Parliament, Tuesday, 24 August 2021 – The Portfolio Committee on Health concluded its oversight visit in Gauteng yesterday. The committee visited Tembisa Hospital and various vaccination sites, and also met with the MEC of Health, Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi.
Acting Committee Chairperson Mr Tshilidzi Munyai said the oversight follows last month’s civil unrest in the province. The committee wanted to have a concrete analysis of the situation on the ground and to understand the extent of the civil unrest’s impact on health infrastructure, the vaccine rollout and on healthcare service provision in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), the two provinces most affected by the unrest.
Mr Munyai said the committee observed infrastructure problems, shortages of critical staff posts, and the pressure on Phoenix Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital. Tembisa Hospital, which services three metros, including the cities of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni communities, needs more resources equal to that of Northdale Hospital in KZN. Tembisa hospital has made significant progress in implementing the Ombudsman’s recommendations. However, more resources are urgently required to improve infrastructure, including building more wards. This will require Kempton Park Hospital to be reopened and the building of a new regional hospital to ease pressure on Tembisa Tertiary Hospital.
“Tremendous efforts have been put forward to resolutely and progressively change the quality of healthcare of our people for the better, in both KZN and Gauteng provinces,” Mr Munyai went on to say. “The subjective challenges we observed were exactly the reason we need to expedite health reform in the form of National Health Insurance as a fundamental necessity.”
Mr Munyai praised the sacrifice of healthcare workers in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. “These heroes and heroines deserve honour and great respect from all South Africans, for doing the work they do in service of our democratic country.”
In an effort to increase the numbers of people in vaccination sites, Mr Munyai called on all provinces to expedite Operation Siyabalanda, to vaccinate eligible community members across the length and breadth of our country. “We must build a broad front of faith-based and community organisation, school governing bodies, community policing fora, the public sector, trade unions and organised business in partnership with government to accelerate vaccination. It is our national duty, our moral obligation to guarantee that all South Africans have access to vaccines and all are vaccinated.”
Mr Munyai further commended the MEC of Health in KZN, Ms Nomagugu Simelane, and in Gauteng, Dr Mokgethi. The committee also has confidence in the Premier of KZN, Mr Sihle Zikalala, and of Gauteng, Mr David Makhura, for being vaccine champions. “Many more vaccine champions are required in our communities,” Mr Munyai urged. “The work of these two provinces was way above and beyond our expectations in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.”
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, MR TSHILIDZI MUNYAI.
For media inquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact the committee’s Media Officer:
Name: Ms Yoliswa Landu
Parliamentary Communication Services
Cell: 081 497 4694
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