Hon Chair, on behalf of the Select Committee on Social Services we would like to send our heartfelt condolences to the family of the hon Von Brandis. I pray to the Lord to bless the departed soul with eternal peace and to give his family the strength and support to cope with their loss. May his soul rest in peace.
The Select Committee on Social Services undertook an oversight visit to the O R Tambo District Municipality in the Eastern Cape. The purpose of the visit was to check the implementation of the National Health Insurance, NHI, system and its subsequent progress, as the O R Tambo District Municipality is the only one in the Eastern Cape piloting the NHI. The whole committee was present, except that the hon Mathys from the EFF was not part of the delegation from the committee. Because we have a detailed report, I will not go through it, but will go straight to the findings of the committee.
Infrastructure remains a huge problem in the hospitals that were visited, as they are dilapidated. Most buildings need upgrading, except the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital. That hospital is state-of-the-art and one facility that we must be proud of in terms of its cleanliness, the building and facilities.
There are issues of the allocation of budgets; poor staff accommodation; the lack of staff complement, with a huge vacancy rate; and difficulties accessing hospitals. Even though all health facilities in the country are within a five kilometre radius, in the rural areas, it is still a challenge because of other issues which are not part of the health sector. For example, poor road conditions mean it takes longer for people to access health facilities. There is also an inefficient and inequitable distribution of resources between the public and private health care sector in relation to the population of the O R Tambo District Municipality.
I will now go straight to the recommendations of the committee. In the main, the following are the crucial issues that need to be taken care of in the O R Tambo District Municipality, in terms of health facilities: upgrading and/or rebuilding of health care facilities, especially the very old Mthatha General Hospital; addressing the challenges caused by the rationalisation process, including the creation and finalisation of organisational structures for institutions or health care facilities; filling of critical clinical and nonclinical posts; installing and/or improving the supply chain management system to better enable the provision of quality in health care services.
In one hospital, we found that the main problem was the issue of understanding the budget. The person heading up the hospital was very open about the fact that they do not understand the budget and found out when we were reading the budget that they had accruals. They started with the budget already owing more than half of the budget that they were allocated. Further issues are improving emergency medical services and making sure that security in some of the hospitals is taken care of.
With those findings we, as a committee, therefore recommend that the detailed report of the oversight visit by the committee be approved by the Council. Thank you.
Declarations of vote: