OPINION

Health MEC should account for failed trip to China – DA NCape

Andrew Louw says payments of R500 000 were made for trip but never reclaimed by dept after it got cancelled

DA calls on Health MEC to account for failed trip to China

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape is calling on Health MEC, Fufe Makatong to account for the excessive expenditure incurred by the provincial Health Department for a cancelled trip to China for her and her Head of Ministry, Xolile Jack.

The DA has it on good authority that MEC Makatong and Jack wracked up a bill of close to R500 000 for a trip to China, which was eventually cancelled. Payments made for the trip, were not reclaimed by the department, resulting in fruitless and wasteful expenditure. At the same time, Makatong and Jack are believed to have retained the travel allowance paid out to them.

While the reason for the intended trip has yet to be established, the high cost of the trip itself is questionable. At a cost of R250 000 per person, one can only assume that they were intending to fly first class, stay and dine at top class hotels and restaurants, and take in more than a spot of sightseeing.

From an MEC who has publicly sworn off wastage and corruption, her actions grossly contradict her public declarations.

The state of health care in the Northern Cape is at an all time low, with people suffering and dying because of chronic financial mismanagement and a resultant collapse in services.

Half a million rand could have gone a long way to procuring a mammography machine for the Dr Harry Surtie Hospital in Upington, or towards fixing the collapsing infrastructure at the Robert Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley.

The MEC must come clean on the reasons for the trip, exactly what the costs entailed and why she deemed it acceptable for her and Jack to keep their travel allowance for a non-existent trip.

MEC Makatong is not above the law. She is responsible for close to 1 million residents of the Northern Cape who depend on the government for medical care and treatment. She needs to look them in the eye and tell them why she saw fit to squander the very money that is meant to save them, on a trip for two, to the far East.

Only change under a DA-led government will ensure that money intended for the provision of health services is not squandered by self-serving politicians of the failing ANC and is directed to building a fully functioning and efficient health service in the Northern Cape.

Issued by Andrew Louw, DA Northern Cape Premier Candidate, 3 December 2018