Mpuma health MEC the best choice – spokesman

Despite the criticism he received when he was appointed Mpumalanga health MEC in May last year, MEC Gillion Mashego believes he has done a good job.

In a recent press statement, his spokesman Dumisane Malamule said the MEC had brought notable changes to the portfolio, including the payment of suppliers who had not been paid in previous financial years.

"When the MEC was deployed to the department he found that there were accruals which amounted to over R800 million. Today we can confirm that the department has paid off all its accruals," said Malamule.

Malamule added that the MEC recently launched programmes such as Operation Phakamela Impilo, which provides access to health information in townships and rural areas.

"He took primary health services to taxi ranks, thus increasing access of health services to the people. Just [recently], he advanced the services to the mines where he fostered a partnership with Evander Gold Mine so that all miners can have access to a full package of health services in the mines," he said.

Malamule said clinics that were set alight during protests were also rebuilt since Mashego's appointment as MEC.

"He has created a number of partnerships that have seen many new Ideal Clinics being built and some are receiving renovations. The clinic that was burnt by the community four years ago in Zamokuhle in Hendrina is now being built through a partnership with a company called Glencore. Some unfinished health facilities in the past which include a clinic in Daggakraal have now been completed," said Malamule.

During his appointment last year, opposition party Democratic Alliance labelled Mashego's appointment a "terrifying decision."

Then party leader in the provincial legislature Anthony Benadie stated: "Mpumalanga's health care system is in a deep state of crisis, and requires strong, experienced and capable leadership. Deeply loyal to Mabuza, MEC Mashego has no experience in public office or the health sector."

However, Malamule believes MEC Mashego's appointment was a right step.

"In a nutshell the MEC has done a lot, medical shortages in health facilities are now a thing of the past and the provision of food is also going well, together with provision of linen. Rob Ferreira Hospital has now been renovated while a new hospital is being built in Sabie," said Malamule.