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A delegation of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) led by the House Chairperson for International Relations, Ms Masefako Dikgale, visited healthcare facilities and a farm school in the Tshwane region to assess the impact of migration on the delivery of services by these public facilities.

The visit, on Wednesday, was part of the NCOP’s flagship programme of Taking Parliament to the People, which involves interacting with the citizens through public hearings as well as visits to various public service facilities to assess the quality of the delivery of services.

Ms Dikgale was leading one of six groups visiting various facilities this week in Gauteng, which include schools, clinics, hospitals, economic development centres and home affairs offices, among other places. The visits have a special focus on the impact of migration on the operations of these government facilities and the delivery of services by the Gauteng provincial government.

The first stop on Wednesday morning was Kanana Clinic in Bronkhorstspruit, where Members of Parliament interacted with patients and clinic staff on various issues including challenges facing the facility. The clinic serves farm communities from around Ekurhuleni, Tshwane and some farm areas in neighbouring Mpumalanga Province. It is on private land and this has hampered plans to extend or improve the structure.

Officials from the Gauteng Department of Health said the influx of patients from neighbouring provinces into Gauteng was impacting negatively on the department’s budget and drug supply, as growing population numbers were not considered during budget allocation to the province.

“Maybe we are victims of our own success, as many people perceive Gauteng to be providing better healthcare services. The other provinces must also improve the quality of their services,” said Mr Mothomane Pitsi, District Director for Health Services in Tshwane.

The officials also told MPs that talks to have the land transferred to the municipality are ongoing between the religious organisation that owns the land and the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality.

On same land next to the clinic is the Wozanibone Secondary School, where the provincial education department is also unable to develop the school for the same reason of land ownership. As with the neighbouring clinic, where some patients are undocumented and without medical records, Wozanibone School has a number of learners who are without birth certificates.

Ms Zanele Mthembu, District Director for education in the Tshwane region said the policy allowed schools to enrol learners without documents. Parents are required to submit documents later. The results of students who fail to do are withheld.

Because of its location, the farm school was struggling to attract staff, especially in maths and physical science teachers.

NCOP delegate from the North West Mr Olifile Sefako said migration was a global phenomenon, which will remain part of society forever, and has both negative and positive impacts. “Maybe you need to consider recruiting some foreign nationals, who won’t have a problem working in a farm area, to come teach maths and science here,” he advised the department.

The delegation ended its day with a visit to the Bronkhorstspruit District Hospital where Members of Parliament and the MPLs from various legislatures were impressed with the commitment of the hospital CEO Ms Glenrose Makobela and her staff.

The hospital caters for patients from as far away as Siyabuswa and Delmas (in Mpumalanga) and was bought by the government from private hospital group Netcare. It began operating in 2015.

The CEO is the only manager in an appointed post and in order to normalise functioning of the hospital, she has assigned some key management responsibilities to clinical staff. Together with the hospital board, she has been able to approach Eskom to donate a park home and equipment to be used to set up kangaroo mother care services.

House Chairperson Dikgale commended the hospital CEO for her commitment and hard work. “There is evidence that you are working hard to make sure this facility delivers quality services to the people of this district. It is really commendable,” she said.

Sakhile Mokoena

22 November 2018