The SACP has called on the national Health Department to make it possible to select potential students from the Western Cape to be deployed to Cuba to study medicine.
This as SACP members in the province are planning to picket at UCT when students from the Nelson Mandela Fidel Castro medical programme graduate on Friday.
Provincial secretary Benson Ngqentsu said: “Out of the nine provinces in the country, only the province of the Western Cape is not a recipient of the Cuban programme.
“We want to picket and say to the national department that they must do anything possible to select potential students from the Western Cape to benefit from this programme,” Ngqentsu said, following the party’s provincial general council held at the weekend.
Health Department spokesperson Foster Mohale said each province identified students that participate in the programme, and that selected students were funded by the national department.
He said the selected students were placed in the provinces they came from upon completion of their studies.
Mohale added that it was the prerogative of provinces to send students to the medical programme.
“If the national department sends students from provinces to the programme, it will need to place them once they come back. The department does not have authority to place the returning students.”
Ngqentsu said they were backing the full implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI), following the passing of the NHI Bill in the National Assembly.
He said the adoption of the bill was a positive development and a product of relentless efforts, despite major opposition from private health providers and medical aid schemes.
“This is a victory for the working class and we know the right-wing forces will do everything in their power to undermine this development.
We have to remain resolute and not allow our detractors to succeed,” he said, adding that they would picket in support of the NHI Bill when the National Council of Province passes the proposed legislation.
Ngqentsu said the provincial general council received a comprehensive report about the SACP’s political programme towards the reconfiguration of the Tripartite Alliance.
“The meeting raised deep concerns about what appears as slow pace on the work towards the reconfiguration of the Alliance while elections are fast approaching.
“Therefore, the meeting resolved to intensify the struggle for the reconfiguration of the Alliance within the SACP, ANC, Cosatu and on the ground.”
He said they would hold bilateral meetings with the ANC and Cosatu to discuss important tenets of the reconfiguration of the Alliance as a precondition to winning elections in 2024.
“Such preconditions include an approach to the general elections processes which will need an elections strategic workshop of the Alliance facilitated by experts from different disciplines to present scientific research on trends.”