MEC pushes for subsistence farming

Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development Lebogang Maile has expressed concern at the high levels of hunger as well as an overly concentrated and expensive food system.

He has urged residents to engage in subsistence farming and to take up government initiatives to curb hunger.

Hunger and food insecurity affects over three million people in Gauteng.

According to the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy from April 2014 to April 2015, the cost of a basic food basket in South Africa increased from R491 to R514 with the price of staples experiencing a 50 percent hike between 2013 and 2014, making basic food unaffordable to many poverty stricken households.  “When the price of staples increases at this level, it not only pushes many families to abject poverty but is also leads to a vicious cycle that sparks soaring prices for meat and poultry.  The fact that the poor have to resort to skipping meals and or reducing rations to cope with hunger when 30 percent of the food produced in this country is lost through waste and dumping is an indictment to the food industry,” MEC Maile said.

The province has the Gauteng Twenty-Year Food Security Plan which is aimed at reducing the levels of food insecurity to 5 percent by 2030.

The plan also supports community food gardens with inputs, training and equipment. Gauteng has supported over 60 000 community food gardens with technical and resources support since 2009.

The province’s interventions to integrate black small holder farmers in the food production industry has resulted in over 40 percent of the fresh produce supplied to public hospitals in Gauteng being sourced from this sector. – SAnews

Shortage of medical supplies to be addressed

The National Department of Health says manufacturers of medical supplies have reported that they have already implemented remedial measures to address the shortage of medical supplies to public and private healthcare facilities.

The department said manufacturers have committed to addressing the problem over the next four weeks.

“… They plan to deliver all outstanding orders for the majority of the medicines that are affected,” said the department on Monday.

The department said manufacturers reported this following an urgent meeting convened by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Friday, with 32 executives from pharmaceutical companies and suppliers that have been experiencing difficulties to supply about 155 product lines over the past couple of weeks.

The medicines affected by these shortages include certain antibiotics, cardiovascular medicines, analgesics, anaesthetic agents and central nervous system medicines.

“Manufacturers of these medicines had an opportunity to share the reasons for these shortages. Each product faces a specific set of challenges. Nevertheless, these problems could be categorised into three areas:

·       Difficulty with sourcing of the active pharmaceutical ingredient and other raw materials,

·       Unforeseen delays in the formulation and packaging of medicines, and

·       Unanticipated increases in demand for a particular medicine.

The department said the shortage is due to lack of active pharmaceutical ingredients globally. The department said it has joined hands with Pharmaceutical companies to avoid drug stock outs in South Africa's health system.

“The shortage of medicines is a global problem affecting even the most developed countries including the United States, Canada, European Union and Australia. In South Africa, these shortages have affected both the public and private health sectors,” said the department.

The health department said it will be monitoring the situation and implement other measures necessary to ensure the availability of medicines in the health system.

The department said it has been searching for other global suppliers that may have sufficient stock of these items to assist until supplies are restored.

“Over the next couple of weeks we anticipate receiving these medicines from suppliers outside of South Africa, and we are confident that the supplies will improve.

“During this period of limited supplies, it may be necessary for patients to use a different strength of medicine where their usual prescribed strength is unavailable (e.g. 30 mg tablet is unavailable so take two 15mg tablets) or in some cases using a therapeutic alternative until the usual medicine is back in stock,” said the department.

The department said it will be communicating the details of how to address the shortage of each medicine with health professionals, and will also engage the World Health Organization (WHO) to get guidance, especially on the latest developments with regard to products that are pre-qualified by the organisation, as the department endeavour to source some of this items globally to avoid medicine stock outs in the country.

Meanwhile, the department reiterated that there is no shortage of ARV's in South Africa, and the supplies of Abacavir is now restored and all back orders will be filled in mid-June. - SAnews


Community Colleges get off the ground

The 1st of April has seen the official establishment of nine Community Education and Training Colleges (CETCs), which will enable the merger of existing public adult learning centres into community colleges.
This follows last month’s approval of the establishment of nine CETCs by Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande.
The community colleges will cater for a population that is not integrated into the post-schooling environment.
Minister Nzimande has officially welcomed the staff from Adult Education and Training (AET) centres, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges and AET & TVET Units in Provincial Education Departments as they transfer to the Department of Higher Education and Training.
Approximately 38 000 employees joined the department on 1 April. The employees form part of the bedrock of TVET colleges and soon to be launched Community College systems.
Speaking at the welcoming ceremony held on Wednesday at the South West Gauteng TVET college Molapo Campus in Soweto, Minister Nzimande said the White Paper for Post-School Education and Training provides for the establishment of Community Education and Training Colleges that will primarily target youth and adults who did not complete school or never attended school.
“Enabling legislation was enacted in 2010, 2012 and 2013 to move Further Education and Training, and Adult Education and Training functions from a provincial to a national competency.
“In preparation and working towards 1 April 2015, a turnaround strategy for TVET colleges was developed, which encapsulated a number of initiatives to ensure that TVET colleges becomes the first option of choice for our youth,” Minister Nzimande said.
The process of identifying nine community colleges for piloting in 2015 has been completed. The community colleges will be located in all provinces, with each province having one.
The Minister said the necessary legislative framework, compliance with labour relations legislation and compliance with the budget transfer processes have been fulfilled to enable the transfer of the AET and TVET functions.
The department has also established task teams that will be available to respond to any eventualities related to the transfer of the AET and TVET function going forward.
Individuals are also invited to contact the department’s hotline on 0800 87 22 22 or send an email to for any queries regarding the function shift. –SAnews

Minister Collins Chabane dies in car crash

President Jacob Zuma is saddened to announce the untimely death of the Minister of Public Service and Administration, Mr Collins Chabane in a car crash in the early hours of this morning, 15 March 2015.
"We are deeply shocked and saddened by this untimely death of an outstanding cadre of our liberation struggle and a competent, accomplished and dependable member of my Cabinet. This is a huge loss to government and the country as a whole,'' said President Zuma.
Mr Chabane served as Minister in the Presidency responsible for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation during the fourth administration. He was able to develop and build the new Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation within a short space of time, and was able to make the monitoring and evaluation function a crucial part of government work and a distinct feature of President Zuma's fourth administration.
As Minister in the Presidency whose responsibility was also to chair government's funeral planning Inter-Ministerial Committee, Mr Chabane led the planning of the international funeral of former President Nelson Mandela, with great dignity and efficiency.
A veteran of the liberation struggle, Mr Chabane was also a long serving member of the ANC National Executive Committee.
Mr. Collins Chabane was indeed an honourable and decent comrade; his untimely passing should be devastating to both government and the ANC. The Cosmo City Chronicle wishes his family strength and God’s comfort in this time of their misery as well as to the families of those he was travelling with.

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