Why is the ANC government hiding healthcare collapse in the Eastern Cape?

BY Yusuf Cassim, Ngqura Constituency Leader

Today, the Eastern Cape Department of Health, through district manager Mrs Geda, stopped me from fulfilling my constitutional obligation as a Member of Parliament by refusing me access to Algoa Park Clinic, as part of my oversight responsibilities.

I will be writing to the MEC for Health, Helen Sauls-August, to inform her of the actions of Mrs Geda and request an investigation into her conduct in this regard.

During an attempted health oversight inspection at the Algoa Park Clinic in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, I was informed that Mrs Geda, had specifically instructed that I not be allowed to perform oversight at the clinic.

This action is an assault on the constitution, the people’s representatives and democracy. People are dying in our clinics, yet public representatives, who are elected to be the eyes, ears and voice of South Africans, are being arrogantly blocked from doing the peoples' bidding. This begs the question, what is the ANC-government and the ECDOH trying to hide?

Ironically, during a visit to the New Brighton Clinic that Mrs Geda, who has been in her position for two months, has never set foot inside the New Brighton Clinic where our people are queuing for over 5 years to access basic healthcare.

Over the past two days I conducted announced and unannounced oversight inspection to three other clinics in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and was joined by DA-councilors Sebenzile Rafani and Sam Beynon .

Clinics in NMB, under the management of the ANC-led ECDOH, are failing the residents of the City. My inspections at the clinics in KwaMagxaki, KwaDesi and New Brighton highlighted long-standing issues that we will be taking up on behalf of our communities.

All of these clinics have a shortage of Doctors, nurses and pharmacy assistants. Staff shortages are compounded by dangerous, crumbling and overextended infrastructure which creates a hazardous environment for staff and patients alike.

Some of the issues identified during the oversight visits are:


KwaMagxaki Clinic:

  • No pharmacy assistant for at least the past 8 years;
  • A doctor only visits the clinic every Friday for 4 hours;
  • The clinic has no space for a pharmacy and medicines are stored in the kitchen;
  • There is no guard house for security officials; and
  • There is a request for road signs to direct people to the clinic.

Newton Brighton Clinic


  • The manager does not want to work at this facility;
  • Curtains are being used as linen due to the shortage of linen;
  • Waiting times for patients exceed five hours due to a shortage of professional nurses;
  • The infrastructure is ailing; and
  • There is a shortage of cleaners creating an unhygienic environment.

KwaDwesi Clinic

  • Many infrastructure issues exists, such as dangerously cracked walls;
  • No designated area for HIV testing and counselling;
  • No separate waiting room and treatment area for TB patients; and
  • Missing door to refuse cage leads to an unsanitary environment, as this causes stray dogs to come onto the premises.

The most devastating story that we discovered is that a resident died tragically and unnecessarily last month. An ambulance called from Livingstone Hospital, failed to arrive for the entire day. The clinic manager had to drive the resident to the hospital; where he died upon arrival of dehydration. No South African should be dying of dehydration under a responsible and caring government.

I will write to the MEC Sauls-August to request feedback on plans to improve the situation at all four clinics.

The 2019 general election is looming and the Democratic Alliance stands firm in its resolve to take over the government of the Eastern Cape and provide quality healthcare and wellness to the people of the province.

The ANC has failed the people of this province, and the time for Change under a DA government is imminent.

 June 28, 2018
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