DA urges PP to investigate alleged 100 million medication theft by Mpumalanga Premier

Issued by Jane Sithole, MPL – DA Spokesperson on Health: Mpumalanga Province
17 May 2024 in Press Releases

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Mpumalanga will call on the Public Protector to investigate the damning allegations that Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane is involved in a theft of R100 million that was meant to buy medication for patients in the public hospitals and clinics.

Several patients and healthcare workers are reporting gross shortage of medication in many public health institutions like Rob Ferreira Hospital, Lydenburg Hospital, Witbank Hospital and several clinics across the province. A patient who spoke to the DA last week, claimed that he recently spent two weeks in Rob Ferreira Hospital and had to buy his own medication because there was none in the institution.

A local newspaper published an article recently alleging that Mtwseni-Tsipane and a former Mpumalanga Director-General are behind the alleged theft of R100 million that was paid to a supplier for the province’s clinics and hospitals medicine supplies. The medicine was never delivered, leaving health institutions across the province without basic medication.

It is alleged that Mtsweni-Tsipane stole the money so she could bribe ANC National Working Committee members to bid for her second term to be Mpumalanga Premier. These allegations are not far-fetched if you take into consideration the fact that the faction of Mandla Ndlovu, the current ANC Mpumalanga Chairperson, are mobilising support for him to take over from Mtshweni-Tsipane as Premier after the upcoming elections.

If the allegations above turn out to be true, it will then mean that Mpumalanga’s public healthcare users are collateral damage to Mtsweni-Tsipane’s political survival and her endeavours of keeping her position as Premier. This would be very cruel and that is why the DA wants the Public Protector to get involved and do an urgent investigation to this damning matter.

On Wednesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa, signed the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill into law – which according to the ANC is meant to provide universal access to quality health care for all South Africans as enshrined in the Constitution. How is this province expected to successfully implement this Bill when they are stealing money meant to buy medication for healthcare institutions? Moreover, the Mpumalanga Provincial Health Department stated that only 123 of 292 health facilities in the province had met the minimum standard of the Office of Health Standards Compliance. It was also mentioned that not a single public hospital in the province is NHI compliant.

The NHI scheme is a danger to our country’s healthcare. The DA is therefore pursuing all legal avenues to challenge NHI.