DA Calls for Forensic Investigation into Medicine Shortage

Desiree van der Walt MPL

DA Leader in Limpopo

I will be writing to the MEC of Health and Social Development, Dr. Norman Mabasa to seek an urgent meeting with him to discuss the issue of the shortage of medicine in Limpopo’s public health care system.

This situation is largely attributable to the irregular awards of pharmaceutical contacts and the mismanagement Limpopo’s Provincial Pharmaceutical Depot in Seshego. This was revealed to the DA last week Friday by concerned employees of this depot , who came to see us on condition that that they remained anonymous.

These employees pointed out to serious illegal activities at the provincial Depot. Among others, there are serious allegations that there is a collusion between private pharmacists and the officials at this depot to exchange drugs that are about to expire with the correct date of use-by. Theft of drugs is also rife at this depot.

In other instances, this Depot receives short-dated drugs; hence it is packed with expired medicine which costs taxpayers millions of rands. Conditions at the depot are so deplorable that it cannot be a place to keep medicine to save lives.

During our meeting with the Depot employees, it transpired that all these problems began to emerge when the warehousing, procurement of medicine and distribution was outsourced in 1995 by the department to Vuna Healthcare Solutions, a company with close links to the ruling party members. After this outsourcing deal came to an end, the provincial department officially hired the former manager of Vuna to oversee this depot. This is a strange move because this is the very same person under whose watch the depot is in the mess it now finds itself, he has a lot to answer for.

The MEC must urgently intervene to ensure that our province has adequate and uninterrupted supply of medicine. He must also launch a forensic investigation to root out all the corruption in the pharmaceutical contracts awarded by the provincial department.

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