The primary objective is to:
Previously, the department was called Health and Protection Services until it was changed through a Council resolution of the council meeting held in August 2013. The department comprised of the following divisions; Health Services which had Municipal Health Services and Primary Health Care (Primary Health Care was provincialised in 2010 as it was done on an agency basis on behalf of the Provincial Department of Health through the service level agreement), Protection Services which had Fire Services, Disaster Management and Community Safety.
The Community Services ensures that people in their areas have at least the basic services they need. There are a large number of services that are provided.
These services have a direct and immediate effect on the quality of the lives of the people in that community. For example, if the water that is provided is of a poor quality or refuse is not collected regularly, it will contribute to the creation of unhealthy and unsafe living environments. Poor services can also make it difficult to attract business or industry to an area and will limit job opportunities for residents. Basic services needed in rural areas may be different from those that urban communities needs.
Municipal Health Services
The Municipal Health Services Unit is entrusted in terms of the National Health Act, 2003 (Act 61 of 2003), with the following functions:
- Water quality monitoring;
- Food control;
- Waste management
- Health surveillance of premises;
- Surveillance and prevention of communicable diseases, excluding immunization;
- Vector Control;
- Environmental Pollution control;
- Disposal of the dead.
This is one of the core functions of the Amathole District Municipality (ADM) in terms of Local Government Municipal Structures Act. At present the function is awaiting ultimate process of transferring the resources that are utilised by the Provincial Department of Health both human and assets for the delivery of this service within the area of jurisdiction of Amathole District Municipality.
The following legislation used in rendering MHS has been reviewed:
MHS LEGISLATION REVIEW
SANS 241:2006 for Drinking water
SANS 241: 2011
R 918 of Health Act 1977 for food quality control
R962 of National Health Act 2003 for food quality control
R 237 for the Regulation of Funeral Undertakers
R363 of 22/05 2013 relating to the Management of Human Remains
The National Health Act , 1977
The entire Act has been repealed, together with most of its regulations guiding the operation of the Municipal Health Services function
The purpose of the Community Safety function is support crime prevention initiatives undertaken in collaboration with other stakeholders, e.g. Department of Safety and Liaison, in line with Section 15 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. The Community Safety operates in terms of the National and Provincial Crime Prevention Strategies. Integration of community safety through planning is also practiced by the various departments in the ADM. The Special Programmes Unit supports the reduction of crime through some of their programmes such as sport against crime and activities focusing on the elder and young children. The Eastern Cape liquor Act has been reviewed.
The following programmes are undertaken:
- District Community Safety Sector Plan Development & Review
- Local Municipality Safety Strategies
Fire Services Unit
The purpose of fire Services function is to prevent the outbreak and/or spread of fire, extinguishing of fires, and protection of the life and property against fire or other threatening dangers and the rescue of life or property from fire. The objectives of the ADM Fire Services and fire protection activities are:
- To protect human life, property, public land assets and values, as far as practicable, from the deleterious consequences of wildfire;
- To control all wildfires, on or threatening public land, in the shortest possible time in a manner which is fast, determined, safe and thorough, giving due regard to management objectives, environmental values and economy;
- To minimize the incidence of preventable wildfires (wildfires of human origin);
- To ensure that environmental values, including the vigour and diversity of the State’s indigenous flora and fauna, are protected, as far as practicable, from the deleterious effects of wildfire and inappropriate fire regimes.
- To ensure water catchments, air shed and landscape values are conserved;
- To ensure archaeological, historical, and other cultural sites are conserved;
- To achieve other specified land management objectives by the planned use of fire;
- Where appropriate, to complement works carried out on adjacent lands (those not managed by the ADM Fire Services) minimizing the risk and spread of wildfire; and
- Where practicable and appropriate, to take measures to assist the recovery of fire fighters and the restoration of the ecosystem from the adverse impacts of wildfire and fire suppression on public land.
These fire protection objectives will be achieved by the various stakeholders conducting prevention activities in an environmentally sensitive manner in accordance with the environmental care principles. There are four components to the fire protection strategy: wildfire prevention, wildfire preparedness (referred to as ‘fire pre-suppression’ in previous plans), wildfire suppression and wildfire recovery. Each component is addressed in the Fire Risk Management Plan.
The fire protection strategy is based on the sources and location of fires, fire risk and the distribution of fire hazard throughout the area; the range of wildfire suppression options required in designated zones to protect human life, property, public land assets and values; and the consideration of the relevant policy statements, existing area management plans, environmental prescriptions, known ecological requirements for the maintenance of ecosystems, relevant scientific research and advice from specialists both within and outside the ADM.
The Fire Services function is composed of the following programmes:
- Fire Compliance Inspections
- Improvement of Fire Services Coverage and Resources.
- Institutional Development
- District Fire Risk Management Plan
Disaster Management Unit
The Amathole District Municipality is responsible for the coordination of Disaster Management in all seven of its Local Municipalities. Sector departments, non-governmental organisation and the private sector also contribute to efforts of Disaster Management. Projects to address disaster management related challenges were implemented during the 2012-2013 financial year. The Disaster Management Act is in the process of being amended.The role of local municipalities in disaster management will be clearly defined in the amended Act. The Bill has been published and is due to be tabled in Parliament in 2014.
The District Disaster Management Centre is a point where disaster management activities are coordinated. The Disaster Management Centre was constructed in 2010 and completed in 2011. The Centre is operational but the Control Centre is still to be fully equipped with the necessary technology for integrating communications with the National Centre and other contributing stakeholders e.g. SA Weather Services warning systems. It also has the potential to become a 24 hour emergency centre for the ADM.
The establishment of Satellite centres enable quick response to emergency situations and/or disasters, such as life and property threatening hazards, e.g. storms, floods, structural, veldt and forest fires, transportation accidents, snow falls, etc.
Climate changes result in severe weather events which cause the above hazards to have a negative impact when interacting with lives and property. Incidents of severe weather conditions resulted in damaged houses.
Disaster Risk Reduction Projects Implemented:
- Eighteen Disaster Risk Management Awareness campaigns were conducted;
- All Seven municipalities within the district participated in activities of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction;
- Relief building material was distributed to 461 beneficiaries at various local municipalities in the district where schools participated.
- Guidelines that were developed for Disaster Response and Relief and presented at ward level throughout the District Municipal area in 2011-2012 and are being implemented.
- A total number of 329 beneficiaries received relief building material during the last financial year (backlogs).
- 31 ward committee members and 10 traditional leaders were capacitated in disaster management overview
Review of Sector plans:
The following sector plans were reviewed:
- Disaster Risk Contingency Plans of seven local municipalities were developed and reviewed internally.
- District Disaster Management Framework is currently undergoing a major review
- Major review of Risk and Vulnerability Assessment [RAVA] was done by an appointed service provider and the final report submitted.
Key findings were as follows:
- Essential services engaging in industrial actions, political instability, Swine flu, Avian flu, Rift valley fever, Xenophobia.
- Climate change increasing the severity of severe weather conditions and
- Inclusion of indigenous knowledge in mitigating disasters
It has become apparent that risks from all angles in South Africa have to be considered. Strengths such as strong traditional structures should be targeted and utilised in focused community awareness programs aimed at reducing risk. A lot of risks are closely related and directly or indirectly influence the each other. Plant Infestation will for example exasperate drought due to the fact that alien plants affect ground water.
These priority risks should also be reflected in the future budgets and the ADM IDP. There should be specific focused actions to reduce vulnerability, minimize hazards and to increase resilience with relation to these risks by all functional units of the ADM.