Gauteng Premier David Makhura is set to deliver the State Of the Provincial Address following a challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and corruption scandals.
PPE corruption scandals rocked the province, which saw the Health MEC Bandile Masuku being axed before the end of his term.
Makhura was also implicated but later cleared by the SIU.
He will highlight the provincial government’s service delivery action plan for the year ahead.
His speech will focus on the strategy to defeat Covid-19, reigniting Gauteng’s economic reconstruction and recovery and providing support and relief to those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and GBV.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, Solly Msimanga, has urged Makhura to allocate a budget for COVID-19 vaccines to help the province reach herd immunity sooner.
Msimanga says the province should directly engage all available suppliers to get more vaccines.
He was discussing the performance of Premier, David Makhura’s government over the past year ahead of the State of the Provincial Address (SOPA) on Tuesday.
Msimanga says the DA has formulated a few solutions for each provincial department to implement, that can help make service delivery more functional.
“We as the DA have formulated a few solutions for each provincial department to implement, that can help make service delivery more functional, considering the disastrous performance of this government during 2020. We call it the Getting Gauteng Back on Track Pack, that should help the province start getting back to some form of tangible functionality as we hope in the next 1-2 years, South Africa will be able to almost fully enter a post-Covid world,” says Msimanga.
He says Makhura should implement all the Auditor-General’s recommendations to ensure efficient and effective spending without corruption.
For the departments, Msimanga says the Department of Community Safety must make the Gauteng Traffic Police a 24-hour service.
“Ensure more coordination action between SAPS and the Metro Police to tackle gang crime throughout Gauteng such as Boko Haram in Tshwane and others. Work to reduce gender-biased violence through a multidisciplinary approach,” he says.
Msimanga has called on the Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation to appoint a permanent CEO of the Gauteng Film Commission to avoid further internal hostilities that result in irregular decision-making.
“Cut wasteful expenditure on unnecessary celebratory events. Implement consequence management where officials are failing to meet targets or where they are found to be acting in either a corrupt manner or wasteful manner against the good practice of public service,”
The opposition party also wants the Department of Education to immediately place all Grade 1 and 8 students who are yet to be allocated schools for the 2021 academic year.
The Special Investigating Unit is investigating the R431 million spent by the Gauteng Education department on deep cleaning and saniters, among other things.
Gauteng premier David Makhura revealed this during a provincial command council briefing on Friday.
The move follows an internal report that shows that the department spent R431 million on sanitation and other COVID-19-related services to schools.
Makhura has rejected insinuations that MEC Panyaza Lesufi might have been involved in the misappropriation of the COVID-19 funds.
“What happened here was there value for money in Education, you can’t just tell without thorough investigation. Who is doing that investigation is the Special Investigating Unit and I know that in addition, MEC Lesufi has said to me that we should task he Auditor General office, and as far as I am concerned, the office of the Auditor General have been working closely with the SIU,” adds Makhura.
“At the moment, there is no allegations that the MEC for Education has a deal in this R400 million and he brought his people there.”
Lesufi has also expressed shock at the exorbitant spending and called for a probe.
Meanwhile, Premier Makhura has denied allegations that he influenced the awarding of COVID-19 PPE contracts to six companies to the former Chief Financial Officer, Katlego Lehloenya.
The Premier says he noted an error in a SIU report that implicates him and has asked the unit to investigate the matter.
On the ANC Youth League’s call that he be probed for fitness to hold office, the Premier says he avail himself to the ANC’s Provincial Integrity Committee should he be required to will do so.
The youth league has welcomed the move, while at the same time reiterating its call that the Premier step aside until he has is cleared of any wrongdoing.
The young lions also wants MEC Lesufi to do the same.
The Democratic Alliance in Gauteng on the other hand wants Makhura to vacate office.
The party has written to the Speaker of the Johannesburg City Council, requesting that she convenes an urgent sitting to debate a motion of no confidence in Premier.
A man has allegedly been raped at Bheki Mlangeni Psychiatric Hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg.
“It appears that a male psychiatric patient at Bheki Mlangeni raped another male patient, who was then taken to the Nthabiseng Rape Centre at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital,” says DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC, Jack Bloom, in a statement.
Bloom says this is the 11th” violent incident at Bheki Mlangeni this year alone.
He is calling for the sacking of the hospital CEO, Ruth Mabyana, who was reinstated in August after a precautionary leave over a fatal stabbing incident at the health facility.
“In my view, Mabyana is the worst hospital CEO in Gauteng and should have been removed long ago after scandals that include a string of violent assaults on patients and staff as well as a jobs-for-sale racket. It is not forgivable that yet another assault has occurred on a patient at this hospital. Effective steps should have been taken to ensure that mental health patients are only admitted to a dedicated high security ward,” he says.
He adds that: “New management is needed urgently at the hospital to ensure that patients and staff are in a secure environment without threat of violence.”
Gauteng Health says Acting MEC Jacob Mamabolo has dispatched a team to Bheki Mlangeni Hospital to investigate the latest claims.
“A statement will be issued later today once a preliminary report is compiled,” says the department.
Concerns over Bheki Mlangeni management
Last week, members of the Independent Liberation and Allied Workers’ Union (Ilawu) and Soweto community members embarked on a protest, threatening to shut down Bheki Mlangeni Hospital.
They called, among others, for the facility’s human resources management and Mabyana’s sacking.