During last night’s address, President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed that the Cabinet had resolved to nominate the Cuban doctors, brought into South Africa, for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In doing so, President Ramaphosa managed to overlook the heroics of our South African healthcare workers who have served on the frontline of this pandemic at great personal cost.
It is already a stain on our country that 217 Cuban Doctors were deployed in South Africa at a cost of R400 million when South African doctors sat at home, unemployed by a government that has frozen an estimated 40 000 medical posts. To make matters worse, it is common knowledge that these Cuban doctors receive little of these funds, which are mostly directed toward the Cuban government.
Let us be very clear. If any recognition should be provided by our government, let it be for the frontline healthcare workers of our country who have risen early and slept late over the past year to save the lives of the people of our country. They have done so at great personal cost, with more than 400 estimated Covid-19 deaths in the public healthcare system alone and 43 000 Covid-19 infections of healthcare workers.
ActionSA will launch a public drive for South Africans to declare their support for the healthcare workers of our country to receive the highest recognition for their heroic service to the people of South Africa. They deserve more than the verbal appreciation at the end of every speech, they deserve our most profound recognition of their service.
Let our healthcare workers receive this honour, along with their vaccines, so that they can continue to come to work every day with the knowledge that their heroism is appreciated by their own country.
The fact that 217 Cuban doctors were deployed to do the work that should have been performed by South African doctors, trained in our publicly funded universities, is something for which our cabinet should hang their heads in shame.