by Andrew Louw – DA Northern Cape Premier Candidate
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Date: 28 January 2019
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape is calling on Northern Cape MEC of Health, Fufe Makatong, to see to it that a permanent CEO is urgently appointed to the Robert Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley.
Rumours were circulating that the acting CEO, Richard Jones, was hastily redeployed last night and that the facility finds itself in the passenger seat, with no one steering the province’s one and only tertiary health facility.
This comes shortly after an expose in the local media revealed how at least 13 psychiatric patients were found sleeping on the floor, while awaiting beds.
Jones was acting in the position since January 2016, following the suspension of former CEO Gordon Moncho, who at the time had been implicated in corruption.
For a brief period, corruption busting initiatives were implemented, which included centralizing finance and human resource delegations, in turn placing limitations on the hospital’s ability to function effectively. This was compounded by the dire financial state of the department and facility, which had already spent 50% of its annual budget in the current financial year.
While some delegations were restored, health care at the facility is nonetheless at an all time low. The facility is gravely under resourced and understaffed, with approximately 550 nurses less than what it had ten years ago.
In effect, people are dying because they cannot be timeously and effectively treated.
Regardless of the competency level of Mr Jones, this pitifully functioning facility, now finds itself with no one at the helm and if someone does not take up this position as a matter of urgency, things will go from very bad to worse.
The DA fails to understand why it has taken the failing ANC government three years and counting to appoint a permanent CEO to this crucial facility.
We are calling on MEC Makatong to see to it that this hospital is urgently capacitated with a fit-for-purpose CEO, who will place the needs of the province’s sick people first.
We hope that, for the sake of all the people of this province, Robert Sobukwe hospital gets the necessary leadership and direction required, sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, however, it would be naïve to think that the appointment of a single senior official will be able to resolve the myriad of challenges facing health care in Kimberley and in the Northern Cape, under the current ANC government.
The only real hope of long term reform in the health sector is to usher in a DA-led government. Unlike the failing ANC, the DA has proven that we can run a healthcare system within the current budget, that performs better and attracts healthcare professionals, like in the DA-run Western Cape, which has the highest doctor-per-resident ratio in the country.