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‘The end justifies the means’: Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba defends her leadership style

Limpopo health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba scolded a senior manager for going on lunch during a “disaster” at a clinic. File photo.
Limpopo health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba scolded a senior manager for going on lunch during a “disaster” at a clinic. File photo.
Image: Antonio Muchave

Limpopo health MEC Phophi Ramathuba has defended her style of leadership after a video of her scolding nurses and management at Rethabile Clinic in Polokwane drew mixed reactions.

In the video Ramathuba can be seen reprimanding staff for their poor management and sitting idle while patients waited in long queues.

She scolded one senior manager for going on lunch during a “disaster” at the clinic.

Speaking on 702, Ramathuba said she made the decision to adopt a style of leadership in which she makes unannounced visits to see what patients are experiencing.

“We visit several facilities. Some we get good stories, but of course they won’t trend because they are good stories. At some we found young managers who have turned around facilities but those stories will not trend. 

“Time in our sector is important. When you are given an opportunity to correct things, correct them and you will deal with whatever consequences later. As they always say, the end justifies the means. You’ve got to make sure lives are protected,” Ramathuba said. 

TimesLIVE conducted a poll asking readers if Ramathuba was justified by scolding nurses on camera. 

Most (63%) voters said her actions were justified, 20% felt her reprimanding nurses on camera takes away her sincerity and 18% said it is just theatrics. 

The Public Servants Association (PSA) in Limpopo condemned Ramathuba. 

PSA chairperson John Teffo told TimesLIVE: “The MEC seems to have forgotten the basic leadership principle of ‘praising in public and disciplining in private’ as she is playing to the gallery to create the impression she is working and workers are not.

“We condemn the Limpopo health MEC’s approach of shouting and disrespecting employees in front of patients, who will tomorrow speak rudely with the same employees.”


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