Ricochet News

SACP Eastern Cape urges private healthcare sector not to exploit Covid-19 outbreak

Mar 17, 2020
SACP Eastern Cape urges private healthcare sector not to exploit Covid-19 outbreak

East London - The South African Communist Party (SACP) in the Eastern Cape held its ordinary plenary session over the weekend. 

Speaking after the meeting, SACP Eastern Cape Provincial Spokesperson, Siyabonga Mdodi,  said that the SACP wishes to express its profound word of solidarity with the people of Centane, who lost their loved ones in the devastating bus accident that occurred on the on the morning of 2 March.

"We express our heartfelt condolences to the families who have lost their loved in the tragic accident, and wish the injured a speedy recovery," he noted.

"The bus tragedy reflects the state of the public transport fleet and the nature of hazardous roads which majority of the people of this province are subjected to on daily basis.

"It is without doubt that if it was the lives of the haves which perished on the public road while being ferried by a public transport much more could have been done to ensure that such accident never happens again. In particular, that they perished in a state subsidised public transport.

"It in this context that, we reiterate our call for the establishment of the quality affordable public integrated transport system fully subsidised by the state. We are of the firm view that the ought to be concerted efforts from the people’s government to improve the state of the public roads."

On the Coronavirus

Mdodi said that the meeting occurred at the backdrop of the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) which has plunged the world into crisis.

"The outbreak of the coronavirus will have devastating effects on the workers and the poor. It is in this context that we welcome the coordinated response to the outbreak of this pandemic by the South African government," he said.  

"We wish to call on all the people in South Africa to fully cooperate with the measures to prevent the spread of the virus. As the Party, we call upon the government to make more efforts in creation of more facilities for the containment of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We also make a call to the greedy private health care sector, especially hospitals not to place greed or demand for payment for payment for profits ahead of human life but to make available facilities and selflessly take active part in the national efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

"The private healthcare centres should provide testing and treatment purely on humanitarian grounds."

On unemployment 

Mdodi said that the meeting was convened during very complex conditions characterised by the realities of the stagnating economy, rising youth unemployment, multi-dimensional inequality and racialized poverty.

"The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the fourth quarter of 2019 indicated that the official unemployment rate remained unchanged at 29.1%, the country is in the technical recession," he added.

"In light of the challenges we have, we join our National Leadership in rejecting the budget as tabled by the Minister of Finance. The budget does not talk to the challenges confronting the country and properly allocate resource in efforts to resolve them.

"The current situation requires more focused and resolute leadership if we are to make any advance in turning the situation around. The situation requires that the revolutionary alliance is reaffirmed as the centre of the policy strategic direction, as opposed to being led by the National Treasury towards a neo-liberal path."

Mdodi said that it is in this context that we welcome the proposal by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) on the investments of the monies of workers in the productive sectors of the economy, and in building our country for the benefit of the workers and the poor.

"The COSATU proposal should be considered within the context of appreciating that, as things stand, the pension monies of workers are being invested in the casino economy for the benefit of the capitalists and not the workers.

"The PEC meeting welcomed all efforts to turn around the strategic State Owned Enterprises. We are of the firm view that in light of the capacity challenges confronting ESKOM, there should be review of the contracts with Independent Power Producers (IPPs). The ESKOM should increase its own internal capacity to enable to move into renewable energy space," he said.

"The leadership of government should guard against the leadership of ESKOM attempting to resolve its challenges by putting more socio-economic strain on the shoulders of the workers and the poor by increasing the already unaffordable high tariff hikes."

On student protests at Eastern Cape universities

Mdodi noted that the meeting noted with concern the impasse in the institutions of Higher Learning in the province.

"We are of the view that all the challenges in both the University of Fort Hare and the Walter Sisulu University; and the Buffalo City TVET College needs an urgent resolution, for amongst other things these institutions have large numbers of students from the working class families," he said.

"The set of challenges in these institutions are as the results of the commodification of education in our country. We should all work together in finding lasting solutions to the challenges of fees, violence in the campuses, and other related matters.

"The Party will engage the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology to work with institutions of higher learning to investigate the exorbitant student accommodation and security contracts." 

He also said that the meeting considered a comprehensive report on the state of local government in the province.

"The state of affairs in the local government is concerning, as municipalities are faced with various challenges including but not limited to low revenue base in the rural municipalities, lack of internal capacity, corruption, political infightings, misaligned planning, etc," Mdodi described.

"The party is of the view that the local state as the sphere closest to the people require adequate attention for it to serve its purpose. The SACP PEC will release its comprehensive position paper on the local governance in the province."

On the 2020 Eastern Cape State of the Province Address (SOPA)

He said that the PEC welcomed the State of the Province Address (SOPA) by the Eastern Cape Premier and its pronouncements on the means to grow the economy and to create much needed decent jobs.

"The commitment on combating corruption networks within provincial government and the local state is welcomed. We welcome the commitments to improve the infrastructure in the province," Mdodi said.

"The life style audit as announced by the Premier in the SOPA should start in the leadership of the congress movement and proceed to the government employees. We should lead by example in this, for many leaders of our organisations have unexplainable wealth and assets.

"The SACP will monitor the implementation of the pronouncements by the Premier through line departments."

He also said that the SACP PEC is of the view that the Provincial Budget for 2020-21 Financial Year as tabled by the MEC responsible for Provincial Treasury fell short in concretely addressing the challenges confronting the province.

"The budget is an anti-poor budget with the same framework of the National Budget which is anchored on the austerity measures which adversely affect the workers and the poor," Mdodi described.

"The budget does not adequately address the challenge of massive youth unemployment, the challenges in the municipalities particularly the unviable amalgamated municipalities amongst others. As the SACP, we reject the Provincial Budget for it is detached from the provincial realities. In our view the budget reflects the internal contestation within the movement."

Follow more RNEWS articles, subscribe to our YouTube channel and for breaking news LIKE us on Facebook. For news on the Western Cape click here.

For great savings on life’s little pleasures visit Bargain Buys!  Know somebody who is getting married, Wedding and Function can assist.  Have kids, then you need to visit Kids Connection. Enjoy food and travel, then visit Home Food and Travel. Need assistance with an online presence, visit Agency One.