#KZNOncologyCrisis: Health MEC resorts to fake news to bolster his own image

Democratic Alliance media statement by Dr Imran Keeka, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Health


#KZNOncologyCrisis: Health MEC resorts to fake news to bolster his own image


The DA will today write to KZN Premier, Willies Mchunu, after his Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, last week resorted to spreading fake news regarding the arrival of a new radiotherapy machine at Addington Hospital – announcing that the equipment was currently being installed – while it was still on board a ship miles out to sea.

The information has been confirmed by a high-ranking source within KZN’s Department of Health, who also advised that the ship was only due to dock in Durban yesterday.

The DA condemns the peddling of such fictitious information in the strongest possible terms. KZN’s ongoing oncology crisis is still costing lives every day with no end in sight and given the seriousness of the situation there can be no place for false information such as that being peddled by the MEC.

It is both deeply disappointing and insensitive that he should falsely raise the hopes and expectations of KZN’s cancer sufferers – purely in an attempt to bolster his own image as the so-called saviour of cancer patients. This must surely be the lowest possible level that he can stoop to.

The MEC’s proclamation also comes after he admitted to the province’s Health Portfolio committee on 9 March that the machine would not be operational, as promised, by the end of April 2018 and that it would only be working by the end of July.  This, after numerous earlier promises to the people of KZN that both the new machine and another older one would be fully functional in August last year and then by February this year.

Apart from writing to the Premier, I will also raise this issue with the DA leadership in the KZN Legislature as it appears that this is also a matter for the press ombudsman to investigate. This after both a provincial newspaper and a national broadcaster disseminated what appear to be misguided and misleading stories on the oncology crisis during the last week.

The MEC’s reputation is already in ruins – not only from his refusal to account to the people of KZN, the Legislature and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) over the province’s oncology crisis – but even more so for the many false commitments he has made when it comes to getting this critical service up and running again.

No amount of news – fake or otherwise – is going to save him after a decade of mismanagement under an equally uncaring ANC leadership. The time has come for him to go.

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