The United Front fully supports the People’s Commission of Inquiry into the Free State Health System.
The recent reports of failures in the delivery of health services in the Free State cannot and should not be seen in isolation of the neo-liberal policies that government has been pursuing since 1994.
For example, the 2015 national and provincial budget heralded a consolidation of such policies with Minister Nene indicating that the provincial budgets will be reduced in real terms with provincial health allocations being cut by nearly half a billion this year to over a billion rand in 2016/17.
The trickle down effect of the national budgetary policies is clearly seen in the Free State MEC for Health Benny Malakoane 2015/16 Health Budget Speech where he stated,
“You may have heard or read that our economy is in dire straits; there is no new money!! … we have to commence applying austerity measures, bring about efficiencies and cost effectiveness in our operations…against the rising demands and expectations .”
It is a clear that in the MEC’s own words that the Free State is not in a position over the next three years to deliver quality services to those living and working in the Province. The United Front is not convinced that with the Free State equitable share being reduced by R148.685 million in 2015/16 financial year and R223.138 million in 2016/17 will not impact negatively on the delivery of health services in the Province.
Furthermore, for the United Front inadequate financing also provides fertile ground for maladministration and corruption to flourish due to weakened checks and balances within government to monitor the performance of service providers in the Province.
The United Front strongly holds national and provincial government accountable for the current crisis in the health system in the Free State. It is unacceptable that twenty-one years into our democracy that the province faces more stockouts of essential medicines and supplies than any other province; lacks basics such as surgical gloves, water, and blankets; and service provision taking place in dilapidated health facilities due to lack of maintenance.
We firmly believe that this disintegration has primarily been driven by the failure of the post-1994 political and economic dispensation in protecting the rights of those accessing health services.
The United Front stands in full solidarity with TAC’s demand that the time of denial is over and that the MEC for Health and the National Minister of Health acknowledge the daily reports of patients facing inadequate, often undignified and inhumane, and sometimes altogether suspended services.
As the United Front we call on activists and other organisations to join TAC in support of the establishment of an independent public inquiry to investigate and expose the true situation in the Free State. Such an inquiry will give voice to those affected by poor health services including health care providers, and to demand that government listen and respond to the solutions provided by communities to reverse the collapse of the healthcare system of which mostly poor people depend and rely.
The United Front will participate in the public inquiry that will be taking place from 7th and 8th of July in Bloemfontein. The United Front welcomes the high profile panelists including Thembeka Gwagwa of DENOSA and Bishop Paul Verryn of the Methodist Church which will preside over proceedings that will hear testimonies from users of the public healthcare system.
The United Front calls on its members based in the Free State to attend and give testimony on the state of their health care system.
Those interested in this campaign contact:
- Current Matheatau (UF Free State Provincial Chairperson) – 0825398072
- Grace Mosokotsoane (UF Free State Provincial Secretary) – 0792552228,
- Mazibuko Jara (UF Interim National Secretary) – 083 987 9633