Questions and Replies

Filter by year

19 June 2020 - NW1125

Profile picture: Thembekwayo, Dr S

Thembekwayo, Dr S to ask the Minister of Health

With reference to an oversight visit by the Portfolio Committee on Health to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in February 2020, where it was found that the number of infants and children suffering from malnutrition and kwashiorkor had increased, (a) what is the overall status of malnutrition and kwashiorkor cases of children reported around the Republic, (b) how does his department plan on intervening for mothers and children who suffer from malnutrition behind recovery at hospitals and (c) what measures have been put in place to ensure interventions go beyond hospital care?

Reply:

We are not aware of the oversight visit conducted by the Portfolio Committee on Health from Parliament. However the response is as follows:

a) The number of children under five years of age admitted to public sector hospitals during 2018/19, 2019/20 and the first quarter of 2020/2021 is shown in the table below. It should be noted that in line with World Health Organisation recommendations, children with kwashiorkor are classified as having Severe Acute Malnutrition and are not counted separately.

 

No of children under-five years of age admitted with Moderate acute malnutrition (MAM)

No. of children under five years admitted with Severe acute malnutrition (SAM)

2018/19

6,057

11,280

2019/20

6,159

11,089

     

Feb 2020

534

1,129

March 2020

479

991

April 2020

272

596

The reduction in cases during April may be a reflection of level 5 lockdown regulations. The shift in focus to COVID-19 activities did not allow for active case finding of children at risk of severe acute malnutrition, and caregivers of children may have lacked access to transport to the facilities. Data may also be incomplete if data capturers were not on duty.

b) All children with severe acute malnutrition admitted in health facilities are managed according to standardised guidelines and protocols. The Department has also prioritised nutritional assessment and classification of all children who are admitted to ensure that cases of malnutrition are not missed.

All provinces have been requested to draft response plans focusing on addressing the prevention and management of children with acute malnutrition in the context of COVID-19 during and after the lockdown.

A draft national guidance framework has been developed and shared with provinces to ensure that key issues such as ensuring the availability of key commodities and supplies is ensured.

c) The national guidance framework on nutrition response in the context of COVID-19 shared with provinces to guide development of province/ district response plan has outlined key priorities including:

  • Ensuring that Community Health Workers screen, identify and refer children with severe acute malnutrition – this is part of their routine activities, but was not done during lockdown as Community Health Workers were focussed on community screening and testing for COVID-19;
  • Prevention strategies e.g. breastfeeding promotion and support, promotion of appropriate complementary feeding;
  • Forecasting the need for essential nutrition supplies (e.g. F-75, F-100, Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), micronutrient supplements, MUAC tapes, etc.) for 2-3 months, and ensure adequate storage conditions;
  • Increasing the amount of nutritional supplements provided to outpatients to reduce the frequency of follow-up visits;
  • Consider task shifting for community health workers to provide nutrition supplements during home visits for follow-up patients with missed appointments or hard to reach areas;
  • Ensure linkages and referral systems to the Department of Social Development of SAM cases through social workers to benefit from social protection measures such as social relief for distress and food parcels.

END.

19 June 2020 - NW245

Profile picture: Powell, Ms EL

Powell, Ms EL to ask the Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation

(1)Whether, in light of the Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone (SEZ) that is proposed for development within the Vhembe District Municipality in Limpopo, her department undertook an assessment of how the agricultural sector, which is one of Limpopo’s primary sources of income, will be impacted by the construction of several mines, industries and coal-fired power stations in the area, particularly in terms of the limited water resources and associated impact of acid mine drainage on existing water resources; (2) whether the Department of Water and Sanitation conducted an in-depth (a) analysis of the water resource availability and (b) a climate change vulnerability assessment for the water resources in the Southern African region and/or neighbouring countries that are required to supply the SEZ with water; if so, (3) whether this study includes areas immediately under water stress and/or which are likely to be under water stress within 5-10 years and beyond; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details; (4) whether the Department of Water and Sanitation compiled a list of regions within the vicinity of the proposed SEZ that face imminent water insecurity; if not, why not; if so, will she furnish Ms E L Powell with the list of these regions; (5) whether the Department of Water and Sanitation has determined the status of water resources and water services infrastructure required to ensure that communities are provided with water services in a progressive and prioritised manner taking into consideration the limited resources available and are not prejudiced by the supply demands of the SEZ; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

(1) The Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone (SEZ) proposed for Vhembe District Municipality in Limpopo is an integrated industrial development at Musina on a 60 square kilometre development polygon. Twenty three (23) core plants to be constructed at the site include a coal wash plant, a coke plant, a heat recovery power generation plant of 390 Mega Watt capacity, thermal power, ferrochrome, ferromanganese, silicon manganese, vanadium-titanium magnetite, high manganese steel, high vanadium steel, stainless steel factory, lime, cement, and refractory plants at a designated site. The plants form a connected sequence of energy and metallurgy production, from coal mining, coal wash, coking plant, power plant ferroalloy plant, iron making to steel manufacturing.

Several core plant and enabling local infrastructure comprising roads, rail sidings, air transport terminals, electricity grid, sewer and potable water facilities will be required at the SEZ polygon. Other feeder linear infrastructure like roads, rail, and electricity grids, will need to be developed or upgraded for supply of raw materials and transport of manufactured products to markets.

Current and potential source mines for input raw materials like coal, ferrochrome, manganese, vanadium, iron ore, silicon ore, nickel ore and limestone have been identified in various Provinces of South Africa, and neighbouring countries like Zimbabwe and Botswana. The minerals from neighbouring countries will require the upgrade of import and export terminals, and the upgrade of infrastructure like the road and rail bridges over the Limpopo River.

The potential raw ore source mines are widely geographically distributed beyond Limpopo in South Africa as far as Northern Cape for instance for manganese, Rustenburg and Thabazimbi for ferrochrome and iron ore. Other countries like Zimbabwe are also potential supply areas for coal and ferrochrome at which the stricter environmental standards across the two countries shall be applied as per standard adopted international practice. Hence, the potential impacts of the SEZ activities spread beyond Limpopo, but the assessment of impacts and benefits will of necessity transact at the local, linear and the regional level.

Whilst of necessity the assessment focuses on the potential negative impacts on agriculture, potential benefits also warrant exploration. These benefits include increased market access due to increased population in the area, and potential expansion of agricultural production in both Zimbabwe and South Africa due to increased water availability arising from the water resources developments for the SEZ.

With respect to assessments of impacts of the contemplated development on agriculture in Limpopo, it is important to note that the core, feeder and enabling facilities are in the planning phase. The planning of the relevant infrastructure is progressing and shaping over time. To that end, the assessments of impacts of the contemplated activities continue to evolve as more information becomes available. The activities’ impact on the different areas is regulated by various competences and authorisations will be issued by various spheres of government.

For the geographically distributed source mines, the Special Economic Zone polygon with its multiple plants, and enabling local and feeder linear infrastructure, relevant and strict protocols of assessment before authorization shall be followed on a case by case basis for each facility, to comply with the relevant environmental legislation, including for the protection of water resources to minimize negative impacts.

My department has a precautionary approach which is followed, and shall be followed to guide the management of water at the mine and SEZ site, and the issuance of any authorisations. The assessment hierarchy prioritises zero discharge of contaminated effluent, the re-circulation and reuse of water to minimise the taking from resources and discharge, and containment and treatment before discharge of any contaminated water. This precautionary approach applies to all water streams that are identified at the sites, including storm water and any other wastewater streams from raw and product stockpiles. It will be the condition of the authorisations, if any, that the facilities shall be subject to long term monitoring during the life of the facilities. The post closure rehabilitation with associated financial provisioning is also a standard practice as per the legislation.

For the supply of water to the SEZ, my Department is investigating a number of potential local and international water sources to augment the limited resources in the area. The aim is to minimize and mitigate any impact on existing lawful water users as guided by section 27 of the National Water Act.

2. My Department conducted an in-depth study of the analysis of the water resource availability in the area. We issued a report called Limpopo Water Management Area North Reconciliation Strategy. This study identified that there are limited water resources in the Musina area, where the SEZ is located. A further update for the local Musina area is ongoing, and will be part of the outcomes of the water resource planning study for the area. The reconciliation study is available on my Department’s website at http://www.dws.gov.za/projects.aspx. I have also attached a copy to this response as Annexure A for your ease of reference.

My Department conducted a Climate Change Risk and Vulnerability Assessment of Water Resources in the Limpopo WMA during 2016/17. This assessment identified and proposed possible measures to deal with current and future Risk and Vulnerability of Water Resources due to Climate Change in the Limpopo Water Management Area. The assessment proposed solutions to deal with the climate change risk and vulnerability on water resources, namely: (i) improvement of water governance, (ii) further infrastructure development, operation and maintenance, as well as (iii) strengthening water management. The Climate Change Risk and Vulnerability Assessment report is attached to this response as Annexure B for your ease of reference.

Furthermore, a climate change vulnerability assessment is also implicit when a water reconciliation study is conducted. The water availability assessment study analyses past hydrological data and stochastically simulates flows. This takes into account the recent trends in climate.

My Department shall be initiating further studies to confirm water sources for the SEZ. These sources include both local and international potential sources. In this regard, the studies will among other things assess the climate change assessments in the source and water use region at a wider spatial scale.

The Zimbabwe-South Africa Joint Water Commission is about to initiate planning studies to investigate water resource development options in Zimbabwe for the benefit of both countries. Since the signing of the agreement, the technical teams of both countries have been continuously meeting to initiate the joint studies and to make updates on water related issues of mutual interest to both parties.

My Department has set up institutional structures with all co-basin states to co- manage common river basins. As part of these Commissions function is to assess the water availability and come to decisions on how to best use common rivers.

3. The Reconciliation Strategy covers the Musina-Makhado SEZ and surrounding areas. It had a planning horizon of 25 years to 2040. It is updated at 3-5 year intervals. The study is all encompassing, and is not only limited to water stressed areas, but also identifies the water demands, water surplus areas and explores the means to balance the water needs over time.

4. My Department did compile a regional water availability assessment, indicating the water situation in each area, and the potential sources. Areas that face imminent water insecurity within the vicinity of the proposed SEZ are contained in the Reconciliation Strategy which is available under Integrated Water Resource Planning on the Department’s Website (http://www.dws.gov.za/projects.aspx ).

5. The Assessment of Water Resources is a dynamic exercise through the Reconciliation Strategies and the updating thereof. My Department undertakes planning investigations for the progressive and prioritised water supply, which mainly entails Bulk Raw Water Supply Infrastructure.

The Water Services Infrastructure refers to Water Treatment Works, Potable Water Pipelines, Reservoirs and Reticulation, which is the responsibility of the Municipality. It is financed through the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant (RBIG), which is a Conditional Grant for developing new bulk water and sanitation infrastructure as well as refurbish, upgrade and replace aging bulk water and sanitation infrastructure. Furthermore, the Water Services Infrastructure Grant (WSIG) facilitates the Implementation of various water and sanitation projects to accelerate backlog reduction and enhance sustainability of services.

The Special Economic Zone development planned will effectively supplement the water in the overall area of Musina. The anticipated population growth from the industrial hub is included in the estimates of water that will be required in the area.

 

19 June 2020 - NW431

Profile picture: Clarke, Ms M

Clarke, Ms M to ask the Minister of Public Service and Administration

(1)What is the name of each official in each (a) national and (b) provincial department who has been suspended for more than 60 days; (2) What are the reasons for each disciplinary action being instituted against each official; (3) What is the (a) period of each suspension and (b) cost thereof; (4) What are the reasons that the cases have not yet been concluded? NW612E

Reply:

(1) (a) Tag A provide the names of officials from National Departments who have been suspended for more than 60 days.

(b) Tag B provide the names of officials from Provincial Departments who have been suspended for more than 60 days.

(2) Tags A and B provide reasons for each disciplinary action instituted against each official.

(3) Tag A and B provide (a) the period and (b) the cost of each suspension.

(4) Tag A and B provide the reasons why the cases have not being concluded.

(5) These responses are those of the departments which have submitted their information to the Department

19 June 2020 - NW921

Profile picture: Mulder, Mr FJ

Mulder, Mr FJ to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

(1)Whether his department awarded any tenders connected to the Covid-19 pandemic; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what (a) are the names of the businesses to whom these tenders were awarded, (b) are the amounts of each tender awarded and (c) was the service and/or product to be supplied by each business; (2) whether there was any deviation from the standard supply chain management procedures in the awarding of the tenders; if so, (a) why and (b) what are the relevant details in each case; (3) what was the reason for which each specified business was awarded the specified tender; (4) whether he will make a statement on the matter?

Reply:

  1. The Department followed all three National Treasury’s Instruction notes numbers 8 of 2019/2020, 3 of 2020/2021 and 5 of 2020/2021 in respect to all procurement relating to the COVID 19 pandemic. The details of each transaction are disclosed in the attached spreadsheet.
  2. The method of procurement is indicated in the spreadsheet.
  3. The reason for which the specified business was awarded the specified bid is also indicated in the spreadsheet.

END

19 June 2020 - NW269

Profile picture: Van Damme, Ms PT

Van Damme, Ms PT to ask the Minister of Communications

(1)What was the total amount that was spent on international travel by (a) her and (ii) her spouse and (b) the Deputy Minister and (ii) her spouse since 1 May 2019; (2) what was the (a)(i) purpose and (ii) breakdown of each trip undertaken in terms of the (aa) date on which the trip took place and (bb) total number of persons who were part of the delegation, (b) costs of flights, (c) cost of accommodation, (d) hotels used in each case, (e) total subsistence and travel allowance approved for each member of each delegation on each trip and (f) cost of special vehicles and/or chauffeur driven transport? NW357E

Reply:

I have been advised by the department as follows:

(1)(a) R1, 397,393.62

(1)(a)(ii) R212,236.93

(1)(b) R374, 413.28

(1)(b)(ii) R0.00

(2)(a)(i) Refer to the attached

(a)(ii)(aa) Refer to the attached

(a)(ii)(bb) Refer to the attached

(b) Total cost for flights – R3, 212,273.22

(c) Total cost for accommodation – R1, 435,681.07

(d) Refer to the attached

(e)Total subsistence and travel allowance – R506, 882.48

(f) Total cost for ground transport – R479, 949.64

MS STELLA NDABENI-ABRAHAMS, MP

MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS & DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES

19 June 2020 - NW270

Profile picture: Van Damme, Ms PT

Van Damme, Ms PT to ask the Minister of Communications

What number of employees have been found to have criminal records in (a) The Ministry, (b) her department and (c) all entities reporting to her; 2. What mechanisms has her department put in place to conduct vetting of potential employees to ensure that persons with criminal records are not employed as public servants in her department?

Reply:

The Departments and Entities has advised me as follows:

1(a) None

(b) None

(c) At FPB, ICASA, ZADNA, Nemisa, USAASA and Sentech, there are no employees with criminal records

BBI has embarked on a vetting process for all employees in October 2019. It is still awaiting one (1) employee’s result, which is expected before end of the financial year 2019/20.

SAPO has 147 employees with criminal records.

SITA has confirmed 130 employees have criminal records.

SABC has one employee with a criminal record.

2 All new employees, on assumption of duty, are under an obligation to apply for security clearance from State Security, as their appointment is subject to security clearance being obtained. Should they fail to obtain such clearance the Department, will terminate after having adhered to due process, the employment relationship. In addition, the Department, now request an SAP69 from SAPS before appointment to ensure the person to be appointed has no criminal record before appointment.

Further, prior to appointment, the department submits the fingerprints of potential employees to the South African Police Services [SAPS] Criminal Record Center for criminal checks due to long delays from the State Security Agency [SSA] to provide the outcomes of security checks/vetting of potential employees.

MS STELLA NDABENI-ABRAHAMS, MP

MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS & DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES

19 June 2020 - NW313

Profile picture: Brink, Mr C

Brink, Mr C to ask the Minister of Public Service and Administration

Whether a certain person (name and details furnished) has been transferred and/or is currently employed in (a) any other position in the Public Service or (b) a ministerial office; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what position does the specified person currently hold?

Reply:

a) Yes, He is currently employed in the Public Service

b) He is not in a Ministerial office, but in the Presidency, employed as a Special Advisor to the Deputy President

 

19 June 2020 - NW910

Profile picture: Marawu, Ms TL

Marawu, Ms TL to ask the Minister of Employment and Labour

(1) What (a) measures are in place to ensure that those who were drawing on the Unemployment Insurance Fund are removed from the system upon securing a permanent job, (b) steps will he take regarding the employment equity tables to provide for a small quota of non-South African nationals and (c) percentage quota will be reserved for other nationals; (2) whether the percentage quota that will be reserved for other nationals will reflect the shortage of scarce and critical skills; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details? NW1199E

Reply:

1. What (a) measures are in place to ensure that those who were drawing on the Unemployment Insurance Fund are removed from the system upon securing a permanent job

(a) There are statutory measures that are in place to ensure that those who were drawing on the Unemployment Insurance Fund are removed from the system upon securing a permanent job. These measures are outlined in the provisions of the Unemployment Insurance Contribution Act, 4 of 2002 (“the Act”). The provisions of section 10 (1) and (2) of the Act respectively place a duty on every employer; which the Act applies to, to register with the Unemployment Insurance Fund and before the seventh day of each month, submit to the Unemployment Insurance Commissioner information relating to:

(i) The termination of the employment of any employee; and

(ii) The appointment of any employee by the employer

(b) The Department of Employment and Labour is in a process of drafting a Labour Migration Policy (LMP). The LMP is one of the Sub-themes of the National Employment Policy (NEP) that we are currently working on. The LMP covers a range of topics that include amongst others, work visas for scarce and critical skills, quotas of foreign nationals in the labour market etc. once we have completed we will publish this policy for public comment.

2. Yes, it will reflect the shortage of scarce and critical skills. Our policies provide for the importation of skills in an event that they do not exist in the country.

19 June 2020 - NW1158

Profile picture: Mulder, Dr CP

Mulder, Dr CP to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether her department purchased any goods and/ or services below the amount of R500 000 connected to the Covid – 19 pandemic; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what (a) is the name of each company from which the specified goods and / or services were purchased, (b) is the amount of each transaction and (c) was the service and / or product that each company rendered; (2) Whether there was any deviation from the standard supply chain management procedures in the specified transactions; if so, (a) why and (b) what are the relevant details in each case; (3) What were the reasons that the goods and / or services were purchased from the specified companies; (4) Whether she will make a statement on the matter?

Reply:

1. Yes, the Department did procurement for goods and services below the amount of R 500 000.00 in connection to the Covid- 19 pandemic.

The table below provides replies to questions 1 a, b and c, 2 and 3.

 

  1. 1(a). Name of the Business
 
  1. (b)Amount

 

1.(c)Goods Purchased

2. Deviation (Yes/No)

1.1

Lechoba Medical Technologies

R121 502.10

Hand Sanitizers

No

To protect the employees against virus infection

1.2

NJU Projects & General Trading

R 63 000.00

Body Temperature Thermal Cameras

No

To screen the employees when entering the building

1.3

Flamingo Moon trading

R 23 460.00

Face Masks

No

To protect the employees against virus infection

1.4

Esizwe Group

R 5 088.00

Comfort Face Shields

No

To protect the employees against virus infection

1.5

Fortistle

R 48 875.00

Face Masks

No

To protect the employees against virus infection

1.6

Promed Technologies

R 13 570.00

Gloves

No

To protect the employees against virus infection

1.7

Ayanda Multiserve

R 22 500.00

Comfort Face Shields

No

To protect the employees against virus infection

1.7

Yellotec

R 2 591.88

Body Temperature Thermal Cameras

No

To screen the employees when entering the building

1.9

Motlokwa & Farm Holdings

R 1 100.00

Spray Bottles (empty)

No

To fill Disinfection Chemical

1.10

Multisurge

R 13 800.00

Disinfection Chemical

No

To protect the employees against virus infection

(4) No

19 June 2020 - NW1057

Profile picture: Groenewald, Mr IM

Groenewald, Mr IM to ask the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

Whether, with reference to the fact that most municipalities do not apply the principle of no-work-no-pay, resulting in unprotected illegal strikes, the Government engaged with the trade unions to protect the taxpayers and ensure that they receive value for money for taxes and rates that they pay by allowing municipal employees to rather claim from the Unemployment Insurance Fund during the period of lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 in line with other citizens who are on a no-work-no-pay arrangement; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

The most relevant department to respond to the question on labour related enquiries is the Department of Employment and Labour.

Thank you

19 June 2020 - NW1037

Profile picture: Cardo, Dr MJ

Cardo, Dr MJ to ask the Minister of Employment and Labour

Whether the Unemployment Insurance Fund has commissioned actuarial research into its financial sustainability of the Fund in the event of mass-scale job losses; if so, (a) who was the service provider and (b) what were the detailed findings?

Reply:

The Unemployment Insurance Fund did not commission Actuarial Research into its financial sustainability in the event of mass-scale job losses.

a) Not applicable since no actuarial Research conducted on sustainability of the Fund in the event of mass-scale job losses.

b) Not applicable since no actuarial Research conducted on sustainability of the Fund in the event of mass-scale job losses.

Our Actuaries have presented the following scenarios:

Scenario

Implications for finances of the UIF

   

Unemployment rate peaks at 41.4% and COVID19TERS benefits cost R48Billion

UIF becomes financially unsound as no Insurance Capital left and required to “borrow from future” by using 5% of accumulated credits. Sufficient funds should be available to pay benefits on a PAYG basis.  

It is possible that the fund could return to financial soundness in 10 years.

Unemployment rate peaks at 41.4% and COVID19TERS benefits cost R68Billion

UIF becomes financially unsound as no Insurance Capital left and required to “borrow from future” by using 60% of accumulated credits. Sufficient funds available.

It is unlikely that the fund could return to financial soundness in 10 years without a contribution increase and will essentially operate on a PAYG basis

Unemployment rate peaks at 53.7% and COVID19TERS benefits cost R48b

All accumulated credits will be depleted and the UIF would also need to borrow against beneficiaries and service providers to pay claims.

Taking liquidity of assets into account, the fund will not be able to pay all claims when due and may need to put RAF-style measures in place to prioritise / structure payments

Unemployment rate peaks at 53.7% and COVID19TERS benefits cost R68b

Possible remedies for the dire financial position of the fund under this scenario could include:

• Additional funding from Treasury

• Temporary increase in contribution rate

• Reduction in benefit

19 June 2020 - NW938

Profile picture: van der Merwe, Ms LL

van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

(1) (a) What number of illegal migrants were deported back to their countries of origin since the start of the national state of disaster due to the Covid-19 pandemic and (b) to which countries were they deported; (2) what are the time frames for the repatriation of the migrants who are currently at the Bellville and Wingfield repatriation camps? NW1227E

Reply:

1. A total number of 1,376 illegal foreigners were deported since lockdown; comprising:

  1. 488 Mozambicans,
  2. 705 Zimbabweans,
  3. 178 Basotho and,
  4. 5 Swazi.

2. Refugees and asylum seekers have status in the country and cannot be repatriated, including those with appeals at the Standing Committee on Refugee Affairs (SCRA) and the Refugee Appeal Board (RAB).

END

19 June 2020 - NW1000

Profile picture: Groenewald, Dr PJ

Groenewald, Dr PJ to ask the Minister of Health

(1)(a) Until what date will the Cuban health care workers who travelled to the Republic to render assistance with the Covid-19 pandemic, be needed, (b) by what date will all the Cuban health care workers return to Cuba, (c) to whom will the remuneration for the services of the health care workers be paid and (d) which country will pay for the return of the health care workers; (2) whether he will make a statement on the matter?

Reply:

1. (a) South Africa appreciates the help from the Cuban Government. The Cuban health care workers will stay as long as needed and the current arrangement is for a period of 12 months, and reviewed quarterly;

(b) It is expected that if all goes as planned the Cuban brigade will travel back to Cuba on the month of May 2021;

(c) The salaries for the Cuban health care workers will be paid to the health care workers individual bank accounts, like any other employee employed in the South African Public Health Sector;

(d) In accordance with the signed Government-to-Government Agreement between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Cuba, the air transport at the end of the contract will be at the expense of the receiving Country.

2. As the statement was made when the Cuban brigade arrived in South Africa, it will be necessary for the government of the Republic of South Africa to make a statement when they leave, to thank them for their selfless service in assisting the Republic in its fight against COVID-19.

END.

19 June 2020 - NW1056

Profile picture: Mbhele, Mr ZN

Mbhele, Mr ZN to ask the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

(1)With reference to her assertion that the sale and use of tobacco products is associated with increased risk of the spread of SARS-CoV-2, which she used to justify the prohibition of tobacco product sales, what is the scientific rationale and empirical basis for the prohibition; (2) whether she and/or her department assessed the countervailing hypothesis that nicotine actually minimises the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, as suggested by data showing a disproportionate under-representation of habitual smokers in infection cases; if not, why not; if so, what conclusions have been drawn in this regard? NW1346E

Reply:

A detailed information will be submitted to the Honourable Member as soon as it is available.

Thank you

19 June 2020 - NW1139

Profile picture: Groenewald, Mr IM

Groenewald, Mr IM to ask the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

(1)Whether her department purchased any goods and/or services below the amount of R500 000 connected to the Covid-19 pandemic; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what (a) is the name of each company from which the specified goods and/or services were purchased, (b) is the amount of each transaction and (c) was the service and/or product that each company rendered;

Reply:

The information will be submitted to the Honourable Member as soon as it is available.

Thank you

19 June 2020 - NW996

Profile picture: Luthuli, Mr BN

Luthuli, Mr BN to ask the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture

Given the trend in some countries around the world to resume sporting activities without spectators, what is his department’s position regarding the implementation of the same in the Republic, especially with non-contact sport?

Reply:

The Regulations published in Government Gazette Notice No. 608 of 28 May 2020 made under section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002) has made provision for the easing of the lockdown to permit the return to play in the Sporting Sector at Level 3.

The Minister has consulted the sector and has received their proposed plans on the resumption of play.

As required by the regulations, the Minister has finalised directions and has submitted them to the relevant structures. Once approved, the directions will be signed by the Minister and gazetted for implementation by the sporting sector.

19 June 2020 - NW437

Profile picture: Van Damme, Ms PT

Van Damme, Ms PT to ask the Minister of Communications

What (a) number of (i) films and/or (ii) publications were classified XX by the Film and Publications Board in the past three years, (b) is the title of each specified film and/or publication and (c) was the reason for the XX classification in each case?

Reply:

I have been advised by FPB as follows:

a) (i) None

(ii) None

b) None

c) None

MS STELLA NDABENI-ABRAHAMS, MP

MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS & DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES

19 June 2020 - NW991

Profile picture: Thring, Mr WM

Thring, Mr WM to ask the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

At what alert level will the employees of religious organisations be able to resume their weekday administrative duties, as well as financial and compliance functions from the office, including but not limited to the payment of salaries, essential information technology support, the co-ordination of feeding schemes and essential building maintenance, subject to the observance of standard hygiene and health protocols that would apply as in any other workplace?

Reply:

According to Disaster Management Act , 2002: (Act No 57 of 2002) Determination of Alert Levels and Hotspots, “movement of persons 33 (1) a person may leave his / her place of residence to – (a) perform any service as permitted under Alert Level 3, (b) travel to and from work.

Thank you

19 June 2020 - NW1004

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Ms MD

Hlengwa, Ms MD to ask the Minister of Health

Whether, in light of the fact that the multinational corporation Johnson and Johnson will stop selling talc-based baby powder in the United States and Canada after paying out billions of dollars in lost legal battles over claims that the product causes cancer, talc-based baby powder will continue to be sold in the Republic; if so, (a) why and (b) what are the full relevant details?

Reply:

The View of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on the Prevention and Control of Cancer

a) The Ministerial Advisory Committee on the Prevention and Control of Cancer (MACC) sees no reason to withdraw the Johnson and Johnson talc-based baby powder from the South African market as long as it is asbestos free.

b) The relevant details are as follows:

  1. Talcum powder is made from a substance called talc whose components are magnesium, silicon and oxygen.
  2. Talcum powder is used in cosmetic products such as baby powder, adult body and facial powders, as well as in a number of other consumer products
  3. In its natural form some talc contains asbestos which is known to cause cancer and it was linked to ovarian cancer in 1958.
  4. Globally, guidelines inform that all cosmetic products which contained talc in them had to be free from detectable amounts of asbestos.
  5. Johnson and Johnson’s talc powder is no longer being used in the USA following a class action court case where Johnson and Johnson were ordered to pay billions of dollars’ compensation to women with ovarian and other genitourinary cancers allegedly caused by the use of talc powder on their genitalia. Although this judgement went against Johnson and Johnson, the evidence that talc powder is carcinogenic is very limited as confirmed by the National Cancer Institute.
  6. Talcum powder used to contain asbestos which is a known carcinogen but is no longer the case

END.

19 June 2020 - NW1214

Profile picture: Opperman, Ms G

Opperman, Ms G to ask the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

(1)What are the reasons that informed the decision to declare Covid-19 a national disaster instead of a provincial or local disaster; (2) what data was used to classify the disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act, Act 57 of 2002? NW1519E

Reply:

1. Section 23 (4) – (6) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2020), provides for the classification of either a local, provincial or national disaster. Section 23 (6) states that “ a disaster is a national disaster if it affects

(a) More than one province, or

(b) A single province which is unable to deal with effectively.

 By the time it was classified as a national disaster there were already cases in three provinces.

The WHO provided information regarding the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the world.

Our National Department of Health provided information on the rapid spread of COVID-19 throughout South Africa.  The first SA case was identified on the 5th of March 2020 infection numbers were doubling two to three days had spread across SA including KZN, Gauteng and Western  Cape. On the 15 March 2020 when the National Disaster was classified and declared there already 61 cases.

 

Thank you

19 June 2020 - NW1080

Profile picture: Bozzoli, Prof B

Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)What is the total expected reduction in his departments’ budget by Treasury in light of Covid-19; (2) whether the reduction will be spread evenly throughout his department; if not, (a) why not and (b)(i) how will it be distributed between programmes and entities and (ii) on what principles?

Reply:

DEPARTMENT OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING

(1) The Department did not receive official communication from National Treasury on the budget reductions. The Department is waiting for the announcement to be made by Parliament.

(2) Not applicable

DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND INNOVATION

(1) R1 759 479 000. This amount is made up of R1 435 304 000 budget cuts and R324 175 000 for COVID-19 initiatives.

(2) The reduction will not be spread evenly throughout the department.

2 (a) Programmes have different budgets for implementing different initiatives.

2b (i)

Budget cuts per programme

Programme

Compensation of employees R’000

Goods and services R’000

Transfers and subsidies

R’000

Total

R’000

Administration

18 995

22 987

-

41 982

Technology Innovation

5 769

9 978

50 000

65 747

International Cooperation and Resources

5 946

14 422

14 925

35 293

Research Development and Support

4 339

6 055

926 144

936 538

Socio-economic Innovation Partnerships

4 951

-

55 375

60 326

Total

40 000

53 442

1 046 444

1 139 886

Budget cuts per entity (Parliamentary Grants)

 

R’000

Technology Innovation Agency

45 586

South African National Space Agency

18 209

National Research Foundation

96 610

Council for Science and Industrial Research

99 765

Academy of Science of South Africa

2 790

Human Science Research Council

32 459

Total

295 418

(ii) Principles

Programmes

  • There is an anticipated savings on compensation of employees’ budget as the filling of vacancies will delay due to the pandemic.
  • Savings to be realized from goods and services budget due to the lockdown, for example: Travel, events, etc.
  • Various factors were considered under transfers and subsidies budget:
    • Projects that would not be feasible to implement due to the pandemic, for example: infrastructure, science awareness, etc.
    • Projects that were allocated funds during the last quarter of the financial year and the prospect of spending the new money (2020/21) were slim.
  • There are however other areas where the cuts will have a negative impact, these include; the Human Capital Development. The department proposed these cuts in order to reach the 20% stipulated by National Treasury. These challenges were presented by the department to the National Treasury.

Entities

  • 10% cut was proposed on the entities’ parliamentary grants across the board.
  • A lesser percentage (as opposed to 20% requested by National Treasury) was proposed in order to minimize the impact of the cuts to entities.
  • Entities are also expected to make some savings on areas where there will be no or minimal activities during the lockdown.
  • Based on the above, the department is satisfied that the proposal is fair, however it was noted that entities which rely on external revenue might be negatively impacted as the revenue has declined substantially due to the prevailing conditions.
  • The department has discussed the entities that are affected by decline of external revenue with the National Treasury for possible amnesty.

19 June 2020 - NW998

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Ms MD

Hlengwa, Ms MD to ask the Minister of Health

(1)In view of reports that clinics and other essential healthcare providers for other illnesses are being shunned due to fear of contracting Covid-19, as well as the general fear of harassment from the SA Police Service and/or SA National Defence Force, what steps has his department taken to ensure that persons are still able to receive other essential medical care during the Covid-19 pandemic; (2) what total number of deaths were caused by (a) tuberculosis and (b) HIV and/or Aids-related illnesses since the lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 began; (3) whether the specified number of deaths caused by such illnesses has increased as the lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 continues; if not, why not; if so, what has his department identified as the reason for the increase?

Reply:

1. The Department of Health has been implementing the Central Chronic Medicines Dispensing and Distribution (CCMDD) programme. The CCMDD programme is a National Department of Health (NDoH) initiative to improve access to chronic medicines to stable patients by enabling them to collect their repeat medicines from a convenient collection point near their home or place of employment thereby decreasing the patient volumes in health care facilities.

  • (a) Eligible patients collect their diabetes, hypertension, ARVs and other chronic medication for free from a convenient pick-up point like Dis-Chem, Clicks, Pick n Pay or even a local spaza shop. Majority of these service providers have been open during the National lockdown, allowing clients to collect their treatment without interruption.
  • (b) The majority of these service providers have been open during the National lockdown, allowing clients to collect their treatment without interruption. However, lockdown restrictions created a confusion around availability of public transport services to access these service outlets.
  • (c) In health facilities, before and during the lockdown patients were given 2-3 month Tenofovir + Lamivudine + Dolutegravir (TLD) supply and 2 months Tenofovir +Emtricitibine + Efavirenz (TEE) supply;

2. The Department of Health has also strengthened in-facility processes and support to People Living with HIV (PLHIV) on ART in order to maintain adherence. Tracking and tracing (telephonically and then in-person) of clients lost to follow-up is ongoing in majority of our facilities during lockdown;

  • (i) The Department of Health has developed messaging for PLHIV and people living with TB regarding the importance of treatment. These various messages have been sent to clients through SMS and social media;
  • (ii) The Department of Health in partnership with the SABC and other partners, have initiated COVID-19 radio programme. This communication is cutting across all health programmes in relation to the pandemic through daily pre-recorded interviews in all SABC radio stations, to address what needs to happen during the lockdown period regarding treatment adherence and access to services.

(2) The registered deaths from the civil registration system are maintained by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and the Department of Health is not in a position to provide the requested information.

(3) The Department of Health is not able to provide the requested analysis because of access restrictions to the civil registration system data, which is hosted by the Department of Home Affairs.

END.

19 June 2020 - NW1055

Profile picture: Mbhele, Mr ZN

Mbhele, Mr ZN to ask the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

(1)What total number of submissions did the Government receive (a)(i) in support of lifting the prohibition on tobacco products sales during the national lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 and (ii) what were the main points of motivation and/or rationale advanced for the support and (b)(i) in opposition to lifting the prohibition on tobacco products sales during the national lockdown and (ii) what were the main points of motivation and/or rationale advanced; (2) whether she will furnish Mr Z N Mbhele with copies of all submissions as an annexure?

Reply:

The information will be submitted to the Honourable Member as soon as it is available.

Thank you

19 June 2020 - NW943

Profile picture: Ngwezi, Mr X

Ngwezi, Mr X to ask the Minister of Employment and Labour

(1) What number of persons have claimed from the Compensation Fund for cases where Covid-19 is acquired occupationally since the Covid-19 pandemic has hit our shores; (2) whether any technical glitches were experienced through the Compensation Fund’s computer system (name furnished); if not, what has his department identified to be the hold up; if so, what are the full relevant details of what is being done to address the specified glitches in order to speed up the process?

Reply:

1. The Compensation Fund has received and registered 168 claims related to COVID-19.

2. There haven’t been any glitches reported to date with regards to registration and adjudication of COVID-19 claims.

19 June 2020 - NW1079

Profile picture: Steyn, Ms A

Steyn, Ms A to ask the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

Whether any budget roll-over was requested by her department (a) in the 2019-20 financial year and (b) since 1 April 2020; if so, what (i) amount has been (aa) requested and (bb) granted and (ii) has the specified fund been used for?

Reply:

(a) Yes.

(i) (aa) R101,3 million.

(bb) R4,9 million.

(ii) Fund was earmarked for payments for capital assets: Upgrade of laboratory infrastructure and equipment.

(b) No rollover was applied for since 1 April 2020.

(i),(aa),(bb),(ii) Falls away.

RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM (DRDLR):

(a) Yes, a request to roll over unspent funds for the construction of the new head office premises from the 2018/19 financial year to the 2019/20 financial year was submitted to National Treasury.

(i) (aa) 46.7 million.

(bb) None.

(ii0 Not granted.

(b) No.

(i),(aa),(bb),(ii) Falls away.

19 June 2020 - NW1121

Profile picture: Chirwa, Ms NN

Chirwa, Ms NN to ask the Minister of Health

By what date is it envisaged that his department will fill the 13% vacancy rate at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital (details furnished)?

Reply:

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Lesia confirmed that as at 31 May 2020, the vacancy rate of the Hospital stood at 11,77%, since the process to fill the vacant posts is ongoing.

The details are as follows:

1. Management

One post of Senior Manager: Nursing was filled; and the successful candidate assumed duty on 01 June 2020. The processes are underway to fill the following posts:

  • 1 Quality Assurance Manager: 01 July 2020
  • 1 Senior Clinical Manager: 01 January 2021

2. Administration

As at 31 May 2020, vacancies for Administration cadre stood at 171 reduced from the 202 number as mentioned above.

  • 31 Administration Clerks were appointed and commenced work on 01 June 2020.
  • 34 posts are in the process of being filled for 01 July 2020.
  • 21 posts are in the process of being filled around August and September, respectively.

3. Allied Support

Only 1 Specialised Auxiliary Services post has been filled because the department is prioritising the critical l posts.

4. Support

41 support staff have been appointed; and 26 Cleaners have assumed duty on Monday 15 June 2020.

5. Medical

Medical posts are filled on a continuous basis.

  • A replacement process is adopted for vacated posts in the Hospital for clinicians. It is for this reason that the 95 vacant posts were reduced to 68 as at 31 May 2020, with 27 appointments confirmed.
  • The Department/Hospital has a generic open advertisement that allows recruitment of medical staff as and when it is required.

6. Nursing

Like with Medical posts, there is an open advertisement for nursing positions. 10 posts from the 253 vacant posts will be filled from 01 July 2020 as applicants received offers, and they have confirmed start date.

The National Department of Health will engage the Gauteng Department of Health to further assist Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital to access the Disaster Management Funds in order to fill the outstanding critical vacant posts.

END.

19 June 2020 - NW237

Profile picture: Mackenzie, Mr C

Mackenzie, Mr C to ask the Minister of Communications

Who has been acting as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the State Information Technology Agency since the resignation of certain person (name furnished); 2. Whether any steps have been taken to fill the CEO position permanently, if not, why not; if so, 3. Whether any prospective applicants were interviewed; if not, why not; if so, what number of applicants were interviewed; 4. Whether any steps of the applicants were found to be suitable for the position; if not, (a) why not and (b) what further steps are being taken to recruit a permanent CEO?

Reply:

I have been advised by SITA as follows:

1. The position of CEO has been vacant since 31 March 2019, after the employment contract of the previous incumbent came to an end. Mr Ntutule Tshenye was then appointed as an acting Chief Executive Officer, whilst the process of sourcing a replacement candidate was underway.

2. Yes, the recruitment process was initiated on 28 April 2019. Inputs were received from key stakeholders, the candidates were sourced through the SITA Website, Sunday Times and Linkedin. The pool of potential candidates was not satisfactory. The then Board of Directors requested additional CVs to be sourced through recruitment agencies.

3. Two (2) shortlisting sessions were held. The first session of the considered CVs received via SITA’s Website, Sunday Times and Linkedin was held on 28 May 2019 and the second session was held on 14 June 2019 to consider CVs received via the recruitment agencies. Five (5) candidates were shortlisted and interviewed on 28 June 2019 and none of the candidates were found suitable for the position.

4. The second phase of the recruitment process was initiated by the previous Board of Directors where the approach was to utilize the services of headhunting firms specialising in executive search. This process required a deviation from the current recruitment panel, which was requested from National Treasury, however it was not granted. The term of office expired for the Board of Directors expired on 31 December 2019. The Minister appointed and Executive Caretaker and Accounting Authority, Mr Luvuyo Keyise from 28 January 2020 and the acting tenure of Mr Ntutule Tshenye ceased on 28 January 2020. As a result, the recruitment process did not proceed.

MS STELLA NDABENI-ABRAHAMS, MP

MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS & DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES

19 June 2020 - NW1120

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Ms MD

Hlengwa, Ms MD to ask the Minister of Health

(1)(a) Who are all the suppliers of the personal protective equipment (PPE) that his department will be providing, (b) what is the total number of the PPEs that has been supplied and (c) what total monetary value did the PPE cost; (2) whether there are any PPEs that are sourced locally in the Republic; if not, why not; if so, what are the full relevant details?

Reply:

1. (a) The suppliers that the Department of Health have used to supply Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are as follows:

No.

Supplier

1.

BARRS Pharmaceutical Industries

2.

Unicore Holdings (Pty) Ltd

3.

Mr First Aid (Pty) Ltd

4.

Biologica Pharmaceuticals

5.

X-Business Resources

6.

SciProfs

7.

Tammy Taylor Nails

8.

Lora Medical Supplies

9.

Libera Management Services

(b) The total number of PPE that has been supplied is depicted on the table below as follows:

Item / Commodity

Quantity

Masks Respirator N95/FFP2/KN95

40 715

Masks Surgical / Medical

54 900

Masks Cloth

3 400

Face Shields

15

Gloves Examination Sterile

12 000

Gloves Examination Non-Sterile

8 000

Gloves Surgical

12 000

Safety Goggles

2 000

Boot Covers

2 000

Aprons

3 000

Coveralls

2 000

Hand Sanitizers

78 522

Infrared Thermometers

350

TOTAL

218 902

 

(c) The total monetary value of PPE cost is R 6 853 123.44.

2. All PPE were sourced from local suppliers as depicted on the table under the response to question 1. (a).

 

END.

19 June 2020 - NW988

Profile picture: Denner, Ms H

Denner, Ms H to ask the Minister of Employment and Labour

(1) Whether his department awarded any tenders connected to the Covid-19 pandemic; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what (a) are the names each tender awarded, (b) are the amounts of each tender awarded and (c) was the service and/or product to be supplied by each business; (2) whether there was any deviation from the standard supply chain management procedures in the awarding of the tenders; if so, (a) why and (b) what are the relevant details in each case; (3) what was the reason for which each specified business was awarded the specified tender; (4) whether he will make a statement on the matter?

Reply:

1. The Department of Employment and Labour did not award any tenders connected to Covid-19 pandemic. Only Personal Protective Equipment was procured during this period and that was done through the prescribed emergency procedures.

(a) Not applicable; because there were no tenders awarded during the period in question.

(b) Not applicable; because there were no tenders awarded during the period in question.

(c) Not applicable; because there were no tenders awarded during the period in question.

(2). (a) and (b) Not applicable; because there were no tenders awarded during this period

(3) Not applicable; because there were no tenders awarded during the period in question.

(4) Emergency procurement procedure had to be applied to procure Personal Protective Equipment for all the Department of Employment and Labour officials declared as essential services, especially the Labour Inspector who had to ensure compliance with Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations during all levels of the lockdown.

19 June 2020 - NW1026

Profile picture: Opperman, Ms G

Opperman, Ms G to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

(a) At what Covid-19 alert level will religious marriage officers be able to marry people again and (b) how are the marriages to be registered with his department; (2) whether it is possible for weddings to take place in private homes and with a limited number of close relatives present, with agreed social distancing and other preventative health measures strictly observed, as is the case with funerals; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details? NW1316E

Reply:

1. (a) At level 3, starting from 1st June 2020, religious marriage officers can solemnise marriages under the existing marriages Act (1961).

(b) All requirements for solemnisation must be complied with. Such marriages solemnised by religious marriage officers must be submitted within three (3) days from solemnisation at an office where such marriage officers resort. Once all the paper work shall have been submitted at the nearest office, Department of Home Affairs (DHA) officials would then register such marriages.

2. DHA’s mandate is limited to registering the marriages; matters relating to wedding officiation falls outside the scope of DHA’s mandates.

END

19 June 2020 - NW879

Profile picture: Brink, Mr C

Brink, Mr C to ask the Minister of Public Service and Administration

(1)Whether his department will offer any form of Covid-19 financial or other relief to small businesses; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) whether the Covid-19 financial or other relief will only be allocated to qualifying small businesses according to the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, Act 53 of 2003, as amended; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, (a) on what statutory grounds and/or provisions does he or his department rely to allocate Covid-19 financial or other relief only to small businesses according to the specified Act and (b) what form of Covid-19 financial or other relief, if any, will be made available to other small businesses?

Reply:

1. The Department of Public Service and Administration will not be offering any Covid-19 financial or other relief to small businesses as this is not within the mandate of the department to provide relief to any private organisation.

2. Not applicable as no financial or other relief will be provided by the department.

19 June 2020 - NW1035

Profile picture: Cardo, Dr MJ

Cardo, Dr MJ to ask the Minister of Employment and Labour

What number of foreign national workers had their (a) applications submitted by their companies for their April wages to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)’s Covid19 TERS benefit and (b) April benefit approved and processed by the UIF by 15 May 2020?

Reply:

a) A total of 421 210 Unemployment Insurance Fund Covid-19 TERS Foreign National workers’ applications were submitted by employers for the month of April.

b) Out of the 421 210 Foreign Nationals workers UIF Covid-19 applications submitted by employers a total of 114 059 applications were approved and processed by the Unemployment Insurance Fund by 15 May 2020.

18 June 2020 - NW1014

Profile picture: Steyn, Ms A

Steyn, Ms A to ask the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

What amount has been (a) made available for drought relief since 1 April 2016 and (b) spent in each province; (2) whether any funds have not been spent; if so, what were the reasons for that; (3) whether her department received any applications from provincial departments for drought-relief funding since 1 January 2020; if so, (a) which provinces applied for drought-relief funding, (b) what amount was requested, (c) what amount was allocated and (d) what was the money spent on?

Reply:

(1)(a),(b) Please refer to Annexure A.

(2) The grant allocations were spent.

(3)(a),(b),(c),(d) Drought relief applications were received from 7 provinces. Table below depicts the amounts applied by each specific province and the allocated amount as well as projects earmarked. Please refer to Annexure B.

ANNEXURE A OF NA-QUES 1014 OF 2020

ANNEXURE B OF NA-QUS 10 14 OF 2020

  1. PROVINCE
  1. APPLIED FOR

(c) ALLOCATION R

(d) PROJECTS EARMARKED

   

2020/2021

2020/21

Eastern Cape

395 000 000

35 000 000

Fodder production and boreholes

KwaZulu-Natal

Not specified

4 000 000

Desilting of dams

Limpopo

117 000 000

18 500 000

Boreholes

Mpumalanga

400 000 000

12 500 000

Boreholes and fodder provision

Northern Cape

600 000 000

36 000 000

Removal of alien vegetation and provision of fodder

North West

252 000 000

8 000 000

Provision of fodder

Western Cape

123 000 000

25 000 000

Provision of fodder

Province

ALLOCATION R

EXP

ALLOCATION R

EXP

ALLOCATION R

EXP

 

2016/17

 

2018/19

 

2019/20

-

Eastern Cape

29 000 000

29 000 000

20 000 000

20 000 000

-

-

Free State

31 000 000

31 000 000

13 500 000

13 500 000

-

-

KwaZulu-Natal

23 000 000

23 000 000

-

-

-

-

Limpopo

28 000 000

28 000 000

10 000 000

10 000 000

9 000 000

9 000 000

Mpumalanga

26 000 000

26 000 000

10 000 000

10 000 000

8 000 000

8 000 000

Northern Cape

25 000 000

25 000 000

43 000 000

43 000 000

34 000 000

34 000 000

North West

38 000 000

38 000 000

-

-

   

Western Cape

12 000 000

12 000 000

170 000 000

170 000 000

   

Total

R 212 000 000

R 212 000 000

R266 500 000

R266 500 000

R51 000 00

R51 000 00

18 June 2020 - NW995

Profile picture: Van Staden, Mr PA

Van Staden, Mr PA to ask the Minister of Health

(1)Whether, given the worldwide trend that statistics of positive cases and deaths due to Covid-19 are made available in terms of age, gender and race, he will consider to release statistics for positive cases and deaths in the Republic in terms of age, gender and race on a daily basis; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) whether he will make a statement on the matter?

Reply:

1. We release data on Covid-19 daily. The following information is contained in the data daily reports to the public:

  • Cumulative number of tests conducted by public and private sector laboratories;
  • Daily new number of tests conducted by public and private sector laboratories;
  • Cumulative number of positive cases identified by province;
  • Cumulative number of recoveries by province;
  • Cumulative number of deaths per province, including age and gender distribution of deaths; and
  • We will indicate the issue of race classification later.

2. I am willing to make a statement in the House in this regard.

END.

18 June 2020 - NW1126

Profile picture: Thembekwayo, Dr S

Thembekwayo, Dr S to ask the Minister of Health

With reference to his undertakings that the Republic’s participation in vaccination trials for coronavirus as the country is part of the Health Emergency Solidarity Trial under the auspices of the World Health Organizations and further made an assertion that fears raised by society around this should not be the case as the nature and ethics of the trials are unfounded because times have changed, in what way (a) have the ethics of the trials changed from their historical association with the abuse of human rights and dignity and (b) will the Republic be participating as guinea pigs and/or as collaborators of the scientific process from initial stages and not just on the receiving end?

Reply:

a) The World Health Organisation (WHO) Solidarity Trial is a global study that is evaluating therapeutic interventions to support the treatment of patients admitted with COVID-19. This protocol describes a randomised trial among adults (age ≥18 years) hospitalised for COVID-19 that randomly allocates them between four treatment arms, each to be given in addition to the usual standard of care in the participating hospital. Randomisation is proposed into the following 4 arms: a) Standard of care; b) Remdesivir; c) Lopinavir-Ritonavir with Interferon β1b; and hydrochloroquine. This trial will be subjected to South African research standards to protect human rights through regulatory approval for clinical trials and ethics, besides similar processes being undertaken at a global level. The ethical review is rigorous and robust in ensuring that a relevant Research Ethics Committee protects potential participants by taking into account potential risks and benefits for the community in which the research will be carried out. In line with ethical principles, the Ethics Committee ensures protection of individual autonomy through informed consent; protecting participants against grievous bodily harm, and justice in assessing risks and benefits of the study

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) is statutorily obliged to ensure that medicines, drugs and other health care products available in the country comply with the requirements for safety, quality and efficacy. It is also authorised to terminate a trial when serious breaches of Good Clinical Practice (GCP) occur, and where participants in clinical trials have had, their safety or well-being compromised. To date, a number of clinical trials have been approved in South Africa to determine the effectiveness of different therapeutic interventions to treat and prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection. SAHPRA has reviewed and approved one COVID-19 vaccine trial application submitted by Professor Shabir Madhi who is one of South Africa’s leading vaccinology experts and is the director of Wits University and the Medical Research Council Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit (RMPRU). The proposed vaccine study will be undertaken by RMPRU, in partnership with the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute and the Setshaba Research Unit, organised under the auspices of Wits University’s flagship vaccinology programme, the African Leadership in Vaccinology Expertise (ALIVE).

b) The South African Solidarity Trial Team is led by Prof Helen Rees and senior academics and clinicians from eight medical schools who have made major contributions to the study design. These researchers have been conducting community advocacy, as well as engaging communities and healthcare workers on the ground.

The leading hospitals in South Africa are:

• Livingston Tertiary Hospital and Dora Nginza Hospital (Nelson Mandela University)

• Dr George Mukhari Hospital (Sefako Makgatho Health Science University)

• Tygerberg Hospital (Stellenbosch University)

• Groote Schuur Hospital (University of Cape Town)

• Military Hospital, NHLS Universitas Hospital, Pelonomi Hospital and a private hospital with Mediclinic (University of Free State)

• King Edward Addington and Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

• Steve Biko Academic Hospital (University of Pretoria)

• Baragwanath and Charlotte Maxeke (Wits University)

The candidate COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved for study was developed by Oxford University in the UK and is called ChAdOx1. The Oxford University vaccine developers have completed the early Phase 1 trials in the UK and have demonstrated that the vaccine is safe and immunogenic. There is now a second phase clinical trial being undertaken in the UK to determine the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. There are over 1200 participants already enrolled, and a further 9,000 participants to be enrolled over the next few months. Brazil and Kenya will also be involved in clinical trials of the same vaccine. In South Africa, it is proposed that 2000 volunteers will be recruited to join the study, with similar numbers to be enrolled in the study planned in Brazil. The ability of RMPRU to lead the proposed study has been assessed and approved by the governing regulatory authorities in South Africa.

COVID-19 vaccine development is proceeding at an unprecedented speed, with many of the world’s leading scientific institutions contributing to this effort. There are currently over 100 vaccines in development and clinical trials have been undertaken in the UK, USA and France. For products such as vaccines, it is critically important that studies are performed in Southern Hemisphere countries including in the African region, concurrently with studies in Northern Hemisphere countries. This allows evaluation of the efficacy and safety of candidate vaccines to be assessed in a global context, failing which the introduction of many life-saving vaccines into public immunization programmes for Low Middle Income Countries (LMICs) frequently lags behind that in High Income Countries (HIC). Furthermore, if South Africa participates in the development of a vaccine it places an ethical obligation on the vaccine developers to allow early access to that vaccine in the countries where the research was undertaken.

END.

18 June 2020 - NW1029

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

(1)What oversight measuring tools does his department use to ensure that provincial health departments use the monies allocated to them adequately and appropriately; (2) whether he has found that each provincial department of health has used the allocated monies adequately in the past three financial years; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

1. The oversight measuring tools to strengthen health system effectiveness based on the use of cost-effective interventions that are rendered at an appropriate level of the health system, the Provincial Health Departments report monthly, quarterly, half yearly and annually to National Department as per Public Finance Management Act No.1 of 1999 as amended, section 40. The reports entails In-Year Monitoring, Division of Revenue Act (Conditional Grants) and Pre-determined sets of Non Negotiables.

The reports are tabled and discussed through the National Health Chief Financial Officers Forum, Technical National Health Council and National Health Council.

2. Yes, the allocated funds were used adequately.

The Provincial Departments of health spending for the past three years are as follows;

EASTERN CAPE

ll Financial Values: R'000

2018/19

2017/18

2016/17

2015/16

2014/15

 

AUDIT OUTCOME

Qualified

Financially Unqualified

Financially Unqualified

Financially Unqualified

Qualified

 

APPROPRIATION STATEMENT

Total Final Appropriation

24 026 752

22 337 081

20 650 214

19 033 530

17 714 926

Actual Expenditure

24 472 665

22 275 458

20 506 290

18 957 776

17 549 854

Employee Compensation

15 980 940

14 558 949

13 454 333

12 562 282

11 576 335

Goods and Services

6 110 829

5 784 042

5 206 207

4 522 995

4 595 261

Capital Assets

1 287 172

1 236 256

1 277 587

1 280 152

1 020 742

 

UIFW EXPENDITURE

Unauthorised Expenditure

-

-

-

-

90 403

Irregular Expenditure

295 570

176 117

241

946

91 209

Fruitless & Wasteful Expenditure

1 224

998

6 855

2 161

1 819

 

HUMAN RESOURCES

Posts Approved

48 005

52 246

45 140

45 140

43 210

Posts Filled

41 519

40 424

40 282

40 225

39 216

 

SOURCE

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

FREE STATE

Financial Information

All Financial Values: R'000

2018/19

2017/18

2016/17

2015/16

2014/15

 

AUDIT OUTCOME

Qualified

Financially Unqualified

Financially Unqualified

Qualified

Qualified

 

APPROPRIATION STATEMENT

Total Final Appropriation

10 381 697

9 738 931

9 043 067

8 728 675

8 327 177

Actual Expenditure

10 238 606

9 801 950

9 077 195

8 694 952

8 293 755

Employee Compensation

6 678 866

6 262 519

5 814 798

5 539 463

5 258 723

Goods and Services

2 586 120

2 647 858

2 365 315

2 375 189

2 287 592

Capital Assets

686 059

654 221

714 398

621 435

648 642

 

UIFW EXPENDITURE

Unauthorised Expenditure

-

140 791

67 634

31 814

11 167

Irregular Expenditure

359 511

324 525

300 966

56 055

16 707

Fruitless & Wasteful Expenditure

32 910

1 171

662

691

7 966

 

HUMAN RESOURCES

Posts Approved

22 902

21 629

21 596

20 952

23 930

Posts Filled

17 781

17 371

17 329

17 810

17 916

 

SOURCE

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

GAUTENG

Financial Information

All Financial Values: R'000

2018/19

2017/18

2016/17

2015/16

2014/15

 

AUDIT OUTCOME

Financially Unqualified

Financially Unqualified

Financially Unqualified

Financially Unqualified

Qualified

 

APPROPRIATION STATEMENT

Total Final Appropriation

47 543 133

42 739 750

38 192 111

35 816 383

32 015 230

Actual Expenditure

46 010 560

42 013 459

37 440 067

34 864 555

31 005 212

Employee Compensation

26 902 299

25 085 331

23 289 574

20 648 000

18 654 909

Goods and Services

15 229 603

13 583 390

11 078 374

11 257 325

9 735 281

Capital Assets

1 572 106

1 476 113

1 582 158

1 481 189

1 031 499

 

UIFW EXPENDITURE

Unauthorised Expenditure

-

-

-

-

-

Irregular Expenditure

2 292 068

1 352 204

1 860 020

493 155

-

Fruitless & Wasteful Expenditure

26 682

37 918

-

7 433

159 759

 

HUMAN RESOURCES

Posts Approved

72 244

71 943

72 894

73 199

n/a

Posts Filled

63 962

66 124

67 467

65 118

n/a

 

SOURCE

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

KWAZULU-NATAL

Financial Information

All Financial Values: R'000

2018/19

2017/18

2016/17

2015/16

2014/15

 

AUDIT OUTCOME

Qualified

Qualified

Qualified

Qualified

Qualified

 

APPROPRIATION STATEMENT

Total Final Appropriation

42 850 312

40 228 250

37 337 104

34 213 586

31 409 398

Actual Expenditure

42 549 830

39 911 321

37 026 397

34 110 724

31 245 510

Employee Compensation

26 336 189

24 614 793

23 354 896

21 793 160

20 014 422

Goods and Services

13 342 400

12 343 292

11 382 844

10 105 233

8 895 999

Capital Assets

1 758 330

1 592 882

1 106 314

1 257 629

1 505 879

 

UIFW EXPENDITURE

Unauthorised Expenditure

14 248

-

18 997

147 119

127 693

Irregular Expenditure

2 977 103

1 464 342

1 325 084

1 257 484

708 803

Fruitless & Wasteful Expenditure

6 089

3 186

5 763

5 117

3 033

 

HUMAN RESOURCES

Posts Approved

n/a

74 080

79 087

78 669

81 226

Posts Filled

n/a

68 125

69 924

72 078

71 257

 

SOURCE

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

LIMPOPO

Financial Information

All Financial Values: R'000

2018/19

2017/18

2016/17

2015/16

2014/15

 

AUDIT OUTCOME

Qualified

Qualified

Qualified

Qualified

Financially Unqualified

 

APPROPRIATION STATEMENT

Total Final Appropriation

19 801 784

18 609 439

17 300 715

15 501 794

14 618 588

Actual Expenditure

19 722 686

18 389 158

17 217 613

15 432 088

14 526 110

Employee Compensation

14 199 041

12 978 967

12 218 486

11 352 270

10 336 806

Goods and Services

4 839 161

4 259 771

3 785 515

3 012 337

3 122 861

Capital Assets

425 597

457 016

421 877

499 136

493 679

 

UIFW EXPENDITURE

Unauthorised Expenditure

-

-

-

-

-

Irregular Expenditure

80 243

165 956

217 342

259 062

544 881

Fruitless & Wasteful Expenditure

1 728

3 523

3 378

15 901

43 356

 

HUMAN RESOURCES

Posts Approved

64 343

63 460

63 640

63 460

63 460

Posts Filled

32 908

33 848

34 613

35 552

35 202

 

SOURCE

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

MPUMALANGA

Financial Information

All Financial Values: R'000

2018/19

2017/18

2016/17

2015/16

2014/15

 

AUDIT OUTCOME

Qualified

Qualified

Qualified

Qualified

Qualified

 

APPROPRIATION STATEMENT

Total Final Appropriation

13 119 591

12 160 053

10 611 965

10 163 902

9 045 682

Actual Expenditure

13 055 943

12 083 013

10 579 880

10 080 392

8 879 292

Employee Compensation

7 662 953

7 217 105

6 686 678

6 102 017

5 537 663

Goods and Services

3 913 891

3 439 974

3 064 888

2 902 264

2 639 473

Capital Assets

1 028 712

1 057 356

509 496

595 955

434 074

 

UIFW EXPENDITURE

Unauthorised Expenditure

-

33 999

-

-

190 115

Irregular Expenditure

138 899

309 920

1 552 623

1 919 578

1 918 896

Fruitless & Wasteful Expenditure

487

317

2 306

1 007

3 614

 

HUMAN RESOURCES

Posts Approved

22 338

22 516

21 970

21 670

31 277

Posts Filled

20 412

20 421

20 288

20 090

19 244

 

SOURCE

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Note

         

NORTH WEST

Financial Information

All Financial Values: R'000

2018/19

2017/18

2016/17

2015/16

2014/15

 

AUDIT OUTCOME

Qualified

Qualified

Qualified

Qualified

Financially Unqualified

 

APPROPRIATION STATEMENT

Total Final Appropriation

n/a

10 600 197

9 681 617

9 199 705

8 184 743

Actual Expenditure

n/a

10 303 417

9 767 254

9 042 677

8 372 853

Employee Compensation

n/a

6 412 002

6 051 077

5 609 901

5 389 881

Goods and Services

n/a

3 005 112

2 802 201

2 581 210

2 286 569

Capital Assets

n/a

641 097

600 349

675 411

579 777

 

UIFW EXPENDITURE

Unauthorised Expenditure

n/a

-

99 647

-

262 564

Irregular Expenditure

n/a

880 911

682 777

696 654

763 834

Fruitless & Wasteful Expenditure

n/a

1 770

1 501

15 254

20 374

 

HUMAN RESOURCES

Posts Approved

n/a

21 809

21 357

21 334

21 103

Posts Filled

n/a

17 536

17 310

17 946

18 929

 

SOURCE

n/a

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Note

         

NORTHERN CAPE

Financial Information

All Financial Values: R'000

2018/19

2017/18

2016/17

2015/16

2014/15

 

AUDIT OUTCOME

Qualified

Qualified

Qualified

Qualified

Qualified

 

APPROPRIATION STATEMENT

Total Final Appropriation

4 858 837

4 631 443

4 494 185

4 228 961

3 758 130

Actual Expenditure

4 839 637

4 567 470

4 369 138

4 168 520

3 714 324

Employee Compensation

2 804 762

2 572 131

2 322 039

2 150 712

1 936 740

Goods and Services

1 627 617

1 452 145

1 479 782

1 317 295

1 150 049

Capital Assets

350 015

480 835

395 290

583 256

486 084

 

UIFW EXPENDITURE

Unauthorised Expenditure

1 261

100 296

51 576

92 790

91 636

Irregular Expenditure

714 939

412 379

574 183

805 906

537 169

Fruitless & Wasteful Expenditure

5 394

5 270

10 537

4 392

6 212

 

HUMAN RESOURCES

Posts Approved

7 533

7 196

7 703

9 020

8 929

Posts Filled

6 828

6 924

6 882

6 840

6 694

 

SOURCE

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Note

         

WESTERN CAPE

Financial Information

All Financial Values: R'000

2018/19

2017/18

2016/17

2015/16

2014/15

 

AUDIT OUTCOME

Clean Audit

Financially Unqualified

Financially Unqualified

Financially Unqualified

Financially Unqualified

 

APPROPRIATION STATEMENT

Total Final Appropriation

23 215 861

21 738 171

20 234 419

19 154 794

17 552 380

Actual Expenditure

23 045 811

21 498 184

20 080 640

18 740 193

17 307 548

Employee Compensation

13 515 392

12 660 391

11 833 864

10 949 652

10 072 353

Goods and Services

7 219 595

6 892 429

6 457 483

5 976 263

5 510 960

Capital Assets

1 004 040

751 434

784 560

747 064

746 805

 

UIFW EXPENDITURE

Unauthorised Expenditure

-

-

-

-

-

Irregular Expenditure

12 886

23 553

11 330

7 284

24 426

Fruitless & Wasteful Expenditure

-

-

7

-

-

 

HUMAN RESOURCES

Posts Approved

33 857

33 018

32 626

33 055

33 190

Posts Filled

31 914

31 549

31 463

31 432

31 267

 

SOURCE

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

END.

18 June 2020 - NW1099

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

(1)What is the current average collection rate of medication at all public health facilities in each province; (2) in view of the fact that patients with tuberculosis and/or HIV/Aids are more susceptible to the coronavirus, what measures will his department put in place to (a) trace patients who have defaulted on their medication because of the lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 and (b) assist in the distribution of the medication in each province?

Reply:

(1) There is variability in the average medicine collection rates overtime, taking into consideration public holidays and the number of months supplied to patients on chronic medication at various facilities. Based on the information available to the National Department of Health, the average rate of collection for the first four months of 2020 is depicted in the table below:

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

April*

National

89.9%

92.6%

86.7%

84.8%

Eastern Cape

94.5%

94.4%

87.8%

87.0%

Free State

94.6%

96.9%

87.0%

75.9%

Gauteng

91.0%

96.2%

86.1%

81.6%

KwaZulu Natal

92.3%

94.4%

88.0%

85.5%

Limpopo

95.3%

96.2%

88.4%

81.5%

Mpumalanga

93.1%

97.2%

91.8%

87.5%

North West

95.6%

96.1%

83.1%

85.6%

Northern Cape

94.5%

93.4%

77.1%

78.9%

2. (a) Tracing of patients who defaulted on their medication

  • Tracking and tracing (telephonically and in-person) of clients lost to follow-up is ongoing in the majority of our facilities. District supporting partners and Community Health Workers (CHWs) assist with community tracking and tracing of patients; a list of missed appointments is drawn weekly from Tier.Net and those who missed appointments are contacted via SMS (by District support partners) and in some cases are delivered to patients directly;
  • The Department of Health has developed messaging for People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and people living with TB regarding the importance of treatment. These various messages have been circulated to clients through SMS and social media;
  • The Adherence Guidelines SOP also provide the procedure to track and trace patients who defaulted.

(b) Distribution of medicines in each province

  • The Department of Health has been implementing the Central Chronic Medicines Dispensing and Distribution (CCMDD) programme, a National Department of Health (NDoH) initiative to improve access to chronic medicines to stable patients by enabling them to collect their repeat medicines prescriptions from a convenient collection point near their home or place of employment.
  • Eligible patients (i.e. stable on treatment) on ARVs and other chronic medication collect their medicines for free from a convenient contracted pick-up point such as Dis-Chem, Clicks, Pick-n-Pay, Pharmacy, or even a local Spaza shop. The majority of these service providers have been open during the National lockdown, allowing clients to collect their treatment without interruption.
  • In health facilities, before and during the lockdown, all stable patients are given two months TEE supply and three months TLD supply of ARVs.
  • The Department of Health has also strengthened in-facility processes and support to PLHIV on ART in order to maintain adherence.
  • For TB patients, the Department of Health has made arrangements for home delivery of TB medicines by Community Health Workers. The Community Health Workers also collect sputum from patients who require follow up testing.

END.

18 June 2020 - NW1097

Profile picture: Winkler, Ms HS

Winkler, Ms HS to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)Whether his department has been informed that the Springfield Campus of Ethekwini College, although offering courses with practical components, has not been offering any practicals for students enrolled in engineering courses, despite these being advertised as part of the curriculum; if not, what is the position in this regard; (2) whether students are paying for the practical course from (a) their own funding and/or (b) the National Students Financial Aid Scheme; (3) whether his department has been informed that the Springfield Campus of Ethekwini College, is in a complete state of disrepair with collapsed perimeter fencing and/or walls, no access control and that entry to the campus is obscured by a dumpsite; if not, what steps will he take to investigate the matter; if so, how does his department plan to intervene?

Reply:

(1) The campus offers Engineering and Related Design (E&RD) NCV programmes where students are doing practical activities as part of the Internal Continuous Assessments (ICASS). For the students to qualify for entry into the examinations the ISAT (practical exam component) needs to be administered. The Campus yearly is conducting relevant practical tasks. We are not aware of any programme offered at Springfield Campus where practicals are supposed to be offered and they are not offered.

(2) ERD NCV programmes are paid for by NSFAS to all financial needy and qualifying students.

(3) Parts of the precast walls are missing due to thuggery from the neighboring informal settlements. Last year, in November 2019, missing precast walls were replaced, but the thuggery continued. Additional security is deployed to ensure the safety and security of the college property and its stakeholders. The dumpsite is a challenge as it is on an access road to the Campus. The municipality cleaning of the road is unsatisfactory and there is continuous engagement with the municipality to devise a permanent solution.

18 June 2020 - NW1124

Profile picture: Thembekwayo, Dr S

Thembekwayo, Dr S to ask the Minister of Health

(1)Whether he has been informed about an anonymous tip-off from a healthcare worker in Gauteng that the National Institute Communicable Disease has advised to no longer conduct secondary retests to patients who have supposedly recovered; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what the relevant details; (2) what are the conditions of second tests being conducted on those who have tested negative and then requested a second test and (b) how often do healthcare workers in hospitals and clinics undergo testing of Coronavirus, more so the workforce that works with patients of Covid-19?

Reply:

1. Policies are constantly reviewed to meet the demands of an evolving epidemic. Due to the global shortage of testing extraction kits, earlier policies that advocated repeat testing had to be revised. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases has aligned its recommendation to WHO Guidelines and national resources imperatives. Second tests are not conducted on persons who are negative and asymptomatic due to the shortage of testing kits.

2. (a) Those persons that test negative and are asymptomatic are not tested again, however those that are symptomatic- tests are repeated for these individuals, especially those that are at high risk.

(b) The health professional staff are not tested routinely except if they have symptoms of Covid-19 or fulfil the criteria of a high-risk exposure with a person who tested positive with Covid-19. They may after seven days of self-isolation be clinically evaluated and tested on day 8 with the possibility of early return to work if they have a negative test and are clinically well. They will continue to be monitored for symptoms till day 14 and are counselled on personal hygiene measures. Health professional staff are monitored daily through symptom screening. The rationale is that there are not enough test kits and targeted testing is needed. Risk assessments in health care settings, use of public health measures, personal hygiene, training on Covid-19 and personal protective equipment all contribute to a lowered risk of transmission exposure.

END.

18 June 2020 - NW1002

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Ms MD

Hlengwa, Ms MD to ask the Minister of Health

(1)What total number of ventilators have been procured in the fight against Covid-19; (2) whether any of the total number of ventilators were and/or are being procured from local suppliers; if not, why not; if so, (a) what number of ventilators, (b) what are the names of the local suppliers they were and/or are being procured from and (c) on what date(s) in each case?

Reply:

1. As at 15 June 2020, a total of 1138 ventilators have been procured through Provincial Health Departments as well as National Department and they are all imported with a lead-time of minimum of 3 months and maximum of 9 months. Eastern Cape and Limpopo received 15 of the 60 and 3 of the 133 procured ventilators, respectively. The remaining 1120 ventilators are still to be delivered. Table below give a full illustration of all ventilators procured and the numbers that were delivered.

Province

Current ventilator capacity

No of Ventilators Procured

Supplier

Date of delivery

National

Procurement

 

300

SSEM Mthembu

Delivery expected on 1st week of August

EC

68

30

Mbuso Medical

15 delivered. 15 will be delivered on 31-Jul-2020

 

 

30

SSEM Mthembu

5 on 30-Jun-2020, 10 on 31-Jul-2020, 15 on 31 Aug 2020

EC Total

68

60

 

 

FS

200

50

Phoenix Neomed

15 -31 July 2020

 

  

 

 

 

     

Mbuso Medical

 
     

SSEM Mthembu

 
     

Drager

 
     

Marquet

 
     

Medhold

 
     

Respiratory Care Africa

 

FS total

200

50

 

 

GP total

409

145

 

Drager

An incorrect order was placed for 145 circuits instead of ventilators. This will be amended & an order for 145 ventilators will be processed on today (15 June 2020)

KZN

164

18

Drager

26-Jun-20

     

SSEM Mthembu

3 on 7 Jul 2020

   

11

 

8 on 5 Aug 2020

   

6

Marquet

05-Aug-20

KZN Total

164

35

 

 

LP

78

3

 

Only 3 delivered

   

30

SSEM Mthembu

30-Jun-20

   

100

Mbuso Medical

27 on 25-June-2020

       

73 on 21-July-2020

LP Total

78

133

 

 

MPU

130

75

SSEM Mthembu

31-Jul-20

   

50

Drager

31-Aug-20

   

75

Marquet

31-Aug-20

   

75

Mbuso Medical

31-Aug-20

MPU total

130

275

SSEM Mthembu

Awaiting delivery

NC total

17

   

No ventilator ordered

NW total

59

40

Drager

Jan-Mar 2021 - They are currently looking for another supplier who can deliver earlier

 

125

70

Respiratory Care Africa

31 July 2020

   

30

 SSEM Mthembu

15 July 2020

WC total

125

100

   

Total

1250

1138

 

18 delivered

         

2. Yes, all are procured through local suppliers;

a) 1120 Ventilators are still to be delivered;

b) Local suppliers are SSEM Mthembu, Mbuso Medicals, Phoenix Neomed, Drager, Marquet, Medhold and Respiratory Care Africa;

c) Delivery dates are expected from end June to August 2020 and between January and March 2021.

END.

18 June 2020 - NW1030

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

(1)Whether in the past three years his department has come across any cases of the condition called Paediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome that is responsible for the hospitalisation of hundreds of children overseas; if so, (a) what number of cases and (b) where were they found; (2) whether his department has found that this condition is in some way linked to the coronavirus; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

1. The Department is not aware of any cases of Paediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in South Africa. This is not unexpected. The condition remains very rare, and has only been documented in areas which have experienced a very high incidence of COVID-19 infection. In addition, most children have presented two to four weeks after the peak of the epidemic.

It is therefore likely that any cases which may occur in South Africa will present later in the year, during or after the expected peak in COVID-19 cases. It is however important that health care workers and parents remain alert as cases may be missed unless a high index of suspicion is maintained.

Any cases that are identified will be notified through the Notifiable Medical Conditions system, as well as to the World Health Organization clinical database.

(2) Evidence of past infection with coronavirus or exposure to someone with COVID-19 infection is part of the WHO case definition of the condition. The Department of Health currently uses the same case definition.

END.

Background

Most children with COVID-19 infection are asymptomatic or exhibit mild symptoms. However, in the last three months a small number of children have been identified who develop a significant systemic inflammatory response[1].

This rare syndrome shares common features with other paediatric inflammatory conditions including: Kawasaki disease, staphylococcal and streptococcal toxic shock syndromes, bacterial sepsis and macrophage activation syndromes. It can also present with unusual abdominal symptoms with excessive inflammatory markers. Affected children may require paediatric intensive care and input from paediatric infectious diseases, cardiology, and rheumatology specialists.

This syndrome has been named Paediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, and the World Health Organization has developed the following case definition[2]:

Children and adolescents 0–19 years of age with fever > 3 days AND two of the following:                                

  1. Rash or bilateral non-purulent conjunctivitis or muco-cutaneous inflammation signs (oral, hands or feet).
  2. Hypotension or shock.
  3. Features of myocardial dysfunction, pericarditis, valvulitis, or coronary abnormalities (including ECHO findings or elevated Troponin/NT-proBNP),
  4. Evidence of coagulopathy (by PT, PTT, elevated d-Dimers).
  5. Acute gastrointestinal problems (diarrhoea, vomiting, or abdominal pain).

AND

Elevated markers of inflammation such as ESR, C-reactive protein, or procalcitonin. 

AND

No other obvious microbial cause of inflammation, including bacterial sepsis, staphylococcal or streptococcal shock syndromes.

AND

Evidence of COVID-19 (RT-PCR, antigen test or serology positive), or likely contact with patients with COVID-19.

As data on this condition remains very limited, clinicians have been requested to submit details of identified cases to a Global COVID-19 Clinical Data Platform.

  1. Royal College of Paediatricians and Guidance: Paediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome temporally associated with COVID-19. https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/sites/default/files/2020-05/COVID-19-Paediatric-multisystem-%20inflammatory%20syndrome-20200501.pdf. Accessed 1st June 2020.

  2. World Health Organization. Scientific Brief: Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children and adolescents with COVID-19. Geneva, World Health Organization. 15th May 2020. https://www.who.int/publications-detail/multisystem-inflammatory-syndrome-in-children-and-adolescents-with-covid-19. Accessed: 1st June 2020.

18 June 2020 - NW1031

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

(1)Whether his department has investigated the effects of wearing masks for long periods of time in view of reports of both adults and children fainting due to wearing the mask for long hours; if not, why not; if so, (2) whether, since it is now mandatory for citizens to wear masks when they leave the house, his department can and will take responsibility for persons who develop adverse health effects due to wearing of the masks for long periods of time; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

1. No, the Department has not undertaken any investigations on the effects of wearing masks for long periods as there is substantial published research on this important topic. The wearing of cloth masks by the general public for long-periods is commonplace in several countries prior to Covid-19. Similarly, the wearing of surgical masks by healthcare personnel for long periods is standard practice and has been found to be safe. Cloth masks are better tolerated than surgical masks or N95 respirators used by healthcare workers. Fainting may occur when the mask is worn incorrectly such that the nose and mouth are occluded, but as far as we have been able to ascertain, there are no peer-reviewed scientific reports of this. There are anecdotal accounts of people passing out from long-term use of N95 respirators;

2. Wearing of cloth masks has been shown in many reports to reduce community transmission of the virus and therefore is a necessary intervention like hand hygiene and social distancing. The National Department of Health will ensure that whether the person wears a mask or not, anyone in respiratory distress will be provided the best possible care in our healthcare facilities. 

END.

18 June 2020 - NW1122

Profile picture: Chirwa, Ms NN

Chirwa, Ms NN to ask the Minister of Health

(1)With reference to the recent oversight visit to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, where it was brought to our attention that there is a challenge with managing personal protective equipment (PPE) stock for workers, which is a challenge in many other hospitals, what has the department done to standardise stock control of PPEs (a) nationally, (b) provincially and (c) in local clinics; (2) whether the system differs per capacity of each facility; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

1. (a) In order to standardize stock control of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) nationally, the Department of Health has taken measures as follows:

  • Seventeen (17) PPE items were identified as minimum requirements for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19;
  • Specifications for the identified 17 PPE items have been developed for use and adopted by Provincial Departments of Health and they are currently being used in procuring PPE equipment of acceptable quality;
  • Prices were set for each PPE item in by National Department of Health in collaboration with National Treasury and issued under National Instruction Note 3 of 2020/21 and subsequently repealed and replaced by National Instruction Note 5 of 2020/21 in an attempt to prevent price exploitation or unnecessary price hike by manufacturers and distributors;
  • The Department issued Infection Prevention Control (IPC) guidance to cover PPE use and change regimes. The correct use of PPE is key to forecasting PPE demand and ensure correct stock holding is secured at facilities;
  • A Demand Forecasting Model was developed to ensure that the correct PPE items that are compliant with the set specifications are procured at the right price, right quantity and correct quality;
  • Stock Visibility Systems (SVS) was expanded for it to cater for both PPE and Pharmaceutical products which is funded and procured by NDOH and distributed devices were rolled out to provinces. Currently facilities in the provinces can capture their stock levels using SVS;
  • Another tool called PPE Reporting Tool (PPERT) was developed at National and was rolled out to provincial level to capture stock levels and order information of PPE at depot level;
  • In cases of shortages, donations were used to augment stock levels at the facilities in the provinces;
  • Training in the use of SVS were provided to provincial users and access to National Surveillance Centre (NSC) provided to empower provincial decision makers to access, interpret and take action regarding stock levels, distribution and logistics of PPE and sourcing and procurement of PPE items;
  • A Supplier Mapping Portal was developed to provide Provincial Health departments access to information of PPE manufacturers and distributors available in their prospective provinces.

(b) In order to standardize stock control of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) provincially, the Department of Health has taken measures as follows:

Ensure that each province appoints a dedicated Provincial PPE coordinator who monitors stock level continuously from depot to facilities so that they can be able to track the following:

  • Provincial visibility of stock on hand;
  • Stock use, quality and specification of PPE;
  • Storage and distribution;
  • Demand forecasting;
  • Allocation of PPE stocks.

(c) In order to standardize stock control of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in local clinics, the Department of Health has taken measures as follows:

  • Stock Visibility System (SVS) has been expanded and rolled out thereof to local clinics.

2. The stock management systems differ per province and per facility depending on the IT infrastructure in so far as monitoring the following activities:

  • storage capacity;
  • distribution method of PPE;
  • stock ordering system, and
  • replenishment methods;
  • stock count procedures; and
  • controls of PPE.

END.

18 June 2020 - NW1123

Profile picture: Chirwa, Ms NN

Chirwa, Ms NN to ask the Minister of Health

With reference to his department’s submission to the Portfolio Committee on Health that the current supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) sits at 10% local and export from other countries at 90%, what steps has his department taken to ensure that local suppliers of PPE are included, especially rural and township designers and suppliers?

Reply:

The National Department of Health collaborated with the National Treasury and Department of Trade and Industry to identify local manufacturers and distributors to enable departments to procure locally manufactured Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) products. To this effect, the following initiatives have been concluded:

  • Visibility of local manufacturers and distributors: A market intelligence tool was developed listing all local manufacturers and their distributors of the key seventeen (17) PPE items used in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19. The tool enables public sector buyers to inter alia identify manufacturers and their distributors as follows:
    • According to their provinces, cities, towns and districts;
    • It also provides information such as GPS coordinates of manufacturers and distributors;
    • Contact details of manufactures and distributors for ease of use
    • Information of where the PPE comes from such as country of origin and quality assurance;
    • It allows public sector buyers to identify exactly where the stock they are procuring coming from.
    • Local manufacturers’ information regarding BBBEE Level;
    • % Black Ownership;
    • Manufacturer information
    • Product Name
    • Product Price;
    • Shipper Pack Quantities; and
    • Product Category (Distinguishing between 17 Essential PPE Categories and Non-Essential PPE Product Categories).

(2) The National Department of Health and all provincial departments have allowed access to this tool for use in the sourcing of PPE items/products. The tool is available online and data / information is continuously updated with the information of new entry of service providers to PPE market.

  • On Central Supplier Database (CSD) there are approximately 20 000 suppliers registered who have indicated that they are able to for deliver PPE items. On the basis of that information the National Department of Health collaborated with National Treasury to ask Treasury to do modification on CSD that will allow all service providers who are registered on CSD for the supply of PPE to be able to provide additional information such as stock-on-hand information;
  • As at 7 June 2020, approximately 2600 suppliers have uploaded stock-on-hand information. This initiative will enable public sector buyers to be able to source PPE products with service providers who actually have stock;
  • They can select service providers according to their province, districts and towns etc;
  • They can further select service providers according to their BEE status, % black ownership, military veterans, black youth, black women, owned by black persons with disabilities, rural or township based business and SME status.

END.

18 June 2020 - NW1100

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

(1)How does his department (a) choose and (b) allocate the service providers that provide food at each quarantine site; (2) whether the tenders to provide food at quarantine sites are advertised; if not, why not; if so, where are they advertised; (3) (a) on what basis are the service providers procured and (b) what amount is budgeted for the tenders?

Reply:

1. When private sites are procured to function as quarantine facilities, the rate negotiated includes all meals and forms part of the Service Level Agreement signed between the National Department of Public Works & Infrastructure and the facility. Where National or Provincial parks are being used, the park itself or tourism board provide catering. If such a site decides to outsource the service it is done based on their Supply Chain Management processes. For state-owned sites however, the processes for providing food is managed by the Provincial Department of Health and procured based on government Supply Chain Management processes;

2. There is an approved protocol agreement between the National Department of Public Works & Infrastructure and National Department of Health related to procurement of private facilities that include catering. Where the tenders or procurements are advertised for public facilities it would depend on the size of the contract and the normal Supply Chain Management processes the provincial departments follow;

3. (a) The service providers are procured as per standard Supply Chain Management principles;

(b) The budget for the provision of food is not fixed. It is need based and would vary based on the size of the site, the number of people that it needs to cater for, the duration that the food is to be supplied for and the basis for provisioning.

END.

18 June 2020 - NW1101

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health

Whether any medical studies have been conducted on the effects of 5G radiation; if not, why not; if so, what (a) studies have been conducted and (b) are the effects thereof?

Reply:

a) Yes, several studies have been done internationally on the effects of 5G radiation and published in accredited scientific journals. Some of these studies are:

(i) Towards 5G communication systems: Are there health implications? International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health (2018);

(ii) 5G Radiation and COVID-19: The Non-Existent Connection. International Journal of Research in Electronics and Computer Engineering (2020);

(iii) 5G Wireless Communication and Health Effects—A Pragmatic Review Based on Available Studies Regarding 6 to 100 GHz. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2019);

(iv) 5G wireless telecommunications expansion: Public health and environmental implications. Environmental Research (2018);

(v) Adverse health effects of 5G mobile networking technology under real-life conditions. Toxicology Letters (2020);

The World Health Organisation (WHO): 5G mobile networks and health (February 2020) acknowledges two international bodies that have produced electromagnetic fields exposure guidelines that countries need adhere to: a) The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (2020) guidelines for limiting exposure to Electromagnetic Fields; and b) The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, through the International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety has produced guidelines for radiofrequencies up to 300 GHz, including the frequencies under discussion for 5G.

b) According to the International Commission on Non‐Ionizing Radiation Protection 2020 Guidelines, 5G is safe. These Guidelines are the revision of the 1998 Guidelines and provide protection for humans from exposure to Electro-Magnetic fields from 100 Kilo Hertz to 300 Giga Hertz. The only substantiated adverse health effects caused by exposure to radiofrequency Electro-magnetic Fields are nerve stimulation, changes in the permeability of cell membranes, and effects due to temperature elevation. Kostoff et al (2020), and Russell (2018) have argued that radiofrequency radiation (RF) used in 5G is increasingly being recognized as a new form of environmental pollution, and adverse systemic health effects beyond skin and eyes.

The WHO (2020) conclusion on 5G mobile networks and health was that no adverse health effect has been causally linked with exposure to wireless technologies. Health-related conclusions were drawn from studies performed across the entire radio spectrum but, so far, only a few studies have been carried out at the frequencies to be used by 5G. Tissue heating was identified as the main mechanism of interaction between radiofrequency fields and the human body. Radiofrequency exposure levels from current technologies resulted in negligible temperature rise in the human body. As the frequency increases, there is less penetration into the body tissues and absorption of the energy becomes more confined to the surface of the body (skin and eye). Provided that the overall exposure remains below international guidelines, no consequences for public health are anticipated.

END.

Annexure: Reply to Question No. 1101 References

Reference

Abstract

Findings

1. Di Ciaula, A. (2018). Towards 5G communication systems: Are there health implications? International journal of hygiene and environmental health, 221(3), 367-375.

Preliminary observations showed that MMW increase skin temperature, alter gene expression, promote cellular proliferation and synthesis of proteins linked with oxidative stress, inflammatory and metabolic processes, could generate ocular damages, affect neuro-muscular dynamics. Further studies are needed to better and independently explore the health effects of RF-EMF in general and of MMW in particular. However, available findings seem sufficient to demonstrate the existence of biomedical effects, to invoke the precautionary principle, to define exposed subjects as potentially vulnerable and to revise existing limits.

  • RF-EMF exposure is rising and health effects of are still under investigation.
  • Both oncologic and non-cancerous chronic effects have been suggested.
  • 5G networks could have health effects and will use MMW, still scarcely explored.
  • Adequate knowledge of RF-EMF biological effects is also needed in clinical practice.
  • Underrating the problem could lead to a further rise in non-communicable diseases.

2. Uthman, M., Shaibu, F. E., Bara’u Gafai Najashi, I. F., Labran, A. S., & Umar, U. S. A. (2020) 5G Radiation and COVID-19: The Non-Existent Connection. International Journal of Research in Electronics and Computer Engineering, Vol. 8 Issue 2 Apr.-June 2020

This paper presents an overview of the 5G mobile technology alongside an overview of coronavirus diseases and demonstrate that there is no connection between them by providing the scientific evidence of research carried out by international organizations in charge of 5G technology.

From all the discussions it has been established that coronaviruses are not new disease pathogens but there have been various outbreaks of the disease over the years with various strains. The latest of which is COVID-19. 5G technology is still in development and has not been fully deployed around the world yet. As such, there is no correlation between COVID-19 and 5G technology. COVID-19 originate from animals (bats) and are transmitted to humans and subsequently spread from human to human, certainly not through 5G radiation.

3. Simkó, M., & Mattsson, M. O. (2019). 5G Wireless Communication and Health Effects—A Pragmatic Review Based on Available Studies Regarding 6 to 100 GHz. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(18), 3406.

This review analyzed 94 relevant publications performing in vivo or in vitro investigations. Each study was characterized for: study type (in vivo, in vitro), biological material (species, cell type, etc.), biological endpoint, exposure (frequency, exposure duration, power density), results, and certain quality criteria.

In order to evaluate and summarize the 6–100 GHz data in this review, it draws the following conclusions:

Regarding the health effects of MMW in the 6–100 GHz frequency range at power densities not exceeding the exposure guidelines the studies provide no clear evidence, due to contradictory information from the in vivo and in vitro investigations.

Regarding the possibility of “non-thermal” effects, the available studies provide no clear explanation of any mode of action of observed effects.

Regarding the quality of the presented studies, too few studies fulfil the minimal quality criteria to allow any further conclusions.

4. The International Commission on Non‐Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) Guidelines (2020)

The Germany-based scientific body that assesses the health risks of radio broadcasts, called for new guidelines for millimetre-wave 5G, the most high-frequency version of the telecommunications standard.

5G is safe, according to the international body in charge of setting limits on exposure to radiation.

5. Russell, C. L. (2018). 5G wireless telecommunications expansion: Public health and environmental implications. Environmental research, 165, 484-495.

This article will reviews relevant electromagnetic frequencies, exposure standards and current scientific literature on the health implications of 2G, 3G, 4G exposure, including some of the available literature on 5G frequencies.

5G technologies are far less studied for human or environmental effects. It is argued that the addition of this added high frequency 5G radiation to an already complex mix of lower frequencies, will contribute to a negative public health outcome both from both physical and mental health perspectives. Radiofrequency radiation (RF) is increasingly being recognized as a new form of environmental pollution. Like other common toxic exposures, the effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF EMR) will be problematic if not impossible to sort out epidemiologically as there no longer remains an unexposed control group.

6. International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. (2020). Guidelines for limiting exposure to Electromagnetic Fields (100 kHz to 300 GHz). Health Physics, 118(5), 483-524.

This document presents the revised guidelines, which provide protection for

humans from exposure to EMFs from 100 kHz to 300 GHz.

The only substantiated adverse health effects caused by exposure to radiofrequency EMFs are nerve stimulation, changes in the permeability of cell membranes, and effects due to temperature elevation. There is no evidence of adverse health effects at exposure levels below the restriction levels in the ICNIRP (1998) guidelines and no evidence of an interaction mechanism that would predict that adverse health effects could occur due to radiofrequency EMF exposure below those restriction levels.

7. Kostoff, R. N., Heroux, P., Aschner, M., & Tsatsakis, A. (2020). Adverse health effects of 5G mobile networking technology under real-life conditions. Toxicology Letters, 323, 35-40.

This article identifies adverse effects of non-ionizing non-visible radiation (hereafter called

wireless radiation) reported in the premier biomedical literature.

  • Identifies wide-spectrum of adverse health effects of non-ionizing non-visible radiation.
  • Most laboratory experiments were not designed to identify the more severe adverse effects reflective of real-life conditions.
  • Many experiments do not include the real-life pulsing and modulation of the carrier signal.
  • Vast majority of experiments do not account for synergistic adverse effects of other toxic stimuli with wireless radiation.
  • 5G mobile networking technology will affect not only the skin and eyes, but will have adverse systemic effects as well.

8. World Health Organisation

(5G mobile networks and health

27 February 2020 | Q&A)

Two international bodies produce exposure guidelines on electromagnetic fields. Many countries currently adhere to the guidelines recommended by:

The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection and,

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, through the International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety

These guidelines are not technology-specific. They cover radiofrequencies up to 300 GHz, including the frequencies under discussion for 5G.

To date, and after much research performed, no adverse health effect has been causally linked with exposure to wireless technologies. Health-related conclusions are drawn from studies performed across the entire radio spectrum but, so far, only a few studies have been carried out at the frequencies to be used by 5G.

Tissue heating is the main mechanism of interaction between radiofrequency fields and the human body. Radiofrequency exposure levels from current technologies result in negligible temperature rise in the human body.

As the frequency increases, there is less penetration into the body tissues and absorption of the energy becomes more confined to the surface of the body (skin and eye). Provided that the overall exposure remains below international guidelines, no consequences for public health are anticipated.

18 June 2020 - NW1096

Profile picture: Winkler, Ms HS

Winkler, Ms HS to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

What (a)(i) assistance and/or (ii) funding will his department provide to technical and vocational education and training centres (TVETs) to ensure that they are able to implement Covid-19 national health protocols as they apply to tertiary institutions and (b) oversight will his department perform over TVETs to ensure that Covid-19 national health protocols as they apply to campuses are implemented across campuses?

Reply:

(a) Assistance is provided to TVET colleges through Higher Health, which conducts daily screening and provides health care volunteers on every campus. Capacity development webinars on the COVID-19 Post-School Education and Training (PSET) guidelines and protocols have been conducted for TVET management in all the regions. Higher Health facilitated these sessions and over 1 000 management staff at TVET colleges have been trained. Colleges have reprioritised their budgets to take the necessary measures in line with the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines. Amongst others, college budgets have been redirected towards the procurement of personal protective equipment, sanitisers, facial masks, fumigation and the deep cleansing of campuses.

(b) The Department has been administering the TVET readiness assessment questionnaire on a weekly basis for the past four weeks. This was intended to assess the state of readiness of TVET colleges and report progress to the Department and Ministerial Task Team on COVID-19. Continuous monitoring, which includes on-site visits and the through the regional offices, the Department verifies the information provided by colleges. In addition, the Minister and Deputy Minister have recently visited several PSET institutions to assess and monitor the state of readiness for the phased return of students and staff to campuses under level 3.

18 June 2020 - NW1128

Profile picture: Komane, Ms RN

Komane, Ms RN to ask the Minister of Health

With reference to the admission by The Presidency that information regarding Covid19 was intentionally withheld from the public stating managing of panic as a reason to do so, (a) which information in particular was kept away from the public, (b) how has and/or will this affect public response to lockdown regulations and (c) what is the true status of hospitals in handling the pandemic?

Reply:

a) We cannot respond specifically on this question as it is a matter that was relating to The Presidency. It is best that this question is addressed to The Presidency;

b) As indicated above it is not clear what information The Presidency was referring to therefore we cannot provide more details in this regard;

c) The details are as follows:

(i) The Modelling consortium Incident Management Team has developed detailed projections and recommendations of the hospital requirements in all provinces including isolation beds, general beds and critical care beds;

(ii) A National Hospital Readiness Task Team has been established comprising of clinicians, disaster management experts and experienced hospital managers. The role of this team is to provide guidance and support to the provinces on all aspects of hospital readiness;

(iii) The Department has developed a surge strategy, which guides the provinces in various areas of health system support. The strategy also includes guidance on the management of the various categories of the covid-19 patients. Alongside this strategy, a detailed guidance has already been provided to all hospitals on all aspects of hospital readiness including in the form of Action Plans. Ten of these plans have already been provided to the hospitals covering: Preparation, Area allocation, Command and Control, Bed Statistics, Safety, Communication, Assessment, Decontamination, Surge capacity and Triage;

(iv) All hospitals have been provided with an on-line assessment of readiness including: equipment requirements, oxygen requirements, operational management, case management, infection prevention and control, human resources, infrastructure, medicines, linen, supply chain and support services;

(v) Hospitals have been provided with detailed clinical guidelines for the clinical management of patients;

(vi) Ventilators that were donated by the US Government have been distributed to hospitals in Gauteng, Western Cape and Eastern Cape Provinces;

(vii) All provinces have developed and have started implementing detailed hospital readiness strategies;

(viii) The bed allocation for the covid-19 response is as follows:

  • General beds = 12 029;
  • High Critical Beds = 2 309;
  • High care beds = 13 129.

END.

18 June 2020 - NW1129

Profile picture: Komane, Ms RN

Komane, Ms RN to ask the Minister of Health

What is the new strategy for curbing new community infections for coronavirus since the lockdown has not manifested tangible outcomes of reducing new infections in communities?

Reply:

The strategy for curbing infections in communities is in keeping with the World Health Organisation’s recommendations, which is to undertake contact tracing, community screening and testing - which has now evolved into targetted community screening, especially in the hotspots (where there is greater than 5 cases per 100 000 population). The National Department of Health is also working closely with its provincial counterparts to also ensure hospital readiness for COVID-19. Moreover, community messaging on social distancing and hygiene practices are being stepped up in provinces, especially where the hotspots have been identified. A revised testing strategy will prioritise those persons who are at very high risk and are symptomatic.

The lockdown has been effective in managing new infections. The mathematical models have shown us that we would have had a five times higher mortality if the lockdown was not implemented.

Additionally the lockdown provides the health system an opportunity to plan for the surge of infections. The lockdown has achieved both these objectives reducing new infections and providing the healthcare system with more time to prepare for the surge.

The new strategy is a risk adjusted model of alert levels based on the level of infection and the health system capacity in an area. The health system must focus its energy and resources on these areas where there are high levels of infection. These areas are different from other areas where there is little or no infection. The areas with low risk do not require the stringent restriction that areas of high risk require. There is little value in a generalised lockdown when the reality is that there are specific areas of the country that are of high risk (Hotspot). These areas require intervention to curb the spread of infection. The risk adjusted approach is intended to focus our attention on areas that are at high risk. This is a much more efficient approach to responding to COVID-19.

END.

18 June 2020 - NW1103

Profile picture: Hicklin, Ms MB

Hicklin, Ms MB to ask the Minister of Health

Following the announcement by the National Coronavirus Command Council on 2 April 2020 that South Africans may travel overseas to seek medical attention, what measures are in place to accommodate South Africans stranded in (a) Zimbabwe, (b) Mozambique, (c) Botswana and (d) Eswatini who need to be repatriated back to the Republic for health reasons?

Reply:

Measures have been put in place to allow all South Africans to be able to come back home, the below-mentioned is applicable to all countries including those listed (a) to (d):

Medical Evacuation processes have been developed to accomodate every person who requires to travel into South Africa for medical attention including foreign nationals. South Afrcians who are in need of medical attention may travel back into the country to obtain all necessary medical attention. This is managed through the embassies who then communicate through to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco). Depending on the condition or nature of illness of the person, they are allowed to enter the country by means of an ambulance or general transportation in cases that do not warrant ambulance services. The application process for medical evacuation is facilitated by the referring health facility or directly from the embassy in the case of outpatients.

END.