Jane Sithole MPL
Spokesperson for health
The DA welcomes the decision of the Mpumalanga provincial executive to place the Department of Health under curatorship, and hopes that this will realign the department’s plans to address the shortcomings as identified by the Human Rights Commission (HRC).
In its submission to the HRC, the department presented its strategy to address the commission’s recommendations. However, its 2014/15 budget documents do not reflect the undertakings made, as:
- It is unable to address the critically high vacancy rate among medical professionals, including the absorption of community service professionals, due to budget constraints;
- Drug shortages will continue as budget for medical supplies and medicine have been reduced by 30% and 11% respectively;
- The department decreased the budget for medical machinery and equipment by 43% due to increases in salaries and wages (177%), as well as goods and services (412%). This budget will continue to decrease to a paltry R6,6 million by the 2016/17 financial year; and
- The infrastructure crisis will continue as the health facilities budget is due to decrease by 19% due to the department’s slow implementation. This trend will continue with further decreases projected for the future.
While the curatorship decision is an admission by premier DD Mabuza and his executive that health delivery is in crisis, it is clear that the department and former MEC Candith Mashego’s submission to the HRC was an attempt to pull the wool over the commission’s eyes.
To this end the DA will submit a detailed report to the HRC, highlighting the discrepancies in the department’s submission, and calls on the commission to interact with the curator and ask for a revised turnaround strategy with implementation deadlines to be resubmitted.
The DA will continue to interact with HRC, and hold the curator, the premier and new health MEC, Gillion Mashego to account.