DA calls on Premier to launch full inquiry into fitness of office of KZN Health MEC, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu

Issued by Dr Rishigen Viranna, MPL – DA KZN Spokesperson on Health
22 Feb 2021 in Press Statements

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has today written to KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Premier, Sihle Zikalala (view here), calling on him to appoint a full inquiry into provincial Health MEC, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu’s fitness for office.

This after an alleged instruction by the MEC last week, that the administration of Covid-19 vaccinations to 40 KZN healthcare workers be delayed.

The essential Johnson & Johnson vaccines arrived in the province on 17 February. Indications are that the vaccination team at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALCH) was ready to vaccinate healthcare workers that same afternoon. The hospital was already preparing the 40 vaccine doses for injection.

Despite this, the MEC appears to have ordered the delay of their administration. This is evidenced by a screenshot from the IALCH Vaccine WhatsApp Group, which has since gone viral on social media. In the message it is indicated that MEC Simelane-Zulu instructed the hospital CEO to stop vaccinations scheduled for healthcare workers that day.

As of 9 February 2021, a total of 15 012 KZN healthcare workers have been infected with Covid-19, with 271 deaths. Our healthcare workers are our frontline heroes, and government must speedily proceed with the vaccine. Even a day’s delay is completely unacceptable.

The DA has asked MEC Simelane-Zulu for an explanation around this instruction. To date, nothing has been forthcoming. This has left us to assume that the only reason for her instruction is because she was attending school functionality visits in Amajuba District and unable to be in eThekwini for the first vaccinations.

Given that it is the Premier that appoints members of the province’s executive council, the DA has requested that he launch an inquiry into this serious matter.

The DA will continue to fight for all healthcare workers in KwaZulu-Natal to have access to a properly coordinated vaccine programme.