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COULD the current challenges facing our country be associated with having our Cabinet winding down its exit much too soon? With more than 70 per cent of the team certain not to return due to constitutional prohibitions, the lack of energy for service delivery is glaring. 

The response by the ministers to the current state of affairs is that they are delivering. Not that we expected them to say anything else but the public deserves some respect in how government reacts to the people’s plight.
From prolonged non-payment of service providers to drug shortages, food shortages, elderly grant delays, lack of travel documents, lack of road maintenance, fuel shortages and job losses to mention a few, the 12 months remaining in office must seem like five more years to the ministers who can’t wait to pass the buck to the next group. Taking a close look at each of these problems, what is certain is that our health problems are set to be with us for many more years to come. The report into the cause of the drug shortage is out and it confirms the obvious. Our health system is mismanaged. We’ve spent a lot of money to tell us what we already knew, just as we also know that the next step is to do nothing about it.

It is in this government’s DNA that all reports with good recommendations must undergo a process of neutralisation. By this we mean having the report dumped in a cabinet to gather the usual dust and throwing away the key so that a new Health minister comes in five years later to start the whole process all over again when the next self created crisis comes around.
Minister of Health Sibongile Simelane has come out to say it will take about five years to fix some of the problems highlighted in the report. This includes filling up the 200 posts needed to create an efficient and effective drug supply, distribution and storage mechanism in the country.

The excuse given is the lack of skilled personnel. Nonsense! Why take so long on a matter of life and death of a nation? If government were really concerned, it would recruit pharmacists from other countries on contract basis while we train and recruit our own over the five years. How do you put people’s lives on pause? This cannot be a question of a lack of funds because we can easily suggest where to cut and reallocate. If the country can afford to recruit over 150 people to join the army in a single year for a country that is far from war, then why should our lives be less important?

What Cabinet seems to overlook is the dangerous perception being created in the minds of the populace that government is less concerned about the people’s well-being and is building up an armed force to counter any protest that may arise as a result of this position. When we talk of being less concerned, the school food situation immediately comes to mind. Prisoners must be wondering what all the fuss is about. They are well fed by the system while innocent children starve. The inmates can be forgiven to think that all the headlines about schools running out of food are a figment of our imagination. They haven’t even been asked to grow food for the nation as a way of giving back for all the suffering they have subjected society. Of course, as we all know, prisoners are not the only ones enjoying free food at taxpayers’ expense.
The latest reaction from the Education minister is that food is being stolen by the school committees and he has the evidence to prove it. Well why tell the world before going to the police station and getting all those responsible behind bars. The longer his so called suspects roam the streets the more our children starve.

For all their transgressions there can be no forgiving government for punishing the elderly people by delaying or denying them their meagre grants. For a DPM  to come and say he doesn’t know they exist because they are not on his database, is to say he is least bothered to go around the country to ensure all the elderly people are catered for. All it takes is a single announcement calling upon all those turning 60 the following year to register at their nearest inkhundla centre, post office, police station or clinic for that matter. What are all these government facilities there for if we can’t use them? Once again, if the army could go around the country recruiting all eligible soldiers, why can’t the DPM’s office go around finding all the elderly on time?

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