Daily Archives: May 3, 2018

Minister Urged for More Progress by Joint Committee

Parliament The Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr Pravin Gordhan, appeared before the joint committee meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises and the Select Committee on Communications and Public Enterprises yesterday (Wednesday 2 May 2018) to brief the joint committee on, among other things, the context of challenges facing the department and its state-owned companies (SOCs), in relation to the phenomenon of state capture.

Also the Department of Public Enterprises briefed the joint committee on its strategic and annual performance plans and budget for 2018/19.

Mr Gordhan told the joint committee about some of the key steps the department is taking to stabilise its entities. The steps, according to Mr Gordhan, include the change of the way boards are appointed; to eliminate the role of board members in procurement; stop the extraction and misuse of funds meant for development; to improve the turnaround time to intervene in the SOCs and improve accountability; to improve consequence management; to improve financial sustainability and eliminate dependency on the fiscus; to improve public trust on SOCs and to reposition them as drivers of economic development.

Mr Gordhan committed himself to presenting in two months on the financial viability of all SOCs. He also informed the joint committee that the department needed more time to interrogate the shareholder compacts as they were developed by the previous regime.

He briefed the joint committee on progress made since the change of political leadership in the department. The progress includes change of the board of Eskom, the board of Eskom is in the process of concluding the recruitment of the Group Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Eskom, the department is appointing a forensic investigation to look at the diamond business of Alexkor and there is also work done to investigate the performance of Safcol. At Denel, the new leadership is carrying on with the work that was initiated a few months ago.

The joint committee praised the decisiveness of Mr Gordhan in acting against corruption and all those people associated with state capture. The joint committee told Mr Gordhan that the department should align its key performance indicators with priorities set out in the 2018 State of the Nation Address and in the National Development Plan.

The joint committee raised concerns about the lack of effectiveness of strategies supporting small and medium-sized enterprises and promoting local content. The joint committee lambasted the Transnet board for the lack of actions that have been taken against Transnet officials who have been implicated in state capture allegations.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

NW health tables plan to boost workforce

In a bid to increase its health workforce, the North West Health Department says more than 700 medical students will be leaving Cuba to come and do their final 6th year of their medical degree course in SA.

The integration programme for these 6th year students will take place in a period of 18 months. Sixty five of these students come from this province. In the following year, 2019, another estimated 100 or more of the 6th year integration programme will be expected from this province.

At the end of next year, we will have 65 new interns, and at the end of 2020, we will be having another estimated number of over 100 new interns in our hospitals. These are students who were born and grew up in this Province, said provincial Health MEC Magome Masike.

MEC Masike tabled the plan to increase the health workforce during the provincial department’s budget speech on Thursday morning.

Through the South Africa-Cuba exchange programme, the department said it hopes to boost its staff at hospitals and clinics with the newly trained medical officers who are products of the communities that they will serve.

In 2017, a total of 420 professional nurses were produced from College and North West University. In addition to this, 168 post basic nurses graduated in 2017, while 202 nurses were certificated as enrolled and auxiliary nurses.

A total of 30 students graduated in medicine in 2017/18. The breakdown is as follows: 18 in the Nelson Mandela/ Fidel Castro programme and 12 in the local universities. A total of 22 students graduated as Allied Health Professionals during 2017/2018.

This demonstrates that our long term plan to deal with shortage of health professionals especially doctors is finally beginning to bear fruits. I believe the time is coming in this country and Province when our health workers will speak the same language with our patients, said the MEC.

Hospital dashboard improves delivery of medicine

With regards to improving service delivery in the province, the department rolled out a hospital dashboard which keeps track of availability of medicine supplies in hospitals and clinics.

We are committed to ensuring availability of essential drugs and medical supplies in all our facilities all the time. I am happy to report that a hospital dashboard has been rolled out to all hospitals to monitor availability of medicines at hospital level.

Availability of medicines has improved to 86% before the labour unrest and community protests although supplier challenges such as delayed and short supply are still experienced. Material handling equipment i.e pallet jacks, electric stackers, steel ladders have been procured and have improved operations in the warehouse, said the MEC.

In the 2018/19 financial year, MEC Masike said the department will ensure continued monitoring of availability of hospital level medications through the dashboard

We will also fast track implementation of direct delivery of medicines to the hospitals by ensuring that 70% are directly delivered by the end of the financial year, he said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Heroin worth R100 000 taken off the Mitchell’s Plain streets

Western Cape: Police attached to the Western Cape Flying Squad followed up on the information they received about drugs that were kept at a house in Tafelsig, Mitchell’s Plain. Upon their arrival at the address this morning (2018-05-03) at about 00:50, members found two bags of heroin with a total weight of 28,1 g worth an estimated street value of R100 000. The drugs were seized by police and three men aged 28, 34 and 46 years, were arrested and detained at Mitchell’s Plain SAPS. Once they are charged they are expected to appear in the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrates’ Court on a charge of possession of drugs.

Source: South African Police Service

Committee Still Concerned about Challenges at MDDA

Parliament´┐Ż The Portfolio Committee on Communications is concerned about the ongoing challenges at the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) that continue to hamper the smooth running of this important institution. The committee visited the entity to report back to staff on issues raised during a previous engagement the committee had with all stakeholders in 2017.

Of major concern remains the inability of the board to function efficiently because, among other things, they don’t quorate. The board has fiduciary duty to ensure that the institution functions effectively and the current situation negatively impacts the operation of the institution. It is concerning that Board Committees are not functional with the exception of the Audit and Risk Committee, said Mr Humphrey Maxegwana, the Chairperson of the committee.

The appointment of the Company Secretary as the Acting Chief Executive Officer for two months was highly irregular as the committee views this as the blurring of lines between the operations of the entity and board oversight. Despite this, the committee welcomes the secondment of an Acting CEO from the Government Communication and Information System to assist on a temporary basis until the position is filled.

The vacancy rate at the institution, especially within the senior management level, is a worrying factor that will impede the development and implementation of the organisational strategy. While the committee acknowledge the challenge posed by the inquorate board, it has called for the Department of Communications as the shareholder representative, together with the Presidency, to urgently fill the vacant positions within the board.

It is further concerning that key directorates in the agency remain non-functional due to capacity challenges. For example, the Monitoring and Evaluation unit only had two staff members that service nine provinces between them. Also, the Internal Audit and Risk Officer were appointed on a temporary basis, something which poses a governance risk.

The development of a diversified media landscape is a critical role necessary for the sustenance of South Africa’s democracy. While the threat by Sentech to shut down community radio stations due to non-payment has been resolved, the committee has urged the executive management together with the department to find lasting solutions to that challenge.

The committee will, following these interactions, decide what possible way forward must be undertaken to bring finality to challenges at the entity. Also, the appointment of a permanent CEO and CFO as well as other vacant senior management positions is a matter that must receive urgent attention as these positions are critical in driving the mandate of the institution.

Furthermore, management has been urged to engage employees to build institutional morale and sameness of purpose, that is necessary to deliver on the mandate of the entity.

The committee has highlighted that the entity remains a strategic lever necessary to ensure the development of a diverse media landscape, that is necessary for a maturing democracy as ours and cannot be left to disintegrate.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa