Gauteng Health wastes R12.7 million as 70 000 litres of sanitiser expires

The Gauteng Health Department has wasted 141 000 half-litre bottles of sanitiser which cost R12.7 million as it has expired and is no longer useable.

This is disclosed by Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Mokgethi, R100 million was paid for 544 000 units of sanitiser to assist with the Covid-19 epidemic, but only 392 000 units (74%) was used. The remaining 141 000 units which totals 70 000 litres cannot be used as they have expired and are currently being stored at Kushesh Warehouse quarantine area.

Mokgethi says that the sanitiser had a limited product validity period of one year from 31 March 2020 to 31 March 2021. Samples of the sanitiser were submitted to the Quality Assurance department in December 2020 to check the quality, but no feedback has been received to date.

I am concerned that poor quality sanitiser was bought as it should normally be valid for at least three years. Why has the Quality Assurance department still not given a report on this after one year?

Health workers often complain that they are not given sufficient sanitisers, which adds to the risks they face with rampant Covid-19 infections.

Corruption may well be involved as has occurred with much of the PPE procurement.

We need accountability in this matter and penalties for companies that have provided substandard supplies.

Gauteng residents deprived of basic services with unfunded municipal budgets during 2021/22 financial year

Access to basic services such as electricity, water and sanitation by thousands of residents in seven local municipalities, including two district municipalities in Gauteng will be severely affected with these municipal councils having once again presented unfunded budgets for the 2021/22 financial year.

It is now becoming a norm that especially local municipalities are presenting unfunded budgets, which always results in a negative impact on service delivery.

Eskom and Rand Water are the two main creditors affected when an unfunded budget is presented by local municipalities, resulting in a reduction of services to our residents in the affected municipalities, such as scheduled electricity cuts during the day, making it even harder for residents to get by during the cold winter.

In response to my written questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL), the MEC for Finance and e-Government, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko revealed that the following municipalities have provided an unfunded budget for this financial year:

  • Mogale City Local Municipality
  • Lesedi Local Municipality
  • Emfuleni Local Municipality
  • Sedibeng District Municipality
  • Rand West Local Municipality
  • West Rand District Municipality
  • Merafong Local Municipality

It is appalling that thousands of residents living in these municipalities will be subjected to substandard service delivery or none at all because these municipalities do not have enough cash resources on hand to ensure that their creditors are paid on time.

This means that residents who are already suffering because of the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, now have to pay for services that they are not receiving on a regular basis.

In addition, where services such as electricity and water are affected, it means that our residents are unable to cook food for their families and regularly wash their hands.

Furthermore, small businesses are also affected by the constant disruption of electricity by Eskom due to load reduction, which means that they lose valuable clientele when they are unable to operate.

If MEC Nkomo-Ralehoko is serious about ensuring that all local municipalities are able to present funded budgets, she will as a matter of urgency, conduct an internal inquiry to ascertain exactly why it is that seven out of eight local municipalities are not able to present a funded budget year after year. This trend clearly points to poor planning on the part of the municipality and a lackadaisical approach to their responsibility of providing services to residents.

The DA-led Midvaal is the only local municipality that has presented a funded budget in the province. Midvaal is committed to ensuring that they have enough cash liquidity so that residents can get the service delivery they need and deserve. The DA will continue to shine the spotlight on the lack of service delivery in these seven municipalities as it is unfair that residents are not provided with what they truly deserve.

Local Government Elections are coming up! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

More than 30 families share one toilet

Residents of Mshayazafe hostel in Thokoza, Ekurhuleni are in desperate need of dignified housing but are forced to live in squalor. More than thirty families in one block of the hostel are sharing one toilet and unable to regularly wash their hands.  This is wholly unacceptable under any circumstances, but especially so considering the need for regular handwashing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 While more than one million Gauteng residents wait for their housing allocation by government, the Department of Human Settlements is consistently failing to meet its quarterly target of upgrading informal settlements, releasing land parcels, converting hostels into family units, completing unfinished housing projects and providing interim service support to informal settlements. 

The living conditions that our residents at Mshayazafe hostel and Empilisweni informal settlements are exposed to are appalling, unsanitary and not suitable for human habitation. 

Photos can be seen here_ here_ here _here _

The failure of meeting its quarterly targets was revealed in the fourth quarterly report of the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements for the 2020/21 financial year. The department failed to achieve any of the targets set, resulting in no work done during the quarter.

The failed targets included the handover of 500 land release parcels to beneficiaries, the target to procure 7375 land release parcel opportunities on the serviced sites from the private sector, but only 218 land release parcels were procured. 

The releasing of land parcels plays a critical role in giving our residents an opportunity to build their own houses and not solely rely on government to provide them with dignified housing. This saves the department money in terms of building top structures and reduces the number of those on the housing waiting list.

The department also failed to achieve its target to complete 239 top structures in regard to incomplete/abandoned/blocked housing projects. Furthermore, they did not achieve its planned target to formalise 37 townships. Completing these unfinished housing projects would have relieved pressure from both the department and residents by providing housing to people and further reducing the housing waiting list.

They also failed to convert three hostel projects into family units and to complete 30 family units from hostels, which are under construction. Considering the appalling living conditions that our hostel residents, across the province, are exposed to on a daily basis, the department should be prioritising delivering dignified family units to these residents.

 Lastly, the department failed to meet its target of providing interim services support to 63 informal settlements and to provide phase two upgrading to two informal settlements.

The department’s failure to deliver services to the residents of informal settlements is wholly unacceptable, especially during this economically and socially challenging period as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Failure to provide water, sanitation and ablution services possibly exacerbated the health challenges of communities living in informal settlements, and is a smear on the constitutional rights of South African citizens.

We will not hesitate in holding Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Lebogang Maile accountable for his department’s failure to realise the rights of these citizens, and the utter indignity they experience on a daily basis.

We call on MEC Maile to ensure that his department prioritise delivering of dignified housing to our people, as they cannot continue living in inhumane conditions. We will also demand MEC Maile to provide a detailed plan on the turnaround strategy with regards to delivering housing in the new financial year. Where the DA governs in Tshwane, we have already handed over serviced stands to our residents to ensure that they have dignified housing.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.