Gauteng Health MEC can’t give accurate cancer figures

by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

I am hugely concerned that Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa is unable to give accurate figures on the waiting lists and waiting times for cancer patients at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg and Steve Biko hospitals.

She admitted this in an oral reply to my questions today in the Gauteng Legislature.

She said that she could not give “figures of integrity” as the waiting figures for cancer treatment varied on a day to day basis and sometimes patients on the list had received treatment elsewhere. However, urgent cases were attended to.

Unverified figures for Steve Biko Hospital are as follows:

  • Chemotherapy – 4 weeks for first visit and two weeks for treatment
  • Radiation – 4 weeks for first visit and 2 – 7 weeks for treatment

Ramokgopa gave no figures for Charlotte Maxeke, but earlier this year the hospital’s CEO, Gladys Bogoshi, said that there were about 300 prostate cancer patients who would wait two years for treatment. She also said that waiting time for 50 breast cancer patients was four to six months, and 150 patients for gynecological and other cancers would wait three to four months.

It is unacceptable that correct figures for cancer patients are not currently available.

How are speedy interventions to be made to ensure timely treatment if there is no proper datebase?

Ramokgopa said that the Department was working on an electronic data base so that accurate statistics can be given in future, including movement of patients from one treatment centre to another.

Electronic patient records should have been in place long ago, but the Department is still haunted by the disastrous period of corruption under former Health MEC Brian Hlongwa.

DA-led Tshwane and Joburg’s track record of rooting out corruption speaks for itself

by John Moodey MPL – DA Gauteng Provincial Leader

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes the ANC’s allegations of tender and procurement irregularities in City of Tshwane and the City of Joburg.

While we question the timing of these pronouncements, which coincides with the ramping-up of the ANC’s campaign efforts, we will ensure that any valid cases are thoroughly investigated, and due action is taken.

Since taking over these two metros in 2016, we have committed ourselves to root out corruption and ensuring that there is consistent consequence management in each and every case that is discovered. Unlike the ANC, these are not empty promises.

To date, Mayor Msimanga has been able to stabilise the City of Tshwane’s finances by strengthening controls over supply chain processes, slashing unauthorised and unnecessary expenditure and extricating the City from unlawful and expensive contracts which benefitted the politically connected which the Sputla administration actively sort to cover-up. This is with particular respect to the biggest single item of ANC corruption in local government history- the PEU Smart Meter contract valued in excess of R2 billion. This DA-led administration, together with civil society, was successful in convincing the courts to set it aside bringing us closer to providing affordable electricity supply.

Other contracts entered into by the ANC administration that the Msimanga administration is currently challenging include the West Capital Project, the Moipone Fleet Contract and the Broadband Contract valued at several billions of rand.

Additionally, when the DA assumed office in Tshwane we were disturbed to find that the ANC had made approximately 900 political appointments all drawing salaries from the City which we have since slashed.

With respect to GladAfrica, we are pleased Executive Mayor Msimanga has taken this matter seriously and we look forward to his imminent announcement on the steps he is to follow should maladministration have taken place in the appointment of this contract by the officials of the city.

The DA-led City of Tshwane has also implemented much needed reforms to the City’s EPWP recruitment policy, effectively ending the ANC’s system of insiders and outsiders that previously prevented equal access to job opportunities in the City.

As of April this year, Mayor Herman Mashaba’s Anti-Corruption Unit has uncovered a whopping more than R18 billion in corrupt activities left behind by the former ANC administration. This is pertinent because in dealing with the 3500 cases of fraud, corruption and maladministration in Johannesburg, totalling over R18 billion, never once has anyone in ANC-run  Gauteng Provincial Government displayed any interest in these investigations. This includes the multi-billion rand cases of the EPG Smart Meters and the MTC Broadband which implicates two National Ministers.

This is all evidence of a DA-run City handling public money with care, ensuring it is spent on the people, not politicians.

The truth of the matter is that the ANC was in the business of fleecing the residents of Tshwane and Johannesburg and Mayors Msimanga and Mashaba have made great strides in pursuit of cutting corruption so that the residents of those metros get the services to which they are entitled.

The latest bluster by the ANC purporting to be against corruption is shoddy guesswork designed to draw attention away from the corruption that the DA-led administrations in Gauteng have had to clean up.

Our residents in the metros where we govern are experiencing real Change and improved service delivery, and this is only the beginning. We will not be deterred or distracted by cheap politicking that seeks to further oppress the residents of this province.

Gauteng premier fails to create youth jobs

by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Member of the Oversight Committee on the Premier’s Office and Legislature

Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s flagship Tsepo 1 Million programme is failing badly in creating employment for young people, placing only 1742 in long-term jobs in the first quarter of this financial year, compared to the annual target of 15 000 permanent new jobs.

This was disclosed last week on Friday at a meeting of the Gauteng Legislature’s Oversight Committee on the Premier’s Office and Legislature (OCPOL).

According to the First Quarterly Report of the Premier’s Office, which covers the period from April to June 2018, another jobs failure is that only 850 young people got paid temporary work that would develop skills and experience, well down on the quarterly target of 5000 and the annual target of 36 000.

There was also slow progress in assisting young people to establish a new enterprise or franchise – only 438 out of the annual target of 4000 new businesses.

There was more success with training and development, with 17 751 young people getting training and skills development, which is well on the way to meeting the 28 000 annual performance target.

The overall reality, however, is that most of the jobs that the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator claims credit for would have been filled anyway i.e. they are not real new jobs.

As conceded by Harambee: “labour economists disagree about whether a ‘net new job’ is really ever created in a low-growth economy (e.g. the net new job at Burger King really just replaces the job at a local restaurant that loses market share to Burger King)”.

They say that “a conservative estimate” is that 20-25% of their placements are net new jobs.

This is very disappointing as we need real jobs, not fake figures for an expensive programme that will cost R117.4 million this year.

Premier David Makhura makes big promises about job creation, but according to Stats SA, Gauteng lost 123 000 jobs in the first quarter of this year compared to the first quarter of last year. This compares to 123 000 net new jobs created in the DA-run Western Cape over this period.

A DA government in Gauteng will push for measures that assist the private sector to create real jobs on a large scale by cutting red tape and corruption, and providing the conditions where small businesses can flourish.

Gauteng Health Legal Unit grossly understaffed

by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

The Gauteng Health Department spent R94 million on private legal firms last year, but its own legal unit is grossly understaffed, with 10 out of 26 positions vacant and lawyers handling 300 cases each.

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

She says that the vacancies are due to “restructuring of the Legal Services Directorate and completion of the post-filling processes.”

Ramokgopa admits that the understaffing “affects the Unit greatly, in terms of ensuring that cases are prepared well in time, work is at the acceptable standard and presented to the MEC and HOD timeously for approval of mandates.”

I am very concerned that each of the Department’s lawyers handles about 300 cases, many of which are medical negligence cases where huge compensation amounts are claimed. There is no way that they can give decent attention to each case, some of which are fraudulent.

Furthermore, poor management has led to 6 legal officers resigning in the last year.

The Department should not be spending R94 million a year on private lawyers when most legal work could be done in-house.

I also suspect corruption in the use of private legal firms that are probably grossly overcharging.

The Democratic Alliance calls for a high-caliber, fully-staffed legal unit to handle all health legal matters speedily and cost-effectively, including the avalanche of medical negligence claims.

20 000 patients harmed in Gauteng hospitals

by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

More than 20 000 patients have been harmed by negligence in Gauteng state hospitals in the last two-and-a-half years.

This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature on Serious Adverse Events (SAEs), which are defined as an event that results in an unintended harm to the patient by an act of commission or omission rather than by the underlying disease or condition of the patient.

According to Ramokgopa, the SAEs included “allegations of negligence, incompetence of staff members, human errors, abscondment of patients and system failure”.

There is a total of 20 417 SAEs recorded from 2016 to date as follows:

2016 – 6192
2017 – 9767
2018 up to June – 4458

The Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital is the most dangerous hospital for patients in Gauteng, with 4320 recorded SAEs over this period.

The other academic hospitals had the following number of SAEs:

Steve Biko Hospital – 1789
George Mukhari Hospital – 1574
Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital – 1262

The worst SAE numbers in other hospitals are as follows:

Sebokeng Hospital – 1487
Thelle Mogoerane Hospital – 1387
Helen Joseph Hospital – 1044
Tembisa Hospital – 865
Rahima Moosa Hospital – 860
Mamelodi Hospital – 824
Leratong Hospital – 651
Far East Rand Hospital – 644
Tambo Memorial Hospital – 615
Kalafong Hospital – 413
Pholosong Hospital – 384
Bertha Gxowa Hospital – 323

Heidelberg Hospital had the lowest number of SAEs (42), followed by Tshwane District (50), Pretoria West (66), Odi (77), Carletonville (90) and South Rand (92).

Ramokgopa says that action taken after SAEs includes discipline, referral to the police, and referrals to the Health Professions Council and the SA Nursing Council, as well as various preventative measures to minimize SAEs.

The shockingly high number of harmful events to patients highlights the crisis in public health that is driving up medical negligence cases which lead to huge court-ordered payouts.

The Democratic Alliance calls for effective measures to minimize medical mistakes that are mostly caused by poor management and lack of consequences for negligence.

DA questions appointment of Ximba as the Ekurhuleni ‘Security Chief’

by Michele Clarke MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Community Safety

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng rejects the appointment, made by the Ekurhuleni Mayor, Mzwandile Masina, of the controversial police officer, Nkosana ‘Killer’ Ximba, as his ‘Security Chief’.

It is unclear what Ximba’s role will be as a ‘Security Chief’, whether he will be an advisor or head the City’s metro police department, therefore the DA will submit questions in order to get a detailed report of Ximba’s role and responsibilities.

Ximba has a criminal record and is alleged to have committed murder, assault and kidnapping.

He was also investigated for possession of an unlicensed firearm.

Ximba is known as an ally to the controversial former SAPS Crime Intelligence boss, Richard Mduli.

Ximba resigned from the SAPS in 2005 and he applied to be reappointed in 2007.

It is worrying that despite Ximba having a criminal record, the Ekurhuleni Mayor still hired him.

The ANC has a culture of employing people who either have criminal records or are being investigated for committing crimes in their structures to protect their patronage network at the expense of our people.

The same can be said about the appointment of Brain Hlongwa and Qedani Mahlangu to the ANC Provincial Executive Committee (PEC).

The DA strongly condemns the appointment of people who are still under investigation and those that have been found guilty of committing crime.

This undermines the integrity of our legal system and its bodies that have been tasked with investigating these crimes.

The people of Ekurhuleni and Gauteng deserve change which appoints ethical and professional personnel who work to put the people first.

DA calls on MEC Nkosi-Malobane to investigate allegations of victims’ mistreatment at Ikhaya Lethemba shelter

by Michele Clarke MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Community Safety

It is disturbing that the Gauteng Department of Community Safety is labelling the allegations of mistreatment of the victims of domestic abuse and their children at Ikhaya Lethemba shelter in Braamfontein as ‘malicious’ instead of investigating these serious claims.

This facility which provides shelter to victims of gender-based violence and their children is operated by the Gauteng Department of Community Safety.

There are serious allegations of mistreatment, sexual abuse and physical abuse of nine women and their children by the staff members at this shelter.

There are also claims that mothers are given expired baby products to feed their children.

The victims allege that the upskilling courses that are provided to them at the centre are not accredited.

These allegations are distressing as it is occurring at a place of safety and during Women’s Month.

These women and children are once again subjected to abuse while trying to heal and move on with their lives.

The DA calls on the MEC for Community Safety to urgently investigate these allegations.

If these allegations are proven to be true, the MEC needs to ensure that those implicated face the full might of the law.

The DA strongly condemns such crimes, women abuse has no place in our society.

The victims of abuse deserve to be treated with dignity and not to be abused and humiliated by those who are supposed to protect and assist them.

The DA will be conducting an oversight inspection at this facility to assess the quality of services offered to the victims of domestic abuse.

It’s time for Change that keeps the most vulnerable members of our society safe.

DA supports march against Qedani Mahlangu and Brian Hlongwa

by Jack Bloom – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

The Democratic Alliance supports the march today by the Treatment Action Campaign which is calling for Qedani Mahlangu and Brian Hlongwa to be removed from the Gauteng ANC’s Provincial Executive Committee.

They have both been implicated in heinous activities in the Gauteng Health Department, but continue to hold senior positions in the ANC.

In the case of Qedani Mahlangu, this is despite her role in the suffering and cruel deaths of 144 Esidimeni mental health patients.

In the case of Brian Hlongwa, presently the ANC Chief Whip in the Gauteng Legislature, this is despite the mounds of evidence that implicates him in R1.2 billion of corruption and lack of controls that continues to cripple the health department.

Gross insensitivity is displayed by the ANC in both cases as it rewards people who are culpable in misdeeds and corruption.

According to the DA’s Hlongwa Monitor, it is now FORTY SEVEN days since the Special Investigating Unit report was made public that implicates Hlongwa in massive corruption, but he has still not been fired.

How many more days before he is removed from the Gauteng Legislature and faces trial in court?

Makhura’s cabinet not in touch with reality

by Makashule Gana MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Cooperative Governance

It is now clear that Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s cabinet is not in touch with the reality on the ground. They claim that no complaints were received regarding the poor construction and shoddy workmanship of RDP houses in Gauteng from the 2012/13 financial year to date.

This is absolutely incorrect as the DA has conducted several oversight inspections to various Gauteng housing projects, for example Kagiso and Vaal which both have poorly built RDP houses.

These houses have major structural damages such as cracks in the walls.

According to the Gauteng Human Settlements MEC, Uhuru Moiloa, in a written reply to DA questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, there are no complaints received on poor construction and shoddy workmanship in government housing projects in Gauteng in the 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial years respectively.

The Project Quality Assurance (PQA) which is tasked with inspecting and approving housing projects before payments are made to the contractor is failing on its mandate.

The housing projects are approved and payments are made to contractors while houses are incomplete or not properly built.

This indicates a serious challenge of this department’s lack of quality assurance and project management.

Clearly Makhura’s cabinet is dependent on desktop information and cares little about inspecting the state and quality of the houses that have been given to our people.

Makhura and his ANC have failed to build adequate housing for our poor people who are in desperate need of housing. The DA is the only party that can bring Change and is committed to delivering quality and adequate housing for our Gauteng residents.

We will continue to hold the department and the MEC accountable in the Legislature for the poorly built RDP houses in Gauteng. The People of Gauteng deserves better.

ANC only acting on Qedani Mahlangu after public outcry

by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

I am astonished by the admission today by Trevor Fowler, the new Chairperson of the ANC’s Integrity Committee in Gauteng, that Qedani Mahlangu’s case had not previously been referred to this body for consideration.

This contradicts a statement by previous ANC provincial secretary Hope Papo in February last year that she had to explain to the Integrity Committee what happened concerning the deaths of 144 Esidimeni patients.

He was quoted as saying: “She was our deployee. She must explain to the commission what happened on the matter, and we will get a report from the integrity commission.”

But nothing happened and Mahlangu remained on the ANC’s Provincial Executive Committee.

It was only after the public outcry following her recent re-election to the PEC that the ANC is taking this matter more seriously because it is worried about losing votes in the next election.

Fowler says in an interview with the Sunday Times newspaper that due process will be followed by the Integrity Committee concerning her role in the Esidimeni tragedy.

But why has it taken more than 18 months for this to happen?

The truth is that Mahlangu has always been protected by the ANC, starting with Premier David Makhura’s failure to fire her immediately the Esidimeni deaths became known after she replied to my questions in the Legislature.

She only resigned after the devastating findings of the Health Ombudsman’s report, but was originally not on the state’s list of witnesses to appear before the Esidimeni arbitration hearings.

The ANC gave her permission to study abroad while the hearings were in progress, and public pressure was needed to force her to testify.

Earlier this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa hugged Qedani Mahlangu at an ANC march in Soweto, and said she was “still a comrade”

This shows the depth of the moral rot in the ANC, which is only concerned about remaining in power and protecting its own, regardless of the harm done to helpless people.