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Resolutions from a special meeting of the Exco of the Eastern Cape Govt

Aug 23, 2019
Resolutions from a special meeting of the Exco of the Eastern Cape Govt

Mthatha- The Executive Council of the Eastern Cape Provincial Government held its special meeting at Dan’s lodge outside Mthatha to discuss the work of the Provincial Coordinating and Monitoring team in the recruitment of employees for the provincial government departments, the status of resolving issues brought to the provincial government by the ex-mine workers of the province. 

"The Executive Council also discussed a report on the status of institutionalization of youth development in the provincial government and a report of the task team established to find solutions to the high medico legal costs were discussed by the executive council," said Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha, Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane's Spokesperson. 

Below are the resolutions of the executive council on each of the items: 

1. PROVINCIAL COORDINATING AND MONITORING TEAM (PCMT) 

The Executive Council discussed revised Terms of Reference of the PCMT and two options as a way of addressing concerns raised by some provincial government departments: 

EXCO resolution on the PCMT: 

"In the meantime, the status quo of the PCMT remains. MECs have until December 2019 to have approved organograms that talk to the service delivery models of the departments with the implementation of the PDP being the main policy consideration," Sicwetsha described. 

"The Executive Council resolved to support the revised terms of reference of the PCMT and the centralization of the authorization of appointments in the office of the Premier. This was preferred because it will strengthen the center of government in the province to exercise administrative oversight and improve compliance."

He added that the revised terms of reference extend the focus areas of the PCMT shifting its focus on Compensation of Employees only to include monitoring of implementation of programs by the provincial government departments. The Executive Council has resolved that concerns raised by departments about how the PCMT delays their recruitment processes to fill critical vacant posts must be addressed through the meetings with MECs and HODs. 

"Officials from the Office of the Premier will engage individual MECs together with their HODs and heads of Human Resources to deal with issues of recruitment in order to address delays in the recruitment of officials, reduction of COE costs by departments. After meeting with MECs, officials from the Office of the Premier will present a report on the compliance and performance of each department to the Executive Council." 

Sicwetsha further said that the Executive Council will hold a one-day meeting with the organized labour unions representing employees of the provincial government to discuss status of Human Resources in the provincial government.

"Details of this meeting will be communicated in due course."

2. EX-MINE WORKER’S PROGRAM 

Sicwetsha said that the Eastern Cape Government is working with the ex-mine workers to help them get their pension money from the mining companies they worked for and to set up programs to develop their skills. 

"As part of this program, Ntinga OR Tambo Development Agency in partnership with Mine Worker’s Development Agency and SEDA received R89 million from the UIF for training, skilling and re-skilling of ex-mine workers in the OR Tambo district," he described. 

"The training will be implemented for two years targeting 2000 ex-mine workers of which 1000 will be capacitated to be employable and the other 1000 to be self employed.

"Given the high number of ex-mine workers in the region, Ntinga OR Tambo Development Agency initiated this program because OR Tambo is a district with high numbers of mine workers in the country."

EXCO Resolution: 

He said that the Executive Council welcomed the funding allocated by the UIF to the Ntinga OR Tambo Development Agency, Mine Worker’s Development Agency and SEDA, saying the money is a good investment that will help empower ex-mine workers to have the skills they need to find jobs while some will be assisted to start their own businesses. 

"The Executive Council resolved that a monthly report must be submitted to the Executive Council about the work done by the Eastern Cape provincial government and private sector partners to implement the resolutions of the ex-mine worker’s summit."

3. INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF YOUTH DEVELOPMENT IN DEPARTMENTS 

The implementation of the youth development strategy in the province is currently not showing expected results. The main problem is the lack of structuring and coordination of the implementation of youth development programs.

The main focus for youth development is the creation of opportunities for the youth to reduce youth unemployment. 

EXCO Resolution: 

"The Executive Council resolved that each provincial department must submit their youth development program to measure work being done, improve coordination of implementation of youth development programs," Sicwetsha said. 

"The Executive Council resolved that each department must establish a database of unemployed young people in their sectors in order for government to provide opportunities for the young people of the province through a number of development instruments within the public service and partnerships with the private sector. 

"With this, the provincial government wants to identify key focus areas that will produce sustainable opportunities to address youth unemployment by growing the economy."

He added that the Executive Council also resolved that employment of people into critical government posts must prioritize skilled young people. 

"The Executive Council resolved that quick and sustainable solutions to create opportunities for young people must be found. One of the areas the Executive Council focused on was helping young people set up food Cafés in each of the provincial government departments to sell food, coffee, confectionaries, muffins, pastries and even meals to government officials," Sicwetsha described. 

"The Executive Council resolved that this program will be resourced through budgets of provincial government departments allocated to Senior Managers, offices of Executive Authority to buy groceries like tea, coffee, biscuits, cool drinks from the retail stores.

"What this means is that instead of money used to buy groceries, departments will buy these from businesses entities owned by young people that will be set up as part of this program. 

"The money for groceries from departments will be channeled into this program to create business and job opportunities for young people to reduce youth unemployment in the province. The Office of the Premier will communicate details of this plan in due course."

He added that one of the critical areas that the Executive Council resolved has a potential to provide jobs is to explore ways of drafting young people and many skilled unemployed individuals into maintaining, cleaning and repairing public facilities like clinics, schools and hospitals in the province to address unemployment while attending to the conditions of public facilities. 

"Some of the people to be considered for this opportunity are the unemployed people that spend days standing next to the robots, shopping malls and in the streets looking for plumbing, painting, carpentry jobs into the program to renovate and maintain public buildings and maintain infrastructure," he said. 

"This will help reduce infrastructure renovation backlog and costs for such that are inherent when procurement is put to open tender.  

"The Department of Public Works will communicate details and processes to be followed in implementing this resolution of the Executive Council in due course."

4. REPORT OF THE TASK TEAM ON MEDICO LEGAL AND OTHER FINANCIAL CHALLENGES

Sicwetsha said that as part of dealing with the ballooning costs of the medico legal claims, the Executive Council established a task team of senior officials to come up with a lasting systematic solution to address medico legal challenges. 

"The team, which is convened by the DG, Ms Marion Mbina-Mthembu produced a document and shared with the executive council for a resolution," he described. 

"At the heart of the work of the priorities of the provincial government is to improve clinical efficiency at all provincial health facilities in the Eastern Cape Province in order to reduce the medico legal claims. 

"The Eastern Cape Provincial Government has realised that when Gauteng Provincial Government established a team of finance and legal officials to address their medico legal claims, a high number of legal firms relocated from Gauteng to Mthatha in the Eastern Cape and went on a drive to recruit claimants, resulting into high legal costs for the provincial department of health." 

Sicwetsha said that the cost of medico legal claims has increased in the past five years, with a total of R2.2 Billion that having been paid to beneficiaries since the 2014/15 financial year. 

EXCO Resolution: 

The Executive Council adopted the report by the task team and made the following resolutions: 

a)   The Premier will engage the President of the Republic of South Africa for the enactment of the state liability amendment bill, with special provisions to retrospective medico legal claims, request the multidisciplinary team from the national government that helped Gauteng Provincial Government deal with its medico-legal claims to have a focused intervention in the province. 

b)   The department of health, through the recently appointed legal counsel, will approach the Constitutional Court on the affordability of the state in rendering health care services as per Constitutional mandate versus the lump sum payment to an individual. 

c)   The department of Health will solicit a written opinion on section 27 of the constitution on the delivery of basic health services versus the payment of court orders. 

d)   Provincial Treasury will engage Standard Bank, working with the state legal advisors, on the amendment of the banking contract to include a clause prohibiting the bank from honoring any court orders served to them on behalf of the provincial government by transferring any risk emanating from contempt of court to the province. 

e)   All the teams must conduct home visits to verify the existence of the beneficiaries and their health status before the case is taken to court.  

f)     Provincial Treasury, working with the Department of Health and Office of the Premier will undertake diagnostic research of accruals and payables as mandated by the Executive Council, whereby the funding of the remaining R1 billion accruals and payables to be financed from the various under spending items in the provincial departments as at 30 September 2019 under stringent Provincial Treasury supervision. The Executive Council resolved that the Provincial Treasury must apply section 18 (2) (g) of the Public Finance Management Act.

g)   The Department of Health must digitize all patient records in all health facilities, especially hospitals to improve record keeping so that records of each patient, especially those under going clinical procedures are kept safe and will be readily available at all times. 

h)   Provincial Treasury must conduct forensic investigations into the medico legal claims by working with the security cluster institutions over and above the SIU investigation with a particular focus on certain cases. 

i)     Provincial Treasury must institute Section 18 (2) (g) of the PFMA in the Department of Health. 

j)     Office of the Premier to take over the legal function pertaining to medico legal and be resourced to do the function appropriately

k)   The National Department of health will be engaged to bring clinical experts as part of the intervention to the provincial Department of Health and also to look at human resource capacity of the provincial department. 

l)     An overall programme of action with timelines for the intervention will be developed and this team will have both technical and executive team, which should report to the Executive Council on a monthly basis. 

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