James Masango MPL
DA Spokesperson for health
The spokesperson for the Department of Health is deliberately clouding the issue around the impending closure of the pharmaceutical depot in Middelburg, and in future should rather consult with MEC Clifford Mkasi before making rash statements to the media.
Mr Dumisane Mlangeni was yesterday quoted in the Mpumalanga News as saying that reports of the depot’s closure were not true because it is the main supplier of medicines in the province. He also added that the medicine shortage lay with those responsible for placing the orders, and not with the depot.
The DA finds these comments rather strange, as The New Age newspaper sought a response from Mr Mlangeni following MEC Mkasi’s announcement of the closure and depot staff concerns about losing their jobs, only to be told the he was not in a position to respond and that the newspaper should contact the MEC personally.
While the conflicting messages from MEC Mkasi may be due to anything from a miscommunication between the two or a part of a greater political conspiracy, it is symptomatic of the deep rot of the primary health care system in Mpumalanga. The left hand does not know what the right hand is up to, and in the end, the people suffer.
* Millions of rand in crucial infrastructure grants are returned to National Treasury every year, while hospital buildings deteriorate at an alarming rate;
* Every day, thousands upon thousands of people across Mpumalanga queue for hours on end in the desperate hope of seeing a doctor, only to be told that one is not available;
* Every day thousands of people across our province are told that their crucial ARVs or TB medication is out of stock or on back order;
* New hospital wings, buildings and units are not being utilised at all as administrators to not have the medical personnel to staff them.
MEC Mkasi will have to clear the air about the depot’s closure, and at the very least retract or confirm Mr Mlangeni’s comments. Furthermore, the DA will today submit written parliamentary questions to the MEC, asking him about the closure, staff concerns, and to explain why a R66 million facility has to be closed simply because of what appears to be a logistics management issue.