Premier must appoint Health MEC of competence and calibre

Issued by Jane Cowley, MPL
Shadow MEC for Health

It is time to chart a new course for the Department of Health in our province. The Premier now has a golden opportunity to appoint a person of calibre and competence to change the fortunes of the bruised and battered Department.

Unfortunately, the new incumbent will be inheriting the mess left behind by their predecessor. A corrupt, bankrupt Department that is rotten to the core. The provincial response to the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed in shocking, and often tragic, detail just how rotten the provincial Health Department has become.

There are several practical steps that the new incumbent must take to ensure that the Department becomes more functional and health service delivery is improved.

These include:

  • finalising the provincial staff organogram and filling the hundreds of vacant funded posts that exist across the province
  • addressing ongoing ambulance shortages and dealing with the corruption in overtime payments
  • privatising the ambulance fleet maintenance service to keep the existing ambulances on the roads, instead of waiting for repairs; and most importantly
  • budgeting for contingent liability and accruals on an annual basis so that the Department remains functional while addressing the ballooning medico-legal claims.

In a capable state, putting the needs of the people first is central to all decisions and appointments.

By doing this, the state places the ongoing welfare of its people front and centre. Another cadre deployment to the position of MEC of Health in the Eastern Cape will further tarnish the Premier’s reputation and will mean that he still puts political expedience above the health of the citizenry.

I will write to the Premier to strongly urge him to appoint a person with the necessary clean record, calibre and competence to oversee this Department, which plays such a critical role in the health and wellbeing of our people.

The people of the Eastern Cape have suffered under incompetence and corruption for long enough. They deserve competence and calibre, not cadres and chaos!