The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls for urgent intervention in the Eastern Cape health crisis. The Health MEC, Sindiswa Gomba, should be fired with immediate effect, and her Department should be put under administration.
MEC Gomba has once again tried to shift the blame for her own and her Department’s failings, going as far as blaming apartheid for the “Scooter Scandal”.
There should be no doubt that apartheid was an abhorrent system which left South African communities with incredible challenges of inequality. However, it should not be used as an excuse 26 years later to cover up the MEC and her Department’s hand in the “Scooter Scandal”.
In addition to the “Scooter Scandal”, the MEC and her Department have overseen the following horrors in the province’s health sector:
- Hospitals in the province have not received enough personal protective equipment (PPE);
- PPE that have been delivered are of a substandard quality;
- The province only has one filed hospital which was donated by the private sector, not a single one has been established by the Department;
- Hospitals are filthy and doctors and other health care workers are forced to wash linen at home;
- Rats run there freely;
- Blood and human waste line the corridors along with suffering people;
- Mothers and babies die due to staff shortages and lack of resources; and
- Covid-19 patients are left to suffer alone in the callous conditions of the province’s health facilities.
There is no dignity at Eastern Cape health facilities and the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the extreme shortcoming of the MEC and her Department.
Health care workers in hospitals face incredible challenges every day when they go to work, even as they put their lives on the line in order to try and save others. They need support from the Health Department, but they only ever get excuses.
Unless the MEC steps up and turn the health care situation in her province around, she will have the blood of thousands on her hands.
The health crisis in the Eastern Cape is not new. It wasn’t brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. The province has been in a perpetual health crisis for years. The province is an unending pit where money to update and maintain any kind of infrastructure – never mind investing in new projects – simply disappears. Not without a trace though. No traces of it can surely be seen in the lavish lifestyles of corrupt officials, in stark contrast to the constituents of that province.n
Unless ANC politicians start taking the quality of life of South Africans seriously, its legacy will be no better than the legacy of the loathsome system it worked so hard to dismantle.
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