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Minister of international relations and co-operation Naledi Pando. File photo: SYDNEY SESHIBEDI
Minister of international relations and co-operation Naledi Pando. File photo: SYDNEY SESHIBEDI

It is 7.20am. I am sitting in the dark, freezing container we use as a consulting room. There is no power, and we usually depend on a generator. Today the generator is quiet, as we have no petrol/diesel to keep it running. The nurse in charge of the clinic says the big bosses are not responding to her requests to buy more fuel for the clinic.

It’s hard to believe we are in the middle of a major SA city. This clinic, in one of the most neglected squatter camps with terrible dirt roads, has no doctors. Once a week we do an outreach visit to help them. If we don’t come, no-one else will.

I thought of driving back to the hospital where I work but when I saw the long queue of people who had been standing in the cold since 5am waiting to see a doctor I didn’t have the heart. If these patients can brave the cold, I can find a way to survive the dark, cold container.

Then you hear on the radio international relations and co-operation minister Naledi Pandor pleading with South Africans to understand as her government wants to bless Cuba with another few million rand as a gift. This has been going on since 2012. I have stopped counting the millions dished out to the regime by our generous ANC-led government. Cuba has only paid back R70m of these so-called loans. But we keep giving like Father Christmas.

Our clinic has no power but we have money to give away. My father would say, what is the point of buying a Ferrari for your mistress if you can’t give a loaf of bread to your starving children? Dr Pandor has proved my father wrong. We have a clinic less than two hours away from the Union Buildings with no electricity, but she has money to donate.

We even have money to waste on vanity projects like erecting the tallest flag ever, instead of improving primary healthcare. I used to think Afghanistan’s ministry of vice and virtue was the stupidest idea until Mthethwa’s flag was introduced.

The ANC has run out of ideas to take this country to the next level. The brightest nation-building project is a flag in the midst of Covid-19-driven recession.

All I need is a proper consulting room and light. Is this too much to ask, Dr Pandor?

Dr Lucas Ntyintyane
Via email

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