President Cyril Ramaphosa (GCIS)

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s president’s coordinating council met on Tuesday where it adopted a series of interventions to stabilise education and healthcare in South Africa. 

Members of the national executive, premiers, provincial MECs for health, education and local government, and leadership of the South African Local Government Association all attended the meeting in Tshwane.

Here are the five key interventions the council has announced:  

1) Injection of healthcare staff 

The council agreed to immediately hire staff in the public health sector that will alleviate pressure on overworked staff, the presidency said. The state faces massive legal bills for negligence at state hospitals - in the past financial year it paid out more than R1 billion - and it is hoped that more staff will help prevent these lawsuits. 

Government is currently under pressure to shrink the civil service, as the public sector wage bill has ballooned to 35% of state spending. Deputy President David Mabuza last week acknowledged that the head count in the public service would have to be reduced, but on Monday Ramaphosa promised Cosatu that there would be no mass layoffs of public sector workers. 

The council also pledged to ensure that linen, beds, emergency trolleys and other equipment will be purchased to improve the quality of public healthcare.

2) Provincial healthcare budgets will be revised 

The presidency said the council agreed to "recalibrate" provincial health care budgets to improve public health. In the meantime, the repair and maintenance of key medical equipment have been prioritised, and payment and decision-making powers will be delegated to “appropriate levels” in departments such as human resource management, finance and supply chain management.

3) Countrywide beautify and cleanup campaign 

Minister Derek Hanekom, on behalf of environmental affairs minister Edna Molewa who has been hospitalised, delivered a presentation on the #Thuma Mina Green Deeds campaign. The campaign seeks to clean up and beautify the country. “The aim is to create a South Africa that is clean of litter and illegal dumping,” the presidency said. 

4) Local manufacturing of school desks 

The council agreed on immediate steps to deliver furniture to schools. Some  800,000 pieces of furniture are currently required at nearly 24,000 schools. The presidency said it would consider manufacturing schemes where school furniture production could generate jobs for youth and stimulate economic activity in communities.  

5) Efforts to secure schools 

The presidency said the council raised budget limitations, staffing levels, teacher development, infrastructure development, and the provision of psychosocial services to learners as challenges currently facing education in South Africa. It undertook to engage further with the basic education department and the South African police to collaborate to secure schools.