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In die tydskrif Kuier van 26 Augustus 2015 verskyn “’n Prys om te betaal”,  ’n kortverhaal geskryf deur een van ons omgewing se eie inwoners, Alida Walker. Sy is ‘n Afrikaansonderwyseres by Adelaide Gimnasium. Dit is pragtig geïllustreer en bied ’n lekker verrassende leeservaring. Alida het aan die landswye kompetisie van LAPA – Uitgewers deelgeneem. Adelaide is sommer baie trots op hierdie plaaslike skrywerstalent hier onder ons. Baie geluk, Alida. Mag dit die begin van nog baie skryfervarings wees.





In January 2015, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) called on the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) to amalgamate or disestablish a large number of local munici-palities in eight of the nine provinces in the country.

Apart from the substantial financial costs involved, the cost of the re-demarcation of municipal boundaries comes at the cost of access to local governance on the ground where, for example in the Eastern Cape, 17 municipalities are involved.  Seven local municipalities are proposed to be amalgamated with four larger municipalities.  Amongst these is Nxuba (Bedford & Adelaide) and Nkonkobe (Fort Beaufort, Alice, Middledrift, Seymour & Hogsback).

The MDB has announced that all the proposed amalgamations will go ahead and in an effort to halt the process, the Democratic Alliance has applied for a Court interdict, decision pending.

However, if the MDB continues with these amalgamations, the Eastern Cape will lose 22 wards and 38 councillors according to a formula as determined by the Minister of CoGta. Wards will become much larger in this province where distances already pose problems to access to service delivery.  Losing 38 councillors will further exacerbate the service delivery problems and residents in these affected municipalities will have little or no access to their elected represen-tatives in the local councils.

In Gauteng there are no new amalgamations proposed. The Emfuleni, Midvaal and Sedibeng amalgamation case is still before the courts where the DA believes the decision to amalgamate the two outlying municipalities with Emfuleni Metro is a political move as there is no other logic or substantiating evidence behind it.

In KZN, the boundaries of 30 municipalities across all three categories will be adjusted through disestablishments and mergers in a desperate attempt to address service delivery issues and to re-align traditional areas generally.

Mpumalanga and Limpopo have been earmarked for five disestablishments and mergers of municipalities each, the North West for four and the Northern Cape for one.

The drastic move by the Minister for COGTA is a shield for the poor state of local government and to make up for failing to address his “Top 10 priorities” identified in May 2014.  There is so much haste in the “panic process” that there is currently no financial provision in the 2015/2016 Division of Revenue Bill for these outer boundary re-determina-tions.  In the case of Gauteng and KZN, R39 million has been set aside for earlier boundary changes.

Therefore the question should be asked whether the Minister is going on a desperate but fruitless and wasteful expenditure mission to jeopardise democracy and cover the flaws of ANC government.

The proposed re-demarcation of local municipal boundaries will have unfavourable consequences on the local government elections (LGE), scheduled to take place in May 2016, simply because the Minister of COGTA is pressurising the MDB to squash the three year process of outer boundary re-determina-tions into a period of six months.  The three-year cycle allows for legislated objection processes – public participation and time for objections to the proposed demarcations, and possible litigation – to take place.  Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the July 2015 deadline to finalise the demarcations, and the next phase – the delimitation of wards – will be met to allow the Independent Electoral Commission time to prepare for the LGE in May 2016.

The Constitution prescribes that LGEs must take place every 5 years and that it can be done up to 3 months prior to the 5- year anniversary of the last LGE or 3 months later.  These upcoming elections can take place between February and August 2016.

The new proposals by the Minister of COGTA, which has already caused a delay in the ward delimitation process, can move the elections to as late as August 2016 although from reports received, the MDB are fast-tracking the process to  (continues on page 11)

First African patient outside of SA receives lifesaving mechanical heart 

Historic SA and European joint initiative takes the latest in heart medicine to the rest of Africa

Monday, 21 September 2015 Nurbanu Somji, from Dar es Salam, in Tanzania, has become the first person on the African continent – outside of South Africa – to have undergone a successful and lifesaving operation where a HeartWare ventricular assist device (HVAD) was implanted to enable her critically damaged heart to continue functioning.

Dr Willie Koen, a cardiac and transplant surgeon who practises at Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in Cape Town, led the surgical team that implanted the lifesaving HVAD, a type of mechanical heart, recently. According to Dr Koen, Mrs Somji has responded extremely well to the treatment and, with the HVAD battery pack around her waist, she was able to fly home with her husband, Firoz Somji, and family on 1 September, the first day of spring.

Speaking from her home in Dar es Salam, Mrs Somji said that she has not felt so well in a long time, and is telling everyone about the highly advanced heart procedure that is now available in South Africa. Prior to the procedure, she had been confined to a wheelchair; now she is able to take two half-hour walks every day and climb three flights of stairs.

Dr Koen explains the significance of the operation: “It is historic for African heart medicine, made possible by recent advances in cardiac medicine and telemedicine. The procedure also marks the first time that this kind of lifesaving mechanical heart procedure has been made available to a non-South African patient from the continent. This is part of an international collaborative initiative to make the latest cardiac expertise and technology available to African patients suffering from heart failure.

“This project is the culmination of years of international and local collaboration, and an exciting development for medicine in Africa. Considering that the World Health Organization has identified heart disease as a growing epidemic in Africa, it is a critically important one.”

Two months ago Mrs Somji, who is a cancer survivor, was in a critical condition in a hospital in Dar es Salam due to heart failure, and doctors and her family feared she would not recover.

“The turnaround in her condition has been remarkable and the entire family is so grateful to Dr Koen and his team, Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital and its staff, as well as the programme that made this highly specialised treatment possible,” says her son, Fayaz Somji.

“My mother has previously been abroad to have a pacemaker fitted to help her ailing heart but this proved to be a temporary solution. Three years later she was in hospital in Dar es Salam and we were scared we would lose her. We wish we had known that this procedure was available in South Africa.”

Dr Koen, who is a founding member and vice-president of the Pan African Society of Cardio-thoracic Surgeons (PASCaTS), explains that HVAD helps to restore normal blood flow by enabling the left ventricle of the heart to operate properly. The right ventricle of the patient’s heart must be able to function if the system is to be used. If not, another device called the Berlin Heart may be used instead. HVAD is implanted via open-heart surgery and the patient has to wear a small external battery pack to hold the batteries which power the device.

International collaboration to benefit African patients

The German Heart Institute’s Professor Charles Abraham Yankah, who has pioneered the use of mechanical heart devices such as the Berlin Heart and HVAD and is one of the foremost cardiac surgeons in the world,

(continue on page 11)

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