Faster vaccine rollout & a united department: 5 things the DA wants Kubayi-Ngubane to focus on
The DA has outlined five priorities acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane should focus on in Zweli Mkhize's absence.
Kubayi-Ngubane was appointed acting health minister last week after Mkhize was placed on special leave by President Cyril Ramaphosa pending investigations into contracts between the health department and service provider, Digital Vibes.
The department is accused of awarding Digital Vibes a “dodgy” tender worth R150m for communications regarding the National Health Insurance (NHI) rollout in 2019.
The DA's shadow minister of health Siviwe Gwarube said SA should not be punished for the transgressions of a “minister who has reportedly stuck their hands in the national cookie jar of public funds for personal benefit”.
She said Kubayi-Ngubane needed to hit the ground amid a third wave of Covid-19 infections in the country.
“Minister Kubayi-Ngubane must get her priorities straight and get the basics right,” she said.
Gwarube outlined the five priorities Kubayi-Ngubane should focus on. They are:
- Accelerating the vaccine rollout programme. SA's vaccine rollout plan has been slow and marred with both avoidable and unavoidable delays, she claimed.
- Clarity from the national regulator on the use of J&J vaccines in the country. "This is important for the rollout of the vaccine and also the public trust in the vaccination process. Should vaccines be found to not be suitable for use. The president must immediately make a pronouncement on how the target of vaccinating 40 million South Africans by year-end will be met," said Gwarube,
- Resolving the electronic vaccination data system (EVDS) glitches for smooth registration and rollout of the vaccine. This is especially important, said Gwarube, considering that SA is "now in the third wave" and many more vulnerable people need to be prioritised.
- Ensuring the SIU investigation is not inhibited. "The minister will need to make sure that the work of the SIU in so far as it concerns the department is done without any undue influence so that the institution can make credible findings in this regard, she said.
- A united departmental senior management team: Kubayi-Ngubane's immediate priority should be to ensure continuity alongside the deputy minister, said Gwarube, adding that South Africans cannot be made to "suffer shoddy services" in the middle of a global pandemic.