Durban – The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum has come out in defence of Limpopo Health MEC, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, over comments made to a foreign national undergoing treatment at a provincial facility.
In an interview with eNCA, the Forum’s Tino Mambeu said the MEC was only highlighting the truth.
“It will be unfair to say that Dr Ramathuba was xenophobic in her statements. She just highlighted the sentiments of many South African politicians and the general masses that the influx of Zimbabweans in South Africa has caused serious damage to the health situation in the country,” he said.
He said it was beyond reasonable doubt that Zimbabweans were putting a strain on South Africa’s health system.
He added that the MEC provided factual information on the numbers that the SA government provided for within the health sector.
Mambeu gave context of the Zim healthcare structures, adding that many opt to seek healthcare in SA.
He said in the video clip, the MEC did not blame Zimbabweans, instead she noted that the failures were on the part of the Zimbabwean government.
Ramathuba was filmed telling a patient to get medical treatment in her own country because South Africa’s health-care system was being burdened by foreign nationals.
She then told staff at the Bela Bela hospital that the woman must pay for treatment before she was dismissed.
Meanwhile, the DA and EFF are calling for Limpopo’s Health MEC to be axed over the comments.
Ramathuba has defended her statements. In an interview with the SABC, the MEC said it was her responsibility to ensure that the people in her province lived a long and healthy life.
Acting Health Minister Angie Motshekga has also instructed officials to provide her with a full report over Ramathuba’s viral comments.
In the video, Ramathuba explains how undocumented migrants cause strain on the public health system and tells the patient, who is laying on a bed at Bela Bela Hospital, that Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa does not pay for his citizens utilising health services.
She also reportedly instructed the hospital’s chief executive not to release the patient unless they paid for the services.
“I went to Canada, you know before I entered the country, before they gave me a visa, I must show proof that if I fell sick in Canada, I will be able to cater for myself,” she said.
“It is only in South Africa where people just come in,” she added.
Motshekga said she would provide Health Minister Joe Phaahla with a full report over the incident once he returned to the country.