Frere baby deaths: DA seeks explanation for Mosana reappointment
Mike Waters, Shadow Minister of Health
23 January 2011
The Democratic Alliance (DA) is disappointed to hear of the extension of Luvuyo Mosana’s contract as the CEO of the East London Hospital Complex from November 2010 to the end of March 2011. This action is a sad indictment on the National Department of Health’s commitment to remedying the state of public healthcare in South Africa. We know for a fact that Mr. Mosana is not qualified for this position, and that he was the person responsible for infrastructure and resource breakdowns at Frere Hospital in the Eastern Cape, where a tragic series of infant deaths rose to national attention in 2007. Mr. Mosana then attempted to cover up the scandal.
I will be submitting questions to the Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, asking on what basis Mr. Mosana’s contract was extended in light of the fact that he is under-qualified for this position, and that his behaviour during the Frere scandal was patently unacceptable.
South Africa was rocked by the infant death scandal at Frere three years ago. The two individuals who blew the whistle on the crisis, Deputy Health Minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge and medical superintendant Dr Nokuzola Ntshona, were subsequently dismissed from their posts, while Mr Mosana has continued to be employed.
Mr. Mosana’s tenure has continued to be dogged with controversy. There are stories of files being lost, patients being left in bloodied and urine-soaked sheets and patients being discharged with bedsores. Mr. Mosana’s empathetic response remains that these reports of hospital mismanagement are an over-exaggeration or, alternatively, that they will be investigated. To date, however, no investigations have been announced.
Last year I filed an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information (PAIA) Act requesting the findings of the investigation into the baby deaths after the report was kept confidential. The report I eventually received was heavily censored with apartheid-era black-out markings over the crucial information relating to the qualifications of the other candidates for Mr. Mosana’s position. It is unclear why that information was censored. I can only speculate that the reason was a deliberate attempt to disguise the fact that Mr. Mosana was awarded his position over more experienced candidates. The people of the Eastern Cape have since suffered the consequences of that decision.
The Zuma administration still seems committed to introducing a misguided National Health Insurance scheme. What the administration seems to fail to realise is that the primary problem with our public health care system is rooted in our failure to get the basics right. That starts with appointing qualified people to administer hospitals.