Be with us in more than spirit

Crass denialism stalks the health department again as Manto Tshabalala-Msimang asserts her hold over our crumbling hospitals.

Crass denialism stalks the health department again as Manto Tshabalala-Msimang asserts her hold over our crumbling hospitals.

A brief flowering in her absence - when we faced reality, enunciated a realistic Aids policy and involved citizenry in health matters - has evaporated.

Betty Beetroot is back in the saddle. She proclaimed her leaden return by engineering the dismissal of her dynamic deputy, re-isolating her department from those it is meant to serve and cowering those in her employ who stray from the party line.

While she blusters about journalists who dare intrude on her privacy to report a boozy stay in a Cape Town hospital, her department is leaking details about the criminal past of Nokuzola Ntshona, the doctor suspended for "talking to the media" about horror conditions at Frere Hospital in East London.

Ntshona, a brilliant physician with a chequered past known to the health department when it hired her, had confirmed to visiting parliamentarians the ill-equipped hospital's disgusting record of 2000 stillborn babies over the past few years.

Ms Minister, your department can obfuscate, prevaricate and spread all the slander it wants, but once again you have played the person and not the ball. Ntshona's eye-witness account raises valid questions you ignore: why are our people dying like flies at your hospitals?

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