Health MEC must stop ducking and diving on oversight visits

By Dr Imran Keeka, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Health:

A RESPONSE by KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, to written parliamentary questions from the DA, requesting clarity when it comes to permission for unannounced oversight visits to the province’s health institutions, has failed to provide any answers.

One of several questions asked relates to procedure when asking for permission for such visits and how far in advance paperwork had to be submitted.  Despite the very clear questions, the MEC declined to outline the proper method or provide a time frame, instead referring to some obscure document.

The DA is disappointed by this evasiveness.  It is delaying KZN MPL’s from doing their lawful work which is to provide oversight on behalf of the people of the province.

The DA maintains its view that the MEC has exceeded his authority in imposing a ban on all visits without his personal permission.  We may have to legally test his version of how, as representatives of the people of this province, MPL’s must do their work.

We may also have to test the validity of the department’s protocols if and when we ever have sight of them.

Oversight to public health facilities is a core function of DA MP’s and MPL’s.  At the end of the recent NCOP visits to KZN, the Chair confirmed that the Council would conduct unannounced visits in the near future.  These will include visits to healthcare institutions.

It is critical that clarity is found in the interests of the citizens of KZN.

The DA has today submitted follow-up questions to MEC Dhlomo in a further attempt to find clarity.

We sincerely hope that we will not be given the run around by the MEC and his officials and that we will receive the answers we need in a straight forward manner.

The MEC must stop ducking and diving and start subscribing to openness and transparency.