Address by Mr M Mhlati in the Eastern Cape Legislature

Honourable Speaker, Honourable Premier and members of the executive and Honourable Members the report of the Committee of the budget of the department of health of which I am part of is fully exhaustive of the issues canvassed with the Department and I fully support findings and recommendations thereof.

I would like to implore the department to plan and negotiate timeously with treasury for the absorption of the student nurses into the vacant positions once they complete their training. We have been complaining as Eastern Cape about the shortage of nurses but when we train them we fail to appoint them thus allowing them to seek work in other Provinces who are committed to address the shortages in the nursing profession.

The non-filling of senior management positions in the Supply Chain Management Unit is unacceptable as this opens a gap for fraud and corruption to manifest itself unchecked.

With regard to the matter of de-complexing it is clear that the resolutions of this Legislature are not taken seriously by the department. This Legislature resolved during the year 2012 on de-complexing but even today, they are still dragging their feet on this matter. We want clear time frames now.

The strides made by the department in addressing the accruals is greatly appreciated, treasury must show consistency in what they are promoting. They request Departments to encourage officers to take early pension but on the other side they do not provide funds to Departments to pay out exit benefits. It is scandalous for people who have spent their lives working for government but when they leave they are reduced into beggars.

We still have a long way to go to reach the desired level of health care service we aspire for due to the shortage of the Professional Personnel.

Even though the envisaged decentralization of powers is supported I would like to warn the Department to take precautions of ensuring that the officers delegated the duties have the necessary capacity to perform the functions. The Accounting Officer should bear in mind the provisions of Section 44(2)(d) of the PFMA which states that, “ a delegation does not divest the accounting officer of the responsibility concerning the exercise of the delegated power or the performance of the assigned duty.”

The budget is supported by the UDM

I thank you