The EFF in the Western Cape has vowed to continue applying pressure on the provincial government to open more 24-hour health facilities in townships and remote rural areas Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency(ANA)
The EFF in the Western Cape has vowed to continue applying pressure on the provincial government to open more 24-hour health facilities in townships and remote rural areas Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency(ANA)

EFF vows to continue demanding 24-hour health facilities in Cape townships

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Sep 13, 2021

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Cape Town - The EFF in the Western Cape has vowed to continue applying pressure on the provincial government to open more 24-hour health facilities in townships and remote rural areas to ensure that all citizens of the province have equal access to the health system.

EFF provincial chairperson Melikhaya Xego credited the EFF with having pressured Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo into opening just such a health centre in Grabouw two years ago.

Grabouw has no public hospital and the public clinic used to close at 7pm, forcing people who needed medical care after hours to take a 30-minute drive to Somerset West or Caledon or to make the 65km trip to Cape Town.

Protests in the area saw the department start running the clinic as a 24-hour centre.

Xego said: “The provision of health care cannot be reduced to a seven-hour service as is the current situation. The demand for proper health facilities with capacity is growing by the day.

“A world-class health system is one which treats its people with dignity and ensures they receive proper healthcare by working smart with their resources.”

Accusing the department of being preoccupied with clean audits, he said: “The MEC should be aware that clean audits do not cure people.”

THE EFF's provincial chairperson Melikhaya Xego.

Responding to the debate, Mbombo accused the national government of having chosen a health system that segregated people further, was unaffordable, unavailable and inaccessible to many South Africans.

“The ANC chose a health system where 80% of the population gets the same equivalent national health budget with 20% that the haves get.

“For 27 years, the ANC still hasn’t been able to implement regulation of private health. Why? Because they sell a narrative that public health is bad because of private health.

“These are lies to divide us. Now they have brought out the worst form of national health insurance, pretending it will create equitable and affordable access to health services.”

Mbombo said public-private partnerships were the key to preserving patient dignity. She said the department had entered into several partnerships that have allowed it to provide access to much-needed health services.

Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo accused the national government of having chosen a health system that was unaffordable, unavailable and inaccessible to many South Africans. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency

Provincial ANC health spokesperson Rachel Windvolgel said: “The Western Cape Health Department thrives on misinformation tactics by using statistics to hide objective realities.

“Carefully selected statistics are often used to portray a picture of a best run department, whereas on the ground our people sleep on the floors in health-care facilities, and chronically ill people and the injured die while waiting for ambulances that arrive after five hours.

“The public health-care system in the Western Cape caters for the rich while the poor are deprived of their rights to health-care service and emergency treatment,” said Windvogel.

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Cape Argus

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