Zikalala backs Dhlomo on KZN on­col­ogy cri­sis

The Star Late Edition - - NATION - BONGANI HANS bongani.hans@inl.co.za

KWAZULU-NATAL premier-elect Sihle Zikalala has de­fended for­mer health MEC Si­bongiseni Dhlomo over the on­col­ogy cri­sis that claimed many lives in the prov­ince.

Yes­ter­day, the DA in KZN said it was seek­ing le­gal ad­vice to pur­sue Dhlomo on the mat­ter.

Dhlomo has since left the prov­ince to be­come an ANC MP.

The DA held a press brief­ing yes­ter­day morn­ing be­fore the swear­ing-in of Mem­bers of Provin­cial Leg­is­la­tures (MPL) at the provin­cial leg­is­la­ture in Pietermari­tzburg.

DA MPL Im­ran Keeka, who had for years been at log­ger­heads with Dhlomo over the se­vere shortage of on­col­o­gists and on­col­ogy ma­chines at provin­cial hos­pi­tals, said Dhlomo’s de­par­ture to the na­tional Par­lia­ment did not mean he was off the hook.

“As far as MEC Dhlomo goes, I am not sat­is­fied that there was enough ac­count­abil­ity. The ANC has done the un­think­able. In­stead of send­ing him to jail, they sent him to Par­lia­ment de­spite the fact that 530 peo­ple died un­der his watch dur­ing the on­col­ogy cri­sis,” said Keeka.

Keeka, who was among 80 MPLs who were sworn-in by the prov­ince’s Judge Pres­i­dent Ach­mat Jap­pie, said un­der Dhlomo’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, the health sys­tem in the prov­ince also suf­fered a pathol­ogy cri­sis in emer­gency health care.

But Zikalala de­fended Dhlomo and ac­cused the DA of po­lit­i­cal grand­stand­ing. He said there was “no way” that the MEC could be charged be­cause he had al­ready been held ac­count­able by the South African Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion, which was sat­is­fied with how he worked to ad­dress the prob­lem.

“That is po­lit­i­cal grand­stand­ing and I don’t know why Keeka would want to take that ap­proach. For me, that is un­called for,” said Zikalala.

Zikalala said ini­tia­tives to ad­dress the on­col­ogy cri­sis were con­tin­u­ing.

“The prob­lem is be­ing ad­dressed and I think Dr Dhlomo tried be­cause we have added four ad­di­tional ma­chines.

“One is in Chief Al­bert Luthuli (hos­pi­tal in Dur­ban) and oth­ers are in dif­fer­ent parts of the prov­ince.

“We will be work­ing on en­sur­ing that this is taken se­ri­ously and speed­ily ad­dressed,” said Zikalala.

Sihle Zikalala

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