Tshwane mayor Randall Williams wants public comment on R603m health budget
Pretoria - City of Tshwane Executive Mayor Randall Williams encouraged residents to make public comments on the City’s draft budget of R603 million to improve and maintain access to primary healthcare services at a high level in the 2021/2020 financial year.
Williams said the health officials have had to function under testing conditions since the appearance of the Covid-19 pandemic as they have had to acquire additional skill sets to deal with the coronavirus and prevent its spread.
He said despite being at the forefront of the battle against the pandemic, they still maintained a high level of service delivery at clinics, in municipal health provision and in other areas of their responsibility.
According to City of Tshwane Chief of Staff Jordan Griffiths people can still make public comments on the entire City’s budget until the end of April before the budget speech will be delivered by the MMC for Finance Mare-Lise Fourie on May 20 ahead of voting on May 27. They can access and view the budget on the City’s website.
Regarding the health budget, there is an operating budget of R541 million intended to cover the running costs of the health department. This includes ensuring the smooth running of clinics, providing efficient municipal health services, health promotion campaigns and the drug and substance abuse programme of the City.
Williams said: “The provision of municipal health services remains the primary responsibility of the health department and requires the highest priority. The Municipal Health Services Section is responsible for enforcing compliance with 12 different pieces of health legislation developed on national level, as well as various by-laws on municipal level.
“Their purpose is to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all the residents of Tshwane. This includes food safety and security, safe water provision, environmental protection, such as noise and pollution control, as well as awareness and health promotion campaigns. The latter is best illustrated by daily visits to hotspot areas to screen and test people for Covid-19.
“Although the provision of primary healthcare is a delegated responsibility from the Gauteng provincial government, Tshwane’s 24 municipal and two mobile clinics fulfil an important role to provide quality healthcare services to Tshwane communities. Clinics are measured against certain criteria like the Ideal Clinic Programme, on a regular basis and graded accordingly.”
He said it made him proud that all 24 clinics currently have Ideal Clinic status. What makes it even more noteworthy was that this was sustained amid the challenges of Covid-19.
“We maintain our commitment to combating drug and substance abuse through programmes that seek to assist substance abusers. To achieve this, it will be important to implement the Drug Master Plan, and to support the Community Oriented Substance Abuse Programme initiative and the establishment of drop-in centres in all seven regions of Tshwane. This also includes the continuous functioning of the HopeLine that provides the necessary assistance to people in need. The budget for these interventions is R33 million.
“The fight against HIV/Aids/TB & STIs will continue by amongst others, implementing door-to-door awareness initiatives as well as strengthening the multi-sectoral response. A budget of R24 million is available for these services.”
He said there was also a R62 million departmental capital budget allocated to the construction of Lusaka Clinic in Mamelodi west because communities had for some time requested additional clinic facilities in this area due to the area’s population growth.
He said the City was also prioritising a budget to upgrade the filing system so that filing is done electronically as that would help ensure effective record-keeping.