DA reports eThekwini Deputy Mayor’s conduct

Democratic Alliance media statement by Dr Imran Keeka, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Health

 

DA reports eThekwini Deputy Mayor’s conduct

 

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in eThekwini has written to the Speaker of the Council, Lekgoa Mapena, to report the conduct of Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer. As the custodian of the Code of Conduct for Councillors, the DA believes that Mapena has to take action against the Deputy Mayor.

In a recorded conversation that has since gone viral, Peer calls a resident, Ms Ron Naidoo, to aggressively berate her for writing to the Mayor about poor municipal service delivery. Click here to listen to the clip.

Despite Ms Naidoo’s claims that their DA Ward Councillor is attempting to do his work but is ‘cut off at the knees’, Peer is belittling and claims she is ‘warning’ Naidoo not to ‘pick her out’ as she ‘is not responsible for service delivery’.

In WhatsApp messages about the exchange, Peer also accused DA Councillor Chris Pappas of spreading the recordings, calling him a ‘little brat’, and saying that he will be ‘fealty’ (sic) with. We presume this means he will be dealt with, which is another threat.

The DA believes that Councillor Peer’s conduct towards Ms Naidoo, as well as Councillor Pappas, violates section 2 of the Municipal Code of Conduct for Councillors in terms of the Municipal Systems Act.

The Code requires councillors to perform the functions of the office in good faith and honestly, neither of which we believe Peer has done. The Code also requires Councillors to conduct themselves in such a way that the credibility and integrity of the municipality are not compromised.

The DA will be following up on this matter. This kind of arrogance and failure to account has become typical of ANC leaders in eThekwini, and eThekwini communities must not tolerate it.

KZN CoGTA MEC corruption scandal: DA calls for breakdown of MEC’s husband’s municipal contracts from provincial Treasury

Democratic Alliance media statement by Hlanganani Gumbi, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA)

 

KZN CoGTA MEC corruption scandal: DA calls for breakdown of MEC’s husband’s municipal contracts from provincial Treasury

The Democratic Alliance will today submit a written parliamentary question (view here)  to the KwaZulu-Natal Treasury to call for a breakdown of all municipal contracts awarded to provincial CoGTA MEC, Nomusa Dube-Ncube’s husband since she was first appointed to the post.

The call to Treasury will also include a request to provide evidence of proper Supply Chain Management (SCM) procedure in each case.

The move follows the DA’s disclosure of controversial contracts within two of KZN’s municipalities – Nkandla and Mthonjaneni – last month, in which Brand Partners, a business belonging to Sibuniso Ncube was awarded lucrative contracts for communication services.  There have also been claims that the MEC’s husband has benefitted as a result of being awarded multi-million rand IRPTN (roads contracts) within the Msunduzi municipality.

Given the above, the DA believes that contracts awarded to Ncube require extra scrutiny.

On 20 June, the DA wrote to the MEC, requesting that she launch a probe to order to establish whether SCM procedures had been circumvented. To date she has not responded to this request.  We have, however, received confirmation of an internal fact-finding exercise via KZN CoGTA’s Head of Department, Mr Thando Tubane. We welcome this move in the interests of transparency.

The DA also reported its concerns to KZN Premier Willies Mchunu on 4 June. Disappointingly he, as in the case of the MEC, has failed to respond appropriately give the seriousness of the issues raised.

Given this lack of transparency on the part of both the Premier and the MEC, the DA believes that the time has now come for Treasury to intervene and to show they, at least, are prepared to fight corruption in KZN. We expect a response to our question within the prerequisite 14 working days. Failing this, we will consider other means to force the provincial government to supply us with this information.

KZN deserves the kind of change that ensures open and transparent tender processes, which benefit all businesses – big and small – not just friends of ANC politicians.

KZN ‘Cataract Camp’ held up by a lack of critical equipment and government red tape

Democratic Alliance media statement by Dr Imran Keeka, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Health

 

KZN ‘Cataract Camp’ held up by a lack of critical equipment and government red tape

 

Despite efforts by professional medical staff to reduce the backlog of patients waiting for cataract surgery at Newcastle’s Madadeni Hospital, a lack of critical equipment and government red tape continues to hamper progress.

The finding comes after an oversight inspection conducted by the DA yesterday.

Cataracts is a medical condition that clouds the normally clear lens of the eyes, making it difficult to function normally.

Despite this, the current waiting time in 10 of the province’s facilities where these operations are performed is anywhere between one month to a year.

Two weeks ago, the DA revealed that least 8 201 patients in KZN are waiting for this particular surgery, mostly as a result of dysfunctional ophthalmology equipment. The information was based on a parliamentary reply (view here) by provincial Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo.

During yesterday’s oversight visit to Madadeni Hospital we found a medical team fully committed to reducing the backlog, with the introduction of a ‘Cataract Camp’, as part of a Nelson Mandela Day initiative. The initiative aims to reduce the facility’s cataract operation backlog from 3 000 to 2 800 this week alone.

This number is still very high and the DA is particularly concerned by reports from professional medical staff that the hospital had to borrow critical equipment from a private company and other facilities in order to conduct the camp.

Staff also reported that a NGO is also supposed to have flown in foreign surgeons to assist – with the intention of conducting 1 000 operations this week alone – but that government red tape has prevented this. The surgeons were scheduled to fly in with their own equipment and certain eye implants that are required in some cases. It may take up to six months to resolve the red-tape issues.

Between 2015 and last week Madadeni Hospital only performed 427 operations overall. With extra equipment, personnel and theatre space allocated for this weeks’ Cataract Camp, they are to perform 200 cataract surgeries. Regrettably, this will not be the case next week or even next month as this means that all other procedures, apart from emergency surgeries, will have to continue being put off.

The DA will submit follow-up parliamentary questions to MEC Dhlomo. He must tell us why this equipment is not working and how backlogs will be dealt with. We will also engage with our colleagues in the national assembly to get an explanation from National Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi about what steps he is taking to ensure that bureaucracy does not hold up treatment for the many thousands of people waiting for cataract surgery in KZN.

If the ANC cannot get something as simple as cataract surgery equipment right, it certainly won’t be able to roll out a megaproject like the National Health Insurance (NHI). While the DA acknowledges and affirms the need for universal access to healthcare, we do not believe the proposed NHI provides a workable model to achieve it.

The DA’s Our Health Plan (OHP) is the most credible and workable option that seeks to ensure that no person is denied quality healthcare because they are poor

Click here for photo: Democratic Alliance KZN Health Spokesperson, Dr Imran Keeka, (far right) conducted an oversight inspection of the Madadeni Hospital yesterday where doctors are trying to reduce the facility’s backlog of 3 000 patients waiting for cataract operations.

#UguWaterCrisis: DA to submit motion to declare Umuziwabantu Local Municipality a local state of disaster

Democratic Alliance media statement by Dr Rishigen Viranna, MPL

DA Ugu Constituency Head

 

#UguWaterCrisis: DA to submit motion to declare Umuziwabantu Local Municipality a local state of disaster

 

Notes to the editor: Kindly find the sound bite and photos for the oversight visit in the links below.
Soundbite: http://bit.ly/2NTo3yO
Photos: http://bit.ly/2LnVesu

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will submit a motion, during the next Ugu District Municipality council meeting, calling for a resolution to declare a local state of disaster for Umuziwabantu Local Municipality in terms of Section 55 of the Disaster Management Act No 57 of 2002.

This follows a DA oversight inspection to the Harding water infrastructure site where shockingly low water levels exposed the fact that Ugu District Municipality might be hiding a dire water situation.

The DA learnt that Harding Municipal Dam level is between 10-15% and the water levels are approximately 8m below the high water mark. The Harding Dam is the primary water source for the entire town.

The inlet to the water treatment plant was raised last week using ropes in an effort to avoid sucking in mud from the dam floor.

The alternative water source for Umuziwabantu Municipality is the Weza Waterworks on the Weza River. However, these waterworks were built primarily to supply water to rural areas of the district. It does not help that water levels in Weza River are currently very low with water at the extraction point.

Worse still, due to low dam levels, water is already being diverted from Weza River to feed the town of Harding causing large water outages in rural and traditional authority areas.

The Harding Water Treatment Plant is without chlorine gas and is currently using liquid chlorine. Thus water is only treated once with chlorine. There are 3 settling tanks, 2 filtration machines and 1 holding tank that are non-functional.

Day Zero is fast approaching for Harding and surrounding rural areas. It is shocking that throughout this impending humanitarian crisis there has been no information or warnings have been released to the residents of Umuziwabantu. There are over 50 schools, 1 district hospital and numerous clinics in Umuziwabantu Local Municipality, a day with no water will create a humanitarian disaster for over 50000 residents.

The DA Ugu Caucus has already given a notice of motion regarding the impending Harding Day Zero. It is as follows:

• The Ugu District Municipality and KZN Provincial Government declare Umuziwabantu Local Municipality a local disaster area in keeping with Section 55 of the Disaster Management Act
• The disaster management provisions in Section 57 of Disaster Management Act must be invoked.
• An immediate information drive on the water situation, water-saving measures and relevant water restrictions be put in place.

This motion and the Democratic Alliance call for action will be debated at the next Ugu District council meeting at the end of July. We hope that the governing party will not play petty politics and put the residents of Umuziwabantu in the forefront and support our motion.

The poor and the vulnerable Ugu District Municipality have been marginalized and left to fend for themselves. Their right to access water has been violated by the ANC led Municipality. The DA will continue in its call for the district municipality to be placed under Section 139 administration and for bulk water services to be handed over to Umgeni Water to manage.

Durban and Coastal Mental Health Home: MEC more worried about the DA than the exposure of abuse of vulnerable patients

Democratic Alliance media statement by Dr Imran Keeka, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Health

 

Durban and Coastal Mental Health Home: MEC more worried about the DA than the exposure of abuse of vulnerable patients

 

The response by KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo following the sexual abuse of a patient at the Durban and Coastal Mental Health Home (DCMH) is a hysterical reaction by a MEC who is more worried about being exposed by the DA than the protection of vulnerable patients at this facility.

The flailing response by both the MEC and DCMH Director, Gita Harie, comes after a DA oversight inspection at the facility last week during which a rape was reported. The rape was later confirmed by a medical practitioner.

Rather than deal with the very serious and heinous matters at hand, the MEC and Mrs Harie have accused the DA of meddling – a stunning accusation given that the role of opposition parties is to conduct oversight of such facilities.

The DA is deeply disturbed by what appears to be some form of unholy alliance between the MEC and Mrs Harie, as evidenced by the clumsy attempt to escape accountability. Their scurrilous approach must not be allowed to deflect from the realities of the atrocities that have occurred on their watch.

The DCMH is a facility that has been operating for 77 years and reaches 80 000 beneficiaries. The home provides an essential service to its users. The DA has no desire to see this facility shut down but we will not stand by while patients are being abused and exploited.

The past few weeks have seen numerous allegations, the rapes being the worst. Other claims include nepotism, improper financial gain involving senior staff, serving stale and/or rotten or expired food to patients and worse still, physical assault of those who can’t defend themselves, allegedly by staff members. All of this must be tried before appropriate authorities.

The MEC and his Department have already shown that they do not care about the sick and vulnerable in KZN after having been found guilty by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) of violating the rights of cancer patients to access treatment. It is under MEC Dhlomo’s watch that more than 500 patients have died – and these are only the ones that we know of.

Meanwhile, Mrs Harie has accused the DA of sensationalising the issues at the DCMH by inviting the media to attend a briefing. It is important to note that proper protocol was followed in terms of our visit and that while we were there, the ANC also arrived at the Home and were also interviewed by the media. This without any prior arrangement. Following this, the MEC appeared on the scene the next day after the DA publicly called upon him to visit the facility. He did so with the media in tow. For Ms Harie to then cry foul is absolute hypocrisy.

It is clear that both the MEC and Ms Harie are more interested in protecting themselves rather than the interests of the patients at the DCMH. This will not benefit or protect the users of the facility and will ruin a 77 year old reputation. In the event that there is another rape, one more patient beaten or one more fed expired food, both must be held criminally accountable because their recent behaviour exhibits culpability rather than accountability.

The DA has long called for MEC Dhlomo to be fired on the basis that he has been proved to be the province’s chief human rights violator. We also believe that in the interests of ongoing future investigations Ms Harie should either be suspended or fired from this facility.

The MEC now has a duty to tell the people of KZN what steps he, his Department and Mrs Harie are taking to stop sexual abuse and other atrocities at this facility. He must not hide behind Commissions, Boards and enquiries and Ms Harie must not hide behind him.

Their attempts to side-track from the problems will not protect the people lodged at DCMH. Only solid action will. If they can’t provide this leadership, they must admit it or, better yet, both resign.