North West communities decry poor services
Residents of North West’s Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District on Wednesday heaped service delivery complaints on provincial authorities, pleading with Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela to intervene.
The Public Protector, who is in the province until Thursday, was interfacing with the communities in Vryburg as part of her annual stakeholder dialogue and public hearing.
The dialogue and public hearing focuses on strengthening government’s ability to deliver on Millennium Development Goals, particularly those on ending poverty and on health.
Among others things, locals complained about the provision of quality healthcare, social security services, procurement tenders, social housing, unemployment, farming, water provision, use of state land and lack of recreational facilities.
On health matters, communities complained about access to healthcare facilities, the inadequacy of health professionals, equipment and medical supplies, as well as the behaviour of some of the healthcare professionals.
One woman complained that, at one stage, a healthcare clinic in Ganyesa only had one nurse assisting trauma patients while also attending to maternity patients. Another woman complained about a Taung clinic that operated only on week days. “I am wondering if this suggests that people only fall ill during the week,” she said.
Others took issue with clinics that do not have doctors and medical staff that abandon patients to go on lengthy tea and lunch breaks.
Addressing the community, the Public Protector promised to investigate and take appropriate remedial action.
“Some people believe we can only suggest remedial action,” she said. “Nowhere does the Constitution say we must ‘suggest’ remedial action, it says ‘take’ appropriate remedial action.”
The Public Protector told the community that her job was to root out maladministration and indifference. While noting that the majority of public servants were devoted to their work and serving selflessly, the Public Protector warned of a few “bad apples” that treated fellow human beings with indifference while stealing public resources for selfish reasons.
“We have just adopted the National Development Plan. We believe that maladministration will undermine the successful implementation of this plan,” she warned.
Also speaking at the event, Terrence Carter, Deputy Director General responsible for hospital services at the National Department of Health, said the department aimed to improve accessibility to and quality of services with its National Health Insurance.
He told the community that they had started this work with the re-grading of hospital Chief Executives. This included re-advertising occupied positions, re-appointing people and skilling them.
The Public Protector proceeds to Mahikeng, where she will interact with organized stakeholder groupings in Mmabatho on Thursday.