NEWS & ANALYSIS

More lives at risk as Speaker denies Oncology Crisis snap debate – DA KZN

Party says the removal of Health MEC Dhlomo cannot come soon enough for the people of the province

KZN Cancer Crisis: More lives at risk as Speaker denies Oncology Crisis snap debate

22 June 2017

The Democratic Alliance is disappointed by KwaZulu-Natal Speaker, Lydia Johnson’s refusal to allow a snap debate on the current Oncology crisis within the province during a sitting of the provincial Legislature today.

Yesterday the DA wrote to the Speaker to request the debate in terms of Rule 103.1 which refers to a matter of Urgent Public Importance.

This after an investigation by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) last week found KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo and his Department guilty of violating the rights of patients with cancer to healthcare services including access to adequate oncology services.

The Speaker, by refusing the DA's request for an urgent debate, has acted largely in terms of the political imperatives of her party to protect their MEC. It is, however, obvious that many members of the ANC find the position of the MEC untenable. Had the debate proceeded, these members would have had the opportunity to express their loss of confidence in the MEC.

The Speaker has, however, acknowledged that the province is facing a very serious problem in terms of general healthcare services and in particular, oncology, and that the Legislature and its portfolio committee for health must take ownership of the problem.

The removal of Health MEC Dhlomo cannot come soon enough for the people of KZN. From cancer treatment to mortuary services to EMRS services, this is an MEC who has failed them time and time again.

The DA again calls on the KZN Legislature to exercise its powers of oversight. We also call on all parties represented in the Legislature to take collective responsibility to hold the MEC accountable. If the MEC will not go voluntarily then the Premier has a duty to the people to release him from his duties.

Issued by Chief Whip to the DA in the KZN Legislature, 22 June 2017