R32.5 million wasted on Cuban doctors

Issued by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health
11 Jun 2021 in Press Statements

The Gauteng Health Department took R32.5 million out of its HIV/AIDS grant to pay 28 Cuban doctors for a year’s service on Covid-19 related activities even though no local need for them had been identified.

This wasteful and misdirected spending was disclosed by Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Mokgethi, the Cuban Brigade doctors were employed from 15 May 2020 to 30 May 2021. Their work “ranged from advisory, health data specialists, Public Health specialist care, consulting with patients and total health care delivery.”

Their one-year salaries ranged from R858 000 for a Biostatistician to R1.58 million for a specialised Medical Doctor.

Mokgethi says that their employment “was as a result of a Government to Government agreement entered into by South Africa and Cuba to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The budget for them was taken from Covid components of the HIV/AIDS grant, which is surely irregular. It appears that Gauteng was forced to fit in with the nationally imposed decision to use Cuban doctors even though no local need was identified.

I doubt whether these doctors did anything that local doctors could not have done more cost-effectively.

It’s yet another example of the ANC’s Cuba obsession that diverts money that should be used to save lives of patients in our crumbling hospitals.

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