Eastern Cape Department of Health budgets R1 million for framed photos


The Eastern Cape Department of Health has budgeted nearly R1 million to have 1520 framed photographs of Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle and Eastern Cape Health MEC Pumza Dyantyi at all its health facilities.

Speaking to SAPA, the Department’s Director of Communications, Siyanda Manana, “The tender was advertised last month, I think. It has not been won yet, and we did not specify an amount. What we did was set aside R1 million for the pictures and frames, that is something I can’t deny.

“It will be for the printing of portraits, and putting them into frames. We went through a bid process and we haven’t got to the stage as to how much it will cost and we haven’t spent that money yet.”

Manana explained the project was a matter of compliance that would save government much money in the long term as the frames would not be changed in the next few decades, even if new premiers or MECs are appointed.

“I’m doing this so that in 10 years, 16 years’ time I don’t have to go through this process again. Ten years down the line, the frame will remain the same, only the picture will change, and that will cost about R60 to R80. In this way we save money,” he said.

“Also remember that with inflation, the prices of frames and pictures will go up in the end.”

Manana insisted that it was cheaper to buy the frames in bulk.

“This is for long-term planning. We have not yet established how much each frame will cost, but one service provider could charge us more.”

The department was therefore looking at getting several providers in various districts to put up the portraits at health facilities around the province.

“All government departments do this thing. I’m doing this in this way to drive the cost down and save money. Each and every department has its own budgets for this,” he said.

“If you go into any government department, you will see pictures of the president, the premiers, and the MECs.”

Pictures or health services

In August this year, activists from more than 30 civil society organisations again threatened to take the Eastern Cape Department of Health to court over alleged failure to fix the provincial health services.

The organisations – which are part of the Eastern Cape Health Crisis Action Coalition (ECHCAC) said MEC Dyantyi had failed to provide the coalition with a health service delivery plan.

In October, the Democratic Alliance (DA) slammed the plan when the tender was issued.

The DA's Celeste Barker said, “We feel it would considerably be more appropriate for those funds to be diverted. It’s over a million rand; it’s a lot of money to spend on photographs."

The South African Medical Association (Sama), which is part of the ECHAC, said that the funds could be better utilised elsewhere.

Its Anthea Klopper said, “There are priorities in health that are not being met. There’s a crisis in the ambulance service where there was a recent article about a mother dying whilst waiting for an ambulance.”