Health MEC ‘putting band aid on gaping wound of oncology crisis’

The DA in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday renewed its call for Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo to be fired, saying it appears he is “trying to put a band aid on a large gaping wound” in respect of the province’s oncology crisis.

The DA had been advised by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) that Dhlomo had met the latest in a series of deadlines in terms of its recommendations required to address the province’s cancer crisis, DA MPL Imran Keeka said.

This followed the SAHRC’s release of a damning report in June which found Dhlomo and his department guilty of violating the rights of KwaZulu-Natal cancer patients by failing to provide proper access to treatment.

Keeka said the DA had received a copy of the MEC’s submissions from the SAHRC, which the party was currently assessing.

“On the face of it, it appears that the MEC is trying to put a band aid on a large gaping wound, with the proposals providing little in the way of concrete steps to address the crisis in the long term. As always with MEC Dhlomo, it is a case of too little too late,” he said.

‘Worse still, Dhlomo had denied that anyone died of cancer as a result of his ineptitude. As a healthcare practitioner, Dhlomo should know better.

“He should know that his response to the crisis was not just nonsensical, it was also insensitive and uncaring given that hundreds of patients had already died and many more were condemned to incurable disease as a result of his lack of action.”

The DA would be ready to interrogate Dhlomo’s submissions at the next meeting of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature’s health portfolio committee scheduled for Friday.

“We will also be consulting medical and legal experts in the interim to evaluate whether the preliminary steps taken are in fact effective or just a smoke screen aimed at covering up ongoing incompetence,” Keeka said.

The dire state of healthcare in KwaZulu-Natal was compounded by a premier “who is still sitting on his hands, and who last month said that the MEC should not be fired”.

“It is difficult to comprehend such a decision while cancer sufferers are still not being treated. This while he and his MEC run around trying to save political face.

“The DA stands by its opinion that MEC Dhlomo must go. He is not the man to fix KwaZulu-Natal’s ailing healthcare system and to allow him to remain in this position is highly unethical.

“We remain committed to holding him and his department to account on every level,” Keeka said.

By: African News Agency

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