Home Opinion and Features No money, no health care

No money, no health care

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The DA will disagree. DA provincial leader, Andrew Louw, has visited numerous health centres in the Province as part of the party’s “Listening Tour”

File picture: Pexels

Afriforum yesterday opened a criminal case against the former HOD of the provincial Department of Health as part of a national campaign against the misappropriation of taxpayers’ money.

Similar charges have been opened against all nine Health Department HODs in each province, with AfriForum arguing that they are all guilty of transgressing the Public Finance Management Act.

Earlier this week, the MEC for Health, Fufe Makatong, admitted that while there were cash flow problems at the department, she was adamant that there was no crisis.

The DA will disagree. DA provincial leader, Andrew Louw, has visited numerous health centres in the Province as part of the party’s “Listening Tour”.

Reports have been received of ambulances that cannot transport patients because the vehicle’s licence discs have expired, four brand-new anaesthetic machines that are gathering dust at the Kuruman and Tshwaragano hospitals in the John Toale Gaetsewe district, which reportedly cannot be used because the are incompatible with other medical equipment at the hospitals, understaffing at the West End Hospital where a lack of beds means state patients have to be accommodated in prisons and have to sleep on the floor, while a serious lack of staff in crucial positions at the Dr Harry Surtie Hospital in Upington means only two-thirds of the hospital’s beds can be used.

According to MEC Makatong, she is trying her best and is looking at creative ways of ensuring that the department receives value for its money despite its budgetary constraints.

At a press conference this week, Makatong said she has visited each district and identified “serious derelicts” in service delivery.

Makatong said, however, that she had written to the HOD for Health “with no luck”.

What? Can the MEC and HOD really not be talking to each other? What hope is there of ever turning around the situation at hospitals and clinics in the Province if the administration head and the political head are having their own internal battle?

Our government officials and politicians have medical aid and can afford to go to private hospitals and see private doctors but there are thousands and thousands of people in Kimberley and the Northern Cape who rely on state hospitals and clinics for their medical care. They deserve to have ambulances that work when they are sick and need to get to hospital, they deserve to have medical personnel who have been properly trained to treat them and they deserve to have well-maintained equipment that works.

Instead, they have half-built clinics and hospitals that cannot be opened because of non-payment, including two new clinics in Boegoeberg and Bankhara Bodulong, as well as a pharmacy and a new mortuary in Springbok Hospital.

South Africans are paying tax to ensure that the government is able to provide services like health and education and not to line the pockets of those in power and their cronies.

It appears that more than just the patients are sick.