Tag Archives: gauteng

MEC grinch almost cans kiddies party

According to IOL, Gauteng’s health MEC Brian Hlongwa commandeered a venue at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital which had been booked months in advance by doctors planning a Christmas party for their sick kiddies patients from the HIV perinatal ward. Why? So that his royal highness could launch a vaccine.

Reporters from The Star quote doctors as saying:

“We were quite taken aback because we had booked the place and our preparations were on track. And of course we had told all the patients and their parents about the party – we couldn’t just cancel.”

The article continues:

The doctor said they were then told they could still have their party – but at 10am.

“So that’s what we told all our children. And they all arrived at 10am sharp, but nearly three hours later the MEC was still busy. All our guests had to sit outside in the hot sun and wait for them to finish.”

When the guests started to become impatient, the doctors confronted the government officials and an argument ensued.

“We just wanted to start our party. The kids were sitting on a field. They called us racists. How can we be racist when we’ve worked so hard getting sponsors and organising a party for 1 000 children? Most of them had probably never had a party,” said the doctor.

Fortunately – after three hours of waiting – the kids were eventually able to have the party (but without a Christmas tree or decorations).

The provincial minister’s behaviour is truly disgusting: another display of his overweening arrogance and the contempt he seems to have for the sick. It wouldn’t have been difficult to find another venue for the vaccine launch. The likes of Hlongwa need to realise that the people they serve come first.

•    Read about Hlongwa’s extravagant R1 million renovations to his boardroom (and Baragwanath’s infrastructure challenges) here.

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Mashatile creates cookie jar

True to its investigative traditions, this week the M&G has a fascinating story on Gauteng premier Paul Mashatile’s bid to create an provincial equity fund that will provide money for projects thereby circumventing the tender process. This is ripe for the abuse of power and disbursement of patronage as such a move would mean that preferential bidders could simply be granted projects without the necessary procedures that would ensure they are the best for the job.

Read all about it here.

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Fatcat health MEC’s R1 million boardroom

Gauteng’s provincial health minister, Brian Hlongwa, has splashed out on renovating his boardroom with R1 million from the public purse according to this article in last week’s Financial Mail.

This outrageous extravagance comes at at time when Gauteng’s hospitals are under more strain than ever, with vastly inadequate and ill-maintained infrastructure (such as broken lifts), as well as chronic personnel and resource shortages.

Not that Hlongwa seems to care. As the FM says:

At Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital … it’s not unusual for patients (including the critically ill and pregnant women), doctors and nurses to climb flights of stairs because of broken lifts.

This doesn’t spur Hlongwa into action. “It’s a public works issue,” he tells the FM casually…

Indeed, Hlongwa seems more intent on creating a cushy environment at the provincial health head office, with an alleged R26 million being spent on alterations. And, in less than five years, personnel at the head office has surged to more than double in less than five years.

With the DA accusing Hlongwa spending to much money on consultant, Hlongwa responds with:

“It’s easy for the DA to criticise. We’re using the consultants from the private sector. That’s where the skills reside but they don’t come cheap.”

Of course if there hadn’t been a purge of skills and experience from government they wouldn’t be faced with the need of hiring so many consultants (many of which are actually former employees). And it would help if there were significant improvements to salaries and working conditions — with posts to be filled by the most-skilled applicant and not one chosen purely on a racial beancounting basis — to boost expertise in the public service.

Hlongwa and his ilk epitomise the callous indifference the ruling elite have for society’s most vulnerable. Those dependent on state healthcare have a raw deal thanks to a fatcat cabal far too preoccupied with self-enrichment to give a damn about service delivery.

Dismantling apartheid’s vicious and continuing legacy is simply not the urgent priority it should be.

Swanky renovations, a legion of consultants and gravy train buffets would be somewhat more tolerable if healthcare services (or any constitutionally-mandated government obligation for that matter) were of the highest standard. But they’re not: they’re abysmal.

And, sadly, until the people are put first, it will stay that way.

Read the FM article here.

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ANC’s ingredients in xenophobia cocktail of chaos

As usual, Justice Malala hits the nail on the head in his latest Times column, this one on xenophobia. He holds the ruling party responsible for creating a climate of criminality where illegal actions can occur with impunity. This, he feels, has led thugs across Gauteng to believe they can get away with their barbaric behaviour towards illegal immigrants:

A cocktail of factors, mixed by the ANC over the past 10 years, is responsible for the barbarism.

These people are behaving like barbarians because the ANC has failed — despite numerous warnings — to act on burning issues that are well known for having sparked similar eruptions across the globe.

This cocktail is made up of stubborn denialism on Zimbabwe, an increasingly incompetent and corrupt police service, poor service delivery and corruption in government departments.

The crime-does-pay culture fostered by the ANC — criminals such as the Travelgate fraudsters walk away scot-free — is a central ingredient of the cocktail.

This column is a must-read!

Justice for president!!

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