A video of South African medical doctor Phophi Ramathuba who is also a member of the executive of health in Limpopo speaking hard truths to a Zimbabwean recently went viral on social media prompting others to label her a xenophobe. It is a charge the MEC has vehemently denied in a follow-up interview with SABC. Having seen the video it is hard to argue with her. While her words might have hurt the patient and other Zimbabweans they are true and considered.

Below is her full interview with SABC.

The blame lies with the Zimbabwean government

The truth is the Zimbabwean government has wrecked the Zimbabwean healthcare system systematically over the past few years through corruption, incompetence and mismanagement. Not only are nurses underpaid, they are also not equipped, but hospitals also lack basic items like paracetamol and bandages. Cancer machines are either missing or broken down. So are dialysis machines. Ambulances do not work. Beds are often broken down and without wheels and even privacy curtains are held by pieces of wire.

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The former minister of health was caught in a corruption scandal that never went anywhere presumably because of his high-up connections. He was not only corrupt but incompetent. His replacement has, to put it bluntly, struggled and barely mentioned or done anything for the health sector except engage in public spats with healthcare workers.

The government and its potbellied officials do not seem bothered and appear oblivious to the plight of the common man. They can hop on a private jet and get first-class treatment in foreign hospitals at the taxpayer’s dime and will not be bothered to fix the local healthcare system. Hollow orders by the president that government officials should be treated locally have been ignored because they are hard to enforce. Even the Finance Minister who does not even live in Zimbabwe has chosen to pretend that the Zimbabwean economy is doing well instead of fixing it.

The MEC is right, she is allocated limited resources based on the census in South Africa’s Limpopo province. Those resources cannot handle a deluge of Zimbabwean immigrants flooding into her province to get free treatment. The result is that taxpaying South Africans end up losing access to resources they paid for through taxes. A temporary solution could be to charge Zimbabweans the full cost of their treatment a number can afford that but most will probably not.