Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, says Gauteng residents should be ready for their turn as the province intends to rollout massive vaccination.
He made the remark while delivering his State of the Province Address on Tuesday.
“We intend to vaccinate 67% (10.4 million people) of Gauteng’s population. We call on the people of our province to get ready to vaccinate in large numbers. Vaccines save lives. As more vaccine doses arrive, we will vaccinate 215 101 healthcare workers in Phase I of the Vaccine Rollout Plan of our province.
This will be followed 7 372 924 vaccinations in Phase II focusing on essential workers and vulnerable sections of the population such as the elderly and people with co-morbidities. We will conclude with Phase III of the vaccination programmed which will focus on 2 789 427 vaccinations for the rest of the population over 18 years. More than 150 vaccination sites have been identified at primary healthcare centres and vaccinators have been trained across the province,” he explained.
The province started its vaccination programme last week, targeting healthcare workers.
Gauteng has received 16 800 doses for the vaccination of healthcare workers over the next two weeks. The Steve Biko Academic Hospital received 5 720 doses, while Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital received 11 080 doses.
To date, 5 214 healthcare workers in Gauteng have been vaccinated. “We must make it clear that coronavirus is still around and the third wave is a real possibility as we approach winter. However, we must also say that without equivocation that vaccines constitute the decisive weapon against pandemics. The vaccination plan has to be rolled out urgently and massively to save lives and enabled the economy to recover fully,” adds Makhura.
He has warned against complacency, saying that even though the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine has begun, the possibility of a third wave cannot be ruled out.
Makhura adds that the province has expanded the capacity of its public healthcare system, with 4 265 new functional beds and 4 992 posts created and filled between April 2020 and January 2021.
He says another 1 425 beds are in the final stages of being made functional and operational with additional staffing from the start of the new financial year.
“This is a significant long-term investment that will outlive the COVID-19 pandemic. What is important is to improve patient care, clinical outcomes, meet the ideal clinic standards and prepare the health care system for the NHI,” he adds.
Outlining the province’s four priorities, he said winning the battle against the virus and reigniting the economy top the list.
“Firstly, winning the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and building resilient institutional and societal capacity to deal effectively with any future pandemics and disasters in the Gauteng City Region.
Secondly, ( it is) re-igniting the Gauteng economy to take a lead in South Africa’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan as well as Africa’s industrialisation agenda. Thirdly, recalibrating social policy to improve educational and health outcomes, fight crime and protect the most vulnerable sections of the population against urban poverty and hunger,” says Makhura.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura says corruption allegations and irregularities related to COVID-19 procurement in the province have delayed some of the health infrastructure and also revealed substantial governance weaknesses.
He delivered the State of the Provincial Address (SOPA) on Tuesday.
Makhura reiterated his call that those involved in the PPE corruption must be brought to book and all monies must be recovered by the state.
“The irregular and corrupt practices exposed by the Auditor General and the Special Investigating Unit constitute a serious dent in the progress that has been made in the past five years on clean governance and integrity. We must and we will set an example with all those involved in malfeasance, both in the public and private sector,” says Makhura.
He added that the coordination and collaboration with various sectors, departments and agencies have helped a great deal when the pressure was high during the peak of the first and second waves.
“Close interactions and collective interventions with trade unions, business, the faith-based sector, civil society and the ward-based war rooms also helped to raise awareness in hotspots and ensure compliance; and address teething problems of PPE supply,” the Premier says.
“As policy makers, we understood the specific trajectory of the pandemic in our province and further enhanced our Covid-19 response in dealing with hotspots and in communicating key messages to the public. We are very proud of the Gauteng-based universities and academic hospitals which have world-class researchers and clinicians who have been giving cutting edge leadership and breaking new ground about the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” adds Makhura.
He says the country’s response to COVID-19 has demonstrated that it has enormous scientific and industrial capabilities. – Report by Voice of Wits reporter, Mmangaliso Khumalo.
Gauteng’s Tshwane South District managed to remain the top district nationally with an average of 89.6%
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced the 2020 matric results on Monday and said 76.2% of the learners who sat down for the exam passed.
The Free State is the leading province with 85.1% learners having passed. It was followed by Gauteng which posted 83.8% pass rate. Both provinces posted a decline of 3.2% and 3.5% from 2019, respectively.
Motshekga says the class of 2020 managed to produce quality passes under difficult circumstances due to COVID-19.
“The high-quality passes we have achieved this year, especially the number of Bachelor and Diploma passes, the overall pass mark, and the passes with distinctions, even in critical subjects, are the hallmarks of the performance of the Class of 2020, We are of the strong view that, had it not been for the novel COVID-19 pandemic, the Class of 2020 could have been the best performers, since the inception of the National Senior Certificate,” said Motshekga.
Education expert Professor Mary Metcalfe, who also believes that the class of 2020 did well, says learners who failed should be encouraged to try again.
“I think the results are excellent given the difficulties of the class of 2020, a drop of 5% is disappointing but the fact that we don’t seem to have major drop out of learners should be encouraging. The fact that some learners failed is a pity, those learners need to be encouraged to write again, to understand that it was a difficult year and not to judge themselves too harshly. We need to support them as family and community to try again,” says Metcalfe
Educators union of South Africa spokesperson, Kabelo Mahlobogwane, says it is encouraging to see that learners and teachers have managed to work very hard under the difficult conditions of COVID-19.
“They worked very hard to make sure that regardless of the situation they still come out as victors, this for us shows the resilience and the capacity and the capabilities that our learners working together with teachers have, and really this is very encouraging and motivating to see that we do have such committed individuals within the basic education sector willing to serve it regardless of the situation,” he says.
Mahlobogwane believes that the results could have been better had the basic education department provided enough support.
“We strongly believe that we could have gotten better results had we received the support from the department of basic education and this is so sad in a sense that there are a number of learners who didn’t manage to make it, not because of their own individual capacities but because of the situation they find themselves in. The IEB we also congratulate them and we say to basic education, government and other stakeholders that they need to take notes, no situation can hinder the progress of a capable government and department we want to encourage the DBE to focus on preparing public education system,” he says.
The African National Congress (ANC) caucus in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature also congratulated all learners who made it through the difficult year.
“We are proud of the efforts put by all stakeholders to ensure that education becomes a societal priority. We welcome the 83.3 % pass rate making Gauteng the second-best province. Not only has the department under great leadership at all levels done well in terms of numbers but they have improved the quality of the results,” says the caucus in a statement.