Gauteng Health won’t blacklist non-compliant companies

The Gauteng Health Department will not blacklist the 12 non-compliant companies that got R381 million in contracts from Gauteng hospitals in the last three years.

I asked Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko whether her department would blacklist these companies, and she responded in a written reply:

“A company can only be prevented from doing business with the Department if the
the matter has been investigated and if the investigation report recommends that the
the company must be prevented from doing business with the Department.

The 12 companies are linked to Mr Hangwani Morgan Maumela, a nephew by marriage to President Cyril Ramaphosa. In her previous reply, Nkomo-Ralehoko said “none of the listed companies has SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) approval for the sale of medical products”, and she blamed “inadequate processes and oversight.”

The companies got R36 million from Tembisa Hospital last year, amongst many payments that murdered Babita Deokaran identified as “possibly fraudulent”.

Maumela has been identified as a central figure in the Tembisa Hospital purchases that Babita flagged. He is reported to have ties with Bejani Chauke, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s chief political advisor.

My view is we don’t need to wait for the conclusion of a lengthy investigation as it is already admitted that the companies were not compliant in various ways and should not have got the contracts.

Quick scrutiny shows outrageous overcharging e.g. Tembisa Hospital paid R456 960 for 50 stainless steel kidney dishes. This amounts to more than R9000 a dish!

Another example is 50 flat-bottomed round bowls bought for R496 555.

This price gouging should surely disqualify companies from any further contracts.

Hospital patients suffer most when huge amounts of money are wasted on fishy companies that grossly inflate the prices of goods.

I will continue to press for a freeze on all new contracts with non-compliant companies that charge ripoff prices

Confirmation of a new Kempton Park hospital is a brutal lie, we demand timelines

It is reckless of the Gauteng Department of Health and Wellness MEC, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, to unashamedly continue to mislead the susceptible residents of Kempton Park that a new hospital will be built, yet there is no budget and timelines.

The department has several times promised to build this 300-bed new Kempton Park Hospital; however, we have never seen any commitment in the form of an official timeline or budget allocation.

Since 2014, there have been discussions that the department will demolish the old hospital for R1.5 billion or renovate it for R1.4 billion.

Time has passed and there has been no action and the promises have not yet materialised.

This hospital has been closed for over two decades and, it is alleged that it is being used for criminal activities, some people have taken an opportunity to use some of its sections for extra mural activities.

This happens while staff members from neighbouring clinics and hospitals are distressed by the influx of patients.

Currently, Tembisa Hospital is barely surviving because it is overcrowded and cannot contain the increasing number of patients. Patients are being turned away to die at home due to a shortage of beds.

The DA demands that MEC Nkomo-Ralehoko must put her words into action by outlining a specific timeline as to when will her department begin refurbishing Kempton Park Hospital and where the budget will come from.

The residents of Kempton Park and Tembisa are tired of these lies and empty promises. They now need visible action to access adequate healthcare services within their vicinity.

Delays in the reopening of Kempton Park Hospital contribute to overcrowding at Tembisa Hospital

Delays on the reopening of the abandoned Kempton Park Hospital are not only depriving vulnerable residents of access to healthcare services within their vicinity. Still, they have put a severe strain on neighbouring facilities like Tembisa Hospital.

I have raised concerns and continuously demanded answers as to why Kempton Park Hospital remains closed when it should alleviate pressure on Tembisa Hospital.

There may not have been enough funds to reopen the whole hospital, however, the Gauteng Department of Health should use a phased approach.

I also requested the department to disclose the structural integrity report, which is yet to be seen. However, the department responded to confirm that the hospital was built in 1978 and has a lifespan of 100 years.

The delays in refurbishing and reopening Kempton Hospital have resulted in overcrowding at Tembisa and Edenvale Hospitals.

Apart from this, Kempton Park hospital is allegedly being used for criminal and immoral activities instead of being refurbished and re-opened to benefit residents who are in dire need of access to healthcare services.

Patients are left to sleep in wheelchairs and wait for days at causality due to the shortage of beds. Last week, Gogo Sarah Ndou passed away in her home after being discharged at Tembisa Hospital without being given proper healthcare due to a shortage of beds.

Tembisa and Kempton residents cannot continue to suffer at the hands of the provincial Health Department.

I demand that the Gauteng MEC for Heath, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, fast-track the reopening of the Kempton Park Hospital. Tembisa and Edenvale Hospitals are not coping with the overcrowding.

I will continue to put pressure on the department to reopen the Kempton Park Hospital. We will not sit and leave this much-needed facility like this hospital at the hands of criminals and opportunists.

Some definite wins for the DA in the Gauteng 2022/2023 budget

The Democratic Alliance in Gauteng is concerned that the public sector wage agreement for the 2022/2023 year will be taking most of the additional funding allocated to the province.

While the wage bill is currently is on 57% with the ceiling at 60%, it will remain a challenge to stay within the ceiling.

The MEC for Finance, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko recognises that we are in a tough fiscal position and we need to see that the budget reflects this instead of only talk and no action.

Whilst we are still battling the devasting impact of the Covid-19 pandemic it is now crucial that immediate attention be given to the rebooting of the economy in Gauteng.

We are pleased to see that the Gauteng Traffic Service will now be made a 24-hour service. This is very important if we want to safeguard our residents of Gauteng. The DA has for a long time been fighting for this as hijackings are huge problem in our province.

While the MEC for Finance mentioned the ICT sector and the 4th Industrial Revolution, we need to develop a stronger ICT skills pipeline and broaden digital access to all sectors of society.

Access to ICT and skills should by now be seriously considered a human right.

The Department of Human Settlements has been allocated an amount R453.6 million; we hope to see that this year the housing backlog is greatly reduced so that our residents can have access to proper dignified housing.

In terms of gender-based violence, the DA is pleased see that R225.3 million has been allocated for this programme.

This is critical if we want to fight the scourge of GBV in our province, which has now been exacerbated by the current economic climate in the province as well as the Covid-19 pandemic.

Furthermore, it is critical that we fight poverty in our province and this is why the allocation for food insecure people, as well as school uniforms and dignity packs is critical if we want our learners to be at school every day so that they are able to complete their schooling without missing any school days because of the socio-economic situation they find themselves in.

The Tshepo 1 Million programme is crucial if we want to help particularly our unemployed youth find employment opportunities that will equip them with the skills needed to find long-term employment or to start their own businesses, yet we do not see the fruits of this investment in our province.

It is also very disheartening to note that the Department of Health has not received any additional funding for the 2022/2023 budget and its’ allocation remains at R59 426 398 for this financial year.

A second adjustment budget was tabled today. This serves as a bailout for the health department to meet all their financial obligations for the current financial year.

Currently the province has a high unemployment rate and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) play a crucial role in alleviating unemployment. The allocation of R445.5 million to the Tshwane Automotive Hub is welcomed, but we need to get to a point where all SEZs are fully operational and providing employment opportunities to our residents.

This is also important if we want the private sector to invest in our economy.

The DA will be closely monitoring the implementation of this year’s budget and will demand that every rand spent is value for money, so that we can ensure that our taxpayers’ money is not wasted.

For the DA, accountability from the executive and officials is now of paramount importance to ensure that every rand spent will result effective service delivery to our residents.

Gauteng businesses found guilty of criminal offences still allowed to do business with Gauteng government

This week I have tabled questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to the MEC for Finance Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, regarding blacklisted businesses who have been found guilty of a criminal offence to prevent them from doing business with government.

In a report released by Corruption Watch, it has come to light that there are no business names on the tender defaulter’s registry which is of extreme concern to the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the province.

When businesses are listed on this registry, government is by law prohibited from doing business with them.

This is very worrying to me, given the massive amount of corruption that was seen at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic when it was discovered that the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) tender was not awarded in an open and fair manner.

Our residents of Gauteng deserve to have their money spent in a proper manner that will ensure that only the best service providers are awarded government tenders and that there is value for money.

Furthermore, it is only the City of Cape Town that has listed suppliers on another database called, the Database for Restricted Suppliers. This database prevents companies who have not yet been convicted of an offence to not be able to do business in the public procurement market.

Both databases play an important role in ensuring that only companies who are committed to undergoing a transparent and open tender process are allowed to bid for government tenders. Thus, ensuring that there is proper value for money and that public funds are spent in the best possible way.

It is quite clear that only the DA-led Western Cape is committed to ensuring that businesses who are providing a service to the residents of the province are doing so within the confines of the law.

Through the mechanisms in place at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, I will continue to demand that all businesses who have been found guilty of a criminal offence or tender irregularities are put on the tender defaulter’s registry as a matter of urgency.

It is high time that corruption is rooted out within the ranks of government.

Our taxpayers’ hard-earned money cannot be abused by unscrupulous businesses and politicians who only care about lining their own pockets.

Gauteng budget will not uplift its residents unless spent wisely

Today, the Gauteng MEC for Finance Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko delivered the 2021/2022 budget in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature. As expected, this budget is a tough balancing act for the MEC as the province is the economic hub of the country and due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our economy has taken a hard knock.

During her speech, Nkomo-Ralehoko highlighted that the economy of Gauteng’s Gross Domestic Product by Region shrunk by about R80,9 billion, from R1.1 trillion in 2019 to R1 trillion in 2020.

As expected this year the key focus for the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) will be the following:

  • Defeating the Covid-19 pandemic;
  • Re-igniting the Gauteng economy;
  • Recalibrating social policy;
  • Improving governance

In addition, the budget this year will also focus on ensuring that the compulsory baseline reduction, due to the three-year-wage freeze on salary increases for public servants and additional reductions to the compensation of employees to support government’s five-year fiscal consolidation stance to reduce the budget, is adhered to. This is extremely important if we want to ensure that the wage bill is kept to 60%. Currently, the wage bill for the province is at 57% but in order to maintain this, there needs to strict adherence to how and when overtime for public servants is approved.

The stance of the GPG to ensure that value for money is received on key infrastructure is welcomed, however it is still concerning that despite this being said on numerous occasions by the provincial government, key infrastructure projects are still not completed on time and within budget.

R5.9 billion has been allocated over the 2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, the bulk of which will be focusing on assisting Gauteng to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic, with the Department of Health receiving R2.8 billion. The Democratic Alliance (DA) hopes that this money will be spent in a transparent manner and that there will not be a repeat of the Personal Protection Equipment scandal that rocked the province last year. It is especially concerning considering that the Covid-19 provincial disclosure reports do not contain any annexures and do not provide appropriate insight into how the money has been spent.

Further to this, the GPG will be focusing on creating the correct environment for job creation, through the Special Economic Zones and Industrial hubs. The DA sincerely hopes that this year will see a concerted effort to get these areas in the province up and running. Many of them are in a dire state and do not operate adequately, despite being critical channels to equip our youth with skills needed to find sustainable long-term employment. The MEC sang the praises of the Tshwane Automotive Hub but however failed to acknowledge the DA-led Tshwane municipality’s efforts in having pushed for it since taking over the metro in 2016.

The DA will be keeping a close eye on how this year’s budget is spent, and that where officials are not adhering to the regulations set out by the Public Finance Management Act, that they are held to account. This is the only way in which we can ensure that the budget is spent on time, and where possible, there is no irregular and wasteful expenditure. Our taxpayers’ money cannot be spent recklessly.

Comprehensive vaccine roll-out plan, economic growth must be central to 2021/22 provincial budget

Note to editors: Please find a soundclip from Adriana Randall MPL in English here and Afrikaans here

Gauteng MEC for Finance and e-Government, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko is set to introduce the 2021/22 budget in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL), on Thursday, 11th March 2021.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) expects the MEC to focus on how the province will be using the budget to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic by strengthening the health care system, as well as a comprehensive roll-out plan of the Covid-19 vaccine. These are critical, considering that last year the Department of Health approached the Gauteng Provincial Treasury (GPT) for additional funding.

The budget will also need to speak to definite time-lines of the vaccine roll-out, and additional funding to modernize the provincial health infrastructure, to cater for the ever increasing number of patients due to in-migration and inability to pay for medical services.

In this regard, the DA calls for the GPT to ensure there is a bigger allocation together with the Provincial Equitable Share from National Government to deal with the pandemic-related interventions. The worst case scenario would require assistance from contingency reserves.

Measures to create the correct environment for the economy to grow should also be at the forefront on this year’s budget. During his State of the Province Address, Premier David Makhura called for the Township Economy Bill to be timeously processed and has especially promised support for SMMEs and township enterprises where it concerns doing business with the province and creating jobs.

While the bill has been well received by many, there is a credible fear that it promotes xenophobia, by prohibiting foreigners from participating in the township economy. Further to this, the bill also conflicts with national legislation and mandates of other departments, causing future duplication of structures and wasteful expenditure.

The DA supports initiatives that will promote economic growth in the province but due to a lack of political will, jobs for pals, cadre deployment and shortage of skills and knowledge, tangible economic growth will continue to be hampered. It is also concerning to note that the province has been preaching about Public-Private Partnerships but still fails to show one successful project.

Economic reforms must be implemented in order to create sustainable jobs and drive inclusive growth through the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.

However, in order for us to truly see a province that is working we need to fight corruption, but this provincial government continues to demonstrate no political will in doing so. Lip service will not change the situation, only consequence management and the implementation of guidelines set out by National and Provincial Treasury.

Gauteng is in a precarious fiscal position and this can only be fixed by doing the following:

  • Restraining compensation budget ceilings based on fairness, equity and affordability
  • Reversing public entities and local government financial and operational positions caused by maladministration and government failures through financial management

In addition to this, the DA is also concerned about government’s refusal to pilot the much talked about Integrated Financial Management System as this will provide an integrated framework.

During this financial year it is also expected that local governments will see serious cuts in conditional grants, worsening the growing deficit due to Covid-19 expenditure. The MEC will need to act in the best interest of the residents in keeping the Gauteng Provincial Government’s salary bill under 60% over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework. Many Gauteng municipalities are in dire financial distress and the DA hopes that the MEC will outline how these municipalities will be supported through the budget.

Given that the Department of Education is one of the two biggest departments in the province, the DA hopes there will be no reduction in this budget, resulting in disaster due to in-migration and densification in the province.

Social spending needs to be protected as we cannot place the burden on the poor and vulnerable any longer whilst a politically-connected elite continue to enjoy the benefit of being in the inner circle of cadre deployment and corruption.

It is clear that resources will be spread thin this year, however, in order to ensure that the residents of Gauteng are given proper and effective service delivery, the DA sincerely hope that the MEC will ensure that, where monies set aside for key projects are not spent on time and in budget, that consequence management does indeed materialise and that duplications of services through entities are eradicated.

Fiscal discipline needed as Gauteng tables 2020/2021 special adjustment budget due to Covid-19

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng notes that the MEC for Finance and e-Government, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko will tomorrow, 23 July 2020 table a special adjustment budget for the 2020/2021 financial year due to Covid-19.

The budget will be tabled during a hybrid sitting of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) tomorrow.

In an unprecedented move, a second budget will be tabled because of the Covid-19 pandemic which has necessitated that government provides additional funding to help curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Gauteng’s revenue has declined due to the Covid-19 pandemic and therefore it will become critical to plan for daily cash flow requirements.

The DA is calling on the MEC to ensure that serious consequences are imposed for violations of budget rules including withholding of funds.

Furthermore, the DA is concerned that additional money might be allocated without a detailed plan. Therefore, additional money allocated must be focused on spending priorities, as this will create a balance in cost mitigation and the enforcement of efficiencies. In terms of the local government equitable share each municipality will determine how best to use the funds to respond to local pressures.

Provinces had to reprioritize R20bn from the Provincial Equitable Share to Covid-19 from their own budgets. The main concern with this is that the criteria for reprioritization per province was not clearly determined. Each province has a different disease risk profile.

Local government is impacted more than provincial government when it comes to the reprioritization of funds. Local government conditional grants will decrease by 8.9% from R51.4 billion to R46.8 billion in this special adjustment budget. This at a time when local government’s revenue has severely declined because of an increase in indigents, provision of water and sanitation to informal settlements and homeless shelters.

The reprioritization of some grants will in the long run affect service delivery and result in the deterioration of infrastructure with the potential of escalating costs in the future.

Provincial departments will also need to adjust their business plans in a short space of time to accommodate reprioritized spending.

In order to adequately address the Covid-19 pandemic it will be important to see an increase in funds allocated to the public health system, schools and social welfare services.

Ensuring that the public health system runs smoothly is critical as Gauteng is now the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, we are also seeing patients from other provinces coming to Gauteng for proper treatment because their own public health system is failing them.

Now more than ever fiscal discipline, accountability and transparency regarding spending is needed.

Furthermore, there needs to be a critical balance of the adjustment budget versus our people going hungry.

There should be value for the money being spent by the departments and they should ensure that no one benefits at the expense of the residents.

For this to be achieved departments should adhere to the National Treasury regulations regarding emergency procurement for the Covid-19 pandemic and emergency Supply Chain Management (SCM) processes.

The DA will be closely monitoring how this new budget is spent to ensure that all the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) departments and entities adhere to the regulations put in place by National and Provincial Treasury. In addition, there should be transparency and accountability in order to eliminate corruption and inflating of prices by the suppliers.

DA calls on Gauteng MEC for Finance to ensure departments adhere to procurement and SCM procedures

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is calling on the MEC for Finance and e-Government Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko to ensure that government departments adhere to the procurement laws and Supply Chain Management (SCM) policy of the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG).

During this Covid-19 pandemic some departments may need to procure emergency goods and services and where this is needed departments should ensure that they follow a transparent procurement process.

In addition, the MEC should also ensure that municipalities adhere to procurement and SCM policies when procuring goods and services needed as part of their response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Adherence to the procurement laws and SCM policies will ensure that particularly small businesses and township businesses which qualify are able to put in a tender bid for the goods and services required.

In addition, National Treasury has also provided guidelines that need to be adhered to for Covid-19 emergency measures.

See full letter here

The Covid-19 pandemic cannot be used as an excuse to not adhere to the procurement laws and SCM polices of the GPG.

The DA will be taking its oversight role seriously when it comes to the current Covid-19 procurement procedures and will ensure that the funds set aside for this is spent within budget and within the procurement laws and SCM policy of the GPG.

GPG faces uphill battle to keep wage bill at 60%

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng notes the announcement by the MEC for Finance, Nomantu Nkomo Ralehoko that the public servant’s wage bill will be capped at 60%, and that no employee salaries will be cut. This is also an undertaking she gave to the unions.

Currently, the wage bill according to the MEC is at 55%, however, the DA can confirm that the actual wage bill is at 58% or R82,568bn. This is according to the Gauteng Provincial Spending per economic classification details for the 2020/21 Financial Year.

The MEC has also indicated that she has directed all departments to conduct a skills audit to ascertain, exactly what skills each employee has.

This will help ensure that the right person with the right skills is employed by government and will also give the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) an idea of what and where critical skills vacancies exist.

The DA, however, is concerned that once the skills audit is complete, the GPG will not be able to keep the wage bill below 60%.

Currently one of the stumbling blocks in filling critical skill vacancies is that government does not offer a competitive salary. This is one of the reasons why there is a severe shortage of Big Data Analysts and Cyber Security Specialists in the e-Government department for example.

We note increased budgets allocated for consultants in five departments of the Gauteng Provincial Government, of which the Department of Roads and Transport had the biggest increase. This is also indicative of a shortage of suitable skills internally and must be addressed urgently by the skills audit as called for by the MEC.

The establishment of additional advisory panels by departments and the Office of the Premier will also mean that more salaries will have to be paid. Take for example the 4th Industrial Revolution Advisory panel that will be established in the Office of the Premier.

I will be tabling questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) to ascertain when the skills audit will commence with end dates,  and what measures are being put in place to ensure that critical skills vacancies are filled without inflating the wage bill. The DA will also be monitoring this process to ensure that qualified and experienced personnel are employed.