NGOs on their knees as late payments disrupt services

The DA has been reliably informed that a number of NGOs have not received their monthly grant funding for the 2017/18 financial year.

Late payments severely impact the services that need to be rendered by NGOs in the province. Finances are key to ensuring better care and upliftment for Gauteng’s most vulnerable, young and old.

This is not the first time that the department has forgotten its mandate, and now NGOs are unable to afford food, keep the lights on and to provide comfort to the provinces’ most vulnerable.

Gauteng Social Development MEC, Nandi Mayathula-Khoza, has a responsibility to ensure that internal financial controls are strengthened in order to ensure timeous payments to NGOs in the province.

The DA will not stand back and allow another Esidimeni. NGOs play a vital role in our society, and need to be treated as such.

A solid partnership between the department and NGOs is necessary to ensure that no child, woman, mentally ill, elderly or disabled person is left behind.

The DA will write to MEC Mayathula-Khoza to urge her to investigate non-payments to NGOs and to fast-track payments in areas identified by the department.
Media Enquiries

Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Social Development
060 558 8297
Yaseen Carelse
Media and Issues Specialist
073 426 0978

Gauteng Health Subsidises 6661 Mental Health Patients In NGOs

The Gauteng Health Department spends R101 million a year subsidizing 6661 mental health patients in NGOs.

This was revealed today by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa in an oral reply to my questions at a sitting today of the Gauteng Legislature.

Ramokgopa said that there was a process of reviewing compliance with all the licenses of these NGOs.

She clarified that this was separate from the unlicensed NGOs to which the Esidimeni patients were transferred which led to more than 100 deaths.

The figures given by Ramokgopa directly contradict the statement by Premier David Makhura in his State of the Province address that “The Executive Council and I would have never approved a plan to outsource mental health, a primary responsibility of the state to care for the vulnerable in society, to NGOs”.

It is in fact a long-standing policy and practice for the Gauteng Health Department to subsidize mental health patients in NGOs.

This has merit provided the NGOs are properly licensed and monitored, unlike the NGOs where the Esidimeni patients were sent.

Makhura has shown inexcusable ignorance of what the health department is doing with regard to mental health patients, which implicates him further in the lack of oversight that led to deaths of the Esidimeni patients.




Media Enquiries
Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC
082 333 4222

Calls For SANDF In Wake Of Baby Singalakha’s Death An Indictment Of MEC Mayathula-Khoza

The death of six month old baby Singalakha Sonamazi, an avoidable tragedy, highlights the inability of Gauteng Social Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza to do her job.

The strike emphasised that MEC Mayathula-Khoza had not adequately prepared to ensure that the elderly, disabled and young placed in her care would be looked after while social workers were not on hand.

Calls by the MEC to resort to deploying the South African Defence Force to mitigate the damage caused by the strike shows that the MEC is completely out of touch with the needs of those who are in the care of her department. The department has the budget and the resources to deal with a crisis of this nature – calls for the SANDF to be deployed are beyond ludicrous.

Reports that children had been hurriedly moved to NGO’s from Child and Youth Care Centre’s is reminiscent of the Esidimeni tragedy which cost more than 100 patients their lives.

The death of baby Singalakha is the result of such a rushed decision by the MEC who must be held accountable for this needless loss of life.

The DA will visit Bethany Trust Home in Krugersdorp to ascertain what happened to baby Singalakha and her siblings, and to gauge what assistance the home received from the Department of Social Development.




Media Enquiries

Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Social Development
060 558 8297
Warren Gwilt
DA Economic Cluster Manager
073 601 6144

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Deadline Not Met For Transfer Of Esidimeni Patients

The 45 day deadline by the Health Ombudsman looms today for moving more than 700 patients from unlawful NGOs to facilities where they will receive proper care and treatment.

In his report, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba recommended as follows:

“All patients from Life Esidimeni currently placed in unlawful NGOs must be urgently removed and placed in appropriate Health Establishments within the Province where competencies to take care of their specialized needs are constantly available, this must be done within 45 days to reduce risk and save life; simultaneously, a full assessment and costing must be undertaken.”

According to a statement last week by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa, only 63 patients had been moved from two NGOs.

The main alternatives for the patients are the Selby Park Clinic and re-opened Life Esidimeni facilities.

It seems that 20 unlicensed NGOs are still looking after hundreds of patients.

Life Esidimeni has indicated that it would take a number of weeks for them to safely accommodate a large number of the patients.

Ramokgopa has said that R495 per day is being paid for each patient at the private facilities, which amounts to about R15 000 per patient per month.

This is considerably higher than the R320 per day that was paid previously to Life Esidimeni, which amounted to R9920 per month for each patient.

It highlights once again the folly of former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in cancelling the previous contract with Esidimeni after a study by the Health Advance Institute in May 2015 found that this was good value for money.

I appreciate the care that is now being taken to involve relatives in the transfer to new facilities, but I am concerned that so many patients remain in unlicensed NGOs.

At least two more patients at these NGOs have died since the release of the Ombud’s report on 1 February.

We need more transparency about the reasons for the delay and a timetable for the transfers to be concluded as soon as possible.



Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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Illegal Gauteng NGO Funding Transfers Requires Treasury Intervention

The DA tried to raise the matter of illegal funding transfers to NGOs by the Gauteng Department of Social Development in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, this morning, however, the Speaker, Lentheng Mekgwe, disallowed the Members Statement.

Last year, when the DA requested the financial information, the MEC of Social Development tried her best to block the DA from accessing the information. We had even submitted a PAIA to obtain the documentation.

The latest scandal to rock this administration, comes as no surprise as it is a symptom of a larger problem, which is the lack of financial internal controls and poor financial management within the Gauteng Provincial Government.

The Premier and Finance MEC, Barbara Creecy must to lead the way and positively influence the executive to honour their commitments and institutionalise internal controls and systems by upholding the prescripts of the Public Financial Management Act, thus ensuring the prevention of practices that lead to maladministration and corrupt activities such as money laundering.

NGOs are in desperate need of funding. If there was less corruption, there would be more money available to fund NGOs, instead of lining a few pockets.



Media Enquiries:

Adriana Randall MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC on Finance

060 556 4342


Yaseen Carelse

Social Cluster Manager

076 721 8613


Premier Must Take Stern Action Over 94 Patient Deaths

Health Ombudsman’s Report

I am shocked to the core by the revelation today by the Health Ombudsman that 94 psychiatric patients died (and possibly more) after their transfer last year from Life Healthcare Esidimeni.

Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu lied to me in the Gauteng Legislature on 13 September last year when she said that 36 patients had died in the NGOs in which they were placed. Health Ombudsman Malegapuru Makgoba said that on that date 77 patients had already died.

Premier Makhura has to fire Mahlangu and ensure that disciplinary action is taken against the 11 senior health department officials identified in the report.

Criminal Charges

Criminal charges should also be laid against all implicated parties including those in the five NGOs where 80% of the patients died.

Premier Makhura must also ensure that immediate steps are taken to ensure the safety and well-being of all the patients who are still with the NGOs.

Makura’s image has taken a severe blow because of his failure to fire Mahlangu earlier and to replace her with a competent and caring Health MEC.

This is a crisis for the ANC in Gauteng and all those who failed to act earlier against Mahlangu.

I will study the full report and monitor the actions based on its findings.



Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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Gauteng Health MEC Faces Axe After Patient Deaths Report

Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba

Gauteng Premier David Makhura needs to act quickly in firing Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu should the leaked findings of the Health Ombudsman’s report into the deaths of psychiatric patients be confirmed when it is released publicly tomorrow.

According to a report in the Sowetan today, Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba recommends that “The premier of the Gauteng province must, in light of the findings in this report, consider the suitability of MEC Qedani Dorothy Mahlangu to continue in her current role as MEC for health.”

Makgoba reportedly found that 71 patients had died after they were transferred from Life Healthcare Esidimeni to NGOs and other institutions. This figure is a lot higher than the 36 deaths Mahlangu revealed in September last year in response to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to the leaked report, 96% of the deaths occurred at incompetent and poorly resourced NGOs following “inadequate planning and a chaotic and ‘rushed or hurried’ implementation process.”

National Health Act and the Mental Health Care Act

Makgoba has reportedly further found that there was prima facie evidence of human rights violations by certain officials, certain NGOs and some activities including disregarding the constitution, National Health Act and the Mental Health Care Act.

It was abundantly clear from the start that the Health MEC had bungled the transfer of patients which led to avoidable deaths.

She should have resigned or been fired long ago for her inexcusable neglect.

I await the full details that will be revealed tomorrow by the Health Ombudsman, following which suitable action should be taken against all the implicated parties.



Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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International Concern Over Gauteng Patient Deaths

The Democratic Alliance notes the concern expressed by four United Nations Human Rights experts over the death of at least 37 psychiatric patients who were transferred by the Gauteng Health Department to unsuitable NGOs.

I agree with their call for a clear and sustainable deinstitutionalization policy and a plan of action to avoid another tragedy.

It is significant that the deaths have attracted international attention but Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu still refuses to be accountable and resign.

It is now 80 days since she revealed the deaths in reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

Last week on Friday in the debate on the Annual Report of the Premier’s Office, Premier David Makhura brushed aside calls to fire her.

Makhura is shamefully disregarding the many calls for her to go and be replaced by someone with the expertise and compassion to improve health care in Gauteng.



Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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DA Debates Gauteng Social Development 2015/16 Annual Report

Speech by: Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL

“Secrecy over transfers to NGOs will be exposed by the DA”

  • There is no detail of transfers to each of the 2598 NGOs in Gauteng.
  • The department had 1017 abnormal appointments out of a staff compliment of 5417.
  • The department had a 17.8% vacancy rate (910 posts). Of these 47.7% were of lower skill as in Level 1-2).
  • No people with disabilities were recruited in the department during this period.
  • Out of 4198 employees, 3016 used sick leave costing the department R19 million.

The full speech can be obtained here.


Speech by: Ashor Sarupen MPL

“The good, the bad and the ugly”

  • 49 individual consultants worked on 21 projects for a total of 896 work days, totalling over R2million in spend.
  • Only 75% of the EPWP grant given to the department was spent.
  • Domestic abuse is still a serious problem, drug addiction and gangsterism still plagues too many of our communities.
  • Women are disproportionately the victims of domestic violence, and many see no escape, trapping them into abusive relationships, despite the work by the department.

The full speech can be obtained here.



Media Enquiries:

Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Social Development

060 558 8297


Ashor Sarupen

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

060 558 8303

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DA Submits PAIA On Financial Transfers To NGOs

Gauteng Department of Social Development

The DA has submitted a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application on the transfers of funds to all NGOs and NPOs funded by the Gauteng Department of Social Development during 2015/16 financial year.

Despite efforts to obtain this information through the legislative process, Gauteng Social Development MEC, Nandi Mayathula-Khoza, has claimed that the information is withheld to protect NGOs/NPOs in the province.

The MEC claimed that the information on transfers had been submitted to the DA, however this if far from the truth.

The requested information is a compliance item which should have been included in the department’s annual report. The report only gives a brief summary of transfers to the different programs, but not specific amounts transferred to NGOs and NPOs.

Gauteng residents deserve to know exactly how much each NGO and NPO was awarded, as the use of public funds should be open to public scrutiny.

The MECs insistence on hiding this information raises the suspicion that there may be something untoward happening in her department.

The DA will continue to probe the funding of NGOs and NPOs and will not stop until the information is obtained.



Media Enquiries:

Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Social Development

060 558 8297

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