Awaiting the last nail in the coffin of Gauteng’s public health system


Awaiting the last nail in the coffin of Gauteng’s public health system

Despite a budget of more than R60 billion, the Gauteng public health system is in a critical condition. One scandal after another has made headlines in recent years: Life Esidimeni, tender fraud with personal protective equipment, the Rahima Moosa crisis, the Tembisa Hospital corruption that led to the death of Babita Deokaran ... Is anything being done about all of this, asks ILSE SALZWEDEL.

THE public healthcare system in Gauteng is in the ICU, which is ironic given that the province's healthcare budget has increased tenfold over the past two decades from just under R6 billion (thousand million) in 2000 to R60 billion this year. In the same period, the population nearly doubled: from 8,8 million people (2001) to about 16 million currently, of whom an estimated 64,2% are dependent on the state for health care, according to a 2022 health department report. (To put this in perspective: The Western Cape's health budget is R23,8 billion, with a population of 7 million, of which 52% use the public healthcare system.)

Yet all this money for Gauteng's healthcare system does not mean more or better hospitals or better services for patients. In fact, patients in state hospitals are much worse off than they were before. Ordinary citizens tell horror stories of unsanitary conditions, poor service and negligence, and headlines in newspapers and official reports, such as two by the Ombudsman for Health and one by the Office of the Public Protector (PP) since 2017, confirm this.

One would think that the damning report by the Ombudsman for Health, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, after the Life Esidimeni tragedy, in which 144 people with mental health conditions died following the forced relocation of more than 1 500 patients from Life Esidimeni, would have caused the Gauteng health authorities to reflect. Makgoba's findings include that the department acted negligently by hastily relocating the patients to 27 facilities operated by ill-equipped, unlicensed NGOs. Most of the deaths were from starvation or negligence...

Register for free to read this article.

Hello! Vrye Weekblad moved from Arena Holdings to the Nuwe Vrye Weekblad Media Group on 1 October 2022. This means that we must ask you to create a reader profile again.

For October, which C. Louis Leipoldt did not call "the most beautiful month" for nothing, this will give you access to all articles published in that month.

We hope this gives Arena enough time to pay out all outstanding subscription fees to current subscribers.

From 1 January 2023 you will take out a subscription. But for now everything is mahala! Enjoy it. And thanks for being with us again!

Already registered? Click "Sign Up" to continue

For new VWB 3.0 enquiries: WhatsApp 071 170 8927 (for text messages only) or email