South Africa

South Africa in crisis

South Africa is in a crisis due to the widespread crime and corruption that is embedded in the government, with crime syndicates extracting resources from the state at will. 

This is feedback from a professor at the Wits School of Governance, Alex van den Heever, who told Newzroom Afrika that the public healthcare sector is emblematic of a broader decline in government services. 

Van den Heever’s comments came on the back of hundreds of qualified doctors being unable to find positions in the public healthcare sector.

It is estimated that around 800 doctors have not found positions in the public healthcare system despite an apparent lack of doctors. 

The South African Medical Association Trade Union (Samatu) first raised this issue in early January. It said the government does not have the funds to hire new doctors. 

“Annually, the department cites budget constraints as a barrier to hiring qualified medical doctors, yet no substantial measures are evident to solve the funding dilemma,” it said. 

“This contributes immensely to the web of factors that prompt the continuous emigration of qualified doctors.”

Wits professor Alex van den Heever

Van den Heever attributed this failure to political interference in the provincial healthcare system and widespread mismanagement, corruption, and crime in the government. 

“We’ve allowed massive interference by political actors in provincial health departments, and they have looted them. It is not a resource issue that many are failing – it is because they have had their funds taken.”

“The management of the public health service, as we have it, is probably the least complex system to manage out of all potential healthcare systems available.”

He explained that the resources allocated to the public healthcare system are stable, enabling the Department of Health to plan. 

However, they have failed to do so because of reasons familiar to many South Africans. 

“There is systemic corruption. We are in a crisis in South Africa at the moment where we have syndicates who are extracting resources from the state hand over fist, and the healthcare sector is part of that.”

“The procurement budgets for these departments are being stripped bare, and, therefore, they cannot pay for basic goods and services.”

He added that it is naive to think the government has rid itself of corruption and that the era of state capture is over. 

“The state remains captured. It is not a state that has moved away from systemic corruption. It is deeply embedded in the way everything operates at the moment.”


Top JSE indices