The health ministry has denied that Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi received preferential treatment at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria.
“There is no such thing as preferential treatment. It’s unfortunate that people can say those kinds of things,” department spokesperson Joe Maila said today.
He was reacting to Democratic Alliance Gauteng MPL Jack Bloom, who had raised this, saying waiting time for surgery at the hospital was very long.
“According to an official reply to my questions in the Gauteng legislature in September last year, 1 629 patients were waiting for surgery at this hospital because of staff shortages and budget cuts. Waiting periods are terrible,” Bloom said.
Yesterday, Motsoaledi was admitted to the hospital for a surgical procedure, and was expected to be out of office for at least a week.
Maila said Motsoaledi always used state hospitals.
Bloom said Motsoaledi had set an admirable example, but he believed high-level politicians using state hospitals were never treated as ordinary patients.
“They also take up a bed that would have been used by someone who cannot afford private care,” he said.
Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters were pleased Motsoaledi opted not to use a private facility.
“The EFF approves because one of our fundamental principles and policy positions is that all elected public representatives should use public services and institutions,” they said in a statement.
“All public representatives in all legislatures and Parliament will use public institutions and services, particularly schools and heathcare.”
The Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA wished Motsoaledi a speedy recovery.
“He is a passionate minister of health who is driven by ambition to see the success of his job of improving health for the millions of South Africans,” it said in a statement.
“We are confident about the capability of our colleagues who will be looking after him at the hospital.”
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