DA wants judicial commission of inquiry into SA's healthcare collapse

2018-06-14 18:55
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Leon Sadiki, City Press)

President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Leon Sadiki, City Press)

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The Democratic Alliance has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa, asking him to establish a judicial commission of inquiry into the collapse of the country's healthcare system, the party said on Thursday.

"Public health facilities are no longer places of healing, they have become death-traps for the poor, who have no options available to them," DA national spokesperson Refiloe Nt'sekhe said during a briefing at the party's offices in Bruma.

The DA has been on a #HospitalHealthCare oversight campaign which revealed shocking horror stories, including rats eating corpses, mothers having to share beds shortly after delivering their babies, and patients forced to eat rotten food.

During the visits the party looked at chronic staff shortage, long waiting times, equipment shortages, the oncology crisis, shortages of consumables and medicine, negligence, and claims.

It also investigated transport and ambulance related issues, infrastructure and maintenance and the mental health crisis.

No dignified access to healthcare

Nt'sekhe said the campaign had exposed both the current state of public healthcare in South Africa, as well as the governing party's failure to intervene to prevent the collapse of the system.

"Poor sick South Africans do not have dignified access to healthcare because their government chooses to ignore their plights," she said.

Dr Tutu Faleni said it was evident that the North West healthcare system had collapsed.

READ: Turnaround strategy for North West health dept welcomed

He said the collapse should not be overshadowed by the protests that took place.

News24 previously reported that Ramaphosa had decided to place the North West health department under the administration, in the wake of protest action.

He appointed a team - under the leadership of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma - to get to the bottom of the crisis that was exacerbated by protests calling for the removal of Premier Supra Mahumapelo.

Failure to act in KZN

The DA's KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson on health MPL Imran Keeka said Premier Willies Mchunu had failed to act against MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo.

"The infrastructure is collapsing. We had a case where rats were feeding on a corpse. We informed the MEC about a hospital where there were 150 cats, and he called it a fairy tale."

READ: KZN health dept denies DA claims that hospitals are going under national administration

Keeka said, in another hospital, monkeys were throwing stones at doctors through a hole in the roof.

"The waiting times now in KZN are now up to 12 hours. The equipment is broken around KZN and the vacancies that need to be filled are now more than 8 000. The corruption in KZN is worse than the North West."

Keeka said the province's finances were in a chaotic state, to the extent that the finance MEC had to intervene by establishing a task team.

"If this is not the collapse of healthcare then I do not know. The healthcare in KZN is on a ventilator."

'Can you imagine the indignity'

In Limpopo, the healthcare was in "ICU", said Dr Langa Bodlani.

"Management is in chaos. Accruals from last year are running in the billions and, before you can procure anything, buy or fix anything, those accruals have to be settled."

He said, in one hospital, in the maternity ward, two mothers had to share a bed.

"Can you imagine the indignity," he said.

ALSO READ: Strides being made to address oncology crisis - KZN health dept

In another hospital there was no Panado syrup for babies, he said.

Jack Bloem said Johannesburg had the largest budget, but the money was poorly spent.

"There are four academic hospitals in that cater for patients in neighbouring provinces. I have heard horrible stories about patients having to take taxis to come for chemotherapy."

Bloem said the government always proposed turnaround plans which were never implemented.

"There is still a lot of corruption and the government goes from one blunder to another," he said.

Read more on:    da  |  durban  |  mahikeng  |  health

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