Image via: @ASSAf_Official Twitter
The FF Plus would like to know who will replace Malegapuru Makgoba as the health ombudsman following his recent appointment as Eskom’s interim chairman.
Image via: @ASSAf_Official Twitter
The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) released a statement on Friday 17 January 2020 saying it is concerned with Malegapuru Makgoba’s appointment as Eskom’s interim chairman but even more so, the party wants to know who will be filling Makgoba’s position as the health ombudsman.
FF Plus MP and chief spokesperson of health Philip van Staden said Makgoba was still filling the position of health ombudsman with the last session of the Portfolio Committee for Health in October 2019.
“The party does not only feel concerned that Makgoba’s departure will leave a gap in Health but also because the party feels that his appointment at Eskom will not be of any value when it comes to solving Eskom’s problems,” said Van Staden.
According to the statement, the FF Plus feels that Makgoba was an excellent health ombudsman, especially with the key role he played in handling the Life Esidimeni tragedy.
“There is, however, a vast difference between the medical world and the enormous problems that Eskom is currently faced with. The FF Plus is of the opinion that these two fields are too far removed from one another,” said Van Staden.
Van Staden said that Makgoba complained during the session of the Portfolio Committee for Health in October 2019 that the government offered his office almost no support and that they had to make do with only him and a secretary.
The FF Plus responded at the time by saying that the party hopes that the ombudsman’s resources will be increased so that his office can effectively investigate and address all the medical complaints streaming in from the public.
The FF Plus wants to see that a new ombudsman for health is appointed as soon as possible – someone with the same level of medical knowledge as Makgoba. The party also wants to see more support for the office of the ombudsman.
“It would have been better to retain Makgoba as Health ombudsman, instead of appointing him at Eskom, because his knowledge and talents are of immeasurable value to the health sector where there are extensive crises to handle in the country’s hospitals as a result of medical negligence,” said Van Staden.
The new interim chairman of Eskom was announced on Wednesday evening 15 January 2020. Makgoba was asked to help steady the embattled power utility, after getting the call-up during a trip to London.
As reported on earlier by TheSouthAfrican.com, Makgoba has won countless awards for his work in medical science but he has only served as an Eskom executive for the past 18 months. The decision of his appointment has enraged politicians and energy experts alike.
Makgoba will be replacing Jabu Mabuza, who quit his position last week following the dreaded return of load shedding. He and his colleagues – including Pravin Gordhan – were accused of misleading President Ramaphosa about the true extent of South Africa’s energy crisis. The question remains — who will replace Makgoba?
Ghaleb Cachalia is the Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow minister for public enterprises. He says that the appointment “defies logic”, and does little to help find the solution South Africa’s greatest economic threat:
“The appointment of Professor Malegapuru Makgoba as interim Eskom Chair is regrettable and not what the struggling power utility needs to turn it around. His medical credentials notwithstanding, this decision does little to instil the required confidence needed in Eskom.”