Thursday, 16 November 2017
As a stakeholder in health, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in KwaZulu-Natal is worried about yet another potential instability in the provincial department of health if widely reported allegations are true that the Head of Department has been suspended.
Reports suggest that HOD, Dr Sifiso Mtshali, is suspended because of the oncology crisis in the province, caused by absence of oncologists and unrepaired oncology machines. If this is the basis for his suspension, then DENOSA has a serious problem with the unfairness of this suspension because:
The oncology machines, which now lie in facilities unrepaired, were procured before Dr Mtshali’s time as HOD, and they were procured without maintenance or service plan attached to the procurement; which now becomes exorbitant to repair them.
The employment of oncologists is no longer in the doorstep of the HOD, as this power was taken to the Office of the Premier, where a motivation must first be written for filling of critical clinical posts, a process that takes up to a year. This is the silent moratorium in provinces that we have been complaining about as DENOSA.
“We don’t see the reported reasons for suspending Dr Mtshali as fair at all, and that is concerning because it just invites unnecessary instability in this province, because no decision will be made on health until there is an HOD,” says DENOSA KZN Provincial Organiser, Mandla Shabangu. “We are not saying Dr Mtshali must not face the music if he has done wrong or underperformed, but the reasons for his suspension must be tangible enough and not unnecessarily invite potential legal challenge, a process that may hang the department dry from making critical decisions or filling this position immediately.”
DENOSA warns that the too much red tape that is in place in the province, where decisions on filling of critical clinical positions must first be approved by the Office of the Premier, is still going to victimize a number of other people. This red tape now competes with the difficulty in attracting oncologists from the private sector.
If indeed the allegations are true, Dr Mtshali becomes the second HOD to be suspended in the province. This is the instability the province cannot afford to stomach, and DENOSA asks the questions: if this is the second HOD to be suspended, what becomes of the supervisor of these HODs, in this case the MEC (Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo)? Does he face any consequences, or has provided any assistance to the HODs to improve their performance, or he just remains behind, as has always been the case?
It is the resolution of DENOSA KZN Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) that the MEC must be relieved from his duties and a new MEC be given the opportunity to save the Department from further litigations and failing Health system which has been ongoing in the province for far too long.
DENOSA also calls on the Department to also prioritize the employment of nurses who specialize in oncology, as the current staff shortage stretches the few nurses in facilities to a breaking point already.
Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in KwaZulu-Natal
For more information, contact:
Mandla Shabangu, DENOSA KZN Provincial Organiser
Mobile: 071 643 3369
Tel: 031 305 1417