The EFF accused Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi of xenophobia for saying foreigners placed a burden on South Africa's public health system. Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi/African News Agency/ANA

Cape Town - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on Thursday accused Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi of xenophobia for saying foreigners placed a burden on South Africa's public health system.

"The Economic Freedom Fighters condemns the xenophobic statements by Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi, who attributes his dismal failure in public health to the number of people, mostly Africans, who reside in South Africa, whilst not being citizens," EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said. 

Media have reported that the minister told a meeting of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union in Johannesburg: "The weight that foreign nationals are bringing to the country has got nothing to do with xenophobia… it's a reality. Our hospitals are full, we can't control them".

He reportedly called for more hospitals and clinics to be established and added: "A woman is pregnant and about to deliver a baby, you can’t turn her away from the hospital and say you are a foreign national… you can’t. And when they deliver a premature baby, you have got to keep them in hospital. When more and more come, you can’t say the hospital is full now go away… they have to be admitted, we have got no option – and when they get admitted in large numbers, they cause overcrowding, infection control starts failing”. 

Ndlozi said Motsoaledi was "an anti-African self-hater" who was shifting blame for his own mismanagement of the health system to the fact that South Africa, like many other countries, was experiencing immigration as for political and economic reasons.

"Instead of rhetorical and often shallow commitments to quality public healthcare, the minister should consider the introduction of a quality primary healthcare system, similar to the one in Cuba."

African News Agency (ANA)