James Masango MPL
Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition
Mpumalanga’s health care system is teetering on the verge of complete collapse, and government’s continued denials, speaks of a ruling ANC far out of touch with the health needs of the people of this province.
Yesterday the Sowetan ran a damning exposé about conditions at the Delmas hospital. Once again the impact of the critical shortage of doctors and nurses as well as the lack of proper infrastructure in our hospitals was illustrated, with patients forced to wait for hours on end before being treated, women giving birth in cramped conditions, and hospital staff on the verge of burning out from sheer exhaustion.
This is the third hospital in as many weeks that has been shown to have critical shortages of key personnel and whose necessary infrastructure development and maintenance has been neglected for years on end.
It is a known fact that more than three million people in Mpumalanga are dependent on public health care, and yet, no concerted effort seems to be made to deal with this looming humanitarian crisis. Premier David Mabuza and his executive council refuse to acknowledge that the health department has failed the people of this province, and insists that a strategy is in place – but the DA, like the millions of others in our province, have yet to see it or its results.
What is becoming increasingly clear is that government does not provide for peoples’ basic right to access to health care services, as stipulated in Section 27(1)(a) of the Constitution. Government can also not argue that the province has used its available resources to do so, as a moratorium on the filling of vacancies, the slashing of 25 000 health department posts as well as its failure to implement 119 of its 221 programmes and underspend of R322 million in infrastructure grants, bear grim testimony to that fact.
To this end, the DA will lay a formal complaint with the Human Rights Commission, requesting an investigation into possible human rights abuses based on the provisions set out in the Constitution, as well the findings reported in the department’s 2011/2 annual report, and those preceding it.
Every year Mpumalanga watches as billions of rand is earmarked to improve the health and well-being of millions of people, only to find that it never reaches them. Each year the destitute and the poor are promised improved living conditions, and each year, that dream is shattered.