Johannesburg - EFF leader Julius Malema has challenged President Cyril Ramaphosa to forgo his R3.6million annual salary, telling a crowd of supporters in Soweto “because you’re already a billionaire”.
Malema was launching the EFF’s campaign for the nationwide provision of quality public healthcare outside Soweto’s Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital on Wednesday.
Referring to Ramaphosa, Malema said: “Your salary could be used to improve conditions at Bara Hospital.
“Stop getting a salary. Let that salary be used to improve Bara.
"It is the biggest hospital but it has degenerated. Cyril’s house in Cape Town which he bought with his own money is more beautiful than a children’s ward at Bara,” Malema said.
The EFF has vowed to "expose” all health facilities including “white medical doctors” in the country who are allegedly ill-treating black patients, especially the aged.
Prior to Malema’s address, Lerato Madumo-Gova - a nurse at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and president of Young Nurses Indaba - painted a bleak picture of the working conditions at the hospital, including the alleged refusal by the Gauteng Health Department to employ more nurses.
Madumo-Gova made the scathing attack in the presence of the hospital’s acting head Sifiso Maseko and several senior managers who were there toaccept the EFF’s list of demands.
“This is 2018, it is a year of quality public service.
"People are still standing in queues at Lillian Ngoyi Clinic. People are still standing in a queue here at Bara. It might be the biggest hospital in southern Africa, but it is the most dilapidated.
“Healthcare is not a priority of the ANC. Instead, they used R55 billion on flavoured condoms,” Madumo-Gova said.
The government had actually budgeted R3.5bn for the flavoured condoms.
She further said there were more than 320 nurses who recently qualified at the Bara Nursing College but were yet to gain employment despite a shortage of nurses at the institution.
Malema urged EFF members to constantly carry their smartphones when visiting Bara Hospital and to take videos of health professionals allegedly disrespecting patients.
The Gauteng Health Department has vowed to deal with all the complaints raised in the EFF memorandum.
It would also look at other complaints laid by ordinary residents.
“As the department, we encourage health users not to accept substandard services and to raise their concern with facility managers if they are not happy with the services rendered.
“All complaints and allegations brought to our attention are followed thoroughly and necessary steps are taken against those found to have done wrong,” said department spokesperson Lesemang Matuka.