Free State Health Crisis: Turnaround strategy welcomed, but serious concerns remain

Mariette Pittaway MPL

Free State Provincial Legislature

The DA welcomes the turnaround strategy made public by the Free State Provincial Department of Health during the Health Indaba today. The DA has for more than a year called on Health MEC, Dr Benny Malakoane, to present a comprehensive strategy that would see the department’s turnaround towards improved service delivery.

It is ironic that MEC Malakoane and Premier Ace Magashule have continuously denied that the department is in crisis, but still proceeded to make public a turnaround strategy.

A turnaround strategy would not be needed if the department was not in crisis.

Serious concerns remain.

The strategy does not acknowledge contributing factors to the Free State Health Crisis that include political unaccountability.

Neither does it acknowledge the culture of appointing unqualified and inexperienced individuals to key decision making positions.

The DA has long maintained that the single biggest contributing factor to the mess the department finds itself in is due to administrative and financial mismanagement, which resulted in a complete failure to deliver health services to those most in need.

The turnaround strategy necessitates that MEC Malakoane should ideally take the principled step of taking responsibility for the deteriorating situation within the department and resign, failing which Premier Magashule should fire him.

The DA will study the turnaround strategy in depth and closely monitor its implementation.

It is one thing to table such a strategy and quite another to see it through altogether. We doubt that MEC Malakoane has the political will and the courage to see to its full implementation.