Mr Lennox Gaehler, UDM Member of Parliament

Honourable Chairperson and Members

Notwithstanding the recent outbreak of listeriosis, in which at least 190 people have died, South Africa does not meet the world health standards for food inspectors.

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), we have just one environmental health practitioner per 30, 000 people. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a ratio of one environmental health practitioner for every 10, 000 people.

This means South Africa does not have enough people checking the health and safety standards for production. Municipalities, in particular those in rural and small towns are the hardest hit.

They must be helped to be proactive, to pre-plan and meet the required standards of at least one environmental health practitioner for every 10, 000 people. The NICD must have more laboratories to deal with this crisis.

Chairperson, the municipalities are the culprits with regard to the non-payment of service providers within the regulated 30 days as per the National Treasury Instruction note number 34.

This is not only a defiance of government policy, but a brutal onslaught against the poor masses of our people who are trying their best to live a better life, through their own initiative.

Chairperson, we suggest that the NCOP institute an urgent investigation of the extent of this crime against our people who are running small businesses. We must know, which municipality is in debt to our poor people and how much is owned. Once that is established, culprits must be reported to the relevant authority for a proper recourse, on behalf of the local hawkers, caterers, B&B owners and many others.

Lastly, there are still municipalities and institutions who are hell bent on defying another government policy, that of buying local. Officials go to places like Butterworth yet they sleep and eat in East London, they procure food and other items more than 50kms outside the local area. WHY ARE THE POOR MASSES IN RURAL AREAS BEING ATTACKED LIKE THIS. This new dawn must arrive to the poor too. Municipalities must play the ball and BUY LOCAL.

Thank you