Democratic Alliance Johannesburg mayoral candidate Herman Mashaba has pledged to “throw away the keys” and keep the city’s clinics open 24 hours a day.
“My promise to this community is that when we are elected on August 3, my administration and its resources will be focused on uplifting the poor,” he said during a visit to Princess informal settlement in Johannesburg on Saturday.
“We will have properly resourced and staffed clinics with trained nurses and adequately stocked medication. I intend throwing away the keys to city-run clinics and they will be open 24 hours a day to cater for the needs of Joburg’s residents,” Mashaba said.
Few places highlighted the fallacy behind incumbent mayor Parks Tau’s claims of Johannesburg being a “world class city” than the community of Princess, who had been hardened by the stalled progress and the “absolute disregard that the current administration has for them”.
“The City of Johannesburg has the primary responsibility of channelling resources to those in need. It is on this premise that I believe that Princess informal settlement informs the failure of incumbent mayor Parks Tau.
“Tau has failed to ensure that the city rises to the ever increasing challenges of migration, urban inequality, joblessness, as well as the lack of service delivery to our communities,” he said.
“During our interactions with residents in the community a number of people told us of family members, neighbours, and friends who have either contracted respiratory diseases of some sort or have died of tuberculosis.
“This community and those of another informal settlement nearby only have standpipes for water supply, VIP toilets that are never cleaned out or maintained by the city, and no refuse collection.
“Stats SA’s recently released non-financial municipalities census underlines the damning plight of Joburg’s provision of support to indigent households.
“The DA-led City of Cape Town provides support to 100 percent of its indigent households across all four the service categories – water, electricity, sewerage and sanitation, and solid waste management.
“In contrast, the City of Johannesburg only provides 7.36 percent with water, 9.66 percent with sewerage and sanitation, and 23.62 percent with solid waste management,” Mashaba said.
Tau’s administration was failing to address the problems negatively impacting the health of informal settlement populations in a developmental context.
Clinics in informal settlements faced a myriad of problems. The Princess clinic itself epitomised these problems and was in desperate need of additional medical staff and an expansion of its facilities.
Among other things, the clinic was severely under resourced with one only doctor who was only available on Wednesday’s, three permanent nurses, and four temporary or contracted nurses.
In a period of eight months the clinic had gone from seeing 1000 patients per month to over 2300 per month on average, further highlighting the health crisis this community faced.
“The problems in Princess come down to failed political leadership under Parks Tau and a lack of capable governance. I belong to an alternative party that has a track record of delivering upon the Constitution’s promises. Where the DA governs, we’ve already upgraded informal settlements through access to dignified sanitation, upgrading sewerage infrastructure, and through water and electricity provision,” Mashaba said.