MEC Malakoane finally admits FS Health in crisis

Mariete Pittaway MPL

Free State Provincial Legislature

Free State Health MEC, Dr Benny Malakoane, after more than a year of denial, finally admitted that the department is in crisis. This is perhaps the first step to deal the various problems the department faces.

Various medical facilities struggle without the necessary medical equipment, medicine and food. At some facilities surgeries are postponed leaving patients in pain and discomfort. The situation is dire.

Unfortunately, MEC Malakoane failed to admit that financial and administrative mismanagement is largely to blame for the current sad state of affairs and narrowed it down to funding constraints.

According to Malakoane the department needs a further R4 billion on top of the R8.1 billion in order to bring public health services in the Free State up to standard.

We reject this statement.

Budgetary constraints is a reality of governance and the Free State government would do well to implement a strategy that would see the department deliver the best possible health services within those constraints.

We welcome Finance MEC Elzabe Rockman’s decision to assist in the financial administration of the Free State Department of Health and look forward to her quarterly reports on progress made in turning the poor financial situation of the department around.

The DA has repeatedly called on MEC Malakoane to table a concrete strategy to turn public health around, to no avail. Some of our recommendations include:

  • To present a plan to address critical staff shortages and implement an effective recruitment and retention programme;
  • To implement the recommendations of the Auditor-General in the department’s entire procurement process to bring it in line with the Public Finance Management Act;
  • To implement a clearly defined monitoring programme of all contracted service providers;
  • To recruit and appoint competent and suitably qualified individuals to the executive management of health facilities.

We reiterate that Dr Benny Malakoane’s reappointment to MEC for Health was a bad decision. The department desperately needs a new, competent and dedicated individual that would see measures implemented that would turn public health in the Free State around.