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Zimbabwean ambassador to SA shocked by Health MEC’s remarks

In a move that shows deteriorating relations between Zimbabwe and South Africa, Harare has finally registered disappointment with the attacks by South Africa’s Limpopo Health Member of Executive Committee (MEC), Phophi Ramathuba, against a Zimbabwean patient.

Ramathuba, last week appeared in a video harassing a Zimbabwean patient at a Limpopo hospital claiming that immigrants were straining the provincial healthcare system. She demanded that the patient be charged for the services rendered.

In a widely circulated video clip, Dr Phophi Ramathuba is seen chastising a reportedly undocumented Zimbabwean patient scheduled for surgery at a hospital in South Africa’s Limpopo province.
In a widely circulated video clip, Dr Phophi Ramathuba is seen chastising a reportedly undocumented Zimbabwean patient scheduled for surgery at a hospital in South Africa’s Limpopo province.

Ramathuba also castigated President Emmerson Mnangagwa for failing Zimbabwe’s health systems. Her comments were, however, viewed by Economic Freedom Fighters leaders among other South Africans, as xenophobic and they called for her disqualification as a medical doctor.

Zimbabwe, through its ambassador David Hamadziripi, has advised Pretoria of its disappointment with the behaviour of the health MEC.

“The Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe in Pretoria watched with shock and disbelief the video (images) in which the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) of Health Limpopo Province, spoke to a Zimbabwean national who happened to be a patient in a hospital in the province,” read part of the note.

“The Embassy has been in contact with the government of South Africa, through the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, to whom it has conveyed the concerns of the government of Zimbabwe on the comments made by the MEC.”

Critics have been arguing that Ramathuba was out of order and unethical. They said that the state of the health care system in Zimbabwe could not be blamed on a struggling illegal immigrant in South Africa but on the Zanu-PF government.

It was further established that the MEC’s responsibility according to the work ethics she signed was entirely of providing health care services and not to venture into political and immigration issues.

Addressing journalists last week, Zimbabwe’s main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa said the immigration crisis has been a result of the failure by Zanu-PF.

“We note with concern that the economy continues to fail many Zimbabweans. Look at how Zimbabweans are treated in the neighbouring country like people without identity, without a heritage, without a nation and land,” said Chamisa.

“The immigration crisis as it is called in the Southern African Development Community is not an immigration crisis. It is indeed a governance crisis in Zimbabwe.

“People are running from this country on account of a deficit of good governance, the economic circumstances that they find themselves in and if we don’t resolve them we will not be able to move forward.”

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