Nehawu blasts Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba after video shows her scolding clinic bosses

Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba. Picture: Screengrab

Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba. Picture: Screengrab

Published Jan 30, 2023


Pretoria - The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) in Limpopo have called out the province’s Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba, labelling her a “cheap populist” and “shameless” after she appeared in a video scolding senior managers at Rethabile Clinic in Polokwane.

In the controversial clip that went viral last week and caused a stir, Ramathuba is seen in a screaming match, accusing supervisors and nurses of sitting idle while patients were waiting in long queues.

She is heard saying: “As a supervisor, I expect you’d be sitting here and working. When there is a disaster, I can’t go on leave. When there is a disaster with Eskom, the president cancelled his trip to the World Economic Forum. You can’t be the first to go to lunch when there is a disaster and leave junior staff.”

However, Nehawu leaders took exception to Ramathuba’s rant, saying they were “flabbergasted by the continued embarrassing populist stance and utterances by Ramathuba towards health-care workers in the province”.

In a statement written by its provincial secretary, Moses Maubane accuses Ramathuba of “embarking on a populist programme of shamelessly embarrassing health-care workers in various hospitals in the province”.

“Her cheap populist media stance towards defenceless staff members in health facilities is nothing else but a cheap political publicity stance and a cover-up of her failure to manage her management in the department,” Maubane said.

He further accused Ramathuba of not inspiring confidence with her behaviour towards workers in the department, and equally the people of the province, who expect quality public health-care services.

The union further condemned Ramathuba’s behaviour and called for her to stop with “populist publicity stunts” that she has embarked on and rather focus on the day-to-day challenges of the department.

Defending the workers, the union said they were working under difficult conditions with severe shortages of staff, equipment and dilapidated infrastructure and highly compromised security at their workplaces.

“These people need to be inspired and given confidence because one health worker is doing the work of at least four people. A nurse, for instance, becomes a porter, a messenger a cleaner, a mortuary attendant, etc. All this work is not appreciated by the department. When it comes to incentives, performance bonuses, they must first fight with the department before they are paid, and even the payment is obscure.”

The union warned Ramathuba to stop what they called the harassment and bullying of health workers.

Efforts to reach Ramathuba’s spokesperson, Thilivhali Muavha, came to nought. However, in a television interview Ramathuba defended her actions, saying service delivery should be prioritised and she was not going to apologise for her actions.

It’s not the first time Ramathuba has hogged the news headlines. Last year she was controversially heard telling pupils at a Limpopo school to close their legs and open their books,which got tongues wagging.

In another controversial incident, also in a video that went viral, Ramathuba was seen screaming at a patient who was of Zimbabwean descent for “expecting to get free medical treatment in South Africa”.

The incident brought continental condemnation, with some accusing Ramathuba of being xenophobic.

Pretoria News