Latest News Editor's Choice

News / Local

Pan-African Parliament criticise Limpopo MEC Phophi

by Staff reporter
27 Aug 2022 at 05:59hrs | Views
LEGISLATORS from the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) and the South African Medical Association (SAMA) have joined other organisations in criticising Limpopo province Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Health, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, for embarrassing a bedridden patient from Zimbabwe at a hospital in Bela Bela, Limpopo, this week.

In a video that has gone viral on social media, Dr Ramathuba accused the patient of depriving South Africans of quality healthcare by crossing the border to seek treatment.

But PAP members said such conduct was not consistent with the spirit of Pan-Africanism and regional integration efforts being pursued by African leaders. In an interview, PAP vice president for Women's caucus and Malawian legislator, Mrs Victoria Kingstone, described Dr Ramathuba's conduct as unbecoming particularly coming from a woman.

"It's so unfortunate, this is a female doctor ill-treating a patient. We are one Africa, whichever country one belongs to. When it comes to humanitarian issues we should behave as human beings," she said.

"Look here, I am attending a PAP session, and I might fall sick and might need medical assistance here. Let's treat all human beings whether they are in a foreign country or not, equally. I condemn strongly the behaviour shown by that doctor, it is unacceptable."

A legislator from Botswana, Mr Simon Moabi, said: "As a Pan Africanist, I am quite disappointed with that video. She is attacking a fellow African. We are here at PAP, we are preaching unity, we are one Africa with one voice. These artificial borders created by colonialism should not separate us as Africans. We are one family. We are not supposed to be fighting each other.

"I come from Botswana but whenever I am in another country in Africa, I feel at home because the fact remains we are all Africans. What we are preaching is we need one Africa whereby we use one passport and where there are no borders."

He said the issue ought to be interrogated by the PAP.

Ugandan legislator, Mr Felex Okote Ogong, said the medical doctor had breached her Hippocratic Oath to serve humanity.

"The statement made by that doctor is xenophobic and must be condemned by everyone. As a Pan-Africanist and MP, I stand unequivocally to condemn the doctor.

"Secondly the doctor must live within her professional ethics and oath of service to humanity.

"That is all over the world that doctors serve humanity and not citizens. Each and every doctor must save lives without any discrimination of colour, geographical location and race."

Zimbabwean legislator, Ms Tatenda Mevetera, said what the health official did was not a reflection of the South African Government, given the good relations the two countries enjoy.

"It's quite disheartening that this is a woman. South Africa and Zimbabwe relations are quite good and she must have been expressing her personal views," she said.

 South Africa has always supported Zimbabwe and we are quite happy with that."

In a statement, SAMA said while there was a need for national dialogue to address the issues raised by Dr Ramathuba, they deplored the manner in which she sought to address challenges in South Africa's health sector.

"The member as a leader in the province is aware of the appropriate channels where such matters ought to be raised," said SAMA.

"Additionally, the member has a duty and responsibility to comply with the ethical conduct befitting a healthcare professional who took an oath which clearly states ‘first do no harm'.

"The Health Professions Council of South Africa's ethical guidelines and the SAMA Pledge solemnise all doctors to a duty of care, respecting the dignity of the patient and fostering the noble traditions of the medical profession without prejudice, which in this instance appear to have been contravened."

SAMA, a professional association for public and private sector medical practitioners founded in 1927, believes that healthcare is a fundamental human right, adding that foreigners such as refugees and migrants were some of the most vulnerable members of society.

South African opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, has called for the "immediate removal of the cynical, arrogant and morally bankrupt Member of the Executive Council for Health in Limpopo, Phophi Ramathuba, for her inhumane comments towards a sickly patient in a hospital in Bela Bela, Limpopo".

"Ramathuba, whose cruelty reveals she is posturing as a medical doctor, was recorded humiliating and cross-examining a patient who was due for surgery, because she was receiving medical care in South Africa while she hails from Zimbabwe.

"The hateful comments, which were in full view of individuals who laughed at the merciless shaming of a patient, reveal a shocking hatred for a fellow human being by someone tasked with protecting and saving human life.

"The Afrophobic attack by Ramathuba on a bed-ridden patient is cruel and malicious, and has no justification," said the EFF.

Source - The Herald