Pretoria – Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba has instructed doctors in the province to produce bills for illegal Zimbabwean nationals who receive treatment at their facilities which will be submitted as invoices to Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Ramathuba was again filmed speaking to a Zimbabwean patient in Mokopane.
“What is Mnangagwa doing? Mnangagwa is out of order. He must do his work. I’m going to bill him.
“Let’s really be serious. Let’s cost all the foreigners, especially with our rural health matters. We (will) send the bill. All the bills, including the (child) deliveries that we have had, must be sent to their government.
“I’ll also issue a statement, saying the Limpopo government has sent a bill of so many millions for this month for Zimbabweans who crossed the bridge to come (and get healthcare from us).
“There are pregnant women with Zimbabwean medical cards that are written that the place of delivery is South Africa. We are midwives and doctors and we cannot turn away pregnant women. They are not the ones who made Mnangagwa president, but I will send the bill. He must pay me,” said Ramathuba.
It is not the first time that Ramathuba has been filmed making controversial statements about Zimbabwean patients and their president, Mnangagwa.
She was recently filmed addressing a Zimbabwean patient on the impact of foreign nationals taking up bed space in public hospitals.
Ramathuba’s address took place at Bela Bela Hospital while she was on a departmental inspection of public health facilities last month.
The video trended on Twitter, sparking a debate on South Africa’s approach to illegal immigration, a conversation politicians have been shy to discuss over many years.
Opposition parties such as the EFF and the DA have called for Ramathuba to be removed as MEC, while the likes of the Patriotic Alliance, the ANC Youth League in Limpopo and some social media users defended her.
The national Health Department released a media statement acknowledging the challenges that Ramathuba raised during the Bela Bela visit.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla visited Operation Dudula protesters who had been camping outside Kalafong Provincial Tertiary Hospital in protest over undocumented foreign patients.
Police and reserve tanks were on standby as the protesters burnt T-shirts of the EFF, which has been vocal in its support for foreign nationals.
“We went to visit a number of areas. There is clearly discomfort and anxiety among the doctors but they are focused. Our Constitution is very clear in terms of the rights of anybody to be assisted when they need healthcare. The state must do everything possible for people in the country, and more specifically those needing emergency treatment,” said Phaahla.
He said more consulting would be done to ensure the issues around SADC patients benefiting from the South African healthcare system was officially addressed.