There is no question that SA’s public healthcare services are under pressure. We daily hear of patients confronting long queues, medicine shortages and harried staff stretched to their limit. The problem with the health system is years of under-investment, poor planning, and corruption. It is not foreigners. The world over, governments scapegoat immigrants to deflect attention from their own failings. And nowhere is this truer than in SA. Last November, health minister Aaron Motsoaledi told a nursing summit convened by the labour union Nehawu that more hospitals and clinics were needed to accommodate all the local and foreign patients, and that SA needed to re-consider its immigration policies to control the number of undocumented and illegal immigrants. He went on to say that when immigrants “get admitted in large numbers, they cause overcrowding, infection control starts failing”. The minister presented not a shred of evidence to back up his xenophobic claims, made even more insid...

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