Thursday, June 04, 2009

Guateng News Update: Reward Youth With Tenders; Metrobus Strike Settled

Reward youth with tenders

01 June 2009
Ido Lekota -

ANC Youth League urges Mokonyane to give government contracts to young bidders
THE ANC Youth League in Gauteng wants the provincial government to reward the youth, who supported the party during the election, by creating employment opportunities for them.

The message of the youth to Premier Nomvula Mokonyane is clear: “Give contracts to young people.

“We expect Premier Nomvula Mokonyane to announce plans for youth job creation during her coming state of the province address.

“Young people are not condoms that will be used to win elections and thrown away afterwards,” said the provincial league secretary Thabo Kupa.

Kupa said in a statement ahead of the league’s youth month program that young people took part in large numbers in the elections because they had confidence in the ANC.

Responding to Kupa, Mokonyane said she was surprised that he had created an impression that a condom was an item of abuse rather than of protection.

“We will not pre-empt the state of the nation address [by President Jacob Zuma] which will inform our priorities,” Mokonyane said.

“What is certain is that the youth of Gauteng are and have always been a priority, it does not start with me.”

Kupa also urged young people not to sit around and wait for the government to give them opportunities on a platter.

Kupa said the day marked the beginning of national Youth Month and the focus would be on youth development.

The youth league also welcomed the government’s decision to establish a national youth development agency.

“We will work with the agency to ensure youth development in Gauteng.”

The league also expressed its support for Julius Malema, who successfully led the ANC campaign to mobilise youth during the polls.

“Under the leadership of Julius the ANCYL has once again occupied the national throne of youth political activism.

“We thank him for having revived the ANCYL brand, which made it easy for us in Gauteng to rally young people around the banner of the league.”

EMS workers on strike?

June 04 2009 at 02:29PM

Johannesburg Emergency Services workers are not on strike, the SA Municipal Worker's Union (Samwu) said on Thursday, despite them failing to carry out their duties.

"No one is on strike as we speak," spokesperson Dumisani Langa said.

He however conceded that workers failed to turn up for work because emergency services management did not implement a wage agreement it had apparently reached with the union in 2008.

A strike would be illegal as the City of Johannesburg was last Friday granted a Labour Court order to prevent industrial action.

The order also stated the union should not "instigate, incite, intimidate, encourage or otherwise support" strike action by the workers.

"A strike is when we have a grievance... we just want the implementation of the agreement we had reached. Members want answers from management... there are workers who are not performing their task," Langa said.

He said EMS management and the union had agreed on wage progression during a meeting in 2008 which was meant to be implemented from May 1, 2009.

However in May members were not paid according to this agreement.

They then met to ascertain why the agreement had not been implemented.

Langa said workers were persuaded by the union to return to work, based on the understanding that union leadership would attempt to determine why the agreement was not implemented.

"We calmed the workers down and they agreed to go back to work on Friday... we have not been able to get any answers from management.

"Firstly, they tried to disprove that they agreed and they are running away to date," he said.

Emergency personnel staged a protest on Tuesday and continued to stay away from work on Wednesday.

Private services such as Netcare 911 had noted an increase in the number of calls coming in during the strike.

Spokesperson Mark Stokoe said: "Yes, we have noticed a difference, but we can't say whether it is because of the strike or because the last few days have just seen more emergencies.

"We have not compiled any figures yet... our control room has been way too busy to do that."

Johannesburg EMS management denied it had reached an agreement with Samwu on wage progression.

Spokesperson Percy Morokane said management had met Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu to address the matter on Thursday morning, but declined to comment, saying he would issue a statement shortly.

Provincial health spokesperson Mandla Sidu also could not comment immediately.

Meanwhile, Democratic Alliance spokesperson on health in the province, Jack Bloom, has called on Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane to bring in the army's medical corps to help. - Sapa

Metrobus drivers reach agreement - report

The five-week strike by Metrobus drivers may have ended, SABC radio news reported on Tuesday night.

President of the SA Municipal Workers Union, Petros Mashishi, told the SABC that striking bus drivers and their management had reached an agreement.

"The Metrobus [dispute], I dont have the details, they've settled," Mashishi told the broadcaster.

Earlier on Tuesday, Samwu and Metrobus agreed to resume talks to end inudstrial action, after a meeting convened by Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane.

Mokonyane last week met the leadership of the Johannesburg City Metro and committed the Provincial Government to assisting the parties resolve their differences and forge healthy working relationships.

On Tuesday, the two parties met and expressed their willingness and commitment in finding a lasting solution to the issues raised.

Mokonyane said she was encouraged by the optimism displayed by both sides.

"I think the parties genuinely want to close this unfortunate chapter in their relations and go back to what they know how to do best - providing quality public transport for the people of this world class city."

Makonyane said she was confident that the planned municipal workers strike scheduled to take place on Thursday could be averted. - Sapa

Mokonyane cracks the whip

May 18, 2009

GAUTENG Premier Nomvula Mokonyane was forced to intervene and force staff at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, in Soweto, to attend to a patient who had been waiting in line all day.

Mokonyane, accompanied by the provincial Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu ordered health officials to help the patient when he was turned away from the hospital pharmacy at the end of the day.

"If there is still a long queue and is your turn to go home, attend to those patients first...we must understand that we are dealing with human beings here and not objects.

"Here is a sick man who was about to be turned away, because someone wanted to go home," said Mokonyane.

She apologised to Hloriso Nthupi, 53, a prostate cancer sufferer and promised him that he would receive help.

Nthupi had been in the queue since 7am and around 5pm he had still not been attended to, until the premier intervened.

Earlier in the day, doctors at the hospital held a lunch time picket demanding a salary increase.

Mokonyane promised that she was going to work together with the provincial health department and transform Baragwanath into "one of the best hospitals in the world."

She also promised engage the doctors about their problems.

New premier vows to clean up Gauteng

Nkululeko Ncana
May 04, 2009

Gauteng premier nominee Nomvula Mokonyane talks to The Times at her home in Krugersdorp on the West Rand. Her former portfolios in Gauteng as MEC include Agriculture, Safety and Housing

AS THE new ANC government promises to take drastic steps to clean up all tiers of government, Gauteng’s premier-in-waiting has vowed to change the province into something better than a “gangsters’ paradise”.

In an interview with The Times this weekend, Nomvula Mokonyane, set to lead South Africa’s richest and most populous province, also promised that under her leadership Gauteng’s government would be “cleaned up” and its image improved.

“We must sort out [corruption] where it is real so that we have as many people as possible benefiting [from contracts and services],” she said.

“But it’s important to also have those who have the ability to deliver being tasked to do the work. Let’s open up. This cake may be small, but let’s cut it thinly such that we feed many mouths.”

The ANC’s national executive committee appointed Mokonyane to the post of Gauteng premier ahead of the incumbent, Paul Mashatile. The Sunday Times reported yesterday that this was an effort to reduce the influence of the so-called “Alex Mafia” — a group of activists from Mashatile’s home township of Alexandra who have risen to powerful positions in the province through him.

Mokonyane’s comments this weekend are also in line with those of Jacob Zuma, the president-elect, who is set to establish a powerful evaluation, monitoring and planning commission within the presidency which will be tasked with assessing the performance of all public officials, from ministers and premiers to mayors and councillors. Zuma punted his commission throughout his election campaign, telling ANC supporters that it would root out bad apples in government.

The commission — reportedly to be led by Trevor Manuel, the current finance minister — will set key performance targets for all elected officials and will determine whether they are performing adequately.

Mokonyane, one of four women premiers to be inaugurated this week, was chosen by the ANC’s NEC to lead Gauteng over provincial party chairman and favourite Mashatile, and finance and economic affairs MEC Mandla Nkomfe.

Mokonyane said she will announce her provincial cabinet on Wednesday and they should be prepared to “get their hands dirty” to speed up service delivery.

“They will have to want to be a part of the winning team and … move away from being heard, and work towards being seen doing the work,” she said.

“We need to clean our systems and improve on what has been working. We will fight hard to improve the government’s image in terms of allegations of corruption.

“Our society and leaders must now own Gauteng and have that regional pride.” Residents, she said, must be able to say: “I am not from a gangsters’ paradise. I’m from Gauteng”. “This is about you owning this government because it is yours,” she added.

Mokonyane, known for her militant leadership style, said she would adopt a no-nonsense attitude towards under-performing MECs and other top provincial officials.

“I know that sometimes I can rub people up the wrong way … but the premier’s office must have the ability to monitor every department and hold every MEC and every accounting officer who is a head of department to account,” she said.

She also wants to be able to “track decisions” and hold MECs to government promises and wants “a team that will go the extra mile”.

Mokonyane said government officials seemed to find it “easy” to shell out “R40-million” to established companies but withheld payments to small businesses, damaging them in the process.

She called for a “strong monitoring capacity in the premier’s office” which will force departments to “empower smaller companies” and not just the favoured few. She said she also wanted a public health system “where everybody can walk in with confidence” and receive the treatment they need. “Every ward and every bed in every clinic in Gauteng must have standards that will make people, like me and you, not shy away from going in.”

Mokonyane is one of Gauteng’s most experienced politicians, having served as MEC of agriculture, safety and security, and housing.

Five of her 10 appointed MECs — to be announced at Walter Sisulu Square in Kliptown, Soweto— will be women.

It has not been a smooth ride so far for Mokonyane as the Gauteng branch of the ANC Youth League called on Mokonyane to turn down the premiership in favour of Mashatile. But she insists there is no bad blood between them, saying: “We come a long way together … we laugh together, cry together and when it’s time to work, we work together and we have always complemented one another.”

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