Mabasa - one good SAMA man into the breach

Chris Bateman


Stepping into a political maelstrom by accepting his appointment as Limpopo’s Health Minister, the softly spoken former South African Medical Association, (SAMA), chairperson, Dr Norman Mabasa, was unexpectedly robust when asked; ‘what on earth were you thinking?’ last month.
The turbulent province is now over R2 billion in debt with a joint national ministerial task team having stepped in to take emergency corrective measures - with all the attendant internal politicking and finger-pointing. The health department, tainted by as yet unproven allegations of R314 million in disputed pharmaceutical contracts involving relatives and associates of former ANC Youth League President, Julius Malema, (a close friend and political ally of Premier Cassel Mathale), is officially R437 million in the red (after narrowly honoring its Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) commitments). There are 39 653 vacant health posts.
Mabasa told Izindaba; ‘No doctor wants to claim victory on a healthy patient’. When the executive of the province approached him to ‘help re-engineer’ the health department, he says he reasoned that a refusal would be to avoid taking on responsibility for change.

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Chris Bateman, HMPG

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politics, South African Medical Association, Limpopo Province Health Department

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2012;102(5):277.

Article History

Date submitted: 2012-04-03
Date published: 2012-04-26

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