Makhura dishing up 'reheated dreams' - DA

2017-02-20 21:06
The Gauteng State of the Province address in Randfontein (Mpho Raborife, News24)

The Gauteng State of the Province address in Randfontein (Mpho Raborife, News24)

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Local government's plan for SA's economic powerhouse

2017-02-20 15:16

Gauteng Premier David Makhura on Monday deliver the State of the Province Address in the West Rand.WATCH

Johannesburg - Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s State of the Province address was weak because he had done nothing new during his two-and-a-half year term, the DA said on Monday.

“Many of the so-called plans to be rolled out to reshape the economy, housing, and social services are simply reheated dreams that are two-years old. Minor adjustments to these fanciful dreams have certainly not led to prosperity,” the DA’s Gauteng leader John Moodey said.

Makhura had mentioned a number of panels and commissions that would be established to re-shape the economy and deal with the province’s social ills. Setting up these panels and commissions indicated that Makhura’s executive structures were failing him, and that he had to look for outside assistance, Moodey said.

Delivering his address in Randfontein, on the West Rand, Makhura said an economic advisory panel would help his office implement the province’s economic and infrastructure plans. Jabulani Moleketi, a deputy minister of finance during former president Thabo Mbeki’s administration, would chair the panel.

A civil society-led integrity promotion and anti-corruption committee would monitor maladministration, incompetence, and corruption in government departments.

A new mental health advisory panel would help institute a wide-ranging inspection and condition assessment of all centres that cared for the elderly, people with disabilities, and children in the public, private, or NGO sectors.

Makhura maintained his lack of any knowledge about the finer details of the process which led to the mentally-ill Life Esidimeni patients being transferred to 27 unlicensed NGOs.

"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," he said.

"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."

‘It doesn’t wash with me’

According to what the health department had told his office, there were sufficient beds for all the patients because of all the new hospitals which had been opened in the province.

However, Moodey said Makhura should have taken responsibility and resigned alongside former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu.

“When something as disastrous happens on your watch, a politician with integrity would resign, would do the honourable thing.”

Moodey said the number of deaths at these NGOs, 94 in total, had surpassed both the Marikana and Sharpeville tragedies.

“It is more than that, and this under his watch, under his caring government? I’m sorry, it doesn’t wash with me.”

Shortly after speaker of the legislature, Ntombi Mekgwe, opened Monday morning’s sitting, EFF MPLs brought a motion asking to be allowed to debate the matter of the Esidimeni deaths.

They had brought the request to have the debate to Mekgwe’s attention on Sunday night around 23:00, with the aim of having it before Makhura’s address.

Mekgwe rejected the motion and said it would be dealt with at the next sitting on February 28. The first sitting of the year dealt with the State of the Province address only.

She said there was a rule that an urgent matter could be dealt with if members had notified the speaker at least two hours before a sitting. However, due to the lateness of EFF’s request, the matter had not been placed on an order paper.

“The rule does provide as to how to deal with urgent motions. It says you must place them in the order paper. I wouldn’t place them at 23:00 or midnight because our officials are sleeping.”

The debate would focus on the Life Esidimeni deaths and what resolution the House should take. Makhura and the new Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa would then be given a right of reply.

Read more on:    john moodey  |  david makhura

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