LIMPOPO – Provincial health MEC Phophi Ramathuba had a direct exchange with a Zimbabwean at a hospital in Limpopo, telling the patient to go back to Mnangagwa because “too many foreigners” are clogging up local medical facilities.
Although she was criticized for her comments, some South Africans supported Ramathuba after a video of the incident went viral online Tuesday.
The senior health official chats with the Zimbabwean patient, then expresses her immediate contempt when she learns of her background.
Ramathuba tells the bedridden foreigner that his presence at Bela Bela Hospital is “putting a huge strain” on the Limpopo health department’s budget.
She goes on to castigate Zimbabweans for treating South Africa “like charity”.
The politician then capped off her tirade by suggesting that the patient “should go back to Emmerson Mnangagwa” – the current President of Zimbabwe:
“You should be with Mnangagwa, he doesn’t give me money to operate on you. Now I have to serve you with my limited budget. When you are sick, you decide to go to Limpopo. This embassy in South Africa is a charity department, they say.
“The truth is painful: Limpopo has about 5.7 million inhabitants. Most of these citizens have no medical care. They rely on the state. Instead of using my limited budget for its intended purpose, we are dealing here with something Emerson Mnangagwa needs to do.
“That’s exactly why when people in Limpopo want access to health systems, they can’t get it. This annoys the community. You are not even registered here, you are not counted, some are illegal immigrants. It is unfair. I can’t go to Zimbabwe and get help.”
Reacting to the incident, Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono sided with Ramathuba blaming the underachieving ZANU PF government for the harsh treatment foreigners are subjected to in South Africa.
“This South African minister is right, Zimbabwe has become an embarrassment in South Africa due to ZANU PF looting of public funds.
ZANU PF politicians and surrogates loot millions and starve hospitals of funding and our people are forced to go to South Africa for healthcare,” he said.