Health MEC Malakoane gets luxury office upgrade while Medical Waste suspends services

Mariette Pittaway, MPL

Free State Provincial Legislature

The DA is surprised to learn that up to R1 million could be found for the luxurious refurbishment to the offices of Health MEC Benny Malakoane and his Head of Department on the same day that the department’s contracted medical waste removals company suspended services.

This is completely unacceptable considering the financial crisis the department finds itself in due to financial and administrative mismanagement.

The medical waste removals company suspended services at medical health facilities whose accounts are more than 90 days overdue.

The department owes its medical waste removals company millions of rands in overdue payments. The suspension of services poses a health risk to both patients and medical personnel.

The Free State Provincial Department of Health entered the current financial year with a R700 million shortfall due to accruals from the previous financial year.

The department’s financial difficulties have previously resulted in the non-payment of salaries to medical professional staff and to other service providers.

Health facilities across the Free State are struggling to feed patients. At some facilities medicine has run out leaving medical personnel unable to administer medicine. Various other hospitals can’t attend to those in need of surgery because of a lack of equipment and critical professional medical staff shortages.

Despite all these problems plaguing the department, it deemed a luxurious refurbishment of offices more important than the health of ordinary people dependent on public healthcare.

I will submit written questions to MEC Malakoane at the first available opportunity so that he can disclose details to the exact cost incurred, the scope of the refurbishments to his offices and the total amounts owed to all contracted service providers and how long these payments are overdue.

We wouldn’t be surprised to hear that MEC Malakoane will replace his luxury official vehicle next. Somehow money is always found to maintain the extravagant lifestyles of government officials at the expense of the poor.