Premier declares war on inadequate healthcare, unemployment in province 'living in the past'

05 July 2019 - 16:56 By KGOTHATSO MADISA
Northern Cape premier Zamani Saul has big plans for his province.
Northern Cape premier Zamani Saul has big plans for his province.
Image: Foto24 / Emile Hendricks/ Gallo

Paperless hospitals and ambulances that, like Uber, can be monitored by cellphone.

These are some of the many changes Northern Cape premier Zamani Saul plans to introduce in the province. Speaking during his maiden state of the province address (Sopa) on Friday in Kimberley, Saul said the days of living 100 years behind every other province were over.

He said he was on a rapid drive to modernise and digitise the province that has been living in the past.

“Electronic patient files will be implemented to improve file management. All these efforts will minimise medical litigations, reduce waiting times and enhance system efficiencies,” he said.

Saul said he would also see that hospitals were equipped with systems that continuously monitored medication stock to minimise and eventually end the problem of patients being turned away due to shortages.

“Effective implementation and monitoring of the stock visibility system will ensure that clinics and hospitals never run out of medication and no patient is ever sent away without receiving medication because of stock-outs,” he said.

In further bettering the healthcare system in line with his vision of making sure there were enough ambulances, as “our people die while waiting”, Saul announced that families of patients who were picked up by ambulances would be able to monitor them through their mobile devices.

A first for the country, this system would likely be introduced in other provinces should it work seamlessly.

“I am also pleased to announce that a computer-aided ambulance dispatch system will be operationalised in the call centres in Kimberley and Upington. This will ensure that we automate and modernise the communication systems to improve the response time of ambulances,” said Saul, adding that the system would work like Uber did.

He said the lack of relations between the government and private sector was one of the leading causes of unemployment.

“Doors of private sector to provide opportunities to young people have been closed for far too long in our province. It is therefore critical to create a platform for engaging every sector, aimed at collaborative partnerships to unleash and drive a massive skills revolution in our province,” he said.

According to Saul, 54% of households in the Northern Cape lived in poverty, something which kept him awake at night.

“It should be clear that we have to rapidly increase our efforts to fight these devastating challenges. In fact, we should declare a full-scale war against poverty and unemployment that rob so many of our Northern Cape people of their dignity and keep them in the shackles of economic bondage.

“There can be no dignity for a father or mother who cannot provide for the most basic needs of their children and families. How does a father look at his child when he returns empty handed from standing on the corner of Schmidtsdrift Road for the whole day, without any success of finding a “piece job” so as to take home a bag of mealie meal or a loaf of bread for his children to have something to eat?"

Saul said he would create and lead a war room tasked with fighting unemployment. This war room would be fully functional by October. It would, among other things, identify people’s skills and find suitable jobs for them.