ActionSA taunts deputy minister over ‘medical tourism’


ActionSA confronted the deputy minister of cooperative government and traditional affairs after he hinted, according to the party, that South Africa’s healthcare sector is without challenges and that this can be seen in the recent increase in so-called medical tourists to the country.

Parks Tau said earlier that South Africa’s healthcare system is admired internationally and that many people think “they have a better chance of making it in local hospitals than in their own countries”.

Dr. However, Kgosi Letlape, ActionSA’s spokesperson for health, says that these allegations are “obviously without merit”.

“It is undoubtedly the case that medical care tourism is naturally affordable for those who come to South Africa from strong economies and favorable exchange rates make it easy for them to access care.

“This tourism only happens for private medical care that is delivered at exorbitant prices for citizens – including those with medical funds – due to poor package offers at high prices.”

Letlape says it is discouraging to see how the deputy minister plays down the dysfunctionality of the country’s health care system and uses generic terms to collectively refer to the country’s health care system. This system consists of private and public health care and it continues to deteriorate.

“It should also be noted that we experience medical tourism on a scale from our neighboring countries with people often crossing the border illegally in search of free medical care in South Africa. It is a practice that overloads the public healthcare system and threatens to collapse it.”

ActionSA also says Tau praises the accessibility of the system while it is reserved for only those whose economy allows them to access the expensive private healthcare in South Africa. “The statements show a lack of political will for much-needed medical reform that will ensure affordability and accessibility for all South Africans.”

ActionSA says this party believes that the health care system must be fixed so that quality care is provided to all South Africans. “We believe our public health care system can be of the same quality as that of private health care – which currently suffers from medical tourism – provided we use money for available human capital and the renovation of our facilities.”