The following speech was delivered by Langa Bodlani DA MPL, to the Limpopo Provincial Legislature on 18 June 2015 during the Debate on the 2015 Budget of the Department of Health.
The DA would like to congratulate the new MEC Dr. Ramathuba on her new appointment.
This is a huge department and it requires a hands-on approach to get things around.
To her predecessor, Honourable Kgetjepe the DA would like to commend the MEC for making himself available when we referred to him public queries of urgency.
We knew in him we could call late at night about a woman who was about to go into labour and the ambulance was not responding to that urgency.
MEC Kgetjepe has shown his willingness to assist in those situations when contacted by the DA. For that we applaud him.
He has shown what is meant by empathy in public service. That as public representatives we are here to serve the people and not the other way round.
Now the new MEC must emulate these ethos.
Honourable members the problem in this department lies with those under the executive authority the MEC.
Those who should be in the coalface of service delivery to our people, are the ones who are not getting it right with management.
The budget debate of R14.8 billion we are today debating should be effectively used to service our people.
The DA will continue to do unannounced oversight visits to monitor whether the promise to maintain the 24 hours service on 53 clinics is kept.
This directly affects our people in the rural villages. Recently the DA received a call from an activist from Sekgopo village alerting us that a young man had passed on waiting for an ambulance.
I saw no need to bring this to the attention of the MEC as the irreversible had already occurred.
However it is a worrying factor that this department shows no commitment to increase the number of 24 hour service clinics in the financial
years to come.
With the finances of this department back to its executive authority more scrutiny needs to be placed.
We will be monitoring how this department uses this year’s fund to appoint health professionals and filling of administrative and other posts.
Our recent visit to Polokwane Provincial hospital we uncovered an acute shortage of technicians and artisans in the hospital.
The department must have a workable attrition strategy so that as we appoint new staff we keep and don’t lose those who are already within the system.
At the provincial hospital they do not have an in-house technician to fix the morgue refrigerators when they break.
Just yester night 2 patients died at Letaba hospital because of Eskom’s power failure which led to the discontinuation of the life support machines.
The generators only ran for 3-4 hour but could not continue because there was no diesel.
This is unacceptable. It has already happened 4 times this year but luckily no one lost their lives in the past.
The maintenance department has no funds or spares in this hospital.
Another issue which must be thoroughly monitored is the issue of unauthorised, wasteful and irregular expenditures.
R27 million of fruitless and wasteful and R870 million of irregular are too exorbitant for want of a better description.
With the budget under review we should no longer hear news of medical shortages in our clinics.
The infrastructure development of our hospitals remains a concern for us. In Voortrekker hospital there is an incomplete building which should be used as an extension for admission.
To date the building still remains incomplete and patients are still crowded in the current admission centre. To make matters worse this incomplete building use electricity and it is becoming unbearable monetary wise.
MEC you know this as you come from this hospital, now you have the power to correct this.
This department had to be occasionally dismissed by the committee because it was unable to prepare a proper APP, a critical document for its oversight.
In fact getting measurable indicators from any of the documents of this department is a nightmare.
In the end we are left in an awkward position of rejecting budget and thereby deny our people their constitutional right to health or accepting
the budget without a corresponding APP to measure its expenditure.
This has been going on for some time and the committee should not be put in this position of having to second guess what the department must do with the budget.
We urge the MEC to correct this.
In our DA’s value’s charter, a government should be able to deliver high quality of basic services.
Mandela in Norway 2005 at the 46664 concert said and I quote “the more we lack the courage and the will to act, the more we condemn to death our brothers and sisters, our children and grandchildren.
When history of our times is written will we be remembered as the generation that turned our backs in a moment of global crisis or will it be recorded that we did the right thing? “ end quote
Now the script is yours to write MEC.
Whether when our brothers and sister are condemned to death because of lack of medicine, are you going to lack the courage and the will to act?
How is history going to remember you when critical machines are broken in our hospitals? Will you turn your back in that moment of crisis?
You have a choice to be remembered that you did the right thing when you are called to intervene because our people need urgent medical care?
I thank you.