Tuesday, 25 September 2018

National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Concludes A Successful Oversight And Public Participation Visit To Gauteng

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National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Concludes A Successful Oversight And Public Participation Visit To Gauteng

Over 60 service delivery sites that include schools, immigration offices of the Department of Home Affairs, hospitals, police stations and early childhood development institutions were visited between Tuesday and Thursday this week

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 21, 2018/ -- The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) has, this week, completed a very successful oversight and public participation visit to the Gauteng Province in preparation for its Taking Parliament to the People programme to be held in November 2018.

Permanent delegates to the NCOP, together with Members of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, divided themselves into eight groups and visited various service delivery sites, met with government officials and held public meetings with Gauteng residents to assess the impact of migration on service delivery under the theme: “Impact of Migration – Deepening Cooperative Governance for Accelerated Service Delivery and Development”.

“We are not saying that South Africans must not move around across their country, we fought for that freedom of movement. But what we are trying to look at is what effect your movements has on the planning and budget allocations for our various provinces, Gauteng seems to be the worst affected by this,” said NCOP Chairperson Ms Thandi Modise.

Among the startling discovering made during the visit, the delegates were informed that 723 of the 2207 schools in the province currently has a shortage of 5 554 classrooms – of which 3166 are primary schools while the 2388 are secondary schools. Put differently, this means the province needs a total of 142 new schools (85 primary & 57 secondary) to accommodate the learners who are currently accommodated at existing schools and this excludes the schools required in new residential developments plus the 114 000 additional new learners flocking to the province each year. The Gauteng Department of Education also told Members that 44.4% of its 2207 schools are in a state of disrepair because of the strain placed by exponential growth of the population due to significant influx of students from various provinces.

Over 60 service delivery sites that include schools, immigration offices of the Department of Home Affairs, hospitals, police stations and early childhood development institutions were visited between Tuesday and Thursday this week. The delegation also held five public meetings yesterday in Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg, Tshwane and the West Rand District to find out what service delivery issues the residents were grappling with and to hear their views about possible solutions.

Migration also impacts on the ability of the province to provide services such as health, education, business opportunities and it also places a strain on the police regarding the enforcement of law and order and general policing.

In terms of health, the delegates were told of one hospital where there was what seemed to be the largest concentration of non-South Africans as 58% of the Out-Patient Department and 62% of In-Patient Department in the 842 approved hospital beds being occupied by foreigner nationals.

“We have been made aware of a certain hospital where over 43 percent of people giving birth there are foreign nationals. We have also been told of a certain foreign woman who has been “caught” for changing her identity to collect ARV treatment at various hospital so she can go sell it. At one clinic, she is said to have changed her names three or four times. In one month, she is alleged to have collected ARVs for twelve people,” said Ms Modise.

In terms of the impact of migration on crime and law enforcement, the delegates were informed about the difficulty in dealing with criminal cases involving foreign nationals, due to language barriers and not having permanent addresses. In addition, foreign nationals operating businesses in various areas were easy targets for criminals because they often slept in the shops and kept their money in the premises. The police also reported that during raids in foreign shops they discovered expired products, some with expiry dates dating as far back as 2011.

Speaking to Soweto residents at the public meeting last night Ms Modise urged them to remain calm and not take the law into their hands. “I beg you don’t take the law into your hands, don’t go for foreigners because not all of them are here doing bad things. Some are here as asylum seekers,” she said.

“Those who are beneficial to us must be protected. We need to deal with criminals whether they are foreign or our nationals, we need to deal with rapists whether they are priests or ordinary people,” she said.

The Chairperson said they will send a technical team to relook at the houses issues raised by the residents of Soweto during the public meeting yesterday. “Those whose houses were stolen must give us full details so that we can investigate,” she said.

We want to say to the people of Gauteng we have heard you and when we return in November we must be challenged to produce evidence of this. “When we return we will bring all relevant stakeholders in government including the National Youth Development Agency, Home Affairs, the department of Small Business Development to answer to the resident’s demands,” she said.

She said the restructured programme of Taking Parliament to the People includes a report back session which enables the NCOP to monitor progress in implementing undertakings and accountability on the part of the Executive.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament

Published in Science and Education