By Mariette Pittaway, DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature:
Following reports today, Health MEC Benny Malakoane has confirmed that 184 malpractice claims to the value of R700 million, have been brought against his department. The MEC has also confirmed that not a single employee of the department has been dismissed for malpractice since 2004.
The department is already under financial strain due to its accruals totalling R800 million. Finding an additional R700 million to settle claims will be extremely difficult. This is how bad governance and financial mismanagement snowballs into a disaster of magnificent proportions.
The DA has long raised concerns that the Free State Department of Health is in crisis. It is unfortunate that these staggering number of malpractice claims are proof to the extent of the crisis.
The majority of cases have been brought against the Pelonomi Regional Hospital and Universitas Academic Hospital in Bloemfontein. Both hospitals have constantly faced staff, equipment and medicine shortages for more than two years now.
MEC Malakoane claims some cases date from 2004. It is a shame that it has taken up to 11 years to resolve medical malpractice cases.
I will submit written questions to MEC Malakoane so that he can disclose the exact details of each of the malpractice cases brought against the department.
The victims of the Free State Department of Health’s gross negligence deserve closure.