The Gauteng Executive Council (EXCO) held its ordinary meeting in Johannesburg on Thursday, 30 March 2017. The meeting discussed various issues concerning the work of government including the economy, infrastructure programmes, social services, health and education.
The Executive Council approved the Gauteng Economic Development Plan Implementation Programme. The Plan identifies specific interventions to support priority sectors of the Gauteng economy with a view to increasing their potential for growth, job creation, empowerment and transformation.
2. Social Development
The Ongoing Strike
The Executive Council reflected on the ongoing strike in the social development sector by workers affiliated to National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU), and expressed serious concern about the negative effects the strike is having especially on vulnerable people, including children.
The Executive Council agreed that everything must be done to ensure uninterrupted services to the people currently being cared for by the Department of Social Development. Where necessary the Gauteng Provincial Government will approach appropriate national government departments for assistance to ensure that government continues to deliver services in childcare centres, frail care centres and others social services centres.
Transfers of funds to NPOs and NGOs
The Executive Council was briefed by the MEC for Social Development Nandi Mayathula-Khoza on a practice that involves the department using NPOs as conduits to pay for services rendered by third parties. The Provincial Treasury is conducting a forensic investigation into this practice to establish if any regulations or law may have been broken.
Premier David Makhura has also instructed the Director General in the Office of the Premier, Phindile Baleni to commission a broader investigation in relation to the distribution of funds to NGOs and NPOs by the Gauteng Department of Social Development from the year 2010 to date.
A Cabinet Committee, convened by the MEC for Health, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa, was established to develop a framework on dealing with NGOs and NPOs that provide services, especially to vulnerable people, on behalf of government.
The Executive Council received a report on school registration preparations for the 2018 academic year. The school admission process for 2018 will commence on 2 May and close on 12 June 2017.
The Executive Council noted that measures were being introduced to ensure that the online registration system works better and does not inconvenience parents. Administrators and frontline staff members have been trained to assist members of the public requiring assistance with online admissions. Libraries and other community sites can also be used for registration. The Executive Council reiterated that parents wishing to use the manual system will be catered for and will not be turned back.
The Executive Council received a progress report on the implementation of the recommendations of the Health Ombud concerning patients who were moved from Life Esidimeni to various NGOs around Gauteng.
The following progress was reported:
• Disciplinary action is underway for officials implicated in the Ombud Report
• Work has begun to strengthen the Mental Health Care Review Board and an Interim Chairperson has been appointed.
• Forensic investigations are underway to determine the cause of death so that all the deceased are accounted for.
• Some of the facilities from where patients have been moved are now closed.
• The licensing requirements for NGOs are being reviewed and regularised.
• The Premier and the Minister of Health have engaged the Health Ombud on the 45-day deadline for the movement of patients. The multi-disciplinary team of experts involved in the process of moving patients have advised that the moving of patients within 45 days will have an adverse effect on the wellbeing of the patients. The projected date for the removal of all patients is end of April 2017. The Minister and the Premier requested that the deadline be extended and the Health Ombud acceded to this request.
• To date 356 affected patients have been transferred to suitable facilities.
The Executive Council noted with serious concern reports of corruption in the Gauteng Provincial Government’s fleet management agency G-fleet. These relate to the theft of cars, the illegal leasing of the GPG fleet and the abuse of petrol cards. The Executive Council urged the MEC for Roads and Transport, Ismail Vadi to take appropriate steps to deal with the matter including instituting disciplinary action against implicated officials.
The Executive Council also received a report on the work being done by the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport to combat and deal with corruption at various Drivers Licences Testing Centres. About 200 people are expected to face disciplinary action with regards to corrupt activity at DLTCs.
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