementing intelligent policing initiatives to keep all its residents safe from harm.

Each farmer, farm worker, their families and loved ones deserve to be protected from harm.

Gauteng wastes R37 million on bad debt

Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, has indicated that under his watch the provincial government has blown R37 million on paying off interest on accounts that it failed to pay within the legally stipulated 30 day period.

Addressing the DA in the Gauteng Legislature, Premier Makhura indicated that this wasteful expenditure was primarily incurred by the departments of Education and Human Settlements.

Despite the Premier announcing earlier this year that some departments had managed to make payments within 15 days, it is clear from this figure that there is still a massive challenge faced by this administration to pay those whose services it makes use of.

This wasteful expenditure is a 41% increase from the previous financial year and is evident that this ANC-led administration is failing to stem the rot.

While the Premier indicated that Accounting Officers were investigating the reasons for the drastic increase in wasteful expenditure, and that action would be taken when they had wrapped up their inquiries, it is unlikely that anyone involved will be held liable.

Each year wasteful expenditure is incurred by this government but there have been no consequences for those who flout the law and waste Gauteng resident’s money.

This sentiment has been reiterated by the Gauteng Public Service Commission (PSC) which has stated that this administration has no consequence management policy.

This administration is no stranger to financial mismanagement. In 2015 the PSC alarmingly noted that of 121 cases of financial misconduct, only 3% of individuals were criminally charged, and of the R67 million that went missing, either through corrupt business practices, theft or negligence, only R 6000 was recovered.

These public funds could be put to better use – improving infrastructure, fast tracking housing delivery and cleaning up an overburdened health system, but instead it is now irrecoverable and of no use.

The DA will insist that Premier Makhura make available copies of the reports by the Accounting Officers and insist that those who are responsible for the waste of public funds are held accountable.