200 new Esidimeni compensation claims

by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

The Gauteng Provincial Government has received 200 new claims for financial compensation from families of Life Esidimeni patients who survived the botched transfer to unsuitable NGOs.

This was revealed by Thomas Masebe, the Premier’s Spokesperson, at a meeting last week of the Gauteng Legislature’s Oversight Committee on the Premier’s Office and Legislature (OCPOL).

According to Masebe, most of these claims have been verified as being covered by the Arbitration ruling made by Justice Dikgang Moseneke.

He said there had been “a few instances” of different family members disputing a claim.

Justice Moseneke ruled that R1 million be paid to each claimant for constitutional damages, R180 000 for emotional trauma, and R20 000 funeral expenses for those who died.

This means that R1.2 million will be paid to relatives of those who died, and R1 180 000 to relatives of patients who survived.

Payouts to 200 claimants would cost about R236 million.

Masebe said that one of the ways that this would be funded would be to top-slice all provincial government departments to pay for it, done on a proportional basis.

Money would also come from the Adjustment budget in November this year.

So far, R159 million has been paid to claimants, which means that the total amount that will be paid that includes other expenses will be over R400 million.

It’s a steep but necessary cost to provide redress to those who suffered, although it will affect service delivery in the province as money will be redirected from other projects.

DA calls on ANC to explain Gauteng Legislature Study Tour to repressive North Korea

by Ashor Sarupen DA MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is alarmed to learn that the Gauteng Legislature is paying for two ANC members to attend a study tour to North Korea.

The trip is being arranged without informing any other parties and it appears that the Legislature is paying for this trip in absolute secrecy.

The DA has learnt that at least one of the ANC MPLs attending is the Deputy Chairperson of Committees, Mike Madlala.

North Korea is one for the most repressive states in the world, with an atrocious human rights record, and is under global sanctions for its nuclear programme.

The DA cannot understand what the ANC wants to learn from North Korea in a legislative environment, unless this involves the creation of a one-party state.

A study tour to North Korea is a massive waste of taxpayer’s money and the only lessons to be learnt are how to repress a population, run forced labour camps and insolate yourself from the international community.

If this is the real direction the ANC wants to take South Africa, then all South African’s should be deeply concerned about the future of our constitutional democracy.

The DA will be using internal legislative processes to hold the ANC accountable for this flagrant waste of taxpayer money.

New Bara hospital acting CEO was implicated in the Esidimeni tragedy

by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the removal of Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital Acting CEO Dr Sifiso Maseko, but I am concerned that questions still remain about the role played by the new Acting CEO Dr Richard Lebethe in the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

As Deputy Director General Clinical Services Dr Lebethe was in a position to raise concerns about the botched transfer of Esidimeni psychiatric patients, and he was one of the senior officials blamed by former Gauteng Health Qedani Mahlangu.

Earlier this year I asked Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa whether there would be a disciplinary process concerning his role in the Esidimeni disaster, and she said that this was being assessed in the light of the testimony at the Arbitration hearings chaired by Justice Dikgang Moseneke.

It is unfortunate that there is a cloud over Lebethe’s head as he takes over the top position at this major hospital.

The real need at this hospital is for a permanent CEO with dynamic leadership skills, but there has been an inexcusable delay in appointing such a person since Qedani Mahlangu removed the previous CEO in January 2016.

Ramokgopa should ensure that corruption allegations at the hospital are speedily investigated and a capable new CEO appointed as soon as possible.

Is there a cover-up of baby deaths at the Thelle Mogoerane hospital?

by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

Urgent action is needed to establish why more babies appear to have died at the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital in Vosloorus and whether this is being covered up by hospital management.

I have been sent a list with the names and patient numbers of nine babies who I am told died this weekend on Saturday at Ward 2 of the hospital.

This is exceptionally serious following the deaths of two out of seven babies infected with antibiotic-resistant Klebsiella in July and August this year.

We need to know if more babies are dying because of poor hygiene, overcrowding and cross-infection at this hospital.

Workers say that the hospital’s CEO Nomonde Mqhayi-Mbambo enjoys political protection which allows her to cover up wrong-doing and act with impunity.

They have warned repeatedly that poor working conditions and staff shortages could lead to a disaster, but she has been slow to respond effectively.

I have sent the list of alleged new baby deaths to Gauteng Health Department Head Professor Mkhululi Lukhele for his urgent attention.

I fear that more babies could die if the Department does not act quickly to fix the deep-rooted problems at this troubled hospital.

The DA is committed to bring change to the lives of Gauteng’s residents

by Solly Msimanga – DA Gauteng Premier Candidate

This speech was delivered by DA Gauteng Premier Candidate, Solly Msimanga, during the start of his listening tour today with residents of Soshanguve, Tshwane. 

Fellow South Africans, People of Gauteng,

I am proud to stand before you today as the DA’s Gauteng Premier Candidate.

We stand resolute in the face of adversity. This week the coalition of corruption, the ANC and the EFF tried to take the power away from the people of Tshwane.

They tried to sneak in through the back door and undermine the good work that has been done to change the lives of our people.

The work to change the lives of our people has now begun in earnest. We are committed to serve the people of Gauteng, just as I have done for the people of Tshwane.

I am proud to be associated with a party that has offered me an opportunity to change the fortunes of the 13 million people of this province.

Turning the tide on the rot that has swept through Gauteng is and will always be at the heart of the work that we do. We are a party of humble servants who do not seek self-enrichment. Our enrichment is derived from putting people first.

We have started to bring change to the municipalities where we govern and now stand at the forefront of bringing this change to all of Gauteng’s people.

As a young man growing up in a shack in Atteridgeville, I know first-hand the challenges faced by millions of our people who continue to remain locked out of opportunities, neglected by the governing ANC that puts itself before the people whom it is meant to serve.

The disregard for our people, our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters spurred me to action.

The DA is committed to:

  • The DA will fight corruption to ensure that all public money is spent on the people of Gauteng;
  • The DA will fix the South African Police Service to become an honest and professional organisation that actually serves and protects the people of Gauteng;
  • The DA will create fair access to real and long-term jobs for the people of Gauteng;
  • The DA will fight the scourge of drug abuse; and
  • The DA will speed up the delivery of basic services.

The time has come for the people of Gauteng to be served by a government that puts their interests first.

Building a better future for the people of Gauteng means some changes need to be made. That starts with voting for the changes you want.

Just like the change that has been brought to the people of Midvaal, Tshwane and Johannesburg –together we can make the economic heart of South Africa beat once more and put the people of Gauteng first.

The DA has started to clean out the rot that we inherited in those governments and with a limited mandate, started to speed up service delivery to the people we were elected to serve. We have demonstrated our ability to govern well.

Should the DA become the biggest party in Gauteng, we will continue with the work we have started to improve the lives of our people.

A vote for the ANC is a vote for more empty promises. It doesn’t matter who leads them, they’re the same old party and they’ve had too many second chances.

We must not reward ANC failure with our votes because nothing will change.

This election is about your future, about Gauteng’s future, not the ANC’s.

Use your vote to ensure a better future for Gauteng because only the DA can bring change that builds a better future for Gauteng.