By Mariette Pittaway, DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature:
It is widely reported that Health MEC, Dr Benny Malakoane, yesterday accused medical doctors and medical professional staff at the Bongani Hospital in Welkom of being the “biggest bunch of baby murderers in the province.”
This comment coming from the political head of the Free State Provincial Department of Health is extremely arrogant and grossly irresponsible.
MEC Malakoane must immediately withdraw his accusation towards the medical staff at Bongani Hospital and unreservedly apologise to them in person, followed by tendering his immediate resignation.
It is the entrenched and structural financial and administrative mismanagement within the department that results in regular medicine stock-outs, poorly equipped medical facilities and severe staff shortages of doctors and specialists that contribute to avoidable deaths.
If there is any person who should accept responsibility for avoidable deaths in public hospitals in the Free State, it should be MEC Malakoane himself, followed shortly by Premier Magashule, at whose pleasure MEC Malakoane continues to serve despite his disastrous tenure at the department.
Free State medical professional staff across all disciplines continue to work hard, delivering the best medical care they can, with the limited resources they have.
MEC Malakoane’s politicisation of management structures through the ANC’s policy of cadre deployment at all medical facilities in the Free State have created a toxic environment that is not conducive to the delivery of quality and equitable healthcare. As a result of this policy 177 medical doctors and 28 medical specialists left the employment of the department last year.
In true Malakoane form, he can never accept responsibility for his own failures, always blaming someone or something else.
MEC Malakoane has in the past also accused medical professionals who dare to speak out or make recommendations of how to improve overall performance in the public health sector in the province of racism or having political agendas against his leadership.
It is a sad situation that the people of the Free State find themselves in, but it is a situation they can easily start to turn around this year by voting for the DA.
Where the DA governs, our hospitals and clinics are well equipped, well-staffed, and well stocked, delivering ‘private quality-like’ healthcare to all those who need it, in state of the art medical facilities. The DA can bring this ethos of quality and equitable public healthcare services to the people of the Free State.