South Africa: Makhura Hands Lesufi a Mammoth Task At Gauteng SOPA

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has ordered Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to produce annual primary school results.

Speaking at his State of the Province Address (SOPA) on Monday, Makhura said Lesufi was instructed to implement the national integrated assessment framework, which will ensure rigorous assessment of all primary schools.

"The results of this assessment will be publicly released as we do with Grade 12 results. This groundbreaking initiative will promote accountability and transparency on performance across the entire system and will empower parents to make better decisions regarding the education of their children. In the first 100 Days, Lesufi will present a plan to the executive council on the status of all primary schools as well as the improvement plans to turn around poorly performing primary schools," he said.

In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in June, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government would work on improving early childhood development.

Last year, Gauteng achieved a pass rate of 87.92%. Eight of the 10 best-performing districts are also in the province, News24 reported.

"I want more attention to be directed at strengthening and improving the performance of primary education in Gauteng," Makhura said.

He added that Lesufi must outline, within 100 days, interventions which will focus on turning around the poorest performing primary schools through systematic support to ensure that "we also drastically reduce the number of children who are lost through the system between Grade R and Grade 12".

School safety will also be a key priority for the provincial government. Makhura instructed Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko to deploy 10 patrollers in every ward to secure schools from criminal elements.

Reflecting on the Life Esidimeni tragedy, Makhura said health needed a hands-on approach. About 140 psychiatric patients died in 2016, after they were moved from Life Esidimeni to ill-equipped and underfunded NGOs.

"There is a public outcry that some of our hospitals are becoming mortuaries instead of sanctuaries for saving lives..."

Among his interventions, Makhura has promised to lead from the front in rebuilding public confidence in our healthcare system.

He said he and Health MEC, Dr Bandile Masuku, plan to visit health facilities every week to ensure service delivery improvements.

"In the next six months, we will visit all our primary healthcare facilities, including district and regional hospitals. This is where the provincial government's focus must be. The Office of Health Standards Compliance reports that 75% of our clinics and community health centres have ideal clinic standards.

"This is not good enough. Too many people still end up going to hospital for things that [could have been] done in clinics if they were functioning well. Our target is to ensure that 90% of clinics, community health centres, district and regional hospitals meet the ideal clinic standards within five years. They must open on time, have adequate medicines [and] equipment, be clean, be patient-friendly and provide patient safety."

All vacant hospital CEO positions will be filled in the first 100 days and all critical posts will be filled by 2020, he said, adding that the provincial government was aiming for all 32 community health centres in Gauteng to provide 24-hour services.

Five of the worst healthcare facilities, namely Mamelodi, Sebokeng, Bheki Mlangeni and Jubilee, also form part of his key priorities, he said.


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