Daily Archives: February 20, 2017

More focus on care centres

Johannesburg – Gauteng Premier David Makhura has ordered a wide-ranging inspection and assessment of all centres that care for the most vulnerable, the elderly, people with disabilities and children – following the tragic death of over 100 mental health patients in the province.

Presenting his State of the Province Address, on Monday, Premier Makhura said his government will implement the full recommendations of the Health Ombudsman into the transfer of mental health patients to NGOs from Life Esidimeni.

Health Ombudsman, Prof Malekgapuru Makgoba, found that 94 of the transferred psychiatric patients had died of starvation and a lack of water at the NGOs they were placed in. Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu resigned as a result of the scandal.

Premier Makhura said he would spend the remainder of his term in office ensuring that there is restorative justice and healing for the families and that every executive action possible is taken to restore confidence in public health system.

“I would like to state categorically that the decision to transfer Life Esidimeni mental health patients to NGOs was not made in consultation with the Provincial Executive Council. The Executive Council and I would have never approved a plan to outsource mental health, a primary responsibility of the state to care for the vulnerable in society, to NGOs. What is even worse is the fact that such NGOs didn’t meet appropriate standards and legal prescripts,” he said.

Premier Makhura said every institution in Gauteng that provides services to the most vulnerable must meet appropriate standards. He said the province cannot wait for another tragedy before taking action.

“The Life Esidimeni tragedy must spur us into action over the next two years to restore the dignity and human rights of mental health patients and all vulnerable groups in our communities. I am determined to lead this mission over the next two years of my term of office as the premier of this province. I will appoint the Premier’s Mental Health Advisory Panel to assist in this mission.”

The Premier emphasised that cost considerations can never override the imperative of quality of care.

He said he would personally handle the investigation and make sure that all recommendations of the health ombud are implemented.

Source: South African Government News Agency.

Boost for township economy as Gauteng plans to spend more

Johannesburg – The township economy will get a further boost as the Gauteng Provincial Government intends to increase its spending on township based enterprises.

Speaking during his State of the Province Address in Randfontein, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said his administration will continue to invest in economic infrastructure in the townships, including the refurbishment of industrial parks.

“With regard to the revitalisation and mainstreaming of the township economy, the Gauteng Provincial Government has increased its spending on the township economy from R600 million in 2014 to R6 billion in 2016,” Premier Makhura said.

The Premier said public procurement policy is one of the instruments that government has at its disposal to deracialise the economy and help bring historically disadvantaged groups into the mainstream of the economy.

He said the Gauteng Provincial Government has reached a critical point wherein 91% of the procurement budget of R46 billion is directed to empower black people, women, youth and people with disabilities.

“Of the 12 000 companies that conduct business with our provincial administration, 10 000 of them are HDIs (historically disadvantaged individuals), including township enterprises.”

Premier Makhura said some of the radical measures his administration is undertaking, in partnership with key industry leaders, include:

Assisting and encouraging black firms and township enterprises to get involved in localisation and manufacturing initiatives so that they can produce goods locally and sell them to domestic and foreign markets.

Setting conditions for big companies doing business with government to sub-contract at least 30% of the main contract to qualifying black firms and township enterprises in a manner that ensures their meaningful participation.

He said there are promising projects underway with regard to township industrial hubs, agri-parks, human settlements, roads, renewable energy and social infrastructure.

On infrastructure investment, Premier Makhura said his administration has spent close to R30 billion between 2013 and 2016 on infrastructure, translating into an average annual growth rate of 20.7% – the fastest growth rate in the country.

He said evidence emerging from a commissioned study conducted by auditing firm KPMG regarding public infrastructure investment has found that:

92 000 direct jobs were added to the Gauteng economy through infrastructure spend.

Infrastructure spend raised R 15 billion to support household incomes.

On average every R1 spent on infrastructure, adds 92 cents to the Gauteng economy.

Infrastructure spend increased government revenue by R 6 billion.

Infrastructure spend resulted in additional economic activity worth R26 billion.

Premier Makhura said Gauteng was on track to change the face of the economy and continue to empower more young people.

Source: South African Government News Agency.

Armed Forces Day to wow SA

Pretoria – South Africans are in for a treat tomorrow as they will celebrate Armed Forces Day with the talented South African Defence Force (SANDF) who will display their fire power and equipment for all to see.

A full mechanised parade of 300 military vehicles including tanks and 4000 soldiers from SANDF will take part in a parade at Moses Mabhida Stadium, in Durban, from 10am until 2pm.

Armed Forces Day is commemorated on 21 February, a day that coincides with the commemoration of the sinking of the SS Mendi in 1917, during World War One.

As the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces President Jacob Zuma will officiate at the 6th Armed Forces Day celebrations.

In a build-up to the main event on Tuesday, Durban has been host to many events from 16 February.

From 16 – 21 February, a Fan Park at the Durban Drive-in site has been set up. From 8am to 4pm daily there is an expo by the army, air force, navy, medics and military police.

At the weekend South Africans enjoyed the opportunity of the Naval Ship Open Day Berth A and B.

Today, South Africans can watch a Capability Demonstration by the SANDF at Blue Lagoon. Firing of tracer rounds by specialised military weapons and small vehicles will be on show with a test from 3pm to 4:30pm. The main event for today will be from 7:30pm to 9pm.

As the build-up celebration gains momentum, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure is well in place to ensure that scores of people attending the event feel safe.

Members of the security forces including the SAPS and Metro Police have been out on full force since last week.

Road closures and diversions

To ensure a smooth running of the event, particularly on Tuesday, which is the main day, motorists are urged to pay attention to the closure and partial closure of roads and diversion of traffic.

Umgeni Road south bound (going into town) will be down to one lane from Goble Road at 5am Traffic will be diverted. Umgeni Road will be open again at 1pm.

NMR Ave will be closed from 8am at Blue Lagoon Engen (Athlone Drive). Traffic will be diverted to the M4 for access to the city. NMR Ave will be open again at 3pm.

Argyle Road will be open until 10am. Argyle will be closed at Stanger Street and at Stamford Hill Road. Argyle Road will be open again at midday.

Access to Walter Gilbert (MMS), Kings Park, Virgin Active) will be from Umgeni Road only until 10am and again at midday.

Snell Parade from Sun Coast Casino to Blue Lagoon will be closed from 10am in both directions. Snell Parade will be open at 4pm.

Motorists who don’t necessarily need to be in this area on Tuesday are urged to steer clear to help avoid traffic congestion. –

Source: South African Government News Agency.