DA calls for KZN health MEC to be fired

2017-06-19 19:11
The DA in KZN wants Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo fired following the province's oncology crisis. From left: Dr Imran Keeka, Mbali Ntuli and Francois Rodgers. (Mxolisi Mngadi, News24)

The DA in KZN wants Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo fired following the province's oncology crisis. From left: Dr Imran Keeka, Mbali Ntuli and Francois Rodgers. (Mxolisi Mngadi, News24)

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Durban - The Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal wants Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo fired following the recent findings of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) into oncology crisis in the province, the party said on Monday.

The 68-page report found that Dhlomo and his department "violated the rights of cancer patients to have access to treatment".

DA KZN health spokesperson Dr Imran Keeka told journalists on Monday that the report came after the DA requested that the SAHRC investigate a series of complaints sent to them leading up to February 2016.

The commission found that the health department, both nationally and KZN, failed to take reasonable measures to progressively realise the right to have access to healthcare services in KZN.

"What this effectively means is that the department and the MEC allowed cancer patients to die while waiting for treatment," Keeka said.

Ignorance

It also means that the department did nothing as cancer progressed in other patients "to the point where they are now condemned to palliative care with an incurable disease.

"We believe that this culpability is criminal," Keeka said, adding that shortage of equipment in some hospitals is part of the problem.

Dhlomo and the department are required to report to the commission within 10 days of receipt of the report of the investigation.

"We are already on day two of those 10 days," Keeka revealed.

He said they expect Dhlomo to plead ignorance regarding the contents of the report.

Recently, Dhlomo reportedly claimed most oncologists left the province in pursuit of greener pastures.

"Furthermore, the department's claim that it has head-hunted oncologists has no evidence to support it. The DA recommends that Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, who has the authority to register foreign professionals in such instances, intervenes to ensure that the service is urgently provided to citizens," said Keeka.

The DA has also consulted attorneys to provide an overall opinion regarding the crisis.

The DA will engage with KZN Premier Willies Mchunu and constitutional bodies to make sure that oncology services are restored in the province, Keeka said.

"We don't believe that dealing with this crisis through structures such as the provincial health council will work. It is dysfunctional as are the district health councils," Keeka claimed.

The DA said it doesn't believe that Dhlomo will be able to comply with the recommendations made by the commission within the set time frame.

"We therefore urge the commission to begin legal consultation immediately in anticipation of this and advise that they ensure through the courts, that the interests of our province are placed first," said Keeka.

The commission should be prepared to initiate prosecution if Dhlomo and his department create delays or even disregard the report, added Keeka.

Read more on:    da  |  durban  |  health

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