Why are Gauteng doctors not being paid overtime?

The Democratic Alliance condemns the Gauteng Health Department’s non-payment of excess overtime to doctors.

This includes doctors at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital who were short-paid R15 000 at the end of January. They have worked more than the 80-hour limit at a highly stressed hospital, but the department does not seem to appreciate their efforts.

Every year in January there is a problem with overtime payments that the department does not seem able to fix.

Despite Premier David Makhura’s frequent promises to fix this department, it continues to waste money instead of paying staff and suppliers on time.

Financial management is so poor that 78% of suppliers are not paid within the required 30 days.

Meanwhile, there are 450 doctor posts that have not been filled despite the dire need for more doctors.

Effective intervention is long overdue to ensure that the department makes all its payments on time, rather than weak excuses for failure.

 

1169 out-of-service SAPS vehicles leaves police without much-needed resources to ensure GP residents’ safety

The delivery of police services has been severely affected in Gauteng as there are 1169 out-of-service police vehicles. The inadequate number of police vehicles puts the safety of the residents at risk, leaving South African Police Service (SAPS) officers with fewer vehicles for visibility patrol, detective services and support services.

 It is unacceptable as it has resulted in police not being able to attend emergency crime scenes and has negatively impacted the work of the police officers.

This information was revealed by the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele in a written reply to the DA’s questions in the National Assembly.

According to Minister Cele, there are 569 out-of-service vehicles in visible policing, 491 out-of-service vehicles in detective services and 109 out-of-service vehicles in support services. In total, there are 1169 out-of-service vehicles in Gauteng.

 There are police stations that are severely affected by a lack of adequate vehicles in visible policing, detective services and support services. Vereeniging has 14 out-of-service vehicles for visible policing with only 20 operational vehicles; Lenasia has 10 out-of-service vehicles and only nine operational vehicles; De Deur has 10 out-of-service vehicles, and 11 operational vehicles and Krugersdorp has 12 out-of-service vehicles and only 22 operational vehicles. In terms of detective services vehicles, Mondeor has nine out-of-service vehicles and 12 operational vehicles; Ekangala has seven out-of-service vehicles and seven operational vehicles, and Bramley has five out-of-service vehicles and five operational vehicles. In terms of support services, Laudium, Dube, Doornkop, Eersterust and Vaal Marina all have one out-of-service vehicle and one operational vehicle.

 A police station unit cannot operate with only one vehicle; in the case of mechanical challenges there will then be no vehicle to use. 

 In addition, there is no specific timeframe as to when the out-of-service vehicles will be repaired and returned to their respective police stations.

 The DA will continue to put pressure on the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko to urgently liaise with her national counterpart Minister of Police, Bheki Cele to ensure that 1169 out-of-service police vehicles are immediately attended to and brought back to their respective police stations to prevent and fight crime in the province.

 We demand that the current national government must provide adequate resources to the SAPS as our residents deserve a police service that is well resourced to keep them and their belongings safe. We will also be conducting oversight inspections to several police stations across the province to assess whether they have adequate resources needed to fight and prevent crime.

 

Generator fails at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital

The Democratic Alliance is concerned that a generator failed yesterday at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital, trapping a child and a social worker in a lift for an hour before power was restored.

It is unclear whether the power failure was due to load shedding as only Block 2 of the hospital was affected. Cancer patients were particularly inconvenienced as they had to go through Block 4 to reach the oncology unit.

This generator failure is yet another example of poor maintenance of this hospital over many years.

In November last year parts of the hospital were flooded by leaking pipes.

About 40% of the hospital is still not functional after the fire in April last year, and staff are despondent about the lack of action by the Gauteng Infrastructure Development Department which is notoriously incompetent and corrupt.

A private/public partnership is urgently needed to rescue this hospital and save the lives of hundreds of patients who are not getting specialist medical treatment.

#MakhuraPPE: DA challenges Premier Makhura to reveal action taken on PPE Looters

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is challenging the Gauteng Premier, David Makhura to reveal the actions that he has taken against the Gauteng personal protective equipment (PPE) looters.

So far nothing has been done to the looters as they continue to walk free and enjoy their daily lives despite the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) report exposing all the money that they have stolen from the people of Gauteng.

Premier Makhura claims that he has acted against the former Health MEC, Bandile Masuku, former Acting Head of the Gauteng Department of Health, Professor Mkhululi Lukhele and former Chief Financial Officer of the Gauteng Department of Health; Ms Kabelo Lehloenya. If his claims are true, then why does the SIU report state the following on page 231: 

 No recommendation for disciplinary action could be made against the former CFO, Ms Lehloenya, as she had resigned from the services of the Gauteng DoH with effect from 1 August 2020. No recommendation for additional disciplinary action could be made against Prof Lukhele (the HoD of the Gauteng DoH), because he resigned with immediate effect on or about 3 October 2020.”

The above evidence indicates that officials have resigned as a way of escaping accountability even if the Premier had forced them to resign. 

The fact that the officials have resigned does not mean that the Premier has taken action, criminal charges must be laid against them. 

Furthermore, there are no criminal charges that have been laid against the former Health MEC, Bandile Masuku for the role that he played in irregularly awarding the Royal Bhaca Projects (Pty) Ltd and Ledla Structural Development (Pty) Ltd a contract to supply PPE. 

The SIU report findings also state that the former MEC failed to fulfil his obligations to comply with the Constitution and failed his general oversight responsibilities in respect of his department failing to comply with the prescripts of the Constitution.

In addition, the Premier claims that the pension fund of the former MEC Masuku, Lukhele and Lehloenya were frozen so that the Gauteng government can recoup some of the stolen funds. We demand evidence to support this claim.

If Premier Makhura is serious about acting against those implicated in the Gauteng PPE corruption and those that have failed in their oversight role, why has he not acted on the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi?

The Gauteng Department of Education has irregularly awarded contracts to the value of R427 686 242.29 to 270 service providers for decontamination of Gauteng schools. All this happened under the watch of MEC Lesufi who is the political head of the department. MEC Lesufi, like former MEC Masuku, has failed in his oversight responsibilities to ensure that his department complies with the prescripts of the Constitution and supply chain management processes. Perhaps, former MEC Masuku became an easy victim because he is a political lightweight compared to MEC Lesufi who enjoys the support of a bigger constituency in the ANC across the province. If this is true, then it’ll also expose that taxpayers interest takes a back seat while cadre’s protection is paramount.

 We demand that Premier Makhura must lay criminal charges against all those implicated and recover all the monies that have been stolen from the Gauteng government. We also demand that Premier Makhura provide evidence on what actions he has taken against the looters as a matter of urgency.

Gauteng Health fails to pay 78% of suppliers within the required 30 days

Despite promises to improve financial management, the Gauteng Health Department only pays 22% of suppliers within 30 days as required by law.

This is revealed in the recently released Third Quarterly Report of the Gauteng Health Department which covers the period from October to December last year.

According to the report, the failure to pay suppliers on time is “because of payment of Accruals and PPEs including the impact of staff rotation arrangements during Covid which also impacted on processing of payments.”

This is a poor excuse which reflects continuing poor financial management.

Late payments are particularly harsh for township businesses and small businesses which the department is supposed to be encouraging.

Some companies refuse to do business with the department because of slow and irregular payments that can stretch into years of delay.

Speedy payments are the best way to assist small business that supply goods to the department.

Gauteng should follow the example of the Western Cape provincial government which makes most of its payments within 15 days.

 

#MakhuraPPE: SIU report confirms the DA’s suspicions about procurement of PPE equipment

It is now evident that the MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, is not fit to hold the position of MEC for Finance in the Gauteng Provincial Government given the recent revelations in the Special Investigative Unit’s (SIU) report on the procurement of, or contracting of, goods and services during at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On numerous occasions I have asked the MEC for Finance to make public the names of the contractors or suppliers who received tenders to procure goods and services for the Covid-19 pandemic, but instead of producing this list, she indicated to me that this cannot be done because of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI), and year end audit processes which are preventing the disclosure of information.

It is clear that this was just an excuse to buy more time and to keep the 1906 tenders that were awarded without due process being followed, out of the public eye.

The report also indicates that in some instances the Treasury Instruction Notes 08 2019/2020 and 05 of 2020/2021 which set out the stringent guidelines for the procurement of goods and services during the Covid-19 pandemic were followed in the province.

This is extremely concerning, given that it is the taxpayers’ hard-earned money that has been squandered under the guise of government preparing itself to deal with a pandemic that seemingly has no end in sight. Small businesses especially those in the townships, were also not given an opportunity to earn an income.

The SIU report clearly indicates that only a few individuals benefitted from the opportunity to tender and that in many instances due process was not followed.

Contracts to the value of R6 037 901 185 are currently under investigation by the SIU, while 38 disciplinary hearings and executive action is also underway.

This trend of only empowering those businesses that may have political connections needs to end immediately.

Our residents are already suffering because of the decline in our economy and the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened this situation. The money that was lost to corruption over the last two years would have gone a long way to improving the lives of our residents had it been channelled to small business, entrepreneurs and used to improve our ailing infrastructure.

If Premier David Makhura is serious about rooting out corruption in our province, he will hold the MEC for Finance to account for the tenders that were not properly awarded under her watch. The MEC for Finance ultimately controls the public purse and needs to account for how every rand cent of our money is spent.

The DA once again calls on the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) to establish its own charter against corruption that every government department and accounting officer signs, so they can be held accountable for any missteps that take place in their department along with the officials responsible.

#MakhuraPPE: Premier Makhura must be politically accountable for the vast PPE corruption in Gauteng

Gauteng Premier David Makhura must be held politically accountable for the massive looting of taxpayer’s money meant for the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) and failing to act decisively against the implicated officials across all the departments in the province.

 

The damning SIU report on PPE corruption has exposed the rotten corruption within the Gauteng government departments. Gauteng has the largest amount of money wasted on corruption, all of which happened under the watch of the Premier who is still trying to vindicate himself while forgetting that he has a Constitutional responsibility to fight corruption in this province.

 

According to the SIU report, the Gauteng Department of Education irregularly awarded contracts to the value of R427 686 242.29 to 270 service providers for decontamination of Gauteng schools. The appointment process did not follow the procurement on an emergency delegation; the department did not obtain three quotes from service providers as listed on the central supplier database, and Supply Chain Management (SCM) was not involved in the sourcing and appointment of the service providers. The officials involved contravened Section 217(1) of the Constitution as the procurement processes were not fair, equitable, transparent, competitive, and cost-effective.

 

The same applies to the PPE contracts that were awarded to the service providers by the Department of Health. The service providers were not registered to supply PPE, were not PPE manufacturers and were not registered with the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA). The quality of the goods and services delivered by most of the service providers were of poor quality and substandard.

 

The report also states that out of 87 service providers that were awarded PPE contracts by the Gauteng Department of Health that have been investigated thus far, only 16 service providers has their cases closed because the SIU investigation found no evidence in support of the allegation that the SCM process may have been irregular while 71 have been implicated in corruption.

 

This indicates that officials and the service providers whose cases were not closed took advantage of the plight of our people who are in desperate need of protection against the Covid-19 pandemic to enrich themselves. While all this was happening Premier Makhura did nothing in his capacity to conduct monitoring and oversight of all the departments particularly the Department of Health which was heavily hit by the pandemic.

 

Many department senior officials have been implicated in the PPE corruption while a handful of them have been dismissed and some have resigned thereby escaping accountability. The likes of Professor Mkhululi Lukhele, Acting Head of the Gauteng Department of Health; Ms Kabelo Lehloenya, who was the Chief Financial Officer and Mr A Gwabeni, who was Deputy Director for Human Resources for the Department of Health have been implicated and have resigned from the department.

 

We demand that Premier Makhura act against all the senior officials that have been implicated in this report even though they have resigned from their departments. All those implicated must be dealt with accordingly, criminal charges must be laid against them and those that have illegally benefited must pay back every cent to the state coffers. The companies that have been implicated in this corruption must be blacklisted and penalties imposed for companies that have provided substandard supplies and have made illegal excessive profits on PPE resources.

 

Additionally, Premier Makhura must provide a progress report with regards to disciplinary hearings against the Department of Education senior officials implicated in the PPE corruption which started on 09 November 2021. The proceedings were ongoing and postponed to early 2022.

 

Premier Makhura must also be held politically accountable for failing on his oversight duties to ensure that PPE funds are spent wisely for the benefit of the Gauteng residents. 

We will be using all mechanisms at the legislature to ensure that Premier Makhura accounts for this PPE corruption.

 

Cost of Gauteng white elephant hospital balloons to R733 million

The total cost of the refurbished Ashanti hospital in the far west rand has ballooned to R733 million, including the building cost of 588.5 million and medical equipment bought for R144.4 million.

This is revealed in the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report on government’s Covid-19 spending that was released yesterday.

According to the SIU, six of the contractors were irregularly appointed by the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development without a contract amount, no bill of quantities and no scope of work.

Work on the hospital started in April 2020 before the costing and pricing was approved. Although the refurbishment budget was supposed to be R50 million, it mysteriously grew to more than R500 million.

This hospital was made available by the AngloGold Ashanti mining company, but money was spent on it before a legal transfer of the property to the Gauteng Provincial Government.

There were supposed to be 175 high care beds for Covid-19 patients, but the hospital was only partly opened in May last year and has only treated 8 seriously ill Covid patients.

Work on this hospital is still not completely finished and the SIU is recommending that all payments for the refurbishment be stopped.

In my view, further spending on staff and equipment should be halted as well, as it was a monumental error to spend so much money on a hospital far from major population centres.

More lives can be saved by spending money to assist existing hospitals to cope with the flood of Covid patients.

The SIU has done an excellent job in exposing massive corruption with this project, and there needs to be political accountability as well as criminal charges against all those implicated in this vast waste of money.

DA seeks Human Rights Commission’s intervention to ensure learners’ placement before the end of this week

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has written to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) seeking its intervention to ensure that all unplaced learners across the province are allocated school placements before the end of this week.

The unplaced learners are being denied their constitutional right to access basic education by the Gauteng Department of Education.

This is unacceptable, as learners will continue to miss out on the much-needed everyday schooling. Furthermore, these learners have already fallen behind in the curriculum due to the rotational learning that was adopted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This has severely affected the quality of the basic education being offered to our children.

The DA has been inundated with calls and emails from parents whose children have not been allocated school placements and we have escalated these emails and calls to both the Gauteng Department of Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi and Head of Department to ensure that all learners are placed, however, to date, nothing has happened as many learners are still sitting at home and are still to be allocated school placements. 

The Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) has also contributed to this crisis as it consistently fails to build schools according to specifications as well as fails to pay service providers on time and to meet deadlines. This has had a hugely negative impact on learner admissions as many projects are on hold which is delaying the intake of more learners at the start of the academic year.

The SAHRC has a responsibility to protect and advance the interests of our children and its’ intervention will assist in speeding up the school placement. We also demand that MEC Lesufi must engage independent schools to assist in enrolling some learners and give independent schools a budget to build additional classrooms, so they can place all learners who are sitting at home and have not been allocated school placements.

No Gauteng hospitals comply fully with health and safety legislation

The Democratic Alliance is alarmed that there is not a single Gauteng public hospital that complies fully with health and safety legislation.

This is revealed in the Third Quarterly Report of the Gauteng Health Department that was tabled this week in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature. It covers the period from October to December last year.

According to the report, none of the province’s 37 hospitals are compliant with all 23 regulations in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

The only progress reported is that 6 hospitals, including Tara, Kopanong, Sebokeng, SMU Oral, Tshwane District and Far East Rand, are compliant with six of the statutory requirements of the OHSA.

These requirements include the designation of representatives to serve on health and safety committees, and doing a Hazardous Identification and Risk Assessment.

The department admits that other hospitals are not doing this, and don’t even send the minutes of meetings.

It has been estimated that it would cost about R6 billion to ensure that all the hospitals comply with healthy and safety legislation, but little budget has been made available for this.

Fires are a worrying hazard as there have been four hospital fires in Gauteng in the last seven years, including the devastating fire at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital.

It is extremely disturbing that many years of poor spending on maintenance has led to the parlous state of our hospitals which risks the lives of patients and staff.

We need a proper plan with adequate funding to ensure that all Gauteng’s public hospitals are protected against avoidable health and safety risks.