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TABLE OF CONTENTS JUNE 2009
- 'Tell no lies'
- ADHD drug in kid, placebo effect in adults
- Semen from the Bad Bank
- Switzerland votes for complementary medicine
- Study finds Slightly Underactive Thyroid can equate to a longer life span
- Analysis of 900 studies on the adverse effects of anti-cholesterol drugs
- Tipiese anti-homeopatie artikel in Beeld
- UJ Homoeopathic Musina Outreach Initiative
- Secret health plan raises temperatures
- State of the Nation Address by His Excellency JG Zuma
'Tell no lies'
by Mphatjie Monareng, 2009-06-30 14:04
How many times have you heard our politicians say: "Tell no lies, claim no easy victories?" Many (or perhaps even too many) times, I bet. Our politicians like quoting Franz Fanon, the late freedom fighter and philosopher, born in the Caribbean island of Martinique.
Often, when I hear our politicians quote this revolutionary thinker, I get angry because I sense that most of them have never really bothered to read Fanon.
If they did read Fanon, they would not even dare quote him because he had nothing but scorn for self-serving politicians of the type we have in our country and continent today.
If they cannon read Fanon's book, The Wretched of the Earth, in its entirety, our politicians need to read at least one very relevant chapter, aptly titled The Pitfalls of National Consciousness. Therein lies some profound lessons.
Fanon predicted, long time ago in 1961, the corruption, laziness and selfishness we see in our body politic today. He predicted that the new rulers of independent and free African states will try to emulate their former colonial masters in their thirst for power and greed.
"The national bourgeoisie of under-developed countries is not engaged in production, nor in invention, nor building, nor labour; it is completely canalised into activities of the intermediary type. Its innermost vocation seems to be to keep in the running and to be part of the racket," said Fanon.
Fanon also predicated that free African political organisations, having just tasted the spoils of power, will see nationalisation not as a means of governing their states with regard to new social relations, but simply as "the transfer into native hands of those unfair advantages which are a legacy of the colonial period". Was Fanon talking about BEE, which we have seen to be of benefit only to the political elite and their business friends?
The new middle class, the so-called Black Diamonds in South Africa, would use its class aggressiveness to corner the positions formerly kept for the previous oppressive rulers. Upon attaining freedom, the new middle class attacks colonial personalities, fighting to the bitter end against these people "who insult our dignity as a nation".
The "Black Diamonds", in South Africa's case, would then wage a war of aggression against the way of living of their previous oppressive masters, with their activism "more and more tinged by racism, until the bourgeoisie bluntly puts the problem to the government by saying: 'We must have these posts'."
To Fanon, policies such as BEE would be "cheap-jack's function", characterised by "meanness of outlook" and absence of all ambition, symbolising "the incapability of the national middle class to fulfil its historic role of bourgeoisie".
"In a certain number of under-developed countries," says Fanon, "the parliamentary game is faked from the beginning. Powerless economically, unable to bring about the existence of coherent social relations, and standing on the principle of its domination as a class, the bourgeoisie chooses the solution that seems to it the easiest, that of the single party."
At this point, if you have been voted into Parliament or any other public office by poor people with the hope that you will bring some positive change to their dire living conditions, you take a deep breath; tell yourself that you will immediately stop sitting in Cape Town and pushing paperwork and start doing actual work with actual people, your constituency.
You stop thoughtless sloganeering and demagoguery; you stop quoting Fanon out of context and dedicate yourself to the service of humanity.
ADHD drug in kid, placebo effect in adults
by United Press International, Published: June 30, 2009 at 12:57 AM
BUFFALO, N.Y., June 30 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers find a placebo effect, not in children taking the medication for attention deficit-hyperactive disorder, but in the adults in their lives.
The review of existing studies evaluating whether placebos produce significant changes in children with ADHD -- published in the Journal of Development & Behavioral Pediatrics -- suggests teachers, parents and other adults tend to view and treat more favorably children who they think are receiving medication, whether or not medication is actually involved.
The University at Buffalo researchers define a placebo effect as a positive change in symptoms or behavior when a patient receives a "fake" medication or procedure. Belief in the medicine may become the medicine.
"We speculate that the perception that a child is receiving ADHD medication may bring about a shift in attitude in a teacher or caregiver. They may have a more positive view of the child, which could create a better relationship," review leader Daniel Waschbusch says in a statement.
"If teachers treat children more positively if they think they are on medication, that is a good thing. But if the child's real medication is increased because caregivers think it is effective, that may not be a good thing."
© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
"The act of administering medication, or thinking a child has received medication, may induce positive expectancies in parents and teachers about the effects of that medication, which may, in turn, influence how parents and teachers evaluate and behave toward children with ADHD," said UB researcher Daniel A. Waschbusch, Ph.D., lead author of the review.
"We speculate that the perception that a child is receiving ADHD medication may bring about a shift in attitude in a teacher or caregiver. They may have a more positive view of the child, which could create a better relationship. They may praise the child more, which may induce better behavior."
Semen from the Bad Bank
by Vlad Georgescu, 30.06.2009
If you want a child but depend on semen from a donor you might be able to appeal to the bald product liability laws of State New York. In case of problems cropping up with the children go ahead and take the delivering semen bank to court.
Read more about it: The Idant Laboratories business people in New York should have kept a better eye on Semen donor no. G738 a bit over 14 years ago. A few additional tests, perhaps more detailed questions every now and then - chances are good that the semen bank would have not accepted the man as a donor after all. Because along with the much longed for semen came a bad surprise: One thing is for sure today that his genes were much less healthy than originally thought and allowed for the profitable business with human genomic material. Since the semen bank accepted Mr. G738 as a donor though, his now 13 year-old daughter Brittany Donovan suffers from the sequelae of the so-called fragile-X-syndrome: Behavioral disorders, mental problems and a difficult socialization are among the burdens coming along with the rashly delivered semen.
This case where a damaged person takes the responsible semen bank to court after more than a decade will make legal history. Because it is all about one simple question: Can semen banks be held reliable for what they sell and if: For how long? Not only in the US, the managers of a highly profitable reproduction market are anxiously observing what the outcome of this legal mega-event will be. Because there will be hardly any advantages for the semen bank at the end of this lawsuit: If the girl loses, the image of the business branch would be battered and any reservations would last for decades. If Brittany wins the case it would result in mainly one thing for all American semen banks: The period of warranty for human genome would be for a lifetime.
In State New York semen is considered a simple product once it was distributed commercially. Although manufacturers do not have to grant a life-long warranty another idiosyncrasy of he American legal system takes effect: The producer is held reliable for any damages caused any time by using deficient goods - even years after purchase. From the point of view of the attorney's office "The Thistle Law Firm" which files patients' lawsuits against powerful medical device technology- and pharmaceutical companies for 36 years now and took over Brittany's case there is only one question here: Was the product semen deficient from the start - a fact already proven clearly due to the inheritability of the mutation. "If and how carefully the work was done, does not play any role here," explains Daniel Thistle who represents the girl.
Brakes instead of Blood Shield
Unexpected support for Brittany came from Chief Justice Thomas O’Neill who relocated the case from Pennsylvania to the State of New York where the "Blood Shield Law" notorious among lawyers is not in effect. This law protects providers of human material from horrendous claims for damages. Actually this legal set of rules was developed in the 1980s to save the American blood banks from ruin during the then HIV blood donation scandal and to maintain the blood donation supplies of the countries. This Blood Shield Law is still effective in many states of the US - and now and then was used for semen banks as well.
A Chief of Justice wanting to get around exactly these particular laws and relocating the case to the Blood Shield Law-free State of New York opened Pandora's box. Because most genetic disorders appear only years later - and would be negotiable with a little help from simple product reliability law if the Blood Shield Law does not apply.
Donovan the idea of being treated like a car with defect brakes might not be that appealing at first. But one look at the success rate list of "Thistle Law Firm" representing her should give hope to the girl and a quiver to the semen banks in the US: A physician who overlooked important lab results of his patient who has deceased in the meantime, Thistle sued for 7 million US Dollars. And won.
Switzerland votes for complementary medicine
On May 17, 2009, the people of Switzerland voted in favour of a constitutional amendment that supports the use of complementary medicine (CAM).
A total of 67 percent of the population voted in favour. Thus Switzerland becomes the first country in Europe to set out in its constitution authority for the national government and its constituent states to take CAM into consideration in its health services. It is an astonishing victory and may set the model for other countries as well.
During the last few years, complementary medicine has been politically marginalized in Switzerland. Therefore, the complementary medicine sector, including doctors, therapists, manufacturers and specialised traders, together launched and brought about a national popular initiative. This enables Swiss voters to obtain a popular vote for a constitutional amendment if they collect 100,000 valid signatures within 18 months.
Parliament availed itself of its right to oppose the proposers' constitutional article and suggest a slightly diluted form. Since parliament's counterproposal adopted all the core demands on a legal level, the original popular initiative was withdrawn. Therefore, the people only had to vote on a constitutional article, which, experience has shown, increases the chances of them voting in favour. Particularly because parliament and the government support the parliamentary proposal.
On 17 May 2009, Swiss voters clearly approved the constitutional article proposed by parliament. The majority of voters per canton also voted in favour, which is likewise a prerequisite for any constitutional amendment. In accordance with the referendum, the Swiss Federal constitution will be expanded by the following article: Federal constitution Art. 118a BV (new): The Federal government and cantons shall ensure that, within the scope of their jurisdiction, complementary medicine is taken into consideration.
On this constitutional basis, parliament and the authorities have to implement the following requirements:
1. Admission of doctors of complementary medicine in the fields of:
anthroposophical medicine, homeopathy, neural therapy, phytotherapy and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) into obligatory health insurance.
2. Creation of national diplomas for non-medical therapists.
3. Integration of complementary medicine into teaching and research.
4. Safeguarding of proven remedies.
Study finds mild cases can equate to a longer life span
Slightly Underactive Thyroid May Be a Plus
By Jennifer Thomas, HealthDay
Study finds mild cases can equate to a longer life span
Researchers tested the levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in 236 Ashkenazi Jews, who were about 100 years old, and their children, most of whom were in their 70s. For comparison with people not related by blood, they tested the TSH levels of the children's spouses.
The study found that the Ashkenazi centenarians had slightly elevated levels of TSH, which is a sign of mild hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid. The centenarian's children also had slightly elevated levels of TSH, compared with that of their spouses.
The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck, helps regulate metabolism. Though researchers aren't sure why, a slightly slower metabolism might promote longevity.
"This is sort of a revolutionary finding," said study co-author Dr. Martin Surks, a professor of endocrinology and pathology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "A year or two ago, higher TSH was thought to be a disease that might warrant treatment. These findings in this very select population suggest the opposite. Higher TSH could actually benefit you."
Surks and his colleagues also found that the centenarians and their offspring were more likely to have a particular variant of a TSH receptor. Those with that variant -- nearly 60 percent of the centenarians -- tended to have higher TSH levels.
"The implication is that if you have the variant, your TSH would be a bit higher, and that may be favorable to achieving extreme longevity," Surks said. "These are not huge differences in TSH levels, but over a lifetime they could be very, very important."
The study was to be presented this week at the Endocrine Society meeting in Washington, D.C.
Hypothyroidism, or not enough thyroid hormone, can cause feelings of weakness, depression and fatigue.
People with sluggish thyroids are also at greater risk of weight gain, high cholesterol and heart failure and a slight possibility of making borderline dementia worse, said Dr. Jacob Warman, chief of endocrinology at the Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York.
Though hypothyroidism can occur at any age, older people tend to get it more often. Women older than 60 are especially at risk.
In the recent past, doctors often treated underactive thyroid with medication, but that's changing, Warman said.
"I see a lot of people with this elevated TSH, and I usually do not treat all of them unless I see the TSH levels going up to above 10," he said.
A normal TSH level is generally considered to be between 0.5 and 4.5. In the study, 40 percent of centenarians had TSH levels over 2.5, Surks said.
However, Warman does recommend that people with elevated TSH levels take a blood test for Hashimoto's thyroiditis, a common cause of hypothyroidism in older adults. Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease in which the body makes antibodies against the thyroid, slowly destroying it.
For people with Hashimoto's, using medication to treat the hypothyroidism is probably called for because the condition continues to worsen with time.
Dr. Stephen Rosen, chief of endocrinology at Pennsylvania Hospital and a clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, said he also does not treat slight hypothyroidism with drugs.
Too much thyroid hormone can also have ill effects, such as osteoporosis and irregular heartbeat, particularly a concern among the elderly.
"The decision to treat depends on what the TSH level is and the level of symptoms," said Rosen, an Endocrine Society spokesman.
He described the current study as fascinating. "We don't know why there is a population of people that can live to be 100," Rosen said. "This is beginning to get us some answers for what is important for that degree of longevity."
The U.S. National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service has more on hypothyroidism.
SOURCES: Martin Surks, M.D., professor, endocrinology and pathology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; Jacob Warman, M.D., chief, endocrinology, Brooklyn Hospital Center, New York City; Stephen Rosen, chief, endocrinology and metabolism, Pennsylvania Hospital, and clinical associate professor, medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia; June 12, 2009, presentation, Endocrine Society annual meeting, Washington, D.C.
Copyright © 2009 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.
Study citing nearly 900 studies on the adverse effects of anti-cholesterol drugs - HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins)
Contact: Debra Kain
University of California - San Diego
First comprehensive paper on statins' adverse effects released
Provides evidence for reported side effects including muscle and cognitive problems
A paper co-authored by Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and director of UC San Diego's Statin Study group cites nearly 900 studies on the adverse effects of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins), a class of drugs widely used to treat high cholesterol.
The result is a review paper, currently published in the on-line edition of American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs, that provides the most complete picture to date of reported side effects of statins, showing the state of evidence for each. The paper also helps explain why certain individuals have an increased risk for such adverse effects.
"Muscle problems are the best known of statin drugs' adverse side effects," said Golomb. "But cognitive problems and peripheral neuropathy, or pain or numbness in the extremities like fingers and toes, are also widely reported." A spectrum of other problems, ranging from blood glucose elevations to tendon problems, can also occur as side effects from statins.
The paper cites clear evidence that higher statin doses or more powerful statins - those with a stronger ability to lower cholesterol - as well as certain genetic conditions, are linked to greater risk of developing side effects.
"Physician awareness of such side effects is reportedly low," Golomb said. "Being vigilant for adverse effects in their patients is necessary in order for doctors to provide informed treatment decisions and improved patient care."
The paper also summarizes powerful evidence that statin-induced injury to the function of the body's energy-producing cells, called mitochondria, underlies many of the adverse effects that occur to patients taking statin drugs.
Mitochondria produce most of the oxygen free radicals in the body, harmful compounds that "antioxidants" seek to protect against. When mitochondrial function is impaired, the body produces less energy and more "free radicals" are produced. Coenzyme Q10 ("Q10") is a compound central to the process of making energy within mitochondria and quenching free radicals. However, statins lower Q10 levels because they work by blocking the pathway involved in cholesterol production - the same pathway by which Q10 is produced. Statins also reduce the blood cholesterol that transports Q10 and other fat-soluble antioxidants.
"The loss of Q10 leads to loss of cell energy and increased free radicals which, in turn, can further damage mitochondrial DNA," said Golomb, who explained that loss of Q10 may lead to a greater likelihood of symptoms arising from statins in patients with existing mitochondrial damage - since these people especially rely on ample Q10 to help bypass this damage. Because statins may cause more mitochondrial problems over time – and as these energy powerhouses tend to weaken with age—new adverse effects can also develop the longer a patient takes statin drugs.
"The risk of adverse effects goes up as age goes up, and this helps explain why," said Golomb. "This also helps explain why statins' benefits have not been found to exceed their risks in those over 70 or 75 years old, even those with heart disease." High blood pressure and diabetes are linked to higher rates of mitochondrial problems, so these conditions are also clearly linked to a higher risk of statin complications, according to Golomb and co-author Marcella A. Evans, of UC San Diego and UC Irvine Schools of Medicine.
The connection between statins' antioxidant properties and mitochondrial risk helps explain a complicated finding that statins can protect against the very same problems, in some people, to which they may predispose others – problems such as muscle and kidney function or heart arrhythmia.
This paper was funded in part by a Robert Wood Johnson Generalist Physician Faculty Scholar award to Dr Golomb.
Read also :
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?orig_db=PubMed&db=pubmed&c md=Search&term=%22American%20journal%20of%20cardiovascular%20drugs%20% 3A%20drugs%2C%20devices%2C%20and%20other%20interventions%22[Jour]%20AN D%20Golomb[author]
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?orig_db=PubMed&db=pubmed&c md=Search&TransSchema=title&term=%22The%20Journal%20of%20clinical%20in vestigation%22[Jour]%20AND%202007%2F12[pdat]%20AND%20atrogin-1
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The following article is copied from :
of Boeing 747: Watter een vertrou jy?'
Jun 01 2009 11:51:32:583PM - (SA)
Dit word onder meer ondersteun deur drs. Marietjie Venter, Simnikiwe Mayaphi en Tina Kresfelder van die departement van mediese virologie aan die Universiteit van Pretoria.
Die praktisyns en navorsers is bekommerd oor homeopatiese klinieke in plekke soos Kenia, Tanzanie, Ethiopie, Ghana en Botswana waar homeopatiese middels as 'n goedkoop alternatief tot konvensionele middels bemark word.
Die Voice of Science-doktersnetwerk het die inisiatief gedryf aan die vooraand van die Homeopatie vir Ontwikkelende Lande-konferensie wat Saterdag in Nederland begin.
Prof. Raymond Tallis van die Universiteit van Manchester het op die webwerf www.senseaboutscience.org.uk gese die "atastrofiese gevolge van die bemarking van irrasionele en ondoeltreffende middels vir ernstige siektes is gedemonstreer in Suid-Afrika waar oudpres. Thabo Mbeki se beleid tot ’n geraamde 365 000 onnodige voortydige sterftes gelei het".
Tallis verwys waarskynlik na 'n studie in The Lancet verlede jaar waarin beweer is vertragings met die verskaffing van antiretrovirale medisyne (ARM) in Suid-Afrika het tot duisende sterftes gelei.
Die wetenskaplikes meen daar is geen goeie wetenskaplike bewyse dat homeopatie doeltreffend is teen ernstige siektes soos TB, malaria of vigs nie.
Hulle gee toe dat malariamedisyne soos artemisinien uit natuurlike produkte ontwikkel is, maar onder streng gekontroleerde omstandighede.
Die dokters se dit is 'n stryd om inligting oor bewese medisyne in ontwikkelende lande oor te dra en die bemarking van homeopatie ondermyn hulle.
Me. Juliet Stevens, 'n Britse mediese student wat in die Somerset-hospitaal in die Wes-Kaap werk, het gese: "Ondanks die bewustheid in Brittanje van Suid-Afrika se mediese las, berei min mense voor vir wat jy hier sien. In die pediatriese sale word gevorderde vigs by babas op 'n daaglikse basis gediagnoseer en TB-meningitis is volop."
Stevens meen MIV-ontkenning maak van Suid-Afrikaners 'n weerlose teiken vir onbewese middels.
Senior dokters se kommentaar was dat dit "totaal oneties en moreel veragtelik" is dat mense homeopatiese medisyne gee wanneer daar bewese middels beskikbaar is.
Een van die farmakoloe meen dit is soos om 'n towermat met 'n Boeing 747 te vergelyk. "Eersgenoemde is 'n gawe idee, maar watter een gaan jy met jou lewe vertrou?
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Dinsdag 02 Junie 2009
(Briewe aan Beeld via die internet word beperk tot 350 woorde, wat dit nie maklik maak om in detail te antwoord nie.)
Hierdie artikel beklemtoon weereens die noodsaaklikheid vir deeglike opleiding van homeopatiese praktisyns en regulering van komplementere medisyne.
Dit is belangrik om daarop te wys dat komplimentere geneeskunde in Suid-Afrika gepaard gaan met die hoogste standaard van opleiding ter Wereld en dat ons praktisyns nie oor dieselfde kam geskeer kan word as die res van die Wereld nie.
Die Homeopatiese Vereniging van Suid-Afrika (HSA) beywer hulle reeds sedert die 1990's vir strenger regulering van komplimentere medisyne. Dit is onaanvaar dat gesondheidsprodukte op die mark toegelaat word sonder kliniese bewyse vir indikasies.
Homeopatie poog nie om konvensionele medisyne te vervang nie en enigeen wat daardie stelling oor homeopatie in SA maak is oningelig oor die standaard van opleiding en regulering in SA. Daar is tans geen buitelandse homeopatiese opleiding wat voldoen aan die vereistes vir registrasie in SA nie.
Onverantwoordelike optrede deur geregistreerde praktisyns word nie geduld nie en die publiek word aangemoedig om onetiese optrede deur praktisyns by die Raad aan te meld. Elke professie het sy regmatige plek in die gesondheidsarena. Soos Lloyd Dobens en Clare Crawford-Mason gese het, "It is not a question of how well each process works; the question is how well they work together."
Dit is noodsaaklik dat die publiek bevestig dat hul praktisyns wettiglik geregistreer is en onwettige praktisyns aanmeld by die Raad.
Ek gaan myself nie uitlaat oor die politieke opinies, oningeligte stellings en sogenaamde ondersteuning deur onkundiges op die gebied van Homeopatie nie. Opinies van mense wat geen opleiding in homeopatie het nie en wat geen kennis dra van kliniese navorsing in homeopatie nie, regverdig nie kommentaar nie.
Wanneer artikels geskyf word rakende homeopatie (veral wanneer die uitlatings geen betrekking het op SA waar opleiding die hoogste standaard ter Wereld is en wettige registrasie 'n vereiste is nie) behoort die plaaslike homeopatiese professie genader te word vir toepaslike insette.
Die publiek en honderdeduisende pasiente van goed opgeleide, geregistreerde homeopate in SA word aangeraai om die webwerf van die Raad (www.ahpcsa.co.za) en Homeopatiese Vereniging (www.hsa.org.za) te besoek vir meer inligting.
Dr. Johan P. Prinsloo
Voorsitter : Professionele Raad vir Homeopatie, Naturopatie en Fitoterapie
Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa (AHPCSA)
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Lisha acts as intermediary in outreach programmeWith the Polokwane-based Limpopo International Solidarity and Humanitarian Alliance (Lisha) acting as intermediary between a community, the authorities and the University of Johannesburg (UJ), volunteers were able to lend medical attention to 637 people based in Musina recently.
Lisha chairperson, Mr Zunaid Mosam and coordinator, Mr Zeyn Chothia, a Polokwane resident, assisted in the organisation of this initiative. The other people involved were 13 fifth year and three extended degree UJ homeopathy students, four supervising clinicians, one dietician, one caterer, one language practitioner-in-training and one driver. The mission was the UJ Homoeopathic Musina Outreach Initiative.
The main objectives were firstly to successfully educate the local community on matters pertaining to personal hygiene, water safety and how to prevent the further spread of cholera. Secondly, communicating to affected patients how they can effectively manage the symptoms of cholera and other diseases and finally, to assist with the general treatment of any patients in need.
The underscoring aim of these objectives was to initiate a new cycle of positive change by means of direct intervention and referral mechanisms if required.
This would be carried out by means of vis-à-vis homoeopathic consultations, conducting basic and relevant physical examinations, arriving at or discovering the pattern of disease and associate diagnosis, as well as the administration of remedies/prescriptions.
These may vary from oral simplexes or complexes, to herbal tinctures and homeopathic injectables. In addition to these remedies, nutritional supplementation was provided in the form of two products; namely Well4Life sip feeds/liquid food supplements and bags of e’Pap, a precooked fortified food that delivers 28 nutrients in a bio-available form per food portion.
The selfless efforts of this group of volunteers illuminated the need of those forgotten and often ignored, barely subsisting on society’s peripheries. By offering their time, skills, medication, education and compassion, this group of committed individuals assisted invaluably in the empowerment and treatment of those in need.
>And when, on their way home, they drove past a red and black coloured billboard with graphically illustrated flames enveloping the word “Zimbabwe”; which read: “Your neighbour’s house is burning (Zimbabwe) – Help us put out the flames of hatred and violence before they reach you”, the volunteers were once again harshly reminded of the importance of such outreach initiatives. (Source: Katrien Potgieter)
SUNDAY 07 JUNE 2009
The following article is copied from :
Secret health plan raises temperatures
Published:Jun 06, 2009
Fears that private healthcare will die, writes Pat Sidley.
A potentially catastrophic plan to rush a national health insurance (NHI) system through parliament and into life next year, with little or no public scrutiny so far, is set to become a protracted battle involving ideologies, vested interests and constitutional fights.
Business Times has one of several leaked copies of the concept document prepared by a task team.
The plan, which would see a new body created to house the NHI, has alarmed many in healthcare. Sources close to the task team, which has completed its initial research, say the planned NHI would:
- See a new funding and administration body created to run separately from the national health department;
- Require at least R200-billion to fund and administer in both public and private healthcare;
- Stop medical schemes with new laws aimed at preventing them from offering any benefits that are supplied by state facilities;
- Force scheme members to use state hospitals and require medical scheme members to pay out of pocket for use of private facilities;
- Pay general practitioners directly — but probably less than many earn at present;
- Be funded by a payroll tax on employers and employees — as well as up to 85% of medical scheme membership fees, which would be paid from schemes to the NHI effectively as a tax.
The process has been driven by Olive Shisana, head of the Human Sciences Research Council. She is backed by Cosatu and the Communist Party.
In an interview on Friday, Shisana said she had been working on the plan for about a year. It was on track to be developed into a policy document and draft legislation.
Shisana confirmed that this process was being "assisted" by a legal expert, who is part of the Board of Healthcare Funders, in her "own time". She had had a great deal of experience in government, but was not currently in government.
She said the document would be released by health minister Aaron Motsoaledi at the end of the month. This would herald the start of the process of review and consultation for three months before the matter gets to parliament.
An early critic of the planned NHI is Alex van den Heever, a health economist who is a veteran of several battles over health system policy since 1994, which have included more than one clash with Shisana.
He expressed grave misgivings over the lack of consultation in the early "research" phase of the plan.
Van den Heever also criticised a proposed governance structure that sees a ministerial appointment heading the new body - as opposed to a board drawn from all sectors of the healthcare spectrum. This opens the way for "political cronies" to be appointed to look after at least R200-billion of public money.
Van den Heever said the plan is "unworkable, unaffordable and uses the wrong institutional models". He believed there will be a "backlash of unparalleled proportions".
With medical schemes and their administrators in the firing line, Discovery Holdings CEO Adrian Gore tiptoed through a minefield when asked to comment.
"Responsible healthcare reform is obviously necessary and desirable," he said, but pointed to the "realities" of the overburdened public healthcare system. Debate should take place with both public and private health sectors to work out a system, he said.
While many expected President Jacob Zuma to announce plans for a national health insurance system in his state of the nation speech this week, what he said was much more muted than anticipated. Emphasis was laid on other urgent healthcare issues - HIV/Aids treatment and prevention to be stepped up, doctors' grievances to be addressed and crumbling services to be jacked up with the help of public - private partnerships.
Major questions still surround the grandiose plan's self-evident secrecy and the lack of normal processes of scrutiny, accompanied by some selective lobbying within the ANC's parliamentary caucus and a few select groups within the ruling party alliance.
Introduction of an NHI was among the resolutions adopted at the ANC's Polokwane congress. Since then, however, the already over-stretched treasury kitty has been hit by the global financial downturn - with less coming into the tax system as unemployment and a shrinking economy takes their toll.
Angry state doctors and crumbling state hospitals would technically be unable to claim more from treasury's empty cupboard. This is despite the probability of new, much larger remuneration offers to doctors that might be made when wage negotiations are renewed tomorrow.
Despite the optimism of Shisana, the deputy minister and Gore that the private sector has much to contribute, many within the sector fear the plan will spell the death of private healthcare in the country.
The plan echoes aspects of the ill-fated "Deeble" plan in 1994. This envisaged a set-up similar to the UK's national health system, but failed to take into account the relatively small tax base in South Africa and the large numbers of unemployed and poor people. The new plan seeks to move the bulk of money spent in private health into the public health system to address inequities in access to healthcare.
At last week's cabinet lekgotla, where it was hoped by its drafters that the plan would be endorsed, it is said to have encountered headwind from the new health minister, Motsoaledi, who has worked as a doctor both in the public and private sectors. KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize, also a doctor and seen by some as a likely proponent, is also said to have opposed the plan in its present form.
Health sector talk is that minister of state enterprises Barbara Hogan, who was health minister for several months before the April election, was moved from the health ministry to ensure that the plan would avoid her scrutiny and likely criticism.
At the same time, a lobbying process within parliament appears to have backfired with a few ANC MPs, including a couple on the portfolio committee for health, expressing misgivings.
Such expressions of disquiet were heard by Zuma, who has asked for more detail on why doctors within the party faithful and among its upper echelons are so opposed to what had been presented as a thoroughly researched "done deal".
2008 AVUSA, Inc. All rights reserved.
3 JUNE 2009
Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces;
Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP;
Deputy President of the Republic, Kgalema Motlanthe
Former President of the Republic, Thabo Mbeki,
Our icon, the First President of a democratic South Africa, Isithwalandwe Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela,
Former Deputy Presidents,
Distinguished Premiers and Speakers of our Provinces;
Esteemed members of the Judiciary;
Chairperson of SALGA, mayors and leaders in our system of local government;
Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders and our honoured traditional leaders;
Heads of Chapter 9 Institutions;
Governor of the Reserve Bank,
Directors-General and other leaders of the public service;
President of the Pan African Parliament, Honourable Idriss Endele Moussa,
Your Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners;
Distinguished guests, comrades and friends;
Fellow South Africans,
Dumelang, Avuxeni, Molweni,
On the 22nd of April, millions of South Africans went out to cast their votes. They exercised their democratic right spurred on by the desire to change their lives for the better.
In their overwhelming numbers, they confirmed that working together we can do more to fight poverty and build a better life for all.
They were encouraged by the vision of an inclusive society, a South Africa that belongs to all, a nation united in its diversity, a people working together for the greater good of all.
We are humbled by this decisive electoral mandate given by the people of our country, who have chosen their government in a most convincing manner.
Our nation has over the past few years gone through very challenging times.
It is thanks to the fact that we have a strong and fully functional constitutional democratic system, with solid institutions, that we overcame these difficulties smoothly and with dignity.
Today’s occasion is a celebration of what makes this democracy work. It is also a celebration of our culture of continuity and collective responsibility.
This is evidenced by the presence here of our icon Madiba, who laid the foundation for the country’s achievements, and that of former President Thabo Mbeki, who built on that foundation.
The continuity is also evident in the fact that former President Kgalema Motlanthe is now the Deputy President of the Republic, after a seamless transition, making us a unique country in many respects.
Fellow South Africans,
As you would be aware, the fight against poverty remains the cornerstone of our government’s focus.
On the 9th of May, during the Presidential inauguration, we made a commitment to our people and the world that:
“For as long as there are South Africans who die from preventable disease;
For as long as there are workers who struggle to feed their families and who battle to find work;
For as long as there are communities without clean water, decent shelter or proper sanitation;
For as long as there are rural dwellers unable to make a decent living from the land on which they live;
For as long as there are women who are subjected to discrimination, exploitation or abuse;
For as long as there are children who do not have the means nor the opportunity to receive a decent education;
We shall not rest, and we dare not falter, in our drive to eradicate poverty.
In pursuit of these goals, our government has identified 10 priority areas, which form part of our Medium Term Strategic Framework for 2009 to 2014.
The programme is being introduced under difficult economic conditions.
The past year has seen the global economy enter a period of crisis unprecedented in recent decades.
While South Africa has not been affected to the extent that a number of other countries have, its effects are now being clearly seen in our economy. We have entered a recession.
It is more important now than ever that we work in partnership on a common programme to respond to this crisis.
We take as our starting point the framework for South Africa's response to the international economic crisis, concluded by government, labour and business in February this year. We must act now to minimise the impact of this downturn on those most vulnerable.
We have begun to act to reduce job losses. There is an agreement in principle between government and the social partners on the introduction of a training layoff.
Workers who would ordinarily be facing retrenchment due to economic difficulty would be kept in employment, for a period of time and
Discussion on the practical detail is continuing between the social partners and the institutions that would be affected by such an initiative, including the Sector Education and Training Authorities.
We will support the work of the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to assist employers and workers to find alternatives to retrenchments through the relevant legal process.
To date, CCMA commissioners have saved over four thousand jobs through facilitation processes, and provided ongoing advice and support to retrenched workers.
The Industrial Development Corporation has developed a programme to fund companies in distress. We will also ensure that government buys more goods and services locally, without undermining our global competitiveness or pushing up costs beyond acceptable levels.
Building on the successes of our industrial policy interventions, a scaled up Industrial Policy Action Plan will be developed.
The lead sectors already identified are automobile, chemicals, metal fabrication, tourism, clothing and textiles as well as forestry. In addition, attention will also be paid to services, light manufacturing and construction amongst others, in the quest to create decent jobs.
As part of Phase 2 of the Expanded Public Works Programme, the Community Work Programme will be fast-tracked.
It offers a minimum level of regular work to those who need it, while improving the quality of life in communities.
The economic downturn will affect the pace at which our country is able to address the social and economic challenges it faces. But it will not alter the direction of our development.
The policy priorities that we have identified, and the plans that we placed before the electorate, remain at the core of the programme of this government.
Laat ons mekaar se hande vat, en saam oplossings vind in die gees van ’n Suid Afrikaanse gemeenskap. Die tyd het gekom om harder te werk.
Ons regering gaan vorentoe kyk, nie agtertoe nie!
In the spirit of a South African community, let us join our hands to find solutions together. The time has come to work harder.
Our government will look forward, not backward!]
The steps outlined in our Medium Term Strategic Framework had to take into account the constraints posed by the economic crisis. The downturn should not cause us to change these plans. Instead it should urge us to implement these with speed and determination.
The Framework focuses on 10 priorities.
We make a commitment that working together we will speed up economic growth and transform the economy to create decent work and sustainable livelihoods.
We will introduce a massive programme to build economic and social infrastructure. We will develop and implement a comprehensive rural development strategy linked to land and agrarian reform and food security.
We will strengthen the skills and human resource base. We will improve the health profile of all South Africans.
Working together with all South Africans, we will intensify the fight against crime and corruption. We will build cohesive, caring and sustainable communities.
Working with Africa and the rest of the world, we will pursue African advancement and enhanced international co-operation.
We will ensure sustainable resource management and use.
And, working with the people and supported by our public servants, we will build a developmental state, improve public services and strengthen democratic institutions.
It is my pleasure and honour to highlight the key elements of our programme of action.
The creation of decent work will be at the centre of our economic policies and will influence our investment attraction and job-creation initiatives.
In line with our undertakings, we have to forge ahead to promote a more inclusive economy.
In this regard, we will utilise state levers such as procurement, licensing and financial support to assist small medium enterprises as well as to promote the implementation of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment and affirmative action policies.
The implementation will be done in recognition of the need to correct the imbalances of the past.
The transformation will be undertaken in support of women, youth and people with disabilities.
We will reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses. The matter of being stifled by regulations has been raised by the sector several times.
In another intervention to create an enabling environment for investment, government will move towards a single integrated business registration system.
This will improve customer service and reduce the cost of doing business in South Africa.
Another important element of our drive to create job opportunities is the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). The initial target of one million jobs has been achieved.
The second phase of the programme aims to create about four million job opportunities by 2014.
Between now and December 2009, we plan to create about 500 000 job opportunities.
While creating an environment for jobs and business opportunities, government recognises that some citizens will continue to require state social assistance. Social grants remain the most effective form of poverty alleviation. As of 31 March 2009, more than 13 million people received social grants, more than 8 million of whom are children.
We are mindful of the need to link the social grants to jobs or economic activity in order to encourage self-reliance amongst the able-bodied.
Most importantly during this period, neighbours should assist each other.
Jwale ke nako ya kopano. Ha re thusaneng jwaloka baahisane.
A re dumellane hore ho se ke ha eba le ngwana ya tla robala ka tlala hobane batswadi ba hae ba feletswe ke mosebetsi. Ha re ka kopana ra ba ra sebetsa mmoho, re ka etsa haholwanyane.
Now is the time for unity. Let us help each other like neighbours.
Let us agree that there should be no child who will go to bed with a hungry stomach just because his/her parents are unemployed. If we can unite and work together, we can do more.]
Distinguished guests, as part of the second strategic priority we will continue with our programme to build economic and social infrastructure.
The newly-formed Infrastructure Development Cluster of government will ensure that the planned R787 billion infrastructure expenditure as provided for in the budget earlier this year is properly planned for and executed.
This funding includes allocations for the school building programme, public transport including the bus rapid transit system, housing, water and sanitation.
One of the biggest infrastructure investment projects is in the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup. We have, as government and the nation at large, pledged that the World Cup will leave a proud legacy from which Our children and our communities will benefit for many years to come.
We are on track to meet all our obligations and are determined to give the world the best World Cup ever.
We are putting all systems in place to make the Confederations Cup, which kicks off on the 14th of June, a huge success.
In April this year, I gave an undertaking to the taxi industry leadership to defer negotiations relating to the operation of the Bus Integrated Rapid Transit system until after the elections.
We undertook to allow more time to deal properly with the concerns of the industry. On the 11th of June the Minister of Transport will resume discussions with the industry.
The meeting will kick-start a series of engagements with the stakeholders affected by the BRT system. We are confident that unresolved issues will be dealt with to the satisfaction of all parties.
This will include the important issue of how all stakeholders will benefit from the initiative.
Another development which should boost the World Cup is the roll-out of the digital broadcasting infrastructure and signal distribution transmitters.
Overall, we will ensure that the cost of telecommunications is reduced through the projects under way to expand broadband capacity.
We have to ensure that we do not leave rural areas behind in these exciting developments.
As part of social infrastructure development we will provide suitably located and affordable housing and decent human settlements.
We will proceed from the understanding that human settlement is not just about building houses.
It is about transforming our cities and towns and building cohesive, sustainable and caring communities with closer access to work and social amenities, including sports and recreation facilities.
In this spirit, we will work with Parliament to speed up the processing of the Land Use Management Bill.
Working together with our people in the rural areas, we will ensure a comprehensive rural development strategy linked to land and agrarian reform and food security, as our third priority.
I would like to use this opportunity to extend our condolences to the family of the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Dirk du Toit, who passed away this week. His contribution will be sorely missed.
Abantu basemakhaya nabo banelungelo lokuba nogesi namanzi, izindlu zangasese ezigijima amanzi, imigwaqo, izindawo zokuqeda isizungu nezemidlalo kanye nezindawo zokuthenga eziphucukile njengasemadolobheni.
Nabo banelungelo lokusizwa kwezolimo ukuze bazitshalele imifino nokunye, bafuye nemfuyo bakwazi ukuziphilisa.
Sizimisele ukuwuqala lomkhankaso wokwakha izingqalasizinda ezindaweni zasemakhaya. Uma sibambisene nezakhamizi, amakhosi, amakhansela nezinduna siyokwazi ukuwusheshisa lomsebenzi.
Sicela abahlala ezindaweni zasemakhaya baqale balungiselele ukutshela uhulumeni ukuthi yiziphi izinto abazidinga ngokushesha.
Uma sisebenza ngokubambisana sizokwenza okuningi.
People in the rural areas also have a right to electricity and water, flush toilets, roads, entertainment and sport centres; as well as better shopping centres like those in the cities.
They too have a right to be helped in farming so that they can grow vegetables and other things; and raise livestock so that they can feed themselves.
We are prepared to start this campaign of building infrastructures in rural areas. Working together with communities, chiefs, councillors and headmen we will be able to speed up this work.
We urge people in the rural areas to start preparing to tell us about the things that they need urgently. Working together we can do more.]
Hon. Speaker and Chairperson,
While having drawn the necessary lessons from earlier rural development initiatives, we have chosen the Greater Giyani Local Municipality in Limpopo as the first of the pilot projects for the campaign. Out of these projects will emerge lessons for the whole country.
In addition, we will work on the targeted renewal of rural towns, through grants such as the Neighbourhood Development Grant programme. In this way, areas around the towns will benefit from the economic boost.
With all these interventions, we are poised to change the face of rural areas in our country.
Education will be a key priority for the next five years. We want our teachers, learners and parents to work with government to turn our schools into thriving centres of excellence.
The Early Childhood Development programme will be stepped up, with the aim of ensuring universal access to Grade R and doubling the number of 0-4 year old children by 2014.
We reiterate our non-negotiables. Teachers should be in school, in class, on time, teaching, with no neglect of duty and no abuse of pupils! The children should be in class, on time, learning, be respectful of their teachers and each other, and do their homework.
To improve school management, formal training will be a pre-condition for promoting teachers to become principals or heads of department.
I will meet school principals to share our vision on the revival of our education system.
Fellow South Africans,
We will increase our efforts to encourage all pupils to complete their secondary education.
The target is to increase enrolment rates in secondary schools to 95 per cent by 2014. We are also looking at innovative measures to bring back into the system pupils who dropped out of school, and to provide support.
Honourable Members, we are very concerned about reports of teachers who sexually harass and abuse children, particularly girls.
We will ensure that the Guidelines on Sexual Harassment and Violence in Public Schools are widely disseminated, and that learners and teachers are familiar with and observe them.
We will take very serious, and very decisive, action against any teachers who abuse their authority and power by entering into sexual relationships with children.
To promote lifelong learning, the Adult Basic Education and Training Kha ri Gude programme will be intensified.
Compatriots, Honourable Members,
We have to ensure that training and skills development initiatives in the country respond to the requirements of the economy.
The Further Education and Training sector with its 50 colleges and 160 campuses nationally will be the primary site for skills development training.
We will improve the access to higher education of children from poor families and ensure a sustainable funding structure for universities.
Fellow South Africans,
We are seriously concerned about the deterioration of the quality of health care, aggravated by the steady increase in the burden of disease in the past decade and a half.
We have set ourselves the goals of further reducing inequalities in health care provision, to boost human resource capacity, revitalise hospitals and clinics and step up the fight against the scourge of HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and other diseases.
We must work together to improve the implementation of the Comprehensive Plan for the Treatment, Management and Care of HIV and AIDS so as to reduce the rate of new HIV infections by 50% by the year 2011. We want to reach 80% of those in need of ARV treatment also by 2011.
We will introduce a National Health Insurance scheme in a phased and incremental manner. In order to initiate the NHI, the urgent rehabilitation of public hospitals will be undertaken through Public-Private Partnerships.
We are also paying urgent attention to the issues of remuneration of health professionals to remove uncertainty in our health services.
Working together let us do more to promote quality health care, in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals to halve poverty by 2014.
Together we must do more to fight crime. Our aim is to establish a transformed, integrated, modernised, properly-resourced and well-managed criminal justice system.
It is also critically important to improve the efficiency of the courts and the performance of prosecutors and to enhance detective, forensic and intelligence services. This work has started in earnest, and it will be undertaken with new energy and vigour.
Among the immediate targets is to ensure that we increase the number of prosecutors and Legal Aid Board personnel. We will do the same with police detectives.
We changed the name of the relevant Ministry from Safety and Security to Police to emphasise that we want real operational energy in police work. This will contribute to the reduction of serious and violent crimes by the set target of 7% to 10% per annum.
The most serious attention will also be given to combating organised crime, as well as crimes against women and children.
Honourable Speaker and Chairperson,
While appreciating the investment of the private sector in the security industry, we will improve the regulation of this industry.
Amongst other key initiatives, we will start the process of setting up a Border Management Agency; we shall intensify our efforts against cyber crime and identity theft, and improve systems in our jails to reduce repeat offending.
I wish to underline our support for the continued transformation of the judiciary.
The transformation should address key issues such as the enhancement of judicial independence, entrenching internal systems of judicial accountability as well as ensuring full access to justice by all.
The success of the democratic system as a whole depends on good relations of mutual respect and a spirit of partnership among the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. This is very important for our constitutional democracy.
Honourable Speaker and Chairperson,
We have repeatedly stated our commitment to fight corruption in the public service.
We will pay particular attention to combating corruption and fraud in procurement and tender processes, application for drivers’ licences, social grants, identity documents (IDs), and theft of police case dockets.
Let me emphasise that we all have a role to play in this war against crime.
We must actively participate in Community Policing Forums. We must stop buying stolen goods, which encourages crime.
We must report crime and assist the police with information to catch wrongdoers. In this way, we will move forward towards a crime-free society.
Honourable Members, since 1994 we have sought to create a united cohesive society out of our fragmented past. We are called upon to continue this mission of promoting unity in diversity and to develop a shared value system, based on the spirit of community solidarity and a caring society.
Our shared value system should encourage us to become active citizens in the renewal of our country. We must build a common national identity and patriotism.
We must develop a common attachment to our country, our Constitution and the national symbols. In this spirit, we will promote the National Anthem and our country’s flag and all other national symbols.
Our children, from an early age, must be taught to pay allegiance to the Constitution and the national symbols, and know what it means to be South African citizens.
We will ensure a common national approach to the changing of geographic and place names. This must provide an opportunity to involve all South Africans in forging an inclusive national identity, to deepen our understanding of our history and heritage.
Sport is a powerful nation-building tool. Working together we must support all our national teams from Bafana Bafana to the Proteas and the Springboks; from Banyana Banyana to Paralympians.
Our teams can only do well with our support.
Allow me to use this opportunity to congratulate our national teams for their performances in the past week, indeed in pulling off a hat trick.
The country’s women’s netball team has done us proud by winning the Tri-Nations Netball Challenge. Congratulations to the Sevens Springboks who have become the IRB Sevens World Series Champions - and not forgetting the Blue Bulls who have won the Super 14 finals in a convincing fashion!
We take this opportunity to wish the Springboks well in the upcoming series against the British and Irish Lions.
It is clear that we need to invest on a large scale in sports development. We will speed up the revival of school sport and ensure that it forms part of the school curriculum. In addition we will ensure that the provision of sport facilities in poorer communities receives priority.
Hon. Speaker and Chairperson,
We have committed ourselves over the years to contribute to building a better Africa and a better world.
The main goal of government for the medium term is to ensure that our foreign relations contribute to the creation of an environment conducive to sustainable economic growth and development.
To this effect, we will continue to prioritise the African continent by strengthening the African Union and its structures, and give special focus to the implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.
Equally important, and closer to home, is the strengthening of regional integration with particular emphasis on improving the political and economic integration of SADC, towards the AU goal of a Union government. We will establish a South African Development Partnership Agency to promote developmental partnerships with other countries on the continent.
South Africa will continue to assist in the reconstruction and development of the African continent especially in post-conflict situations. We will continue to encourage a peaceful and sustainable settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the two- state solution.
We will support the peace efforts of the African Union and the United Nations on the African continent, including in the Saharawi Arab Republic and Darfur in Sudan.
As the Chairperson of SADC and Facilitator, we will participate in promoting inclusive government until free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.
The plight of the Zimbabwean people has had a negative impact on the SADC region, especially South Africa. We call upon all peace-loving countries in the world to support the inclusive government to achieve economic recovery.
We will support efforts of the SADC region to resolve the situation in Madagascar.
Allow me, distinguished guests, to pay tribute to the SA National Defence Force for their sterling role in peace building in the continent.
Through continental and regional bodies, we will work towards the entrenchment of democracy and the respect for human rights on the African continent.
We will contribute to the strengthening of South-South relations and pursue mutually beneficial agreements with key countries of the South.
We will continue to enhance relations with the developed North including the G8, and our strategic partnership with the European Union.
We will continue to play an active role in ensuring the conclusion of the WTO Doha Development round of negotiations.
Honourable Speaker and Chairperson,
South Africa, being a dry country requires urgent action to mitigate adverse environmental changes and to ensure the provision of water to citizens.
Amongst various programmes, we will implement the Water for Growth and Development strategy, which will strengthen water management. We will continue to improve our energy efficiency and reliance on renewable energy.
A developmental state requires the improvement of public services and strengthening of democratic institutions.
We have established two Ministries in the Presidency to strengthen both strategic planning as well as performance monitoring and evaluation.
To ensure delivery on our commitments, we will hold Cabinet Ministers accountable through performance instruments, using established targets and output measures, starting in July.
We will also involve State-Owned Enterprises and Development Finance Institutions in the government planning processes and improve the monitoring and evaluation of their performance.
Honourable Members, fellow South Africans,
To ensure that all three spheres - local, provincial and national - improve service delivery, we will speed up the establishment of a single Public Service.
This administration will insist on putting people first in service delivery. We will ensure courteous and efficient service from front-counter staff in the provision of services in all government departments.
In this era of renewal, we will move towards a more interactive government.
To lead by example, work has begun on the establishment of a public liaison capacity in the Presidency.
In addition to receiving letters and emails from the public, we will also establish a hotline for easier access.
Staff will handle each public inquiry as if it was the only one, following it through all the channels until it receives the attention it deserves.
Honourable Speaker and Chairperson,
The National Youth Development Agency, formed through the merger of Umsobomvu Youth Fund and the National Youth Commission will be launched on June 16 in Ekurhuleni.
The institutions are being merged to enhance service and development opportunities provided to the youth.
The Agency will link up unemployed young graduates with economic opportunities; strengthen efforts to expand the National Youth Service Programme and support young entrepreneurs.
Speaker and Chairperson, distinguished guests,
Next month our beloved Madiba will turn 91. People all over the world still continue to clamour for his presence and for him to address their crises.
His values and his example of dedication to the service of humanity is a shining example in today’s troubled world.
An international campaign has been initiated by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and related organisations, called Mandela Day, which sums up what Tata stands for.
Mandela Day will be celebrated on the 18th of July each year. It will give people in South Africa and all over the world the opportunity to do something good to help others.
Madiba was politically active for 67 years, and on Mandela Day people all over the world, in the workplace, at home and in schools, will be called upon to spend at least 67 minutes of their time doing something useful within their communities, especially among the less fortunate.
Let us wholeheartedly support Mandela Day and encourage the world to join us in this wonderful campaign.
Honourable Speaker and Chairperson, fellow South Africans,
We have presented to the nation our programme for the next five years. Attached to each commitment we make is a detailed project plan, with targets and critical milestones.
This information will in due course be made public. Indeed as citizens we should at the same time ask ourselves what is it that we can do on our own to help promote this national programme.
To be a citizen is not only about rights, it is also about responsibility, to make a contribution to make ours a better country.
We also expect to work well with Opposition parties in Parliament, in the spirit of putting the country first.
In addition, Madiba taught us well that this country belongs to all, black and white. Working for reconciliation and unity will remain important as we move forward.
Since the implementation of our programme will take place in the face of the economic downturn, we will have to act prudently - no wastage, no rollovers of funds - every cent must be spent wisely and fruitfully. We must cut our cloth according to our size.
Fellow South Africans, working together we can do more to realise our common vision of a better and more prosperous nation!
This is the partnership we are calling for.
I thank you!
Issued by: The Presidency
3 June 2009
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