91 doctors and nurses not paid at Helen Joseph Hospital

The Gauteng Health Department has failed to pay April salaries to 91 doctors and nurses at the Helen Joseph Hospital despite the extra burden from Covid-19 cases and patients diverted from closed departments at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital.

According to a memo by hospital CEO Dr Relebohile Ncha, the non-payment is because there is a delay in the approval of 91 out of 177 Covid-19 contract posts for the 2022/23 financial year.

This is yet another example of incompetence that hurts hard-working medical staff who are trying to save lives in difficult circumstances.

Earlier this year interns at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital also endured late payment of salaries which was so bad that doctors donated to a fund to help them.

I have contacted Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi to speed up the payment to the 71 staff members.

But the real need is radical surgery to fix the deep-rooted problems at the Gauteng Health Department which lurches from crisis to crisis.

I look forward to interacting with Dr Nomonde Nolutshungu, the new Head of Department, to assist her in making the changes to ensure a decent public health service in Gauteng.


Patients suffer as Gauteng government has little to show for maintenance spend

Many Gauteng residents who are solely dependent on the public healthcare services will continue to endure poor or no services due to the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development’s (DID) poor contractor performance and poor management of hospital maintenance projects.

DID has overspent the hospital maintenance budget by 120%, while only 67% of maintenance projects were completed. In addition, the value of invoices that were not paid because of cash flow problems amounted to R280 million and this amount, called an accrual, must be paid out of this year’s budget.

This information was revealed during the Gauteng’s Portfolio Committee of Infrastructure Development (GDID) meeting last week which highlighted that the maintenance programmes of hospitals are on the brink of collapse.

At the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital, the budget was overspent by 248% with an 82% project completion rate while at Charlotte Maxeke, the budget was overspent by 138% with a project completion rate of 72%.

To add insult to injury, the maintenance budget for this year has been cut by 17%.

Furthermore, none of the Gauteng hospitals is compliant with the Health and Safety regulations. The estimated R5 billion to remedy this situation is not available to the Gauteng fiscus.

This, together with the poor maintenance will result in the progressive downward spiral of the physical condition of hospitals, an issue which impacts negatively on the quality of health services in the province.

Premier David Makhura and the MEC for Infrastructure Development, Tasneem Motara must be held accountable for creating the infrastructural wasteland in our hospitals.

The DA will be closely monitoring the maintenance of our hospitals, and their adherence to the policies and processes put in place to ensure that basic services are delivered to our residents.

DA Rainbow Network welcomes City of Joburg IDP aimed at empowering LGBTQIA+ community

By: Cllr Dimakatso Botshelo Moloisane, DA Councillor: City of Johannesburg & DARN Executive Member

The Democratic Alliance Rainbow Network (DARN) welcomes the inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ in the City of Johannesburg’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP).

This is the first step in the right direction to building an inclusive and caring city as per the seven Mayoral priorities.

The LGBTQIA+ community is among the most marginalized groups that face many challenges including a lack of access to safe spaces, proper healthcare facilities and access to employment opportunities.

The IDP session opens the door to opportunities for the LGBTQI+ community to engage with the city on matters that affect them and influence policies the city can adopt to build an inclusive and safe environment for them.  

We wish to congratulate the DA Mayor, Dr Mpho Phalatse, and her Mayoral Committee for being bold in tackling these issues head-on.

DARN will engage with the DA-led coalition government requesting the city to look into implementing sensitization training policies for city officials such as nurses, municipal officials, JMPD officers and councillors.

DARN will continue to lobby and urge other municipalities and other spheres of government to hear the voice of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

We call upon activists, NGOs and allies of the LGBTQIA+ community at large to be part of the voices of the queer community to build an inclusive city, a caring city and a safe and secure city for all.

The IDP session will be held via Teams on 5 May 2022. Click here to access it.:


Scholar transport disputes deprive learners of valuable learning and teaching time

Thousands of learners in Midvaal and Emfuleni have been denied access to everyday learning and teaching due to an ongoing dispute between the old and the newly appointed scholar transport service providers.

This is unacceptable, as learners will continue to miss out on the much-needed everyday schooling.

The DA has been inundated with calls, SMSs, and emails from parents whose children have been affected by this dispute which has resulted in a scholar transport strike.

Many learners have been severely impacted as their parents cannot afford to pay for alternative transport while some are now forced to walk vast distances to and from school.

In many cases, they are also missing school because of the department’s failure to urgently intervene and ensure that this essential service is not disrupted.

This is worrying as learners across the province have lost out on valuable education time due to rotational learning and teaching and they will continue to miss schooling due to this scholar transport dispute.

The DA will engage with the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi to seek his department’s immediate intervention to ensure that learners in Midvaal and Emfuleni have access to uninterrupted scholar transport.

Delays by the department to solve this scholar transport dispute are denying these learners their basic right to education and potentially robbing them of future opportunities.

We will not allow such disputes to deprive our children of access to learning and teaching.

Sedibeng lives at risk as Disaster Management Centre is not operational

It is distressing that the Sedibeng District Municipality currently has no operational Disaster Management Centre (DMC) due to organizational budget constraints.

With no functioning DMC in this District Municipality, it means that there will be a significant delay in the response of the local district municipality to any disaster that may arise. One can only hope that what we saw recently in Kwa Zulu Natal will not hit Sedibeng.

This information was provided in a reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature by the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Lebogang Maile.

According to the MEC, the Sedibeng District Municipality is still waiting for a meeting to be scheduled by the Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC) and the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) to request funding as per the outcome and recommendations of the functionality assessment with the PDMC.

This puts the lives of our residents who are living in this District Municipality at risk, as they will now have much longer waiting times and may have to rely on volunteers from the community should an emergency break out.

Ironically, millions of rands have been spent on paying staff salaries from the budget allocated to the Sedibeng Disaster Management Centre. According to MEC Maile, R7 315 678.00 of the allocated R7 511 661.00 budgeted for the DMC, has been spent on paying staff salaries. One can then ask what they have been doing, to earn their salaries, if the Disaster Centre is not operational.

What is even more worrying about this matter is that in a separate reply to questions tabled by the DA regarding Disaster Management Centres in the province, MEC Maile indicated that Sedibeng does have a DMC and even provided a physical address, which is in clear conflict with the reply I received, which indicated that there is no physical address for the DMC.

This is a clear confirmation that MEC Maile and his officials do not know what is happening in their own department and the local municipalities as far as Disaster Management Centers are concerned and leave me with no other choice as to question the validity of answers to our questions when conflicting information is supplied by the MEC and officials from COGTA.

I will be engaging directly with MEC Maile on this matter and push for Sedibeng to receive the money needed to have a fully functioning and effective DMC.

When will Charlotte Maxeke Hospital casualty reopen?

Despite promises that the casualty department at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital (CMJH) would reopen in April this year it remains closed, causing huge distress to staff and patients at other hospitals that cannot cope with the flood of extra patients.

Gauteng Health MEC Nomafrench Mokgethi originally promised that the casualty would be open in January this year, then moved the date to mid-March.

This continuing failure to meet ever-moving deadlines shows deep incompetence.

It follows the failure of the Gauteng Health Department and the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development to speedily repair the hospital, giving this task over to the National Department of Health (NDOH).

According to the NDID, vandalism and theft have caused the delays in reopening the casualty. The CPU for the CT scanner was stolen, cables were cut into pieces, and copper pipes were stolen.

This occurred despite R40 million a year that is spent on a security company and CCTV cameras to guard the hospital.

Meanwhile, the Helen Joseph Hospital’s casualty department is overwhelmed with patients who are squeezed into corridors and sit in chairs for long periods before being admitted to wards.

The time for excuses is over. Private sector expertise should be optimally used to reopen the CMJH casualty as soon as possible and fix up the rest of the hospital as well.