Call for heads to roll

2015-03-28 00:00

MORE than 200 people took to the city’s streets yesterday, demanding that Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo be axed over issues plaguing the province.

The Hospersa members marched to the Office of the Premier in Langalibalele Street, where a memorandum was reportedly handed over to the deputy director-general in the office, Zakhele Mnqayi.

Dressed in green and white, the protestors waved their fists, sang and danced as they called for Dhlomo and Health HOD Sibongile Zungu to respond to their concerns.

Seeking the help of Premier Senzo Mchunu, the union handed over a memorandum to Mchunu’s office, outlining pressing issues facing KZN’s medical facilities and alleged mismanagement and corruption in the Health Department.

“Mr Premier, it is clear to all of us gathered here that a change of leadership in the province’s health portfolio is long overdue … Dhlomo is presiding over a department that is perpetually in a state of mismanagement and corruption, and this is to the detriment of both workers and patients,” wrote Hospersa spokesperson Michelle Connolly in the memorandum.

Among other issues, Connolly highlighted four main concerns:

• An alleged failure by the Health Department to explain the inflation of prices relating to the procurement of buses for rural communities in the province that cost over R61 million.

“Since when does a newly registered company, with no verifiable experience, land such a big tender?” Connolly asked.

• The Health Department’s “refusal” to maintain two state-of-the-art radiography machines at Addington hospital worth R120 million.

“It is a fact that, during this whole debacle, the care of cancer patients was compromised. The tender relating to the procurement of this radiography equipment has been under investigation since 2009 and nobody has been charged,” Connolly added.

• A shortage of ambulances in the province.

“It is a fact that the severe shortage of ambulances contributed to the death of at least one human being, namely nine-year-old Nosisa Mncwabe, who died after a five-hour wait for an ambulance.”

• The alleged mishandling of tuberculosis in the province, which pertains to the non-functioning of CT scanners at three provincial hospitals.

According to Connolly, Hospersa will proceed to engage with other labour partners about “government’s failure to walk the talk”.

“When the day comes that we burn that Charter, all of the hard work done by former Public Service Minister Lindiwe Sisulu will be undone,” Connolly wrote.

“How much longer must the people of this province be subjected to such abuse by public officials who are tasked with caring for their health needs?”

Provincial spokesperson Thami Ngwenya was unable to provide comment before print deadline yesterday.

“It is a fact that, during this whole debacle, the care of cancer patients was compromised.”

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