Madiba – Be the Legacy | Western Cape Government



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(Western Cape Government)

Madiba – Be the Legacy

20 July 2018

Debate Speech

Madiba – Be the Legacy

19 July 2018


Honorable Premier

Madam Speaker

Members of this house

Guests in the gallery


Good afternoon, Goeie middag, Molweni

This is indeed a huge honor to celebrate one of our nation’s greatest freedom fighters, Tata Nelson Mandela. On behalf of the DA caucus in the Western Cape, the DA Women’s Network nationally we congratulate Tata Madiba on what would have been the greatest milestones.

On this special commemoration we ought to take this an opportunity for South Africa to take stock. It is an occasion that warrants some national introspection. It is an occasion that also warrants individual introspection – looking at how far we have come and where we are headed.

As the president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela’s unwavering moral compass ensured that the country moved forward and did not suffer a backlash of anger over the past.

Mandela’s three life rules were: Free yourself, free others, and serve every day. I cannot agree more with this. As a proponent of women's rights, as I always say, Freedom is when the last one is also free!

Honorable Speaker, allow me to zoom in on Tata Madiba’s role in Healthcare reform in this country:

Post-Apartheid, Madiba had one of the most the momentous tasks of laying the foundations for a New South Africa.

In the years before Mandela’s time in office, there were drastic inequities in treatment and facilities for white and black citizens in South Africa. Spending was brutally unequal.

The testimonies shared through TRC, show how apartheid government colluded with clinicians, doctors and nurses and health professional bodies intentionally to destroy health services at bantustans.

Madiba introduced Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) to rebuild and transform South Africa’s economy and reverse apartheid inequalities. Priority areas of the RDP included health care, among others. By the end of 1998, hundreds of clinics had been built.

The most significant contribution made by this icon to reform healthcare in the country, is as follows:

1.  Free public health care for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and children under the age of six. This was the first time any form of free health care had been provided to South Africans. Prior that we were one of 12 countries in the world with the worst child health outcomes.  For maternal deaths, nobody knew exact figures as maternal mortality was not notifiable then as it was the international norm. Anecdotal evidence showed that indeed giving birth in the then health system was equated to opening your own coffin.

2.  In 2006, Mandela’s legacy was extended to offer primary healthcare services to all users of public facilities and development of district health system so services can be at the doorstep of the people, with families, community involvement & inter-sectoral collaboration as partners in taking ownership of their health.

3. Madiba was the first known leader to break the stigma and remove the sting on HIV/AIDS by disclosing his son's cause of death. He disclosed and shared how he suffered from TB whilst in prison. 

His lifestyle promoting daily physical activity by taking early morning walks. He was a trendsetter for people to take ownership of their health.

4.  Madiba’s role in the Cuban doctor training programme.  He realized a need for training of more doctors so every person especially those in remote areas, to have access to medical interventions. The services then were more hospicentric/ curative hence the choice of Primary health care focus. We salute him for identifying  a need. Last month, we saw the end of this programme because it couldn't achieve what it was supposed to achieve: access and coverage and equitable health services. 

5. Madiba’s legacy as a compassionate leader: More than his leadership skills, Madiba. Honourable speaker, the question is, how do ensure we live the Madiba legacy as Health Departments in South Africa.  
Let us honour his legacy of compassion. Whilst we have overburden and distressed health system and understand the frustration from our health workers, we are appealing to all health workers to #bethelegacy, and work together to provide the best quality care. No matter the burden and stress, there is no justification to ill treat patients. Bring your Mandela moment to work. Bring compassion to health services. Let’s care for our vulnerable: the patients. 

Patients are indeed at the centre of, which is why the WC is prioritizing medical training of doctors to increase production of doctors. Almost 30% of all doctors in the country are from the province.  In recent weeks, it was confirmed by the National Minister, that the WC has the highest doctor-patient ratio than any other province in the country. We are #livingthelegacy of planting more doctors within our health system.

Honorable Speaker,

Madiba’s ideal of Universal Health Coverage

Madiba’s legacy on this is guaranteed in the Constitution which guarantees everyone the right to access health services. The Western Cape is committed to UHC - that is, the need to ensure access to quality health services and financial risk protection. We welcome UHC, as a vision for addressing equity, quality of care and access to care. The WC is already exploring piloting UHC in some areas. 

In closing, Honourable Speaker, I want to share with this house what a remarkable contribution we made in honoring Madiba on Mandela day.

For the second year running the Western Cape Government Health gave life to Madiba’s legacy in making a difference to people’s lives, especially our most vulnerable citizens. #Operation100, ensured more than 100 vulnerable patients received life-changing surgery and operations.

I could never have imagined that this initiative would reach even more then what was targeted.

I pledge to my colleagues in health: Let us move forward and continue to keep the spirit of Madiba alive by the way we serve. Patients first.