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.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has submitted a letter to the Hawks to begin investigation into Gauteng Premier, David Makhura.
The opposition submitted the letter to the Hawks in Pretoria on Thursday.
The party says the former Chief Financial Officer Kabelo Lehloenya implicated Makhura in the province’s COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) scandal.
DA Gauteng leader, Solly Msimanga, says the crime-fighting body must investigate the entire Gauteng government.
“We are here outside the offices of the Hawks here in Pretoria where we have come to give in a letter and also request investigation to be done into the office of the premier and to request that government of Gauteng really be investigated in terms of what has been happening since the pandemic has started,” he says.
Msimanga adds, “Right now we are talking about close to R2.8 billion that has really gone towards corruption and fruitless expenditure.”
The Gauteng DA leader says Lehloenya alleged that the premier gave her six companies to be awarded the contracts.
He says his party will table a motion of no confidence if investigations take time.
“We don’t have the confidence that the Gauteng departments will be able to investigate themselves within the province.
“We are asking for the Hawks and we also writing a letter to the Auditor General, the Special Investigating Unit, and the President of the country to look into this matter and really investigate what is happening and give us answers before we take steps further in terms of tabling a motion of no confidence into the premier in the legislature, even before the state of the province address is to take place.”
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the ANC Youth League have called for Makhura to vacate office.