Cuban doctors will augment SA medics' efforts not take away jobs, says Zweli Mkhize
Share this article:
Cape Town - National Treasury has given the go-ahead to the health ministry to fill all doctors' posts that had been frozen as the country combats the Covid-19 outbreak, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Tuesday.
Mkhize said Finance Minister Tito Mboweni had personally given a commitment that the funding would be found for additional staff to enter the health system, Mkhize told a media briefing screened live on television.
He called on all doctors who wished to apply to come forward.
Mkhize said the health ministry did an inventory of posts and found that in some provinces, all had already been filled, but said posts in provinces with vacancies would be filled.
He defended the plan to deploy 200 Cuban doctors to help with Covid-19 cases, saying South Africa owed a huge debt to that country for continuous health care support, including training of the latest crop of 700 South African students.
Mkhize said those coming in would not take jobs away from South African doctors, and the country was lucky to have them as Cuba had already committed big numbers of doctors to other countries, including Italy.
"I want to thank Cuba wholeheartedly for all the support that they have always given us."
Mkhize said the Cuban doctors would be deployed to provinces once they emerged from a precautionary quarantine period.
The minister said the government made the decision to ease lockdown restrictions in a phased manner from Friday because health modelling suggested that there would be little further benefit in the fight to slow the spread of Covid-19 in extending a full-scale lockdown.
"We reached a situation where there wasn't going to be any further benefit in extending the lockdown," he said, concurring with recent pronouncements by his special advisor, Professor Salim Abdool Karim.
Mkhize said however, the decision was also driven by the need for food security for South Africans and their need to be able to earn an income.
He stressed that these considerations weighed heavily for President Cyril Ramaphosa.
African News Agency (ANA)
* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's special #Coronavirus page.
** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za