Budget vote speech: Health

Jane Sithole MPL

DA Provincial Spokesperson on Health

Note: The following speech was delivered in the Mpumalanga Legislature today by Jane Sithole MPL the DA’s Provincial Spokesperson on Health during the budget vote debate on Health.

Hon. Speaker, this country has the best Health Minister we have ever seen in our history, Dr. Aron Motsoaledi, yet the Mpumalanga health department is letting him down in every sense.

On 30 October 2012 the DA requested the SAHRC to investigate the poor state of the province’s hospitals and clinics, and we all know what the report said, which off course vindicated the DA.

The HRC’s findings did not come as a surprise, as the DA has for many years warned that the continued mismanagement, maladministration, centralised procurement and poor leadership would cause the complete collapse of public health care in this province.

Premier visited provincial hospitals on a tour in 2012, on another fact finding mission, He was supposed to take action when he saw first-hand the terrible state of Mpumalanga’s hospitals. But, he chose not to.

The after effects of former HOD Richard Mnisi will be felt in this department for many many years to come.

  • The DA requested for Mr Mnisi to appear before the portfolio committee to account for the financial mismanagement of the department’s funds to no avail.
  • Once again, the DA is calling on the new Chairperson of the portfolio on health and social development, Hon. Ngobeni to summon Mr Mnisi before the

portfolio committee to explain the financial mismanagement that took place during his term as HOD.

Again In January 2014, The DA pleaded with the Premier to take action and once again reiterated that the health department is on the verge of disaster, but this administration denied that the health department is near collapse.   Look where we are today?

Hon. Speaker, we all know that the University of Mpumalanga is in the pipeline, and we all support that, however, right now as we speak, this Province hasn’t paid the University of Pretoria since last year June, this is going to have dire consequences for this Province when the University of Pretoria withdraws

from Mpumalanga. The province will immediately lose the benefit of having specialists.  Hon. Speaker, that contract was last signed in 2002 when former Hon. Manana was MEC for health.

Cost curtailments have been put in place to assist with the pressures on the budget caused by the mismanagement of the department finances in the previous financial year, however the department has allowed for R84.9 Million to be used for bonuses.

With a department under curatorship, the department could employ approximately 353 doctors or 700 nurses. Severe Staff Shortages continues to hamper service delivery in our hospitals and it doesn’t look its going to get better any time soon.

The department has increased the budget for EMS by 25.2%, this might seem excessive and it might be a bit adventurous for the department to handle as thus far, the department managed to bring EMS practically to its knees. EMS is sitting on a whopping vacancy rate of 81%.

Hon. Speaker, with the amount of vehicle accidents currently taking place on our roads, it is a scary thought to know that the people on the roads of Mpumalanga whether a driver, passenger or pedestrians chances of survival are rapidly diminishing with the current ANC Led Government on the wheel.

The DA recognises that government has an important function in guaranteeing the overall effectiveness of the health system in Mpumalanga and welcome the establishment of the forum of Hospital CEO’s, hoping this forum will be used to detect problems early and mitigate those problems, also to track on deliverables on a monthly basis.

We have enough facts on the table, we know what is wrong with this department, it’s time for action.  The people of Mpumalanga don’t want to hear stories anymore, time for action is now.  One more loss of life that could have been prevented is one too many!