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Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. Image via: flickr

‘Gwarube is a liar’: Health ministry slams field hospital allegations

There has been quite some controversy around North West field hospitals. The health ministry has responded, setting the record straight.

Mhkize level 1 lockdown

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. Image via: flickr

Quite a bit of controversy around North West field hospitals has emanated in the last 24 hours. It all started when Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister for Health Siviwe Gwarube posted images of an empty field claiming it was the incomplete Maseve Field Hospital, which Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said was 90% complete. 

The health ministry did not take lightly to the accusation that Mkhize was dishonest and so released a fiery statement on the matter. 


The DA, on Thursday, took to social media stating that Mkhize said the Maseve Field Hospital was 90% complete. It went on to say that he told the party this last month in answer to their Parliamentary question. 

However, Gwarube said it was empty and incomplete. 

“This morning the DA Shadow Minister of Health, Siviwe Gwarube visited the provincial hospital and the field hospital, it remains an empty field and no construction is happening. What’s going on?” it said. 

In June Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize told the DA that the North West Maseve Field Hospital is 90% complete…

Posted by Democratic Alliance on Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Health Ministry has since responded harshly to Gwarube’s accusations. 

“Yesterday afternoon the Ministry became aware of a tweet posted by the DA’s Ms Siviwe Gwarube, where she accused the Minister of Health, Dr Zwelini Mkhize, of lying about the status of Maseve Field Hospital in the North West and alleged it was still an empty field,” it said.  

“Despite being corrected on the same platform by a senior official from the National Department of Health (who is currently an administrator at the Department of Health in the North West), she persisted with her allegations and preposterously changed her story to suit her false narrative and cheap political agenda of opposing anything by government, to the extent of her lying and misleading the public,” it added. 

According to the statement, the minister called Gwarube to ask her why she would lie when the parliamentary reply clearly refers to Maseve Hospital when she was on a completely different site. 

“She apologised and admitted she had made a mistake. She acknowledged that the Minister had never said anything about the site she visited and that she could have heard it from a third party. The Minister graciously accepted her apology, in an effort to engage in a civil and honourable manner with a fellow parliamentary member,” it said. 

“However, it was disappointing to learn that she has run to social media and conveniently referred to the call with the Minister as an attempt by him to explain himself to her. When the Minister called her, he believed that she may be confused. The future field hospital to be constructed by the province was never discussed with Gwarube, and had nothing to do with the Minister’s response she quotes from Parliament,” it added. 

The health ministry said Gwarube has continued with petty politicking which can only be attributed to immaturity. 

“Gwarube is now challenged to publicly produce the parliamentary reply where reference is made to the field she decided to visit,” it said. 


In a statement released not long after the health ministry’s statement, Gwarube said she regrets her ambiguous tweet. 

“My tweet seeking answers was ambiguous. It implied that the field hospital in question was the Maseve Hospital when in fact, I was referring to the Job Shimankane Tabana site on which a field hospital is to be built. It implied that Minister Mkhize’s response about the status of field hospitals across the country included the Job Shimankane Tabana field hospital when it only referred to the Maseve Hospital,” she said. 

“I regret that it wasn’t clearer,” she added. 

She did, however, say that the intention of these oversight visits is to carry out the constitutional obligation which oftentimes means posing difficult questions. She also said Mkhize could have used the opportunity to shed light on the plans for the North West Province. 

“More specifically, he could have given feedback on the status of the building of the Job Shimankane Tabana (JST) field hospital,” she added.