Dhlomo makes Health sick

2017-06-21 14:17
KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Health Sibongiseni Dhlomo is facing mounting calls for him to step down.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Health Sibongiseni Dhlomo is facing mounting calls for him to step down. (Ian Carbutt)

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As he clings on to his position despite mounting calls for him to step down, KZN Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo’s party, the ANC, is now calling for his head.

Dhlomo, whose political fortunes this week took a turn for the worse following a damning SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) report, is now also subject to an ANC internal probe.

The report found that his department had violated the right to treatment of cancer patients by allowing oncology services in the province to collapse.

Sources within the ruling party’s top KZN leadership structure, the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC), told The Witness provincial leaders now want Dhlomo out.

“The PEC has been monitoring developments within the Health Department over recent months and I must say the leadership is not impressed at all in the manner in which the department is being managed.

“There is a consensus within the PEC that comrade Dhlomo has completely lost control of that department and that things will fall apart should he be allowed to hang on to the Health portfolio position,” a source within the PEC said.

While declining to confirm whether the KZN leadership has made any decision on Dhlomo’s future, ANC provincial spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli, did concede the ruling party was investigating the department.

“Following reports indicating that there was a crisis in the department, particularly in the oncology section, we have requested a report from the department.

“My understanding is that the report has finally been forwarded to the ANC provincial secretary’s office.

“An announcement on the leadership’s decision on the matter would be made soon,” Ntuli said.

The SAHRC, which has given the department a 10-day period on which to respond to the rights body’s findings, has also accused the department of failing to maintain CT scanners and to recruit and retain suitably qualified staff, including oncologists and radiotherapists.

The SAHRC’s report comes on the back of a series of Witness articles showing how some cancer patients succumbed to the disease while waiting to receive treatment.

Dhlomo’s national counterpart, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, also seems to have turned his back on the embattled MEC.

In an exclusive interview with The Witness on Wednesday, Motsoaledi attributed the crisis in the provincial Health Department to poor leadership.

On calls for Dhlomo to step down, Motsoaledi said he met with KZN Premier Willies Mchunu last week, but declined to comment on what was discussed, as Dhlomo was appointed by the premier and not the national department.

As the political head of the provincial Health Department, Dhlomo has been at the receiving end of the public’s outrage over collapsing health services in the province.

Last week the MEC travelled to the National Assembly, where he was grilled by MPs over the state of mental health facilities in the province.

The MEC also recently came under attack from a group of doctors on Facebook, who called on him to step down over the crises in the department.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  kzn health department

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