6 June 2016
The DA is concerned that the future of a number of students who were awarded bursaries by the Northern Cape Health Department, risk being kicked out of university due to the non-payment of their bursary fees. Students studying at the University of the Free State are particularly affected by the department’s tardiness.
The health department’s latest quarterly report confirms that the department has overspent its Health Professions Training and Development Grant due to poor planning with regards to incremental spending in the awarding of bursaries. The DA is aware that this is largely related to the Cuban doctor training programme, which has to date consumed millions of rands worth of funds for which the true benefits have yet to be seen.
It is unacceptable that the department’s inherent poor planning and skewed priorities must now dash the dreams of hopeful young students, who have committed themselves to serving others through noble medical professions.
It is deplorable that the department treats its health training programme with such disdain.
It is common knowledge that the provincial health department has a dire shortage of doctors, medical specialists, professional nurses and pharmacists, amongst others. The awarding of bursaries in the medical field is therefore critical to ensure that the department builds up its skilled staff component.
The departments’ lack of commitment towards building its human resource capacity with capable professionals epitomises the department’s attitude towards health care – it simply doesn’t care.
The DA will write to recently appointed HOD, Liz Botes, asking that the financially embattled department takes responsibility for its commitments and pays its dues to all tertiary institutions where bursary holders are currently studying.
A failure to do so will not only add to the high levels of despondency amongst the youth but will also have a long lasting, negative impact on the future face of health care in the Northern Cape.
DA Northern Cape Provincial Leader
082 383 6914
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387