NEWS & ANALYSIS

Buck stops with Theuns Botha over dispensing chaos - ANC WCape

Mcebisi Skwatsha says WCape MEC should resign over latest drug shortages

ANC says fire Botha if he does not resign

The Western Cape ANC says the DA's health MEC Theuns Botha is still running away from taking full responsibility for the medicine dispensing chaos in the province while thousands of patients' lives are at stake as several shortages and irregular availability of lifesaving chronic medication festers on (see Cape Argus report).

ANC spokesperson for health Mcebisi Skwatsha (ANC) says: "It is the third time in two years that scores of patients with life-threatening conditions are queuing in long lines, get turned away and not receive the medication they need. Repeated shortages have now become the characteristic of this DA government with Botha as the MEC of health.

"It is tantamount to gambling with the lives of hundreds of thousands of poor and ordinary state patients in the province. Insulin for diabetics, inflammatory reducing and chemotherapy treatment are again not readily available. This happens only three months after the previous bout. It infringes on the rights of patients, sentence them to possible death and inconvenience many very poor people by not giving them essential medication.

"The many excuses and blame shifting is lame. Botha is seen making statements on the closure of schools and the shortages of handbooks. He should leave the education portfolio as his own department lacks due leadership to sort out his medicine crisis. He spends too much time monitoring health in the Eastern Cape, while his department fails people. He should rather go. The Western Cape deserves better than this mayhem."

The ANC has repeated its call for Botha to resign for the widespread debacle which has inconvenienced and endangered the lives of many poor and vulnerable patients in the Western Cape. He is the political head of that department which is riddled with many cases of poor service delivery. As MEC he is the responsible person and the buck stops with him as he is accountable to the public and voters.

"If Botha does not face up to the ugly truth and without any delay does the honourable thing by resigning, premier Helen Zille should fire him.

The department is haunted in media reports for poor service delivery, a massive shortage of beds in many hospitals, the scandal of patients sleeping on floors in some hospitals, rescheduling of operations due to various problems and staff saying they are working under continued disaster conditions.

"This debacle is also highlighted in an investigation by South Africa's Public Protector Thuli Madonsela at the Gugulethu hospital where the service was found to be very poor, the place dirty and workers were found to be drunk on duty. It is a travesty that the DA-led government claims to be among the best in the world, while people are dying in queues at clinics, babies die of diarrhoea due to poor infrastructure and many suffer because of poor services," Skwatsha added.

Statement issued by Mcebisi Skwatsha, ANC Western Cape spokesperson on health, July 15 2012

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