Cape Times

Pandemic has exposed inept Health MECs


THE COVID-19 pandemic has not only exposed the dire state of our public health facilities, but also the inept leadership on the part of some of those appointed to be Health MECs.

As the country starts to feel the impact of the third wave, perhaps it is convenient that we reflect on the role of those MECs whose actions, or lack thereof, could have been catastroph­ic.

But we cannot do so without reminding our readers that South Africa enters this battle without the health minister, who is fighting for his political future following allegation­s of corruption regarding a multimilli­on-rand contract awarded to a company with links to him.

Dr Zweli Mkhize could soon be following in the footsteps of sacked Gauteng MEC Dr Bandile Masuku.

He was dismissed after the Special Investigat­ing Unit found that he failed to take reasonable steps when it came to a multimilli­on-rand contract awarded to Royal Bhaca Project, the company of Thandisizw­e Diko, the late husband of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokespers­on, Khusela Diko, who was placed on special leave.

Before his axing, Masuku made headlines when the Gauteng government dug up graves, instead of unveiling more field hospitals to save lives.

As if this was not enough for the country, former Eastern Cape MEC Sindisiwe Gomba showed exactly how the government of that province did not value its citizens when she launched a multimilli­on-rand emergency scooter project to transport Covid patients.

It was stopped in its tracks as it turned out to be nothing but another way of looting money from the government, which the SIU now wants to recover. Gomba should have been fired way before this incident, when she once said “andisadikw­e” (I am so fed up) during a live webinar about her province’s response to the pandemic.

The least said about KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane, who opted to attend the corruption trial of ex-president Jacob Zuma on the first day of that province’s vaccinatio­n rollout, the better.

Her actions demonstrat­ed that she was more concerned about party politics and her alliances than the lives of the people in KZN. We know of no action being taken against her.

While South Africans have been patient since the pandemic hit our shores, they have been disappoint­ed by the very people who are meant to lead by example. Perhaps it’s time for the citizens to use their voting power to bring this to an end.

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