Healthcare facilities across Mpumalanga continue to deteriorate

By Jane Sithole, DA spokesperson on Health:

The following speech was delivered in the Mpumalanga Legislature today by the DA spokesperson on Health, Jane Sithole MPL, during the tabling and debate on Policy Budget of the department of Health: Vote 10

Hon. Speaker, South Africa comes from a very difficult, complicated and a severely racially divided past caused by the apartheid system. It is our duty to redress the injustices of the past and create a society that thrives on freedom, fairness and for all South Africans to have equal access to opportunities.

The department of Health is one of the few departments that have been excluded from the moratorium on filling of vacancies and they should take full advantage of this and sort out the number of vacancies within the department.

Hon. Speaker, the DA acknowledges the efforts made by the MEC in making positive strides towards the high vacancy rate and particularly the appointment of the HOD, we hope the HOD will stay longer than the previous ones.

Hon. Speaker, one of the major concerns in this department, is that, the appointment of senior managers takes more than 8 months for the executive council to approve. One cannot help but wonder if the delay is caused by jobs being reserved for the politically connected, instead of qualified individuals or if the delay is caused by sheer incompetence?

Hon. Speaker, just last week, members of this August House moved and adopted a motion to congratulate the department of a health on a successful “Orthopaedic Letsema”, knowing very well that the department had postponed the Letsema project until further notice. However, that did not surprise us Hon. Speaker, it has become a daily occurrence in this August house that a fish is praised for swimming.

Hon. Speaker, it is common knowledge that our Province suffer from chronic shortage of specialists, especially orthopedic surgeons, it is costing the department thousands because such patients are forced to spend weeks if not months in hospital waiting to receive surgery.

Hon. Speaker, the DA welcomes the budget increase for the Emergency Medical Care unit. This budget has been increasing at a healthy rate over the past two financial years, the MEC must ensure this unit and its medical professionals are properly equipped to perform their jobs, urgently address staff shortages in this department and pay their overtime where it is due.

Hon. Speaker the budget for Health Science Training has been reduced by 11%. It is disturbing to see the department does not realise that staff training is a necessity and not a privilege.

Hon. Speaker, it is worrying that over the years, litigation cases against the department of health for medical negligence has escalated and according to the MEC not a single member of staff in the past two financial years has been held liable, and what adds salt to the wound, is the fact that there is no strategy in place to deal with officials who are found guilty of negligence.

Cutting down the training budget will not assist the department, common sense should tell us that the more untrained people are the more mistakes they will commit. The more these costly mistakes increase, the department can expect more litigations and that is just not acceptable.

Hon. Speaker, Healthcare facilities across Mpumalanga continue to deteriorate and are in desperate need of renovations and maintenance. Every year promises of new hospitals and clinics are made in spectacular speeches, yet only a few materialise. Such an example is the KaNyamazane Community Healthcare Centre, a presidential project promised to the people yet we see no money allocated to build this Community Health Centre.

Hon. Speaker, our Provincial Health Department is notorious for failing to spend on its conditional grants money allocated by National Treasury to improve the delivery of services in our health care facilities. Once again Mpumalanga residents will bear the brunt of this government’s inefficiencies because National Treasury has once again reduced this money while we watch our Public health facilities crumble.

Hon. Speaker, googling and singing about the freedom charter and repeating the same speech in every debate will not and does not change the conditions at our clinics and hospitals. This country has got more money that it has ever had, yet the so called gigantic organisation is moving at a snail’s pace because those in power want to benefit and get a share of the money, rather than making sure that the needs of the people are met.

Hon. Speaker, actions speak louder than words! If the actions can match the insults thrown at others, if the actions can match the singing and ridiculing of others, if the actions can match the grand speeches that we hear, if the actions can go hand in hand with the venom that you spit in this house, if the actions can match the amount of hate speeches we hear in this house, maybe you will get somewhere.

Mediro e bolela go feta polelo

Dade beteken meer as woorde

Min Tiro Ya Vula Vula

I thank you.